What Being Reformed is Not…

I was recently invited to a Facebook Reformed group. I joined with much excitement. In hopes that I can be a valuable asset with others and be Salt and Light with those who have the same thinking in Theology.
The Fellowship is very tightknit and full of Gracious Believers.
But…here is my beef…
Never have I seen such promotion of drinking and cigars.
This group reminds me of The Reformed Pubcast. A podcast I don’t listen to because of just that. Promotion of alcoholic beverages is something that doesn’t sit well with me.
Notice I said promotion and not drinking in of itself. I realize that drinking is not the sin but that of drunkenness.
That is the sin that is forbidden and not tolerated by God.
Let me share why I feel this way.
Growing up with parents who went out to the local Moose Lodge every weekend while leaving their children home and coming home so drunk that I’m picking up my father out of tub after he fell in because he couldn’t keep his balance while urinating. Or when I had to tend to my mother’s wounds after she crashed her bicycle while on a beer run. A grade school child should not be expose to such foolishness. And I viewed it as such. Foolishness.

Now before you get all up in a tizzy, I know what Scripture says about alcohol.

  • “Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to him whose life is bitter, 7 Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his trouble no more,” (Prov. 31:6-7).
  • “He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the labor of man, so that he may bring forth food from the earth, 15 And wine which makes man’s heart glad, so that he may make his face glisten with oil, and food which sustains man’s heart,” (Psalm 104:14-15).
  • “No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments,” (1 Tim. 5:23)

Even Paul gives a good reason to drink wine for medicinal purposes. There are verses within Scripture that supports the drinking of alcohol. But there are plenty more verses that give warning to the dangers of it.

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise,” (Prov. 20:1).

“Woe to those who rise early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink,” (Isaiah 5:11).

“Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink,” (Isaiah 5:22).

Clearly, the Scriptures teach against intoxication. Again, the reason is that we are to be responsible for our actions. The misuse of alcohol impairs judgment, and this can have dire consequences upon our families, ourselves, and others. This is why intoxication is bad. However, there are some verses in the Bible which may shock a lot of Christians regarding the proper use of alcohol.

It seems nowadays more Reformed Christians are promoting more of their Freedoms in Christ than Christ Himself…

But why is it that it is the Reformed Camp that seems to cling to this image? The image of drinking and smoking cigars.

Look, I get it. Spurgeon smoked cigars. Great. He felt he had the freedom in Christ to do so. That doesn’t necessarily mean that every Reformed Christian needs to practice the same and tout that they do such because they are Reformed. It’s promotion of an image that not everyone should follow. Especially drinking.

Let’s suppose a new Reformed Christian sees such a group who are free to drink and smoke cigars and claim they have such freedoms in Christ. And let’s suppose such new Reformer decides to join in. And through that decision, the Reformer becomes drunk and causes another Christian to think “Well, if he’s a Christian and can live as such, so can I.”

Or, said Reformed Christian gets drunk at a restaurant and someone else from their Church notices this and causes that person to spread gossip about that other person.

Do you see the issues that it could bring? I thought we as Christians are to be “little Christs” and yet I’m getting the picture that many Reformers want to be “little Worldly Super Christians who think they are above the snare of sin.” (too long?…)

 

I’m all about exercising our Freedoms in Christ. If you have the ability to drink alcohol while promoting it without the worry of offending others, be my guest.  I will choose to not live in such a way.

For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 1 Peter 4:3

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7 thoughts on “What Being Reformed is Not…

  1. I am afraid there are too many who identify more strongly with “Reformed” theology and the ” movement” then they do with the Lord Jesus Christ. Our example isn’t Spurgeon or Calvin, or Luther; we are not being conformed to their image, rather we are to be conformed to the image of Christ. Good article, good points, keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One critique. The Facebook group is called the Reformed Pub. There are several Reformed Facebook groups that aren’t a Pub.

    That’s kind of like walking into a Pub and complaining about beer, or into a cigar shop and complaining that they sell cigars.

    God bless.

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  3. Good points. The promotion makes me uncomfortable and I would agree that it as a flauntation of Christian Liberty. As Christians there are many things that are lawful for us but that which is lawful should not become an idol. The lawful which becomes idolatry is unlawful.

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  4. I think you’re misunderstanding the situation and it’s leading you down the wrong path.

    We have to reconcile your experience and your suggestions here with the fact that Christ was condemned for “eating and drinking”.

    Your two examples: (1) That your parents horribly misused alcohol and it was detrimental to your family and your life and (2) that someone might look upon you and think, “if he can do that, then so can I!”.

    The first is truly horrible and you are right to be hurt by the actions and decisions of your parents. But does that therefore exclude the Christian right use of such a thing? Is a Christian enjoying alcohol rightly in celebration with the body of Christ any different than Christians of old taking the worship of tree gods and turning them into Christmas trees which celebrate the glory of Christ?

    And of your second example, that each individual Christian is responsible for how everyone around them perceives them (rightly or wrongly) I just don’t see how you can defend that with Scripture. As said above, Christ was condemned for eating and drinking. John the Baptist was condemned for NOT eating and drinking. The sin nature will use anything to embrace sin (whether Christian or not) and it is the responsibility of the Christian community to right the wrong thinking, it is not the responsibility of each individual to be aware of how every single person around them is going to perceive them.

    How many examples could each of us come up with of an individual seeing something, making wrong assumptions, and choosing various actions based on those false assumptions? I know of many in my life. I cannot be and am not responsible for that.

    But I AM responsible for those within my community. Those I talk to and interact with. Those whom I can explain myself to and who we can work through the right use of things together. I am responsible for the Christian in front of me who has had too much to drink, but not the Christian (or unbeliever) who see him drinking rightly and uses that as justification for sin.

    And from that, I and others do self-sacrifice these things. I eagerly and without issue abstain from alcohol when I am around those who do not drink. When I am with those who smoke, I pick up a cigar. Like Paul, I’m happy to sacrifice either way in order to become all things for all people and preach Christ. I cannot see any other way in Scripture but to be actively involved in the lives of those around me in various ways and enjoying or sacrificing various liberties based upon the specific situation I am in.

    I don’t think you are wrong or evil or my enemy or anything like that. Don’t hear my words as angry or mean or ungracious. I simply want you to think through your final synopsis, “If you have the ability to drink alcohol without the worry of offending others, be my guest. I will choose to not live in such a way.” In this sentence and all that comes before it, you put far too much responsibility onto each individual Christian. A responsibility that no one, even Christ, could not bare.

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  5. I think everyone needs to remember that booze CHANGES you. Even one beer, one cocktail, one glass of wine, no matter how high you “think” your tolerence level is. Your behavior changes, your choices become impaired, yes, after ONE drink. So as christians we may have the freedom, but I don’t see the wisdom of at least partaking in public, especially if you are driving home afterwards.

    Liked by 1 person

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