Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bars, Beer, and the Bible

I stumbled across this in a magazine. I found it interesting and I am convinced somewhere there is going to be a heated discussion over this. 

What do you think?

Every Monday night, Uncle Charlie’s bar in Cheyenne, Wyo., hosts “Bibles and Beer,” a discussion that routinely pulls in people of all faiths — and an atheist.

As many as 45 people have shown up, some toting Bibles. Some might have a drink; others stick to water. Some talk; others mostly listen. There are only a few ground rules: Avoid debate and stick to the text to be discussed that week.

“There really is not a focus on drinking,” insists Rodger McDaniel, a Presbyterian minister who organized the weekly gathering more than a year ago. “But at the same time, it is a much more relaxed atmosphere than in a church basement. If I put this on in my church, I don’t think we would have five or six people.”

Across the country, faith is becoming bar talk. The trend combines the traditional religious charge to go where the people are with the reality that a lot of them are in bars. Organizers include those from mainline churches, those building churches and bar owners and brewers. Some are trying to push the model nationally, taking an ageless yearning for meaning and purpose to places where people often go to try to wash their worries away.


jean@pilgrimscottage said...

It's a sorry, sad thing when those who think they are proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, feel they must fit it in the way of the world. I find it interesting that McDaniel said there wouldn't be as many people attending if it were at a church. That tells it all.

Scott said...

I'm of mixed emotions. My personal convictions are that wise Christians avoid alcohol, and much of this modern "grab a brew and share a view" stuff is trite and trivializes the Gospel. And yet...

Reformation history shows that the local pub was often the main gathering spot for those reformers to gather, discuss theology, etc. So...

I usually come back to conviction. We live in a different time and place. Most of these meetings are indeed a compromise with culture and act embarrassed by the church and the Gospel. It's all about being "hip and cool" two things Jesus never sought.

Ma said...

I like it. Many times a relaxed (but not overly relaxed atmosphere is the best time for discussing things of the eternal. I'll have a white wine:)

Arlee Bird said...

I think something like this can have a lot of potential. He might be reaching people who might not ever hear the Word otherwise--he's sowing seeds that might bear fruit later.

I once was eating dinner with Mark Farner, formerly of huge 70s supergroup Grand Funk and now a Christian artist. I was aware that he still frequently played in bars with his old and new music. I asked if it didn't seem wrong and he quoted me that verse about ministering the sick and those who needed it most. He said based on his reputation a lot of people who would never have set foot in a church were listening to what he had to say in his performances and turning their lives around.

The Word needs to be taken everywhere.

Wrote By Rote

Kansas Bob said...

I'll join Ma but make mine a red.

Gregg said...

First, I would never advocate the trivialization of the gospel or the glory of our majestic God.

Second, it must be remembered that the bible does not condemn drinking, as a matter of fact, it seems to commend or recommend it. Psalms 104 tells us that God gave wine as a gift to be enjoyed by His people. Wine is a symbol of blessing and will flow abundantly in the coming Kingdom.

Third, the criteria for anything that we do is - 1) in moderation; 2) consideration (for weaker brother); 3) conviction (what is not done in faith is sin); 4) glorification (must be to the glory of God. So, if Spurgeon could smoke a cigar to the glory of God, it seems that one can share the gospel or talk of divine truths to God's glory.

Fourth, remember John Calvin received a portion of his pastoral salary in wine in order to properly entertain or show hospitality.

Fifth, Calvin, Luther, and even Spurgeon would talk theology or biblical truths with a beer or ale.

Sixth, we certainly can't make this the norm, but who is to say that God could not use these means to draw the elect unto Himself and to edify His children?

One cannot violate one's conscience. One must be convinced by the Holy Spirit and biblical principles of what does not constitute sin and disgrace. With a mind set on Christ, walking/led by the Holy Spirit, armed with the living Word, a conscience must guide our means, methods, and manner of magnifying the character of our great God. My fear would be as Scott inferred unbiblical motives or reasons for doing this type of ministry. To satisfy our lust or desire for drunkeness, to be thought of as cool, hip, or innovative is disastrous, God would never bless that. I also see Jean@pilgrimscottage's point: we are in this world and not of this world. It is never right to do wrong. We must be careful when we choose methods of sharing the gospel or generating biblical discussions.

Seventh, I am with Bob and MA, make mine either a nicely aged Merlot, or a cold crisp Chardonay.

Judy said...

Hi Pastor Gregg,

Hmm... I haven't heard of this new trend. Sounds somewhat interesting. Even Jesus ate and kept company with sinners. He said he came to save that which is lost. It is the sick that need a doctor. So if the intention is to share the gospel with those who don't know Jesus, then meeting in a bar isn't so bad I guess. Not sure it would be my cup of tea. But many people who drink and frequent bars don't know Christ and they have to be reached. If the motives of the pastor are pure, I'm sure God can do miracles in that type of setting.


Manfred said...

To hold theological discussions in a bar - in a "sober fashion" - is a good thing. For such a gathering to be considered church is a bad thing. As long as the lines are understood, I think it's a fine work - people in bars need to hear the gospel and there's nothing wrong with holding forth the Word of God there.

I'll have good, dark German beer with my ESV.