Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Alcohol, Liberty, and Legalism

And here is John Piper, a teetotaller and an advocate of teetotalling, putting his young pastoral ministry on the line at Bethlehem Baptist Church in 1982 in order to argue against a provision requiring teetotalling for church membership
I want to hate what God hates and love what God loves.
And this I know beyond the shadow of a doubt: God hates legalism as much as he hates alcoholism.
If any of you still wonders why I go on supporting this amendment after hearing all the tragic stories about lives ruined through alcohol, the reason is that when I go home at night and close my eyes and let eternity rise in my mind, I see ten million more people in hell because of legalism than because of alcoholism. And I think that is a literal understatement. Satan is so sly. “He disguises himself as an angel of light,” the apostle says in 2 Corinthians 11:14. He keeps his deadliest diseases most sanitary. He clothes his captains in religious garments and houses his weapons in temples. O don’t you want to see his plots uncovered? . . .
Legalism is a more dangerous disease than alcoholism because it doesn’t look like one.
Alcoholism makes men fail; legalism helps them succeed in the world.
Alcoholism makes men depend on the bottle; legalism makes them self-sufficient, depending on no one.
Alcoholism destroys moral resolve; legalism gives it strength.
Alcoholics don’t feel welcome in church; legalists love to hear their morality extolled in church.
Therefore, what we need in this church is not front-end regulations to try to keep ourselves pure. We need to preach and pray and believe that “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, neither teetotalism nor social drinking, neither legalism nor alcoholism is of any avail with God, but only a new creation (a new heart)” (Galatians 6:15; 5:6).
The enemy is sending against us every day the Sherman tank of the flesh with its cannons of self-reliance and self-sufficiency. If we try to defend ourselves or our church with peashooter regulations, we will be defeated, even in our apparent success. The only defense is to “be rooted and built up in Christ and established in faith” (Colossians 2:6); “Strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for all endurance and patience with joy” (Colossians 1:11); “holding fast to the head from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together, . . . grows with a growth that is from God” (Colossians 2:19). From God! From God! And not from ourselves.
Justin Taylor

1 comment:

  1. Alcoholism treatment to addicts of the said substance is imperative...These people should be educated more or less of the effects of the substance before it gets worse.