I’ve been following a pretty interesting (and at times eye-roll inducing) discussion on Facebook this morning about the issue of whether or not Christians should drink alcohol. It’s not the alcohol part that interests me (for a good evaluation of that debate, check out Mark Driscoll’s FAQ on the issue), but another idea that was popping up in the debate. Basically, the position that bothers me goes like this:
It may not be a sin to drink alcohol, but Paul says we shouldn’t do anything that would offend a weaker brother – so then just because you can drink it, you shouldn’t if it would offend anyone. And, of course, the people making this claim are happy to assume the status of the “weaker brother”, so you basically have to hide in a cave and never mention it if you want to drink.
So, basically, Paul says it’s okay, and Jesus did it himself, but I don’t like it, so you’d better never let me catch you doing it.
There are a lot of problems with that, most notably the idea that you can just claim you’re the weaker brother because you don’t like something that a) you know is perfectly acceptable and/or b) you’re never going to be tempted to do. I’ve got a long blog post about that in my head, but I thought I’d start with another issue that’s somewhat related – the Biblical requirement to “abstain from all appearance of evil”.