Ethics: New Years Eve Party, Alcohol and the Pastor

What would you do Wednesday!

Christmas has just passed and the new year is almost here. You make plans all week for a New Years Eve fellowship at your home with some friends from church.

As you invite friends you make sure they understand that you will have champagne for the happy new year toast. The annual champagne toast is a reminder of the freedom in Christ there is to have a drink of alcohol. It is also a celebration of coming out of the cult of Mormonism where alcohol is forbidden based on Joseph Smith’s ‘Word of Wisdom’.

Friends begin arriving at 9pm bringing appetizers to the fellowship. This is always a great, safe time of fellowship. All is going well. Then, at 10pm the arrives.

The pastor heard about the party through one of your friends. Since his plans changed at the last minute he decide to drop by for the fellowship since he lives close by.

It’s great that your pastor stopped by to bring in the new year with everyone, but there is a potential problem.

The pastor heavily abused alcohol in his late teens before he was saved. He has also seen the effects of alcohol abuse on friends and family. His experience with alcohol has brought him to a conviction that Christians should not drink at all. Last week he reminded people of the dangers of alcohol and reminded everyone to be careful on the roads on New Years Eve.

Now the pastor is here and you and your spouse had planned a Champagne toast.

What would you do?

  • Explain the situation to your pastor privately and ask for his approval.
  • Explain the situation and go on with the planned toast.
  • Explain the situation, that he wasn’t formally invited so he needs to get over it.
  • Or….
Let's connect!

tagged as , in Christianity,Church Issues,Culture

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 rhology January 2, 2013 at 10:44 am

Explain the situation and go on with the planned toast…AND ALSO have some sparking cider on hand for him.

2 John Jordan January 2, 2013 at 10:48 am

Just do it. If he then wants an explanation, then give him one. If he is a pastor, then he should be mature enough to handle it.

3 Michael Buratovich January 2, 2013 at 11:48 am

I would toast with something else. This is a fight not worth picking in my view. There are lots of over things to fight over, This is not one of them.

4 Rick Patrick January 2, 2013 at 11:52 am

Repent, throw out the alcohol, serve everyone the sparkling cider, and remind all your guests that Christians are not to be filled with wine, but rather with the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18)

5 Michael Buratovich January 2, 2013 at 12:02 pm

I’m sorry Rick, but the Scripture does not say that. It says, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery (ἀσωτία). Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” The prohibition is against the excessive or intemperate use of alcohol and not its use in general. The same goes for overseers and deacons in 1 Timothy 3. Overseers are not to be “given to drunkenness,” and deacons must not be “indulging in much wine.” These are the spiritual leaders of the church and they are not told to not drink alcohol, but not to not to abuse it. We must be careful not to read into the Scriptures the things that are not there.

I am sympathetic, because I too am a teetotaler, but I honesty think that the Scripture does not draw a hard and fast line on drinking alcohol. It does draw a hard line for abusing alcohol, but not for drinking it.

6 Larry January 2, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Have an alternative beverage available for the pastor but carry on as planned. As someone else said, if he’s a pastor he should not be a ‘weaker brother’ who you have to worry about falling into sin because of one New Year’s toast.

7 John January 2, 2013 at 2:28 pm

So the pastor, uninvited, shows up at your party? Have the toast as you planned and talk to him privately afterwards, if need be. He showed a lack of respect for you by inviting himself to your party.

8 brig January 2, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I’m not sure that a personal conviction, even a pastor’s, would change anything. Probably less, because the pastor would likely be able to handle it with decorum, instead of being belligerent, so there ought to be no fuss. Unless … am I supposed to walk on eggshells when the pastor makes a social call?

9 Mark January 2, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Thanks for all of the replies. I’ve been gone most of the day and night and just got home.

I think it wise to talk to the pastor privately, gauge his reaction and make an informed decision about using the champagne.

I have no idea why Rick says to repent. What is there to repent of? Plus, I can hardly understand how drinking one glass or less of champagne can fill one with alcohol.

10 Chris Roberts January 2, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Disagree with Rick that the situation calls for repentance. I assume the fellow in the story had heard that the pastor was already engaged elsewhere and for that reason did not invite the pastor. He does not need to repent for his failure to invite; the failure was understandable and at any rate, the pastor was able to attend.

At least I assume this is the repentance Rick had in mind since nothing else makes sense.

As for the situation, I’d agree with the general consensus: proceed as planned, but try to talk privately with the pastor – before, if possible, but after for sure.


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