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    Christian Liberty

    July 26, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    Mrs. MPL and I have, over the last few months, discussed the issue of Christian liberty. When we were growing up, it was common to meet folks who were quite legalistic: no drinking, no smoking, no dancing, and definitely no coed swimming. Then there were folks like my husband and I. We think that drink is fine {in moderation, since the Bible specifically calls drunkenness a sin}, but we never aquired a taste for it and don’t partake with much frequency. Usually, when I met people who drank a lot, smoked a lot, etc., the case was an issue of sin.

    These days, there seems to be something interesting {and by interesting, I mean bad} going on in some of the Christian subcultures. There is this defense of drunkenness or addictions to nicotine that are defended on the basis of Christian liberty.

    I am currently reading Future Men by Douglas Wilson. This book has an entire chapter devoted to the issue of Christian liberty. I thought I’d snip a couple quotes to share. The context is the raising of boys, and yet the application is much wider than that. He begins with the definition of terms, and then moves on from there:

    [L]iberty in Christ means freedom from guilt, God’s judgment, and the condemnation of moral law. It also means we are delivered from the wickedness of the world, the hatred of Satan, and the dominion of sin. We are also freed from the consequences of such things–afflictions, fear of death, the dominion of death, and Hell. We are also freed to certain things–we are free to approach God, and free to obey Him from love, not from fear.

    [snip]

    The end or purpose of Christian liberty is not to smoke or drink; liberty is given for the pursuit of holiness. Those who wave the banner of Christian liberty so that they might do whatever they might want to do have not understood the doctrine at all. The point is not to drink or smoke or dance according to our own whims, in the light of our own wisdom, but to do whatever we do before the Lord, with increase of joy and holiness obvious to all. Our guide on how this is to be done is the Bible, and not our pet evangelical traditions. And this is why the mature may drink wine to the glory of God, and the same cannot be applied to young men who may be more concerned about looking cool than being holy.

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