Prohibition season

The Southern Baptist Convention is about to convene, so that means it's time for the prohibitionists (you know: because the SBC is relevant to what's happening today in the English-speaking world) to trot out their amazing and ever-inventive singular vision of moralism. And in that, my friend @hereiblog has engaged in some Twitter apologetics with a fellow who calls himself "SAGordon".

@SAGordon tweeted thus:

Which is a clever approach, right? The Bible offers some warnings about drinking alcohol, but since it never explicitly demands we drink alcohol, we should therefore never touch the stuff.

Clever, but completely wrong.

Are the only two modes of communication from God "command" and "forbid"? What if we tried to form up the Gospel in those terms -- would our prohibitionist (and mostly-anti-calvinist) brothers in Christ accept the definition of the Gospel "the command from God to believe and repent or be damned"? That sounds a lot less like the pleading Christ they champion than I suspect they would be comfortable with -- even if there's not a Calvinist in the universe who would bat an eye at such a definition.

And I say that to say this: while there is no command to drink alcohol in the Bible, there is this:
    Praise the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants.

    ... He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work. 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.

    ... How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.[from Psa 104]

Which is, of course, not a command to drink wine, right? It's a catalog of the exquisite provisions God has made upon this earth (including the place where we get the title of this blog, fwiw). And what do we find there among the things which the Psalmist exclaims are the works of YHVH which "in wisdom [He] made them all"? Yes: wine.

So it's not a command to drink it: it's an offer to receive it as a blessing. God is saying, "it's a good thing which I give you as a blessing from my wisdom. It's good like oil which you may use as a comfort, and bread to satisfy your hunger. I made it to make your heart happy -- I made it for your sake."

God may be King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but he's not completely emotionless. He's not a stony-faced despot who is only forbidding or commanding. He's also a father who blesses us, and has done things for our sake. Try to work that into your theology regarding good works sometime this month as you wrangle the evils of Calvinism.

And be with the Lord's people in the Lord's house on the Lord's day this weekend. And if you have wine at His table, know that it is because He said that it's a good thing which he made with you in mind.