Now, About Those Differences, Part Nine

NickOfTimeRead Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, and Part 8.

Assessing the Worldliness

How different are fundamentalists from conservative evangelicals? We have now examined two answers to that question. The first answer had to do with dispensationalism. We concluded that, although fundamentalism has a higher percentage of dispensationalists, this difference creates no greater tension between the two groups than it does within each group.

The second difference that we examined was the putative legalism of fundamentalists (according to evangelicals) and the supposed worldliness of evangelicals (according to fundamentalists). We have tried to discover what these accusations mean. Our working hypothesis includes the following factors. First, fundamentalists tend to observe certain revivalist taboos more frequently than evangelicals. Second, fundamentalists are more reluctant to adopt the accouterments of the counterculture that emerged during the 1960s. Third, fundamentalists are more likely to accept second-premise arguments when the extra-scriptural premise relies upon a judgment. Fourth, evangelicals tend to employ more recent versions of popular culture in their church life, while fundamentalists tend to hang on to older and now obsolete manifestations of popular culture.

Of course, these are generalizations to which plenty of exceptions can be found on either side. Furthermore, as generalizations, they are less likely to be typical of conservative evangelicals than of some other evangelicals. Nevertheless, these differences remain noticeable between fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals.

How much does any of this matter? Maybe there is a difference, but is the difference really sufficient to separate conservative evangelicals from fundamentalists? To answer that question, let me report three episodes.

Episode one occurs in a doctoral classroom of a major evangelical seminary. The professor has just been asked whether he is willing to restrict his liberty for the sake of those who believe that consuming alcohol is a sin. He replies, “I won’t choose to drink around people if I know that it makes them uncomfortable, but if they tell me that I can’t, I’ll drink a glass of port in front of them just to show them that I can do it. And of course, in Europe, all bets are off.”

Episode two occurs in an outdoor restaurant. Several evangelical theologians are seated at a table. They order drinks before their meal. Then they order some more. After their meal is served, they order still more drinks. They are growing raucous enough that other diners are beginning to glance over their shoulders. One of the theologians slurs out, “Say—how do we know when we’ve gone from drinking in moderation to being drunk?” Another makes reference to the teaching of an obscure catechism and explains that you aren’t drunk if you don’t vomit within twenty-four hours. The only one who doesn’t drink is chosen as the designated driver.

Episode three occurs outside a nice home. Several men are seated on the deck. Each of them is a patriarchal “pastor” of his Christian Reconstructionist house church. As the women serve, one of the men bellows, “Beer me!” The others echo the phrase, and the women dutifully produce bottles of fresh brew.

None of these episodes is fictional. They all occurred in the context of conservative evangelicalism. The professor in the first story is a major conservative evangelical spokesman. The theologians in the second story were the founders of a significant conservative evangelical alliance. The patriarchs in the third story may be people you have never heard of, but they are really out there. In plenty of places.

Now, can anyone imagine any of these scenes occurring in a group of fundamentalist leaders? No? Neither can I.

To be sure, not all conservative evangelicals drink booze. But these do. And what they do is tolerated in the name of Christian liberty—as if somehow Christians have liberty to engage in one of the most destructive practices that humans have ever invented. How much should a Christian drink? Here’s a hint: the same number of drinks that it takes to make you a better driver is exactly the number it takes to make you a better Christian, too.

Of course, I am tipping my hand here. I do not think that the so-called “revivalistic taboos” are necessarily just for revivalists—at least not all of them. Take social dancing—I have absolutely no desire to see my wife swept around the room in the arms of another man. When my daughter was in my home, I had absolutely no desire to see her bouncing and flouncing with some undisciplined adolescent whose hormones were barely under control. The waltz, the fox-trot, the tango, the samba, the rhumba, the Charleston, the jitterbug, the twist, the frog, the monkey, the funky chicken: whatever the name and whatever the style, modern social dancing is all about sex.

Nor do I think that fundamentalists were wrong to reject the symbols of a defiant counterculture. I do not think that we are wrong to raise serious objections to adopting the accouterments of anti-Christian or anti-moral social movements today. Let me put it bluntly: Christians have no business looking like Goths, Rastas, gangstas, one-percenters, or metalheads, any more than they have any business looking like transvestites or Nazis.

We should not wear the symbols of those movements for the same reason that we should not wear a fur coat in the woods during deer season. There is nothing immoral about the coat. We simply do not wish to be mistaken for something that is about to be shot.

I know, I know. Guys who wear suits can be just as worldly as guys who wear piercings. They can embezzle money, for example, or cheat on their wives. True!, but suits were not invented to advertise the defiance of property rights or marital vows.

This is not quantum mechanics. This stuff is obvious. It is so obvious that I have to wonder about somebody who can’t seem to get it. Why should a person who wants to wear the Devil’s uniforme du jour have the right to pontificate about Christian liberty? If you want to challenge me about patriotism, then take off your swastika first. If you want to lecture me about Christian liberty, then remove your piercings.

One of the first questions we need to learn to ask is, “What does that mean?” Fundamentalists do not ask this question nearly as often as they ought to, but they do ask it more than other evangelicals do—including, in many instances, conservative evangelicals. Before we adopt a trend, we need to know what it means.

Christian liberty is important. The last thing we need, however, is for Christian liberty to be defined by people who are looking for loopholes. Too often, many fundamentalists and more evangelicals are doing just that.

In sum, this is one of the differences between fundamentalists (in general) and conservative evangelicals (in general). With respect to this difference, neither fundamentalists nor evangelicals are always right. Fundamentalists, however, are right more often than other evangelicals are. And I think it matters.

A Fourfold Exercise for the Believer in His Lodging on Earth (Part 1)
Ralph Erskine (1685-1752)

The HOLY LAW: or, The Ten Commandments, Exod. xx. 3—17.

1. No God but me thou shalt adore.
2. No image frame to bow before.
3. My holy name take not in vain.
4. My sacred Sabbath don’t profane.
5. To parents render due respect.
6. All murder shun, and malice check.
7. From filth and bunnydom base abstain,
8. From theft and all unlawful gain.
9. False witness flee, and sland’ring spite.
10. Nor covet what’s thy neighbour’s right.

II. The UNHOLY HEART, the direct opposite to God’s holy and righteous Law, Rom. vii. 14. Or, The Knowledge of Sin by the Law, Rom. iii. 20.

1. My heart’s to many gods a slave.
2. Of imag’ry an hideous cave.
3. An hoard of God-dishon’ring crimes.
4. A waster base of holy times.
5. A throne of pride and self-conceit.
6. A slaughter-house of wrath and hate.
7. A cage of birds and thoughts unclean.
8. A den of thieves and frauds unseen.
9. An heap of calumnies unspent.
10. A gulph of greed and discontent.


This essay is by Dr. Kevin T. Bauder, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary (Plymouth, MN). Not every professor, student, or alumnus of Central Seminary necessarily agrees with every opinion that it expresses.

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There are 64 Comments

AndrewSuttles's picture

Susan/Chip -

I'm not defending alcohol. Susan, you say that there is Scriptural proof that alcohol consumption is wrong in any circumstance (how do you justify this in light of 1 Tim 5:23 and John 2?) - if that is true, why doesn't Bauder use any Scripture in his piece? You seem to be saying that the article is about differences between Evangelicals and Fundys - OK, but what is the difference? Where are the statistics? Who does Bauder quote? I think we both understand that alcohol consumption is not widely accepted in Evangelicalism (whatever that is). I think a seminary president could do a little better than second-hand anecdotes and cheap snipes - especially when they don't truly characterize, but rather defame.

Quote:
And foolishness is sin.

So is a lot of the college football hysteria and overt patriotism found in many Fundy churches.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

AndrewSuttles wrote:
Susan/Chip -

I'm not defending alcohol. Susan, you say that there is Scriptural proof that alcohol consumption is wrong in any circumstance (how do you justify this in light of 1 Tim 5:23 and John 2?) - if that is true, why doesn't Bauder use any Scripture in his piece?


I didn't say that- I said there are specific warnings in Scripture about alcohol consumption, while there are none about fried chicken. There are inherent problems with alcohol because it has the ability to impair judgment, and while I've seen some insanity surrounding fried chicken, the chicken wasn't the cause. Wink I didn't think Dr. Bauder was sniping, cheaply or otherwise.
from the article wrote:
One of the first questions we need to learn to ask is, “What does that mean?” Fundamentalists do not ask this question nearly as often as they ought to, but they do ask it more than other evangelicals do—including, in many instances, conservative evangelicals. Before we adopt a trend, we need to know what it means.

Christian liberty is important. The last thing we need, however, is for Christian liberty to be defined by people who are looking for loopholes. Too often, many fundamentalists and more evangelicals are doing just that.


I agree that this is a major difference between evangelicalism and Fundamentalism (speaking in generalities here, which is how the article is presented, so citing specifics doesn't negate the thrust of the basic premise). Fundies tend to prowl the fence looking for weaknesses so they can blast anything trying to come through with a flamethrower. Evangelicals tend to prowl the fence armed with bolt-cutters and rib-eye steaks tied around their necks. Who's more likely to get eaten by wolves? Fundies may be guilty of overkill, but if i have to choose an extreme, I'm going to stick with the guys who are fully armed and dangerous. Biggrin

But don't get me wrong here- I'm all about looking for the right balance of pursuing righteousness and enjoying liberty. Dr. Bauder is IMO illustrating the tendencies of each group by exploring their extremes.

Susan R wrote:
And foolishness is sin.

AndrewSuttles wrote:
So is a lot of the college football hysteria and overt patriotism found in many Fundy churches.

See- I was going to make a crack about foolishness and football, but I decided to play nice this morning. Bleah

Bob Hayton's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:
I second Susan's warning not to miss the point, part of which addresses Andrew's post. Andrew, certainly there are sex scandals in Fundmanetal churches. However, they are sadly found in broader evangelical circles as well. However, the annecdotes from broader evangelicalsim that KB used are not widely found in Fundamental circles. There is a reason for this. This is, I believe, the direction Bauder was pointing. Don't miss the forest for the trees.

I would caution against saying the sex scandals are found equally in broader evangelical circles. There sure have been boat loads of the worst imaginable sex scandals coming from the extreme fundamentalist circles. Perhaps in some fringe Pentecostal legalistic groups you may encounter the same frequency of abuse. And of course the RCC celibate rule lends toward problems with their clergy.

If we can conclude "There is a reason for this" about drinking stories being more common in evangelical circles, we should legitimately be able to conclude something about the reasons for the greater occurrence rate of sex scandals in ultra fundamentalist groups.

Additionally, you are more likely to be spiritually abused by pastoral authority run wild among fundmentalist (and some fringe evangelical groups) churches. Once again, we could read into this if we want to.

Andrew and others are questioning the right we have to "read into" a supposed greater frequency of alcohol abuse among conservative evangelicals than fundamentalists.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Bob Hayton wrote:
Andrew and others are questioning the right we have to "read into" a supposed greater frequency of alcohol abuse among conservative evangelicals than fundamentalists.

When I read this sentence, my first thought was that there isn't an accusation of a greater frequency of alcohol abuse per se, but a more lackadaisical attitude about alcohol abuse. I've never seen a die-hard Fundy dismiss alcohol's potential for impairment, but I have seen evangelicals brush it off with "It's OK in moderation" while being unable to define 'moderation' in relation to alcohol. Which is how I read the "How much should a Christian drink? Here’s a hint: the same number of drinks that it takes to make you a better driver is exactly the number it takes to make you a better Christian, too." comment.

I think it's fair to say we are all 'reading into' the OP and each other's posts based on our own experiences and beliefs... which is IMO pretty much unavoidable... so as long as we aren't gettin' all hostile about it, it's actually a good thing to view this topic from a variety of perspectives.

MShep2's picture

Susan R wrote:
Bob Hayton wrote:
Andrew and others are questioning the right we have to "read into" a supposed greater frequency of alcohol abuse among conservative evangelicals than fundamentalists.

When I read this sentence, my first thought was that there isn't an accusation of a greater frequency of alcohol abuse per se, but a more lackadaisical attitude about alcohol abuse. I've never seen a die-hard Fundy dismiss alcohol's potential for impairment, but I have seen evangelicals brush it off with "It's OK in moderation" while being unable to define 'moderation' in relation to alcohol. Which is how I read the "How much should a Christian drink? Here’s a hint: the same number of drinks that it takes to make you a better driver is exactly the number it takes to make you a better Christian, too." comment.

I think it's fair to say we are all 'reading into' the OP and each other's posts based on our own experiences and beliefs... which is IMO pretty much unavoidable... so as long as we aren't gettin' all hostile about it, it's actually a good thing to view this topic from a variety of perspectives.

I too read this attitude being the point of Bauder's examples about alcohol. It's not that we can't find problems with alcohol in any circles but the examples given are of those who are leaders (a professor, theologians and pastors) who by their actions don't seem to have any problem with alcohol - even with its abuse or overuse - and flaunt their "liberty."
Bob Hayton wrote:
I would caution against saying the sex scandals are found equally in broader evangelical circles. There sure have been boat loads of the worst imaginable sex scandals coming from the extreme fundamentalist circles. Perhaps in some fringe Pentecostal legalistic groups you may encounter the same frequency of abuse.
Two problems with this: first, I am assuming you are using hyperbole - but I still question if the undefined "boatloads" is true. Second, you seem to connect legalism with "sex scandals" or "abuse." I doubt if there is a direct correlation - especially if you look at the overall statistics. While sex scandals make the biggest headlines when they are related to "religious" organizations, there are far more cases that take place in the secular world (schools, clubs, business, etc.).

MS
--------------------------------
Luke 17:10

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Y'all, sex scandals have nothing to do with Kevin's essay or this thread.

AndrewSuttles wrote:
The article says nothing, does not advance the argument, and again, uses no scripture. The basis of the argument is 3 second hand gossips - makes me wonder whether Bauder had a point to make, or wrapped an article around these second hand stories.

How do you know they are second hand?

But again, the piece is not about alcohol. Rather alcohol is an example of one of the points the piece is about.

I remember seeing a series on PBS back in the 80's called "The Body Human." One episode talked about how the greater concentration of nerve endings in different parts of our body result in the perception of greater size. And they had made a human figure proportioned to our nerve based perception... very large lips and hands for example.
It seems like whenever something posts in which strong opinions are expressed on sensitive matters, all people see are the three paragraphs or three sentences or whatever and miss the argument.
(But I also have to say that I suspect Kevin knew this would happen and is laughing at us a bit Biggrin )

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Don Johnson's picture

AndrewSuttles wrote:
I think we both understand that alcohol consumption is not widely accepted in Evangelicalism (whatever that is). I think a seminary president could do a little better than second-hand anecdotes and cheap snipes - especially when they don't truly characterize, but rather defame.

You made a similar point in your earlier comment, that alcohol consumption isn't prevalent in Evangelicalism. But you can't even define Evangelicalism, as you admit with your "whatever that is". That would tend to make your broad-brushed assertion meaningless. But beyond that you give no hard data to back up your claim. It seems that your claim is based on your own experience which is really anecdotal evidence. From my observation of evangelicals (limited mostly to our specific area) most of them allow alcohol consumption "in moderation" and a significant proportion of them imbibe. But what does that prove? I would guess you have little more evidence to back your claim than you say Bauder has to back his.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

AndrewSuttles's picture

Mr. Blummer, you said -

Quote:
How do you know they are second hand?

What are you accusing Dr. Bauder of? These men are Evangelicals! Are you stating that Dr. Bauder does not separate from Evangelicals? If he does, this is second hand. If he does not, he is in the same camp as them.

AndrewSuttles's picture

Don -

Quote:
But you can't even define Evangelicalism...

It's not my series. I referred to Evangelicalism as being (whatever that is), meaning, I'm not exactly sure what Bauder means when he says it. I assume he means - everyone who is not in 'my group'. I commented early on in this series that in the end it would all amount to a 'who is on my team' philosophy and I don't see this series deviating from that.

I'm not sure what Bauder means by Conservative Evangelical, either, but I will take a stab at it by saying Southern Baptist Convention and John MacArthur. I searched the internet for statements by the big name SBC seminary presidents and I find Mohler stating he is against alcohol and that the pastor who drink will be shut out of 99% (his number) of pulpits. He mentions that the convention is officially against drinking. I find that Danny Akin and Paige Patterson have made similar statement. The other big name Evangelical seminary is DTS. I can't find any information about the president, but the school does not permit alcohol. MacArthur is strongly against alcohol, also, as far as I can tell by surfing around. Incidently, I don't know where Piper stands, but he is public on the fact that he does not personally drink.

So, to say alcohol is winked at in most Evangelical churches seems like a stretch. What then is Evangelicalism to Bauder? Liberalism - Fuller, etc.? Mark Driscol?

As far as the anecdotal evidence goes, yes you are right. I am pitting my anecdotal evidence against you and Bauder. For a couple brief periods during my childhood, my family moved from an IFB church to an SBC one and never was there any hint at anything other than total abstinence from alcohol. When I left the IFB movement for good 2 years ago and started visiting other churches in my area, I never observed anything close to the defamation described here.

Steve Davis's picture

I'm late getting on the post but I can't pass up Kevin's comment on social dancing - "whatever the name and whatever the style, modern social dancing is all about sex." Really? I don't know half the dances he mentions (and wonder how he does Smile but I don't think he's been on a good ole line dance recently. Last time I looked (or danced) it's pretty much you and yourself (of course with lots of others). Last night at National Night Out Against Crime there was a community line dance. It's fun and good exercise. Also we just had a wedding where the father danced with his daughter. I think I know what Kevin wants to say but really goes overboard here and takes whatever "fun" there might be out of fundamentalism.

Joel Shaffer's picture

Don,

I do think that Andrew's point about the Southern Baptists as conservative evangelicals and that the vast majority of their leadership takes stands against drinking does have merit. It demonstrates that maybe a large portion of the conservative evangelicals are closer to fundy thinking when it comes social drinking and that these 3 illustrations are more or less strawmen.

Philip's picture

God's Law must be our rule for morality, and that Law is quite clear: if on moral grounds you seek to regulate diet in extrabiblical ways, then you need to read 1 Tim. 4:1-5. On Paul's inspired testimony, one who erects such extrabiblical moral regulations has begun to depart from the faith, is giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, is speaking lies in hypocrisy, and is having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.

It's not worth it.

There is one Lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy. Don't add to or subtract from his law; it's treason. If the Word of Christ commands anything, whether directly or by implication, then my duty to God is to obey. But if a man makes moral claims without grounding those claims in the Scriptures (whether directly or by implication), his soul is in peril.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

AndrewSuttles wrote:
What are you accusing Dr. Bauder of? These men are Evangelicals! Are you stating that Dr. Bauder does not separate from Evangelicals? If he does, this is second hand. If he does not, he is in the same camp as them.
You're kidding a little there, maybe? I don't think he's ever claimed to not eat at the same places as evangelicals or to have no contact with them at all. He's been a participant at various academic events with them many times. Got his PhD at an evangelical school.... DMin at a another.

Philip wrote:
or by implication
That's where the points of disagreement are. Nobody here's arguing that we have binding rules of life apart from the teaching of Scripture. But we all must apply Scripture to the choices we face and this involves drawing inferences on a regular basis. If you take a close look at http://sharperiron.org/article/now-about-those-differences-part-seven ]Part 7 in this series, Kevin explains the role of second premises and judgments. Very helpful stuff there.
(...also, Kevin's not talking about food)

Steve Davis wrote:
... and takes whatever "fun" there might be out of fundamentalism.
Somehow I've managed to enjoy life a good bit for 44 years without ever line dancing. How could this be?

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Steve Davis's picture

Steve Davis wrote:
... and takes whatever "fun" there might be out of fundamentalism.
Somehow I've managed to enjoy life a good bit for 44 years without ever line dancing. How could this be?[/quote]

Aaron,

I think you know it's not about line dancing. Besides you gotta have the moves for it. You do understand tongue-in-cheek. It's about making generalized statements that border on silly and which invite deserved ridicule from the critics of fundamentalists. Up to this last article I was tracking pretty well with Kevin. This last one was way out somewhere. I don't get it.

Steve

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Quote:
It's about making generalized statements that border on silly and which invite deserved ridicule from...
The same could be said of your generalization that Kevin was taking the fun out of fundamentalism. My point was just that finding an exception in line dancing (I personally doubt the exception given the sort of music likely to be involved nowadays) is not an effective answer to Kevin's assertion that modern dance has been completely corrupted as an art form in our culture.
I guess we'll find out when we get to glory what ridicule was "deserved."

But in fairness to you, Kevin did not make a serious attempt here to prove that social dancing has become "all about sex," he asserted it mentioned two scenarios (wife and daughter) to illustrate why he sees it that way, and declared it to be obvious.

Another odd thing about "things that are obvious to us" as human beings is that we do not know to not-see what we see. Constructing an argument is that much more challenging because we find it hard to understand why others do not see what we do.

As for this essay being "way out somewhere," I've explained the argument. A piece of writing is not "way out somewhere," just because it contains a couple of examples of a subpoint that folks don't happen to like. His point is completely valid that fundamentalists and mainstream evangelicals differ on the 'revivalist taboos' the use of second premise arguments and rejecting the counter culture. And his examples do indeed aptly illustrate why these differences have at least some results that are not trivial.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Dan Miller's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Philip wrote:
or by implication
That's where the points of disagreement are. Nobody here's arguing that we have binding rules of life apart from the teaching of Scripture. But we all must apply Scripture to the choices we face and this involves drawing inferences on a regular basis. If you take a close look at http://sharperiron.org/article/now-about-those-differences-part-seven ]Part 7 in this series, Kevin explains the role of second premises and judgments. Very helpful stuff there.
Aaron, that reminds me of one of something from this article:
Quote:
Third, fundamentalists are more likely to accept second-premise arguments when the extra-scriptural premise relies upon a judgment.
I do not think so. Everyone accepts second-premise arguments. Everyone. I think that this misunderstanding is why there was general agreement with previous Parts and then this one is rejected.

The difference between Fundy's and Con.Evos in this area is more like:
Con.Evo Perspective: Fundy's HOLD their second premise arguments, even though they are far-fetched and not made by Biblical writers.
Fundy Perspective: Con.Evos IGNORE clear Biblical principles and obvious second premises.

Dan Miller's picture

Quote:
... border on silly and which invite deserved ridicule ...
Careful not to despise your brother. Paul was so good in predicting the pitfalls!

dmicah's picture

For the Record,
The professor in question is DA Carson. Bauder's quote seems to mischaracterize Carson's public position. I heard him say this basic thing at the Gospel Coalition 2009. However, he actually used the word "teetotaler." He said he was a teetotaler in the United States to avoid the cultural baggage surrounding alcohol consumption so prevalent among Christians. He expressly stated his goal was to avoid offense of other believers. If you have heard this guy teach and preach, you know he is one of the most humble and understated guys in professional ministry. His comment about consuming a glass of port was said tongue in cheek and a theoretical response to someone who would claim it a sin.So Bauder's quote is basically factual, but somewhat prejudicial in its incompleteness.

This installment was delivered somewhat strangely. I fully agree with the concept that we should be very clear as to the reasons we adopt any activity that may cause disrepute on Christ or the Christian faith. In other words, you should know why you do what you do. Lack of clear thinking can affect fundies & CE's. Fundies avoid things b/c the pastor said to. CE's engage in things b/c they assume they can. Sweeping generalization i know, but somewhat accurate.

Steve Davis's picture

Dan Miller wrote:
Quote:
... border on silly and which invite deserved ridicule ...
Careful not to despise your brother. Paul was so good in predicting the pitfalls!

Are you serious? To opine that some statements border on silly is despising a brother. I have utmost respect for Kevin. Your statement borders on silly. I must be on the wrong thread.

Dan Miller's picture

Yeah, we have a brother who is speaking of his convictions.

The convictions of our scrupulous brothers will always seem wrong (if they seemed right, we'd have the conviction ourselves).

So the ridiculous-ness of the conviction is foreseen by the Apostle. And it's forbidden.

--=--=
I'm not saying we have to pretend that they make sense. I do think we should point out that we don't agree. I'm just saying that that we shouldn't get in the position where we hold that they deserve ridicule.

Jeff Brown's picture

As one who used to dance, but stopped, I have to say that Kevin has that point analyzed pretty much right. But don't credit him with taking the fun out of fundamentalism. Legalists like George Whitefield were way ahead of Kevin.

Jeff Brown

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Dan Miller wrote:
The difference between Fundy's and Con.Evos in this area is more like:
Con.Evo Perspective: Fundy's HOLD their second premise arguments, even though they are far-fetched and not made by Biblical writers.
Fundy Perspective: Con.Evos IGNORE clear Biblical principles and obvious second premises.

Not sure I get what you're saying here. No second premise arguments are "made by biblical writers." That's what a second premise argument is: you take a biblical principle about life, you look at life and make a judgment about it to relate it to the principle.

So are you saying that the Con.Evo perspective just doesn't get what second premise arguments are?

Got the Fundy Perspective pretty close though. In my own case, I' say "don't see many" instead of "ignore" (though I do think some ignoring goes on).

Jeff... can you link me to a good source for Whitefield "legalism" (I'm taking your use of the word as tongue in cheek there)? Maybe we need to post some "Weekly Whitefield" on Sundays at SI!

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Dan Miller's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Not sure I get what you're saying here. No second premise arguments are "made by biblical writers." That's what a second premise argument is: you take a biblical principle about life, you look at life and make a judgment about it to relate it to the principle.
I refer primarily to alcohol. There are indeed Biblical principles that must cause caution regarding alcohol. But the Biblical writers did not apply these to total abstinence (except Nazarites, which was a different basis). That is what I mean by writers who did not make the same second premise argument and application.
You can argue that the wine they drank was a lesser concentration (that doesn't make sense biologically, but people claim it's true). But clearly they were not total abstainers.

Quote:
So are you saying that the Con.Evo perspective just doesn't get what second premise arguments are?
No. ConEvos do make second premise applications. They just make different ones from the Fundies. Listen to Driscoll enough and you'll see that he makes a few and preaches them so as to make them appear that all believers everywhere must so apply.

Jim's picture

Am currently reading http://www.amazon.com/Last-Call-Rise-Fall-Prohibition/dp/0743277023/ref=... ]Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition . A fascinating book by the way!

The author was recently interviewed on the NY Times Freakonomics blog: http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/04/what-can-prohibition-te... (Comment ... the author has an agenda (clear from this interview ... but then again every author has an agenda!)

This quote from the above interview (also in the book!) was of interest to me:

Quote:
... one of the very few positive consequences of Prohibition was the reduction in drinking. There was a very steep reduction immediately after it went into effect, but even the ensuing years of speakeasies, bathtub gin, cross-border smuggling, and every other manner of law-breaking did not bring drinking back to pre-Prohibition levels. At the end of Prohibition, Americans were consuming approximately 70 percent as much alcohol as they had in 1914. (Demographic historians use that as a base year, as many states began to pass sharply restrictive liquor laws around that time.)

In fact, it wasn’t until 1973 that we returned to pre-Prohibition levels of alcohol consumption, and only a few years later the per capita consumption figure began to decline again. Even now, we’re only inching our way back to the 1914 high-water mark. (Or maybe I should call it the “high-alcohol mark”!)

One figure we’ll never reach again: [color=red ]the 7.5 gallons of absolute alcohol the average American drank in 1830 – the equivalent of 90 fifths of 80-proof liquor, or nearly three times as much as we consume today.[/color ]

The prohibition era characters and organizations are fascinating: Several:

The above wiki articles do not do justice to the depth of analysis in Okrent's book.

I did find this old image interesting - "the drunkard's progress"

[IMG ]http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb226/jrpeet/SharperIron/The_Drunkard... ]

It's a little hard to view but note that the drinker progresses from something fairly benign (left-most) to suicide (right most)

My guess is that in the pre-prohibition milieu where drink was so much more prevalent than today (quoted section in red above) and where men frequented saloons (that doubled as houses of prostitution!), and wives contracted syphilis from such unions, and where families were left destitute, that most of Sharper Iron would have been allied with the Anti-Saloon League.

Back to Brother Davis' comments earlier (re France): it strikes me that some cultures have a more mature view towards "the grape" (I'm thinking about France and Italy) and where drinking in moderation is more common than the American (the US) experience.

--- Updated ----------
My parents always had "a fifth" in the house. I can today visualize exactly where it was kept .. in a kitchen cabinet to the left of the sink!. My Father drank so infrequently and moderately that that fifth (a drink for him was a shot in a glass with water and ice) would last him for a year! Quite a contrast to the above (red) cited text)

Rob Fall's picture

in wine as served on the table in the NT was less than is served to day because the custom if not rule was for wine to be diluted with water.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Bob Hayton's picture

The dilution of wine was typically 3 to 1 or 4 to 1, per Robert Stein. That brings the alcoholic content down to about 3% -4% or so, some have said. This is actually equivalent to the content in the most widely sold beers. Stein's research is here: http://kingdomboundbooks.com/tmp/Article.pdf

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

AndrewSuttles's picture

Whatever the alcohol content of wine in the New Testament world was, it was enough that several authors warn against being drunk by it or being given to drinking too much of it.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Dan Miller wrote:
I refer primarily to alcohol. There are indeed Biblical principles that must cause caution regarding alcohol. But the Biblical writers did not apply these to total abstinence (except Nazarites, which was a different basis). That is what I mean by writers who did not make the same second premise argument and application.

Second premise arguments are always arguments not made by the biblical writers.
So if Driscoll can do it (as you say--I wouldn't know), fundamentalists can also. There is no reason to put alcohol in a special category. As conditions change, new second premise arguments will always have to be made. So the fact that the Scripture writers did not make the argument is neither here nor there.... it's really built into the definition.

But in the case of the essay, I think Kevin was identifying alcohol more as a case of "revivalist taboo" than second premise argument. Seems accurate though to say it is a case of both.
So if the Con. Evo. gripe w/fundamentalists is that they make 2nd premise arguments not made in Scripture, they are being very selective and in that complaint. None of their 2nd premise arguments are made in Scripture either.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Dan Miller's picture

I agree, Aaron. It's possible that you read more criticism than I intended.
Whenever somebody else makes an argument (application of Scripture) that I don't make, I'll tend to think they are going too far - beyond Scripture. If they get judgmental, then I'll have other reactions and conclude they are legalistic.
Whenever somebody fails to make an argument (application of Scripture) that I think is obvious, I'll see them as failing to apply Scripture.

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