Southern Baptist Convention: on tips and alcohol

I just wanted to relay this true story from a good friend of mine.  He was a messenger at this years annual Southern Baptist Convention.  He tells me this story about eating dinner in Indianapolis.

He goes to have dinner at a restaurant.  He asks the server if she has been busy due to all of the Southern Baptists (SBs) in town.  She said they’ve noticed a little more business, but nothing overwhelming.

He asks how tipping has been with the visiting patrons.  Her answer is that they’ve not been too great and that a co-worker had just been given a $.02 (yes, that’s two cents) tip by a few SBs.

My friend then jokes and asks if beer sales have been up during this time.  She laughed and said that many SBs are very much against even one drink of alcohol.  She said that the Bible only forbids drunkenness and does not  teach total abstinence of alcohol.  And she just doesn’t understand the general SB insistence of abstinence.

He agreed that that’s what the Bible teaches.  He told her that he is a Southern Baptist, that it’s not a sin to have a drink and he’s going to have a beer with his dinner.  She was actually fascinated  by his position that it was okay to drink a beer and that he actually drank one.

When he was finished with his meal he felt bad about the lack of tipping and the two cent story.  He ended up leaving a very generous tip of around 40%.

At the end of his telling me this story he mentioned Abraham Piper’s interesting post during T4G about this topic that I had not read.

For what it’s worth…


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in Culture,Southern Baptist,theology

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Eddie Exposito June 14, 2008 at 7:51 pm

I’ll drink to that !

2 Otis Campbell June 14, 2008 at 10:56 pm

How about that?

A waitress with a better understanding of the Bible and Alcohol than our President.


3 ABClay June 14, 2008 at 10:58 pm

Did you notice…

He used 23 words.


4 Melissa June 27, 2008 at 10:08 pm

This is something that really puzzles me. Why would a Christian with a desire for purity consume a drug that loosens his moral inhibitions? Why quibble over whether the Bible absolutely forbids it or not? What good reason is there for a Christian to drink?

5 Lane June 28, 2008 at 8:25 am

Do you eat cheeseburgers or any other fast food, Melissa?

6 johnMark June 28, 2008 at 9:07 am

Hi Melissa,

Why would a Christian with a desire for purity consume a drug that loosens his moral inhibitions?

You’re assuming that a beer or two automatically makes one impure and loosens one’s inhibitions. If that is the goal then one’s motives are wrong and it shouldn’t be done.

Why quibble over whether the Bible absolutely forbids it or not?

The answer has to do with the sufficiency of Scripture. If one chooses to abstain, fine. If not, fine. Abstaining should not be binding on the conscience though as it would be going beyond Scripture. And as Romans 14 tells us we are not not hold each other in contempt for our stances.

What good reason is there for a Christian to drink?

What good reason is there for a Christian to eat a double quarter pounder? Watch an R rated or even PG-13 movie?

What good reason did God give in Deuteronomy 14: 26 (ESV – emphasis mine)

and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.

Why are my grandparents trapped in a religion in which they look at their salvation and sanctification in view that they’ve never had alcohol or tobacco in their home and they still suffer? I’ve seen the affects of sinful men abusing substances like alcohol and more. I’ve also seen the affect of sinful men creating a system of religion where a thought of consuming alcohol puts one on the way to hell.

Again, I recommend Johannes G. Vos’ The Bible Doctrine of the Separated Life (An essay against binding the conscience with regard to practices which cannot be proved from Scripture).

Thanks for stopping by.


7 redandblackredneck July 1, 2008 at 5:49 pm

What a good story. Too bad about the actual tipping, though. If those persons in question were Southern Baptists, perhaps it did not strike them that they were “muzzling the ox,” so to speak.

The direct answer to the question, “why drink” is because God made wine for the exact purpose of making men happy. See Psalm 104: 14-15. Why a denomination that gladly and rightfully clings to the scriptures cannot embrace the whole counsel of scripture on this is issue is beyond me.

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