Beer/Wine/Tobacco

Bring Out the Champagne! The Party Has Just Begun!

Easter is gone, right? Actually Easter has just begun! The Easter Season lasts for 50 days. It is glorified in the PENT-ecost season. According to the Christian Calendar, Easter lasts until May 19th (Pentecost Sunday). But didn’t we spend ourselves bodily and spiritually this past Lord’s Day? If that’s the case, stir yourselves unto good works. The party has just begun!

We–who are liturgically minded–tend to carefully attend to the Lenten and Advent Calendar, but yet we forget that apart from the Resurrection Lent and Advent would not make any sense. After all, what are we expecting? A virgin birth to a son who would simply die at the age of 33? What are we expecting? A perpetually closed tomb? A sight for annual pilgrimages to Israel?

I am suggesting we need to stock up in our champagne bottles. Every Sunday meal needs to start with the popping of a champagne bottle. “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! POP! “Children, that’s the sound of victory!”

For every day of Easter, set aside a little gift for your little ones or your spouse. We set 100 Easter eggs aside for our two oldest children and let them open them up each day. Other traditions can be added, of course. We indulge in Easter hymnody and Psalmnody.  Easter is no time to get back to business as usual, it’s time to elevate the party spirit.

With that in mind, here are a few suggestions for these next 46 days:

First, for evening family readings, meditate specifically on the Resurrection account and the post-resurrection accounts. Digest every detail of the gospels, and also allow St. Paul to add his resurrection theology in I Corinthians 15.

Second, teach one another the art of hope. We live in a hopeless culture. We walk around with little enthusiasm for what God is doing in our midst. We also don’t believe that God is changing us and conforming us to the image of His son. We need to–especially in this season–to rejoice more with those who rejoice and encourage more those who weep with the hope granted to us in the Resurrection of our Messiah.

Third, invest in changing your community. Ask your pastor in what ways can you be more fruitful in your service to the congregation. Consider also your neighbors. Do you know them? If you do, how many have been in your homes for a meal or a drink, or simply to talk?

Fourth, play Easter music in your home and in the office. Here are some selections of great CDs or MP3’s.

Finally, avoid the introspective rituals that are so prevalent in our Christian culture. Do not allow doubts to overtake you. Think of your Triune baptism. Trust in Christ fervently. Allow the Covenant of Grace to shape your identity. The resurrection of Jesus was the confirmation that those in Christ are made for glory. Look to Jesus and serve Jesus by serving others. By doing so, you will not grow weary in doing well, and you will learn to party beside the empty tomb.

Christ is Risen!

Got Wine?

According to J. Duncan M. Derrett in “Water into Wine,” (Biblische Zeitschrift, Neue Folge, 7 (1963), pp. 84-85,89) Mary was deeply concerned about the shortage of wine in John two for a few reasons:

First, she was deeply involved in the preparation for the festivities.

Secondly, the lack of wine at the wedding would be the cause of general disruption.

Thirdly, there would be obvious embarrassment to the host family.

Finally, there was a possibility of legal action against the family.

The lack of wine could be the source of legal action!  Not only does wine cheer the heart, but it also keeps you out of legal problems. To not provide for the guests of the wedding would be the ultimate insult. But we also know that wine is a sign of kingship. When one is invited to the feast, he joins the royal gathering and drinks what kings drink. Finally, we must keep in mind that in God’s house wine is never lacking, for He prepares a feast for kings and queens every time we gather to praise Him.

C.S. Lewis and Food

The food theme is not as prevalent in Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia as they are in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I have chronicled a bit of the delicious appetite of Tolkien for food here. Yet, as I make my way through Lewis’ Chronicles I came across a brief delicacy in the meeting between the Sons of Adam and Eve and the beaver family. Their meeting leads to a festive meal described in this manner:

There was a jug of creamy milk for the children to enjoy (Mr. Beaven stuck to beer) and a great big lump of deep yellow butter in the middle of the table from which everyone took as much as he wanted to go with the potatoes, and all the children thought–and I agree with them–that there’s nothing to beat good freshwater fish if you eat it when it has been alive half an hour ago and has come out of the pan half a minute ago. And when they finished the fish Mrs. Beaver brought unexpectedly out of the over a great and gloriously sticky marmalade roll, steaming hot, and at the same time moved the kettle onto the fire, so that when they had finished the marmalade roll the tea was made and ready to be poured out…”And now,” said Mr. Beaver, pushing away his empty beer mug and pulling his cup of tea toward him, “if you will just wait till I’ve got my pipe lit up and going nicely–why, now we can get to business.”

This is a fairly descriptive scene. Much like Tolkien, business/war come only after a feast.

Pastoral Counsel, Maturity, Caution, Alcoholism, and Ten Theses: Some Further Reflections

{Note: I am sure I will be updating and editing this piece for greater clarity. I hope this discussion proves helpful. Thanks to JP & John Anselmo for your thoughts}

My topic is rather broad, which conveys my conviction that this topic deserves greater attention. This is a rather debated topic and naturally it brings with it highly emotional responses.

MacArthur’s thesis is not controversial at all in fundamentalist circles, but since MacArthur has purposely become a national (media) figure in both evangelical and reformed circles, his anti-alcohol stance naturally draws the attention from the broader Protestant community.

I am thankful for the numerous responses to our piece. It is a fact that pietism and prohibitionism still lingers in the modern evangelical scene. I say all this as a former fundamentalist who shared MacArthur’s dissent. However, as one looking back in those days I find the image offered incomplete and in need of greater clarity.

As I read through some of the comments I found myself uniquely grateful that this topic can be discussed in a civil manner. This is not always the case. On a particular website, one comment made explicit that those who deny MacAthur’s thesis are anti-christ. Fortunately, these lunatics are few and absent from this blog.

It is undeniable that much of this discussion really and truly centers around pastoral counsel and concerns. JP and John Anselmo–in the comment section–have brought a few points to my attention that should be addressed. I believe that MacArthur’s concerns stem from the heart of a pastor who has seen his share of lives destroyed by alcoholism. In this light, allow me to offer a few thoughts: More

Christian not Bohemian: A Response to John MacArthur’s “Beer, Bohemianism, and True Christian Liberty”

The authors generally appreciate the work of John MacArthur. John Fraiser is a Lutheran minister and Uri Brito is a Reformed minister. We are thankful for MacArthur’s commitment to the Scriptures and his love for the gospel of grace. Early on in our studies, MacArthur was certainly one wave that carried us into the rich world of 16th century Reformation. Yet, we must not be blinded to assume the Reformation did not offer a cultural way of thinking and living. We have embraced the larger Reformational world not simply because of its Soteriology—which we affirm—but because of the richness it provides to both mind and body. The Reformation means embracing the biblical vision of a new humanity engaging a re-created world in and through Jesus Christ.

Part of this larger Reformed picture is unmistakably missing in John MacArthur’s recent attack on the Young, Restless, and Reformed (henceforth, YRR). MacArthur’s analysis leads him to conclude that “It’s clear that beer-loving passion is a prominent badge of identity for many in the YRR movement.”[1] Now, neither of us belong to the YRR movement. So MacArthur isn’t directly addressing us and we have no interest in protecting the movement itself. Normally we wouldn’t even take the time to respond MacArthur’s argument, but sometimes you must bend to answer the absurd, if only because others take the absurd so seriously. Indeed a great many people have already answered him, but we wish to add our voices to the company of those Christians who think that alcohol should not merely be tolerated but commended, celebrated, and cherished among the people of God. We sense that MacArthur’s overall tone is a direct attack on broader Reformational groups, such as Lutherans and Calvinists.

In addressing MacArthur and his concerns, we wish to organize our response in the following manner: (a) The Lutheran and Reformed Historical Argument for the Use of Alcohol, (b) Arguments for Alcohol in Biblical Culture, (c) The Sociology of Abstinence, and (d) The Use and Abuse of Alcohol. More