There is a strong movement, particularly within some younger pastors to indulge their carnality under a cloak of spirituality. Specifically, these churches host “Bible studies” or some type of community forum in bars, pubs, breweries or some other venue where alcoholic consumption isn’t just tolerated, it’s encouraged.
I understand some of these folks are genuinely trying to reach people with the gospel wherever they are (including bars). They are not the consideration of this post. However, many of these churches seem bent on getting as closely aligned with the world as they possibly can.
I’ve been contending for awhile, that if Southern Baptists weaken our position on alcohol abstinence, the next social issue will be gambling. Well, today a friend sent me a link to Damascus Road Church in Seattle, Washington. They are an Acts 29 church plant and have one of the most aggressive and offensive “Beer & Bible” promotions of all the pro-alcohol Acts 29 churches.
In what appears to be a promotional email for their men’s Bible study, Damascus Road Church says:
“In the Northwest, we consider coffee a meal and Beer liquid bread. AND we know from the Psalms, God has given us bread to strengthen man’s heart. (Psalm 104:15). So, join us from some hard words and strong brew as we gather like men to learn about what God expects of us as men.”
But the really offensive part is their promotion of “Men’s Poker Nights.” Yep, you read that correctly.
Damascus Road tells you:
It's not about poker, its about relaxing, enjoying the company of some men, making grunting noises, and laughing at Junior High humor. If you're a man, and you have 10 bucks, here's your chance to prove your poker skills or lack there of. Depending on the number of men who show, we will have several $5 games in before the night is through. Bring your favorite soothing beverage (barley pop, soda, water, etc.) and bring something fattening to eat! For the same price as a movie, you can enjoy some laughs and, if you're lucky, go home with a little extra. Invite your buddies!
I’ve been arguing that these new Libertines would soon be promoting gambling (after all, the Bible nowhere gives an outright prohibition!), equating it with money spent on some other form of entertainment.
Guys like me keep seeing this common thread in a lot of Acts 29 churches. And we’re wondering to what degree are our Southern Baptist churches being influenced by this kind of (un)Biblical application?
I have no doubt many, if not most, of these churches are orthodox in their doctrine. But I find the application of their doctrine (if in fact it is orthodox) woefully lacking.