Free Will Baptists cancel Duck Dynasty event
    November 19 2013 by Mark H. Creech, Guest Column

     Kevin and Jason made their way down the steps after 1 a.m. Kevin led his friend into the corner room that the family called the study and opened his Dad’s liquor cabinet. “He’s going to know you got in here,” Jason warned. “No way,” said Kevin. “I only take what he won’t miss.”
    Then 12-year-old Kevin drew out a bottle of vodka and swallowed a mouthful of the clear liquid. He passed it to Jason and the two of them drank a few more swallows before returning the bottle to the cabinet.
    Kevin and Jason would share this late night adventure together every time Jason would come over to stay for the night. By the time Kevin was just 14 he was drinking every day. Kevin’s parents were gone a lot and somehow the booze seemed to make him feel a little better about his life. Neither Kevin’s father nor his mother ever seemed to notice the alcohol disappearing. [1]
    Many young people simply experiment with alcohol and after finding their curiosity satisfied will later abstain. But today most do not; they continue drinking. In fact, alcohol has become such an accepted part of our culture that a Columbia University study noted that underage drinkers account for 11.4 percent of all the alcohol consumed in the United States. [2]
    The average age of a teen boy who tries alcohol for the first time is 11, and for a girl it’s 13. According to statistics as recent as last year, 72 percent of students have consumed alcohol by the end of high school, and approximately 37 percent have done so by eighth grade. [3] More than three million teens in the U.S. between the ages of 14-17 are problem drinkers – something they will likely struggle with the rest of their lives. [4]
    Free Will Baptist Family Ministries in Greenville, Tenn. recently cancelled a fundraising event featuring “Duck Dynasty” star, Willie Robertson, over a recent decision by the Robertson family to create a line of their own wines. The fundraiser could have raised $70,000 to $85,000 for a project to add another 10,000 square feet to the ministry’s school where at-risk youth receive education and counseling.
    Dereck Bell, the ministry’s director of development, said the cancellation wasn’t based in any ill will towards the Robertsons. The ministry’s concerns were related to the Robertsons’ association with the sale of wine and how this could send the wrong message to the ministry’s adolescents. Bell explained half of the adolescents in their program undergo treatment for alcohol and drug addiction issues. He said, “Our message must be consistent. The lives of these children may well hang in the balance.” [5]
    The A&E reality show “Duck Dynasty” is not only a huge hit, but its contribution to the good of our nation can’t be understated. It resonates with teachings of the Bible and family values. The Robertsons are committed to spreading the Word, seeking to lead people to Christ and helping various Christian groups and nonprofits.
    But even more commendable is a group like the Free Will Baptists in Tennessee who will take a loss, who will not compromise their faith for any worldly gain, who will not compromise their biblical convictions even in the name of some worthy cause.
    In Jeremiah 35, God commended the Rechabites for their commitment to stay away from wine. Some will argue they were blessed only because of their obedience to the patriarch of their clan and not their abstinence. But would God bless obedience to a sinful or foolish precept? Would God have selected to highlight in His Holy Word His special approval to a particular rule that was simply observed from some superstitious motive or mere legalistic practice? Hardly! The point of the text is that God wanted to contrast the praiseworthy fidelity of the Rechabites’ holy and separated lifestyle with that of the Jews who had forgotten God and became careless and reckless in an age of indulgence. One can only wonder how God intends to bless Free Will Baptist Ministries for their sterling, similar example.
    Certainly there are many good Christians who for various erroneous reasons choose to imbibe or traffic in the sale of alcohol. But, to do so is an abuse of their Christian liberty. Judge Paul Pressler once wrote, “The upcoming generations need to know the havoc brought on our society and upon individuals by the use of alcohol. If we use it ourselves, we recommend its use to others. A Christian should not exercise his freedom to put himself and others at such risk.” [6]
    Moreover, it should be remembered that alcohol is a recreational, mind-altering drug. To use it even moderately is to swing the door wide open for the moderate use of other recreational drugs like marijuana. Should Christians endorse the moderate use of other recreational drugs? Why is alcohol, which happens to be the nation’s number one drug problem, morally acceptable, but not other drugs that scientifically and socially speaking actually effect less harm? Beer, wine and liquor today like all mind-altering recreational substances can make a fool of one’s life, biting like a poisonous serpent (Proverbs 20:1). And just as discretion is the better part of valor, abstinence is the better part of wisdom.
    It obviously was a youngster that prompted a certain poet to write:
    An empty glass before the youth
    Soon drew the waiter near:
    “What will you take,” the waiter asked,
    “Wine red, or white, or beer?”
    We’ve rich supplies of foreign brew
    And wine your thirst to slake
    The youth with innocence replied,
    “I’ll take what Dad takes.”
    Swift as an arrow went the words
    Into his father’s ear;
    And soon a conflict deep and strong
    Awoke terrific fear
    Have I not seen the strongest fall?
    The brightest led astray?
    And shall I on my only son
    Bestow a curse today?
    Dad motioned to the waiter;
    And gave his order clear;
    I think I have a taste today,
    For a sparkling glass of – iced tea!
    Yes, iced tea! That’s what it looks like Uncle Si is always drinking in that beloved cup of his. Let’s hope we don’t start seeing him filling it with wine, at least not for the sake of those young people like Kevin.
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – Mark Creech is executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.)


     [1] McDowell, Josh. Hostetler, Bob. Josh McDowell’s Handbook on Counseling Youth. Dallas, Tx.: Word Publishing, 1996, pg. 390
     [2], [3] “11 Facts About Teens and Alcohol”.
     [4] “Statistics on Alcoholics”. Alcoholics Info.
     [5] Schapiro, Jeff. “Ministry Cancels Fundraiser Featuring ‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Over Wine Deal”. The Christian Post, 12, November 2013
     [6] Brumbelow, David R. Ancient Wine and the Bible. Carollton, Ga. Free Church Press, 2011 pg. 135
     [7] Ibid, pgs. 249-250
    11/19/2013 1:00:08 PM by Mark H. Creech, Guest Column | with 0 comments
    Filed under: alcohol, Duck Dynasty

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