Alcohol and Church Membership

From the Desiring God Blog

By: Michael Johnson

Piper explains his position on alcohol and church membership:

When I came to Bethlehem Baptist Church over [three] decades ago, this was one of the first controversies I had to deal with. We survived it and are he better for it. I think what I learned may be helpful. 

Among Baptist and other congregationally governed churches, the local church constitution generally contains an affirmation of faith and church covenant. The church covenant describes a core set of Biblical expectations relating to how members live; while the affirmation of faith describes a core of Biblical expectations relating to what members believe. As a general rule, therefore, the expectations of the church covenant, along with the affirmation of faith, function as prerequisites for church membership.

Many congregationally governed churches have a sentence in their church covenants which goes something like this: ‘We engage to abstain from the use and the sale of intoxicating liquors as a beverage.” In principle, therefore, these churches exclude all persons except teetotalers from church membership. . .

I am persuaded that such a regulation from church membership falls into the category of legalistic exclusivism and stands under the judgment of the apostolic word in Scripture. This is my persuasion even though I am a total abstainer myself and believe total abstinence is a wise and biblically defensible way of life for our day.

John Piper, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman, 2002), 151-152 (emphasis and paragraphing by Michael Johnson).

About kevinbglenn

Follower of Jesus, Husband, Father, Son, Student, Reader, Runner, and BBQ enthusiast.
This entry was posted in Church Membership. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s