Drinking, the Stumbling Brother, and Abstaining

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by InTheLight, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. InTheLight

    InTheLight
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    In another thread:

    OK, I'm wondering about this. How far do we take this? If someone is a vegan, do we abstain from eating meat in front of them? If someone disapproves of non-organic food to we abstain from eating McDonald's in front of them? If someone abstains from caffeine, do we abstain from drinking coffee in front of them? Lest these folks stumble and fall into their temptation?

    Really, who has the problem here? The person who can imbibe guilt-free in these items, or the person that takes the narrow stance and abstains?
     
  2. Earth Wind and Fire

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    LOL...take a guess:laugh:
     
  3. InTheLight

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    I have a pretty good idea, but I'd like to hear the Biblical response.
     
  4. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Regardless of how legalistic a view a brother or sister in Christ holds, it is my explicit responsibility to respect their views. As Paul wrote ...

    Romans 14, NASB
    19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
    20 Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense.
    21 It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.​

    The best illustration is that of the alcoholic believer. But what about the brother or sister with a food addiction? Or a disordered gambling addiction? A shopping addiction? Are they not also liable to be legalistic in our view, when they protect themselves from themselves?

    The word "offense" is the Greek proskomma. We may see our brother and sister who condemns drinking, eating the wrong food, gambling, or even shopping, as legalistic, but the word implies another reason for their view. For them, it is a stumbling block, an obstacle that, if they strike their foot on it, will cause them to fall. Such is the nature of many things for many Christians. We need to know what is legalism, and what is in truth their survival mechanism.
     
  5. InTheLight

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    21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall. [NIV]

    21 It is a noble thing not to eat meat, or drink wine, or do anything that makes your brother stumble. [HCSB]

    21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. [ESV]

    These verses don't say "abstain if it offends another" they say "abstain if it CAUSES someone to stumble". I interpret "causes someone to stumble" to mean they regress, or partake in the thing that they were abstaining from.

    A friend of mine, a Christian, went through treatment for alcohol 24 years ago. Does he care if I drink beer in front of him? No. Isn't it to be taken on a one-to-one basis, rather than take the default position that I better not exercise my Christian liberty because this person's views are different.

    Taking your other examples--am I supposed to hide the fact that I'm going shopping at a great sale from a shopoholic? Do we give an exemption to a person with a shopping addiction from the socially accepted gift exchanges at Christmas and birthdays? Should I not eat in front of a person with a food addiction?
     
  6. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    All great translations, but unfortunately the word they interpret by the underlined words in your post cannot be translated that way. It is hos and can only mean "who, which, what, that."

    You must have missed the part of my post that defined proskomma, accurately translated "offense" in the NASB. It isn't an emotional reaction, it is a failure due to weakness of faith and self-reliance.

    Before one can make that determination, one must know their friend. Obviously you do, or you would not risk his stumbling. I drank heavily after Vietnam, self-medicating my unadmitted PTSD. I quit drinking for 25 years, and still consider myself abstinent though I occasionally enjoy a glass of wine with a good KC strip, or a beer with burgers and fries, or a pizza. Why? Because it is not a temptation to over-imbibe. I wouldn't recommend that for any other alcoholic or problem drinker, but have no problem if any of them, after years of abstinence, find they can safely drink again. I also had a powerful disordered gambling problem that ruined me financially. I don't dare even look at a lottery display at Quik Trip, because that temptation is still extremely powerful, and if engaged, would be my downfall.

    So I leave it to you: Knowing these things about me, would you encourage me to join you in having a glass of wine? How about encouraging me to spend a buck on a lottery ticket?

    Again, it depends on where they are at in their recovery. Getting gifts, however, is not generally a problem for the compulsive shopper. Buying gifts is their downfall.
     
    #6 thisnumbersdisconnected, Oct 10, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2013
  7. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Ohhhhhhh......then you will have to ask the mighty OZ of the forum....prepare yourself and avert your eyes when looking at his countenance .... he can give it to you with links to the age old London Confessions of Faith and find reference to it in a Catechism ...so strap yourself in :laugh::laugh::laugh:
     
  8. saturneptune

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    That is one of the best explanations I have heard towards drinking. You have a very healthy attitude towards it. The reason we have so many threads on alcohol is that for whatever reason, Baptists in general have always put drinking on the top of a sin pedestal, which is man made.

    Scripture tells us not to be enslaved by any of the trappings of this world. Drinking in excess is one of many. Baptists seem to ignore gluttony, gossip, and a flippant attitude towards worshipping the Lord. It can also include shopping, gambling, spending money, or putting anything above our love for the Lord. It could even be an object, like a car, house, or bank account. As humans, we create these artificial barriers in a maze of sin. So, in a typical Baptist church, if I do not drink, but stuff my gut and become 400 pounds, or talk about wayward church members in the remote corners of the church, no one gives me a second thought as being living an evil life.

    If one is saved by grace through faith, leading a Holy Spirit filled life, all of these areas fall into line with what the Lord would have us to be. A abstainer who is a raging gossip is not being lead by the Holy Spirit. How we handle these areas in our life is a natural byproduct of our relationship with Christ.

    Anyone who rants and raves about drinking or any other pet sin is an automatic red flag. They are more interested in excluding other sins and condemning others than they are about telling others about the Good News of the Gospel.
     
  9. ktn4eg

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    Here's the scenario presented by a deacon of a IFB church I of which I was once a member [I left that church simply because I moved several hundred miles away some 40+ years ago.]:

    This deacon was born and reared in Scandinavia (Denmark, to be exact). He subsequently moved to the US and opened up his own Scandinavian furniture business not too far away from this IFB church in which he eventually became a deacon.

    While in the US, he refused to partake of any alcoholic beverages simply because he felt that if he did, it might cause some fellow Christian to stumble. OTOH, when he would travel back to Denmark for business and/or family visits, he felt no compunction to sociably drink wine with family and/or business associates since in that culture wine does not have the stigma that it does in some circles here in the US.

    Since he'd already told both that IFB church's pastor and fellow deacons that this would be his practice, I saw (and still do) nothing wrong with his doing so. I guess some extreme legalists could charge this deacon with hypocrisy, but IMHO that'd be their problem--not mine.
     
  10. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    And you would be absolutely correct in that analysis. :thumbsup:
     
  11. Yeshua1

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    Would say that IF it was just between the other christian and myself, would be obligated under the scriptures to not offend/tempt him to commit sin, but also would say that if say in a larger group, the entire group not obligated to have just one person not be offended...

    As Chuck swindoll likes to say...

    " the offended party should have the stronger brother respect his wishes, but the weaker one needs to grow up and get stronger in the faith"
     
  12. Earth Wind and Fire

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    In my culture in the NE there is no problem with socializing or having an occasional pop (unless your a drunk then hang away from it). And in British and German society, they often meet to socialize in a pub or beer garden so its more cultural than anything else.
     

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