Monday, October 8, 2012

A Few More Thoughts....College Ministers and Alcohol"

Of the comments I have received on my blog, "College Ministers and Alcohol" helped me know I may not have made my main points very clear.

One dear friend and former student reminded me "Jesus drank wine". Another friend said, "It's no one's business". Here was my main point.....have the conversation so that everyone is on the same page and know what the expectations and parameters are! I will leave it to theologians to discuss what Jesus drank and what that means.

As I said, I am clearly on the side of College Ministers abstaining from alcohol due to alcohol being the number one college problem....way ahead of illegal drugs. I have heard students say it is ok for me to drink because I know my college minister does or he/she said Jesus drank wine. I need some expert to tell me if wine and Bud Lite are all the same.

Second main point.....Make sure you ask all the important questions....don't assume anything. True story: recently, a man moved to a staff position at a new church and the second week was filling out some paperwork. A question on the paperwork ask if he had been married previously. He had been previously married briefly at a very young age. So, he checked yes. In dealing with different churches, he thought he had told all of them this. He had not told this church. The deacons met and he was terminated after two weeks....but, they did give him 6 months pay.

In my previous blog, I only mentioned church College Ministers....what about campus based BCM type folks? In all honesty, I have only known one BCM type who did drink an occasional wine. I think that State Conventions hiring College Ministers tend to ask more intentional questions and be much more specific about expectations than churches do. There would be different opinions about which is better.

One person asked if I expected College Ministers to be held to a higher standard. Simply put...YES!


  1. First of all I really appreciate your thoughts Arliss. We young college ministers need people like you, who have done all this and have the t-shirt, to speak with conviction even if not every one agrees. As you have pointed out in your two posts, there are reasons for why you believe and practice what you do.
    That said here is my conviction and opinion:
    In my short time in ministry (not including college ministry only) I have held all three of the major positions on this issue. I, at one time, thought it a sin to drink, at one time thought it okay, and now I do not think it is a sin, but do not drink. That is not just because I work for NAMB, I did not drink for some time before that as well. My biblical basis is I Corinthians 9 and Romans 14:13-23. Paul's argument here is that as an apostle he surrendered his "rights" in order that people might not be hindered from coming to Jesus. Paul was willing to give up eating meat and receiving pay in order that more people might come to Christ, how can we not give up having a beer? These things were Paul's rights, yet he denied them for the gospel. Now to be clear, Paul does not want Christians to be confused for he says that eating meat sacrificed to idols and drinking wine are NOT sin (Rm 14:21, 14:16; see also 14:17). Yet we does not eat meat for their conscience sake.
    So I decided a while back to abstain because:
    1) I find that 90% of the time when students ask my opinion on alcohol, what they really are doing is seeking to justify their behavior or conscience. They want to be able to say to their conscience, "Well, my campus minister says its okay, so it must be." This speaks to what Paul says, we could damage a student's conscience.
    16-21 year olds do not make good decisions in regard to alcohol. 99% of the time they are not drinking to have a nice glass of merlot, they are usually conforming to the culture. Once they become more mature adults and have abstained then they can make better choices when the pretty girl or guy is not around.
    Arliss' point furthers this in regard to college campus problems with drinking.

    2) I don't drink because it could damage the conscience of the unbelieving student or Christian who thinks drinking is wrong. True I think they are wrong to think it is a sin, but it give me the ability to stand outside of the situation and speak objectively into it because I don't drink. Again Paul's principle applies b/c I am creating a stumbling block (Rm 14:13). This is the same situation for the Jews (or possibly Jewish Christians) who thought eating meat sacrificed to idols was a sin. Paul didn't eat meat in order that they might listen to his message and because he loved these people (Rm 14:14-15).

    On another note, if you are SBC neither you nor your students can serve if they drink. So if you say nothing about leaders drinking you may unintentionally disqualify them from missions. Also as Arliss said you may disqualify yourself from a church or leadership position.

    Obviously you can see I'm passionate about this subject. Honestly I think this thing of "rights" relates to so many things we Christians deal with as Americans. The thing is, as Christians we have lost our rights, actually crucified them when we died (Col 3:3; Gal 2:20). As leaders lets lead out of love for students and for the advancement of the gospel and not fight for what we deserve. Maybe then we, by God's grace, will raise up leaders who will do the same.

  2. Speaking to Halla's comments, I love the fact that Jesus and Paul dined with sinners. I'm sure those Jesus ate with weren't eating meat sacrificed to idols, drinking, cussing, or doing sinful things! (Obviously I'm being sarcastic). So, I agree that as followers of Jesus we need to go to where normal people (sinners) go. As Christians we go where ever we go on mission and as salt/light.