Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Drinking Alcohol

Three Issues Facing the Assemblies of God (And Others As Well)

I had the opportunity to speak with a theology professor from Southeastern University (Lakeland, FL).  I asked him what major issues did he see facing the Assemblies of God over the next few years.  I had previously asked him if he felt that the issue of inerrancy or the rise of Calvinism were already issues facing the Assemblies of God.  He acknowledged that inerrancy would be an issue perhaps in the next ten years but that was not the major issues facing the Assemblies of God theologically.

The three theology issues facing the Assemblies of God (in his mind) currently are:

  • The initial, physical evidence teaching.
  • Same-sex “marriage.”
  • Abstinence from alcohol.

In brief, the Assemblies of God has taught, since its founding in 1914, that the initial, physical evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues according to Acts 2:4.  Having grown up in the AG’s, I know firsthand that speaking in tongues was preached as the first sign that one was truly baptized in the Spirit.  One could be saved apart from this experience (Romans 8:9) but one could not claim to be baptized in the Spirit apart from speaking in tongues.  While speaking in tongues was not the end all of the Spirit-filled life, it was the doorway to the Spirit-filled life.  This doctrine, I feel, was a reactionary doctrine rather than a biblically based doctrine.  In other words, the early Pentecostals were reacting mainly to the Holiness Movement over whether they were baptized in the Spirit.  The early Pentecostals contended that only they were truly Spirit-filled since they spoke in tongues like the Apostles in Acts 2.  Many younger Assemblies of God ministers now reject such a position though the AG’s maintain the doctrine as essential.

The second issue is facing all of biblical Christianity and that is over same-sex “marriage.”  For me, the issue is not an issue other than going against the culture on this one.  It will be unpopular to oppose same-sex “marriage” but we must stand firm and if we hold to the authority of the Word of God, we will stand firm.  I predict the seeker churches, the pragmatic churches, those who are soft on the issue of biblical authority, topical preachers, etc. will cave in most cases to the culture and will allow (or tolerate) same-sex “marriage.”  However, those who hold to inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible and who preach expository sermons will face persecution.  We must stand firm for the truth of God no matter what it costs us.

The last issue about abstinence from alcohol is because the new cultural norm in the United States is following Europe on this one.  The AG’s has preached abstinence for many years and requires all their ministers to abstain from all alcohol.  With alcohol now being a normal part of American life, the AG pastors are beginning to question whether the abstinence doctrine is a cultural doctrine and not found in the Bible.  Personally, I have long preached against drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18) and I do believe that alcohol is dangerous but I also don’t believe that an air-tight case can be made for abstinence.

I fear that the AG’s must deal with the issue of inerrancy.  The Assemblies of God has, in their Sixteen Fundamental Truths, affirmed the Bible as the Word of God but nothing is said about inerrancy.  I fear that as the Church of the Nazarene has now gone astray in many ways and has adapted to postmodernism in their churches and seminaries, the Assemblies of God will face this if they don’t preach and proclaim the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word (John 17:17).  When a church is facing a culture that no longer regards Christianity and has no concept of absolute truth, the loss of biblical authority will spell their doom.  A movement that does not preach the absolute authority of the Bible will fail and will become nothing more than a social movement that deals with social issues but will not preach the gospel and will see no lasting results because God will not be in it.

Just my thoughts on these issues.

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/21/2014 at 10:10 AM

I’ll Drink To That?

In the blogging world, there is much debate going on these days about Dr. John MacArthur’s article that aimed at the “young, reformed, and restless” (YRR) crowd over their zeal for beer and drinking alcohol in general.  In the post MacArthur never says that drinking alcohol is a sin but he does criticize those who seem to place this vice or other vices as tags to be proud of.  MacArthur believes that many of the YRR crowd has an affection for the world that should not be (1 John 2:15-17).  The article is well written and can be found here.

Several YRR folks (among others) have sought to take MacArthur to task.  It seems many of them have not even read the post.  Lots of them seem to say that MacArthur is a legalist, that he is too old for his ways, and that we should ignore him.  Some say that he wants to make this and that and this sin even if the Bible doesn’t teach against it.  The problem is that MacArthur’s point is missed.

Frankly, I don’t enjoy beer.  I think it tastes gross.  I don’t enjoy any hard alcohols.  I have, on occasion, had glasses of wine but I don’t care much for it either.  Too bitter for me.  But my point is that I don’t believe that someone enjoying a beer or a glass of wine is MacArthur’s point.  Sadly too many people in the Western Church have adopted the view that we must be like the world to win them.  I believe that holiness is better.  Be so radically different from the world that they notice you (1 Peter 2:11-12).  Hebrews 12:14 says that without holiness no one will see the Lord.  I believe this is true both for salvation and for evangelism.  Be holy so that others can see the Lord Jesus living in you.

In our society, drinking is not a substitute for coffee or tea at dinner (as in Europe).  Drinking alcohol in our society is often seen as a vice and we often associate other things with the consumption of alcohol such as partying, sex, drugs, gambling, and flat-out getting wasted.  It’s one thing to enjoy wine and to drink it in moderation in your home or on a date with my wife but it’s another to meet at a bar, order a round of pints, and exegete Romans just for the sake of showing the world, “Hey we are like you except we read the Bible.”

I was never a drinker.  I became a disciple of Jesus in 1992 at the age of 17 and during my years as a disciple I have had maybe three or four glasses of wine.  Before my conversion I drank very little.  I never liked beer and liquor was painful to me.  I have never been drunk.  I praise God for that.  Both the book of Proverbs and Ephesians 5:18 forbid drunkenness.

For me, I would rather get with some guys and seek God in prayer than share a beer.  Rather than getting fat bellies from consuming alcohol, let’s get full of the Spirit of God.  Let’s seek God’s face and then let’s go hit the bars but not to get a keg but to share the gospel with the lost.  So many are looking for hope in a bottle but will find only despair.  Alcohol promises so much but gives so little.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/22/2011 at 3:14 PM

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