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Thread: Alcohol

  1. #41
    Host Book, Movie & GA forums Ryan Scott's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Here's what I've come up with, working with what we've been discussing:

    The Use of Intoxicants
    Paragraphs 29.5 and 29.6

    Resolved, that paragraph 29.5 be retitled, “The use of intoxicating liquors as a beverage,” and replaced with the following:

    Acknowledging that consumption of alcohol, in moderation, is, in itself, not inherently sinful, we recognize the pain and trauma suffered by individuals and families as a result of alcohol abuse and addiction. Society often prefers to hide, ignore, or ostracize these problems.

    From its earliest days, the Church of the Nazarene exhibited a special calling to ministry among the poor, lost, and forgotten as primary vocation. Because of this special calling, we ask our members to refrain from alcohol and other intoxicating substances as a symbol of solidarity with those who suffer.

    We acknowledging this is not the calling of God for all people or the only way to faithfully respond to addiction, as such, abstinence from alcohol consumption cannot be considered an essential of the Christian faith. We make the choice to abstain from alcohol in response to the biblical mandate of self-giving love for our brothers and sisters. Our position must be embodied with grace and without judgment. In that spirit, we do not hold adherence to this position as required for fellowship, either in the body of Christ or in the Church of the Nazarene.

    Further, we should seek to minimize the irresponsible use of alcohol and glorification of the same in society and culture. Effort and attention must be paid to the consequences of irresponsible alcohol use and its effect on people for whom Christ died. The widespread incidence of alcohol abuse in our world demands that we embody a position that stands as a witness to others.

    (In light of this stance, only unfermented win should be used in celebration of the Lord’s Supper.)


    Further resolved, that paragraph 29.6 be retitled “The use of other intoxicants, stimulants, or hallucinogens, outside proper medical care and guidance,” and replaced with the following:

    In light of medical evidence outlining the dangers of such substances, along with scriptural admonitions to remain in responsible control of mind and body, we choose to abstain from intoxicants, stimulants, and hallucinogens outside proper medical care and guidance, regardless of the legality and availability of such substances.


    Rationale:

    1. Our statement should reflect a broader directive on the use of intoxicating substances that will guide the practice of our denomination regardless of medical, scientific, and legal changes.

    2. Our statement on alcohol should not simply be a condemnation of alcohol, but an understanding of our Christian responsibility to those who suffer from its abuse.

    3. In light of the unfortunate judgementalism that has accompanied our interpretation of understanding of alcohol in the past, our statement should reflect grace strongly, in imitation of our savior, Jesus Christ.
    ...just my $.02.

  2. #42
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    Re: Alcohol

    I'd be in favor of removing the call for abstinence simply because our local (USA) churches effectively already have. If we strengthened our call to abstinence I think 50% of our local church membership and even our board might not qualify to be members.
    Thanks Rich Schmidt, Roy Richardson - "thanks" for this post

  3. #43
    Senior Member Bob Hunter's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Rich,

    I like a lot of the improvements, I really do. But I think we have neglected something important. Permission needs to be granted for Christians who call themselves Nazarenes to exercise discernment and follow a spirit-guided conscience on the matter. We need to create some space for the Holy Spirit to speak instead of just stating our position. I would like to see something stated to that affect.
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  4. #44
    Senior Member Roy Richardson's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Schmidt View Post
    I don't have anything worked out yet. I just know that I want to submit a resolution changing the alcohol paragraph to something that moves us away from a prohibitionist stance on it. I figured I'd get the ball rolling by starting the thread, if that's OK.

    Do any of you have the texts of previous proposals on this issue? Do you remember how the voting and/or discussion went?
    Did you submit this?

  5. #45
    Host Book, Movie & GA forums Ryan Scott's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Richardson View Post
    Did you submit this?
    I submitted the resolution I shared here to my district. They met to discuss it - I'm not sure if they changed it, but they did pass something along.
    ...just my $.02.

  6. #46
    Senior Member Rich Schmidt's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Richardson View Post
    Did you submit this?
    I haven't submitted anything. I need to contact Dave (our DS) to see if I still can. Thanks for the reminder!

    Edit: Just emailed him.

  7. #47
    Senior Member Bud Pugh's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Schmidt View Post
    I haven't submitted anything. I need to contact Dave (our DS) to see if I still can. Thanks for the reminder!

    Edit: Just emailed him.
    On-time resolutions were due December 1.
    Thanks Rich Schmidt - "thanks" for this post

  8. #48
    Naznet Owner Dave McClung's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    I won't express an opinion on the merits of the resolutions, but I will comment on the politics of a resolution to change the church's position on alcohol.

    In my opinion, any change to our denominational stance will have to wait on a Regional Manual. In the past, the district superintendents from North America determined the outcome of resolutions at a general assembly. The balance of power has shifted to Africa and South America. There is no way the delegates from Africa and South America would vote for a resolution changing the church's stance on alcohol.

    Once the special rules are moved to the Regional Manual, it is likely that some regions will make a change.
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  9. #49
    Host Book, Movie & GA forums Ryan Scott's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave McClung View Post
    I won't express an opinion on the merits of the resolutions, but I will comment on the politics of a resolution to change the church's position on alcohol.

    In my opinion, any change to our denominational stance will have to wait on a Regional Manual. In the past, the district superintendents from North America determined the outcome of resolutions at a general assembly. The balance of power has shifted to Africa and South America. There is no way the delegates from Africa and South America would vote for a resolution changing the church's stance on alcohol.

    Once the special rules are moved to the Regional Manual, it is likely that some regions will make a change.

    I was told by a General Board member that the "regional manual" idea is dead and will not move forward. I sure hope that's not true, but they said the BGS does not want to further divide an already divided denomination.
    ...just my $.02.
    Thanks Rich Schmidt - "thanks" for this post

  10. #50
    Senior Member Craig Laughlin's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Scott View Post
    I was told by a General Board member that the "regional manual" idea is dead and will not move forward. I sure hope that's not true, but they said the BGS does not want to further divide an already divided denomination.
    I wonder what their thinking is? Do they think we are going to reverse course and start coming together? Maybe that by strength of will (and probably law) they can keep us together? Feels like the same old, same old... ignore, deny, deny, deny and hope it goes away. Just doesn't seem like a good plan to me. Sadly it does fit the larger pattern.
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  11. #51
    Host Fun & Prayer forums Gina Stevenson's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Ryan, a few paragraphs down where you start with, "We acknowledging . . . . ", read it without the "We." I think you want to start it with "Acknowledging . . . . "
    Otherwise, sounds good, suggesting it's a solidarity thing rather than a mandate.
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  12. #52
    Naznet Owner Dave McClung's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Scott View Post
    I was told by a General Board member that the "regional manual" idea is dead and will not move forward. I sure hope that's not true, but they said the BGS does not want to further divide an already divided denomination.
    I had not heard that; however, I am no longer in the loop. I was wondering why we had not heard anything about it recently.

  13. #53
    Host Book, Movie & GA forums Ryan Scott's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave McClung View Post
    I had not heard that; however, I am no longer in the loop. I was wondering why we had not heard anything about it recently.
    Yeah, I asked whether it was worth putting the alcohol statement forward with the upcoming regional manual and was told to proceed as normal since the regional manual was not going to be addressed at the next GA and maybe never.
    ...just my $.02.

  14. #54
    Senior Member David Pettigrew's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Scott View Post
    I was told by a General Board member that the "regional manual" idea is dead and will not move forward. I sure hope that's not true, but they said the BGS does not want to further divide an already divided denomination.
    When did they make the change that the BGS and not the General Assembly was the highest governing body? I was unaware the BGS could arbitrarily overturn a mandate.

  15. #55
    Host Book, Movie & GA forums Ryan Scott's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by David Pettigrew View Post
    When did they make the change that the BGS and not the General Assembly was the highest governing body? I was unaware the BGS could arbitrarily overturn a mandate.
    Someone would have to bring it up on the floor, right? Perhaps there will be a resolution to reverse the previous resolution or one that postpones the deadline. They'll take care of it or certainly someone will bring it up.
    ...just my $.02.

  16. #56
    Senior Member Bud Pugh's Avatar

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    BTW, late resolutions can be submitted until June 1.
    Thanks Rich Schmidt - "thanks" for this post

  17. #57
    Senior Member Jim Franklin's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    I have never been to a GA even though I have been Nazarene for all of my 79 soon to be 80 years and I am appalled that such a topic even be brought up on this forum. Alcohol and the consumption of it is absolutely sinful because it destroys the very brain cells God created you with and such a discussion does not belong on any media that considers itself connected to the Church of the Nazarene I know. If this sort of issues is to be part of the discussion at a GA then I would not want to attend. Call me judgmental but the Bible also challenges us to be discerning. I will stand on the side of discerning that no Nazarene should ever let such a lowering of our God's call to Holiness. Living a life that includes alcohol is not Holy.

  18. #58
    Senior Member Cam Pence's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Franklin View Post
    I have never been to a GA even though I have been Nazarene for all of my 79 soon to be 80 years and I am appalled that such a topic even be brought up on this forum. Alcohol and the consumption of it is absolutely sinful because it destroys the very brain cells God created you with and such a discussion does not belong on any media that considers itself connected to the Church of the Nazarene I know. If this sort of issues is to be part of the discussion at a GA then I would not want to attend. Call me judgmental but the Bible also challenges us to be discerning. I will stand on the side of discerning that no Nazarene should ever let such a lowering of our God's call to Holiness. Living a life that includes alcohol is not Holy.
    No it's not. The Bible nor the the manual describe it as such. If you want to define sin as anything that doesn't jive with your personal culture or world view then have at it but understand that that is the only place where you find authority for making such a statement. Not the Bible. Not the manual. And not the historic stance of the CotN. Sorry Jim but it's just fundamentalism and legalism through and through.
    “So there are no nontheologians; there is just good theology and bad theology.”- Will Willimon
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  19. #59
    Senior Member Cam Pence's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Cam Pence View Post
    No it's not. The Bible nor the the manual describe it as such. If you want to define sin as anything that doesn't jive with your personal culture or world view then have at it but understand that that is the place where you find authority for making such a statement. Not the Bible. Not the manual. And not the historic stance of the CotN. Sorry Jim but it's just fundamentalism and legalism through and through.

    Also you needlessly judge our brothers and sisters in other faith traditions who drink as not holy. That is sinning against them, like it or not.
    “So there are no nontheologians; there is just good theology and bad theology.”- Will Willimon
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  20. #60
    Senior Member Jim Franklin's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    The narrow road to Heaven will not be littered with booze bottles and cans.

  21. #61
    Senior Member Rich Schmidt's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Franklin View Post
    The narrow road to Heaven will not be littered with booze bottles and cans.
    Of course not, because responsible drinkers will put their bottles & cans in the recycling.
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    Laughing Lucas Finch, Cam Pence, David Graham - thanks for this funny post

  22. #62
    Senior Member Jim Franklin's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    This whole discussion is shocking and utterly disheartening. I don't ever want to go to GA. I'm very sorry I even opened this thread for the Church of the Nazarene in which I was raised no longer exists and may be loosing a member. Forget your heritage and push the old folks over the cliff and merge with the Methodists. There was a reason at one time that Bresee and others left that denomination but it begins to appear that that reason no longer exists. My church home is being stolen away from me and those of like precious faith and conviction.

  23. #63
    Senior Member Cam Pence's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Franklin View Post
    This whole discussion is shocking and utterly disheartening. I don't ever want to go to GA. I'm very sorry I even opened this thread for the Church of the Nazarene in which I was raised no longer exists and may be loosing a member. Forget your heritage and push the old folks over the cliff and merge with the Methodists. There was a reason at one time that Bresee and others left that denomination but it begins to appear that that reason no longer exists. My church home is being stolen away from me and those of like precious faith and conviction.

    I'm sorry you seek such needless division by staking claim in a position which comes solely from legalism. Not the Bible. Not the manual. Just you, Jim. Sorry that you feel the need to pridefully turn a non essential into a defining Christian tenant. You still sin against your brothers and sisters. I'll pray for you.
    “So there are no nontheologians; there is just good theology and bad theology.”- Will Willimon

  24. #64
    Senior Member Cam Pence's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    If it's any consolation, Jim, the denomination will likely not be changing its position on alcohol use anytime soon. Still such a prideful and divisive behavior towards other Christians who do drink from an otherwise prayerful man such as yourself is very disheartening.
    “So there are no nontheologians; there is just good theology and bad theology.”- Will Willimon

  25. #65
    Senior Member Jim Franklin's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    I believe that Christians are to be agents of change in their society and culture and not "go with the flow" types. If our life style is not different than the society around us how can we testify to a "life changing" experience. Holding to the life style standards I was taught in a Nazarene parsonage does not make be prideful or divisive. The scriptures do however speak of those who will fall away in the last days and I do not want that to happen to the Family Nazarene.

  26. #66
    Senior Member Cam Pence's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Franklin View Post
    I believe that Christians are to be agents of change in their society and culture and not "go with the flow" types. If our life style is not different than the society around us how can we testify to a "life changing" experience. Holding to the life style standards I was taught in a Nazarene parsonage does not make be prideful or divisive. The scriptures do however speak of those who will fall away in the last days and I do not want that to happen to the Family Nazarene.
    You have no scriptural or doctrinal basis to connect moderate alcohol consumption to falling away in the last day and infer false witness against your brothers and sisters who do drink moderately. This is needless cultural divisive behavior fueled by fundamentalism. NOT the Holy Scriptures. NOT the doctrine and polity of the CotN. Our abstaining has nothing to do with moderate alcohol consumption, in and of itself, being sinful. To continue to insist on such is needlessly selfish and divisive.
    Last edited by Cam Pence; February 20th, 2017 at 08:09 AM.
    “So there are no nontheologians; there is just good theology and bad theology.”- Will Willimon

  27. #67
    Senior Member Rich Schmidt's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Cam Pence View Post
    You have no scriptural or doctrinal basis to connect moderate alcohol consumption to falling away in the last day and infer false witness against your brothers and sisters who do drink moderately. This is needless cultural divisive behavior fueled by fundamentalism. NOT the Holy Scriptues. NOT the doctrine and polity of the CotN. Our abstaining has nothing to do with moderate alcohol consumption, in and of itself, being sinful. To continue to insist on such is needlessly selfish and decisive.
    And besides all of that, this is NOT the thread nor the forum for having this discussion. This forum (and thread) is for discussing proposed General Assembly resolutions, not debating issues.
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  28. #68
    Senior Member Cam Pence's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Schmidt View Post
    And besides all of that, this is NOT the thread nor the forum for having this discussion. This forum (and thread) is for discussing proposed General Assembly resolutions, not debating issues.
    You're right. My bad. FWIW, I think I have realized that calling out bad behavior isn't doing much to change it so I wasn't going to respond after my last post
    “So there are no nontheologians; there is just good theology and bad theology.”- Will Willimon

  29. #69
    Senior Member Lucas Finch's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Cam Pence View Post
    You're right. My bad. FWIW, I think I have realized that calling out bad behavior isn't doing much to change it so I wasn't going to respond after my last post
    It's been a while since we've had a good "legitimize alcohol" free-for-all in the forums. Maybe it's time for another. Or not.
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  30. #70
    Senior Member Rich Schmidt's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Cam Pence View Post
    You're right. My bad. FWIW, I think I have realized that calling out bad behavior isn't doing much to change it so I wasn't going to respond after my last post
    I meant my post as a continuation of yours, not in response to yours. You're not the one who started the argument in the wrong place.
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  31. #71
    Senior Member Kyle Borger's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    I'm not sure about the whole conversation, but I will simply talk.

    It would be easier to start relationships if alcohol were allowed and I served it at parties. But even if allowed, I wouldn't do it. I used to have the same thoughts as Jim, we even used to attend church together. So let me say this to Jim, if I could.

    Jim, it is not Biblical to suggest that alcohol is evil. In fact to suggest that it is, is a false teaching. That doesn't change the fact that a cornerstone of being Nazarene is sacrificing for the least of these. We abstain from alcohol not because it is evil in and of itself, but because there is the potential to cause others to stumble and because many suffer from an addiction to alcohol. We act in love not in condemnation. Please understand this...if our youth of today hear us suggest that those who drink are evil, and read their Bibles, they will lose faith in our words and reject us. We can still be adamant about leading our churches to health, but we must do so with clear and solid scriptural support.

    My church may not grow as quickly because we abstain from alcohol and we will live with that cost in order to be available for those who struggle. But neither should we be known to condemn those who drink lest we condemn our own Savior.

  32. #72
    Host Theology Forum David Graham's Avatar

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    Re: Alcohol

    We in the Uniting Church dumped the Methodist stance against Drinking Alcohol (as well as not dancing and not smoking etc) because it tended to create an atmosphere of judgmentalism and inhibited the right of parishioners to take the responsibility in the formation of and the following of their own conscience. After talking with some of my older Methodist members, many told me that abstinence also created unnecessary guilt for those who would occasionally breach the "rules" towards which they had no personal conviction of right or wrong, but inflicted upon them a sense of guilt or shame making them feel like rebels or outcasts in their own church; and that this was not helpful in their own spiritual development.

    (I concur, for this actually reflected my own situation within the CotN before I left it. Ironically, the amount of alcohol I consume now over a year is much the same as I did then..... 5-6 standard drinks. And even, if I did rejoin the church [for whatever reason I'd want to?] my behaviour is not likely to change, for I cannot call wrong that which is not sinful, especially when Jesus and the people of God have drunk alcohol since time in memorial.)

    So while now, we as a denomination strongly advocate for moderation in all things, our members are allowed to follow their own consciences on such matters. Most of our churches however, even those from formerly Presbyterian or Congregationalist backgrounds have a policy of allowing no alcohol to be consumed on church grounds whether as part of a church function or otherwise, which acknowledges our concerns about the poor witness of over consumption.
    Thanks Rich Schmidt - "thanks" for this post

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