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Taking on a "Bad Christian Argument"

Here's an interesting piece from Ethics Daily about a recent speech by Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Welcome to Ethics! Mohler told students that the Bible does not teach that all drinking of alcohol is wrong—though he did warn them that it could get them expelled or destroy their ministry.

What I really appreciate is not so much his take on the subject but rather his willingness to critically examine poor arguments generally accepted by many Christians. He recalled a story he read in the fundamentalist newspaper Sword of the Lord (again, must we be so violent?!) that claimed Jesus turned water into non-fermented grape juice and not wine. Mohler said he was "troubled" by the article "because it just appeared to me to be an example of a really, really bad Christian argument."

Mohler wisely reminds us that even if we believe a behavior is wrong, we must make sure we support our belief with strong arguments. In particular we must be careful not to twist and misuse the Bible to support our opinion (what is really ironic here is that the same newspaper that made this absurd argument has also accused other Christians of not really believing the Bible—hello pot, my name is kettle). As Mohler explained, "I believe it is exegetically unsustainable. ... You simply cannot make the argument that the Bible binds the Christian conscience and all Christians of all times everywhere for a total abstinence position."

Mohler also pointed out that it is important for Christians to talk about these issues. He acknowledged that "There will be a lot of people who will be offended that we are even having (the conversation)." But he said that since it is causing some controversy in the church, then it must be addressed. He is absolutely correct.

Hopefully the students were paying attention so that the next generation of preachers will work hard to build strong arguments for what they believe, and be willing to talk about important issues that many would rather avoid and hope it goes away.


  1. Anonymous12:38 PM

    Mr. Kaylor.

    Your blog has some of the most refreshing posts that I have ever come across.

    I grew up in a Pentecostal church (Assembly of God) and everything was sinful...Rock music, smoking, drinking, etc...

    Now that I am older and have learned some lessons (unfortunately the hard way), I understand that the real important stuff has nothing to do w/ any of things that were crammed down my throat during my younger years.

    I am amazed at how both political parties cloak themselves in Christianity and how vocal some TV evangelists are about politics and their morality mandates (Sponge Bob is Gay, the purple Teletubbie is gay, and we should assassinate leaders of other countries).

    I thought that the cartoon you have listed on an earlier post was so true. Why do we as Christians care if the U.S. Government or a place of business says Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas? I know what the holiday means to me. It's another one of those 'Bad Christian Arguments'.

    I am not sure that I am comfortable w/ Jerry Fallwell, Sean Hannity, or Pat Robertson being the voice of Christianity in America. In the end none of the things these individuals focus on really matter. Compassion, mercy, grace, and sacrifice are what we are called to, not politics or mandating our beliefs through laws, etc.

    Anyway, great post.

  2. Thanks for the kind words and for posting. You are right on!

    I am troubled by the misuse of religion by both parties, though it probably happens with Republicans more than Democrats. If you have not read it, I highly recommend Jim Wallis's God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It. While he has aligned himself more closely with one party than I have, I greatly appreciate his critiques on both parties.

    I would love it if we were known for our compassion, mercy, grace, and sacrifice and not the politics, mean-spiritedness, and divisiveness that some public Christians portray.


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