A Sober Assessment of Reformational Drinking
A number of years ago I had the privilege of introducing the Charlton-Heston-looking Rev. Jim West at a conference on Pentecostalism shortly after he published his book, The Glorious Foundation of Christ: The Missing Clincher argument in the Tongues’ Debate. (Speaking as an ex-Pentecostal, I highly recommend this book.)
Before his “tongues” book, Rev. West published a fine treatise titled Drinking With Calvin and Luther! In the book, Rev. West, Professor of Pastoral Theology at City Seminary in Sacramento California, provides not only the theological underpinnings of alcohol’s use, but he also traces its use from the Reformation, to the founding of America, through Spurgeon’s time and beyond. (He also provides a nifty, and funny, beer review.)
In an article penned for Modern Reformation magazine, Rev. West discusses the Reformers' view of alcohol, which includes their condemnation of the un-Biblical practice of churches replacing the wine with some other drink. Here’s how the article begins . . .
Protestant reflection on the consumption of alcohol has undergone a dramatic transformation since the Reformation. Whether this change stems from the rise of pietism or the triumph of middle-class morality, contemporary evangelical ideas about alcohol are at odds with the views of the Protestant reformers. Attending to the reformers' ideas, then, is important not only for those who would claim to be their heirs but also for a good understanding of what the Bible teaches about alcohol.
Labels: Gifts of God