Sanctification & booze

Sanctification is in the news recently.

Nazies made the July issue of Christianity Today with their thought of removing "entire" from their sanctification article of religion (not a sure thing yet) and otherwise altering their stance on sanctification. (Thanks to alert reader Wes McCallum for this)Aging boomers continue to lead the "former holiness denominations" into mainstream evangelicalism ignoring the preferences of most of the younger folk who are not so delighted to quit being an indy band and go full pop theology. No matter, boomers have always been embarrassed by anything that made them 'different" from the mainstream and their final work will be trying to gut entire sanctification from the church's doctrine. They will probably be successful.

A similar move in afoot on DRINKING ALCOHOL though more younger folk (but not necessarily a majority) like this one. We heard the news that Wheaton College loosened up its no-alcohol stance for faculty a few years back. As a trend-setter Wheaton signaled a shift in other Christian colleges. Jim Lo has returned from Bethel and reported something like a 100 to 12 vote there to loosen up their no-booze stance. He says that Messiah, Calvin, Northwestern, already loosened up and that Taylor did last year (though I had not heard that about Taylor--does anyone know that for sure?)

Wesleyan schools are slower to change the no-alcohol rule. Wesleyans still make its new professors and Presidents stop drinking before they come --like we do new members.But the membership thing is up for grabs. While pastors think college professors teaching their children in our schools shouldn’t take a nip, many think their own members --especially transfer members--should be able to. The move to loosen up this "rule" is gaining momentum and there will be numerous resolutions at our general conference next summer related to the rule. We already allow "community members" to drink but not "covenant members." We will either loosen up Covenant membership requirements or we’ll further upgrade the rights of community members, I bet.

So far our college professors (almost half of whom are not Wesleyans--but Lutherans, Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists etc.) have to follow the "Covenant membership" requirements even if they aren’t Wesleyans--so no drinking—not even at weddings. But when the denomination changes the covenant membership requirements that will automatically ripple to our campus of course.It won't change anything for me, I don't want to drink anyway. But some do. As for me, I already fail at numerous other "Membership commitments" –I fail to visit jails or have family devotions, for instance.

THIS GETS OUR COLLEGES IN TROUBLE... By law we cannot pick and choose which rules we enforce for employees. If we have a list of rules and don't enforce one of them while we try to enforce another we're dead meat in the courts. If we don't require our faculty to visit jails and have family devotions (as the Membership Commitments require) we can’t rightfully require that they don't drink or live up to other commitments like avoiding homosexual acts. We can't tell the courts "But that one is really important" about our rules.Employee written rules can’t be selective. So as a faculty member I am interested in changing the Membership Requirements to only rules we are willing to enforce. We should leave our "ideals" out of the list. If we have any rule in the Membership Commitments that we don't enforce then we will have a hard time enforcing any of the other "more important" rules. IWU has about a thousand employees, and probably some would like to drink and maybe even some might want to practice homosexuality. A set of rules that is only partially serious gives us trouble in the future. If we want to be able to enforce rules we need a firm list.

That's my goal in revising membership commitments. A firm list we are serious about. I don’t see many interested in taking out jail-visiting or personal and family devotions---just a lot of fuss about drinking rules. I think we need an honest list of rules we’ll enforce. Otherwise the whole list goes out the window eventuallyat our schools—some employee will take it to court and they will win—like they did at Wheaton.

Well, it is summer—and I’m not thinking much about these things really…I suspect somebody down in Indianapolis is thinking about them though.

1 comment:

D.M. said...

Coach- I've heard some interesting things regarding the alcohol down in with our Southern friends. Evidently, some of the larger Wesleyan churches have been putting pressures on the D.S.s to shut down "dead" churches and then planting other churches on their own.

Rumor has it that there is some loop-hole in the Discipline that allows churches to strike rules that are not "culturally relevant" from their specific church- so drinking is getting "shot" down (pun intended).

I think we need to skip this drinking thing entirely and preach against drunkeness (not drinking on occassion). And in light of getting rid of one rule pick up another: no gluttony and moderation in eating.

The Word refers far more to that issue than drinking but I think that issue may be too fat to get through the doorway.

Good stuff. Hope you had a great trip.