By the time this letter is printed, we will have had our election, and, hopefully the little county wide war regarding liquor will be over. Throughout this campaign, I have been relatively silent on the issue, with the exception of a couple of social media posts. Now that it has been decided, I would like to speak to the Christians who opposed the liquor referendum. Please allow me to preface what I am about to say by pointing out that I personally would rather not see liquor stores in our county. However, that preference is not based on religious reasons. I also would like to point out that I am a Christian, and a song leader at a local Baptist church. Because I love the Lord Jesus Christ, I am grieved and offended by the misuse of my Lord’s name to promote a political agenda.
There are many reasons to not drink alcohol, and there are many legitimate reasons to not want it sold next door to you. Because I believe in the principle of home rule, I am glad that people have the opportunity to decide this issue at the ballot box. That being said, I am disgusted with the preachers who led this campaign, and with the fanatical prohibitionist rhetoric that was used. Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists alike are all descended from the Protestant Reformation. One of the key principals of the Reformation is Sola Scriptura. This means Scripture Alone. Most preachers within our county would agree that the Bible is our only rule of faith and practice. If this is true, we must appeal to the Bible for questions regarding what is true and right, and what is sin.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism defines sin as “Any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, any law of God”. Nowhere in God’s Holy, inspired, word are we taught that the consumption of alcohol is evil. Yes, there are many warnings about the misuse of alcohol. There are also warnings about the misuse of food. I would welcome an open debate between anyone who thinks that they can prove from scripture that the consumption of alcohol is a violation of God's law . It can’t be done. Not only is this teaching unscriptural, it is also very new in the scope of church history. Christians three hundred years ago would be amazed that this view is held by people who think nothing of watching a ballgame on the Lord’s Day.
Because the Scripture does not teach that the consumption of alcohol is sinful, I will contend that it is sinful for preachers to instruct people otherwise. Sin is such a serious thing that The Father poured out His wrath on His only Son to atone for it. When we take it upon ourselves to add to Scripture and call things sin that God has not, we are sinning. For this reason, I am greatly offended by these signs that I see in front of nearly every Southern Baptist Church in the County. These signs take our Lord’s name in vain, while falsely suggesting that if one votes for liquor, they are anti-Christ.
To the Pastors who are responsible for these signs, I ask you to consider the truth of what I have said, and to teach only what Scripture allows you to teach. To all my fellow Christians, I urge you to read the Bible that so many saints died to make available to us. Test everything that comes out of your preacher’s mouth by the standard of the Word of God.