Alcohol and SEBTS–A Strong Stand for Abstinence

Posted: October 22, 2010 in Alcohol

Dr. Danny Akin, in a recent Presidential Forum, deals with many subjects and one he deals with, head on, is “beverage alcohol”.  I know my friend, Peter Lumpkins, dealt with SEBTS’s blog articles from Between-the-Times over at his place, which caused a back-lash over at SBC Voices.  It resulted in numerous strange activities such as a two-part post out of Enid, OK that claimed Brother Peter was the cause of the SBC collapsing, if it ever did.

Brother Peter’s Op did not allow for the forum at SEBTS as his writing indicates he did not know anything about a forum.  It is here in Brother Peter’s comment stream that the forum is mentioned.  However, that comment is dated 10/20.    His Op was based solely on the issue that he saw on Between-the-Times a back-to-back post concerning “beverage alcohol”. He raised a very good question that focused on the perspective of the reason that Dr. Akin was dealing with the alcohol issue.  He never charged there was a problem but asked if the reason for such a presentation of Dr. Akin posting back to back was due to a problem with “beverage alcohol”.  When Brother Peter posted his Op he appears to know nothing of the questions Dr. Akin was given by students to answer during the forum.  Brother Peter’s first understanding of the forum was when Dr. Akin engaged the comment stream over at SBC Voices and explained that he placed those back-to-back posts as a result of the forum.  This was dated 10/16 and seems to be the first anyone mentioned the forum as is noted in Dr. Akin’s response.  If one will view the video below beginning around the 35 minute mark one will observe the question and Dr. Akin’s response.

After viewing that video one has to acknowledge, as Dr. Akin did, he was certainly dumfounded that a “loophole” question would come.  How can anyone who signs a covenant that they will abstain from “beverage alcohol” while a student figure that between semesters they are not students and can imbibe in “beverage alcohol”?  This author not only is dumbfounded, but finds it appalling.

Allow me to close this post by pointing out a few things as a result of this forum.  First, Brother Peter raised the question of there being an alcohol problem at SEBTS.  I live here in NC and can assure our Brother that if there was an alcohol prblem at SEBTS I would have heard about it by now.  I know my assurance may not be what some may desire to hear but the fact remains that among pastors in NC when there is any issue at SEBTS it would be picked up by our state paper.

Second, I want to commend Dr. Akin for his stand on this issue.  Dr. Akin clearly states that if anyone does not like the policy then that person is free to leave SEBTS.  I thank him for his strong stand and I encourage other leaders to articulate such a clear position as Dr. Akin.  I know of other positions by leaders in our convention.  While these other positions are at best 4 years in the past, I encourage these leaders that if the position is not changed they need to clearly re-state them as Dr. Akin so passionately did.  In 2006 Dr. Patterson clearly articulates an abstinence position.  Also, in a forum in 2005, Dr. Mohler states:

We’ve all seen some of the websites and the weblogs and the kind of conversation that has been had about this, among people that we know, that have been, that are close friends.  Let me tell you that I find a great deal of immaturity reflected there.  It’s all the sudden like we have a young generation trying to say, ‘Hey we are so much smarter than our parents, uh, we are so much more mature and more liberated, we can enjoy these things, and now I’m going to recommend my favorite beer and my favorite wine to all of my friends.’  And frankly I think it’s sad, immature, and it’s showy.  It’s the exact opposite of Paul’s concern for unity in the church.  This kind of ostentatious display of liberty is an adolescent display.  And it’s exactly what mature Christians should avoid.

Dr. Jack Graham, a leading pastor in the SBC, back in 2005 also has weighed in on “beverage alcohol”.

Third, I would encourage Dr. Akin to hear his own question he opened this portion of the forum with.  He said he could not understand why the question of “beverage alcohol” keeps coming back to the surface.  I would agree that with the stand he has taken; why does it keep surfacing?  In other words, what part of abstaining from “beverage alcohol” do the students not understand?  I believe if Dr. Akin will examine his question he may find mixed messages coming from either the personal position of some on his faculty, or his presenting pastors as models that openly advocate imbibing. Thus, his wisdom view is being drowned out by the unintended voices the students are hearing..

Fourth, I would encourage readers to listen to Dr. Akin’s argument concerning “beverage alcohol” during biblical times versus “beverage alcohol” today.  His argument is the same argument Brother Peter uses in his book Alcohol Today. In biblical times children drank, what the bible terms as “oinos”, thus it certainly is not a one-to-one comparison with today’s “beverage alcohol”. Of course Dr. Akin takes the position from here that it is not wise where Brother Peter moves to say that “beverage alcohol” today is “strong drink” of biblical times.  Thus, Dr. Akin will say “wisdom” should prevail and if one partakes after signing a covenant one is lying and that is sin.  Where Brother Peter would say the “strong drink” is sin.  Dr. Akin’s argument is that consumption of “beverage alcohol” is sin in certain situations but is not sin in every situation thus one’s default moral compass must reset to “wisdom”.  Brother Peter’s argument marks today’s “beverage alcohol” is the same as “strong drink” of biblical times and thus it is sin to engage even in moderation because one is violating the scripture concerning “strong drink”.  What is interesting is that Dr. Akin acknowledges the wine of bible days is not the same as that produced today.  This is an argument I believe he would do well to pursue.

Through all of this I would like to say that Dr. Akin certainly has made it very clear that he is adamantly opposed to drinking “beverage alcohol”.  I am 100% in support of his stand, though I do not approach it the same way he does.  Dr. Akin was very honest about his position and even named names of leading pastors such as Mark Driscoll and Matt Chandler with whom he disagreed.  Which is very interesting that he would have both on campus as models for students.  Also, no one believes there is an alcohol problem at SEBTS.  However, if one student following the model of a Mark Driscoll or Matt Chandler, moves from imbibing socially to becoming addicted to alcohol then I believe all would agree that “beverage alcohol” has become a problem.  Also, Dr. Akin very strongly stated this forum presentation was the last time he was dealing with this issue.  However, I suggest that if he continues bringing on campus pastors that imbibe socially he will find a need to continue addressing “beverage alcohol”.

  1. peter lumpkins says:


    Thanks for this article. And, while I’m surprised you received no chatter, I’m confident your piece made its ’rounds’ quite broadly…

    Grace, brother.
    With that, I am…

  2. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Peter,

    Like you, I do not write for chatter, I write expressing truth.


  3. Tim,
    Good article. With those so militantly pushing alcohol, this issue needs to be dealt with on a regular basis. And it is so easy to forget what was said against alcohol just several years ago. Thanks for reminding us.
    David R. Brumbelow

  4. I love Dr. Akin. I love his candor and his willingness to stand for issues. I hope that he will stop bringing in people like Driscoll and Chandler who are so vocal in opposition to the contents our SB student’s covenant. As a pastor, I am always asked to step in to situations where satan and his beverages are so clearly being destructive in lives.