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Location: Greensboro, NC, United States

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Party Hard

One of the refreshing things in coming to Reformed theology was the more Biblical and therefore freer view that the Reformed take with regard to alcohol. I have over the years had occasion to drink with both Christians and pagans, and the experiences have proven that it isn’t the thing itself that is sinful, but how it is used. Drinking with believers is a joyous thing. But being the only believer drinking in the midst of pagans is depressing beyond words. Drunkenness becomes an issue, of course. But if you think the unbelievers you know are wicked, just wait till they get liquored up. And I’m not even considering the dancing on tables and bars part. Just let the wine loosen the tongue and listen as people begin to tell you what they really think. It’s the weak moments that show what a person is really made of, and that’s true of both believers and unbelievers.

I understand why Fundamentalists would want to eliminate the use of alcohol altogether. Just listening to unbelievers I know who act as if they have no other reason to live than to go to the bar and get wasted talk about their love affair with alcohol makes me never want to touch the stuff again. But then again, when you’ve set your heart against God, you can convince yourself that you’re having fun in you sin when the whole time you’re really just miserable deep down inside.

Part of the issue isn’t even the alcohol per se, but the atmosphere that drinking pagans cultivate. It’s the places they drink (not bars in general, but the types of bars), the way they dress, and the way they talk. Those who think that the Christian faith is separate from aesthetics (the shape of architecture, the shape of language and conversation, the shape of fashion) are mistaken. If all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Christ, then there is no area of life that can be disconnected from Him. But when we try to disconnect part of our lives from Him, we just make fools of ourselves, and harm ourselves and others.

I don’t intend to stop drinking, though I drink seldom. The Fundamentalists are wrong in their approach to alcohol. But I’ll continue to grieve when I hear unbelievers (especially those I know personally and care about) talk as if partying till they’re unconscious was the highlight of their lives.

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