Southern Baptists & the Alcohol Resolution: How?

There have been numerous bloggers writing on Resolution No. 5 On Alcohol Use in America from this years Southern Baptist Convention.

The first “RESOVLED” of this resolution says,

“RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, June 13-14, 2006, express our total opposition to the manufacturing, advertising, distributing, and consuming of alcoholic beverages;”

My question is how is total opposition to alcohol to be expressed as said above aside from urging that “no one be elected to serve as a trustee or member of any entity or committee of the Southern Baptist Convention that is a user of alcoholic beverages”? Of course, this is only an “urging” and not technically a formal binding pronouncement. Though given the resolution’s support it’s really an unwritten written law.

Now back to the “how”. If the majority of Southern Baptists want this resolution to show the world that this is part of what they stand for they should be willing to apply it across the board in their lives.

My point is that if as the resolution states the simple use and not abuse of alcohol leads to all the terrible things in this resolution it is time to give up a few things. It’s time to get rid of TV’s and stop supporting college and professional sports and a whole lot of magazines.

Just take a look at a couple of quotes from this research.

The alcohol industry spent $811.2 million on 208,909 product ads on television in 2001, $990.2 million on 289,381 product ads in 2002, and $879.1 million on 298,054 product ads on television in 2003. This represented 1.8% of all television advertising dollars in 2001, 2.0% in 2002, and 1.7% in 2003.

The alcohol industry spent $491.7 million to place 59,461 ads in 2001, $597.3 million to place 80,548 ads in 2002, and $540.8 million to place 90,817 ads on sports programming on television in 2003.

“Magazines?” you ask? If your favorite magazine isn’t on this list which begins on page 15 then it’s a keeper. Just take a look at the stats.

“But it’s only advertising and not directly purchasing the booze!” you object. Another study shows the effects advertising play in alcohol consumption.

Evidence is growing that youth exposure to alcohol advertising plays a role in underage drinking. One recent study followed young people over time in 24 media markets and found that for every additional alcohol ad they viewed over an average of 23 per month, they drank 1% more. For every additional dollar per capita spent on alcohol advertising in their respective media markets (over an average of $6.80), the same group drank 3% more.

If all the supporters of the resolution want to be consistent and answer my “how” question I think the above is a great starting point. We have more problems than alcohol BTW.

I find it interesting that Tom Ascol’s resolution on discipline wasn’t even voted on yet Resolution 5 was voted on and passed. Church discipline has explicit biblical support while all banning of moderate drinking of alcohol does not. Even Al Mohler agrees with the lack of biblical support. The irony is that it seems Resolution 5 is sort of a psuedo church discipline for potential future leaders while true church discipline is not even considered.


Let's connect!

in Church Issues,Culture,Southern Baptist,theology

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Pressed August 21, 2006 at 12:12 pm

Yet again, I don’t see how the fact that we can’t avoid alcohol because its in everything we do in America makes it ok then to support it instead. The limited ability of people to not buy, look at, touch, or even get near something that is influenced by alcohol is not a valid reason for the support of it. If giving up my personal free choice to drink will help curb the abuse then there is no question about what I will do. Will abuse go away all together? No. But it could help.

Unfortunately the alcohol abusers in our churches today are not hearing anything other than this continued support for the drinking of alcohol. Sure, they may hear someone say now and then that the Bible says abuse of alcohol is a sin, but the thing they keep coming back to over and over again is “drinking is not a sin, drinking is not a sin”. People who are caught up in this stuff do not need to hear that it is ok for them to drink, they need people who are willing to stand with them in helping them abstain from the very thing destroying their lives. It’s kinda hard to help out your buddy who is an alcoholic when your chugging a beer.

I think in this case we should turn back to Paul who reminds us that we are free, but we shouldn’t use that freedom to indulge ourselves.

2 crewbear August 22, 2006 at 1:04 am


Should we then all become celebate so that no one is tempted to fornicate? A false comparison, you will retort, for sex is a necessary part of a healthy marriage. It has a necessary usage. Alcohol has no necessary usage. Ok. So how about Ice Cream? Should we all renounce dessert so that no one is tempted to gluttony? Is dessert necessary? Try and get that resolution passed. It’ll happen sometime after the Second Coming.

And thus does such a simple examination reveal the true nature of your case. There are many good things you would not sacrifice in every context – whether necessary or not – simply because they might hypothetically tempt someone else to sin. To demonstrate that fact is why jM listed sporting events and magazines in his post. Note that use of the word “context.” It might for example be appropriate to abstain from dessert in a particular situation, but not in every situation.

So why then do you suggest that alcohol be excluded in every context? In truth it is because you believe alcohol has no necessary or legitimate usage, but is in fact only destructive. (Paul disagrees, but let’s leave that aside.) What has this to do with your freedom? You have only renounced that which you think is worthless.

There is a strong undercurrent in your post which I would express as follows: “OK, maybe drinking isn’t technically a sin. But it should be, and we ought to treat it like such.” That is not an expression of self restraint on your personal freedom. That is usually called legalism.

3 Howard Fisher August 22, 2006 at 10:27 pm

I agree with CrewBear. I just thought I’d add a couple of things.

Pressed said:
“but the thing they keep coming back to over and over again is “drinking is not a sin, drinking is not a sin”.”

This is sheer nonsense. I certainly didn’t hear anything like this from men like Tom Ascol. Allowing the text to define what sin is does not give anyone the right to caricaturize men like Ascol. Fundy churches may be legalistic and look Holy, but denying God’s Word is not Holy no matter how much spin is put on it.

“People who are caught up in this stuff do not need to hear that it is ok for them to drink, they need people who are willing to stand with them in helping them abstain from the very thing destroying their lives.”

First of all, who said that the Ascols would say it is OK for drunks to drink to get drunk? But anyway…

So if I eat icecream (to use Crew’s analogy) I am not able to help a glutton who hoofs it down? I am not able to stand by the side of an alcoholic simply because I may have a drink. I think a little more wisdom is needed here.

The most amazing thing I noticed is the TOTAL lack of Biblical exegesis and argumentation. None was offered. Just pure legalism. Which is why I will never go to a fundy church again.


Previous post:

Next post: