Motions: Convention to study alcohol, BFM
November 15 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

Motions approved by messengers to the Baptist State Convention (BSC) Nov. 9 call for studies on North Carolina Baptists’ position on alcohol and on adopting the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as the statement of doctrinal parameters for the Convention.

Tim Rogers, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Indian Trail, introduced the motion on alcohol because of concerns that failure to address the issue specifically was implying approval of moderate social drinking, when he believes abstinence is the only appropriate stance for a Christian.

Mark Creech, a member of Carter’s Chapel Baptist Church in Selma and executive director of the Christian Action League in North Carolina, supported the motion, saying he is disturbed about the “loose and even irresponsible way” the church approaches the issue of beverage alcohol use.

“We have a whole new group coming up that don’t have a strong biblical position on alcohol use,” Creech said from his booth in the exhibit hall later. “They advocate moderation rather than abstention.”

Creech said he’s seeing “slippage in the Baptist ranks” concerning their attitudes toward social drinking. “We need to draw a line,” he said.

Yet in his comments supporting the motion, Creech said the motion “would do nothing to violate a person’s personal convictions on alcohol use” but rather would develop a policy that “requires Convention leadership and various ministries set the highest example.”

BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle

Tim Rogers, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Indian Trail, looks at his notes Nov. 9 before talking about his motion before the Baptist State Convention annual messengers.


Rogers’ goal is a policy that employs, releases funds for church planting, and nominates only persons serving on the board of the BSC, or any agency or institution, who personally do not uses and publicly advocate total abstinence from the social use of beverage alcohol.

Rogers was prompted to present the motion by photographs of non-BSC church planters with alcohol, and statements by a prominent North Carolina Baptist pastor that he would consume alcohol if “not drinking” would be a stumbling block to winning a person to Christ. To argue that there is any situation where not drinking “would hurt the cause of the gospel” is a false argument, said Rogers, who found encouragement from other pastors to present the motion, but none that would help him place it before the Convention. Rogers said after he presented his motion, “I was concerned that if we continued down the road we would end up affirming the social use of beverage alcohol.”

While a motion against beverage alcohol was approved at the 2006 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, it did not pass without opposition and Rogers was dismayed at the picture offered to the public that had Baptist pastors arguing against abstinence. He says his motion does not address a church’s position, but “merely directs a policy to be implemented that states to the world, the Southern Baptists that make up the North Carolina Baptist State Convention oppose the moderate use of beverage alcohol and we will not employ anyone that advances its use.”  

Motion for BF&M
Phil Addison, pastor of Stony Point Baptist Church in Stony Point and a member of the BSC board of directors, asked messengers to “direct the Board of Directors to study and come with recommendations concerning the adoption of the Baptist Faith and message 2000 as the doctrinal statement for the North Carolina Baptist State Convention.”

Addison said it is time to adopt “doctrinal parameters” that will be beneficial to church planting, discipleship and church health.

“Many issues we face in the Convention would not have been issues years ago if we’d have had doctrinal parameters,” Addison said. “Somehow we’ve never decided we’re Southern Baptist” and will work with the Baptist Faith and Message, he said.

“It’s time we get this mess behind us,” he said, without detailing the “mess” to which he referred.

Adopting any creedal statement has long been anathema to Baptists until the “conservative resurgence” in Southern Baptist life prompted a restatement of “Baptist beliefs.”

No statement is binding on any autonomous church, although the arguments that result in discussion about such statements have caused significant controversy wherever it has been introduced.
11/15/2010 9:10:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 10 comments




Comments
Gene Scarborough
A man was driving through the countryside , enjoying the beautiful fall farmland scenery! Without warning , something caught his eye in his peripheral vision....., and behold , it was a three legged chicken....., running along and keeping up with him on the shoulder of the road at 55 mph!

After the initial shock and surprise subsided , the good ol' country boy decided to speed up, amazed that the ol' hen could run that fast and that it had three legs! But when he tried to outrun it, it took off like a rocket, got way ahead and then turned abruptly down a dirt road! The pickup truck guy turned down the road too and attempted to catch up, following the dust trail .., but to no avail! The three legged chicken shot ahead at unheard of speed!

Finally the man gave up and stopped in front of a farmhouse. A farmer was sitting there on his porch watching the whole thing, so the man said to the farmer, "You're going to think I'm crazy......, but I just chased a three-legged chicken down this road but he outran me! Have you ever seen a three legged chicken before?" "Why yes," replied the farmer, "I raise them! You see, the wife and I like chicken legs and so do the kids and in-laws!" "Well," said the man, "Do they taste good?" "Don't know," said the farmer, "So far, I ain't been able to catch a doggone one of 'em!"

[b]Moral:[/b] Sometimes we are so intent on solving one problem that we are blind to the new problem we create in doing so !
11/18/2010 10:41:27 PM
Aaron
Daren,

Sure we need to be clear about doctrine and morality. I think younger baptists are determined to get their moral standards from scripture but they simply aren't convinced that the Scripture portrays alcohol consumption as inherently sinful.

As far as where all the modern-day Noahs and Enochs are - they are few and far between, because people like that have always been few and far between. Not necessarily because we have cultivated conformity, but because folks like that have always been the exception instead of the rule.

Certainly radical life change is necessarily, along with personal holiness. But that simply begs the question; does holding a moderate-consumption view of alcohol mar ones personal holiness? You're probably right that younger baptists don't want people telling them how to live, but I would disagree that they don't want God telling them how to live. I just don't think many of them are convinced that God has completely forbidden alcohol. If Scripture hasn't forbidden it, then perhaps radical living and personal holiness is not necessarily related to total abstinence.

11/18/2010 4:40:41 AM
Daren Smart
Aaron,
Firstly, Thank you for your service to the church.

I am not necessarily equating alcohol consumption with emergent church doctrine, or relativism, but there certainly is support for such a claim as 'emergent' doctrine is vastly relativistic and pluralistic in its truest form. I was intending to illustrate the need to be clear in regards to doctrine and morality in an age when the very existence of absolute truth is called into question by many claiming to be Christian.

I do not necessarily believe that the SBC is in doctrinal decline, but I do believe that our young people, particularly my generation, are in a state of doctrinal decline. So many have taken to doctrinal and moral positions that undermine standards of personal holiness.

As Christians, we are called to be a peculiar people set apart by God--A people striving for holiness, rejecting the world. Yet, so many Christians walk, talk, and act like the world. They listen to the same music and watch the same movies and TV shows and in the end we are full of the same garbage as everyone else. This is not the Biblical example.

In Hebrews 11, the great 'Hall of Fame of Faith', we can explore the lives of people who stood up and stood out for God in a world that rejected them, spat on them, hated them, and even killed them.

Look around. Where are the Enoch's who walk with God? Where are the Noah's who are so moved by God that they obey despite the opposition. Where are the people like Abraham, willing to give up house, home, and country to follow God. Where are those willing to trust God for the impossible? Where are those who live life chasing after the heavenly and rejecting the worldly. Where are those who seek after a city 'whose builder and maker is God'? Where are the David's willing to face giants in the world armed only with faith? Where are the Elijah's, The Paul's, the list goes on.

Where are they? They are few and they are far between. Why? Because we have cultivated a people of comfort and conformity, who hold a superficial faith, with a superficial savior, and superficial life change. When held up to the scrutiny of the world they are found to be little different from everybody else.

The world does not respect, nor qualify Christianity because we fail to live the beliefs we claim. Faith in the Bible resulted in [b]radical[/b] life change. Truth be told, most would dismiss Biblical examples in present day as too extreme, in fact we slap most any call for personal holiness with the term 'legalistism'. Truth is, few in modern day Christianity wants anybody telling them how to live...not even God.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:1-3)



11/17/2010 5:33:59 PM
Bill
Brother Smart, thank you for your insightful comments. I believe that what you have shared is grounded in scripture. Also, I believe that you are right on target in your observations of the "emergent church" philosophies.
11/17/2010 10:17:05 AM
Jack
1) Why focus on alcohol when overweight or obesity is the most obvious sin in our local churches? Perhaps we would do well to focus on being healthy or at least limiting the amound of sugar/fat served during our fellowship meals at church. Maybe we should also examine the overuse of tobacco products, but that would strike a nerve in NC churches (especially those supported by tobacco farmers.)

2) Why the need to make BFM 2000 a standard? I have always looked to the Bible for that standard. Just simple observations from a simple minded man.
11/17/2010 9:10:25 AM
Aaron
Daren,

You say that the SBC is in doctrinal decline. I might argue that there is at least some increase in doctrinal integrity, at least from what I see from a younger generation of baptists. Being a pastor of a church that has half of its members under the age of 35, I see young baptists loving theology and theology books for fun.

You also seem to connect the issue of alcohol consumption with the emergent church, relativism, and as if it were a slippery slope to inclusivism. Though some in the emergent church might drink, I don't think that moderate-consumption view on alcohol is a necessarily a result of relativism or liberalism.

In fact, many of those who take a moderate-consumption view (even if they, themselves, choose not to drink) are convinced inerrantists, complementarians, expository-preaching, exclusivity-of-Christ, conservative resurgence kind of baptists. They might even argue that because the scripture is sufficient, that they are comfortable to say no less or no more than Scripture says. And if scripture doesn't forbid drinking but forbids drunkness, they will do the same.

Those baptists will agree that alcohol sometimes has horrible effects in homes and in society. However, they will probably disagree that no good can come from alcohol. They might point to verses like Psalm 104:15 that say that wine was made by God to "gladden the heart of man."

I guess I would suggest that moral structure is good, but it must be biblical. And sometimes younger baptists just aren't convinced biblically that drinking is always sinful or always unwise.
11/17/2010 7:57:50 AM
Gene Scarborough
[b]Travis[/b]---just to make you happy, I WILL APOLOGIZE for the ugly word which offended you. I am too prone to plain-speaking in forms understood by all.

[b]Question:[/b] Which is more profane---a bad word / bad treatment to an honest and intelligent Editor trying to honestly report Baptist activities????

I thought the Bible spoke about loving one another so people will know you are Christ's Disciples. I'm seeing more concern over drinking and creeds than fellow believers with whom we used to agree to disagree. I guess I'm just expecting too much these days from the people who run the NC Baptist show being seen by the multitudes of new residents in this state.
11/17/2010 4:53:20 AM
Travis
Mr. Scarborough, in a recent post you began by using profanity. Now, you begin by quoting the church lady from SNL. Wow. Then, you proceed to defend the use of alcohol, at least that is implied by the your absurd claim that the Bible does not address the use of alcohol. Your comment using profanity should have been removed; at the least, you should have apologized. Nonetheless, you continue to bash Baptists (Conservative Baptists), as if we are of Satan. Conservatives, like it or not, stand for the Word of God. If that bothers you (and it obviously does), why? Any one who loves the Word of God should not be offended by a stance against alcohol. Be bold, stand for the Word, not for the world.
11/16/2010 10:21:48 PM
Daren Smart
@Norman- I am certainly not advocating legalism, but I am advocating personal holiness which seems to be more of a novel idea than a scriptural mandate nowadays.

Freedom is a word that has been grossly misused and misunderstood by Christians. As Americans, we often interpret this word on the basis of our declaration of independence which claims that freedom is more or less a form of absolute individual autonomy. This view is incompatible with NT Christianity, which claims that freedom is SOLELY the gift of God and the product of faith in Christ’s death and resurrection. For Paul, Christian liberty is always grounded in ones relationship to Christ and in the body of believers. The life outside of Christ is characterized as one of bondage (to law, sin, flesh etc.) Christ overcomes this slavery, and the Holy Spirit awakens us to the life of liberty found in and through Christ.
What is Christian liberty or Freedom? Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 3:17 “The Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” In Galatians 5:22-23, when Paul lists the Fruits of the Spirit, why is freedom not listed among them? Because freedom is already present within each Christian-- In fact, the fruit of the Spirit is uninhibited freedom: Freedom to love, freedom to bring joy, freedom to endure, and freedom to be gentle etc.—Freedom to do God’s will uninhibited by sin. Christian freedom is expressed in serving and loving others in the context of the church body, not in some self-directing spiritual autonomy.
What Paul writes concerning Christian freedom is not indicative of the spiritual anarchy we hear so much about today, nor does it give license to indulge sinful desires. Paul clearly gives moral and doctrinal guidelines for believers in all of his writings, and a church that is unable to define those boundaries, or no longer believes it necessary to do so is a church that has lost its way entirely. To preach the whole counsel of God involves identifying and saying no to moral and doctrinal errors that undermine the mission and sanctity of the church.

The church and Baptists as a denomination face an atmosphere of moral and doctrinal decline to which we must give answer. In doing this, we can either err by drawing the lines too tightly or by not drawing them at all. On the one hand we have legalism, and the on the other relativism. I do not believe we are threatened by legalism because NC Baptists and the SBC have always maintained the autonomy of the church and the individual, and do not impose 'rules' on any person or body of believers.

We will, however, be faced with a morally and doctrinally relativistic atmosphere in our churches if we fail to provide a clear doctrinal and moral structure for our denomination. The SBC has been inundated with ‘emergent church’ philosophies that are vastly relativistic in matters of doctrine and morality, even to the point of denying the exclusivity of Christ in salvation. In the present cultural climate the simple fact is that we must address the issue of alcohol, however small it may seem, because it can wreak havoc on individuals, churches and the denomination as a whole.

If we can agree on the fact that no good can come of alcohol, why not agree that we need to address its dangers?

Certainly, within the Southern Baptist denomination there are differences of belief or opinion on some issues, but it is safe to say that what we have in common far outweighs the differences--or why be associated with the SBC in the first place?

@Gene- I am well aware of what it is to be "non-creedal". Another example of relativistic 'Christianity' that doesn't take a solid position on anything. The BFM is not a creed, it is a representation of the historic beliefs of Baptists.
11/16/2010 1:35:53 PM
Gene Scarborough
[b]"Now isn't that interesting!" said the church lady of SNL!!!![/b]

The 2 most important motions from the floor deal with beverage alcohol and BF&M 2000! These are such important issues---NOT!!!

[b]Let's face some facts:[/b] Beverage alcohol is an issue from Prohobition and not the Bible / BF&M 2000 is a significant change from being a non-creedal denomination to being one locked in the bonds of creedalism! The Bible undergirds neither, but the NCBSC is pushing for both! So much for "the Bible is our creed and Jesus is our model."

[b]Whatever happened to the mistreatment of the Editor of the BR--and the future which only means that it will become a "fluff piece" to promote the Conservative Resurgence in the future???[/b]

So much for the influence of SEBTS--taken over by CR = every year a new bunch is graduated into the churches of NC/SC/VA, the plot thickens and a redacted version of what the SBC used to stand for is further promoted!

[b]Does any new graduate of SEBTS understand what AUTONOMY means???
Does any recent graduate have a clue what "NON-CREEDAL" means???[/b]
11/16/2010 1:00:50 PM
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