Saturday, July 03, 2010

Should church leaders drink?

My thoughts - it is permissible, but we must be responsible with it - with the who, what when and where of drinking alcoholic beverages.  I drink (in a good year) a handful of beers and about 4 glasses of wine (generally holiday wine - Thanksgiving, Christmas times).  There have been years I have haven't drank.  I do enjoy beer and wine, but it is quite rare when I drink them.

According to a monthly poll released this week, 40 percent of evangelical leaders said they "socially drink alcohol." Many of them added that they only drink "in moderation," "on special occasions," or "infrequently." And they noted that they do so only with those who share similar views on alcohol consumption.
The poll was based on responses from the Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals, including the CEOs of denominations and representatives of a broad array of evangelical organizations.
Among the majority who said they did not consume alcohol, the common reason for abstinence was not because they believe it is sinful to drink. "Even though there is no prohibition on moderate alcohol consumption in Scripture, due to the many implications as an example to family and those I serve, I like Paul's words 'it is better not to' (Romans 14:21)," said Gary Benedict, president of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, according to the NAE poll.

Some denominations, however, do not allow leaders to drink. "[W]hile we understand one cannot defend [abstinence from alcohol] biblically, we have chosen to raise the standard for leadership in our movement," said Jeff Farmer of Open Bible Churches.

Others said they abstain from drinking because of alcoholism in the family, a desire to be an example to younger generations, or the affect alcohol addiction has on society. "Alcohol and its effects have been a major challenge in American society," said Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals.
According to earlier LifeWay Research, 29 percent of lay people and 24 percent of senior pastors agreed that people should never drink alcohol. But, while 68 percent of pastors said reasonable consumption of alcohol is a "biblical liberty," just over half (54%) of lay people agreed. And, at the same time, 90 percent of clergy said a Christian drinking alcohol could cause other believers to stumble or be confused.[]

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