Some are questioning the SBC's historic position of abstaining from alcohol

Baptists debate social drinking

Bob Allen & the Associated Baptist Press on “Alcohol Today: Abstinence in an Age of Indulgence” by Peter Lumpkins

I remain confident that once Southern Baptists become fully informed as to the magnitude of the problem before us concerning the lackadaisical attitude many SBC leaders possess on social drink acceptance among the rising elite within Southern Baptist sub-culture, an overwhelming ground-swell of resistance will become public. It is to that end I pray.

Peter Lumpkins’ book: Alcohol Today: Abstinence in an Age of Indulgence

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Jim's picture

Was Elijah Craig a Southern Baptist? ]Elijah Craig

Contemporary quote

“His preaching was of the most solemn style; his appearance as of a man who had just come from the dead; of a delicate habit, a thin visage, large eyes and mouth; the sweet melody of his voice, both in preaching and singing, bore all down before it.” Some Baptist sources say he sold out to the world, but “He possessed a mind extremely active and, as his whole property was expended in attempts to carry his plans to execution, he consequently died poor. If virtue consists in being useful to our fellow citizens, perhaps there were few more virtuous men than Mr. Craig.”

JobK's picture

Peter Lumpkins believes, incredibly, that there is this secret Calvinist conspiracy to take over the Southern Baptist Convention. Ironically, he fears that it may succeed because of the precedent - and the stealth tactics - used in the Conservative Resurgence that redirected the SBC from drifting into American denominational liberalism. So, Lumpkins is doing whatever he can to defame and discredit prominent - and not so prominent - Calvinists in the Southern Baptist Convention, with his chief targets being Al Mohler, Southern Seminary, Ed Stetzer (Lifeway), and in recent months the people who exposed Ergun Caner. It would be one thing if Lumpkins, an SBC pastor I might add, were restricting his methods to challenging the theology and professional/personal ethics of his targets. Instead, he relies on ridicule, mockery, outlandish statements, distortions, half-truths, etc. His line of thinking is that since Calvinists are using sneaky, secret underhanded tactics to take over the Southern Baptist Convention, then that justifies his tactics his propaganda campaign against the subversives. Except that he doesn't limit his attacks merely to those that he claims are trying to take over the SBC, but instead uses it as an excuse to attack all Calvinists, including many not in the SBC leadership and some not even in the SBC at all.

This particular brou-ha-ha erupted when Lumpkins posted a blog entry accusing Southern Seminary of being an environment that encouraged and was given over to drunken debauchery. When the Southern Seminary people found out, they were predictably outraged, and their own group of bloggers posted rejoinders, many of which reflected their anger, and some of them demanded apologies. Rather than apologizing (again, this is a guy who aggressively peddles the Ergun Caner defense and claims that those who exposed him were simply trying to destroy a future free will leader in the SBC) Lumpkins resorted to the "I really wasn't saying what you claim that I was saying" and "I was only using satire to make a point" and then the old bait and switch (or just switch) to say that the real issue wasn't his depiction of Southern Seminary as a "party school" but rather that certain leaders in the SBC were disseminating doctrines - and participating in practices - that deviated from the historic SBC stand on alcohol abstinence.

The rub is that despite the fact that the vast majority of the dissenters in the SBC on alcohol are free will Christians, Lumpkins just happened to only mention the Calvinist dissenters and Southern Seminary, along with the nefarious, conspiratorial innuendo about what the Calvinist subversives in the SBC are up to, and promoting alcohol in the SBC was part of their plan.

The worst part about this Lumpkins character is that if you go to his blog and post a reasoned counter argument to what he is doing, he will label you as a "trouble maker", "strife sower", "slanderer" etc. and delete your comments. But the angry, emotional, doctrinally suspect or logically flawed objections, those are the ones that he allows through so that he and his band of supporters can make sport of them with their "see how those Calvinists are!" banter.

While the issue of alcohol abstinence is a legitimate one, it wasn't why Lumpkins started it. Instead, his sole and entire motivation is to discredit Al Mohler. It is similar to how Lumpkins attempted to scuttle the nomination of Kevin Ezell to lead a prominent missionary/evangelistic organization in the SBC. He claimed that it was because of the lack of missionary giving by Ezell's church, but the real reason that he did not want to see a Calvinist - and a Mohler associate - to get a leadership post in the SBC. After his tactics (and those of not a few of his confederates) failed to prevent Ezell from being appointed to the post, Lumpkins didn't explicitly acknowledge his real motivations, but he did state "we might as well move the headquarters of the SBC from Nashville to Louisville" (where Mohler and Southern Seminary are located).

So, it appears that Lumpkins has gotten just what he wanted, which is a wider forum to use to attack Mohler and Southern Seminary. And that article quotes Tim Rogers, who helps run another blog similar to Lumpkins' and is one of his confederates in his "cause."

Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura

dmyers's picture

"Lumpkins is among Southern Baptists who view relaxed attitudes about social drinking as the biggest controversy facing the Southern Baptist Convention since the "conservative resurgence" debate over Scripture in the 1980s."

The questionable (highly questionable? non-existent? over-stated?) "doctrine" of abstinence from social drinking is exceeded in importance only by the doctrine of inerrancy? And/or exceeds in importance every other theological controversy that exists or has existed since the 1980's? This is such skewed thinking and such a rabbit trail for the Church compared to the true Gospel. It's a shame. If Lumkins' thinking about the relative importance of the issue is this skewed, how reliable can his exegesis be?

BTW, I'm a teetotaler, from a teetotaling family, raised in teetotaling churches, and currently in an SBC church where (thank God) I have no idea what the leadership's position is on this issue because they have more important things to preach and teach about.

peterlumpk's picture

While much of the content on this thread cries out for correction, I’m perfectly content with those interested to test the negative characterization given to my blog posts and alleged unwillingness to treat those who engage my pieces with even a hint of fairness. I believe such a query will soon demonstrate who has what agenda.

Thanks to Sharper Iron for making the link to ABP available.

With that, I am...

David R. Brumbelow's picture

First, I admit this post is over three years old and I don’t quite know the rules for committing at an old post.  But I just came across this post and read some of the vicious comments against Peter Lumpkins.  Apparently some profess to know his feelings and motivations.  Some who have never read his book, “Alcohol Today,” nevertheless seem to know all about it. 

Peter Lumpkins is respected by those within and without the SBC.  A great many go to his blog on a regular basis. 

One quick example of leaders who respect him are those who have endorsed his book, “Alcohol Today: Abstinence in an Age of Indulgence.” 

Those who have endorsed “Alcohol Today” include: 

Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC; Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX; John Sullivan, executive director of the Florida Baptist Convention; Roger Freeman, pastor of FBC, Clarksville, TN and past president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention; Robert L. Sumner, evangelist, author, and editor of the Biblical Evangelist; Hayes Wicker, pastor of FBC Naples, FL and former president of the SBC Pastor’s Conference and the Florida Baptist Convention; Evangelist Junior Hill, AL; Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, TX; Jim Richards, Executive Director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention; Brad Reynolds, professor at Truett-McConnell College, GA; Jimmy Draper, past president of LifeWay Christian Resources; O. S. Hawkins, president of Guidestone Financial Resources, SBC;

and the list could go on. 

Southern Baptists, Independent Baptists, and a host of others are using “Alcohol Today.”  Get it.  Read it for yourself.  Give it to others and to libraries.  You will acquire valuable information in this age of indulgence. 
David R. Brumbelow