“Welcome to the front line…now go and die”


In September, City Church employed two new apprentices, Chris and Grant. Both young, both excited for ministry, both passionate about Jesus… and both joining us in the most difficult ministry season we have ever faced.

And it’s not just Kieron and me, pastors and leaders all over the city are reflecting on the difficulty of these past 2 years (or more!): the hard pastoral ground, sicknesses (including a brain tumour and pneumonia), mental health issues, discouragement, disappointment and sudden bereavement.

As for us… in July, Philippa and I went through the trauma of a threatened miscarriage. In September, Esther (Kieron’s wife) had an epileptic seizure and has now been diagnosed with epilepsy. In October, Grant had severe abdominal pain the doctors were unable to diagnose… and that is only a snapshot of the waves of suffering that have broken over our backs in recent months. Frankly it has felt like a relentless, sustained attack from the enemy, designed to discourage and derail us from speaking and living for Jesus.

As I sat across the room from Chris and Grant this morning I half joked that we should have told them what they were joining when they signed up to City Church. What we should have said was, “Welcome to the front line…now go and die” or rather “…someone’s going to try to take you out”.

Because that’s exactly what it feels like right now.

On Sunday we were looking at the death of Jesus and asking the question, “What does it mean for Jesus to be forsaken? Was the Trinity broken?” Now, there is lots to say here and the sermon (which you can listen to here) could only scratch the surface, but there is one thought that gives me great hope in these dark days. And it is this…

Throughout his life, Jesus represented all of humanity. He is described as the second Adam, the second “head” over humanity. When he faced temptation in the desert he did so as the man who would succeed where Adam failed, who would obey God and not reject him, who would stand and not fall. He was our representative in life and in death. In his death, the God-man dies both as the substitute for and the representative of our fallen race.

My point is this: if the Trinity is broken, if the Father “walks away” from his Son, what we are saying is that at humanity’s moment of greatest need… God leaves.

Jesus came teaching, healing, ministering to the poor, raising the dead but when humanity’s plight is most desperate, when we most need God to hear and act, he is nowhere to be found. This cannot be the case. I think this is a sad example of 21st century children looking at their fathers and how they walk out or emotionally “check out” and concluding that God must be like that. Moreover, biblically we are not driven to this conclusion… in fact the opposite should be inferred.

The cry of dereliction, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me” is quoted by Jesus from Psalm 22:1 and recounted in both Matthew and Mark but there is no editorial comment, no interpretation offered for these words… Why run to the conclusion that the Trinity broke apart?
Furthermore, this is not the only resonance with the Psalm in each of these accounts. Jesus is mocked (Psalm 22:6-8); his hands and feet are pierced (Psalm 22:16); they cast lots for his clothes (Psalm 22:18). From this I conclude that we are to have the whole Psalm in view here. We read of a sufferer who feels profound forsaken-ness and yet who cries out to God in faith, recalls his character and hopes for deliverance because (v.24) “he has NOT hidden his face from him”.

This gives me great hope as we endure this season. Yes it often feels that God is behind a cloud; yes we often feel a genuine sense of abandonment, but the consistent witness of Scripture and the testimony of the cross is that our Heavenly Father does not walk out on his children, but that he sees, he acts and he does not hide his face from us! So as I consider these two younger brothers who have joined us on the front line, I know that we have invited them to stand in the crosshairs, but I am assured that we can move forward across the battlefield because God isn’t in the business of abandoning his children.

A message from the Big Apple

Mark are Philippa are currently in New York with Redeemer for a church planting intensive. Here’s a taster of their learning thus far:

 

Dear lovely city peeps,

Greetings from the Big Apple! Phil and I have had our first full week of training and already we have learnt lots and met some great people.

The course focuses on three main areas:

Spiritual formation – helping me/us love Jesus more and grow as a Christian

Ministry design – thinking about our vision and purpose as a church and how to move forward with that

Pastoral leadership – how to love people better in a church plant setting.

Already I feel like Jesus is doing work on my heart, exposing some painful areas but also encouraging me to keep my eyes fixed on him. I’m also gaining some great insights for when I return in the middle of October!

I talk about you all often and people from lots of different countries have spent a lot of time praying for our young church plant in Dublin. I look back over the last two years and I am very grateful to God for how far we have come and how he has helped us to grow a church that looks increasingly healthy. I am growing in the conviction that the way forward for us is to find meaningful ways to express our commitment to one another and to the city we love.

One thing that has stuck with me so far is that we love our city of Dublin NOT because of the things we get from her! We love her in brokenness. We love her despite her faults and long to see her walls resound with the gospel.

That’s what it means to love our city.

Philippa’s bump is even bigger now and our little baby likes to wriggle a lot, especially when Philippa is trying to concentrate in class. Please keep us and the baby in your prayers.

See you all soon!

Mark and Philippa

Printer Error: What should and shouldn’t be tolerated

Tolerance

Tolerance is the ‘buzzword’ of our generation. It is trotted out in debates, in the media and enshrined as our highest virtue. For me, growing up in Northern Ireland, my parents were insistent that I remained “tolerant” of others. One might go even further and say that tolerance is at the very heart of modern western civilisation, it is the non-negotiable; it cannot be questioned or criticised. However, that is exactly what needs to happen because the modern notion of tolerance is the cuckoo in the nest of our value system and must be critiqued if we are to weather the current storms. I am, of course referring to the on going public debate surrounding the Ashers Bakery Company and now the Beulah printers in Drogheda.

My point is a simple one: the notion of tolerance has changed and in its place we have a New Tolerance, which instead of fostering harmony simply flattens all those who oppose it.

  1. If I disagree with you I am not judging you.
    Originally tolerance meant something like this, “I disagree with what you are saying but I defend your right to say it”. Under this view of tolerance, note what is being tolerated… the person! This arose from the belief that all human beings have inherent dignity by virtue of being created in God’s image; this is the basis for our traditional view of tolerance: robust disagreement at the level of the ideas being stated but a defence of the person i.e. they are not repressed, burnt at the stake, run out of business. It is absolutely crucial to note the interplay being ‘ideas’ and ‘persons’. Traditional Tolerance made a distinction between the two and allowed for differing ideas (and faiths) to co-exist without the suppression of a particular group. New tolerance does not have the same distinction. It blurs the lines between ‘thinking’ and ‘being’ so that to disagree with an idea (e.g. same-sex marriage) is to hate/judge the person. This is particularly pronounced in the issue of homosexuality where to disagree with it as a lifestyle is seen as passing judgement on who someone is. This is because where we find our value as human beings has shifted from who we are in creation to who we believe ourselves to be. Rene Descartes said, “I think therefore I am”. Put another way; I think ‘x’ about myself, this is where I derive value and meaning therefore to disagree with that is to undermine me as a fellow human being.

    Christians believe that human beings are valuable not because of their beliefs, social class, education or sexual orientation but simply because they are image bearers of God. This is/ought to be our starting point and is precisely why a Christian can say “I love you as a person, I am not judging you, but I disagree with you”.

  2. Tolerance and Truth
    Both views of tolerance are connected to/arise out of a particular view of truth. Traditional Tolerance held as its basic foundation that there was objective ‘truth’ and that it could be known. Therefore, in the free exchange of ideas the truth would inevitably bubble to the surface. Thus, people would be allowed to express contra opinions in the pursuit of this truth. By Contrast, New Tolerance has arisen out from a post-modern view of truth that says, “all ideas are equally right”, “there is no objective truth” and “you cannot say someone is wrong”. Therefore, to be intolerant is not to silence and repress a person but to disagree with an idea!

    Thus the logic of the New Tolerance runs like this:

    1. There is no absolute truth to be found
    2. Therefore all ideas must be seen as equally truthful and valid
    3. Anyone who disagrees with an idea or critiques it must be an intolerant bigot.
    4. Because a person has broken point 2 – they will no longer be tolerated!
    5. And because this new definition of tolerance focuses on the idea and not the person, it persecutes that person until they are silenced, sued or run out of business.

    This is what Prof. D. A. Carson calls, “the intolerance of tolerance”. This is the tragic irony of our most beloved virtue; the New Tolerance we see today is profoundly intolerant. It will not permit any disagreement, critique or dissention. At that point, given the reaction in the media to the examples stated above, we are forced to conclude that New Tolerance is, at its heart, totalitarian in its scope.

  3. Final reflections
    There is much more that can be said here and I hope this article will be a discussion starter for us as we begin to critically engage with the world around us but let me conclude with three closing remarks.

    First, in the west we prize intellectual, philosophical and academic advancement but without tolerating the dissenting opinion the ‘free exchange of ideas’ simply dries up. Second, we covet diversity in all spheres of life but if we cannot tolerate people with whom we disagree, what true diversity is there? Third, this view of tolerance is not only damaging it is logically incoherent because tolerance presupposes disagreement! If we are not allowed to disagree how can there be any meaningful tolerance? At that point I must conclude that this New Tolerance is the cuckoo in the nest of our western society should be critiqued and shooed away in favour of a tolerance that is more robust and better for us as a society.

City Church is moving

blog-moving

I know I’m in the minority, but I much prefer winter. I love an open fire and a glass of something warming (preferably single malt) while the wind howls outside. As far as I’m concerned, summer is overrated! I would much rather be too cold than too hot and from a ministry point of view, summer is a fallow time of year here in Dublin. Especially when you’re a young church full of students who go home and leave you with the drunken guy at the back heckling your sermon (true story).

Bring on the winter, I say!

At the start of September, City Church Dublin celebrated its first birthday! We spent the evening celebrating God’s goodness to us in Jesus, singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to ourselves and eating lots of cake. Personally, I celebrated having the City members back and gearing up for another year together. Now, we are well into October and we are excited to see who else God is bringing into our little church family.

In addition to meeting new people, we are moving to a new place! We announced a few weeks ago that we are partnering with Dublin Christian Mission to rent their building at Chancery Place on a Sunday morning. The building is right beside the Four Courts and close to the Luas line.

The City Dwellers (members) met there on Tuesday night and saw the building for the first time. We also spent some time praying for the move, asking God to use our presence in the building for the growth of the gospel and praying for the surrounding area. We launch in our new venue in a few weeks’ time (details to follow).

This winter we are praying big prayers and looking to the next 5 years of City’s life. We feel like we are on the cusp of a significant season in the life of the church and have a growing conviction that things will never be the same again. Obviously this is very exciting but comes with its own unique set of challenges. At the moment our preaching series is in the book of Acts and time and again we are confronted with the sovereign rule of the risen Jesus. As a church we want to keep our eyes firmly fixed on that heavenly reality as we, by his grace, have many more winters together.

A message from the corner of a dark room

Mine shaft

Well, here we are in the middle of the summer. A lot of you City Dwellers have been away for over a month now; Kieron is off on holidays and I am sitting in the corner of a dark room just rocking back and forth. Yet in the midst of my loneliness I am taking the time to reach out to give you a short update on where we are at behind the scenes.

It may be quiet on Sundays, but during the week Kieron and I have been hard at work looking to September and beyond. Before we broke for the summer we agreed as a church at we would look for a new venue to launch morning services and we have been searching high and low. We haven’t found anything yet but the process is helping to crystallise a few things for us as a leadership. We are really excited to get you all back in September to talk about the dreams we have been dreaming and to get your input on the direction of City Church.

We will be a year old when most of you come back, and we will take some time to reflect and give thanks for a year of God’s grace to us as a church family. We are also thinking through community groups and hope that they will continue to serve you all well.

Basically we are excited about you coming back and wish you would all hurry up!

In the mean time, remember a few things:

  1. Many of you are out of routine which means it’s easy to neglect your walk with Jesus. If this is you, it’s not too late. Download a sermon, listen to it while you walk along the beach or in a decent coffee shop. Dust off your Bible. Trying reading some Psalms or a Gospel (maybe Mark), if you don’t know where to start.
  2. Keep praying, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t in days, or weeks. Have a look at Ephesians 1, how many things are there to thank God for? Reflect on his awesomeness and relay it back to him in prayer. Nothing fancy, he’s your Heavenly Father.
  3. Remember that you have a church family here who love you!
  4. Know that if you arrive back in Dublin and you’re a bit of a mess spiritually that we have open arms waiting for you. Come as you are!
  5. Remember the two constants of City Church: Jesus and change. A lot might happen in the next year, but Jesus is still on the throne and he is ultimately in charge of City.

Now, I will return to my dark corner and await your arrival.

Mark

City Dwellers — A forward-moving family

City Dwellers

Last Tuesday (13th May) we had our first City Dwellers’ meeting. This was for all those who call city their home, a kind of AGM I guess. It was a chance to do a bit of housekeeping, talk about our vision for the future and pray for the life of the church.

We talked about where the church was financially, and while it is able to pay its rent, that’s really about it. We want to grow and support new ministries and new initiatives. But there is a lot to be thankful for!

We have only existed for the last 34 weeks and have already come a long way. One of the most moving things about last Tuesday was how people prayed using the language of family. In a city where people surround us yet often feel isolated, this is a very significant thing for us. We want to cultivate that, make new friends, and grow closer together.

Another thing that was obvious is that people are growing spiritually. They have found a home and a community that loves them and is seeking their good. People are pushing themselves and wrestling with the Scriptures and not shying away from the hard things. (Please God, more of that!)

So it’s as a family that we are seeking to move forward into this new phase. We are praying for a building that can accommodate us in the morning and our desire is to launch morning services on Easter Sunday 2015.
We don’t simply want to be a student church but a diverse family where everyone is welcome and grows together, where people can get married and settle down, where little people run between chairs and our ears are filled with their laughter as well as the praise of God. We want to be a family where older saints draw along side younger ones, imparting wisdom and demonstrating what it means to endure in the faith. We want to be a church that is really looking out to the city around us not with self-righteous fear but with (what John Piper calls) broken-hearted boldness, speaking about and demonstrating the beauty of our God to all who will listen.

That’s what we want to be!

It feels like we are at a positive transition point in the life of City. We have begun to solidify as a family, and that makes me very excited for the days ahead.

We started this crazy experiment last September and, yes, it’s very early days; but there is a sense of momentum. Let’s keep moving forward, growing together, loving Jesus, loving one another and the city in which God has placed us.

Merry Christmas City Dwellers

Ha'penny bridge

As City Church closes it’s doors for the next few weeks, it is a time for me (Mark) and the rest of the pastoral team to take stock and reflect on what has been. It is also an opportunity to say to all of you how much I have appreciated your willingness to join us in this adventure.

Sixteen weeks ago we launched in the city centre of Dublin with a handful of people from Immanuel Church. Within a couple of weeks we began to make new friends as people found us and got involved. We met in Harold’s Cross to have community group, eating together, talking about the sermon and praying for one another. This quickly outgrew the space and we decided to split into two locations.

Over the last 16 weeks it feels we have grown closer. We have done a lot of laughing together and shed a few tears along the way but these are indicators of the deepening relationships we (the pastoral team) so earnestly desired from the start.

You have opened your arms to welcome new people–people from all over the world, people at various points on their spiritual journey–and have made it feel like it’s the most normal thing in the world. This is far from ‘normal’. It is the visible sign of the Holy Spirit’s work in us to turn us outward, becoming lovers of others rather than of comfort and self. One of my top prayers for us as a church next year is that we strive after more of this. That we become relentless in our pursuit of the outsider, the classmate, workmate and housemate.

The rationale for all of this is the Gospel of Jesus. The message that God has acted decisively in history to bring a people to himself through the death and resurrection of his Son. God is in the business of removing stony hearts and giving vibrant hearts of flesh. We want that life-giving truth to saturate everything we do at City, in the hope that others might experience it and that (one heart at a time) we might be a blessing to Dublin.

Of course things have not been without their challenges. People have sacrificed in order to be part of City Church and that does not go unacknowledged. I spoke a few weeks back of the need for mentors in the Christian life fully aware that the older generation (in general) is absent in City. We need those older saints, especially older women. Please pray that God begins to broaden the demographic at City.

Financially we are covering our rent and some other costs. No staff member takes a salary from City. When we asked for your generosity, you responded and we made a donation of €150 to disaster relief in the Philippines. I want us to be a healthy church who has a healthy view of money, even though none of us has much. Giving is a part of Christian discipleship and your generosity has been an indicator of the viability of City church. Let’s build on this. In September 2014 we hope to appoint another intern alongside David. We have €8000 (per year) from Irish Church Missions for this and I would like us to be able to commit to at least an additional €1000 per year. This is just one aspect of the financial life of City, and I want to keep you all up to date about where your money goes. In the new year please review your giving, budget for it and let’s work together to make City financially healthy so that we might start new ministries and take financial responsibility for ourselves.

In January we will begin a 6 week series through the book of Daniel, looking at how God works in surprising ways, in situations where He is not honoured and uses his people to make him known to a hostile society. My prayer is that through that series God encourages us to see that a few faithful people can make a difference as they trust his promises and his sovereign goodness. That is what I want for us at City.

Thank you all so much for your setting off on this adventure. Have a wonderful Christmas and see you all in 2014.

Blessings,

Mark

The shocking truth about Christians

Shocking!

In preparation for our new sermon series and to get me into the festive mood, I am reflecting on Genesis 3 and the fall of humanity. This is the idea that our forebears (Adam and Eve), though in perfect relationship with God, the creation and one another, listened to the lie of the serpent (the Devil) and so committed treason against the one who made us. As a result we fell from this state of perfection and alienation instantaneously destroyed our intimacy with God and with one another. This fall spread: brother murdered brother and hatred, perversion and death infected the human race…

Fast forward a few thousand years to a man sitting at a table eating and drinking with people who profoundly felt the effects of this fall – the tax collectors and sinners. People who paradoxically embraced the fall while simultaneously feeling its alienation (for this is the nature of sin). Imagine the reaction of the man as these people recounted the stories of their lives: the shady dealings, the sordid encounters under cover of darkness, the abuse and shameful secrets.

Did his jaw drop open, eyebrows raised in utter disbelief?

No! This man was the God-man. He was there when humanity chose its fateful path. He was the promised one, who would crush the head of that deceitful snake and remove our alienation. He looked at the adulterous woman and rather than being shocked at her depravity pointed to the sin that pervades us all.

Jesus was ‘unshockable’. Why? Because the manifestations of sin in our lives are a logical consequence of our fall. Paradise is lost and decay is its replacement. If we have an understanding of the Doctrine of the Fall this shouldn’t be big news to us either. The shocking truth about Christians is that we should be ‘unshockable’!

Yet Christians can sometimes stand slack-jawed when confronted with the horror of sin in people’s lives. The result is we look naive and people tend not to be truly honest because they think we won’t understand or that we’ll faint like some Victorian debutante. Jesus knew the ravages of sin in people’s lives and met them head on.

This is not to say that we remain emotionally unmoved or jaded by sin. We should rightly display compassion, encourage repentance and hate that Ancient Serpent who wars against us and against our God. But when someone confesses to a secret life or to a past of deep perversion, folly and rebellion we should never be shocked. The shocking truth about Christians is that we are the ones who should have our eyes wide open to the realities of the world around us. We are the ones who should understand the consequences of the fall in people’s lives in such a way that we look with compassion and not with shock!

The Pastoral Team and members of City Church Dublin feel the effects of the fall in their lives and are ‘messed up’ in a host of different ways (you just need to get to know us to see it). We want to understand these effects as a church in order that we might be ‘unshockable’ and provide a safe context for people to be honest.

As we begin our 3 week series on the incarnation of this ‘unshockable’ Christ, our hope is that in understanding our own fallen-ness we might run to the one who came to slay that Dragon, to establish a new kingdom and to love the unlovely.

Incarnation: The God-man comes
This Sunday from 7pm
Listen to the first talk in this series here.

A Little Leaky Love Cup

Leaking cup

Wouldn’t it be nice to be a cup? Cups exist in their cupboard community with other cups of various shapes and sizes, their quiet lives orientated towards one thing… fulfillment. They long to be filled with coffee, tea or the occasional hot chocolate. Without this they become nothing, hollow shells with only the odd stain as a reminder of what they once were.

We often think of ourselves as though we are cups. Where our needs and longings are only met when our little cup is filled with love, joy, acceptance, stuff, power, spouse, money, sex. Being full of these things is our idea of Heaven. Hell therefore, is the feeling of emptiness when those things inevitably run dry, leak away or evaporate. In this understanding, God would simply exist to fill our cup with whatever our hearts desired. Like a bearded, over qualified butler!

Yet the Bible sees us not as cups designed to be filled but as mirrors designed to reflect the glory of the God who created us and by doing so we find the source of unceasing joy!

However, this is not the way things are. Back in the garden, our first parents sinned, meaning they willfully smash their mirror and used the broken shards to reflect themselves instead of God and so has the rest of humanity ever since. Like Narcissus who became so obsessed with his own image that he wasted away, our sin turns us in on ourselves and ultimately leads to death.

The solution therefore is not to be ‘filled’ but to be put back together; to be oriented back towards our creator that we might image him to the world. This is what the Bible calls sanctification: being made every day, little by little, piece by piece, into the image of Jesus Christ, the one who “is the image of the invisible God.”

A theology of DRINK!

Father Jack

Think of certain cultures around the world and various stereotypes spring to mind. Switzerland? Cookoo clocks and Toblerone. France? Cigarettes and shrugging. New Zealand? Hobbits and rugby. Think of Ireland and a whole host of things may come to mind: weather beaten old men in flat caps, leprechauns with pots of gold, folk music and Riverdance! But I’m sure it doesn’t end there, as one (non-Irish) friend remarked to me recently, “you guys have two states: drunk and asleep”.

While he might have been slightly overstating his point there is a kernel of truth… we do love a drink. Whether it’s a pint of ‘the black stuff’ or something a little harder, we are at heart, sociable creatures who like to ‘go for a jar’ or raise a glass to your health.

On Thursday (26th September) people all over Dublin will join together with pints of Guinness to hail the great man himself, Arthur Guinness, the visionary founder of the drink which bears his name. I say visionary because upon acquiring the site of the brewery some 250 years ago, he signed a 9000 year lease! He planned on Guinness sticking around and whether you like the taste of it or not, it’s not going anywhere soon!

This means that questions about Christians and alcohol are perennial in a city such as ours. That is why I want to take a moment to sketch a basic theology of drink and hopefully begin to answer some questions.

  1. If you drink don’t get drunk. I know I’m stating the obvious here but for the Christian there are clear injunctions in Scripture against drunkenness [Ephesians 5:18]. The idea here is not that God is some sort of divine party pooper but a father who cares for his children and doesn’t want to see them get hurt or harm others when they are “locked”. Moreover, some people drink to excess as a form as escape or refuge. For Christians to get drunk with this motivation, it says that your Heavenly Father is an insufficient comfort for you in times of stress and difficulty. As a church family we need to seek to remedy that by pointing people to Jesus and mediating the comfort and acceptance of the gospel to one another.
  2. It’s okay to drink (as long as your conscience permits it). The nature of sin is to take good things that God has given us and to twist them into something wicked and dangerous. Sex isn’t bad; it is a good gift which we pervert and cheapen by using it out of the context of marriage and by indulging in pornography. The answer is not to avoid sex but to use it rightly. So it is with alcohol. There are plenty of instances where alcohol is enjoyed by God’s people and by God himself [John 2:1-12]. Jesus is the guy who turns water into good wine, not wine into water! And in the end when the prophets look forward to the grand heavenly banquet, what’s there? Well-aged wine!

    On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
    a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
    of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. [Isaiah 25:6]

    Glass of Chateauneuf du pape, anyone?

    For some, of course, the answer will always be “no” and for various good reasons. If you come from a culture (e.g. Some Asian or South American cultures) where the very idea of a Christian drinking is difficult for you then it is right that you abstain and that those who see no problem with it love their brothers and sisters in Christ by not making them feel uncomfortable. Equally someone who has had a problem with alcohol in the past and who is seeking to walk in holiness should be encouraged to not drink and we need to support people in that.

    The principle behind this comes from Paul’s discussion in 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 concerning food sacrificed to idols. Some Christians saw that the idol had no significance and so ate with a clear conscience. Others believed that idols were evil and so could not have any association with them. Paul writes and tells these Christians that the idol is indeed “empty” but that they still shouldn’t eat it because it would “defile their conscience” because they believed in their heart that it was wrong. He then turns to those who have no issue and instead of telling them to grab another plate he tells them to be loving towards their “weaker brothers” by “setting aside” the right to eat!

    In our context this means that the onus is on those of us who think that drinking is okay to look out for those for whom it is an issue. Sometimes that will mean setting aside our rights.

  3. However! There are some who come in the guise of the “weaker brother” and assert that someone cannot be a Christian and drink alcohol. At that point, salvation becomes by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone as long as you drink tea alone. The last part of that sentence shatters the gospel of grace by adding in a ‘work’: abstinence. You can be a Christian and drink because your eternal soul is not dependant on your blood-alcohol level but on the death of Jesus.
  4. Finally, some might say that Christians shouldn’t drink because it serves no purpose. Think back to the example of sex. They might say that sex, in the right context, is to be enjoyed but it is also fruitful. It binds two people together and it (God willing) produces children. Alcohol, by contrast serves no ‘good’ purpose. However, I feel that people miss a wonderful truth about the way God has ordered his world. God could have created order in his world so that humans found nourishment from bland pellets sneezed out by baby walruses. But he didn’t! He created an array of foods, food combinations and the means to make drinks, including alcohol. Why? Because food and drink remind us of the abundance of God’s generosity and goodness both to humanity in general and to Christians in particular. Simply put, the food that you enjoy and the drink that you consume is, in fact, God’s love made tasty!

So, this Arthur’s day feel free to raise a glass of whatever you prefer whether alcoholic or not and remember the abundance, goodness and loving kindness of your Heavenly Father!

Sláinte