John MacArthur on Beer and the YRR

John MacArthur calls out the YRR.

If everything you know about Christian living came from blogs and websites in the young-and-restless district of the Reformed community, you might have the impression that beer is the principal symbol of Christian liberty.

For some who self-identify as “Young, Restless, and Reformed,” it seems beer is a more popular topic for study and discussion than the doctrine of predestination. They devote whole websites to the celebration of brewed beverages. They earnestly assure one another “that most good theological discussion has historically been done in pubs and drinking places.” They therefore love to meet for “open dialog on faith and culture” wherever beer is served—or better yet, right at the brewery. The connoisseurs among them serve their own brands and even offer lessons in how to make home brew.

It’s clear that beer-loving passion is a prominent badge of identity for many in the YRR movement. Apparentlybeer is also an essential element in the missional strategy. Mixing booze with ministry is often touted as anecessary means of penetrating western youth culture, and conversely, abstinence is deemed a “sin” to be repented of.

After all, in a culture where cool is everything, what could be a better lubricant for one’s testimony than a frosty pint?

Of course, beer is by no means the only token of cultural savvy frequently associated with young-and-restless religion. All kinds of activities deemed vices by mothers everywhere have been adopted as badges of Calvinist identity and thus “redeemed”: tobacco, tattoos, gambling, mixed martial arts, profane language, and lots of explicit talk about sex.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://www.fivedills.com/blog.html FiveDills

    I can’t comment on this without bashing MacArthur, so I won’t comment. Except, there are much bigger issues he must deal with personally. The very issues Jesus exposed amongst Pharisees.

  • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

    J-Mac will make ya… jump jump!

    Okay… sorry for that almost “Kris Kross” reference.

    This is an interesting thing to me. J-Mac is clearly traditional on every issue… including this one. However, I can understand his point. Some in the church have made beer a big deal. Its like some of us (myself included at times) are overcompensating for a legalistic childhood.

    Also, I love that he criticized MMA here as well. If I see another church sign with an MMA ministry (the same churches that sing “God Bless America” on the 4th), well… I don’t know what I will do. After all, I’m a pacifist Anabaptist sissy boy ;-)

  • http://transformingseminarian.blogspot.com Mark Baker-Wright

    Interesting. I’m probably not a part of this “Young, Restless, and Reformed” culture. The word “beer” has shown up all of twice on my blog in over six years (and only this one is probably germane to the discussion. The other instance is not only a reference to “beer belly” rather than the beverage, per se, but it’s about a Transformer). Yet I’ve mentioned “predestination” several times, despite it actually not being a subject that particularly interests me.

    That said, I can see why “beer” might be more popular. Even so, I’ve actually seen more posts from “Reformed” types that talk about wine, and I’m a bit mystified that wine isn’t even mentioned. ;)

  • Matt

    MacArthur scares me. His “my way or the highway” mentality is divisive and seems to be the rallying cry for the militant “neo-reformed” crowd.

  • Pat Pope

    I sighed when I read the title because I sensed what was coming. Maybe the reason he’s seeing so much talk about beer is the individuals’ desire to rail against the restrictions of their youth that were never really explained, just forbidden. I think what we’re seeing is more Christians living in freedom and not bowing to a lot of the traditional teaching that seems to consist of “taste not”, “touch not”, etc. without reasonable explanation. Now I say all this as a non-drinker. So, I’m not advocating drinking, but I’m not against it either. I think people need to do what their conscience allows and when it comes to drinking, responsibility is what matters.

  • art

    As usual, MacArthur’s criticism is a bit hyperbolic. I’ve never been around someone who deemed abstinence a sin of which needs repentence.

    Beer has a very long history in the Christian faith, much longer than MacArthur’s form of dispensationalism. Should Luther be disregarded or chastised because his wife brewed him some great German lager?

    I have a hard time taking MacArthur’s criticisms seriously.

  • http://jewalters.wordpress.com James W

    Or, to summarize: for the billionth time in history, an older person critiques the “degenerate” young people whose morals are too lax and who lack the theological/moral fortitude of “the good old days.” This trope will never cease to exist, despite the fact that it has no grounding in reality.

  • http://transformingseminarian.blogspot.com Mark Baker-Wright

    art hits upon a good point re: “I’ve never been around someone who deemed abstinence a sin of which needs repentence.”

    I’ll not dispute the link MacArthur uses to cite his claim on this point. But it’s possible to find isolated examples of any number of beliefs. That doesn’t necessarily demonstrate that those beliefs are widespread.

    FWIW, I’m with Pat Pope. I don’t drink, but neither do I have a problem with those who do. That’s not advocating drunkenness. It’s just saying that the Christian life need not be as restrictive as many (including MacArthur) have often tried to make it.

  • MatthewS

    LOL, to be fair, when you run into a cage-stage Calvinist, you’d probably be better off discussing the brews.

    It is certainly true that some people focus so much on the freedom to drink that I wonder if there will be a backlash, that possibly some of them will one day realize they have become dependent on it and now need to break free from it.

    I do wonder… and maybe this is silly, but I do wonder if sometimes drinking can be a sort of “I did not allow Titus to be circumcised” moment. I don’t drink a lot. I try not to make a big deal of it. But I have a certain reaction to so many people in my circles (rural, conservative) who will claim not to be rules-based until you break one of the rules. So I intentionally break this one :-)

  • MatthewS

    My comment in #9 has three disjointed thoughts. The last 2 paragraphs are serious, the first one was silly.

  • http://johnnymornings.wordpress.com Johnathon Eltreovog

    Still waiting to hear the overwhelmingly loving from John MacArthur.

    His biblical exposition and much of his notes are so great.

    But I can do without the hate, thanks very much.

    I love how SM kinda just “passes on the info.” Enjoy that very much! :)

  • http://johnedpatton.com John Patton

    interesting, almost simultaneous post: http://www.redletterchristians.org/beer-at-church/

  • Chaplain

    Classic Johnny Mac, so when am I supposed to take him seriously?

  • http://jmsmith.org JM

    As a mixed martial arts instructor who is not part of the YRR movement, I get annoyed that MMA has been co-opted by Christians looking for ways to make Jesus seem more “macho”…and I get equally annoyed by Christians who believe MMA is somehow ‘sinful’ in and of itself (yet they rarely voice similar thoughts about boxing, kickboxing, taekwondo or judo!). I talk more about this in my article “Ultimate Fighting…Jesus??” for those who are interested: http://www.examiner.com/methodist-in-national/ultimate-fighting-jesus (including my ‘pacifist Anabaptist sissy-boy’ Kurt! ;) )

    The one thing interesting in J-Mac’s criticism is its total lack of Biblical reference. Quite unusual from a first rate prooftexter!

  • http://thesidos.blogspot.com/ Arthur Sido

    I have been watching this kerfuffle with morbid fascination. While I would not fit into the YRR these days because of my non-traditional views on ecclesiology, I very much was part of that movement up until recently and honestly never once heard anything about beer or MMA or tats. I am thinking this is far less of an issue that JMac is making it out to be.

  • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

    Great thoughts JM…

  • Amos Paul

    Honestly, is there really any other more Christian drink than beer? All the best beers have been brewed, invented, and perfected by Christian monks worldwide. Christian philosophers, theologians, and your laymen have talked their Jesus over a nice, cold one for millenia. Beer is an excellent cultural-historical beverage.

    Or, put a different way–you don’t help someone with an eating problem by teaching them not to eat. You help them by teaching how to eat healthfully and well.

  • Karl

    I haven’t read what MacArthur wrote but Scot I’m wondering why you seem to think those things you list are especially true of “cool” young reformed folks? Tats, alcohol consumption, tobacco use, explicit sex talk, profane and/or vulgar language are all things I have encountered pretty regularly among the decidedly non-reformed emergent crowd and they seem to be part of the counter-culture hipster element within emerge-ish twenty and thirty-somethings (the cunterculture hipster element that some emergents protest so loudly is just a caricature). Maybe these behaviors are neither reformed things nor emergent things but simply descriptive of the behavior and mores of many young people today?

    Or Scot, do you really think that these things are more prevalent among reformed sorts than they are among the non-reformed?

  • Karl

    My bad Scot – I just realized that is a quote from the MacArthur piece and those are his words, not yours. That makes more sense.

  • Dan

    Anyone here ever had any troubles with drinking or is it a harmless recreation and an overt celebration of liberty? I started drinking years ago as push-back to an overly religious upbringing. I found out the hard way that drinking is like flypaper.

    As one who is still sorely tempted I think you guys are playing with fire. This is not a wise course to adopt considering the disaster alcohol has caused in society.

  • chad m

    “thanks Dad, i’ll consider your statements over a pint of good Northwest IPA.”

  • Ben Wheaton

    Scot, how is this post supposed to be constructive?

  • http://www.travismamone.net Travis Mamone

    That’s funny, didn’t the early Reformers often meet in the White Horse Inn to discuss theology over beer?

  • Michael

    I think a key point is being lost here — and that is that the YRR crowd are doing this “because they can.” This is the way of Christian groups in the US. Some of the other ways this gets illustrated is the people who grew up conservative and now flock to mega seeker services with mostly secular songs. They do it “because they can.” And so it’s all a reaction to the heartless faith they grew up with.

  • JohnM

    I’m not reformed in a sense either MacArthur or the YRR would accept, only a little restless, and so not young I really don’t know any YRR so I’ll have to take somebody else’s word for what they do, say, or think. The way they are described sounds like what young adults have been doing for the last forty or so years. The difference is, in the past they were very often making a a point of altogether leaving the faith of their parents. Sometimes they came back, sometimes not. Even if not, they usually eventually grew out of the kind of thing – MacArthur is it? – describes here.

    The thing about drinking is, do you treat beer, or wine, or whatever, as a beveridge or as a drug? Do you drink because you genuinely enjoy the drink (and I mean apart from intoxication), or because you think you’re making some kind of statement?

  • Josh

    I’ll drink to that.

  • http://transformingseminarian.blogspot.com Mark Baker-Wright

    Dan at #20,

    Here’s the question: Are you trying to suggest that all drinking of alcoholic beverages is to be avoided, because of the potential for danger? While I think that this is a viable, and perhaps even necessary, choice for some people, it does not appear to be the choice of Jesus himself.

    Or, rather, are you merely expressing concern that the movement toward freedom of choice on these matters (i.e., no longer just “don’t do it” as has been the position many people have experienced from the church in the past) does not sufficiently account for the dangers?

    If the latter, I doubt you’ll actually find much disagreement here. I think most of us recognize that alcoholic beverages can be dangerous when misused.

  • http://www.fivedills.com/blog.html FiveDills

    #23 Travis – This, not to mention the regular meetings of The Inklings (i.e. C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien) in a pub near Oxford over a pint or two.

  • Sarah

    Ben I don’t really think it was meant to be constructive. Rather just a good setup for the usual crowd here to tee off with their snarky comments about JMac and the Reformed crowd.

    I opened the comments to my regret, as it shows a complete unawareness of much of the reformed crowd and what they are really about. So while the regulars here are filled with a sense of glee to get their barbs in at the YRR crowd, the YRR are planting churches, sharing the gospel, and baptizing people and seeing their lives transformed. For efforts and fruit of the Spirit I will stick with the missional Reformed folks.

  • http://thefortchurch.com Baker

    My wife’s father in law was a horrible alcoholic and almost killed someone in a car accident he quit drinking and… began cheating on his wife with numerous women for several years while sober. Did he have an alcohol problem or a heart problem? I think John has a Gospel message of lordship by fiat that leads to a superficial change in a person. He at times seems to be the Joel Osteen of the religiously pessimistic.

  • Matt

    I’m not sure I follow the logic, Sarah. MacArthur’s tone and/or content is questioned, therefore the conversation is anti-YRR?

  • Amos Paul

    A lot of people here are also presuming motivations on the part of those who enjoy beer, alcohol, or whatever instead of taking their arguments and statements for what they are. Unless you have a specific person you know in mind and are addressing the, those assumptions aren’t very helpful or useful.

    Again, beer is an historically traditional drink for most of the Western world at almost every level of society. We have, however, strange prohibitions and disgusting over-indulgences that occur here in the States more than anywhere else.

  • EricW

    A book for every thinking (and drinking) Christian’s reading shelf:

    http://www.oakdown.com/books/DrinkingWith_Calvin_and_Luther.shtml

  • http://www.christusvictoratonement.wordpress.com Ryan Mahoney

    John really needs a beer…or two.

  • http://joeyspiegel.wordpress.com JoeyS

    That guy needs a pint ;)

    MacArthur doesn’t have church history on his side here, unless he is only going back 90 or so years:

    http://www.beerhistory.com/library/holdings/patron_saints.shtml

  • Brian W

    I think his point is well taken. What does Paul predominantly link his freedom to? Service, love for others. When the predominant application of freedom in Christ is indulgence in personal preferences, we’ve strayed from the biblical example.

    Or put another way: Paul seems passionate about persevering other people’s freedom and using his own for service and preaching the gospel. I want to follow that example.

  • Andre

    I think this type of talk is what D.A. Carson was addressing in his very recent editorial on Generational Conflict, which I think is brilliant. Point #4 at the end seems especially pertinent.

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/themelios/article/generational_conflict_in_ministry

  • http://joeyspiegel.wordpress.com JoeyS

    @36 Brian W,

    I agree with your sentiment here. A converse line of reasoning, however, is this: Calling something sin that is not has placed many a stumbling block between non-Christians and Jesus. Sharing a pint, then, is akin to Paul sharing pagan poetry. It shows respect for another culture, but not without a foundation of resurrection. I served in a country where alcohol was the norm and abstained from it (because of my sending organization), often to the detriment of relationships (thankfully, people were gracious). Though it can be self-serving, it can also break down walls that are completely unnecessary and hindrances to genuine relationships. In Vino Veritas, my friend!

  • Dan

    Mark @27, naturally Jesus made wine and wine was a ubiquitous drink in the ANE. I do not think He had any problems with getting drunk. I am not suggesting that one must avoid anything with alcohol in it. IMO the “historical arguments” are just silly. Knowledge about germs and water sanitation was not clearly understood until the beginning of the last century. What else are people going to drink?

    My concern is that there is a lot of license in the Christian faith that is used in an unwise manner. You note that “most of us recognize that alcoholic beverages can be dangerous when misused.” Are you sure about that? I have seen too many Christians that have attended SBL/AAR as well as faculty mixers that, simply put, get drunk. They are not “giddy in the Spirit” but rather under the influence of alcohol. Some of you who have went to the academic and ecclesiastical conferences know what a temptation it is to be “anonymous” in a large city with the God-given freedom to drink.

    Apart from whether it is personally wise or not, drinking has a unpleasant history in certain segments of our society. Some of the folks coming into the Church are coming from the party life and are weaker brothers and sisters. Paul has a little to say about how he uses his freedom in Christ in 1 Cor and Galatians when weaker Believers are around.

    He also has something to say about living according to your own conscience at the end of Romans. God’s kingdom is not about food and drink. Whatever you do ought to be for the glory of the Lord.

    Am I a “weaker brother”? I sure don’t like to think of myself as weak but I do know that I have weaknesses that make me more susceptible to things like the smell and taste of alcohol, not to mention a lot of the things that accompany the “good times.” If you want to drink, fine. Your personal opinion is that this is a freedom in Christ. Mine is that while it is a freedom in Christ, it is not wise and that some who glory in their freedom will learn a hard lesson. Not trying to be preachy here or act like somebody’s “Dad.”

  • TJJ

    I mostly tuned out J Mac years ago because his ministry/message seemed too negative, harsh, legalistic. But now he is sounding more and more like my old great uncle when he would get on a rant. J Mac is becoming a parody of himself, and in the process further marginalizing himself. Sad really more than anything else, because he is very gifted in many way.

  • http://www.allanbevere.com Allan R. Bevere

    It seems as if it is difficult to have a constructive discussion over such things because on one hand we have the abstinence crowd who wants to quibble over minor matters like whether it’s OK to have a beer while talking theology, or playing cards whether or not one gambles. While on the other hand we have folks who see red every time they hear certain names like MacArthur, and Driscoll, and Piper, that no matter what good they may have to say is dissolved because of who they are and what they apparently represent.

    On one end we Christians need to quit majoring in the minors and on the other end we need to stop trying so hard to be “relevant.”

    On the one hand we must not build superfluousness walls of separation; on the other hand we should not seek to be relevant. The gospel in relevant in every age. We do not need to make it so.

  • Scot McKnight

    Dan #39,

    Your connection of drinking to AAR/SBL surprised me. Not sure what that society has to do with MacArthur’s concerns.

    Here’s my take: MacArthur does not seem to be taking a total abstinence view, though he may practice that. He is taking a stance over against some whom he thinks are overdoing it, which is fine.

    And I agree that we should be sensitive to alcoholism when we talk about the topic. And it is entirely appropriate, to me at least, that you bring this up in this context, though MacArthur’s point is to warn the YRR about making this whole thing an identifying marker.

  • Dan

    Scot, I was answering Mark’s questions @#27.

    My point was that the liberty with alcohol can be a slippery slope. MacArthur says, “[Jesus] did not adopt or encourage their lifestyle. He did not embrace their values or employ expletives borrowed from their vocabulary in order to win their admiration or gain membership in their fraternity. He confronted their wickedness and rebuked their sins.”

    I would imagine that as many academic and ecclesiastical conferences you have attended over the last 40 years you have seen excesses. Just a couple years ago in Chicago at an academic regional meeting I was sitting at the table with a couple Christian scholars who were tipsy. At a school’s mixer after the start of the semester, I was seated next to a colleague who had a pretty strong screwdriver he was polishing off.

    MacArthur does not bring up instances like these but one gets going down the road to this sort of behavior by participating in the drink at some point. It happened to me some years ago, much to my shame. And, no, everyone who drinks will not end up at a conference bleary-eyed. The point I was trying to make FWIW is that it is unwise and might cause weaker brothers and sisters to stumble. I can’t speculate on whether these folks I knew were trying to gain acceptance in a mixed setting by drinking or if they just got carried away. But this is a danger that ought not be minimized because we like to toss back a few.

    Allen @41, good points.

  • Jan DeWitt

    I wonder what the wedding folks in Cana talked about while sipping Jesus fermented wine? Probably much that Mac A would deride.

  • http://thefortchurch.com Baker

    @39 and 43… Slippery slopes? Who is not on one? When ever we find ourselves in a higher place than another brother it seems we find them on a slippery slope. MacAurthur is seeing a generation that is identifying with it’s cultures vernacular and responding a manner that shows he is not really in touch with what is going on.
    Alcohol is not the primary problem. The heart is. MacAurthur is reacting (from the outside looking in) to a generation of Christians that are turning a deaf ear to the fundamentalism that has labeled all kinds of inanimate objects as sin (except guns they don’t kill people)… and made an outward show of repentance.

    I have found growing up around alcoholics that they identify better with the guy who knows when to quit than they can the abstainer… the teetotaler who is religious is generally not to be trusted or respected. Drunkenness is a sin.

    If a Christian drinking is sending the wrong message to an Alcoholic than you have to ask yourself what kind of gospel message are you bringing to the Alcoholic?

  • http://aluminumsoil.com Matt

    MacArthur makes valid observations and points up until the paragraph beginning “It’s clear that beer loving passion…” wherein he states that YRRs would say that “abstinence is a sin to be repented of” (who is saying this – certainly not Driscoll in the linked article…his use of the word “repent” is very tongue in cheek) and that appreciating beer has somehow blown open the door for a laundry list of no-nos including mixed martial arts (?!). The conclusions he draws from his initial observations should are cause for some head scratching, no doubt.

  • Larry Barber

    A relevant and interesting quote I’ve recently come across:

    I would a great lake of beer for the King of Kings.
    I would like to be watching heaven’s family drinking it
    Through all eternity — Bridgid of Kildare.

    And I just knew there had to be something about the YRR crowd that I liked.

    Also disappointed, though not really surprised, to see MacArthur pull out that silly “watered wine” idea. Not an ounce of justification for it in scripture, and it kind of renders meaningless quite a few Biblical texts, not least of which “Do not be drunk on wine my brothers and sisters …”.

  • Larry Barber

    sigh…

    I would like a great lake of beer …

  • Aaron

    Their enjoyment of a good beer is one of the only things I like about the YRR movement :)

  • Larry Barber

    Another thing, why isn’t the “weaker brother” argument ever used in regard to eating around those who have a problem with gluttony? Since Paul developed the weaker brother argument around dietary issues it is certainly more applicable to eating than drinking.

  • Taylor

    To be honest, I was hoping for a better discussion on alcohol as a marker for freedom here. Generally I go to this blog for the more open conversation.

    I actually enjoyed 90% of the articles Dr Mac has written to the YRR. How I feel about his particular form of ministry is secondary to the fact that he is a brother, and that many have been added to our numbers through his ministry.

    I have to say the same for some of the ministry methods he is calling out. I think, though, it is a discussion worth having. The discussion about our use of liberty that is, not the fact or fiction of it. So…

    Should I openly celebrate my freedom, or is that an example of not yet knowing as I ought to know? Does reacting to our parents extremes make our own more justifiable? Most importantly, what place does the liberty to drink have as an evangelistic proclamation?

  • http://thefortchurch.com Baker

    Taylor you asked…
    “Should I openly celebrate my freedom, or is that an example of not yet knowing as I ought to know?”
    A person who can stop drinking has more of an opportunity to share minister to the person who cant because he will be in the places that the person who can’t stop hangs out. God works in drunks while they are drunk just as he works in the proud abstainer while they are prideful. (I am not insinuating you are prideful that is just an example)

    Does reacting to our parents extremes make our own more justifiable?
    If your reaction to your parents extremes are apart of you growing… yes. I have yet to meet one person who has not yet done this… it’s an important part of coming into your own. If someone is going to mature into their own person many things will be challenged.

    Most importantly, what place does the liberty to drink have as an evangelistic proclamation?
    This is a red herring. No one believes this.

    If I go to a bar and sit down to have beer with friends. I am bringing Micah 6:8 with me wherever I go. I am a member of Christ. I am the physical presence of the lord Jesus in this world 1 Cor 6:15. I am bringing the kingdom of God into chief places of concourse. I am sure God has plenty of people to bring my way to hear about the hope of the Gospel. :)

  • Karl

    As is so often the case, I think C.S. Lewis provides some valuable clarifying wisdom on this topic:

    “Temperance is, unfortunately, one of those words that has changed its meaning. It now usually means teetotalism. But in the days when the second Cardinal virtue was christened ‘Temperance’, it meant nothing of the sort. Temperance referred not specially to drink, but to all pleasures; and it meant not abstaining, but going the right length and no further. It is a mistake to think that Christians ought all to be teetotallers; Mohammedanism, not Christianity, is the teetotal religion. Of course it may be the duty of a particular Christian, or of any Christian, at a particular time, to abstain from strong drink, either because he is the sort of man who cannot drink at all without drinking too much or because he is with people who are inclined to drunkenness and must not encourage them by drinking himself. But the whole point is that he is abstaining, for a good reason, from something which he does not condemn and which he likes to see other people enjoying. One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting every one else to give it up. That is not the Christian way. An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons — marriage, or meat, or beer, or the cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning.”

  • Percival

    Wow, I think this may be a first. I agree completely with J. MacArthur.

  • angie

    I have never done this (promoting my blog on someone else’s, it’s so tacky!), but I found it interesting I just posted some reflections today on alcohol. This is coming from my perspective as a 20 something who works with teens – young adults. I think we have become desensitized to what alcohol really does to us. And I think even those of us who are of age have really let our guard down on this issue.
    And as someone who works with youth, I am trying to find the balance between telling people not to drink underage and wondering if I should be willing to give it up, even if I am legally able to drink.

    check out my reflections:
    http://angierines.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/reflections-on-the-use-of-alcohol/

  • Taylor

    Baker,

    Thanks for your answers. I think you may have misread where I was coming from a bit. I may or may not abstain. I don’t want to point to my experience, rather to how we all talk about the issue when it is clear that there are people who read these comments for whom it is an issue. How do we edify them?

    Regarding reaction, I think overreaction may be natural, but that doesn’t make it vital. History ought to teach us that overindulgence in the church has done as much damage as legalism, and the two often result as responses of children to their parents particular vices. Is there a better way?

    And as far as the issue being a red herring, I disagree. You don’t believe this. I don’t believe this. That doesn’t mean no one believes this. There is a fine line between dialogue, putting the Gospel in an understandable context, and marketing, focusing on things non-gospel to in effect sweeten the deal. There are some who market the gospel with beer, or other object, rather than allowing temperate drinking etc. to be one of many things simply not dogmatically adressed in scripture.

  • http://thefortchurch.com baker

    Taylor…
    Thanks for your comments.
    All that I have been trying to express is found in the C.S. Lewis quote above. I will just agree with that comment rather than banter back and forth on the subject.

    Not all that comes from the YYR group is as simple as it’s critics are painting it. I think that Mac is witnessing a group of people who are placing emphasis on the heart as the offender and discernment as an enemy of legalism… and he is just not into that.

    @53 Karl… thanks for the quote. C.S. Lewis is mighty with a pen.

  • http://www.soulation.org Dale Fincher

    @6, 8, “I’ve never been around someone who deemed abstinence a sin of which needs repentance.”

    When I’ve done ministry in Europe, I and my colleagues have found it leads to too many off-topic questions when you refuse beer or wine when offered to you. Better to just take it than have to apologize for not taking it later. I’ve seen this on more than one occasion.

  • phil_style

    @Karl, #53, “the whole point is that he is abstaining, for a good reason, from something which he does not condemn and which he likes to see other people enjoying”

    Some CS Lewis genius shining through there. ;)

  • Jason Lee

    Reformed resurgence sounds like a certain kind of masculine identity project for many. … beer, swearing.

  • Bill

    I used to drink, don’t now, but I see drunkeness, not drinking, as condemned in most Scriptures. I attend a fairly conservative SBC church where some members drink, including some deacons. I agree with C.S. Lewis’s position and think addiction and abuse should be taken seriously, but enjoyment in and of itself is good.

  • http://cramercomments.blogspot.com DC Cramer

    I don’t usually agree with MacAurther, but I think his comments should be read more sympathetically than many are reading them here. He isn’t necessarily lashing out against beer drinking per se; he is making a point about a mentality that shifts the emphasis from away from the substance of the gospel and onto culturally relevant trends as a badge of Christian liberty (a watered down gospel to go along with watered down beer, one might say). So, I think he is rightly concerned with a mentality among the YRR crowd, even if it comes across a bit curmudgeonly.

  • Sean

    I think it’s interesting that the main article in context appears with a large logo above that states “Grace to You” and then goes on to offer little grace at all. It just seems to come off in such an ugly, arrogant manner, even making sure to add his “doctorate of divinity” at the end to qualify it all.

    I think it’s healthy for church members and leaders to disagree and have discussions, but I feel that articles like these do more to divide the body of Christ than they do to unite and solve any problems.

    Truly a shame.

  • phil_style

    Cramer: “He isn’t necessarily lashing out against beer drinking per se; he is making a point about a mentality that shifts the emphasis from away from the substance of the gospel and onto culturally relevant trends as a badge of Christian liberty ”

    Yes, you’re right. MacA isn’t speaking out against “beer” but a particular interpretation of the faith. Although I wonder; is he right that there are sufficient numbers of neo-reformed who really are matching his caricature? I’m simply not close enough to reformed crowds to know if his assessment of them is correct. …Although if reformed types do think beer drinking is a culturally relevant trend, they’re about 500 years behind everyone else ;)

  • Grizz

    Wow. When I read the bit above and the list of comments, I guess I missed something. What I missed most was concern over separating ourselves into small cloisters of people somewhat susceptible to being defined by acronyms like YRR and Traditional Reformed. Is anyone else here struck by the lack of unity in practice by either side of this “issue”?

    Why not vale and evaluate each brother or sister one at a time? Why not seek to be an encouragement to upright walking in the light in ways suited to each individual? Do I make issues out of disputable matters? or do I just ‘go along to get along’?

    What is there about finding distinctiveness that separates us from other believers that makes it so popular? When will we find time or energy to pursue living at peace with one another long enough to see what diversity looks like in an atmosphere of unity? When will we stop wounding one another long enough to realize that Satan enjoys these squabbles because they point to his real victory…just getting us to stray from Jesus’ ways a bit?

    Where has all the unity gone?

  • http://www.mattlitton.com Matt

    I REALLY want to buy John MacArthur (the ‘Grace to You’ guy) a “cold one” – http://bit.ly/pF1Z3K


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