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Guest Post: Having a Beer… for the Glory of God!

October 18th, 2009 by Madeleine

As it is still open mic (blog?!) week(s) here are MandM; here is another guest post from Jonny King who, if you have not visited his blog before, you’ll find has a rather distinctive style; he threatened to burn effigies of our blog if we didn’t publish him LOL!

Having a Beer… for the Glory of God!

What?… I did put it in the singular… “a beer,”… lest we also forget 1 Cor. 10:31, unless you are planning other excursions for the liquid refreshment?!

No, I don’t believe that this will be a candidate for the next issue in the Tui billboards dotting themselves over various parts of the Islands of NZ [for all you unfortunate individuals who are not so domiciled, these are somewhat tongue-in-cheek, culturally relevant statements, attached to the phrase “Yeah Right.”].

… and No, I haven’t had one, let alone a few, quiet ones, before I sat my repository of blogging thoughts down before my little friend, the computer… I can talk to it for days and it will listen to every word, unlike some other people I know… Yes, I am referring to my fixer.

I am Jonny King is not a big fan of the amber ale as a drink of choice.  Maybe, it is an acquired taste, but surely such shows that I have probably not inculcated myself to such a reality.  Or, maybe, I need to pay for the privilege.  Therefore, whatever you think of my liquidity, I am not pushing my barrow in the pursuit of guilt-free cravings.

I, in fact, prefer something even darker… Now, there’s no need to be racial I am Jonny King, but what grabs me and torments my taste buds is not some sort of hedonistic home-brew!  Unfortunately, to burst the burgeoning bubble, I must affirm that Pepsi is my thirst quencher.  Yes, the sugary delights of caffeinated-to-carbonated Kool-aid… what more could a white boy want?

Nevertheless, the present fomenting could surely set the Tea-totallar straight to the pantry for another lump or three from the sugar refinery.  I realise that such a header could be bringing more heat than light to one’s present disposition, but let me invoke some authorial imagery and thump the pulpit, with the exclamation that I am indeed thinking in this pursuit… well, at least I think I am!

Let me digress a little and lead you along a little more, O naive follower, and let you listen a little, as you read out loud to all your workmates… slacker!

I am the son of an individual [no way, fancy that, such explains everything] who was a Pastor for the majority of my years [until recently] in the Salavation [no typo] Army, where drinking anything alcoholic was about as popular as a smacking parent at one of “surely we can now Sue” Bradfords greeny-get-togethers, where such would be cause to bring in the sliding scale to question one’s spirituality.

A woman in close relative proximity to Jonny King am I was so keenly committed to keeping her palate pure on one occasion many years back, when she found out that a cake she was presently enjoying had ingredients of the liquor variety, [although, as any old pro will tell you, such would have had its goose cooked… out], she responded to such information by disposing of the aforementioned contraband… perish the thought.  We have attempted to begin redemptive remedial action, by using such beverages in subsequent cook-offs.  I can confirm, she is making progress!

Therefore, the obscure point that I was covertly moving toward is this.

I understand the culture of abstinence, and I have no problem with an individuals personal pursuit, per see.  As a recovering Salvo [this is humour… giggle people], I am also aware of the damage that excessive and out of control amounts of “drink” can have on an individual, familial, and societal level, with such a reality, enough to cause the conscientious thinker to wonder if a certain coloured drink that goes through a given process is really worth the effort!

I am also aware that what I am trying to affirm can be misconstrued… after all, who would prostitute themselves to the point of postulating such prose… for the love of alliterated peas [it’s that Green party again]!

However, I am wanting to do something quite novel in this area, do my best to think God’s thoughts after Him.  I know, in an area like this, it may seem to lead to an abolition of hope, but such a situation, “I object,” only affirms our religious condition, which is this… As each subsequent era of rabbinic school would subsequently build upon [e.g. Sophrim, Tana’im], the wanting-to-be-orthodox Jew who built a somewhat impressive fence [from a voluminous perspective] around the law of Moses, with the Oral Law [that they will claim was given by God to Moishe at Sinai], which in kind, we Christians have and are also presently doing a pretty good job ourselves in erecting our own fence around the law of Christ with the addition of various restrictions that don’t meet our cultural standards, with such a rambling reminiscent of such reality!

Maybe you are presuppositionally presupposing that drinking alcohol is fodder for the wrath of any number of authorial figures, but let me state what is generally accepted by many… the consumption of alcohol per see is not sinful… or should I say unbiblical… in the right and God-honouring quantities one should note.

In fact, while I like the good graces of grape juice [with the bubbles I will have you know], “red” preferably, which I do affirm tastes rather good on a good occasion, it does not seem to have the desired effect on gladdening the heart [Psalm 104:15], which makes sense as wine, if my fading memory serves me correctly, is a biblical symbol for “joy”… Smile Sinner!  [Hold the Phones, Stop the Pressing Sinner… I have just looked at my ESV Study Bible Notes {Every Bible Study must have the Study Bible contributor who is more than ready to share their notes} which says in connection with John 2:3 that an OT background that viewed wine {but never drunkenness} as a sign of joy and God’s blessing {Psalm 104:15; Prov. 3:10; cf. Matt. 26:29}… so there you go].

When Jesus turned water into [John 2:1-12]… well, what did He turn it into?… Yes, the English text says wine, but who can trust scholars who are reading and interpreting the original languages, who have also committed themselves to this pursuit?  After all, everyone knows that it is the KJV that is the inspired version!  Such tomfoolery from I am Jonny King could lead one to perceive that I have an intoxication of the most absurd kind.

Nevertheless, there are those who will tell you that it was not wine, but grape juice… trust them. Inconveniently, there are two words in both the Hebrew and Greek that differentiate between the two.  Yes, I am also aware that such “wining” was probably more watered down, but when we are exhorted not to be drunk with… wine, but to be filled with the Spirit [Eph. 5:18], the presupposition should be clear for all to taste!… and when Timothy was encouraged to have a little wine for his stomach [1 Tim. 5:23], I am thinking it was a little more than “Just Juice!”

I am also aware that gluttony is a sin, and it is not phat to be… well, you get the burgeoning idea.  However, I am not thinking it spiritually prudent to abstain from calorising my interiors, and play make me a super model.

Such is often the case with much philosophic reflecting by Christians, as their thinking is often framed in the context of worst case scenarios where such individuals decide to get drunk with wine, instead of being filled with the Spirit [Eph. 5:18 again, which is clearly wrong].  However, such is no more reason to refrain from alcohol as an absolute rule, then it would be to refuse to eat food because individuals can not be “Spirit-filled” in such an area as filling their face, and there are too numerous examples in our culture… church, that is, where people are completing church growth in all the wrong areas… taking the body analogy totally out of context!

Such a situation also fails to integrate the Spirit’s job of maturing the child of God in all areas of life [Phil. 1:6], which means that such a reality gets circumvented when personal conviction gets substituted for legalism that is not a sign of maturity, but the very antithesis of it!

Lest I become a hoarse… Nay… I am not trying to be overtly flippant or culturally relevant at the expense of being biblically concise, in what I am thinking, or in what I will propose… but merely biblical in theory and so in practice, which is why, even though drinking alcoholic beverages is not biblically negated directly out of hand, there is the example of the weaker, more susceptible follower of Christ who might be lead down out of the Garden by the pathway of your decision, and if such could be the case, your love for the individual Christologically compels one to set aside our freedom in this pursuit for their Godly good [Romans 14:1-23], as love for God as exercised through your fellow follower Donald Trumps such freedoms.

Remember what they said about Jesus [Luke 7:34]… whom did He eat and drink with?  Yet, read verse Luke 7:35!  Now while one could claim that all that affirms is that Jesus spent time in those places in the mission, let me also say, as an side, Christians in removing themselves from the culture that Beer often represents, have also decided that such places are not a-ok for the believer, unless it is asking for cash for clunkers [now who could that be?]!

Let us spend a few more moments together, as what was formally was foundational to what will follow, as it is my conviction that the Christian exodus from the culture of “drink” is both harmful for our Gospel, and signals a detour for the message that we need to desperately communicate!

The situations where the culture of “drink” will impact on the believer are numerous, from work, to play [rugby], to the pub, our culture, and cultures worldwide, are “intoxicated” with its impact.

How do we Christians respond in such contexts and on such occasions?

More than likely, many of us will view such an as opportunity to return to our bunker and ride out the storm, which only affirms that we fail to follow the example of Christ, and fail to really think through our theory to practice.  Such does not mean that every opportunity that arises in such a context is wisdom from above for the believer, but it does affirm that on too numerous occasions we have not redeemed such an opportunity for the glory of God, by putting ourselves in the midst of the culture, showing how Christ makes a difference in that time and in that place.  We have, in effect, thrown our hands in the air and allowed a significant opportunity and cultural group to be devoid of a gospel witness, at a time when they may be most open to our forthcoming.

The result being that nowadays, Christians struggle to connect with a society that views alcohol as a significant part of relaxing and enjoying times of social and un-social activity.

Surely there is a better way!

Yes, there will be examples where such contexts are not appropriate because of age and/or maturity, but if such is not the case, how has one responded when the occasion has arisen?  After all, I am not suggesting you to become a Keg for Christ!

These are the places we need to be… a city on a hill, showing and affirming that such is only a drink to quench a thirst, not a culture to fit one’s life into, not a drug to control ones life, and like Jesus, we are sent!

Are we waiting for them to come?

Not only have we removed our witness from such contexts, in doing so, we have sent a confusing message of the Gospel to a world that is ignorant at the best of times! The general cultural perception is that Christians do not drink alcohol, and while I am not encouraging you the reader to do anything stupid in this area [as getting drunk is WRONG, and obeying the laws of the land is mandatory minor], I do believe that in removing ourselves from the culture that this past-time has in NZ, we have done damage to the witness of the Gospel that could be so potent in such contexts, and consequently, we have unintentionally put a fence around the Gospel that has sent a confusing message that salvation is about our works, not His work.

God, in Christ, has called us to be in the World, but not controlled by this world system.  In speaking out against excessive drinking [which is a good], I am wondering-thinking if we have unintentionally, by our practice [in removing ourselves, and so not speaking from the group with more credibility, which leads to understanding], encouraged the perception that drinking alcohol is one of the church-named “sins’ that one can not complete to be accepted into the group, thereby saying that those who practice such things are unacceptable, which means we have in-effect, presented to the public a confusing and inconsistent Gospel message [Read the words of Martyn Lloyd-Jones in this post].

Such can be illuminated by the following question, If there is not something wrong in such contexts [as a general rule], why is it so devoid of a Gospel witness?

Such a reality clouds the pure unadulterated Gospel message in an area where there is a good deal of freedom in Christ, according to the Words of the living God. The result is that Christians are perceived to be rules keeper, and while this is true from our perspective, as we are saved to good works, not by good works, the general Publican does not grasp such distinctions, and views Christians as those who don’t do this and don’t do that [which is true, but not as they perceive], instead of like-sinners saved by the love and grace of God, through the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of Man [I Cor. 15:3-4]… Now it is also true that many will not grasp such reality as the outworking of 1 Cor. 1:21 affirms, but this is no excuse for our adding to their ignorance.

I am becoming more convinced that we need to re-balance the scales on such a reality, and re-enter the domains of the drinker [not to ask for donations… trust me, they don’t need it], showing to a lost world that Christians can drink [even if it will be Pepsi], responsibly and with full reality, as we really are the “lucky ones,” who have been given the cake and can eat it, in the power of the Holy Spirit, as we are a true HSV [Holy Spirit Vehicle] .

We are the ones, in the power of the Holy Spirit, who can speak to those, in their cultural context, on their terms, about the One whose love leading to joy lasts longer than a one night crawl, thereby removing the beer glasses from their vision, so that they see the Gospel for all that it is in its beauty, simplicity and grace that will truly radicalize ones existence.

Therefore, dear reader, think through what I am Jonny King is saying… Chew and Spit!… If such is not the biblical witness of the Spirit, through faith, you must act accordingly [Rom. 14:23].

However, for the love of the lost, I think it is at least time that we thought better how to connect with a culture that feels comfortable with a beer in hand, that feels free in the local, and that wants to have a quiet one in “their” quiet time, as we should be wanting to passionately pursue people to passionately pursue Christ.

If our past will be our future, we will have some “dry” days in our spiritual future in answering such a challenge!

If one is willing to follow Christ to the ends of the earth, around the corner is really not a world away that many in our churches perceive that it is!

It is time to engage!

Until Next Time

I am Jonny King (guest posting on MandM)


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11 responses so far ↓

  • Hey nice to see you here Jonny. You certainly have you own style.

    Open Mic – still going I see, could Ozy make an appearance???. Trouble is it would take me 2 years to develop a post with enough intelligence just to get it to email stage.

    I will get to work now!! Get ready MandM and expect an email this time next year. Any ideas on a topic anyone???

  • Thanks Ozy… Own Style! For better or for worse!

    However, I would have to say that at this auspicious blogging moment, almost on the level of certain announcements earlier in the day, I must defend my besmirched character of the scurrilous accusations at the beginning of the post.

    The full context of the text that this is based on is as follows…

    “I have noted your desire for some postal assistance at this time of need!

    I am happy to be prostituted at the altar of obtaining more
    visitors… Thinking out loud again… What I meant to say is that if
    you would like to put one of my finely tuned [he begins to giggle]
    pieces of prose on your blog, who am I to say, “No.”

    If… If you have read one of my opinion pieces, you will quickly
    realise that their is a certain style to the substance.

    Whether or not that works for you and your blog… the choice is
    yours… I will not be offended, and I promise not to burn effigies of the mandm blog next time I am at Laidlaw… I will bring my medication next time!”

    You see I promised not to!… I probably would have just payed someone else to do it [champagne comedy]!

    Only jo-king… He’s my brother… Moving Right Along…

    Oz, I was thinking of some subject matter for your blog post to come…

    Two thoughts that relate to where you may be at could be worthwhile!

    1) You could do a piece on the various types of humour used in the Bible… even scatological humour (Driscoll has referred to this). As your site looks at life from a humourous perspective, you could really exemplify what is funny and may be even why, from a biblical worldview!

    2) What is the purpose of Education? What is the practice of Education? What is the profit of Education? This could be from a schooling sense only, or also looking at the paideia for the children of God (Psalm 1).

    Putting together either a part or both, forming what you see is a biblically-grounded philosophy of education. You could see this as a long-term project. This would not only be a gift to the community, but would also help you to think through it as a teacher/ VP!

    This sounds like a lot of work Jonny King!!!

    Just some random thoughts OZ!
    These may not fit the bill, but may get ya thinking!

  • Jonny you crack me up! We found the effigy thing really funny so I had to find a way to include it!

    Ozy you are more than welcome. We just cannot switch gears right now – lectures for me are officially over as of this morning, the BIG deadline is this Friday at 4pm and then there is my exam.

  • this article seems shorter and easier to read at the end of every pint ;P

  • Sounds like you are drinking a powerful brew.

  • Not a problem Madeline. One has to make certain sacrifices in the pursuit of posting perfection! All is good in the I am Jonny King hood [Yes, I still have machinations of youth]!

    If I am gonna expect people to read that much, one has to keep them awake, I mean spellbound!

    Anon, reading to watch the pints go by, aye?

    BTW, Anon, do you ever feel like people never really get to know you?… or even, that you really don’t know yourself? Will one be ever able to put a face to the name?

  • “BTW, Anon, do you ever feel like people never really get to know you?… or even, that you really don’t know yourself? Will one be ever able to put a face to the name?”

    nope nope and nope 😀

    I like to read from top to bottom until I end up reading from bottom to top and sometimes I get to read the whole article

    Is there a philosophical term for this?

    And which is worse, eating unhealthy food without label or unhealthy food with misleading label?

  • “I like to read from top to bottom until I end up reading from bottom to top and sometimes I get to read the whole article

    Is there a philosophical term for this?”

    Anon, I believe they call that circular reading!

    Which is worse, Anon?… your presupposition, “which”… classic either/or fallacy, as my fixer would say!

  • I really don’t understand what your reply means. I’m a mere uneducated peasant, the king’s language baffled me 😀

  • Your wording and phraseology sounds suspiciously familiar!

    “I really don’t understand what your reply means. I’m a mere uneducated peasant, the king’s language baffled me :D”

    Pa-lease, this hasn’t stopped you before… Only joshing with ya! You are giving me far too much credit!

    The fact that you read the whole thing while multi-tasking with a malt… maybe, says much!

    Just think, you can visit the blog, and be immobilised for days!

  • Thought I would add this quote [from a message by Arron on the 22 words blog] from Martin Luther, for any readers thus inculcated…

    “The Selling of Bad Beer is a Crime Against Christian Love” – Martin Luther

    Enjoy, the quote that is… you’ll have to buy your own refreshments!

    My last blog-post .. My Thoughts on Where I Would Like to See Matt Flanagan Used in a New Zealand Context… not forgetting “the Glenn of the Peoples.”