Tuesday, July 03, 2007

For What Purpose?


Several weeks ago I had the privilege to officiate a wedding ceremony of one of my former students. It was a beautiful wedding and honor that they would ask me to serve in such a high pastoral role. The night before the wedding Emily and I received an invitation to go and see another of my former students perform at a local bar. Since we had someone to watch the girls and I had never seen Odie play, we decided it would be a good idea to go watch the show.


Before I continue let me give you a little more context. I am not a strict prohibitionist concerning alcohol. I do not believe that Scripture teaches that it is sinful for a believer of Jesus to drink alcohol socially and in moderation. It is clear that disciples are prohibited from indulging in drunkenness (Eph 5:18). I believe that Christian liberty allows for the consumption of alcohol as long as it does not: (a) violate the conscience of the one drinking. In other words, as long as they are persuaded in the Lord Jesus, then it is acceptable (Rom 14:14); or (b) the exercise of their liberty does not cause other "weaker"siblings in Christ to sin - meaning that they follow their example and indulge in this observed liberty but are not convinced in the Lord Jesus that indulging in this liberty is acceptable for them. Their conscience, thus, condemns them. Today we might call this giving into peer pressure without biblically weighing the pro's and con's of this liberty and deciding for oneself - under the guidance of the Spirit - whether or not one should drink. A final word of context. I do not make it my practice to drink alcohol. There are other issues related to the issue of drinking such as cultural context and my position and authority as a minister in Jesus' church. So, for these reasons and others, it is my normal practice to abstain from the consumption of alcohol although I am convinced God has granted me the liberty otherwise.


The story continues...At the show Emily and I had a chance to reconnect with many former students from our ministry at Green Valley Baptist Church. Without exception almost every student was drinking. This wasn't really troubling, but a later conversation prompted some questions about the purpose of this activity. If you don't know, OdieMcCool broke up and now Odie is on his own playing music and being the whimsical, creative genuis that he is. One of the students told me that he wasn't sure what he was going to do for "fun" now that the band was busted up because they used to go watch them play 3-4 times a week.


As we were at the bar I noticed that most of the students weren't content to have one drink. There were multiple drinks being enjoyed (to the glory of God is a debatable issue). I left wondering, "What is the purpose behind this activity? Is it solely for leisure? Are the expenses of weekend social drinking - particularly on a regular basis - justifiable Kingdom expenses? Are people here just for fun or for purpose?"


As I consider the teaching of Scripture, when Paul and Peter were confronted with these issues of liberty related to food, drink and even circumcision, this was never an issue of a biblical author championing his liberty to eat certian foods or drink wine; they were always issues where these practices were acceptable in the culture where the Gospel was penetrating and these men of God were faced with whether or not these cultural practices were sinful for those converted in this cultural context. It was never an issue of liberty for pleasure by the biblical author. I've had so many conversations with students (of legal drinking age) who are convinced Scripturally that it is okay for them to drink a beer (and it is - under certain Scriptural conditions), but their only concern is their right to do so. It saddens me to think that we feel so little compassion and cooperation towards the body of Christ that we could cling tightly to an exercise of pleasure over and above the weaker faith of our Jesus siblings (and this is the dominant issue in Romans 14:1-15:7). Paul is concerned, yes, that we have the freedom to exercise our liberty, but that we not do so at the expense of others or the Kingdom.


This brings me back to what I observed: for what Kingdom purpose are young evangelicals around the US championing their liberty to consume alcohol? It is certainly one thing to spend time at a local sports bar weekly building relationships with the patrons and enjoying a cold one when its offered to you. But it is another issue entirely to burn hundreds of dollars a month at a local bar drinking alcohol simply because Scripture doesn't forbid it for pleasure and without purpose. And the same could be said with the excessive amount of money we spend on clothes, entertainment, eating out and more (lest anyone get confused that this post is simply about alcohol).


There is nothing wrong with enjoying what God has given us as a gift for His glory. As a matter of fact, Scripture commands us to enjoy the good gifts God has given (1Tim 6:17). But the issues are those of excess and purpose. I can enjoy a glass of orange juice to the glory of God (and I do so regularly). However, if I am spending $300/mo on orange juice when there are issues of justice, mercy and compassion I have the resources to help eradicate, am I glorifying God with my resources, even if I am giving thanks to God for the $300/mo OJ addiction? And furthermore, for what purpose would I make such excessive expenditures. Paul himself says that "...the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousnss and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom 14:17).


My concern is that Christian liberty has become the "boast" of the younger evangelical. I dearly love many of the students I saw at Odie's concert, but I know little of their devotion to Christ or His Church because I am so distanced from their current life situation. My suspicion is that many of them are only loosely connected to Jesus, rarely attend His Church, and give very little to support the hands, feet and heart ministry of His Bride. And yet, thousands of dollars and hours are likely exhausted pursuing pleasure and the cause of Christian liberty.


The prophet Jeremiah had something to say about what the priorities of the saints of God should be: "Thus says the LORD, 'Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches (and if I can add, let not the disciple boast in his liberty), but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD'" (Jeremiah 9:23-24).


I'm convinced that at the final judgment God will not look down on those of us who boasted in our Christian liberty at the expense of the faith of others or good stewardship with an approving smile. I'm not sure how much God will delight in the proper exercise of Christian liberty. But He does delight in people that know and understand Him, who practice steadfast love, justice and righteousness on the earth. God, I pray that I will pursue these things with the same passion and desire in which I pursue my own pleasure. May my pleasure be found in your smile and no other.

13 Comments:

At 1:25 PM , Blogger Sandy said...

After just emailing you about how I don't usually post comments, I'm actually leaving a comment. For the record, I don't believe drinking alcohol is strictly prohibited in scripture, but there are admonitions regarding the drinking of alcohol. I do not drink alcoholic beverages for a number of reasons--my testimony before other Christians and before non-believers, the potential for lowered inhibition, the temptations in certain establishments, the potential for alcoholism (I have a number of relatives who are/were alcoholics, and I see first-hand the effects of alcoholism), and because, quite honestly, there aren't any really good reasons FOR drinking alcoholic beverages (I don't NEED TO drink alcoholic beverages--there are plenty of other options).

You raised a number of excellent points. Another one of my concerns today is that some Christians seem to believe they are immune or exempt from the potential consequences of alcohol. Several years ago I had a conversation with a Christian about drinking alcoholic beverages. When discussing the possible consequences such as getting drunk or becoming an alcoholic, this person said, "This won't happen to me. I'm a Christian, and I have the Holy Spirit within me." This is a common misconception among many Christians today. Just because we are Christians and have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us does not make us immune or exempt from ANY sin. Of course, not every Christian will become an alcoholic, but the potential is there.

More importantly, we are asking the wrong question. This weekend, I attended my grandmother's old-fashioned, country Baptist church--a small congregation with a very young pastor. The pastor's message was simple--and very good. He said that Christians today are asking the wrong question. We ask questions like, "Why can't I drink alcohol?" or "How little clothing can I wear and still be considered a Christian?" The pastor said that we should be asking, "How HOLY can I be?" When we ask ourselves this question, the focus is not on our rights or our liberty in Christ--it is on Christ. How holy can I be? A simple question, and yet oh so deep.

 
At 4:32 PM , Blogger Aaron said...

Great comments and thoughts Sandy and I couldn't agree more. Thanks for your input.

 
At 4:36 PM , Anonymous Nick said...

Aaron,
First off, I'd like to say that it was so good seeing you! I'm glad you were able to socialize with us that night.

As I was reading your post, my first thoughts were, "How dare he pass judgment on me!" But after reflecting further on it, I understand the point you are trying to make. The issue is much deeper than the mere act of drinking. Unfortunately from my experience growing up in a Baptist church, that was the focus. Now, more mature (I would like to think), I have realized that being a Christ-follower is more than abiding by a list of laws. I can still remember to this day one Wednesday night sermon that you preached. You were explaining why you didn't explicitly talk about not having sex before you're married, getting drunk, doing drugs, etc. Your answer was simple. Change starts from within a person's heart and if it is genuine will manifest itself on the outside. During a time when other youth groups were basically a joke in terms of the spiritual needs of high school aged individuals, this statement blew me away.

I know that some will read your post and become angry. Some will be hurt. But I think if you silence that little bit of pride fueling those thoughts, the message stands out. On the other hand, I worry that the message still contains the typical undertones of legalism. Alcohol is a hot topic in the Baptist church. Some say its ok, some say its not, others say "when in doubt, throw it out!" Overall, the issue is not alcohol! Does it truly matter if you are attending a bar 3-4 times a week to hear a band, playing video games hours a day, or spending lots of money fixing up old cars? Isn't it instead an issue of the condition of one's heart? The mere fact that someone goes out to bars on the weekend does not implicate them as unholy or of straying from the flock. I think that it is quite easy to fall into the trap of making assumptions of others with little data available. It is much like attempting to write someone's biography by looking at a photograph. I am not accusing you of this, because I believe in my heart that we see eye to eye, but I'm not sure it was as evident in your post...

I miss you lots man and I hope to see you soon!

 
At 4:45 PM , Blogger Aaron said...

Nick, I very much appreciate your comments. You've hit the nail on the head when you talk about the issues of the heart. You are also correct that unless someone is able to lay aside their pride, they will likely walk away from this post wounded, particularly if they were there on that night. However, even if wounded, I pray that it is the wound of a friend.

I'm not sure if anyone can take this post as legalistic if they read it at face value. I stated no Scriptural evidence condemning the consumption of alcohol or one's presence in a bar.

For some, and I fear you missed this point in the post, the issue is PRECISELY alcohol. Some students - yes, even some of your friends - are campaigning for their right to drink alcohol and hiding behind Christian liberty to do so. However, this is the wrong attitude to take in this issue because it is a campaign rooted in pride. Some are so concerned that the Bible doesn't say they can drink that they never really take time to consider whether or not they should - particularly in a culture (southern) where there is so much stigma attached to the issue.

Others are able to see beyond the battle for booze and seriously do need to deal with the issue of purpose in their Christian liberty. It's not so much about the beer as it is about the resources, time, and energy put into enjoying beer. I hope you will re-read the post and you'll hear this loud and clear.

I am grateful you took time to respond. I hope others do as well. We miss and love you.

 
At 6:12 PM , Anonymous Nick said...

As I said, I believe that I understand the message. But isn't it about more than just alcohol? If your entire post is revolving around just this one example...ok. My problem is how some churches and fellow Christians believe this subject matter trumps others. As I commented earlier, it may not be that someone wastes money on alcohol, but instead wastes time on videogames. Both equal a waste of some resource that may be better used for the Kingdom of God. I think you are dead on in your assessment that some use their Christian liberty as an excuse for what is ultimately decremental to their walk. My point is the topic of alcohol is so beat into the ground that it promotes an environment where some feel the need to take extreme positions while never addressing the true issue. My job requires that I not take things how they appear. I must constantly seek the truth wherever it may be. Truth isn't something you can necessarily obtain by one statement or observation. I would like to think that carries over in my faith as well.

I made the comment about legalistic undertones because thats what the majority of alcohol debates consist of. "Is it ok for me to have a beer?" No, because (insert verse here). Yes, because (insert verse here). Period. In my opinion, approaching Christian faith in this manner is not only ignorant, but opens up a lifetime of slavery to legalism. One of the most beautiful things about the bible is that its relative to everyone. As I've mentioned before to you, the problem of absolutes, black, white, and gray areas is a constant struggle in my life. But aren't we called to always search for those answers and not accept things at face value? Otherwise, life would be a lot easier and much less interesting!

I suppose this post pushed a button for me because the topic of alcohol consumption polarizes Christians (at least within the southeast) to a point that seems to do more harm than good...

 
At 9:45 PM , Blogger Aaron said...

Pointed, well-thought out response, Nick. One clarification that I am sure that you got but just for others reading: the point isn't about whether or not alcohol is detrimental to YOUR walk as an individual. I trust that every person who trusts Jesus and has the liberty to drink alcohol in moderation (a significant distinction)does so with a clear conscience. The point is whether or not, according to Rom 14:1-15:7, one's decision to exercise liberty is also in the best interest of others (whom Paul calls "weaker brothers").

You are absolutely correct in that this issue is polarizing - especially in the South. But this is precisely the reason that we cannot ignore it and we must dialogue about it. Our culture - particularly our Christian culture - demands that we use godly discernment in the way that best glorifies Jesus and His Kingdom.

 
At 11:21 PM , Blogger Glenn said...

Aaron and Nick,

I've enjoyed reading the dialogue. I agree with everything you guys are agreeing about, in general. I especially like the point about our use of time and money. That is a critical issue for us as Christians, be it alcohol or something else.

But I think that one thing that both of you have not flushed out is the issue of those who would condemn a fellow Christian for drinking. Aaron, I would like to see you post on this issue in light of Romans 14 and 15, etc. Here is what I'm talking about:

The question is, in what sense are we suppose to guard our weaker brothers? You have been fairly clear that we should guard against doing things (i.e. - drinking) in front of our weaker brothers causing them to give into doing that same thing before they have a clear conscience about doing it.

But, what about doing it (in this case - drinking alcohol) when a fellow Christian believes that it is wrong to drink and that other Christians (not simply themselves) are sinning when they do it. In this case, what should your action be?

My position: You should drink. Why? Because Jesus and the Gospel are at stake. Paul specifically condemns those in Rome who would cast judgment on their own Christian brothers who have liberty to eat meats and drink wines, etc. People who condemn fellow Christians for drinking are condemning Jesus and His Gospel because they are casting judgment on a fellow servant whom God has welcomed and whom is biblically free to conduct himself in that way (Romans 14:3-4).

In other words, if someone tells you that you cannot drink and be a Christian, then you and I should step up to the plate and drink in their face telling them that God has welcomed us into his house and that his house is a place to enjoy the good things he's has created and that you will not let them despise the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I don't believe that many teachers have done a good job condemning one of the most horrible sins that Paul was dealing with in Romans 14. In these debates and discussions, I want to make sure that we tell these ministers that would forbid other Christians from drinking and condemn them for drinking if they do, that their position is actually endangering their own souls and that they mustn't condemn the one who God has welcomed.

The stupid and Gospel-jeopardizing motions that have recently been brought up at SBC conventions are just that... stupid and twisted. Unless we speak out in the same manner that Paul spoke out against those at Rome who would judge their brothers for eating and drinking that which God has blessed and called good, none of us will survive the ignorance of the past era that was twisted enough to implement the prohibition of the 1920s.

So, I'm done with my thoughts. Looking forward to another post addressing that issue or simply a reply here if that's all you feel is needed. :-)

 
At 9:15 AM , Anonymous Jo said...

Isn't it ineresting that this topic generates so much feed back. WHY is this particular scriptural freedom so important to so many? Is it perhaps a stronghold in many of our lives??? Just asking.

Glenn: You said "you and I should step up to the plate and drink in their face telling them that God has welcomed us into his house and that his house is a place to enjoy the good things he's has created and that you will not let them despise the Gospel of Jesus Christ." In your fervency for scriptural accuracy, please remember the spiritual attributes of love and mercy that Jesus exhibited in His dealings with others.

I would like to know you would look on me and my position with love and mercy as a brother in Christ.

I have buried two relatives as a direct result of alcohol. I continue to watch and pray as three more, all believers and one who has an ongoing, vital relationship with Jesus, struggle to overcome addictions. (And all of them don't live in the South either.)

And I ask all of you, with all the freedom I have in Christ to indulge:
WHY would I go there?
HOW would I better bring glory to God by going there?
WHO could I better influence for the sake of the gospel by going there?
WHAT would I accomplish for the kingdom of Christ by going there?

So as so many of you cling to your freedom in Christ to have your alcohol, I challenge you to have it in light of these questions. If you can do it with a clear conscience bofore God, go right ahead....I cannot. And water quences my thirst just fine.

 
At 10:16 AM , Blogger Aaron said...

Glenn

I know I've dealt with the issue from the angle you've brought up in at least one article at Concord, so instead of rehashing that in a post, just let me reply here.

I do believe that it is wrong to condemn fellow Christians for drinking. However, it is just as wrong to engage those casting judgment with a haughty spirit that clings more tightly to their liberty to drink alcohol. As Paul said in Rom 14:17-19, "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding."

The righteousness Paul is talking about is more than a theoretic ethic. It is the pursuit of a life of righteousness, peace and joy that is clearly fleshed out in the community of the saints.

While I would agree that the Gospel is at stake in this issue, it is at stake, not because we have the liberty to eat and drink, but rather in how we relate to one another as we deal with these polarizing issues. This is precisely why Paul says, "We who are strong have an OBLIGATION to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves" (15:1).

The reality in Rom 14-15 is that Paul strikes down a legalism that would belittle, begrudge or condemns the brother that eat or drinks. At the same time his instruction does the same for those who have the freedom to eat and drink. This is a two-way street.

I clarified in the post what I meant by guarding our weaker brothers. Paul is not saying that we become a stumbling block when someone who abstains knows we have the liberty to drink and it angers, upsets or frustrates them. This is not what is meant by stumbling block. What is meant is that by the actions of the libertine it leads one who is not yet convinced in the Lord Jesus, someone such as precious Jo Barrett whom I love deeply, that she can drink in good conscience, and yet partakes because of the influence, example, or even subtle pressure of the libertine.

Are those who condemn those who drink alcohol speaking against Jesus and the Gospel? Absolutely. And this is why Paul speaks of them as "weaker" brothers. However, I do not think the appropriate biblical response would be to "drink in their face". This kind of statement is full of pride in our liberty and arrogance that we understand the Gospel more clearly than others. Even if we do grasp the implications of the Gospel better than our "weaker" brothers, it should never become our boast.

I would agree that many people have done injustice to this issue biblically. However, there is more at stake than just the liberty to drink alcohol - as careful reading of Rom 14:1-15:7 reveals. Sandy and Jo have done an excellent job drawing out other implications of the consumption of alcohol that cannot be ignored.

Finally, the point of my post was, again, to ask, "for what purpose" rather than "is it a sin to drink alcohol". If anyone misses that point then this miss the point of the whole post

 
At 11:53 AM , Blogger Glenn said...

Jo and Aaron,

Thanks for the replies. I'm sorry if I was a little too strong with my sentiments.

I agree with everything you are saying. Where am I disagreeing with what you have both said?

I guess my only clarification is the "drink in their face" comment. I am thinking of people who do not struggle with giving in to drinking. These people are ministers, many times older in age, who set on condemning people to hell for drinking.

By drinking in their face, I would first have to know that they were not struggling with giving in to drinking. But my overall point is this:

Many of these conversations SEEM (to me, and I could be wrong) to always miss the point that Paul's letter to the Romans would have been read to the whole congregation and the stinging rebuke Paul has for the abstainers would have been right "in their face."

Aaron, you know that I do not drink much at all. But if ever someone were to tell me that I was not a Christian because I drank and they had never had any experience with drinking, then my ultimate respond would be to say to the waiter at the restaurant, "pass the pinot."

I just wanted to bring that issue out. Sorry if you disagree. I think I remember your article Aaron, but I had forgetten about it until just now.

 
At 5:22 AM , Blogger r a i n e r said...

Nick,

I noticed that you wrote, "One of the most beautiful things about the bible is that its relative to everyone." Did you mean this at face value? You didn't learn that from Aaron I know. One of the most beautiful things about the Bible is that is is the truth of God, directly revealed to man, & God so chose to use grammar, & sentence structure, & syntax, & language, & context to say very specific & pointed things. It isn't relative, & that's both the beauty & offense of it to so many. If it's relative, then some say Jesus died for all, some say He didn't, some say His death will cover us all know matter how we live & what we pursue while we're on earth. I'm grateful for the reality of the Word, which is clear when it says, "If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth." This is the truth that allowed me to see that I was in desperate need of a Savior, even though I claimed to be a Christian for a decade. But then the beautiful, unchanging good news - & praise God it's not relative & has a certain, bedrock meaning: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Just to try & make it more clear. You used the word relative. How did I know what you meant by this? There are at least 10 definitions for the word relative. One means to have a connection. If that's what you meant, I'd agree with you, the Bible connects with all of us. However, the way you used it, it would be defined as something that's dependent upon an individual & their subjective view of what God is saying in every jot & tittle. But the reason I knew you were using that definition & not the other or any of the several other ways in which it is used is because in the context you placed it in you were discussing legalism, black & white issues, & searching for truth. Wouldn't it bother you if I took your words which were used to convey a very exact point & had purpose was translated by me as meaning, "I'm in love with my dog?" Sounds absurd, right? How much more absurd when we do it to God's Word? I concede that there are some very difficult texts & a myriad of denominations exist because of differing opinions on what certain truths mean - however, because there are some peripheral matters in which all are not in agreement on, doesn't mean that God has left it to confusion or to the individual to stamp His approval on all our fleeting opinions. God knows what He means & means what He says, & in almost all cases, we understand exactly what He means. He is not a God of confusion nor a God who subjects Himself to nor is dependent upon the mere opinion of fleeting man. A whole lot that's black & white we usually like to paint gray with a smoke screen, because at the end of the day, we don't want to get off our own thrones.

 
At 12:43 AM , Anonymous Galen said...

While I agree with you, Aaron, biblically on your position on alcohol as well as many Christians who are seemingly more concerned over their own rights, I think some may still be missing the broader issue. From my personal perspective (others need not share it) the “bar” scene (and other questionable social clubs) is where the world goes for fun. Playing at the bars is not where most are practicing their evangelism but where they’re getting their needs met through entertaining or being entertained. It is a culture that runs counter to the kingdom of God, but most are unwilling to admit their love affair with that culture.

If a lost friend asks me to meet him at a bar, I’ll be there. My prayerful goal is his salvation, but I’m not going there to entertain or to be entertained by a culture that at its core has the spirit of anti-christ. I’ve had friends who have gone to such places in order to get a buzz and hopefully get hooked up. I had another friend who told me he went to bars because he liked to get drunk and then get in a fight. The bars he attended provided him this opportunity. Granted all bars may not be so obliging, but they are not in existence to spiritually or even physically edify either. They are places of worldly entertainment. Certainly not all worldly entertainment is bad. In many cases such entertainment is amoral – neither moral nor immoral.

I think this is where the real heart issue comes in. The issue isn’t just bars or alcohol, but all the priorities we set for our lives. We have to be honest and ask ourselves is what I’m doing glorify Christ or at the least, will what I’m doing dishonor Christ? Will the experience be spiritually edifying or will it ultimately hinder my continual conformity to the image of Christ? Playing golf, by itself, may neither honor nor dishonor Christ, but when my passion for golf expressed by my investment in time and money exceeds that which I’ve invested for the kingdom of Christ, it’s time for some honest introspection on what or whom I really love more.

Obviously the heart issue is a personal one, but it begs the same imperative offered by God through Haggai, “Consider your ways.” What are your priorities? Our priorities are revealed by what we are most committed to in our daily lives. Are we putting our personal gratification above making God foremost in our lives? This is a question for each individual Christian to answer for himself. Neither I nor anyone else can do it for him.

In areas that are honestly grey I certainly side with the Apostle Paul who asked, “Who am I to judge another man’s servant.” However, your blog does provide an opportunity to practice another biblical principle, which is “As iron sharpens iron; so one man sharpens another.” May your blog, as we sharpen one another, help each of us further mature in Christ.

Let me close with one last thought. Shakespeare, a professed Christian, once said, “This above all to thine own self be true. Thou canst not then be false to any man.” May the Holy Spirit shine His light brightly on our hearts; so that we can see the deceitfulness of our own desires (particularly my own). May the passion of our hearts be to exalt our Lord Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave Himself for us. His grace was not for our own liberties, but for the liberty to serve Him. He alone is worthy of my exaltation and delight. Alcohol, bars, golf, fishing, sports, shopping, you name it – they may be fun but they are all but pale trinkets to the Lord of hosts.

 
At 2:22 PM , Anonymous Dwayne said...

Rainer (and Nick),

I can't be sure, but I wanted to point out the possibility that when Nick used the word "relative," he intended to use the word "relevant." I could be wrong, but that appears to better fit the context of his comments.

I would agree that scripture isn't relative (in the sense that most of us would interpret the word), however, praise God that it is relevant to all people, cultures and eras. We just need to stop long enough to understand how the truth of His word applies to where we are. That's why we're encouraged to meditate on God's word. Often times we don't do that enough, because we let other things get in the way of commiting the necessary time and effort.

Aaron, thanks for the forum to discuss these issues (and for letting me get off "topic" for a moment).

 

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