Memo to the Old, Grumpy and Reformed: You are Swinging and Missing

Erik Raymond —  August 15, 2011

Sometimes unwritten rules are good, other times they are bad.

I recall an important meeting with my pastor several years ago. I was younger, more restless, and, of course Calvinistic. As a former Roman Catholic who had been converted they (along with Arminians) seemed to always be in my cross-hairs. My pastor lovingly took me to task. He talked to me about the danger of creating straw-men and then blowing them over with persuasive arguments. He was pointing out that my treatment of Catholics was a straw-man attack. He introduced me to James White’s books and ministry. As I read and listened to Dr White debate people outside of the tent of orthodox Christianity, I was impressed and instructed by his approach.

Similarly, I think it was Tim Keller who said once, “If your opponent wouldn’t agree with the accuracy of your statement about their beliefs then you should not say it.” This is difficult because, well, it’s hard work. Sometimes you have to tone down the rhetoric in order to be accurate. After all, as a Chrsitian the goal of our instruction is love that issues from a pure heart, and a sincere faith. (1 Tim. 1.5) We want to see people impacted by the Scriptures. We want to see people drawn and conformed to Christ.

WHY I AM WRITING THIS POST

This is why I was so disappointed last Wednesday. After an early morning meeting with our leaders in our church plant, I was driving home. My phone began erupting with messages about a certain article written by one of my living heroes in the faith where he referenced me unfavorably.

As I read the article my heart sunk. The article, now pretty much famous in the blogosphere, was a scolding by John MacArthur on the Young, Restless, and Reformed (YRR) folks.

MacArthur’s point could be summed up in a couple of quotes:

If everything you know about Christian living came from blogs and websites in the young-and-restless district of the Reformed community, you might have the impression that beer is the principal symbol of Christian liberty.

For some who self-identify as “Young, Restless, and Reformed,” it seems beer is a more popular topic for study and discussion than the doctrine of predestination.

After all, in a culture where cool is everything, what could be a better lubricant for one’s testimony than a frosty pint?

According to MacArthur all we YRR types do is sit around talking about beer, drinking beer, and thinking about ways to inject beer into ministry.

But that’s not all:

Of course, beer is by no means the only token of cultural savvy frequently associated with young-and-restless religion. All kinds of activities deemed vices by mothers everywhere have been adopted as badges of Calvinist identity and thus “redeemed”: tobacco, tattoos, gambling, mixed martial arts, profane language, and lots of explicit talk about sex.

Let me take a step back. I have been linked in an article to prove the author’s point that young Calvinists today are all about beer, tobacco, tattoos, gambling, MMA, cussing and sex talk. Apparently we do these things both for our own enjoyment and to be a helpful “lubricant” for ministry.

Aside from the obvious fact that drunkenness and filthy talk being sinful, MacArthur’s article is as wrong as it is unfair. Therefore, in light of what I said in the opening paragraph above, this type of post is unhelpful. It does not advance the line.

Here’s why:

IT’S IRRESPONSIBLE

I don’t know everyone who was linked in the article, but I know a few of the guys. I can say first hand that their ministries are not all about the naughty list named above. Furthermore, this blog, the site I contribute to, and my own ministry are not all about beer or the items on MacArthur’s naughty list.

This is the quote that needs attention. It needs attention because it is an observation of the YRR. It shows how ill-informed he is:

For some who self-identify as “Young, Restless, and Reformed,” it seems beer is a more popular topic for study and discussion than the doctrine of predestination.

Since I am linked in this sentence I have to assume he means people like me. This blog has been active since March of 2005. Since that time I have written over 1,500 articles, only a handful of which reference beer. If you calculate that out we are talking about the fact that .002% of my articles deal with beer vs well over 90%+ that talk about the gospel. (Never mind the silence of the other items on MacArthur’s naughty list)

Let me put this in perspective: percentage wise there is probably more alcohol in the the thimbles of grape juice at MacArthur’s church on Sunday morning than there is here on this site. It is irresponsible to write what he wrote as a characterization of this blog or my ministry. Now I am, along with others, trying to unscramble the omelette that John MacArthur has irresponsibly grilled us up in.

IT’S RED MEAT

So if it is not accurate and it is irresponsible, what is it? It is red meat for fundamentalists.

Do you remember the 2004 Republican National Convention? All of us YRR types do. It was life changing. Well, not really. But, there was a Democratic Senator from Georgia, Zell Miller who came and spoke on behalf of President George Bush. He delivered a diatribe against the Democrats. When he was finished all the Republicans were high-fiving and the Democrats were laughing. Why? Simply because he didn’t land any punches. He just fired up his base. It was all Republican red meat.

In a matter of 30 minutes the Democrats were able to easily refute the mischaracterizations. They simply weren’t true. It was a passionate rhetoric that didn’t land any punches, it just got people excited. Miller (and Bush) had effectively swung and missed.

As I read this article I couldn’t help but think of Zell Miller. This was a bunch of red meat. Sure there are some guys on the fringe doing things that others wouldn’t but by in large anyone who is within the mainstream of the YRR group reads this article and says, “Dr MacArthur, you just don’t get me.

IT’S POOR RHETORIC

The red meat is full of rhetorical salmonella. It’s not healthy. It does not advance the cause.

Picking up the same cadence, MacArthur writes:

This tendency to emblazon oneself with symbols of carnal indulgence as if they were valid badges of spiritual identity is one of the more troubling aspects of the YRR movement’s trademark restlessness. It is wrong-headed, carnal, and immature to imagine that bad-boy behavior makes good missional strategy. The image of beer-drinking Bohemianism does nothing to advance the cause of Christ’s kingdom.

Based upon this article you would think that the topic for the recent Gospel Coalition Conference in Chicago was The Complete Joy of Homebrewing instead of They Testify About Me: Preaching Christ from all the Scriptures. Further you have the Together for the Gospel Conferences which focus on, wait for it…the gospel. That’s right, the major conferences where these YRR’s guy gather are all about the gospel and the local church. This means that not only are the conferences not about MMA, beer drinking or making, cussing, or sex…but they are not about how to implement them into ministry to “lubricate” the gospel. No, we are about the gospel, the glory of Christ and the primacy of the mission of the local church.

Why in the world can TIME Magizine recognize this but a seasoned pastor and churchman like John MacArthur cannot?

Further, MacArthur notes that we are about employing a “bad boy behavior” for missional strategy. What? Maybe this has something to do with the MMA reference, I don’t know. But if you are scoring at home on this all too public blog-spat between John MacArthur and young guys, the brawler has to be him. Right? He looks more like the MMA guy. I mean he is landing hay-makers out of nowhere.

I think of the blog exchange where MacArthur went after Darrin Patrick and his book Church PlanterIf you read Patrick’s response he is hardly a ‘bad-boy’ but instead a gracious, humble, recipient of criticism.

I remember reading through and thinking, “What? Where did this come from?” As a guy who greatly looks up to John MacArthur has been greatly impacted by Darrin Patrick I felt like my Dad took a swing at my baseball coach. I was left with jaw open wondering what the heck happened.

IT’S BAD HERMENEUTICS

One of the things I love about John MacArthur is his nose-to-the-book approach to hermeneutics. What does the Bible say and what does it mean by what it says? How many times has he said this in a sermon? I love this about him. This is why it is so glaringly obvious when he deviates from this.

I am not going to make this a post about whether Christians should or should not drink, but I would like to point out what MacArthur did, in passing.

Here’s the problem: If you grant that the YRR crowd does not promote drunkeness (which it doesn’t and he would have pointed out if it did) then you are left with a splattering of references in the article. You have a reference to OT priests (Lev. 10.9–which talks about not drinking on duty, not in all of life), a Nazarite vow (Luke 1.15). And that’s it. I know that Dr MacArthur doesn’t advocate that pastors are under the Old Covenant priesthood or a Nazarite vow.

Then he transitions and says that wine was necessary for health reasons, quoting 1 Timothy 5.23. True indeed. But this is not all. After all Jesus himself did make the equivlant of about 150 bottles of wine in his first public miracle (John 2). And please note the attendees had already been drinking freely (Jn 2.10). And the wine was good. Those people were not all there for medicinal reasons. They were celebrating.

So what is left? The time tested stats from culture:

The ravages of alcoholism and drug abuse in our culture are too well known, and no symbol of sin’s bondage is more seductive or more oppressive than booze. I have ministered to hundreds of people over the years who have been delivered from alcohol addiction. Many of them wage a daily battle with fleshly desires made a thousand times more potent because of that addiction. The last thing I would ever want to do is be the cause of stumbling for one of them.

If John MacArthur approached his sermons like this he would not be John MacArthur. The thing I love about him is his biblicity. However, here he gives me some stats while ignoring the bigger picture of how God views alcohol. In one sense I don’t care what the stats say, we live in a fallen world. Tell me what God says!

THE OLD GUYS DO IT TOO

In reading the post and the previous ones on the YRR I have to just say, it seems like he really doesn’t like us too much. Or perhaps, as I indicated earlier, he doesn’t know us. Wouldn’t it be easier to just write a post that says, “It’s August 9th and I still don’t like Mark Driscoll and his ilk!”

Last I heard Mark Driscoll doesn’t even drink. However, there are plenty of older, influential Reformed thinkers in the church that do. Some of MacArthur’s own friends even. Furthermore, let’s not forget that even Martin Luther, the ultimate old-guy, was the true home-brewer, his wife Katie operating the brewery for him. Let’s just be fair and consistent.

Another continuing concern from MacArthur has been our dress. In a previous post he wrote this:

I sometimes think no group is more fashion-conscious than the current crop of hipster church planters—except perhaps teenage girls.

Yikes.

Listen, no one looks better in a suit than John MacArthur. He looks sharp. Always. It is obviously intentional. Why? He is obviously concerned about what he wears. He too is fashion conscious. Does this mean he compromises? Is he pragmatic?

As an example, I can recall a Shepherds’ Conference a few years back where MacArthur came out with his hair uncharacteristically long. It wasn’t a mullet, yet. But it could’ve been understood to be a tip of the hat back to the 70′s and the Jesus Movement. Then a strange thing happened. The next time he preached his hair was freshly cut. He looked ‘sharp’ again. Why? It would seem that he is conscious of his appearance.

So the old guys do it too. They are thoughtful about what they wear. Whether they like it or not, they present an image in their expensive suits, nice cars, and well-groomed hair.

It would be better to just say that he doesn’t like how we dress or look. But I don’t think that you can honestly say that by in large YRR guys think their clothing has any more bearing on their preaching ministry than John MacArthur does.

NO CALL TO ACTION–JUST FRIENDLY FIRE

Finally, what am I (a guy linked to MacArthur now by virtue of this naughty list), what am I supposed to do? I really didn’t read any instruction in the article. It was just an unloading of the fundamentalist howitzer into young infantry of the church. This type of article does not serve to be a mission briefing but friendly fire. Again, this doesn’t help the people in the cross hairs and just gives more red meat to the those who are already angry.

CONCLUSION

One of the hardest parts of the recent years since Dr MacArthur has stepped into the blogging world is his diminished influence. The prominent and respected voice is losing hearers. Young guys like me are cringing (after we duck) with each successive post. I get messages all the time from guys asking what in the world is going on. I don’t know. I don’t get it.

Since I am now on the receiving end of weird emails and comments thanks to this previous post I just want to set the record straight as to who I am. I am a 35 year old pastor in Omaha. My wife and I have 6 kids. I don’t smoke, watch MMA, cuss, or mix in sex references to my sermons. I don’t have cable, and can’t find the remote to the TV we do have.  But I am to be impugned as worldly because I have a beer once and awhile?

I’m training for a marathon, so I listen to a ton of sermons. The number one podcast: Grace to You.  I continue and will continue to listen and learn the Bible from John MacArthur. I will also continue to pray that the critiques of the church in general, and the YRR crowd in particular start coming from the other end of the shepherd’s staff.

(update: Grace to You helpfully responds to this post and also see my clarifications here)

(re: comments: obviously comments and discussion are fine but if your comments are merely piling on and uncharitable they will be deleted…thanks.)

 

Erik Raymond

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Erik has been writing at Ordinary Pastor since 2006. He lives in Omaha with his wife and kids while pastoring at Emmaus Bible Church. Follow regular updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/erikraymond

176 responses to Memo to the Old, Grumpy and Reformed: You are Swinging and Missing

  1. Thanks Erik. I’m sure this wasn’t easy to write. This is a helpful response, something I’ve been thinking about since last week.

    • Thanks Clyde. It isn’t easy. I love this guy, but man… I hope the tone is not unduly negative, I just want a timeout to say, “Hold up..what was that you just said?”

  2. Erik, you did a great job. You were direct, on topic, and respectful. I’m 49 (Reformed, but hopefully not grumpy) so just out of the YRR range – and I appreciate, respect and want to imitate Dr MacArthur. That causes me to want to jump on his side just because he is Dr. MacArthur. However, when I read his article on beer I, too, believe he went too far(although I like some of what he wrote in previous posts viz YRR) for all the reasons you state. I am a former drunk (sober 16 years) and I am grateful that you and others can enjoy the fruits of the grain and vine!! even if only 0.00002% of the time:)
    SDG
    Jeff
    http://extra-nos.blogspot.com/

    • Jeff, thanks for the feedback. That is how I wanted it to come across. Tone is difficult, especially in the blogosphere.

      I am so thankful that God has shown himself powerful in his grace by keeping you sober. May you continue to boast in Christ!

  3. Fantastic response, Erik! Well done. You speak for many of us with this post.

  4. Very well written. Unfortunately, it will probable never be read or listened to by those who “matter”…

  5. Sorry to read this, easy to have a sense of betrayal. I think you did a good job rationally pointing out inconsistencies and sub-biblical issues.
    Part of me wonders if I’m in that article, but then I remember how utterly inconsequential I am.
    Unfortunately, I think this is just John Being John. I find the use of straw men common enough for me to tune him out long ago. Some people are able to pull out the bones and enjoy the meat, and that’s okay. Every Christian leader has flaws. What is interesting is that in many ways (some of which you pointed out), he’s very much like Mark Driscoll. I know the sins my son commits that bother me most are those I also struggle with.
    Oh, I think Mark occasionally has a beer. That was the impression I got from a sermon on the topic. But he did not drink at all at least into his 30′s.

    • Steve, your comments and thoughts are always helpful. I underscore your statement about Christian leaders and flaws. Obviously, we know some of our own issues as well.

  6. I’d bet John MacArthur is responding things such as the off-handed comments such as this one below. For me the mention of alcohol in this post takes away from an otherwise great article. So then, why do some of the YRR types continue to do this? And yes, I realize this was not your writing, but it’s a quick example of an article that I remembered for it’s mention of Irish Whiskey instead of it’s main point. And I’m not much older than you.

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian/2011/06/27/my-biggest-regret/

    I marvel when someone says, “I have no regrets.” That’s not me; I have plenty. Perhaps my biggest regret, outside of not spending more time with my kids when they were growing up and not discovering Irish whiskey sooner, is that for much of my 30 years of ordained ministry I have not preached “the gospel.”

    • I don’t know why he referenced the Irish Whisky. Your comment is a good reminder about being careful not to string out illustrations that could entangle people’s feet.

    • The weird thing is, that reference isn’t Pastor Tullian’s but a guest blogger who says he’s been in ministry for 30 years. Doesn’t sound like a younger guy at all!

  7. Whew. This response was very much needed. I had skimmed over MacArthur’s article a few days ago and was kind of upset because I didn’t see what he saw in the YRR movement. Your response is very well thought out and written. I agree very much with you and I thank you for this response because I didn’t know what to do after reading the critique (I’m only 15, and MacArthur is a huge man in the faith, it’s very hard to decide what to think about when a man you respect so much falsely critiques you and your friends.)

  8. Well stated Erik. In some regards I feel like a father figure has lost his temper and unrightfully disciplined myself and many of my friends.

    I will continue to learn from him, and be humble, but I do feel he was out of line.

    On a lighter note… here’s another (comical) response to him on my blog:

    http://bryanlopez.com/2011/08/15/gladys-response-to-john-macarthur/

  9. I read an earlier post where the brother defends pastor John. Steve Camp jumped in and disagreed with John MacArthur as well. I was leaning toward the pastor, until I read your article Erik. Exceelent my friend. I suppose John has only seen a few YRR’s who may not really represent the vast majority of our YRR brothers loving and serving and walking in faith in the truth for their savior and Lord.

    I shall be kicking this around a bit, and hopefully understand both sides better. I lean with you now Erik.

    Here’s the blog post: http://hipandthigh.blogspot.com/2011/08/iconoclast.html#links

  10. Erik,
    Really appreciate your response. As a young pastor myself I am always looking to see how guys respond to stuff that causes my blood to boil. I specifically appreciated this quote of yours;

    “Listen, no one looks better in a suit than John MacArthur. He looks sharp. Always. It is obviously intentional. Why? He is obviously concerned about what he wears. He too is fashion conscious. Does this mean he compromises? Is he pragmatic?”

    I have felt this way on many occasions but always have to wrestle with the fact that I am often defending myself (as I have tattoos), and not loving those I am responding to. I look at what you said here and I see humility, love and a really good point!

    Anyways, I just wanted to say thank you for demonstrating a way not to react to people, but respond to the grace given us, through our Lord Jesus.

    What makes this much more ironic, my cousin has served as a pastor under MacArthur for the last number of years… my mom has shared with a me a few times how I would not be allowed to serve in Dr. MacArthur’s church, which, if I am honest, I am cool with:)

    For His glory and our joy,
    -Tim

  11. What saddens me most is not that you felt the need to respond and defend yourself, but the fact that you throw shots back at Mr. MacArthur. It would have been well enough if you had just addressed his misconceptions, without trying to belittle him at the same time. We sometimes become defensive when we feel shots being fired in our general direction regardless if they are meant for us or not. We at time struggle so hard to defend our way of life or point of view that we resist the urge to give credence to another’s point of view. At the same time I am sadden that MacArthur’s presentation of the issues, puts him on the slippery slope to legalism.

  12. I appreciated your article. I follow you on Twitter as @OneOver99

    I’m actually surprised that you let Johnny Mac’s shot in the dark get to you, bro. Does your walk with Christ really need the approval of a celebrity pastor with a log in his fundamental eye? I mean, if you only have a beer once in a while, then no sweat.

    My friend Marcus Pittman (@LawGrace) said it best… If you are a Christian, you should be able to drink beer, bibically. And by doing so, your witness would allow others to see men of god who are able to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, and enjoy a godly brew with a meal or as a cold frosty refreshment on a hot summer day.

    Besides, the last time I checked, scripture was infallible. Johnny Mac is NOT infallible. He is a sinner who makes mistakes. A lot of them. This is just another one that he made, publicly.

    If I’m being totally honest, Johnny Mac fell off ‘the pedestal’ that I had him on during the debate between he and Dr. Michael Horton over eschatology. You see, I’m in ‘Horton’s camp’ of biblical interpretation. With that being said, when it comes to scripture exegesis I certainly do not share Johnny Mac’s view on everything. This is another time I disagree with him.

    On another note, I wish Johnny Mac would randomly ask people in his congregation, right out of the blue, “What is the gospel?”, or even, “If you died right now and stood before God, and He asked you why He should let you into His heaven, what would you say?”… If he’d ask either of those two questions to his entire congregation, he’d see that his preaching needs to remain targeted to his own flock. Then he wouldn’t take random shots at the so called YRR clan that he was too chicken to name by name.

    I’d rather be labeled as a YRR, beer drinking fan of the MMA, than to be labelled a MacArthurite. Nuff said.
    From the narrow path,
    Len Qualls
    One Over 99 Ministry
    Luke 15:7

    • Gotta love the self promotion. I’m not a big fan of Dr. MacArthur’s YRR articles but I do think they are worth thinking(and talking) about. In addition, I have more than a few friends that are members of GCC and I can tell you that that congregation does not lack in biblical literacy. You obviously have no personal knowledge of anyone from GCC.

  13. Thanks brother for writing what I have been thinking for some time! Praying for you and your ministry – and praying for John as well.

    Thanks as well for your excellent site and writing, it has been a blessing in this older (and sometimes grumpier) pastor’s life and ministry. SDG

    Love in the Truth.

  14. Good article – I appreciate your gracious response

  15. Being 38 I am not sure if I qualify as young. I hope that I don’t qualify as old, yet, though I hope to get there one day. My point is that I don’t realy have a dog in the fight. I can see each party’s point. My only question to the YRR folks that Dr. MacArthur discusses is what is your basis for the admittedly few references for the conduct that Dr. MacArthur references? Erik, you point out Martin Luther as one. What about more modern examples? Do you see the older Reformed leaders making similar statements? Dr. Keller? Dr. Mohler? Dr. Carson? CJ Mahaney? Dr. Dever? Dr. Duncan? Shouldn’t these esteemed gentlemen, along with Dr. MacArthur, be our examples for effective ministry?

    Just food for thought.

    Steven

    • Dr. Carson definitely disagrees with Johnny Mac regarding alcohol, and I would imagine most Presbyterians, like Dr. Duncan, would also disagree.

      • Caleb:

        Thanks for the response. I agree that Dr. Carson and likely many Presbyterians do not doctrinally have an issue with alcohol. Even as a Baptist, I don’t believe that there is anything sinful in moderate alcohol use. However, my point is how often do these brothers that I mention make their alcohol consumption a piece, however small or insignificant, of their ministry efforts? I am not aware of them ever blogging about their alcohol use. Maybe I am wrong, but I think if we cannot find such an example, then we should consider that in contrast with even the few examples that Dr. MacArthur has pointed out.

        Thanks.

        Steven

        • I underatand what you’re saying, but actually, Dr. Carson did speak directly to the alcohol issue when preaching at the Vlarus conference a year or two ago. I believe it was in a Q&A session and he was addressing the ‘weaker brother’ issue Paul speaks about. If memory serves me, he said that he would refrain from using his freedom to drink alcohol for a true weaker brother, but he would openly (even brashly) drink alcohol if it was a Pharisee saying he CAN’T drink alcohol…he was very clear and forceful. It was a very helpful response.
          I could look it up and provide a link if it would be helpful, Steven

          • I woul be interested in a ‘link’ to Dr D A Carson stating his convictions.
            Thank You, Yancy Busby

            yancy.busby@gmail.com

          • Caleb:

            I see that you sent the link. I have heard Dr. Carson in this type of context say exactly what you write here. If in response to a Pharasaic (sp) instruction to abtain, he would respond “Pass the port!”

            I don’t believe, however, that the context of Dr. Carson’s discussion really bolsters the argument for the type of “theology on tap” evangelism and ministry practice that concerns Dr. MacArthur. While I think it is more than clear that Dr. MacArthur does not support any alcohol consumption, he does not demand complete abstinance in his comments. He is saying that it is not advisable. Because Dr. MacArthur is not proscribing alcohol use, but rather warning against it, Dr. Carson’s “pass the port” rhetoric is likely not relevant to the discussion.

            Thanks for sharpening the iron a bit.

            Steven

        • Would you view using wine for the Lord’s Supper as “making it a piece of their ministry?”

  16. Wow! You sound pretty grumpy yourself there buckaroo. I do hate beverage alcohol but you definitely could use some kind of pacifier ;)
    P.S. I think Zell Miller’s speech was a knockout.

  17. I actually saw the article on the “Grace To You” website before I read your article, Now it makes sense why he seemed to be having some sort of diatribe or something. I had my character and integrity as a pastor and Christian run through the meatgrinder once and boy did it hurt. Erik, don’t lose any sleep at all over this, you did good brother. All of us who have been following the blog for awhile know your heart and surely the men who work with you more closely know even better.
    Sola Deo Gloria…..

  18. Eric,

    You wrote the response elloquently. Be encouraged. I have seen your heart in action, and I miss serving with you in ministry.
    Pastor MacAurthur is a gifted teacher and expositor as you have stated Eric, but the one word of caution I would send MacAurthur’s way is that one must look at the context before conclusions are made.

    Sure some people are addicted to alchohol, but there are those who are also addicted to food, and of course we will be sensitive to the weaker brethren in these instances. But to lump a whole cadre of pastors into a single conclusion is irresponsible. Don’t feel alone, you are in good company.

  19. thanks for the blog you nailed it right on

  20. Erik,

    Great words, brother. We were linked in that unfortunate article as well. Thankfully those (older and younger) from our church who came across the original post recognized the deficiencies in it. The whole thing is more sad than frustrating for me. I appreciate your approach and take on the whole thing here.

  21. Erik,

    I think you were spot on, brother. This is friendly fire, the lack of reproof and instruction is a miss on MacArthur’s part. If you disagree that passionately then take the oportunity to lovingly correct your YRR brothers.

    I do miss you brother. Miss serving with you and sharing that occasional beer.

    By the way… I didn’t read all the posts, but did anyone notice the irony of the Miller/Bush (Busch) argument?

  22. The pattern historically for articles like the one criticized here is:

    – Immediately: “That’s nothing like us.”

    – Mid-term: “We’ve grieved by the excesses of a few.”

    – Long-Term: “We’ve changed.”

    Just sayin’. I’ll check back in after 3 years and see where we are on this one, all of us.

    • I know I’m a little slow but I’m having a hard time understanding what you’re getting at. And this is an honest question/request – could you clarify?

    • Brothers and non brothers fall alike. The whole point here is not alcohol. That being said “beer” isn’t the problem sin is, man’s sinful heart is. We shouldn’t teach people that alcohol is sin, you’re a sinner and drunkenness is sinful. If I get drunk and fall into a life of a drunkard alcohol isn’t the problem, I am. My unrepentant heart is the problem with my sin.

      I want to challenge people to start viewing sin as the man’s problem, not morality. We don’t get saved from sex drugs and rock ‘n roll we get saved from our slavery to sin. We won’t be saved if we’re no longer a drunkard, don’t get the abortion, break-up with our same sex partner, or vote Republican. We’re saved when we obey our Sovereign Lord and believe in Him. This will change our hearts to walk like Him.

      I know you don’t disagree with this, at least I hope not, for your soul’s sake, but often times our views on these issues aren’t consistent with our theology.

      Maybe we are wrong. Please do not throw statistics at us though, please with love and humility teach us why the Bible says we should not drink at all. I would love to hear why Jesus, who drank wine, dilluted or undilluted, doesn’t want me to follow in His steps.

      • In his second chapter, John records that Jesus made “wine” out of water at a wedding at Cana. The question is, “What kind of wine?” As we have seen, it could be fermented or unfermented, full strength or diluted. We must determine our answer to this question by contextual implication and moral likelihood. I think the position here is that Jesus made wine that was pure unfermented grape juice. The following data support this conclusion and give strong reasons for rejecting the opinion that Jesus made intoxicating wine.

        The primary object of this miracle was to “manifest forth his glory” (John 2:11) in such a way as to induce personal faith and confidence in Him as the holy and righteous Son of God who came to save people from their sin (John 2:11; Matthew 1:21). Jesus turned water into wine at this wedding feast as a favour to His mother and the bridegroom because they had no more wine to serve. Jesus most likely did not make gallons of intoxicating wine for a drunken party. The word drunk used in John 2:10 is the Greek word “methuo”, (which is “to drink to intoxication, to make or be drunk”), so the people were already drunk. This miracle was important to His Messianic mission… as it would point to Christ’s sovereignty over the natural world and become a symbol of His power to transform sinful people spiritually into children of God (John 3:1-15). Because of this miracle “we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” John 1:14; John 2:11).

        Christ came to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17) and would have supported the Biblical passage which condemns intoxicating wine in excess as “a mocker” and “raging” (Proverb 20:1) and the words of Habakkuk 2:15: “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink … and makest him drunken” (Leviticus 10:8-11; Numbers 6:1-5; Deuteronomy 21:20; Proverb 31:4-7; Isaiah 28:7; Amos 2:8,12; 4:1; 6:6; Romans 14:13,21)

        Furthermore, note the following modern medical evidence.
        World authorities on early embryology maintain that women who drink even moderate amounts of alcohol around the time of conception (a 48-hour time period) risk damaging the chromosomes of an egg preparing to leave the ovary and hence, causing disastrous results to the mental and physical development of the infant.

        It would be theologically absurd to maintain that Jesus served and encouraged the use of alcoholic beverages at a wedding which included many women as well as the young bride with the possibility of her immediate conception. To maintain that He did not know of the potential terrible effects of intoxicating drink on unborn children is to call into question His deity, wisdom and discernment of good and evil. To maintain that He knew of the potential harm and disfiguring results of alcohol, and yet promoted and encouraged its use, is to call into question His goodness, compassion, and love.

        The only sound conclusion rationally, Biblically, and theologically is that the wine which Christ made at the wedding in order to manifest His glory was pure, sweet, unfermented fruit of the vine.” (Rev. Claude Purser)

    • Now that is perceptive! Well said Frank Turk

    • The pattern for watch-bloggers is typically this:
      - Immediately: make grandiose claims without backing them up
      - Mid-term: continue making bad arguments
      - Long-term: become so infatuated with controversy that one calls an entire group of people puerile while being even more childish than said group.

      Just say’n. I’ll check back after 3 years and see where we are on this one, all of us.

    • lol @ frank. As you are the one who pimps t-shirts criticizing the SBC over Resolution #5, I would think you would recognize that Pastor Mac has completely ignored the clear and consistent teaching of the bible in his attack.

      • Just someone reading the article, and comments from a friend’s link. It doesn’t seem profitable to respond in this fasion, or a good testimony to use the world’s terminology like “pimmping.” Also Scripture tells us to rebuke an older man gently….

  23. Before I put my two cents in let me explain who I am. I am a pastor who is 46 years old. I consider myself in between the YRR crowd and the older folks like MacArthur. Furthermore, I am a TMS graduate and do not regret for one moment the training I received under the leadership of MacArthur. I started becoming reformed in my thinking back in the mid-80′s.

    Having said that I am really torn on this matter. On the one hand, I think Erik your response was humble, wise and respectful and I think your point is well made with regard to yourself and perhaps many other faithful YRR’s like yourself.

    On the other hand, I have the ‘sense’ that there are a number of YRR’s that might fit MacArthur’s target audience. That of course is based on anecdotal evidence. He may have made too many broad generalizations and I think you have made that clear in your case. Nonetheless, what do you make of the quote MacArthur brought up from Darrin Patrick?

    “As I coach and mentor church planters and pastors, I am shocked at the number of them who are either addicted or headed toward addiction to alcohol. Increasingly, the same is true with prescription drugs. One pastor I know could not relax without several beers after work and could not sleep without the aid of a sleeping pill.” (Church Planter, 51).

    BTW, I have been reading your blog for several years now and have always enjoyed it immensely.

    • “On the other hand, I have the ‘sense’ that there are a number of YRR’s that might fit MacArthur’s target audience.”

      I can totally identify with Scott’s sentiment. While I can certainly understand Erik’s frustration at being linked/lumped in to a crowd he doesn’t feel he’s a part of, i don’t know how aware he is of the overall movement to think that Macarthur’s characterization is a complete straw man.
      I live in the good ole buckle of the bible belt where this kind of YRR crowd, often in the Acts 29 stream, fits Johnny Mac’s description perfectly. At the same time, I am 23, reformed, and a seminary student, so I would essentially fall into the YRR crowd as well.

      So how do I read Macarthur’s articles? I listen closely to the parts that seem to apply to my brand of YRR and let the ones that don’t pass by. I don’t drink nor go to a church that promotes drinking, so his critiques about the beer culture don’t bother me a bit, but when he talks about promoting your youthfulness, I take heed.

  24. YRR pastor’s wife August 15, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Thank you for what you said. I can see why you were upset. I was baptized into the Catholic church as an infant, grew up in charismatic churches and am now married to a staff pastor of an A29 church. I have not only never seen such Godly, passionate men as our four pastors but also have never in my life worshipped with so many mature, wonderful members of the body of Christ. I have never been in a church that was so gospel centered, missional or full of rich doctrinal teaching. Although two of the pastors drink beer and they are all handsome and fashion savy I don’t think that hinders their ministry one bit….and it may actually enhance it. I don’t think we ladies should follow fashion trends that are immodest but shouldn’t we try to be somewhat culturally relevant? Wouldn’t we dress to adapt to any group of people we were trying to reach? I think there is always some danger of being prideful about our appearance or devoting too much thought to it but if my husband tried to dress like men did in the Bible days would anybody listen to him? Didn’t all pastors move with the fashion tide? If they hadn’t they would be wearing, literally, what Jesus wore. At our church that we’re in now my husband wears jeans and if he wore a suit he would be a distraction…in the church he pastored a few years ago he wore a suit and if he’d preached in jeans it would have been a distracion. “When in Rome…” May we be careful how we judge the generations following behind us and may we consider, not whether or not we approve of their differences from us, but whether God’s word says specific things requarding those differences. And may we be humble enough to embrace new ideas that may be better than ours. May we never be envious of God using younger, smarter or pretty people to do greater things through. And may we not be so prideful now that we throw out all criticizism from the older generations. There may be some small specks of truth to consider and as one of my former pastors once said, “Anything that humbles us is a good thing.” He can speak through a donkey… he doesn’t need me but I pray he will use me if I can be of any use to Him!

  25. Erik,
    I am obviously conflicted about this post. I love your church and your ministry, and pray for you often, and am thankful for all you do.

    In Omaha, is it trendy to have church plants in bars? Do you see Bible studies meeting over beer, or men’s groups that brew together? I’m not talking like five friends from church and fellowship, but I’m talking promoted on church websites and espoused as a biblical necessity for ministry. Have you seen that in Omaha?

    Let’s grant that the link to your blog was unfortunate and misrepresents your ministry entirely, which I think it may. But you have to grant that the abuses he writes about do exist, and are becoming increasingly more prevalent, right? Or is that where the disagreement is? That you simply don’t see the problems he is talking about?

    Thanks Erik, and I will continue to pray for your ministry and am encouraged by how the Lord is blessing it,

    Jesse

    • Jesse, a quick note to answer back here:

      I too am thankful for your ministry and continue to benefit from your preaching as I run.

      I don’t see anything here locally that espouses beer as a necessity for ministry. From what I have seen nationally (limited perhaps) this is not the norm, though it does exist in some wings.

      When John MacArthur talks people listen. I listen. This is all the more reason why the posts need to be more nuanced and avoid the danger of the broad brushing that impugns everyone (not to mention the link to me).

      So maybe in LA it is more prevalent than here in the Midwest. This is all the more reason to be clear and specific.

      Thank you for praying brother. Please do continue to do so. And know that we are praying for you as we continue to benefit from you, your preaching and writing.

      ER

  26. Sounds to me like you YRRs have all been hanging around the sewage recycling plant a little too long and the smell has gotten on you. Maybe you should take a long, hard look at your lifestyles and what you blog about and decide if maybe there’s some truth to the stories. Instead of whining about how untrue the stories are, maybe you should see anything hits close. You sound just the Emergent crowd did a few years ago. “We’ve been misrepresented!”

  27. Honestly, I think this is an example of not finishing well. MacArthur has been doing this repeatedly over the past couple years and showing that his own discernment is not up to the task. The people around him seem only to defend, even when he is factually wrong. I am not YRR. I lean arminian, but I have respect for the desire of the YRR crowd to reach people with the Gospel and frequently read and follow many. The real question that this raises in my mind is “are we accountable to someone?” and “are we about pointing to the gospel or being right?”

    It seems that if we are accountable to a group of people that will tell us no, then it probably doesn’t matter what some guy across the country says. (Although I know two people that came close to losing ministries because MacArthur came down on them publicly, and incorrectly, and their support dried up.)

    MacArthur seems to me to be about being right. Maybe I have not just heard about it. But I have not heard him apologize or reach out to any of the number of people that he has incorrectly bashed on his blog. But Patrick, Driscoll, yourself and many others have reached out to him. I hope there are people in MacArthur’s life that are talking to him privately about what seems to me to be a serious problem is discernment (and/or anger).

  28. I am a BIG MacArthur fan. In fact I consider him my spiritual father, since I was saved under his teaching. However, I too was taken back by his statements. It made the YRR appear less credible. I thank you for taking the time to respond and clear some things up. I actually was disappointed that MacArthur would go out of his way to say these things. Maybe he is reverting back to his Baptist ways? Although I agree with his teaching on almost everything, I strictly disagree with his view on drinking alcohol. I have studied it very closely and there are verses to substantiate both sides that is for sure. However, one day I was studying the wedding at Cana and all of a sudden it hit me. MacArthur’s says people drinking wine at the time is only because their water was undrinkable alone and they used the alcohol to sterilize it and everyone can understand that, but God incarnate chose to make wine for the feast, rather than to make perfectly pristine, potable water for everyone to drink!!! No one can ever make be believe that drinking alcohol is unbiblical again. Only drunkeness is the prohibition!

  29. Erik, thanks for your gracious and respectful blog. As a young man myself, I have been very torn by Dr. MacArthur’s increasingly irritable blogs.

    And the whole tone of GTY is just really demeaning. In their response to the “the Brouhaha over the Brew” they say “If you are a YRRer, you lack the vantage point of age and experience—that’s one of the liabilities of being young. ”

    Unfortunately, Dr. MacArthur proves that arrogance comes in all ages.

  30. “…I am shocked at the number of them who are either addicted or headed toward addiction to alcohol.” from Scott

    How many pastors and planters would this be? If he sees 100, what would be the percentage? Or perhaps this question isn’t necessary.

    I would guess that most pastors don’t struggle with addiction to booze. And there will be some for sure. The Scriptures teach this:

    “….when the Lord your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the Lord your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it [tithe] into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the Lord your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household. And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you.” Deut 14:24-27

  31. Red Meat for the Fundamentalists? Are you serious? Basically, you are stating that John’s concerns with a problematic element within the YRR movement are dishonest. He just wrote up a post about an imaginary chimera ONLY for the purposes of whipping up the old-time Bob Jones fundamentalists out there. Am I understanding your conclusion correctly? Why would he do that exactly? To get money from them or something?

    Using your own logic here, am I to take your response as red meat for the anti-Bible belt establishment? Judging by their back slapping comments, they seem to be whoppin’ and shoutin’ amen! brother preach it!

    BTW, the last four years proves Zell Miller was right.

  32. I think that in all of Christendom there are differing views on touchy subjects. I can see the reason for Dr. Mac’s rebuke here. I see for the most part, respect has been given him, but….He throws this out because I believe he wants to make a difference for keeping the leaders pure and beyond reproach. You can call it legalism if you want, you can take his rebuke or not, you’re not under his authority. But, I see it as an act of love to all who are in Christ’s service. The Bible says a Bishop(servant leader) is to be blameless(not faultless). It says “all things are lawful, but all things are not expedient”. We these things in mind, and the the main reason the culture is beer and alcohol saturated, is to use this beverage to be chemically released from stress, or problems. This is the reason I believe the good Dr. has warned the leaders in the church today. And, what one excuses in moderation, another may not be as strong, and may take it to …excess. This is what Paul’s teaching is regarding being any kind of a stumbling block.

  33. This says exactly what I’ve been thinking. I’ve been commenting on the Facebook threads for each of the articles (the new one posted last night), including many of the things you say here, and its just like you said. All this article did is provide ammo to people already convinced its wrong to drink alcohol, and its being used to shoot their brothers and sisters in Christ. Its sad, discouraging, and I just don’t get it.

    Here are a couple of posts I put on the FB thread… They didn’t go over too well.

    Here’s a quote from the new article: “John clearly would like to persuade you of the wisdom of abstinence, but he’s not interested in binding the conscience of the entire YRR movement by an artificial rule. And at the very least, he was calling the YRR leadership to exercise pastoral wisdom and compassion, knowing the devastation alcohol abuse brings in a beer-soaked culture.”

    JM “clearly” believes pastors should abstain from drinking, but his arguments rest primarily on the “beer soaked culture” argument, which I don’t quite understand b/c its not as if humans abusing alcohol is something new. It was a problem in OT and NT days, yet the Bible (nor Jesus) ever say it is wise to abstain. Paul could have listed abstention in his lists of elder and deacon qualifications to Timothy and Titus, but he didn’t. Being led astray by it and becoming drunk is extremely unwise (and sinful), and Paul as well as the rest of the Bible warn against it, but believing it is ok to have a drink is not always unwise. The Bible just doesn’t say that.

    Travis Allen (author of this follow up article) acknowledges it is an “artificial rule” to claim Christians should abstain, but also says it IS wise to abstain, implying those that don’t are unwise. Again, I completely understand and support those who choose to abstain, but to claim that those who don’t are unwise (or in sin) is not accurate… and ultimately its divisive.

    I would also say that to claim “its wise to abstain” is a very touchy statement since Jesus, who is wisdom personified, did not abstain… He lived in a culture that had plenty of drunkards in it, and he did not abstain. Just something to consider…

    Since nobody who is intellectually honest can get around Jesus drinking wine and the Bible being ok with it, we always hear about the “watered down” argument, and indeed MacArthur used that in his original post.

    So when Jesus drank wine, it was the extremely watered down variety, and when people were drunk it was the non-watered down variety (or just not quite as watered down), and we have nothing in the Greek or context to differentiate between them, but just trust…. what exactly?

    John MacArthur is not the only person who has studied this extensively and MANY other Godly people come to a completely different conclusion than he has. When you look at the history of the Church (and modern day scholars as well), you’ll find JM is in the minority on this issue, and I’m not talking about liberals either.

    Why on earth when Jesus admits to drinking wine in Matt 11 and Luke 7 does He also point out that His accusers accused Him of being a drunkard if it was “literally impossible” to get drunk from the wine He consumed? Why would Paul warn against drunkenness in 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1 if the Christian elders and deacons were “only” drinking watered down wine? Why would he not command the Corinthians in 1 Cor 11 to water the wine down more so they wouldn’t get drunk from it, but instead just tells them to wait for their brother and have love for him? Maybe the alcohol content of the wine wasn’t the issue…

    The overwhelming theme is that the wine they drank COULD have made them drunk, but it didn’t, and not because they put enough water in it, but because they were disciplined and did not get drunk because they knew it was a sin…

    Having the wine was not a sin, and still isn’t today. Getting drunk was a sin, and still is today. There is a difference. The “watered down” argument just doesn’t… well… it just doesn’t hold water.

  34. I’m not a YRR, but I read JM’s post and this one. I don’t see what was so upsetting about it. If the man isn’t correct, and you are confident in how you’re living and your actions in the matter of alcohol, then who cares? Why should it matter? you should thank him for his concern and live with confidence toward God.

    Most of the time when I get angry at someone for calling me out, they’re at least partially correct.

    • As I began to burn out on reading more of the same here and wondering ‘what for?’, I’m glad I was able to read this post before shutting down. You say it well Jacob!
      Too often we get so worked up in our intellectual chest pounding, it seems, and fail to just simply ask God to search our heart and do an inventory. That’s all, just stop and take a good, deep look through God’s eyes. Are we focusing on emulating Christ, not those who followed?
      MacArthur’s comments serve as a good opportunity to do so, no matter who you are. And then get on with what matters and continue to let God move through us.
      Maybe I’m only partially right…never responded to a post before.

    • Perhaps if you were “called out” incorrectly, in front of thousands of people, by one of the most famous and respected people in your profession, you’d feel differently about it. But we’ll never know that.

      • Wow, ouch! No, we probably won’t. But if I were in those shoes I like to think that I would humble myself before God before I would worry about what thousands of people think.
        What if MacArthur was incorrect? Where’s the respect you mention? Old & grumpy?
        And why so tense?

  35. Well stated Erik. It is good to count you among friends.

    I have been quite perplexed at Dr. MacArthur regarding these issues. He has been a stalwart defender of the biblical doctrines of the atonement, biblical sufficiency, election, the Lordship of Christ, etc… By God’s grace, he played an integral role in my early development as a believer and I am indebted to him for his faithfulness to the Gospel. As with you, I will continue to listen to his sermons and read his books.

    Yet, as of recent years, he has certainly become sidetracked from the issues relating to the gospel and instead gone after things that in eternity, really doesn’t amount to anything. Instead, and shockingly, he has even protected those who do violate the gospel. He has members on his teaching faculty at Master’s Seminary who deny the active obedience of Christ as it relates to the imputation of Christ’s righteousness in the doctrine of substitutionary atonement and are even published in their denial (i.e. Andrew Snider). This is more shocking to me than Dr. MacArthur using straw-man arguments to go after the YRR crowd. It begs the question as to what is of first importance, the gospel of social causes?

    I don’t point this out just to pick a fight with Dr. MacArthur, but only to insist that when we allow ourselves to get side-tracked by issues that are not gospel-relevant (preferred term over culturally relevant), we ultimately lose “sight of the ball” altogether.

    Erik, keep faithfully pressing forward for the sake of the gospel as the Lord sustains you in that. Shanna and I are praying for you.

  36. Hey Erik,
    I appreciate the article. If you’re still reading this comments, I just had one question/point of concern. You state near the end that,

    “The thing I love about him is his biblicity. However, here he gives me some stats while ignoring the bigger picture of how God views alcohol. In one sense I don’t care what the stats say, we live in a fallen world. Tell me what God says!”

    First, perhaps I could give MacArthur the benefit of the doubt that he suspected people who would read this blog would largely already know what God says about alchohol. My thought though was that this was perhaps the most sincere and legitimate part of MarArthurs article that you quoted, but it seemed to be quickly brushed aside? (and I wasn’t sure I understood your reasonsing) Even if much of his article is overblown rhetoric, isn’t his concern that “The last thing I would ever want to do is be the cause of stumbling for one of [those struggling with alchohol]” legitimate?

    I don’t know, perhaps I’m wrong. It has always seemed to me like an idea that doesn’t get enough airtime though. And I hope MacArthur doesn’t totally lose credibility with the YRR crowd because of this. I think we can suck up the potshots and take the better parts while still hopefully remaining friendly to him. Alright, thanks for the post and for the consistently good blogs!

    p.s. I’ve also always appreciated the way you spell your first name. Someone’s parents knew how to spell!

  37. I disagree with RC Sproul about infant baptism. I find the Bible totally lacking in support of it. Now, should I accuse him of loosing touch with the “New Calvinism” and write him off as old and grumpy, refusing to listen to him on any other subject?

    The follow up post to this from GTY says it well, “if the shoe fits, wear it.” Those who read JM’s article and struggle with the issues mentioned know he is right on. Those who don’t struggle accuse him of “swinging and missing.” Erik, if you preach against being a slave to money (debt) and I’m not in debt at all, should I dismiss your sermon as useless and completely off?

    • Michael, you are comparing apples to oranges. If I preach a sermon (or write a blog post) and I address all those folks out there who fail to be good stewards of the resources God has given (in your example, money), then I am addressing only those who abuse money. It is completely different if I said, for the sake of argument, that everyone in group A (let’s say all Southern Baptists) abuse money and fail to be good stewards. Now surely I would be in the wrong to make such a statement. Not only would the statement be wrong, but it would be downright silly and a major logical fallacy. It would be a swing and a miss on my part.

      It was a swing and a miss on Dr. MacArthur’s part.

      • W, your scenario would not be wrong if indeed a majority of Southern Baptists prided themselves on abusing money. In fact, your sermon to them would fit nicely, even if it did not apply to 100% of the hearers.

        It was a swing a hit on JM’s part for those whom the shoe fits.

        • The whole point of this blog post is that, in reality most YRR don’t pride themselves in their drinking but they hold a biblical conviction that preventing people from drinking is not actually biblical. That is something very different and I believe is the root of the issue.

        • Sure, it’s a swing and a hit every time I say that my intended audience is only those who struggle with the particular topic I am dealing with. But to act like that’s what John MacArthur really did here is a bit disingenuous.

          “For some who self-identify as “Young, Restless, and Reformed,” it seems beer is a more popular topic for study and discussion than the doctrine of predestination…

          It’s clear that beer-loving passion is a prominent badge of identity for many in the YRR movement. Apparently beer is also an essential element in the missional strategy. Mixing booze with ministry is often touted as a necessary means of penetrating western youth culture, and conversely, abstinence is deemed a “sin” to be repented of.”

          He uses terms like “many” and “some” to cover his backside, it feels like, in order that the follow up, “You only needed to read it if it applied to you” post could be made. But that’s the problem with social media, blogs, and the posting things to the public realm broadly critiquing a target group of people — you don’t get to control who reads it. And you don’t get to control who gets trampled by it (or the less friendly, increasingly rude commenters).

          I think, worst of all, he specifically links to blog posts taken out of context from pastors in ministries he doesn’t actually know — and he says “See how absurd they are, with their love for beer and indifference toward the Gospel.” He takes specific sniper-shots at these pastors by pointing them out so directly (Erik felt the brunt of that here), potentially doing damage to their ministries — and he does so on the grounds of what? Gospel? The Deity of Christ? The sinfulness of man?

          No. Something as (comparatively) trivial (and debated) as the role of alcohol among the saints. To me, that’s the real thing MacArthur needs to repent of. This wasn’t a hill worth publicly making such a stand on. Send out private letters (John Piper is wonderfully notorious for doing this) to the men who really need to read this, and do it with the tone of a loving, instructive father — not an abusive one. Maybe then he would have gained more to his cause than lost.

          • Please be careful in your accusations. The link to Erik was to an article that he had written where he comments on a pastor who did a 40 day beer fast for lent. Big difference.

            As well I did not find MacArthur’s abusive at all.

          • Once again the misinformation astounds me. Erik did not comment on a *pastor who did a 40 day beer fast*.

  38. “but by in large anyone who is within the mainstream of the YRR group reads this article and says, “Dr MacArthur, you just don’t get me.“”

    I am in the middle of the YRR movement. I am a member of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis (Pastor John Piper is the Preaching Pastor). I am a 23 year old Male who was saved 6 years ago. I listen to Pastor Driscoll, Pastor Chandler, Pastor Chan, Pastor DeYoung, etc all of the time. In conclusion, I do not say “Dr. MacArthur, you just don’t get me (or the YRR’s). I couldn’t agree more with Pastor MacArthur’s post. There is a sense of smugness and obsession with alcohol in the YRR movement that is indistinguishable from the world, in my view.

    “Then he transitions and says that wine was necessary for health reasons, quoting 1 Timothy 5.23. True indeed. But this is not all. After all Jesus himself did make the equivlant of about 150 bottles of wine in his first public miracle (John 2). And please note the attendees had already been drinking freely (Jn 2.10). And the wine was good. Those people were not all there for medicinal reasons. They were celebrating.”

    With all due respect, you are misquoting Pastor MacArthur and misunderstanding what he was saying about “health reasons”. Wine was not used to treat sick people only. What Pastor MacArthur is saying (which is the truth) is that wine was used to KEEP people from getting sick, by mixing it with water and having it act as a purifier. So yes, not all of the people at Cana were there for medicinal reasons. But you are making assumptions if you think they were drinking the same stuff that you buy at your local liquor store.

    “The basic principle of hermeneutics, to be somewhat simplistic, is that the question “What does it mean for us today?” must be preceded by the question “What did it mean for them yesterday?” If we do not seek first to understand what the text meant when it was written, it will be very difficult to interpret intelligently what it means and demands of us today.”
    -Robert Stein

    So just because you see the word “wine” in your English translation and then you see the word “wine” in the liquor store, that does not mean that they were the exact same thing. You must ask “What was ‘wine’ in NT times?”

    http://www.swartzentrover.com/cotor/bible/Doctrines/Holiness/Drugs%20&%20Alcohol/Wine-Drinking%20in%20New%20Testament%20Times.htm

    • Sorry, I’ve looked into this whole concept of watered down wine and I just can’t buy it. If it took 23 glasses of wine to get drunk, nobody would get drunk and they certainly wouldn’t have referred to Jesus as a glutton and a drunk. Futhermore, it wouldn’t explain away the “strong drink” references in the O.T.

      Obviously wine isn’t the same as it is today. Today it is bottled and commercially made. But it’s clear from the Bible that people had easy access to strong wine and drunkeness was such a problem that the Bible had to warn against it many times.

  39. You write about not name calling and creating straw men, as you march up to take the moral high ground. But then the title of your article is a potshot: “old” and “grumpy”? C’mon, this is your own haymaker.

    Why not (as you posit JM should do) just make the case for your position biblically and move on? Would that not be the healthiest action?

    • AMEN! It’s clear hear that Erik’s primary concern was playing defense (which I believe can be a result of pride, no matter how minute it might be)
      Calling Mr. MacArthur grumpy offered no resolution to the issue at hand, thus, it would’ve been better to have left that out altogether.

      • “Calling Mr. MacArthur grumpy offered no resolution to the issue at hand, thus, it would’ve been better to have left that out altogether.”

        I would agree with that. It did not add value and seems to be a lightening rod. I was trying to cleverly flip the YRR label over. Hind-sight being what it is, I could have selected a much better title. I did not intend to be disrespectful.

  40. “Erik, if you preach against being a slave to money (debt) and I’m not in debt at all, should I dismiss your sermon as useless and completely off?”

    Only if he said that since being a slave to money is a real issue, and quoted statistics that proved such, and that the only way out is to abstain from the use of money, then yes, you can do that.

  41. “After all Jesus himself did make the equivlant of about 150 bottles of wine in his first public miracle (John 2). And please note the attendees had already been drinking freely (Jn 2.10). And the wine was good. Those people were not all there for medicinal reasons. They were celebrating.”

    Amazing how the man says, “Usually you bring out the good wine first, and then the cheaper wine. But you kept the most superb wine for now.”
    The wine Jesus made was indeed the best wine. Good Scripture to study. There’s a lot in this passage where our Lord is with His mother, and the wedding, and so much to think deeply on. And that was a lot of wine to think about why our Lord made so much.

  42. Well said, Michael.

    But, for clarification purposes, I didn’t think he was referring to you at all, but to the case study you were reporting. The “beer fast” guy. I thought you would at least appreciate the extra traffic. That’s why you blog, right?

  43. A fantastic response.

    Your last point was the one that bothered me the most of MacArthur’s posts: there is no call to action.

    How can a man who preaches consistently from the Bible sit down the “YRR” crowd, tell them they are horrible, and then say just sort of say, “There, I’ve had my peace.”

    Are they suppose to look at John and say, “Oh, you are right, I am going to be your clone now.” Or are they going to feel back handed (as you rightly do).

  44. It’s interesting that the YRR community is up in arms about this, as if they had never noticed this tendency in Dr. MacArthur prior to this.

    And, perhaps many of you have been wearing blinders in terms of his frequent drive-by shooting tactics.

    I still respect Dr. MacArthur when he sticks to exegesis (although I disagree with him on some fairly important issues).

    But he is too prone to this kind of behavior.

    Case-in-point is his book Charismatic Chaos.

    I am not a charismatic, and never have been one. In fact, I used to be a complete cessationist. As such, I read Dr. MacArthur’s book on the subject. The entire tome was full of this kind thing. He would pull out the most egregious examples and then attack them with MMA fury.

    In fact, that book was the thing that pushed me **away** from cessationism. After reading it I thought “really? really?” and did some of my own Scriptural and personal research.

    Anyone who reads that can see his methodology at work in a similar situation from a decade or so ago. And, frankly, anyone that reads much of the stuff that turns up on his (supposedly arm’s length) Pyromaniacs blog will see the same thing.

    Much like Dobson did a lot better when he actually “focussed on the family” rather than on politics, MacArthur does a lot better when he focusses on Scriptural exegesis rather than attacking his brothers and sisters in Christ with whom he has non-essential differences.

  45. Thanks for the post. I feel much the same way. However, I must admit that I have already given up on considering Dr. MacArthur a hero anymore. Why would I look up to a man that continually displays this behavior? I have no problem modeling my ministry and life after older men, but not men who act like that.

  46. Well, as a missionary church planter to the UK for 12 years, having a pint with people was one of the best ways to lead people to Christ. The pub was the center of the community. Let’s not forget that Jesus was called a “Winebibber” and drunkard. Further, let’s not forget Luther who once remarked, “The catholics only come to debate us because we serve better beer”. Incidentally, Wesley owned two breweries that helped fund his mission. Benjamin Franklin once remarked, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”. I didn’t touch a drop of beer before I became a missionary, but afterwards found it to be like Paul’s eating of pork…becoming all things to all men. My first gospel conversation with my neighbor was a direct result of accepting the beer he brought me upon introducing himself to me for the first time. Well done Erik!

  47. Good article. You really told him. Now you can sit back and enjoy a cold beer!

  48. Eric,
    First I appreciate you and your ministry, you have personally been a blessing to me. No doubt in my mind your a faithful servant of the Lord.

    I see why you are offended and would have liked it if JMac would have been more careful and precise with His swings. At the same time I am glad he addressed the issue. Many in the YRR movement have been parading controversial and potential stumbling block issues. I am not surprised you were referenced, I have checked your blog at various times in the last few years and have been surprised by your posts related to drinking. They came across to me that you were parading your liberties and thus becoming a potential stumbling block. Key words ‘came across’ and ‘potential’, and this surprised me coming from an otherwise profitable blog.

    I think you might be missing the point of his post, which I took to be a swing at irresponsible use of liberties. There are many who would see PARADING alcohol consumption in our society as unwise (Rom 14:20-21). We are called to be responsible with our liberties (Rom 14:22). As Thomas Schreiner says (Romans 14) “Paul merely asks that they do no flaunt their faith before the ‘weak’. Before God they should maintain their faith, and when Paul says ‘keep it to yourself’ he means that they are free to eat and drink whatever they wish in the privacy of their homes and with other strong believers. They should abstain from food and drink that grieves the ‘weak’ at public meals”. Is the PARADING of beer drinking grieving people within the body?

    I stand against those who try and bind the conscience of believers into abstinence (don’t think JMac is doing this) but am also concerned about those who parade their liberties and become potential stumbling blocks.

    No doubt we have our freedoms but to be biblical we must use them carefully. “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” (Rom 14:19)

    God Bless you Brother!

  49. MacArthur is one of my heroes as well, having read almost everyone of his books, been to 12 or 13 Shepherd’s Conferences, etc. I believe MacArthur has legit concerns (although he has gone further than I would go in how he has stated things), but I am mostly persuaded that his concerns are directed at those who are perhaps influenced by Dricoll and YRRers are getting caught in the crossfire. I think the jury is still out on the effects of Driscoll, YRR, etc. As Frank Turk noted, let’s see in 3 years. Time and truth walk hand-in-hand. Hang in there friends, these things are great opportunities to grow, evaluate, change, be humbled, and to develop perseverance.

  50. An excellent post, Erik! I am a 61 year old Reformed Baptist pastor. I do not drink, do not smoke, do not cuss, do not use sexual language in the pulpit, wear coat and tie when I preach, have been married nearly 40 years, have 9 children, and greatly respect John MacArthur. Almost without fail I will consult his comments on a given text as a last step in my sermon prep. But his generic attack on young Reformed folks is misguided. I do hope he reconsiders what he has said and issues an apology and request for forgiveness.

  51. Hey, Eric – I appreciate your point of view, and can also empathise with the disappointment that you must’ve felt at realising you were one of those singled out in Dr. MacArthur’s post. I’ve read all that he’s written in this series so far, and must say that there are some points on which I agree with him heartily and others which leave me scratching my head a little. They’ve all made me think – about how I, as a seminarian and someone who tends to resonate with the YRR movement (even though I’m a woman, and not pastorally inclined as such), come across to others. Because it’s really all about dying to self in our relationships with others, right?

    As someone immersed in the seminary culture, I have to say that Dr. MacArthur’s article in this instance was dead on. I came to seminary as someone who has been redeemed out of a lifestyle that included (but was not limited to) alcohol and drug addiction, multiple arrests for DUI/DWI, evasion of the law… you get the picture. My choice not to drink had nothing to do with legalism, and as such, there was no judgment in it of those who would make a different choice – after all I’d been through, who was I to judge? Up until I came to seminary (and it’s a pretty conservative, well-known, evangelical seminary, too), my experience with Christians drinking was limited to the knowledge that sometimes brothers or sisters would have a drink with dinner, or enjoy a beer or two at home with friends. Man, oh man, did seminary change that! Here I’ve entered a realm where people go out to the bar two or three nights out of the week, where there’s an exclusive crowd that has their special bar at which they like to hang, and if you aren’t invited to come, you shouldn’t show up (a friend of mine here actually related this to me like it was no big deal), where the ‘designated driver’ for a group going to the bar might only consume a couple of beers instead of multiples or mixed drinks – in order to be responsible. When I first arrived here, my choice not to drink was looked down upon as judgmental and legalistic – even by those who knew my story. I told the group of girls living in my dorm that I couldn’t go out to eat with them any more because every time they went out, every place they chose, included some pretty heavy drinking (think pitchers of margaritas heavy), and that because alcohol was such a huge stumbling block for me, I just couldn’t be involved. One of the girls I lived with told me that this was just about the most legalistic thing that she’d ever heard, and that the bar for her represented a huge mission field, and how dare I close myself off to God’s will for the unreached in these places.

    But as someone who has lived in the world – soaked and bathed in it, I tell you – these Christian sisters of mine looked and acted absolutely no different than the world when they went out. And for all of the heady theological discussions that go on between seminary students at the bar, I see little difference between the way they treat each other in these discussions than I do in the way secular academics treat each other at the bar when they discuss politics, or social issues, or cultural differences, or philosophy. Think: less about Jesus, more about arguing persuasively for my point of view.

    I guess my biggest sorrow in writing this is that I’ve given in to their pressure. After two years of living outside of culture and fellowship here at seminary, of being looked down on as judgmental by the majority of the student body here and even by some of the Student Services Administration (who felt that my views were too narrow), this summer I began drinking again. And it’s amazing to me how thrilled people here were, especially those who knew that I wasn’t drinking before – those who know my story. I’m suddenly much more fun to be around, much more open. Which is funny because none of the views that I previously held on any topic have changed. The only thing that’s changed is that now I drink. What’s even more funny is that my views on whether or not people in ministry should drink or not haven’t changed either. Oh wretched man that I am!

    So, I’m really glad that Dr. MacArthur wrote this post. I don’t think that what he’s saying in it is so much “all we YRR types do is sit around talking about beer, drinking beer, and thinking about ways to inject beer into ministry” as it is that “if everything you know about Christian living came from blogs and websites in the [YRR] district… you might have the impression that beer is the principal symbol of Christian liberty.” There’s a fine distinction there between what we’re actually doing and how what we’re actually doing appears. And I think that’s a distinction that’s covered in Scripture, too. I mean, if you were to go out into the community around this fine conservative seminary and ask around, you’d probably get the impression that this campus is one that likes to let loose on the weekends. There’s even one local bar here that has a draught beer special on Thursday nights. Our weekend starts on Friday; it’s supposed to give us three days to study. I don’t say that this draught special was specifically organised around the seminary’s school week, but man, I know from experience that they make a lot of money off of seminary students on Thursdays.

    I really think MacArthur’s post is a good call for self-examination. There is a huge difference between having a bottle of wine or a six pack in the fridge versus pastors and ministry leaders openly endorsing consumption of alcohol with theology or missional reasoning on public and widely read blogs. And I think that, if we – and I include myself in this statement, too – feel the tendency to be defensive upon reading this post, then maybe it’s a good time to ask why that is. How different would my ministry look if alcohol weren’t involved in it in any way? How different would my social life look? What if I went to a bar but didn’t drink? Can I go to a bar and not drink? Are my conversations at the bar only with other believers, or do they include non-believers, too? And if they do include non-believers, what do we talk about? Is Jesus really involved? Are the lost really being impacted by my “bar ministry”? Do I have any follow-up plan for those whom I perceive as being impacted?

    So, yeah, sorry this is so super-long, but I had a lot of thoughts on this issue. As you can see, it’s one that’s impacted me greatly. Maybe it’ll be food for thought, maybe not. Maybe I need to die to my self as much as the next guy.

    • Jaye, it saddens me to hear that you are experiencing this in seminary! Your comment brings insight that is very helpful.

  52. “My first gospel conversation with my neighbor was a direct result of accepting the beer he brought me upon introducing himself to me for the first time. Well done Erik!”-Peyton

    That made me remember back in my Holiness pentecostal days, when we were installing new aluminum gutters and spouts on a customer’s home. It was a hot summer day, and we just finished up, all sweaty and dirty. The home owner said to my buddy, ‘Hey, you guys want a cold beer!” His response was, “No we don’t drink beer! But we’ll take a Bible!” True story.
    Man, were we indoctrinated back then or what.
    I thank the Lord for His Word, which is truth, and sets us free to be genuine sinners saved by Jesus’ amazing grace! The Gospel is sweet to us, but it is very distasteful for those who are still in their sin. Yet, God saves these same sinners doesn’t He. Even chief of sinners, with very hard hearts. (Which is all of us really.)

  53. P.s. I’m really sorry I spelled your first name wrong, Erik!

  54. Erik,

    This was very well written. Like you I have valued and still value the input MacArthur has on scripture. Thank you for the time and graciousness you showed in your response. I had never read your blog before Tim Challies recommended this post. I hope that Dr.MacArthur will take the time to understand the people he’s attacking.

    Paul

  55. As a not-old-but-not-young teaching pastor, overseeing 12 other churches and their young pastors, with a young and restless youth pastor on my staff always wanting to explore the frontiers of liberty, freedom and grace(and wisdom), I’m watching this dialogue with fascination.

    There are some real generational traits starting to emerge between the young and the old, and certainly a perception and language gap that, I believe, is setting the western church up for a great fall.

    MacArthur deals with large groups of young men every day. He’s not an insulated curmudgeon who despises youth. He’s trying to start a conversation, which is his role in the universal church. It’s a conversation, not a Yo Mama exchange.

    Young guys, let me be lovingly direct, and provide some advice.

    One, get some thicker skin. These quick personal counter-attacks and ‘Ow, he’s huuuuurting meeee’ responses are chick-like. Prov. 9:8 I deal weekly with young men in ministry who see everything as personal, when really it’s just real life that you just have to man-up and tackle. Not every blow we take requires return fire.
    Two, take 48 hours to consider whether the old guy has some wisdom you can take home.
    Three, don’t totally blow off the old guy. He was 10 years into teaching ministry before your naked backside saw daylight. More and more I’m catching contempt toward anyone over 45. That’s a time bomb that will one day blow up in your face.
    Four, realize that in a blink you’ll be the old guy. What goes around comes around. How do you want the young guys to regard you when you reach the sell-by age of 50 in a few short years?
    Five, laugh at yourself and everyone else.

    Grace.

  56. If I had a blog with 100 articles and 99 were biblical while one post advocated the “prosperity gospel,” would it be wrong for a trusted elder to take me to task for that one post? (1 Tim. 3:16-17)

    Would you characterize Christ as old or grumpy if he ignored all the “good works” you did and focused only upon your sins? (Matthew 7:22)

    In my humble opinion (which I thank you for allowing here), taking the link from MacArthur’s original article as ad hominem is erroneous.

    You said, “Since I am linked in this sentence I have to assume he means people like me. Incorrect assumption. You are not linked, your article is. Why do you take it personally? MacArthur says, “it seems beer is a more popular topic for study and discussion than the doctrine of predestination.” In your article, beer is the whole point; the observance of Lent is secondary and discussion of the biblical grounds for these works is non-existent.

    MacArthur’s point is made in the last paragraph of his article:

    “It should not take a doctor of divinity to notice that Scripture consistently celebrates virtues such as self-control, sober-mindedness, purity of heart, the restraint of our fleshly lusts, and similar fruits of the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work in our lives. Surely these are what we ought to hold in highest esteem, model in our daily lives, and honor on our websites, rather than trying so hard to impress the world with unfettered indulgence in the very things that hold so many unbelievers in bondage.”

    Please be wise and acknowledge that your Lenten beer article is a stumbling block for many and accept with grace the biblical rebuke offered to you for that one post, and that one post only.

    Reproof and Wisdom

  57. Why were you really offended? Was it really the content? If someone who was not well-known wrote something similar to MacArthur’s article, you would have dismissed it entirely. So I’m thinking the content is not the real problem. Do you revere him that much? If so, then why not listen? Do you revere him too much? If not, then why be offended? Why not just issue a warning of caution instead of taking it so personally?

    It sounds like he hit close to home, and you’re having to work through some issues in your own heart. Not agreeing or disagreeing with MacArthur here, only pointing out your need to defend yourself brother. I don’t know you or your ministry, so I could be way off-base here. But, I’m guessing you’d want a first-time reader to get the right impression of you.

  58. Thank you for this article. I agree completely. It was spoken with much maturity and i heard no anger or bitterness come through. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of MacArthur’s post.

  59. ERIK….a Question….(Above you State): “Then he transitions and says that wine was necessary for health reasons, quoting 1 Timothy 5.23. True indeed. But this is not all. After all Jesus himself did make the equivlant of about 150 bottles of wine in his first public miracle (John 2). And please note the attendees had already been drinking freely (Jn 2.10). And the wine was good. Those people were not all there for medicinal reasons. They were celebrating.”

    Let me ask a Question then…Do you believe that the Attendees at the Wedding were already DRUNK or NOT Sober When Jesus made 150 gallons more of WINE in HIS first miracle? AND…..was the WINE he made (Alcoholic WINE or NON-Alcoholic WINE)? I believe the answer to these questions will tell us where our stance on the DRUG of Alcohol drinking should be as a Christian. Let me know your thoughts if you get a chance. Thanks

      • Not sure what you are getting at Taco…how does that relate?

        • He could have been a bit more descriptive, but if you click the link and choose the last occurrence, then you will see that the word that is usually used for being drunk is in the “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when the guests have drunk freely, then that which is worse. You have kept the good wine until now!” passage in John 2:10. That would seem to indicate that there were people that were drunk before Jesus made the wine and that at least at a superficial reading, what the speaker was suggesting was that traditionally people got drunk at weddings. If that was not the case then he would not have said, “usually you serve the bad wine after everyone is drunk.” I am not a greek expert, so I am not qualified to speak to this, but it would seem from my rudimentary Greek from 15 years ago that at the very least, wine at the time of Jesus was strong enough that people got drunk, which disproves the weak argument about wine being a fundamentally different thing then than now.

  60. ADAM, ERIK, TACO and Anyone else how has an EAR to Hear or READ as be the case………Here’s a QUESTION with some Commentary: Was The Wine that Jesus created at the Wedding of Cana…. Alcoholic Wine or NON- Alcoholic WINE (Fresh Grape Juice-Juice out of this world and like no other)?
    1) 99% of the Christians that are Looking to Drink and party (needing and wanting an excuse to do so)…. Quote John 2:10 as saying that the people were DRUNK. Keeping in mind that JESUS…the creator of the Universe was right there with them…the HEAD BARTENDER! …If that be true……. Christian Drinkers love that!
    2) SO HERE’S WHAT WE GOT: A Large amount of wedding guests, including Jesus and his family. People celebrating and drinking freely to the point of OPEN drunkenness (according to most defending their right to PARTY and DRINK, will say its right there in the scriptures)!
    3) QUESTION: I would imagine that People at the wedding knew Jesus well; (with his family there and all), knew of HIS teachings. Would they not know that Jesus (The Lord of the Universe) HARD stance on being DRUNK? READ 1 cor 6:9-10 where the Lord say’s that ” Drunkards WILL NOT inherit the Kingdom of God.” We’ll these so called Drinking DRUNKs at the Wedding are not only SINNING (if that be the case as those looking to protect their right to use the DRUG of Alcohol); but are doing SO in the Very presence of Our LORD and Savior!! And ARE in FACT….Committing SIN right before JESUS himself……their Creator and Savior!
    4) BUT THEN! According to all the Christians that Love this Drug of Choice (Alcohol). How then Does Jesus respond to this SIN????…….Jesus then turns a blind eye to the intoxicated wedding guests…Looks the other way; (and I guess….must have hoped God the Father wasn’t looking)…because then according to those that say this was alcoholic wine. Jesus decides to make approximately 150 more GALLONS of the alcoholic stuff! Not just the cheap low grade stuff. The real FINE Alcoholic Wine. The best!
    5) The SIN: If this were true (which it IS NOT and CANNOT be (follow the logic and scripture)….. and is unconscionable to even consider as being true……”this whole scenario”). If this were actually alcoholic Wine, and Jesus Miracle WINE as well, JESUS would have contributed and endorsed the wild drinking and drunkenness that not only preceded the miracle! But then ……to top off this crazy therory……JESUS would not have endorsed the behavior by what he did next…….but also would have contributed to their DRUNKEN state, by making MORE alcohol for the party to make sure they were drunk!!!
    6) THE PROBLEM: iF Jesus did this…..then HE undoubtedly SINNED and can no longer be our Savior (he would be with blemish and not worthy to be the world’s sacrifice)! Well …we all know that isn’t true. So it must be that Jesus miracle was as John MacArthur has said….was the BEST, freshest, unfermented WINE that ever was! He would never temp anyone folks, come on….THINK about it!
    Alcohol is a DRUG….it alters ones normal thought process when taken in, lowers their inhibitions (EVEN IN MODERATION!!). That means EVEN in Moderation…you are under its Influence and thus (going against our Lords words of INSTEAD being FILLED with What???????…….YES…”The HOLY SPIRIT”….not alcohol.
    Remember Alcohol is a DRUG and is Responsible for MORE Deaths, Destruction, broken family’s, broken marriages, auto accidents, rapes, ALL Sorts of Sexual Crimes, Cost in Damages(I could go ON and ON here)…..then ALL of the ILLEGAL Drugs put together. YET this is the DRUG that God endorses???? Any person that is being HONEST with themselves would have to say NO! Don’t drink this DRUG….why do you need the Alcohol???? If you got to have the taste…there are alternatives and NON- Alcoholic WINE and BEERS. I Implore you to Be INSTED filled with the HOLY SPIRIT!!

    • ARE you SURE about ALL that, or ONLY part, a LITTLE bit, or MAYBE even SOME of IT?

      JUST wonderING.

      • read between the caps bro

        • So what’s your rebuttle Bro…..Either Jesus looked the other way (AS the wedding guests continued to SIN) withe their Drunkeness and then made 150 more Gallons of the Acoholic Drug…..or They were not drunk and Jesus made the best non Alcoholic Grape Juice ever created as John MacArthur believes. Which do you go with????

      • No Thoughts on what I asked …Questions put forth. You don’t see any problems with the Logic of saying that the guests were drunk in Jesus presense??? He had to have looked the other way…that is a SIN (is it Not?) Please address the Questions if you kindly would.

      • No Thoughts on what I asked …Questions put forth. You don’t see any problems with the Logic of saying that the guests were drunk in Jesus presense??? He had to have looked the other way…that is a SIN (is it Not?) Please address the Questions if you kindly would.

      • No insight or thought at all??? Just attacking my grammer and the way I convey my thoughts?? Come on Razor….you must have some thought on John 2 (and the wedding at Cana)?

        • What about the Judges 9 verse that’s wine cheers both God and man? Is this fermented or not? Is this the wine Noah drank when he planted a vineyard?

          • I also have a Vineyard Michael…..I just don’t make alcholic drinks out of it (Alcoholic WINE). Freshly squeezed grape juice is GREAT…don’t get a buzz off it, inhibitions are not changed and NO chance on getting drunk! Makes MY heart Glad and I’m sure the Lords since I’m seeking to fill myself with the HOLY SPIRIT instead of a DRUG

        • Darren strikes again! ;-)

          Couple of questions for you Darren… Did God create the coca, poppy, and marijuana plants? If so, is He responsible for any sins committed by people who use these plants to become intoxicated by them?

          Did God create the grape so that it would ferment, thus creating alcohol itself? If so, is He responsible for people who abuse alcohol and become drunk?

          If Jesus created wine at the wedding feast and they consumed it, does that make Him the author of their sin?

          Besides, focusing on the alcohol content of the wine misses the point of that miracle entirely anyway. Any commentary I’ve read on it (as well as a general understanding of Hebrew culture and the OT) explains this miracle was performed to show that Jesus is the coming King (Amos 9, Isaiah 25). One of the signs of the coming kingdom was the abundance of wine, so when the King arrived on the scene, the first miracle He performed was showing everyone who He was and that the kingdom was upon them.

          Aside from that, you still keep coming back to this one isolated passage as the hinge passage for your entire argument against alcohol consumption. You still have ~300 other verses to alcohol consumption throughout the Bible, and many of those are positive.

          • Chad..the reason for the story of Jesus first Miracle because it is the foundation to the Question. What was it that Jesus made? Alcohol or NO alcohol. This after what MANY christians have told me that the scriptures say that the guests were no SOBER at that point…they were Drunk. Do you really think that Jesus ..knowing this…would create 150 gallons more of the Alcoholic stuff!? If you can even contemplate saying YES to that question. It’s beyond mind boggling and I hate to say it…but you have just been blinded from the light. Its simply Black and White.

    • The wine contained alcohol. MacArthur states two things in “The Greatness of John the Baptist” to support the non-alcoholic point: 1. It was “new” and “new” he defines as “grape juice”. New is actually defined by Roman law as fermented, but less than a year. There’s also no indication that it was particularly “new” in the immediate text. 2. He says it “bypassed the curse”. I’m not sure how alcohol is part of the curse, either, it’s not terribly clear to me. That’s a fundamentalist and gnostic assumption.

      It’s also like saying Jesus made bacon, but since he bypassed the process of slaughter and curing, you’re left with raw meat that isn’t even pork.

      Non-alcoholic wine is also not grape juice. There are modern heat and filtration methods available to produce a legitimate non-alcoholic wine, and I assure you, it 1) requires fermented wine, 2) tastes absolutely nothing like grape juice, 3) has less alcohol than the orange juice in your fridge, and 4) is still prohibited for sale to minors.

      There really is no such thing as unfermented wine. The stuff that goes from grape directly to glass isn’t wine, isn’t called wine, and never was.

      You also (seem) to assume that drinking and/or having a party is wrong, but that is just your position (and has no justification). A party and a beer does not debauchery and drunken revelry make. Exercising self-control is not impossible when alcohol is present. A lack of self-control

      Jesus was also not the head bartender at the wedding, that guy was mentioned in verse 8.

      They did not know Jesus was the Lord of the Universe, nor did he write a book on the Greatness of John the Baptist for people to know his views on alcohol, nor was Jesus also known as Billy Sunday, nor would they have ceased to serve alcohol or drink at a wedding feast because a rabbi showed up. Why not at the very least assume self-control?

      I’m not so sure why you insist that simply providing alcohol means that Jesus sinned. By this reasoning, any Christian who owns a well-stocked grocery store is also sinning. Jesus only sins from *your* view of the other interpretation of the text, but that’s conflating viewpoints.

      MacArthur also keeps repeating that he doesn’t think drinking alcohol is a sin, so I’m not sure why this is even a problem for him. I think rather it’s a contradiction within his own view — and at this point you seem to differ with him anyway.

      Or why you assume that the behavior of people would change by the presence of the Savior they knew not, much less why that behavior would include an awareness of prohibitionist sentiment.

      The indication from the verse that people at the wedding were indeed well beyond their first-half glass of an alcoholic beverage comes from John’s use of the verb μεθύω — which means “to get drunk”, so to say there was no alcohol on premise or that they weren’t drinking liberally what was available is denying the apostle’s choice of words here. Or to say they went from the social lubricant variety to the non-lubricating variety and called it the “best” of all the stuff served … well, I’m not sure how to classify that error, but it’s quite unreasonable.

      Alcohol also does not preclude being filled with the Holy Spirit.

      If you’re concerned about things that alter behavior, then allowing any sweets (including apple juice) around children is also sinful. Even in moderation or just as a treat.

      In short, your view of the wedding in John 2 is built around a commentary, and one that I’ve shown has flawed assumptions. Second, granting those assumptions, your view is fraught with yet more assumptions and contradictions. If you give the weight of testimony to the apostle and Scripture, culture and history without anachronism, an arrival at your conclusions is impossible.

      Were there sinners at the wedding engaged in sinful behavior? You bet. Was Jesus a party to it? If Jesus was guilty of winking at an abuse of alcohol, he was guilty of winking at all the other sinful behavior too. And that’s only a problem in your view, not mine.

      • @ BRIG…..Wow….you state, “Were there sinners at the wedding engaged in sinful behavior? You bet. Was Jesus a party to it? If Jesus was guilty of winking at an abuse of alcohol, he was guilty of winking at all the other sinful behavior too. And that’s only a problem in your view, not mine.”

        Wow again!! Not a problem that Jesus created 150 more gallons of Alcohol after many who state that the wedding guests were “under the influence of alcohol” drunk! If this the case….YES …Jesus did look the other way and HELPED them to become even more drunk. That my friend is a SIN and something that Jesus would never do. Not a problem for you..?? Wow….people will go to any lengths to protect their right to drink the DRUG of Alcohol. And to compare SWEETS with the DRUG of Alcohol and the complete devestation that its brought upon mankind!! Wow….there is no scripture and or reasoning with someone that thinks that way. If its one thing that I have learned from Christians that love to drink Alcohol, and that is that 99.9 % of them Love it to the point that they will justify their DRUG of choice. Twist scriptures and biblical stories to their liking. All in the name of a Cold Beer. Sad

  61. Ridiculous! you sound like my Teenage daughter, when she acts out of line and I try to correct and impart some God given parental wisdom to her.
    Refusing to listen to that wisdom she lashes back by taking one word out of all that’s been said and she obviously doesn’t agree with and brakes into a dramatic song and dance on how I’m “so wrong!”
    Do the “Grown Up” thing, stop your grumbling, listen and apply what has being said.
    As you pointed out in your song and dance, John MacArthur is more learned, experienced and proven in every facet of ministry. It would do you well to take a step back, take a deep breath and apply what can be applied and move on.
    In my opinion, this article does more harm to your cause than anything MacArthur had to said.

    • Hi Caudillo23…thanks for your input, but keep in Mind that This Story is a very important bible story and the first Miracle of Jesus our Savior. This is just not one word out of all. This is the foundation to Many Christians to drink freely and party. Instead of just answering by saying this is Ridiculous….give me some THINKING rebuttle as to why based on the scripture of John 2:10 and let me know where my Logic is Flawed. Thanks

    • So far no one (for some reason), has addressed the questions that I asked, and dealt with the Logic of Scripture of the biblical story of the Wedding at Cana and Jesus miracle of Water into WINE or Non-Alcholic WINE. So far three responses and all of them do not address the Content of the Story that I have Questioned and asked for input on. Just like your Daughter Caudillo23…..she deserves to know the truth of why she should not run across the Freeway to get to the other side of the road. Not just a pat answer of “Because I SAID SO!!!”

      • Or, maybe it’s not because your arguments are that awesome, but because you type like a crazed KJVO-ist, and your arguments are not only tired, but… more than a little silly, with a side of well-poisoning and eisegesis.

        Correcting the problems in your rambling, semi-incoherent, (ever-multiplying) and caps-lock strewn rants would take more time than it would ever possibly be worth.

        I’m confessionally reformed; 1689 LBCF. (That’s over 300 years old, for those of you that aren’t all that up on this newfangled “math” stuff.) The modern fundy mindset is more young, restless, and legalistic than I really want to deal with at this, or any other time.

        • Thanks for the compliments RazorsKISS…(you Kiss’s do Cut DEEP!)..Woops there I go again with the Caps; I remember you don’t like that. Also …sorry my grammer isn’t what you’d like to see or read) But I’m just trying to draw some Light to the Scripture and what is right there in front of us. We must deal with the 2 Questions…(1) Were the wedding guests drunk as many say the scriptures are saying? (2) If so…..why would Jesus condon that? And in fact, if he made alcoholic WINE as many say; he would not only be allowing the drunken party…..but HE would also be helping them to get even more drunk by serving another 150 gallons of Wine. All I ask is that you re-read the Gospel of John (John 2 specifically), and for a second consider what I am saying with an open mind and with reason. No need for Sarcasm RazorsKISS, kind of uncalled for. All I’m asking is for Someone, a Pastor, Christian thinker…to give an answer for this miracle, that makes sense given the argument I’ve presented. Being sarcastic, attacking in nature on my grammer and the way I write..solves nothing. Just makes it seem like you are making excuses to Party and Drink…at any cost. Seems like you just look the other way when the Questions get touch and look to go into attach mode on a personal level. Let me know if you have any good thoughts on the scriptures and the questions I’ve brought up…..logically speaking as they have to do with what is written. Thanks

          • Darren D:

            Your initial argument contains an unverifiable assumption. There is no evidence from the text to indicate that the members of the wedding feast were drunk to the point of debauchery. Could they have been? Certainly. Could they have been responsibly drinking as well? Absolutely. To base your entire argument off of an unproven premise is fallacious at best, deceptive at worst.

            That being said, even within the confines of your argument, does “Giving opportunity to sin” equate to “encouraging (or being a part of) sin”? Jesus walked about on earth doing ministry and performing miracles that caused many Pharisees to sin. The Lord our God preordained that by Christ’s wounds we would be healed — and in that promise is a requirement that some men would perform evil acts to the Son of God in order that he would gain those wounds. I don’t think we have any reason to believe that, simply because Jesus’ actions gave people opportunity to sin, He would be responsible for said sins (aside from the sense in which He is responsible for the sins of all of *His* sheep by imputation).

            I think that you have to be careful with apply logic to pull extra things out of a text that weren’t originally intended.

          • Perhaps more people would be willing to engage in a discussion with you if you weren’t so pejorative in your replies to them. Here’s the thing, I think that you and I agree on a lot of points (but not all), but what I really don’t agree with is your using Scripture to bash people over the head who don’t see eye to eye with you. I wouldn’t even want to begin to try and address with you the points on which we disagree because it seems only to feed your derision and scorn for anything which opposes your viewpoint. Your behavior here is appalling. All you’re doing is fueling the view that those who believe that the Bible doesn’t endorse wine are disgruntled fundies who won’t enter into a discussion. Because that’s what this is supposed to be here: a discussion. Yes, sin needs to be rebuked, but that rebuke should come through a wise counselor with whom the one in sin has a relationship. If anyone in this thread needs correction, they certainly aren’t looking for it from you, and your behavior here will only serve to more firmly ground the opinions that they already hold.

  62. This was really well-written.

    I’m 41 y.o. pastor, I don’t drink. I wear a tie every Sunday morning when I preach, don’t like MMA, & would not consider myself a poster child for YRR. Yet, I found MacArthur’s critiques to be silly & intentionally incendiary. It’s like he’s saying: “I’m old. I can quote the Bible better than you. Therefore, I am the infallible source of gospel propriety.” In other words, “Little man get beat DOWN!”

    This, too, is why I don’t blog. You say it much better than I could. God bless you & your family.

    Bo

  63. Aren’t you kinda saying “How could he say this about me? that’s not who I am. I’ve been mischaracterized….a straw man.” Yet you have the audacity to label him old and grumpy and use that image of the angry preacher man to symbolize this gracious man? You obviously don’t know him, nor have you extended him the courtesy you were supposedly most put off by. If he is really your favorite podcast, and one of your heroes, and like a spiritual father, don’t you know him better than that if you’ve listened to him so muich ? How could you say this about him?

    Also, MacArthur never said it’s a sin to drink alcohol. Never. Read the post. He was just saying it’s wise for Christian leaders to abstain. Yet in 111 comments a lot of folks jumped to the defense of alcohol. That kind of knee jerk love and defense of your movements beloved beer exactly proves MacArthur’s point and disproves your comments that alcohol is .002 percent of the equation. A friend of mine heavily influenced by your movement is so obsessed with Christians drinking beer and getting me to enjoy drinking that it has dampened our friendship.

    Also did you notice MacArthur quotes Darrin Patrick positively in his post? Yet you bring up the old and long since resolved scuttlebutt.

    Regarding a call to action….you say you have have 6 kids. Maybe you should run this case study by them? If you tell them they’ve done something unwise and unbecoming, how do you expect them to respond? You expect them to stop doing it, right? To repent. To not do it any more. And same goes for your congregation I would imagine? If how to apply this exhortation is a real mystery to you (which I doubt it is, therefore making it rhetoric, which you also condemn) then it raises some serious doubts in my mind about your understanding of how the Holy Spirit works in our lives to apply preaching or wise counsel. Milk is for babies, meat is for mature. Do you really need it so spelled out and predigested for you to process? No, I think you’re more mature than that.

    You have stated you admire MacArthur’s biblicity. Me too. So why not trust his gray hair when it comes to gray areas? Also I think he is using the pointy end of the staff with you because he loves you and sees potential in you. But he is shouting in your face when your only a foot away because he knows that behind you is a massive crowd that may be standing much further away than you are but he wants them to hear it too. So yes, your ears might be ringing unnecessarily from the shouting, sorry, but at least those who are farther off than you appear to be hearing what he is saying.

    • One more thought….I live near Seattle and happened to drive by Mars Hill church in Ballard yesterday on normal business. I was reminded the community the church is in has an unusually high concentration of bars and pubs, and is full of young fixed gear riding beer loving hipsters.

      Someone mentioned a DA Carson quote that he would not drink around sensitive brothers or those with a weak conscience, such as those perhaps with a troubled background. But he would around pharisaic legalists. Perhaps Martin Luther was coming from a similar perspective in the context of his battles with the Catholic church.

      HEre’s where I’m going. I could MAYBE see the legitimacy of a beer drinking missional mentality in a town like Salt Lake City or Provo, where the state itself has legislation against alcohol due to the strongholds of Mormonism and their alcohol prohibitions, and you were trying to shock their senses to see “abstinence is not what saves you!” But Ballard? Quite the opposite!!! IN a community like that I would think Mars Hill should have quite the opposite reputation, and show how to have joy in Jesus without the beer.

      But the mentality my Driscoll idolizing YRR friend has for years been trying to press on me is to have a beer with my unsaved work colleagues so they’ll open up with me. I tried this once and sincerely regret it. The fact that I don’t drink has been a much stronger testimony and gospel opportunity over the long run.

      • Just an FYI, Carson also makes it plain that one is not to leave a weaker brother weak.

        • So what….educate the weaker brother about all the social, spiritual, physical, and missional benefits of alcohol ?

          .0002% disproven, once again. You guys are obsessed.

          • No. That isn’t what he said at all. I believe his point was that, if you’re going to use D.A. Carson to prove your point, be careful to understand the full context of his stance.

            That being said, if the issue is that the weaker brother believes that drinking alcohol is a sin (that’s the context of Paul’s letter in regard to clean and “unclean” things), then yes, lovingly correcting that wrong belief is the duty of the stronger brother.

            Additionally, I do want to voice my concerns about the “wise” and “unwise” distinction that we like to throw at things in our church culture. Often, it feels like we put the label “Unwise” on things that we personally believe are wrong, but have no defensible biblical basis for our feelings. And then, we secretly judge those people in our hearts for their “unwise” decisions as if they are walking in open and unrepentant sin. We wouldn’t ever say that, of course, because we can’t really defend it, but we judge them for it nonetheless. I think we need to be extremely careful not to shoot Jesus worshipping, Gospel-Preaching, evangelistic brothers (even in our own judgmental hearts) over something like this.

            If you want a hill to die on, fight for the inerrant and full authority of the scriptures. If you want to make a stand, fight for the deity of Christ. We cannot make this tertiary issue primary. And I mean that for both the YRR’s and MacArthur-ians alike. YRR’s have spent far too much time touting their precious liberty, and MacArthur (and his age-group/culture) have put far too much effort into battling for the abolition of something that is simply “unwise”.

            Not. Worth. It.

          • [This is reply to MATT K below, but there was no reply button under his post]

            Matt K

            You’ve driven me to do something that can be really annoying: type in caps for emphasis:

            NO ONE IN EVANGELICALISM HAS EVER SAID ANYWHERE THAT DRINKING ALCOHOL IS A SIN! MACARTHUR DIDN’T SAY IT AND IM NOT SAYING IT.

            You said “if the issue is that the weaker brother believes that drinking alcohol is a sin….then lovingly correct that wrong belief.” Amen, glory, hallelujah! It is a personal conviction of mine not to drink, but if I met a brother who thought it was a sin to drink, I too would lovingly correct that weaker brother. You fellas need to separate the difference between a person like me who says “It is a personal conviction of mine, based on what I think the Scripture teaches is wise, not to drink.” That is way different than me saying ” I think drinking is sin.” The former is a wisdom issue, the latter is a weaker brother issue. Yet you fellas maintain this condescending tone that I’m a weaker brother because I choose not to drink. Not true. That actually makes you the legalists.

            You mentioned “MacArthur and his age group/culture.” FYI, I am 29. I work full time for a nationally recognized youth Brand that lives and breathes college/youth culture. I’d estimate our company spends about $100 – $150,000 on booze each year between trade shows, marketing events, company meetings, private secular concerts (many famous bands you’d recognize) and other events. I probably turn down alcohol at company gatherings between 50 -100 times per year. ANd it has not been easy. And it has lead to countless gospel conversations and opportunities. When they see that I don’t drink, they notice a difference in me, and that opens doors for the gospel.

            You think I’m a weaker brother for this? I’ve found that most you YRR guys are on the fringes of youth culture and wannabes anyway.

            BTW, I’m a MacArthurite, not a MacArthur-ian.

            But I have other mentors too. I leave you with a quote from my favorite dead guy, JC Ryle, warning of worldliness:

            [The worldly] have too much religion to be happy in the world, and too much of the world to be happy in their religion.

          • I think my tone was misread in the above post. I didn’t intend to sound condescending at any point — if I came across that way, I apologize.

            I think your entire argument in your first paragraph (after the capslock) about the weaker brother condescension is the exact same argument I made about the wise/unwise distinction. The words are different, and the targets are switched, but I think that it’s essentially the same issue.

            You feel like YRR’s marginalize and insult MacArthur and his ilk by acting like they are weaker brothers for caring so much about the consumption of alcohol. The YRR’s feel like MacArthur crowd considers them unwise (synonym: foolish) for their consumption of alcohol.

            That being said, I will respond to a few of your points:

            “You fellas need to separate the difference between a person like me who says ‘It is a personal conviction of mine, based on what I think the Scripture teaches is wise, not to drink.’”

            When you make this statement, who do you think it is wise for? Do you think it is wise for you not to drink? Or for anyone?

            “The former is a wisdom issue, the latter is a weaker brother issue.”

            I disagree. I believe that the former is a matter of conscience — because the scripture isn’t black-and-white clear on the issue.

            “Yet you fellas maintain this condescending tone that I’m a weaker brother because I choose not to drink.”

            Again, I reiterate that if I seemed condescending toward you, I apologize. My first paragraph was incredibly short and direct, because I felt that your response to ‘taco’ warranted it. Other than that, I don’t read the rest of the post as condescending, but I will admit that I can read my own intentions and you cannot — I will attempt to be more clear in the future.

            “And [abstaining] has lead to countless gospel conversations and opportunities. When they see that I don’t drink, they notice a difference in me, and that opens doors for the gospel.”

            For this, I praise God and am extremely excited for His providential blessing on you. I am thankful that, for your situation, He has provided the correct conscience that encourages Gospel spread within your sphere of influence. My only caveat is that we must be careful to not inflict our own conscience upon that of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

            “You think I’m a weaker brother for this? I’ve found that most you YRR guys are on the fringes of youth culture and wannabes anyway.”

            I never called you a weaker brother. Again, unintended tone may have made you read this as condescending and I apologize if that is the case. However, please refrain from name-calling and general insults about the men within the YRR movement. It neither bolsters your cause nor is it helpful to your brothers. Certainly are all things permissible, but not all things (or words) are edifying.

            As an aside, I never claimed to be a part (I am on the outside looking in on both fronts) of the YRRs.

            Let me leave you with this from Romans 14:1-6

            “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

            One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.”

            A good word to all of us on both sides of the issue.

  64. Darren, the “one word” I was referring to in my post wasn’t so much a word but the “link” that MacArthur used in linking you to his blog. The tone of your article and by the length that it took you to get to your actual point makes it seem that you just didn’t like being implicated in it. Maybe like some others have mentioned in previous post, it was too close for comfort? As for the scripture you referenced, I’m afraid I’m no biblical scholar with any type of biblical degree, but I do know enough to know that I shouldn’t justify my actions on one or two trivial versus of Scripture, I’m referring here to your statement: “This is the foundation to Many Christians to drink freely and party”.
    The typical answer you’ll hear from those trying to justify drinking alcohol is, “there is no verse that says you can’t drink”. The question is not “is it okay”, the question is “Can you control yourself not to get drunk or buzzed?” In other words, Can you control yourself so that you don’t take it to excess? Can you remain sober minded as scripture tells us to be? Can your conscious remain clear of guilt and feeling convicted? Apostle Paul addresses a similar issue that can be applied in 1 Cor. 8, versus 8-13 in particular. Read it and be honest with yourself for your own sake and for the sake of others. Drinking is not an issue of whether it’s okay with everyone else; it’s an issue of is it okay before your own conscious and before God. As Paul teaches, it’s an issue of knowledge, knowledge of the justification and freedom you have in Christ. 1 Cor. 8:10-11
    I agree there is no specific scripture telling us not to drink, but when the drinking is an issue to others around you then you are to submit and not drink, so that you do not bring offense to the weaker person and cause them to stumble. (1 Cor. 8:12) That being said, accountability to God is the Real issue in this matter. Being accountable to fellow believers is important because we are to help each other grow in the knowledge and likeness of Christ. Can we do that with a beer can in our hand? Ultimately it’s your accountability to God that should be the biggest influence and thee deciding factor in all things that we do or wont do. Scriptures clearly state that we are to live in the fear of the Lord.
    “Now then let the fear of the Lord be upon you; be very careful what you do, for the LORD our God will have no part in unrighteousness (2 Chr. 19:7)
    The Fear of the Lord, not as in being frightful or scared of God, but as in reverently considering him first before all that we do. We are to be ever mindful not to grieve the Spirit by our actions but live our life by “performing deeds that are consistent with our repentance”. (Acts 26:20)
    Oh, and sometimes telling my daughter “Because I said so” is well within my rights I as her parental authority. She sure does deserve truth, but if it has to come down to “I said so!” it’s usually because she wasn’t willing to listen to neither truth nor reason, so I refer her back to my authority as her father. In your case ultimately, Scripture is the authority but the wisdom of someone it seems you very highly esteem should count for something shouldn’t it?

  65. Darren, the “one word” I was referring to in my post wasn’t so much a word but the “link” that MacArthur used in linking you to his blog.

    (Psst – Darren isn’t the author of this blog, Erik is.)

  66. Thank you for your post. The exegetical work on wine has always baffled me a bit. John 2 is clearly real wine and that makes people uncomfortable because alcohol can be abused, so they twist the text. Abundance is never an excuse for excess. God often blesses us with more than we need, but that is no justification for indulging in a way that does not honor God. Whether that is money, food, wine or any area of life. All must be to God’s glory. I like Calvin on John 2, “Let no table be spread to which He who graced the marriage feast of Cana could not be invited; let no pleasure be indulged in that could not live in the light of his countenance.” (P.S. – I think it was more like 600-700 bottles of wine.)

    I found these two articles helpful:

    “The Bible and Alcohol” (Daniel Wallace), http://bible.org/article/bible-and-alcohol

    “Wine in the Ancient World” (R.A. Baker), http://www.churchhistory101.com/feedback/wine-ancient-world.php

  67. LOL, oops, It was an honest mistake. I guess I got lost in reading all the post and re-post. my bad :) Whatever the case you wont hear from me on this artical anymore.

  68. Actually I think the whole “discussion” is retarded. But before I comment further I guess I better go read the “clarification” because it my first reading of this post made it sound like you represent what the TGC and T4G is. And it is naive to suggest that ones “Manner of life” should always be divorced from any conversation about the gospel. (TT’s and KDY’s discussion on sanctification speaks much to that.) If that is an unfair assessment about what you said in this post than I apologize. But it seems to me that you are saying JM doesn’t care about the gospel as much you do and that his blogs reveal that. And just as a side note, there is a difference to caring about how you look and having convictions about it and being pragmatic about how you look.

  69. @Jaye… It’s not about Bashing people. People post back to me and I try and defend my position and ask a simple Question:

    Why would the Lord of the Universe (ALL knowing) …make 150 more gallons of WINE when the guests were already Drunk? It’s valid queston and a “hinge pin” into weather or not…Jesus drank alcoholic beverages and made alcohol.

    The obvious question begs to ask….if HE did make the 150 gallons of alcoholic beverages after the guests ran out and were drunk as the scripture is said to indicate. Then (based on scripture)….He did Sin. There is no way around this……unless you’re looking to change the story and make it Okay to have, take, drink and consume the DRUG of alcohol.

    • Darren:

      The longer version of your question was answered above:
      http://www.ordinarypastor.com/?p=8366#comment-54582

      I’m not exactly sure why you state that it requires a “change” to be “okay to have, take, drink, and consume” either, since MacArthur went out of his way to say it is no sin to do so. Are you in fact a prohibitionist entering in his own dog in this race at the last minute? It’s fine to enter, I just want to be sure your dog gets his own gate. (This is to say, I want to be fair to your position without interjecting someone else’s thoughts, like MacArthur’s).

      • I agree we do have christian liberties…but to what extent. To support an Alcohol industry that is responsible for more Death, destruction, broken families, broken marriages, cost in damages. Is that industry you want to support for the Selfish desire to have your alcohoic Drink? The bible plainly states that one should be filled INSTEAD with the Holy Spirit. Not alcohol. The Dog you have entered in the race leads to ALL sorts of sin, damage, and destruction. The Dog I have in the race is one of Sobriety…leaning fully to the side of following the Lords command to be INSTEAD filled with the Holy Spirit, Sober Minded. If you don’t like that Dog…..I’m sorry, but I’ll follow that one every time over the freedom to Drink the DRUG of Alcohol. You do know its a drug don’t you??

        • I will take that to mean “Yes, I disagree with MacArthur. Any consumption of alcohol is wrong.”

          Eph 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit …

          It says don’t get drunk, and I take that very seriously. I would never suggest otherwise. I believe in being sober-minded, and filled with the Holy Spirit. The onus is upon you to say the text means something more than “don’t get drunk”.

          Yes, alcohol is a drug, and I am also consuming my second non-alcoholic psychoactive drug beverage of the day as I finish typing this.

          What I guess I don’t understand is the moral relativism that suggests alcohol is wrong today, but alcohol was not wrong yesterday (in ages past).

          It’s also hard for me to imagine a stronger stance than John Wesley on the issue, whose Methodists spawned the temperance movement that is the source of modern Baptist prohibitionism. Yet, he blogged on the brewing of beer in the Bristol newspaper publicly and in YRR fashion:
          http://www.ratebeer.com/Story.asp?StoryID=587

          And finally, when the Lord of hosts makes for all peoples, a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined, will you mind if I partake?

          • Brig….thanks for the input. I don’t know if you have ever listed to John MacArthur’s “Be not drunk on Wine” audio series 1 thru 3. But he does a great job at explaining what Jesus drank and what we drink today are two different kinds of Wine. The results of that drinking….were night and day of what the results are in drink todays alcoholic beverage.

            Question for you:

            Do you believe that if you are “light headed” from consuming the drug of alcohol you are sinning?

            How about if your inhibitions have changed and are down from what they are normally?

            Do you suppose that the Holy Spirit can be put 1st when we have a BUZZ on….(not DRUNK)….just feeling good with a nice BUZZ?

            Maybe if we can truthfully answer some of these elementary questions we can move forward slowly to try and shed LIGHT on the CONS of drinking (even in moderation…you support the industry that has caused so much sorrow. Wouldn’t it just be better to put your Beer or favorite alcoholic beverage down and instead have a nice cool glass of Grape Juice? You never have to worry about when or where you cross that line and sin! think about it! It’s not so bad and I haven’t drank alcohol in over 20 years and I have not missed a thing. Believe it or not you can still have a good time without doing Durgs such as alcohol.

  70. You seem to gloss over the first two words in the second paragraph of Dr. MacArthur that you provided. Allow me to post them. “For some…” He did not paint the entire YRR movement with this broad stroke. Only those who do what he later goes on to describe. If you are feeling the cringe of guilt for what he is saying than maybe there’s something you need to deal with. If MacArthur’s “For some” doesn’t apply to you, then I suggest refraining from accusing MacArthur of indicting the entire YRR movement.

  71. @ Brig….

    A couple answers to your interpretation of the Wedding at Cana.

    You say:

    “They did not know Jesus was the Lord of the Universe”

    >> How do you know?…once again you make an assumption. Anyone that can turn Water into non-alcoholic Wine as John MacA has studied extensively on and agrees with on this point; would have to be more than a magician. You act like he was just a commoner…an everyday….one among hundreds of “Joe Rabbi’s” I think you need to give our Lord a little more credit then that my friend.

    You state:
    “nor would they have ceased to serve alcohol or drink at a wedding feast because a rabbi showed up.”

    >>True…….They may not have stopped serving the WINE (the kind you think it was and or the kind I think it was)….But as so many have pointed out to me that they were drunk (under the influence) as the scripture states here when they ran out. So here’s the question: Do You think that the Jesus…Lord and Savior would allow that (people being drunk at this party) and then contribute to that drunkenness? Do you really think that he would just look the other way. Whether these people knew it or not….they are in the presence of their Creator! Remember what he did with the “money changers”? And you know that HE knows what HIS word says…..”The drunkard shall not inherit the Kingdom of God” That’s some strong stuff and not to be taken lightly. Even if you think they had no reverence for THIS rabbi….the one that created the world and just performed a Miracle, should count for something. Jesus would always do what is right thing (in this case..not make alcoholic Wine)! For you to even suggest that he would simply put the liquor out there and say to drink responsibly like some kind of Bud commercial, is just plain ridiculous and over the top. You are just protecting and hanging onto a worldly activity and drug. You try and make it sound like Jesus said… “For all you guys partying…I just made 150 more gallons of the really good stuff…so party ON!! And Also people….. if you cannot Handle your Liquor…HE HE…Please stop drinking right before you get to the point of being drunk!” You’ve got to remember…..those guests were drunk; at least that is what I’m told by so many “Christians that go out of their way to protect alcohol drinking. Its right in the scriptures …I’m told over and over again.

    You State:

    “Why not at the very least assume self-control?”

    >>>Because its a DRUG…its addictive like ALL drugs are, you naturally want more! I’ve seen how Christians and self control goes when Christians drink. Especially at parties…..they are alike all other drinkers. Its the rare Christian drinker that stops at one, once the Good Times are rolling. I’ve seen it over and over…heard all the good time “Christian drinking” stories.

    You State:

    “I’m not so sure why you insist that simply providing alcohol means that Jesus sinned. By this reasoning….”

    >> Because…..according to the “Christian drinkers of America”…..the scripture indicates clearly that the wedding guests were drunk and had ran out of alcohol. Do you understand how much 150 gallons of WINE is!? I’m sure you can comprehend this. That’s alot of Alcohol my friend. These people were over their limit. For Christ to contribute to their drunkenness is a Sin. Even a good bartender would cut them off my friend!!
    Come on man…..its so clear! Jesus would never do this, he knows that their are minors there, women that are pregant, people that do bad things when they get under its influence, wives that may be beat, men (or women) that may cheat in their marriage or even look upon another women, with their inhibitions down. I understand you wanting to protect and hang on to the drinking, the beer, the alcohol and the good times. But this is so clear….to miss it is just denying the truth that Jesus did not make alcoholic Wine…he didn’t need to, He wouldn’t! It’s a drug. He is a jealous god and does not want to compete with the drug of alcohol.

    You State:

    “.. any Christian who owns a well-stocked grocery store is also sinning.”

    >> Actually a case could be made for that. There is a verse in the bible that talks about serving alcohol to people that end up getting drunk.
    I believe it says it is a sin or indicates as much. Habakkuk 2:15. so yes…you are correct it is sinning.

  72. @Toby…..
    You State:

    “John 2 is clearly real wine and that makes people uncomfortable because alcohol can be abused, so they twist the text. Abundance is never an excuse for excess. God often blesses us with more than we need, but that is no justification for indulging in a way that does not honor God.”

    It only makes people against the drug of Alcohol uncomfortable because the scripture indicates that the guests had run out of wine after much drinking and WERE drunk! So the Jesus tempts them with 150 gallons (or 600 to 700 bottles) of more wine!!??? Come on….HE does not tempt us like that. Sure he made WINE as the scriptures says…but as John MacArthur research and studied on this…it was the best Grape Juice (Wine) ever created the best stuff. Unfermented and no alcohol. If he did make Alcohol…he UNDOUBTEDLY contributed to their drunkeness. Any logically thinking person can figure that one out. That is ALOT of liquor my friend!

    They had already dishonored God according to the scriptures….it says they were well drunk by this time!! Jesus word says the drunkard will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God…its a SIN. So to think Jesus ..winks an eye..hopes God the Father isn’t looking and makes even MORE wine!?? Even a good bartender would cut them off at this point!! If He really did make more alcoholic WINE as many believe and hope (so they can continue their alcoholic drinking). Then there is NO Doubt that HE sinned and cannot be our Savior. Habakkuk 2:15 Wow to anyone that serves alcohol and as a result becomes drunk.

  73. @Caudillo23

    You STATE:

    “…but I do know enough to know that I shouldn’t justify my actions on one or two trivial versus of Scripture, I’m referring here to your statement: “This is the foundation to Many Christians to drink freely and party”.”

    >>The biblical story of the Wedding at Cana and Jesus first miracle…I would never consider trivial and there is more then just 1 or 2 verses to the story. I’ve been around long enough to know and have heard many a drinker justify their drinking by pointing to Jesus turning Water into Wine. Saying…..Jesus partied right along with other partiers. He drank with the best of them, And even made more Wine when they ran out!”
    So it is a VERY important story and scripture to understanding what Jesus actually made and his views on recreational drinking and parties.

    You STATE:

    “The question is not “is it okay”, the question is “Can you control yourself not to get drunk or buzzed?” In other words, Can you control yourself so that you don’t take it to excess? Can you remain sober minded as scripture tells us to be? Can your conscious remain clear of guilt and feeling convicted?”

    >>We need to rely on Scripture, prayer and supplication. Many a people have justified their Sins and crimes by convincing themselves that its okay. God would understand,…or I’m at peace with this action…My conscious is clear” We should rely on scripture to guide us…not our Conscious!! We are a SIN natured people…..apart from God…we will ALWAYS be lead astray!!

  74. “And finally, when the Lord of hosts makes for all peoples, a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined, will you mind if I partake?”-Brig
    Looking forward to it.

    “….when the Lord your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the Lord your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it [tithe] into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the Lord your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household. And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you.” Deut 14:24-27

    • Hi DonSands……Of course I’m not a bible scholar like John MacArthur is…but the try and use Deut 14:24-27 as a means to drink your DRUG of choice “Alcohol”, is just not good interpretation. Pastor John …address this, and strong drink in this context is not at all what you are trying to say it is. Otherwise..if you think it thru, its a GREEN light for anything! “….Whatever you desire….” Cool….I desire Cocaine! or maybe some Heroin! OH……(of course) in moderation! :) But it is my Christian right! As long as my conscience doesn’t tell me otherwise, Right!? All things are permissible (if we take that literally). No I’m afraid Don…that does not work. If you are trying to use that passage as a means to drink.

      Of course I’m sure all the Christian beer and alcohol drinkers look forward to Heaven. Endless supply of Beer and maybe the Lord will even relax the drinking restrictions some. Really let it go and party like a rock star. You quote Brig and the wonderful feast. What makes you so sure its alcoholic wine? (rotted grape juice fermented to become a DRUG..in the form of alcohol? Maybe we can even smoke a bowl after we eat and drink that alcoholic wine…right?! Why not….in moderation of course.

      • Yes, strong drink is addressed by him quite sufficiently I think (though he may contradict himself elsewhere):

        “Liquor is often translated in the New Testament and the Old…strong drink” — John MacArthur, “The Greatness of John the Baptist”

        So, yes, this more than likely refers to liquor or adult beverage of similar quality here, by specific example.

        I’m not sure why you’d be a literalist or an absolutist suddenly, either. This passage is in the context of feasting (with your tithe money no less), so “whatever your appetite craves” isn’t an absolute statement, but reference to whatever you can get down at the local market, excluding the unclean foods mentioned in the paragraph prior. Baby back ribs is not on the list, for instance, but Häagen-Dazs is well within your rights.

        The Bible really isn’t that difficult to understand, but harder to apply. God ordered genocide. Lots of people don’t like it, either. But the problem comes when we abandon Scriptural truth by playing fast and loose with the text.

        If you say that “wine” and “strong drink” mean neither “wine” nor “strong drink” but rather “grape juice” or “non-alcoholic beverages that mysteriously keep from fermenting and last until the next vintage” then we have a problem that is bigger than whether should someone abstain or not, it becomes a “did God *really* say??” issue. Christian liberties, whatever they may be, isn’t the first casualty, but Sola Scriptura is. Once SS is out of the way, anything goes. Anything.

  75. Very ,very sorry that John MacArthur’s rebuke was not taken humbly.Maturity would have been to take instruction and wisdom from an elder and say “you know I need to seek God in His word,examine my heart” and thank him for his insight.But instead we have immature non biblical response.Very sad.

    • shellie: Very, very sorry that Erik’s gentle response was not taken humbly. Maturity would have been to take instruction and wisdom from an elder (you DO realize that every pastor is an elder, right?) and say “you know I need to seek God in His word, examine my heart” and thank him for his insight. But instead we have an immature and unbiblical response. Very sad.

      “I hear that Luther has at length broken forth in fierce invective, not so much against you as against the whole of us. On the present occasion, I dare scarce venture to ask you to keep silence, because it is neither just that innocent persons should thus be harassed, nor that they should be denied the opportunity of clearing themselves; neither, on the other hand, is it easy to determine whether it would be prudent for them to do so. But of this I do earnestly desire to put you in mind, in the first place, that you would consider how eminent a man Luther is, and his excellent endowments, with what strength of mind and resolute constancy, with how great skill, with what efficiency and power of doctrinal statement, he hath hitherto devoted his whole energy to overthrow the reign of Antichrist, and at the same time to diffuse far and near the doctrine of salvation. Often have I been wont to declare, that even although he were to call me a devil, I should still not the less esteem and acknowledge him as an illustrious servant of God. … This, therefore, I would beseech you to consider first of all, along with your colleagues, that you have to do with a most distinguished servant of Christ, to whom we are all of us largely indebted. That, besides, you will do yourselves no good by quarreling, except that you may afford some sport to the wicked, so that they may triumph not so much over us as over the gospel. If they see us rending each other asunder, they then give full credit to what we say, but when with one consent and with one voice we preach Christ, they avail themselves unwarrantably of our inherent weakness to cast reproach upon our faith. I wish, therefore, that you would consider and reflect on these things, rather than on what Luther has deserved by his violence; lest that may happen to you which Paul threatens, that by biting and devouring one another, ye be consumed one of another. Even should he have provoked us, we ought rather to decline the contest than to increase the wound by the general shipwreck of the church.” – Calvin

  76. “Pastor John …address this, and strong drink in this context is not at all what you are trying to say it is.”

    I’m not trying to say anything. John MacArthur might, but I’m simply reading God’s Word for what it is. Don’t want to make it mean what I want.

    Have a good evening Darren.

    • Thanks DonSands….Just seems coinsidental you’d put that verse out there when defending ones right to Drink Alcohol. Just wanted to let you know , probably not the verse you want to use. ….”Whatever you desire….” may be taken out of context!:) Otherwise taken literally…..well…you know the rest. Anything goes!

  77. @Brig

    YOU STATE:

    “This passage is in the context of feasting (with your tithe money no less), so “whatever your appetite craves” isn’t an absolute statement, but reference to whatever you can get down at the local market…”

    >>If you are jumping on the Bandwagon of trying to use this scripture as a means to not only drink alcohol…but to drink “strong drink”
    You are just WAY off. Most Pastors, teachers and theologians will tell you the same thing. I was simply making a point, that if you are going to use this scripture as a means to promote the use of the DRUG of Alcohol as you seem to want (as part of your Christian Freedom and right). Then you have to also take literally “……WHATEVER your appetite craves” as literal. So not only WINE, but now beer and Strong Drink and any other DRUG that I desire….cool! There are no hidden translations there Brig. It’s a statement, “WHATEVER YOUR APPETITE CRAVES”, which according to your translation…. includes the Strong Drink; (the best Jack Daniels, Whisky, vodka around)…to give unto the Lord as an offering. I’m sure he’ll love that! If you get a chance….you may want to read “Sipping Saints” by the late great David Wilkerson. He expands on this and other scriptures that Christians try and use to promote drinking;(responsibly as adults of course) :) in the name of God and Freedom.

    ……and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves…..

    YOU STATE:

    “If you say that “wine” and “strong drink” mean neither “wine” nor “strong drink” but rather “grape juice” or “non-alcoholic beverages that mysteriously keep from fermenting and last until the next vintage” then we have a problem that is bigger than whether should someone abstain or not”

    >>

    I DO believe that when it says WINE….we are talking about WINE. But NOT the WINE you say it is. I believe like Pastor John MacArthur believes that if you are going to DRINK WINE….you need to drink the WINE that Jesus drank. History and the bible correctly translated clearly shows that HE did not drink the barbaric WINE that people drink today (that being unmixed full alcoholic content). THAT is WHY in the bible the scripture Has a lot of GOOD to say about WINE and Also A lot of BAD to say about WINE. There in lies the problem for most. They are incorrectly using the word WINE as it is used in today’s society. If you listen to Pastor JM sermon Parts 1-3 “Do not be drunk on WINE” he gives a thorough explanation of this.

    You STATE:
    “….non-alcoholic beverages that mysteriously keep from fermenting and last until the next vintage”

    >> Again….Pastor JM in his sermons….tells how history shows that very often they would Boil the WINE to a syrup type paste and then reconstitute it with water, so as to be able to keep long periods of time without fermenting. They also had other things they did to keep the alcohol content non-existent or negligible.

    Hope this helps!

    • I gave you a positive interpretation using normative hermeneutical principles. You offered an unhelpful negative — “strong drink doesn’t mean what you think it means.”

      If your mom gave you $25, sent you to the grocery store, and said, “Buy whatever you want — a chocolate cake, or ice cream, or whatever you’re hungry for,” and you came back with rat poison, that’s stupid. If you came back with chocolate cake, that’s cool. If you came back with a sandwich from the deli, that’s cool too.

      You, on the other hand, say that because I take “chocolate cake” to be a legitimate offer, that I must also include “rat poison”, because I’m being “literal”, and anything is valid.

      No, I operate within the rules of grammar, context, semantic domain, history, etc.

      And since we’ve devolved to this level of irrationality regarding the text of the Bible, I don’t see how any further conversations will produce any more light. If we cannot agree on what it says, there is no coming to agreement on what to do about it. Not only that, we don’t seem to agree on *how we can know* what it’s saying.

      Besides, I’m out of my DRUG of choice (in moderation of course) for the day. The Starbuck’s barista is glaring at me and saying something about it being the end of her shift.

  78. @Brig

    LOL….Well I’m sure you know that Starbucks also serves alcohol in selected locations. But I’m assuming you were being funny and actually referring to the DRUG of choice as being coffee. I’m assuming its not decaffeinated coffee?? :)

    As far as the “strong drink” reference…I guess I’m assuming, based on your rebuttal and content; that “you too” are, or was trying to use that scripture as a basis to okay the usage and Drink the Drug (yes it is a drug); of alcohol? Please remember, alcohol causes more death and destruction then ALL illegal drugs put together. Sorry for having to keep repeating that, but I guess I feel like if I keep repeating it, you might eventually see the blight on humanity and society that it has caused and is currently causing. I hoping that perhaps, just perhaps that eventually….you will put it in the same category as “Rat Poison”!

    Continuing your Story……I wonder…If I took the $25 that Mom gave me…came back with a chocolate cake and a bottle of Jack Daniels, if Mom would be upset? Well….. Just as Mom goes off the handle…I tell her, “But Mom … the Cake is for us, but the bottle of Jack Daniels is a tithe unto the Lord!” She says….”ah Yes son, Deut 14:24-27.” I say YES! We then drive down to our Local church and Drink together, giving thanks to the Lord, toasting to the Lord as we drink. Once the bottle has emptied and the empty bottle placed on the Alter with all the other Alcoholic beverages…left by other worshipers. We then call up a cab and head home. As someone else said on the Post….as long as we drink in moderation and are responsible Adults..(son were good!). Keep in mind…we are NOT drunk….. Just BUZZED…being drunk is the Sin….not the liquor/alcohol! Oh no ….we only drank in moderation, and with a clear Conscious ..so its all good. ;)

    Now as repulsive as that sounds to you Brig…that is exactly how repulsive it would be if they actually did the same thing back in the day that Deut 14:24-27 was written for. I’ve got to believe deep down inside you know this (you can see the Logic in this). But I believe your superior normative hermeneutical principles and “Christian Liberties” keep you from Seeing the truth.

    If you get a chance…please listed to Pastor John’s 3 part series ..”Be not Drunk on Wine” and also Dave Wilkerson’s book, “Sipping Saints” even talks about this verse and many other verses that are used by those seeking to keep their Alcohol sacred. They are some pretty sharp Christians that I think can shed some light (HIS light) onto this subject.

    Their really is NO Defense for Alcohol and is not worthy of being defended. I’ve got to believe that EVERY Christian (and non Christian for that matter). Would be so much happier if they Look exclusively to the Lord for their joy. To be 100% filled with the HOLY SPIRIT and not shared with a DRUG (such as Alcohol).

    Hope that helps and makes sense. Thanks

    PS> did you ever figure out what the normative hermeneutics say about Jesus and His first miracle? Was it the approximate 150 gallons of Alcoholic Wine that he made for the DRUNK wedding guests? When you get a spare moment….give Habakkuk 2:15 a read.

  79. “Just wanted to let you know , probably not the verse you want to use.”

    Sure it is. It reveals the great love of our Father for us to enjoy Him with “whatever you desire”. What great joy there is in the truth. The truth will set us free my friend.
    The Word is food indeed. Fills my heart with joy and peace. The Word also helps me see Christ in all His holiness and grace. May we all continue to live not only by bread, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Amen.

  80. “I don’t see how any further conversations will produce any more light.”-brig

    Amen brother. Your comments were very good.

  81. A very nice brother – Chris Centola, California Pastor – directed me to this blog and am happy he did. I feel really bad for you..and know exactly where you’re coming from, having suffered the back-hand treatment from a similar attack from a local friend and pastor, who thought my first book was too charismatic! But that’s okay. I am actually a spiritfilled believer in the Jesus of the Bible and love JM – we have his bibles, books. I listen to GTY etc…but to be honest, I don’t want to be like him. I also like Jim Cymbala, Dutch Sheets, Ray Comfort and more…I am once mixed up JESUS FREAK!! HALLELUJAH!! :-)
    God bless you, Mr. Extra-Ordinary Pastor, sir!!

  82. @DONsands

    YOU STATE:
    “Sure it is. It reveals the great love of our Father for us to enjoy Him with “whatever you desire”.”

    >>>Cool…..hummmm…Whatever I desire…..We’ll, I desire CRACK cocaine and a bottle of Jim Beam for starters (IN MODERATION of course). Now your probably thinking…”aw come on Darren, there you go again, being all crazy with the CRACK anology” But NO……you said “WHATEVER YOU DESIRE” ! Alcohol is no less a DRUG then Alcohol is and actually kills LESS people then does alcoholic beverages! You might want to rethink that statement my friend. The truth will set us free Donsands..that I agree with. But alcohol clouds the TRUTH, its a DRUG and one used for recreational purposes. With the intent to get a BUZZ on, to be under its influence to whatever that degree the consumer is looking to get. This is NOT being filled with the HOLY SPIRIT as the LORD wants. It is NOT being SOBER as the LORD commands us to be. Why take the chance of even becoming remotely under the influence of that DRUG?? WHY take the chance of having your inhibitions down…even with one alcoholic drink?? Are the ways of this world and fitting it with the masses (drinkers, bars, being a MAN and drinking parties) by drinking really what you are wanting to cozy up to?? For me…I WILL choose the LORD and look to be 100% filled with his HOLY SPIRIT everytime. HE is a jealeous God..the bible says and I’m sure doesn’t want to share you with an alcohol whatsoever. Hope this makes some sense to you and you can maybe pray about it?

  83. Hey darren, I’d love to meet with you and discuss these things, but to keep it up here on Erik’s most excellent blog would be wrong.
    I encourage us both to study the Holy Bible, and bow before God and His Word, His Word is truth for us. Amen and amen.

    Have a terrific weekend, and Lord’s day in worship and adoration of Christ our Lord and Savior.

  84. D.A. Carson wrote a great article that I think is rather fitting for this circumstance: http://thegospelcoalition.org/themelios/article/generational_conflict_in_ministry
    There will inevitable more instances of generational conflict in the years to come, and not just from MacArthur’s YRR series. Instead of fighting fire with fire, pointing fingers, why not come together in love to hash things out? We don’t have to agree on every tittle but at least we would’ve done something more progressive than talking through brick walls.

    I strongly fear that if we allow this to continue, we’ll end up with a great generational divide in the reformed circle. Whether you’re grumpy or restless, we share significant common grounds that should allow us to respectfully come together to discuss generational issues. The grumpy elders have a lot to learn from the RESTLESS crowd in terms of being more readily able to identify cultural shifts and how to address them; while the GRUMPY has experience and wisdom to offer.
    We can call it the Common Grounds Conference, held bi-annually. :)

    I just wanted to address this fascinating battle (Where the offensive [MacArthur] and defensive [you] roles are identifiable).
    My primary concern is your statement that there’s “NO CALL TO ACTION–JUST FRIENDLY FIRE.” Call me crazy but you can often tell people what to do by stating what they shouldn’t do and that’s exactly what MacArthur is doing. For me, his directive is found in his statement that “..there is no suggestion in Scripture that Jesus purposely assumed the look and lifestyle of a publican in order to gain acceptance in a godless subculture. He didn’t.”
    If I think critically, I can take that as a call to action to refrain from adopting cultural values in an effort to gain acceptance in a godless subculture. Wouldn’t you say so?

    Furthermore, you’re announcing the speck in your brother’s eye while ignoring the log in your own. Where is your call to action? All I’ve noticed is defense upon defense (even going to a juvenile tactic of saying “the old guys do it too” Whether or not you have children, you know that one of their tactics when they’ve been confronted with wrongdoing is to state who else is “guilty”) Come on pal, if you had just let scripture be your sole defense rather than sinful, hypocritical man you would’ve been able to offer a sound and useful call to action.

    Continue striving in the Lord and boldly proclaiming His word with humility. Grace and peace to you.

  85. touchiness and alcohol is a dangerous mix

  86. Eric, I read your article and to be frank you sound like a stupid little punk!

  87. Hey Patrick Chilli, Why don’t you chill out!

  88. I concluded a while back that John MacArthur LOVES controversy!

    He likes to use his position to provoke – Blood controversy, Lordship controversy, Eternal Sonship controversy, Larry King episodes, Calvinism must equal millennialism, etc.

  89. I feel caught in the middle of two very different generations. I grew up in a very (and I do mean very) conservative, fundamentalist household. I am the baby of the family by quite a few years and have grown nieces and nephews closer to my age than my own siblings. I appreciate my upbringing, the Biblical application of principles of separation–why they were handed down and why they were enforced. They were not blind rules of “thou shalt nots” made to in some way gain merit with God or spiritual superiority among fellow believers. Though my husband and I do not hold to the exact same standards as our parents in music, dress, and Bible version, we try to defer to our elders in honor and teach our four children to do the same. This of course, makes this older generation fret for their grandchildren and quote “what the parents do in moderation, the children do in excess” and I genuinely understand their concerns. In the mean time, my YRR relatives seem bent on flaunting their freedom in the face of their parents and grandparents. I actually agree with the younger group on their reforming, but the general spirit is proud and haughty and definitely not meek. I realize that this may not characterize the leaders of the movement, but the followers seem to be without humility and deference for the most part. Humility on both sides would glorify our Lord! I think your “old and grumpy” would not be so if the YRR would stop with the continual attacks–the older have just gotten defensive–they can only take so many sucker punches before they are not in the greatest of moods. May the older generation have the mind of Christ and take the abuse meekly.

  90. Man, those varied and scattered CAPITALIZED words hit my eyes like the serrated edge of a rusty saber. It really doesn’t make for easy reading. That being said… Beer is a gift from God. Wine is too. Live and Let Drinketh of teh Wine.

  91. Dr. MacArthur’s Bible-teaching books are almost always very good, and his polemical books are almost always very poor. A good polemical book requires a commitment to accuracy, which Dr. MacArthur has not shown. When he’s in polemical mode, he approaches topics that require a scalpel, and beats on them with a log. He doesn’t define terms, he makes sweeping generalizations, and he holds up the worst examples of a movement as characteristic of the entire movement (e.g., the wackiest Pentecostal ministries = all Pentecostals, Zane Hodges = all “free grace” guys).

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