Beer, Bohemianism, and True Christian Liberty
Making sure to let everyone think he still has a relevant opinion on these matters, Steve Camp tweeted,
I love and respect John Mac very much, but IMHO this article was a legalistic over-the-top driveby. Spurgeon smoked cigars, Luther drank beer, the Lord drank wine. We can enjoy those things to God and His glory. The only prohibition is drunkenness Eph. 4:18f [sic] not consumption.I believe he means Ephesians 5:18ff, but none the less...
In a response to a commenter to that statement, Steve followed up by writing,
This was an ad hominem drive-by. He's arguing against YRR pastors using beer, cigars, wine, tattoos as a point of focus in ministry. But offers no specific examples to prove his concerns. Thus is old school Bob Jones coming to the surface, not careful exegesis from the text of Scripture.The terrible thing about our twitter age is that it has taken a devastating toll upon reading comprehension.
If Steve had carefully read John's article, rather than the opening few paragraphs, he would have seen that John said nothing about the consumption of alcohol being a "sin."
Do it yourself: Go to the article, hit CTRL + F and do a search on "sin." John uses the word maybe 6 times in his article. Once referring to an idiot book by Mark Driscoll in which he seriously suggests that Europe has more biblical beer than America, a second time to chide the knee-jerk reaction by the YRR who immediately shout like Steve Camp that "THE PROHIBITION IS ABOUT DRUNKENNESS, NOT CONSUMPTION! and drag out the "Martin Luther drank beer" argument, and a few other times to address the sin that does arise from consuming too much alcohol.
Nothing in the article has John stating he is against the consumption of alcohol.
Steve's next tweet suggests he read a little deeper into the article. The point John was making is as Steve reports: John is troubled by the YRR using beer, wine, and liquor, or other similar vice, as a point of focus in ministry, especially the "Christian liberty" angle.
A couple of thoughts here:
First, John did provide specific examples of his concerns. There's no ad hominem going on. I count at least 10 links taking us to the websites of young reformed guys who make beer and wine, if not the focal point of their ministry, at least a major part of it.
Second, does John really need to have his "exegesis" in order to have this concern? Steve doesn't recognize this concern? I recognize it. Young people who feel it is their "Reformed" duty to stick in the eye of the old-time American fundamentalism they so disdain now by imbibing alcohol certainly troubles me. Especially when they make lame appeals to Martin Luther who lived what? 500 YEARS AGO! And Puritan breweries: you know, the Puritans. The folks who outlawed wedding rings and Christmas trees. Something tells me the YRR aren't jumping on board with the Puritans with those items.
Steve is much like many of the folks who left comments under that blog. They focus on what John has taught about the use of NT wine in previous sermons and claim it is untenable. It doesn't matter if it is. That's a separate discussion.
What does matter is that wine and beer drinking has become the idol of the YRR. There is just no arguing against this fact. Everyone is upset at John because he came in and kicked them over.