Saturday, July 7, 2007

Passing the Bar

Submitted Question: "As a Christian, is it ok to go in a bar with friends even though you are not drinking?"

On the surface the answer may seem simple to many. Many believe that unless you are committing a sinful act you are permitted. The answer here deals with two things, appearance and influence.

We know that Christ went into homes of which the Jewish leaders disapproved. He was accused of being a winebibber and a sinner (Matt. 11:19). But just because he was accused of those things by these folks who had an agenda, this did not make Him guilty. He stated His purpose in the home of Zacchaeus, a tax collector - "For the Son of man has come to seek and save that which was lost" (Lk. 19:10). He also said, "wisdom is justified by her children." It could be argued that on a certain occasion with a certain purpose in mind, Jesus entered sinful places without engaging in sin.
The real question is - why are you going into the bar? To hang out? To participate in all but the drinking? Sometimes by our very presence we encourage others to conduct themselves in a sinful manner because we fail to oppose their sinful behavior. Paul wrote - "who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them" (Rom. 1:32). He was speaking of folks here who went with the general Gentile mindset, forgetting their knowledge of God and His righteousness.

On the most conservative side, there are folks who believe you sin the moment you walk into a tavern. But I would go there to take someone out. I would go there for a Bible study, if there was no other possible location (I doubt such would be the case). I would invite folks there to worship. But I would not go in and participate or socialize.

I know that if I went into a bar, and ordered a glass of milk, there would be a problem. #1 - I would be supporting the bar, becoming a patron myself. #2 - I would have no good reason for being there. If someone asked me if I had been there, I would have to say, "Yes." If someone asked if I had purchased a drink there, I would have to say, "Yes."

Appearances aren't everything, but when they help or hurt our influence they become very significant. I would like to submit the following Scriptures to close. I think they will speak louder than any conclusion I could explain. I am very thankful for the sincerity of the question:

"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
'I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.' Therefore 'Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,' Says the Lord Almighty." (2 Cor. 6:14-18)

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men." (Matt. 5:13)

"Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thes. 5:21-23).

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Rom. 12:1-2)

1 comment:

  1. One of the best questions in life is "what is the wise thing to do?" This question can be better than "is this sinful?" because it might be lawful, but not smart.