Question:

Dear Mr. Hamilton,

In the church I am attending I'm dealing with some liberalism that scares me.  I love these brothers and sisters very much but I am awful worried.  This is not my home church I had to move about an hour north of my home area for work.  The first issue that is really concerning to me is the following:  The elders have led the church to support a small drug rehab facility.  I know this sounds like an honorable thing to do, but the catch is those running it are Baptist and they attend Baptist meetings with the young men they are trying to rehab.  I have brought this up to the elders and the minister pointing out scripture such as II John 10-11 and Mark 8:36.  They disagree with me and think that it is more important to save their life first then have a hope of saving their soul.  I've also pointed out scripture such as 1 Corinthians 5:5 to show how the church would deal with such.  Am I in the wrong on this issue?  No one there agrees with me as far as minister or elders.

The second topic I have had issue with is social drinking and more specifically I took strong offense to the use of John chapter 2 to support it.  I cannot understand anyone taking a stance that our Lord would give intoxicating drink to people who they are assuming have already been drinking intoxicating drink.  I have explained that the Greek word oinios could mean either intoxicating or non-intoxicating drink, but I seem to get no further response.  The only response I get is that the context points to everything being intoxicating.  I have pointed out James 1:13  here and Habakkuk 2:15.  I don't know what else I can do.  I have stated that I can't condemn someone for taking a drink without getting drunk since the scriptures do say drunkard in "English" but I am also aware that "be not drunk"  as stated in Ephesians 5: 18 comes from a Greek word methusko which translates to begin to be softened.  Unfortunately I have been debating this issue with the minister.  While debating I remember hearing quotes from I Peter 4:18 and Matthew 7:1 along with a lot of talk about grace. 

I'm not sure what to do here,  I love these brothers and sisters but this is serious business to me.  I just need some advice.  Am I in the wrong here?


Answer:

Christ gave commands to the church to bring worship to God, to spread the gospel, and to give aid to members of the church in cases of disasters. There is no law for the church to do good; it is a command given to individual Christians. "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:9-10). "Good," by the way, is God's definition of good and not what people construe to be good in their own minds. To argue that "doing good" is sufficient reason for a church to get involved in something that God did not authorized is to go beyond His Word. "Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar" (Proverbs 30:6). See:

Even in cases where a church does have the authority to accomplish some task, it does not give the church the right to hand over their duty to another organization. See: A "Systemic" Problem.

In regards to the use of alcohol, see:

The counter-argument that sins are to be ignored or that God's grace will cover people who remain in sin is false. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:1-2). Sin is not a state to be tolerated, but to rescue people from sin.

Clearly the leadership at this church has lost all sense of its duty to the Lord. Since they are not listening to reason, it would be better to find a church that follows Christ.