7 Jan 2009

Dare We Be "Godly?"

Author: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Jesus, Kingdom, Ministry, Mission, Preaching

Recently the Gospel Advocate published a series of featured articles on The Emerging Church Movement. As is to be expected the articles toward that “movement” are as a whole fairly negative. I personally think it refreshingly biblical. I do not have time to critique all the articles in depth but I have chosen one snippet to probe a little further. Unfortunately my probing will be from what is, in my opinion, the cream of the crop of the articles: Matthew Morine’s “Missional Evangelism.”

My probing is not intended in any way to be an attack upon Matthew because I really like Matthew and believe he is a great servant of the Lord.

Matthew summarizes his understanding of the principles of missional evangelism (=ME) which seems, in my view, to be rooted in the very godly and biblical idea of incarnation. Matthew then offers two criticisms of ME under the heading “The Missional Compromise.” This is a most interesting way to go at it. ME promotes “drinking, smoking and carousing” we are told in bold letters. We are informed, therefore, that the first compromise of ME is “moral laxity.” Matthew provides a case in point so to speak from Michael Frost and Alan Hirsh’s outstanding book The Shaping of Things to Come.

In Frost & Hirsh’s story they want to illustrate the notion of becoming “Partners with God.” John Smith, an Australian evangelist, has dared to invade “schools, pubs, motorcycle gangs” etc to witness to Jesus Christ. In this case he found himself witnessing to a young lady who had to go to work. She invited him to visit it and continue their conversation. When John arrived, it turned out to be a strip joint. He decided to go in. The authors explicitly state “whatever one might think of the wisdom that choice, we ask you to hold your judgment and so get to the core of the story” (p. 160). John and the girl talk but she has to return to her station so to speak. John stays to further witness to her. The authors then conclude the story with this question: “Was Jesus in that strip club that night? … Can God be found in that place of tragedy and brokenness?” (p. 161). Then they ask “If God was in that place, wooing Linda to himself through Jesus Christ, was it all right for John to join him in mission in that place?” This for Matthew was “moral laxity” and a major flaw in Missional Evangelism. But I think Frost and Hirsh have nailed it with the correct question. Was Jesus in that place? For the record I do not approve of, or sanction, “strip clubs” in anyway fashion or form. That is not the issue here.

What about J. R. Mahon and Craig Gross of XXXChurch and their mission to people trapped in the porn industry? Is it “moral laxity” to go into the den of thieves so to speak an bring the love of God in that place? Is God not there? It never ceases to amaze me that the biggest critics of this mission to porn stars is none other than Christians themselves.

But Dare We Be “Godly?” Do we? Is scripture really the shaper of our worldview? It seems to me that in Scripture the incarnational … missional principle is everywhere. Even in some fairly bizarre ways. Have we not read about Isaiah’s radical “moral compromise”? Did God, the Father of Jesus, tell the Prophet: “Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet. And he did so, GOING AROUND STRIPPED and barefoot.” How long did Isaiah preach in the nude? “[M]y servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for THREE YEARS …” (20.1-3). I wonder how many folks responded to “Just As I Am?” With the preacher preaching in his birthday suit? How many folks thought he was a nut? or … immoral? But was he?

Ezekiel and Jeremiah also do some pretty interesting things to convey the message that God gave them. Were they compromising or being obedient?

What about the Lord Jesus himself? Jesus did after all hang with the “sinners” (Luke 5.29; 15.1-2). How did Jesus get stigmatized as one who “welcomes sinners and eats with them?” If John 2 is any indication it is fairly certain that Jesus did a little drinking with some one, some where, at some time. How did he get a reputation for being a drunkard? Jesus not only went to the unclean places he embraced the unclean people. What did God do? God did what we see Jesus doing?

Neither I, nor do the authors of The Shaping of Things to Come, suggest that every Christian needs to (or even should!) go into strip joints. That that is not the point. But there are those, like John, who can and when they do this does not indicate that they are morally lax or they have compromised or any such thing. It suggests that they have finally understood what it means to be light in dark places. Neither I, nor the emerging church advocates anything less than a God centered life, which clearly means a moral life. Accountability, traveling in pairs and the like help keep us “morally pure” … but my point is that I think the criticism is wide of the mark. Do we dare to follow Jesus? When we do I can promise you that the religious folks will take offense … you might even end up on a cross.

30 Responses to “Dare We Be "Godly?"”

  1. Gregory Alan Tidwell Says:


    I always enjoy reading your thoughts.

    Hope you will, in time, provide a more substantive review of the issues raised in the Gospel Advocate.


  2. Justin Says:

    I tend to agree with your assessment. Honestly, I’d be highly suspicious of any male who went to a strip club to “witness” to one of the dancers. Be that as it may, the Scriptural incidents you cite are unquestionably relevant. It seems to me that the history of the working of God is the history of the radical and unexpected.

  3. fraizerbaz Says:

    There is a fine line between dining with sinners, as Jesus often did, and just keeping bad company. (A Christian musician I know would attest to this.)

  4. Jeanne Says:

    You know, Bobby, I love you dearly, but these blanket statements about “the religious folks” who are so self-righteous and ignorant are getting a little old. Surely not everyone who disagrees with your understanding of holy living is less enlightened than you?

    Of course it is possible to be Christ in a dark place. On the other hand, while I haven’t read the articles to which you refer, I suspect that they are more concerned with the idea of using Christ as an excuse to enter a dark place: the old, ‘it’s fine for me to go “drinking, smoking and carousing” because I might bump into someone at the bar who needs Jesus.’ In other words, my Christian light is best displayed when I look like everybody else in the world.

    Sure, I might follow a (female)stripper into a strip joint– I’ve been to jails, mental hospitals, drug rehab centers, too– but is it not also possible that this line of thought could be used to rationalize a Christian participating in an activity that has no connection to evangelism at all?

    To truly evangelize, is it necessary to participate or can we simply penetrate? Maybe I’m wrong, but if I want to do effective jail ministry, my best course of action is probably not to have myself arrested so I can identify more closely with my sisters. Nor should my eagerness to save a drug addict’s soul cause me to experiment with crack, or even learn to roll a joint. I could be totally off, but I don’t think that’s at all what Jesus did. He went where the sinners were, but he was without sin. He was incarnate, but he was not carnal. If you can share Jesus in a strip joint and keep your heart pure (good luck, guys– try sending a woman), you’re made of stronger stuff than most.

  5. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Jeanne I love you too. I do not recall making a blanket statement nor assuming I’m smarter than Matthew or anyone else. And I, like most missional authors I know, suggest simply carousing as an evangelistic method. That is not the point.

    No one that I am aware of, certainly not on this blog, is attempting to use Jesus simply as an “excuse.” The person in the story, John, did not go to the strip joint and then find some one. He already had talked with Linda who asked him to finish the conversation at her place of employment and it was when he arrived that he discovered what kind of place it was.

    Now I happen to believe it takes a special person with a unique gift to be able to do that kind of ministry but I do believe it is totally biblical and totally following the example of Jesus. I do not have that gift and would not subject myself to it. But is a different issue altogether. The question, which you did not answer, was “Was Jesus in that place?” I believe he was.

    I don’t give slippery slopes very much credence. Any one can use anything to justify what they want to do already. That is why accountability is such a necessity.

  6. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:


    I am not sure why you are offended by the “religious folk” comment at the end of my blog. I did not assume an air of superiority to anyone and I don’t believe such. However that comment is rooted deeply in the biblical narrative. I appeal to Jesus’ testimony as to who killed the prophets and even who killed him. It was not the sinners who did it.

    But I am very sorry for offending you and I apologize for it.

  7. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Beth I agree with you.

  8. nick gill Says:

    Fear is not an option.

  9. Jeanne Says:

    Was Jesus in that place? Sure, he’s everywhere, and can use whatever feeble attepts we offer him to reach other people.

    But come on, Bobby, do you honestly not hear yourself making blanket negative statements about “religious” folk? I’m pretty sure I heard you Sunday morning talking about how “people who ask for ‘gospel sermons’ really just want a sermon that tells them they’re right and the Baptists are wrong.” Please. If religious cynicism isn’t at least an unconscious expression of perceived superior understanding, I don’t know how else you’d explain it. We may all have popes in our belly, but they’re all blind popes, and there’s no reason to think my pope sees more of the elephant than yours does, or vice versa. At any rate, your words don’t offend me in the sense that I am wounded, I just think you don’t know how you come across sometimes.

    Personally, I would agree with the GA writers that the pendulum has swung toward a “moral laxity” in the church, missional or otherwise. Whether that’s better or worse than the old legalism is not my call, but it seems to me that while God calls us to live “holy and blameless lives,” there is less and less emphasis on that calling within the church…which is one reason why movements such as Islam and Mormonism attract such a large following nowadays, because true submission to God demands a heart change that is reflected in our lives. People want a relationship with God that requires something of them other than “anything goes.”

    Granted, there’s probably a big difference between general moral laxity and missional evangelism with a stripper at her place of business, but the former makes the latter far more likely to be an issue. The problem is, Christians often don’t look or act any different from the rest of the world.

    And yes, I have heard Christians use ‘Jesus hung out with drunkards and sinners’ to justify actions that were anything but missional.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    I too, would be leery of a Christian man going into a topless bar to share Jesus with an erotic dancer, but that is because I could not do it! Does that mean that no one should do it?
    Some one asked me once, “if you really believe what you say, could you go into a bar and share Christ with someone there?” Sadly I had to conclude that I could not! But what if there was someone who could? What kind of witness would that be for the person he was trying to reach for Christ? In truth, I think that the person would be deeply impressed and would invite the the individual to places that would better suited for that type of discussion!

    I’m not saying that we should encourage people to go into bars or strip joints to share the gospel, but if we find ourselves sharing with someone and we are invited to come to a place that we would not think to go, let us try to remember what Jesus would do.

    Jesus concern was for the sinner. Everyone is special to Jesus. There are no exceptions.Jesus was tempted no less than we are. Jesus could have given into sin just as we do.But he did not! We could find ourselves standing up for Jesus and not giving in to temptation. The question is, would we be willing to stand up for our faith or would we go and bury our heads in the sand?

    Yes Bobby, I believe that Jesus was in that strip joint that night, watching over and protecting a faithful servant!

  11. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Jeanne I am not a religious cynic. At least I don’t think I am. As for the “gospel preaching” thing you referred to that was an actual situation and I do know what the person wanted. And that person’s understanding of what is “gospel” was not and is not the NT understanding but a mere exercise in sectarianism.

    Now you and I do not disagree an iota that scripture calls us to be holy and blameless. Not one bit. And I don’t believe my post in any way says something different. Was Isaiah holy and blameless for preaching naked? There are plenty of folks who would probably demure on it.

    And besides the strip club is simply an example that was picked by another and not by me. I responded to it. But the principle is are we willing to embrace the message of the gospel to such a point that we can die to ourselves and get outside of our self imposed (and at times idolatrous) comfort zones. There is scandal in the Bible from beginning to end. It is scandalous not because it is immoral but because it conflicts with conventional wisdom.

    As for legalism I want nothing to do with it … old or new. And you and I agree, again, on that Christians do not often look or act different than the world. But the difference is not supposed to be no mowing our lawn on Sunday, or not swimming, or even having a class of wine or a beer. First Peter makes it clear what that difference is to be like. We are resident aliens. We embrace the values of the Sermon on the Mount … those are radical … extremely so.

    And I too have heard folks justify anything they want on whatever basis in the world. It is done to end marriages, break up families, to sleep with someone, to … you name it. But a person’s abuse of something does not undo the validity of missional witness to the world. Forget missional … to live and act in the Jesus Style. Jesus was in fact accused of being morally lax … he was accused of being a drunkard … he was accused of being too familiar with societies underbelly. We are the Body and we follow the Head.

    Love you lots and I am delighted that you share your point of view.

  12. Keith Brenton Says:

    Selected articles from that Nov. 2008 edition of Gospel Advocate are available for a limited time in this PDF, including Mathew’s. (You can save it to your computer if you wish.)

    As someone who has a little experience with magazines, online and printed, I can assure you that there is very little chance that Matthew selected the phrase about drinking, smoking and carousing to be placed in big bold italic red letters. That would be the editor’s choice.

    I have to agree that Matthew’s article is the cream of the crop for this issue, because he does not make unwarranted or unsupported statements; he quotes sources and balances the advantages of missional evangelism with the dangers.

    Some people may be gifted in being able to minister in a strip club, and Matthew and Anonymous and I (and possibly Jeanne, if it were a male strip club!) admit that we aren’t. I’d have to agree that there is a danger there, even if nothing more than having the appearance of participating in what goes on there.

    Haven’t read the book. Need to. But what little I know of the literature (Blue Like Jazz; The Forgotten Ways as examples) tells me that at least some attempts at missional evangelism are probably overreactions to the sequestered, timid, come-to-my-church-and-hear-the-truth style that has been the norm for far too long.

    This example sounds like one of them to me.

  13. cwinwc Says:

    Interesting discussion. My opinion would be that Jesus was in the strip joint. You have someone making a geninue effort to reach someone who society and some church going folk would shun.

    More opinion here – I would be skeptical of someone who said his or her ministry was to go to strip clubs and minister to strippers on the job. I don’t know why but it reminds me of the “Dumb and Dumber” scene where the Swedish Bikini Team need Jim Carey and his co-hort to be their sun tan lotion boys. As you said,John doesn’t realize her place of business is a strip club until he arrives.

    As for Gospel sermons, I can tell you that several years ago in a Wed. night class, one of our “then” members accused our preacher of not preaching enough “harsh Gospel sermons.” How do you deliver “harsh” good news? I believe Paul in I Cor. 15 lays out what is the essence of the “good news” and how it is to be of first importance for the church and as we reach out to the world.

  14. kingdomseeking Says:

    Good post! I believe that God was present in the strip club on that night. I remember thinking as I read the story in the book how much discipline one whould need to have over his flesh to be the presence of God in a strip club rather than a partaker in darkness.

    Fraizerbaz said,”There is a fine line between dining with sinners, as Jesus often did, and just keeping bad company.” This is so true. For me, the best way to discern the difference is who’s influence will guide my thoughts and actions. Will I be able to still allow my light to shine or will the darkness of the people and atmosphere I am surrounded by pull me into their ways?

    Grace and peace,


  15. ben Says:

    If we are going to make parallels with Jesus and sinners lets be cautious. He ate with tax collectors and assorted sinners. He taught them. No doubt the content of that teaching was like the Mt. 5-7 discourse which condemns lust, verbal manipulation, etc. If you believe that the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery is actually part of the original text (and not a later addition), then it can be concluded that Jesus gave her great hope, but not by leaning on the bed post peering at her in the act of adultery. To suggest that Jesus would somehow take up his post in a strip club as a missional evangelist is too much. There’s not one stitch of biblical evidence to support that notion no matter how many naked Isaiah’s we can march out. What we need in order to prove this thesis (a strip club is an appropriate place for missional evangelism), is an instance in Jesus’ life in which he made something like a strip club his missional point.

    I don’t see the parallel between a strip club and a meal at Matthew’s house, except that religious people might assume that anyone involved with either is a sinner. The Pharisees had some difficulty reasoning and would no doubt throw both the meal at Matthew’s house and a visit to a strip club in the same class. But they made a habit of condemning even the righteous. It’s not logically sound, however, to suppose that just because some of things they condemned weren’t actually sinful, that therefore anything they would have condemned is perfectly permissible.

    Jesus earned a reputation as a sinner because he did some things the religious bosses condemned. That doesn’t mean he would have done anything the bosses would have condemned. Both Jesus and the Pharisees condemned adultery, it’s just that Jesus offered forgiveness while the Pharisees offered a stone. Both condemned stealing, but Jesus could see the difference between the theft itself and eating with the theif. I venture to suggest that Jesus would also eat with a 1,000 strippers. But that in no way presupposes he would also hang out in the strip club where they make themselves into an object of lust.

    The Pharisees couldn’t make necessary distinctions. Surely we’ve gained better vision than theirs.

    “Now I happen to believe it takes a special person with a unique gift to be able to do that kind of ministry but I do believe it is totally biblical and totally following the example of Jesus.”

    Where’s the example wherein Jesus followed the adultress into the bedroom? Heck, when it was obvious the bosses had turned the temple into a house of theives, he flipped the place upside down.

    I think a Christian could easily explain to a stripper that to go into such a place is too stimulating and tempting for any man except those intent on objectifying God’s creatures, expressing love, and offering to wait paitently until such time that they could reengage in conversation in another environment.

    What am I missing here? Somebody connect the dots for me.



  16. David Says:

    All this current hand-wringing by some of our more conservative brethren about the ‘missional church’ reminds me a lot of the discussion about the ‘new hermeneutic’ 15 years ago. The very worst facets of MC are held up as being the core of what it’s about…that’s why so much time is spent talking about ‘would Jesus go to the strip club’. Ultimately it seems to me that ‘missional’ is just a modern way of looking at evangelism as ‘anytime, anyplace’ while trying to jettison the baggage of past tradition. Maybe it doesn’t always work out properly, but ultimately, aren’t we to let God be the judge of such things (e.g. 1 Cor. 3:11-15)?

    I’ve read some of the literature of MC and some of the reactionary responses of the old guard, and just like 15 years ago I’m still not sure what the whole fuss is about. One group is seeking to take Jesus to the world, but is imperfect in how they do it. The other group has become comfortable with the way things currently are, so any challenge to that status quo must certainly be wrong. Yes, it’s an overgeneralization but no more so than what both sides are doing when they talk about the intents/motivations of others.

    As for me, I couldn’t go to a strip club and witness…I know my weaknesses. But has God blessed people with the ability to evangelize in a place like that? I’m sure he has…and may God be praised by the work those brave people are doing.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Amen Brother David, Amen!

    Brian of Tucson
    Aka: Anonymous

  18. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Thanks for the great discussion folks. I really don’t think most of us are in serious disagreement here.

    Again the example of the strip club is extreme and chosen only because it is the one that appeared in the Gospel Advocate. The person in the story (John) does not (and neither do I) advocate going into strip clubs as a habit. He was invited to meet a person and only later realized it was such a place. However he was able to reach that young lady for the Lord Jesus.

    My own point is that God is not adverse to doing things in radical ways that blow us (myself) out of the water. Thus Isaiah preaching naked for 3 years. I can imagine plenty of moms running to hide the kids eyes! But God was in that situation

    A number of us have confessed that we could not go into such a place because of temptation. I am one of them. We should not forget however that Jesus too was tempted. If the Hebrew Preacher is to be believed Jesus had to be tempted when he was involved in his ministry and that includes his ministry with women. But he gave it to God and that is what we are too do as well.

    And the scandal of Jesus runs deep. He, a single man, let a woman fawn all over him in public and folks were offended by it.

    Again I thank all for their contribution. Great comments by Jeanne, Beth, David, GAT, Justin, Brian, Keith,Cecil, and Ben. Thanks.

  19. kingdomseeking Says:

    The only example we need for being the presence of God in any place of darkness whether it be a strip bar, casino, or else, is the incarnation of God. The doctrine of the incarnation assert that God became flesh, made his dwelling among us – this world… this world of darkness (Jn 1). A strip club is no darker of a place than a coorporate meeting of executives making decisions that bennefit the powerful while trampling on the weak. As the Incarnate One, God has made his presence among darkness and our mandate as a people of God is to be both sanctified and sent into this world (Jn 17.17-19). This means that we must find a way to allow the light to penetrate through the darkness whereever that darkness exist, be it in a strip club or a coorporate board meeting.

    The only question is whether I can remain committed to sanctification in the place I am being sent. I for one would not be able to maintain my committment to sanctification in a strip club, so I would not enter such a place. But if another Christian can do so, by all means go. I would only cautiously warn such Christian that sanctification is not practiced apart from Christian community and that this person needs to allow other Christians that he/she can trust, to hold him/herself accountable to the practice of sanctification.

    Grace and peace,


  20. J.R. Says:

    Dude, great stuff…

    Me? when you finally get your life ain’t your own and what I mean is you have lost your life for Christ… It wont matter where you go, you’ll just want too and you’ll never stop going.

    And Yes! there are idiots who don’t get it… and go. You will know them because they will produce no fruit…

    Thanks man!

    J.R. Mahon

  21. jrb Says:

    Hate to change the subject but one bit caught my eye. Probably in a revealing Rorschach kind of way.

    You site John 2 where Jesus makes 120-180 gallons of something called “wine”, which nowhere indicates his consumption. You then say (I assume based on the passage) that it is “fairly certain” that Jesus did a “little drinking” with someone, somewhere, sometime. How else could he have earned the reputation of drunkard?

    That has to be the thinnest argument I’ve ever heard you make. Jesus was accused of healing by the power of Satan. What did Jesus do to earn the reputation of being an agent of the Devil? Maybe there was something to it, I mean that was his reputation right?


  22. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:


    My argument is not so thin. I have not the slightest doubt that Jesus drank wine at the wedding (real wine at that and not kool-aid). So yes I am fairly certain that he drank with some one some where at some time.

    But this is not speculation. Matthew and Luke both report on his association with sinners and even drinking. Matthew 11 reads:

    “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and DRINKING, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and ‘sinners.'” (v.18-19).

    This text draws explicitly on the contrasting asceticism of John with Jesus. The “drinking” here is not water or Dr. Pepper. John was a Nazarite and he did not “drink” wine (see Mt 3.4f on his asceticism and Lk 1.15 for the wine). John abstained and Jesus did not. When Jesus entered the house of the unclean Levi (Mt 9.9-13) we learn of but one example of him being in the wrong place and with the wrong people.

    Bobby V

    J. R. glad to have you reading my blog. Thanks for your input.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    You can’t equate the wine of Jesus years and the alcohol industry today. They are different worlds. dinner wine and beer has ruined lives beyond belief. Those who claim Christ has no business with any (beverage) alcohol today. For stomachs sake will not work today. To much good Medical help without the beverage.

  24. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Sonny the wine of Jesus get people just as drunk then as it does today. There is not basis, not a shred, of what some claim about biblical wine and alcohol. Abuse is wrong but the wine itself is not. Same with sex … it is a gift from God but is frequently abused. But sex is sex and wine is wine … And Jesus created it and Jesus drank it.

  25. Matt Dowling Says:

    Bobby’s thoughts remind where Christ spent most of his time…with the ‘untouchables’ and ‘expendables’ of His time. Having been involved heavily in mental health ministry for the past couple of years, I realize what the church can look and feel like to the marginalized of our time. We must be like Christ in this regard, and reach those that others don’t want too. Otherwise, we are not following our Lord where He would be and we create a church that is a shadow of what Christ intended and died for…

  26. jrb Says:

    One more swipe at the pinata-

    Your reference to doing a little drinking is what made me torture the John 2 text to find Jesus drinking. I don’t doubt he drank there either, but I absolutely doubt he drank intoxicating wine.

    I am well aware of the gaping chasm that separates my smaller bible study from yours, and while I would never pretend to be knowledgeable in either Hebrew or Greek, I do believe that both yayin and oinos are generic terms.

    John 2 is oinos, Luke 1:15 is oinos, and to me the case for oinos being generic is conclusively made in Matthew 9. Oinos is to be put in new wine skins and it must be unfermented or else the story makes no sense, fermented wine doesn’t expand.

    Given the generic of oinos there is no reason to insist that Jesus must have made intoxicating wine at the wedding banquet unless you believe that there was never an instance in Cana of a wedding celebration that didn’t involve intoxicating drink. I don’t believe that is reasonable.

    I am aware of the contrast drawn between John & Jesus, but the Nazarite vow sure covered more that intoxicating drink. It forbade vinegar, grape juice, grapes, their seeds or skins, and even raisins. So why does it have to be the case that when they said John didn’t drink but Jesus did, they necessarily must have been referring to intoxicating drink? All products of the vine were forbidden, fermented and not.

    All this is not really so far off the point. I skipped the stripper conversation, but I can tell you that I have sat around a table of MDIV holders who after a few drinks and maybe even a hit have found it easier to be profound about the nature of God and the meaning of life. I have absolutely no patience with such an approach which has been justified to me as “meeting the sinners where they are”, and with the familiar and in my opinion flimsy arguments trying to establish God’s approval of the recreational use of psychoactive narcotics. Cana invariably cames up.

    I would love to hear your take on an old Jim McGuiggan book I have, “The Bible, The Saint, and The Liquor Industry”. It is of course out of print and 31 years old, but it really helped me study the issue. If nothing else it may give you pause before insisting that everywhere the term wine is used it must be intoxicating, and not Kool-Aid, or Dr. Pepper.


  27. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:


    I am not attempting to justify anything beloved brother. However, in the case of “wine” and Jesus there are simply facts and then there are modern inventions that folks in a post Temperance Movement America has succumbed too.

    I love brother Jim McGuiggan. I have been richly blessed by numerous of his writings. The Reign of God; The God of the Towel; The Power to See it Through; Celebrating the Wrath of God; and The Dragon Slayer are all top notch books. I read Jim’s book on wine and think if he had a chance to rewrite it he would.

    I have no doubt, not even a shred, that Jesus the Messiah drank real wine. I have no doubt that yayin and oinos are in fact alcoholic and if consumed in quantity will lay you out on the ground.

    I guess I can put some material on my blog about it … but that might get me in trouble. But it is still the truth.

  28. nick gill Says:

    The context of John 2 is clear. The master of the party says to the host, “This is the stuff you’re supposed to serve at first, and once people are getting drunk, then you bring out the junk wine.”

    The point of the Cana narrative – that Jesus turned bathwater that divides into something that brings joy and draws people together – just doesn’t work with grape juice.

    As for the contrast between John and Jesus – Ockham’s razor slices the tee-totalling platform to shreds. The simplest explanation of the text is that the speaker is talking of alcoholic wine — no one was accusing Jesus of guzzling Welch’s.

    Finally — there is no doubt that yayin and oinos refer to liquid fruit of the wine throughout the process of fermentation. But tell me this — does grape juice gladden the heart? That’s what the writer of Proverbs says yayin does.


  29. Anonymous Says:

    They accused Jesus of many things that He was not. He was not a winebibber and a glutton. You say that you are sure he drank an intoxicant. I am sure He didn’t. You may sit around a sip or drink maybe get a buzz. My Lord didn’t. It does sound like you are justifying something. You have mentioned several times about your drinks. That is your business not mine. The abuse or use of the alcohol beverage is another activity that comes from the world. don’t take (as some do) that this is in a hateful spirit, it is not. I am accused often of this but it is not meant to be in that manner. Just a disagreement. It is not anything personal

  30. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:


    I never take it personal that you disagree with me. Or when you say that I am simply trying to justify something. I am not inspired nor perfect and I am sure that I have fallen to such nonsense before. But I don’t believe I am.

    But, too, don’t take it personal when I disagree with you or when I say I do not think you have any biblical support for your point of view. You do not have any standard lexicon or biblical dictionary or … You have a contention.

    You have the IBC library nearby. Go check out these articles:

    “Wine” by J. F. Ross in Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, vol 5: 849-852

    “Wine” in M’Clintock and Strong Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature, vol 10: 1010-1017

    These are good starting points and have lots and lots of info. You will be blessed through reading them.

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