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St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran an article called Beer & The Bible. The article focuses on Darrin Patrick (Lead Pastor and Acts 29 leader) & The Journey Church. I have a feeling this article will be drawing a lot of future ‘attenders” to The Journey. And I wonder how much criticism Darrin and The Journey will face from fellow Christians? Anyhow, interesting article that I’m sure will stir up some commotion, good and bad.

I for one think it’s cool that they (Journey) are going to the community and connecting  on a natural level and this is the biggest reason I will stay away from denominations when I plant another church.

HT: Steve McCoy



  1. Where does the church (globally) draw the line between “blending” and being “relevant” the culture and being a holy nation set apart? I think alcohol is fine. I indulge in the occasional glass of wine or mixed drink. And, I’m fine being in a church group and having a beverage of the sort. I just wonder how a church sets clear boundaries, and if their message of moderation is clear. But, here’s my question. If marijauna was legal, would the church find a way to condone it? If a church planted in Denmark decided to have meetings where ‘seekers’ could pass a joint would it be justified in the name of being relevant to the culture? Because, physiologically mj is less damaging than alcohol in moderation … just a thought. I know there’s a fine line between legalism and liberalism, but often times I wonder if the line is as fine to our Father.

  2. Good questions, and ones that need to be wrestled with in each individual community as they come across them. There really is no way for one communities local struggles to dictate the way another community will handle them. My approach to alchohol here in the south will be different than someone in the north, though our final basis of celebrating God’s goodness does not change.

    When our former community was wrestling with these same issues, Kenneth Gentry’s “God Gave Wine” was a great resource for me and continues to be till this day. Instead of asking if it is alright to drink and proof-texting certain “abstinence” passages, he takes a holistic view of the Scriptures to uncover the underlying message about God’s view of celebration as well as self-control.

  3. Ya, I think this is a complicated issue for sure. A few things:

    -Not sure if we modern Christians really understand how much “beer & the bible” has been apart of the historical church.

    -We have to be careful not to added extra “biblical” assumptions. For some reason we assume that drinking, smoking, secular movies & music are less holy. Which can add to legalism.

    No easy answer for sure.

  4. as far as a historcal look at the role of “gluttons and drunkards” in the church, the Jim West book, “Drinking with Calvin and Luther” is both historical and hysterical. it shows how calvin, luther and other reformers allowed themselves to partake in “holy drink” unto the glory of God. one of my favorite quotes is from Luther, even though I just can’t seem to bring myself to agree with his stance on the second part. Too much duality for me.

    “It is fitting to think of God in the ale house, but never of ale in the house of God.”

  5. I have a hard time thinking of this as a bad thing…this church is going to where the people who need Christ are at. Folks may not agree with it…but, as previously mentioned, people didn’t always agree with Christ and his hanging out with sinners either.

    I appreciate Christians who will take the kind of heat this church is taking in their reaching out to people.

  6. Drinking Beer and Weaker Brothers

    All Bible believing Christians agree that drunkenness is a sin.
    The Bible is abundantly clear that drunkenness is a sin (Deut. 21:20; Eccl. 10:17; Matt. 24:29; Lk. 12:45;
    21:34; Rom. 13:13; I Cor. 5:11; Eph. 5:18; I Pet. 4:3). The matter is so serious that no priest was to drink
    alcohol while performing their duties (Lev. 10:9; Ez. 44:21), though they could consume while not
    working (Num. 18:12, 27, 30), no king was to drink while judging law (Pr. 31:4-5), an elder/pastor cannot
    be a drunkard (I Tim. 3:3; Tit. 1:7), and that no drunkard will inherit the kingdom of God (I Cor. 6:10;
    Galatians 5:21). Sins associated with drunkenness include incest (Gen. 19:32-35), violence (Pr. 4:17);
    adultery (Rev. 17:2); mockery and brawling (Prov. 20:1); poverty (Prov. 21:17); late night and early
    morning drinking (Isa. 5:11-12); hallucinations (Isa. 28:7); legendary antics (Isa. 5:22); murder (2 Sam.
    11:13), gluttony and poverty (Prov. 23:20-21); vomiting (Jer. 25:27, 48:26; Isa. 19:14); staggering (Jer.
    25:27; Ps. 107:27; Job 12:25); madness (Jer. 51:7), loudness combined with laughter and then prolonged
    sleep (Jer. 51:39); nakedness (Hab. 2:15; Lam. 4:21); sloth (Joel 1:5); escapism (Hosea 4:11); depression
    (Lk. 21:34); and staying up all night (I Thess. 5:7).

    The wine spoken of in the Scripture is not watered down and devoid of most of its alcohol content.
    There is a strand of teaching in some Christian circles that argue that such terms as new wine and mixed
    wine in the Bible speak of non-alcoholic wine. But, new wine can still intoxicate according to Scripture
    (Isa. 24:7; Hosea 4:11; Joel 1:5), and mixed wine refers to special wines where various wines are mixed
    together and/or mixed with spices and does not refer to wine cut with water (Psalm 75:8, Song of Songs
    8:2). God refers to pouring out the wine of His mixed wine on His enemies which does not mean He will
    dilute justice (Psalm. 75:8). The only time such a practice is mentioned in the Bible is in regards to
    merchants who cut wine with to rob customers (Isa. 1:22). The Bible speaks of grape juice (Num. 6:3)
    and if God meant to speak of non-alcoholic wine he would have used that word to avoid confusion. Good
    Scriptural exegesis refutes this whole line of argument.

    There seem to be three main positions that Bible-believing Christians take in regard to alcohol:
    prohibitionist, abstentionist and moderationist.
    Prohibitionists teach that all drinking is a sin and that alcohol itself is an evil.
    Citing real statistics about drunk-driving deaths and family dysfunction, prohibitionists see alcohol as the
    devil’s brew. They see alcohol as vile as pornography and stealing: it is always wrong. While there is
    much merit in understanding the problem alcohol has caused our society, we must go back to the
    Scripture to see if God views alcohol in this way.

    • Psalm 104:14-15 He [God] makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate-bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man…

    In these verses God says that he gave wine to make our hearts glad. God gave wine, not the devil. The Psalms are simply songs of worship to God. The sense from these verses then, is that alcohol can be used not only an honorable way, but the most honorable way: Worship to the God who gives good things to His kids.
    • John 2:1-11 is clear that Jesus’ first miracle was turning over 100 gallons of water into wine at a wedding party .

    This verse is especially troubling because it appears that the wedding party was already “half-lit” when Jesus performed this miracle. If alcohol is evil, how do we deal with the Son of God miraculously creating it from water?
    • Matthew 11:19 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.” ‘ But wisdom is proved right by her actions.”

    In a drunken and depraved culture not unlike our own, Jesus drank alcohol. He feasted on good food. He went to parties, hung out with prostitutes, and in doing so annoyed religious leaders. He never equated the proper use of alcohol with evil.
    Prohibitionists stay safe with their doctrine about alcohol being evil, and thus do not experience
    the dangers of alcohol. However, this position does not seem to square with Scripture.

    Abstentionists teach that drinking is not sinful, but that all Christians should avoid drinking out of love for others and a desire to not cause anyone to stumble.
    • Hosea 2:8 She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold-which they used for Baal.

    This verse seems to indicate that God gives food, wine and silver and God to be used for worship. The temptation in Hosea’s day, as it is for ours, is to take what God has given and worship it or use it to worship ourselves.
    • Matthew 11:19 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.” ‘ But wisdom is proved right by her actions.”

    In a culture of alcohol abuse, Jesus didn’t seem to worry about causing others to stumble when he drank. We know that every choice Jesus made on the earth was based on his mission to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). As I read the gospels, it seemed like Christ’s choice to go to parties, eat rich food and drink alcohol formed a bridge between him and the lost, not a barrier: “wisdom is proved right by her actions”. Could it be the same in many of the cultures in which we live?
    • I Tim. 4:1-5 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything

    God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
    The most dangerous enemy to our relationship with Christ is legalism. Legalism in a salvific sense is most often defined in the New Testament as “basing any of your standing before God (your righteousness) on something you do or don’t do.” Legalism in a social sense is being stricter than God about what He commands and permits. The Scripture gives us stern warning to not fall into the trap of legalism (Acts 15:10-11, Galatians 5:1, Titus 1:10-11).
    • I Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

    The issue is not what we eat and drink but why we eat and drink. Are we gluttons? Do
    we eat to feel better or because we are bored? Do we drink to escape problems or to
    morph into some alter-ego? Everything we do, from working to sleeping, should be done
    with a view of glorifying God.
    Abstentionists are right in their desire to not cause anyone to stumble. Romans 14 and 1
    Corinthians 10 warn us against using personal freedom in a way that hurts others. However, it
    seems like this position goes further than God has in its strictness and infringes upon the freedom
    that God has promised His children in His Word.

    Moderationists teach that drinking is not a sin and that Christian conscience must guide each person.
    I think these verses speak for themselves and so I will refrain from comment on most of them.
    • Wine is spoken of as both good and bad in the same verses (I Samuel 1:14, 24; 25:18, 37;
    Joel 1:5,10).
    • Apart from good feasting, alcohol in Scripture is rightly used for communion (Matt.
    26:29; Mk. 14:25; Lk. 22:18), medicinal purposes (Prov. 31:6; I Timothy 5:23), and O.T worship (Num. 28:14).
    • Proverbs 3:9-10 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
    • Ecclesiastes 9:7 Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart..
    • Psalm 104:14-15 He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate-bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.
    • Deut. 14:26 Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice.

    Drinking alcohol is equated with worship most of the time in the Bible. We see it in Psalms and here in Deuteronomy. We even see it in communion, the most sacred meal for Christ-followers.

    • Romans 14:1-15:2 This whole discussion falls into the realm of the weaker brother principle found in this text. Careful exegesis is the only way to resolve issues like this.
    In this text there are several principles that can be applied to the issue of drinking alcohol:
    1. In the text there is a specific weaker brother, not someone whom you don’t know that might be annoyed (Romans 14:1). One of the arguments for making a law against drinking alcohol is that if someone who is unknown by a Christian sees that Christian drinking in public, he might be offended. This argument gets ridiculous when played out with other issues. For instance, what if a vegetarian with strong convictions about not eating meat sees another Christian eating a steak and gets offended? Should that Christian not enjoy a nice steak in a nice restaurant? Of course not, because the Bible is clear that eating all kinds of meat is permissible (Mark 7:19). Many Christians in the name of “abstaining from every appearance of evil” say that any Christian should not do anything that might be interpreted as “an appearance of evil.” First of all, that interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 5:21 is not accurate. The context of abstaining for the appearance of evil is in regard to testing someone who stands up in church and claims to be speaking from God by prophetic utterance. There is no mention of any social issues in the context. With that aside, the whole line of reasoning sets up the potential for great legalism. Why? Because I know people who get annoyed at a variety of things. I know people who refuse to wear name-brand clothing and look with disdain at those who do. I know people who think with the “appearance of evil argument” that going to questionable movies (and they get to decide what questionable is) is wrong. There are people who won’t go into restaurants if they allow smoking (most of them live in California). This argument about not drinking alcohol because of offending a random person, when played out, infringes on the freedom God has given us as followers of Christ.
    2. The text says that a Christian’s conscience guides their personal behavior, not another’s conscience (Romans 14:5). In the context, weaker people (those who get offended at eating meat) are not allowed to tell the strong people (those who have freedom to eat meat) how to live. And vice-versa. About, neutral, non-moral issues, there is freedom. That freedom must be protected whether you are the weaker or stronger brother or sister. Paul says it this way in similar context to our text, “why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? If I partake (of meat) with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks? Whether then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:29-31). Abstaining from one’s freedom to honor another’s conscience is something a Christian does out of love. It is not something that can be demanded by someone with differing preferences about neutral, non-moral issues.
    3. The word stumble has the idea of causing someone to sin, not just be annoyed (Romans 14:21). I am annoyed at many things: people who don’t like baseball, Christian bookstores and cats. But none of these things cause me to sin. The word ‘stumble’ which is used in our text, is the Greek word Skandalon which means to set a trap for someone to fall. There is a difference in causing someone to stumble (laying a trap for them to sin) and annoying someone (violating their personal preferences). An example of both of these would be if several married couples were together at a house and they were being affectionate with one another. Now, there is no sin in

    this, right? However, there happens to be a man there who is single and just had his engagement broken off by his fiancé. If the couples knew his condition and continue to be affectionate, are they causing him to stumble? Probably! Should they be sensitive and refrain from displaying overt affection in this man’s presence until he gets over his grief about the broken engagement? Definitely! What if (which is true by the way) I am annoyed at most public displays of affection? Should other Christians across the world stop being appropriately affectionate in public because they read this article? I say no, because I am not being led into sin because of that behavior. I am simply annoyed because of my personal preference.

    4. Sometimes preferences are cultural rooted. I have a Korean friend who planted a church in Los Angelas. One time he was eating a meal with several Americans on his left and several Koreans on his right. One of the Americans innocently blew his nose at the table, which greatly disturbed the Koreans because blowing your nose at the table in Korean culture is considered rude. Then a few minutes later, after the meal, a Korean burped loudly which in Korea is a sign that you have enjoyed the meal thoroughly. Well, all of the Americans were shocked and disgusted at the loud belch.
    The question is who sinned? Perhaps both did in a cultural way, but not in a
    way that led anyone to sin. We must learn the difference between cultural
    preference and causing someone to stumble into sin

    5. Romans was written to the whole church at Rome, including its leaders (Romans 1:7, Romans 16:1-15). The point is that Paul doesn’t seem to give a different standard for how pastors or leaders deal with non-moral, personal freedom issues. And we know from other pertinent texts on the qualifications of being an elder (1 Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7) that the issue is not the drinking of alcohol, but addiction to alcohol.

    We believe the moderationist position is the most favored position because it seems to me to be
    the most in line with the whole of Scripture. It respects the tension in the Scripture and honors
    the conscience of individual believers. We believe that in many cultures in the world alcohol is
    indeed a bridge to ministry and not a barrier. Just like with all other elements in culture we must
    partake carefully with a view to redeem what is in need of redemption. Could it be that rightly
    consuming alcohol is not only a great way to worship the God who gives all good things to his
    kids, but also a powerful way to connect with our friends around us who need to know Christ?

  7. Dan,

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Good stuff man.

  8. I am a member of The Journey in St. Louis and have gotten to know Darrin Patrick well. One of the things the article fails to mention clearly is that this is one meeting each month that takes place in a local pub. The topics vary and are quite interesting such as: stem cell debate, secular music and the church, and politics. I have a degree from a conservative seminary. I realize that some of the so-called “emerging churches” are failing to hold to Biblical truths. The Journey is not one of them. Each sermon is relevant, practical and always Biblically-based. Darrin is quite direct in stating the Gospel in each sermon. The congregation is not left wondering about any type of relativism when it comes to the Word of God. This is a sound, balanced church with a congregation of highly educated, intelligent, mature Christians. What I love most about The Journey is the freedom to be real before God. There is never a doubt that God is Holy and that we should never assume a relaxed, apathetic, self-serving or heretical view of God. However, I am blessed to be part of of community of believers that desperately desire to live out the Kingdom of God in this life. By reaching out to the poor, the broken, the addict, the unbeliever who is searching, and crossing all races/cultures, I have found a small subset in my local church of what the church univeral is all about. It is painful to see so many critics of the “emerging church” when there is so much diversity among each individual emerging church. For any conservative, evangelical Christian, I would highly recommend taking a look at a church like The Journey. She may be surprised to find a freedom from legalism and a newfound appreciation for the love and pursuit of Jesus for her.

  9. Leslie,

    I agree with your thoughts. Although I do come out of the so-called “emerging church.” I know many from A29 and the reformed faith in general get frustrated with being tagged “emerging church.”

    I hope somehow God will get glory out of this situation and the Kingdom of God will be able to move forward and bring the light and hope of Jesus.

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2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. By Beer & The Bible PT 2 « Simply Missional on 02 Feb 2007 at 10:34 pm

    […] Fri 2 Feb 2007 Beer & The Bible PT 2 Posted by chrismarlow under Culture , Church  Darrin Patrick does an interview about the article the St. Louis Dispatch did on The Journey Church and Darrin Patrick titles “Beer & The Bible.” To read the backstory click here. […]

  2. By Culture.Christ.Church « Simply Missional on 07 Feb 2007 at 8:08 am

    […] Posted by chrismarlow under Culture , Church  A few weeks ago I posted an article on Beer & The Bible. Basically the St Louis Dispatch wrote about how folks from The Journey Church hang out once a […]

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