Having Trouble Submitting

Q. Thank you for this ministry! I love reading the questions and answers. I read your articles regarding alcohol and I agree that the Bible does not say we can’t drink alcohol as long as we don’t sin as a result. My problem is this: My pastors require anyone in leadership to sign a covenant stating they will not smoke, drink alcohol, or watch movies “not pleasing to the Lord”.

I am the prayer coordinator at my church. My pastor is a recovered alcoholic. It seems their concern is what “others would think if they saw a leader drinking” I agree, I should not drink in his presence, or maybe even in public, but I think he is making a personal conviction into a doctrine, and I am struggling with the issue of submitting in this area. God bless you and thank you!

A. I’m with you. While I believe that a leader shouldn’t engage in public behavior that reflects poorly on the church or could cause another to stumble, there is no Biblical admonition against drinking.

Jesus drank wine and miraculously provided enough wine for an entire wedding party (John 2:1-11). Certainly someone who was opposed to drinking would not have done that. Paul told the believers at Corinth to do their drinking at home (1 Cor. 11:22) and not cause anyone to stumble (1 Cor. 10:31-32).

But this man is your pastor and as a leader you are subordinate to him. I would try showing him the verses pertaining to drinking, agree to abstain from drinking in his presence or in the company of other believers whether in public or in private and see if you can come to an agreement.

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