A new blog began a few months ago called Between the Times. Contributors are professors and administrators from Southeastern Seminary (Danny Akin, Bruce Ashford, Nathan Finn, Ken Keathley and David Nelson. They have put up some excellent posts, including a series by Dr. Akin on principles for discerning God’s will in the gray areas of life. His last 2 of this 8-part series applies the biblical principles he articulated in the earlier posts to the troublesome issue of consuming beverage alcohol (part 1, part 2). All 8 articles are very good and are helpful in learning how to reason from God’s Word to personal decisions. But I want particularly to call attention to Dr. Akin’s application of principles to the quesiton of drinking alcohol.
It is a balanced, well-reasoned argument. My own view is very close to his. I do not drink and would be delighted if no one ever drank acohol. But I have yet to be convinced that the Bible forbids it and, therefore, refuse to judge those who imbibe as sinning in doing so.
One quality that I greatly admire in Dr. Akin is his unwillingness to use different standards for different groups. He speaks just as plainly to “us” as he does to “them.” In other words, he does not think that he or those who are on his side in theological or denominational issues are above critique. One of the grave concerns that I have for self-styled Southern Baptist conservatives is an apparent unwillingness or inability to be self-critical. Too often, legitimate criticisms or even questions raised from fellow-conservatives have been dismissed as lack of loyalty at best or liberalism at worst. Danny Akin does not suffer from that malady, as demonstrated by the following remarks that are found in his defense of abstinance.
I should note that some who advocate moderation draw an analogy to eating and sex. They correctly point out that gluttony and sexual immorality are sin, but not the act of eating or sexual intercourse. I would want to make several observations in this context. First, gluttony and overeating is sinful and dishonors the temple of the Holy Spirit. This is something I was guilty of, God convicted me, and I lost 30 pounds. I stay in constant battle in this area. Second, many who would line up with me on alcohol run (but not very fast due to their weight!) from addressing gluttony. Third, some have alleged that Southern Baptist are hypocritical in passing resolutions on alcohol but not gluttony. I agree. So next year in Louisville someone needs to submit such a resolution. It will have my full support (emphasis added).
Whether you agree with Dr. Akin or not, you have to appreciate his plain speaking on the issue of gluttony. (Note to Joe: dust off your resolution and get it before the convention in L’ville!). If such a resolution makes it to the floor of the convention, I wonder if it will be amended to limit participation in denominational life to those who are not gluttons?