Alcoholic Beverages, The Christian & Leasing The Former Cappella Coffee House Property

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Alcoholic Beverages, The Christian & Leasing The Former Cappella Coffee House Property

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With the opportunity for the church to lease the property on E Street down town Exeter to people who desire to establish a “family friendly” establishment that serves alcoholic beverages, the this as a teachable moment to address the issue.

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Biblical Fast Facts On Drinking Alcoholic Beverages

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1. Wine is a low alcoholic beverage from grapes (Eph. 5:18–the Greek word for wine is, oinos, found 33 times in the NT).

2. Wine is not a non-alcoholic beverage of fresh squeezed grape juice. (The Greek word for fresh-squeezed non-alcoholic grape juice, trux, is not used in the NT).

3. “New wine” is also a low alcoholic beverage that can intoxicate (Hosea 4:11).

4. Wine in the Bible is not a non-alcoholic beverage of water mixed with grape syrup.

5. Wine is presented as a blessing from the Lord (Ps. 104:14-15).

6. Wine was an Old Testament offering to the Lord (Deut. 12:17-18).

7. Both beer and wine were beverages in the Bible, but high-alcohol-content hard liquor was not as distilling was not practiced until later (Prov. 31:6).

8. Drunkenness is strongly condemned as a serious sin that causes great harm (Prov. 23:29-30 & Eph. 5:18).

9. Old Testament priests could not drink while on duty, but were free to drink when not in active service (Lev. 10:9).

10. Total abstinence is never commanded in Scripture.

11. Israelites could take a voluntary vow of abstinence (Num. 6:1-4)

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12. Church leaders may drink wine, but never to excess (1 Tim. 3:3 & 8).

13. Jesus drank wine often (Matt. 11:18-19).

14. Wine was served at the first communion Last Supper (Matt. 26:27 – this was the third cup of the Passover celebration).

15. Jesus created many gallons of fine wine from water for others as his first miracle (John 2).

16. Wine was a common medicine as well as a beverage (1 Tim. 5:23).

17. Wine will abound as a blessing during Jesus’ Millennial reign (Zech. 9:17 & Amos 9:13).

18. We are not to judge others’ dietary choices that include wine (Rom. 14).

19. To not know of our freedom to eat meat and drink wine is a mark of being weak in faith and to remain in such a condition is wrong (1 Cor. 8 & Rom. 14).

20. The stumbling block issue had nothing to do with causing a person to drink to excess, or that drinking in and of itself was sin, and was primarily related to eating meat offered to idols, not wine. It had to do with eating meat or drinking wine connected with a pagan god that an immature Christian may drink in violation of his weak conscience thinking it somehow was worship of a pagan god (1 Cor. 8 & Rom. 14).

21. Strong in faith mature Christians are to set aside their freedom of eating meat and drinking wine at times out of love for those weak in faith as the weak are taught to strengthen their faith in their freedom in Christ (1 Cor. 8 & Rom 14).

22. To relate to others to reach them for Christ may include enjoying drinking alcoholic beverages in moderation or abstaining (1 Cor. 9:19-23).

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wine and beer are a gift of God to be enjoyed with gratitude to God in moderation, never in excess in drunkenness.  Jesus drank wine, miraculously turned water into wine and used wine in instituting holy communion in the upper room.

THE BIBLICAL NORM

this view is biblically normative for Christian behavior and was the practice of almost all Christians for the first 1800 years of church history.

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the Christian is free to drink wine and beer and should not judge another Christian for drinking in moderation, but it is a wise personal preference to abstain from imbibing to avoid any possibility of drunkenness or being a stumbling-block to a weak-faith Christian.

A BIBLICAL OPTION

the Scriptures allow for this as a personal lifestyle choice or as a temporary practice due to a particular situation.

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:  the consumption of alcoholic beverages is a sin. The Christian is prohibited from drinking any alcoholic beverage.  This is rather recent view that gained momentum in the 19th and 20th centuries in many Evangelical churches in America and England.   It became a politically strong “temperance” movement seeking to outlaw alcoholic beverages that brought about the 18th amendment in America making prohibition the law of the land in 1919 later repealed by the 21st amendment in 1933.

UNBIBLICAL

this view violates the biblical teaching of drinking wine and beer in moderation with gratitude to God.  It commits two sins: (1) false legalistic teaching that robs the Christian of an area of freedom and gift of God, and (2) falsely judges another person as a sinner who drinks alcohol in moderation to the glory of God

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God gave to humanity the beautiful pleasurable gift of sex.  God also set an important boundary of sex within a marriage commitment of a man and woman sot his gift would not be abused to the harm of humanity—promiscuity, STDs, unwed mothers, abortions, and etc.

Sadly, the in the Middle Ages the dominant church came to believe sex was not for pleasure in marriage, but only for procreation and was highly restricted even in marriage and tainted with sin.  One prominent churchman taught the holy Spirit left the room when married couples had sex.  To be celibate was a mark of holiness and then became an unbiblical requirement to serve as clergy in the church.  The New Testament teaching expected most pastors and deacons to be married (1 Tim 3 & Tit. 1).

Similarly, God gave us the pleasurable gifts of wine and beer.  God set an important boundary of moderation and absolutely forbidding drunkenness.  Inebriation is sin, just a sexual promiscuity is sin.

Unfortunately, during the 19th and 20th centuries in America and England, many evangelicals taught all consumption of alcohol was sin and judged harshly those who drank in moderation as sinners.  Many in the church made it their mission to pass laws against drinking for everyone and sought to close all saloons, pubs and to outlaw the sale of any alcoholic beverages in grocery stores.   The stumbling block issue was misinterpreted by many to mean all Christians should always abstain rather than selectively abstain when relating to a Christian weak in faith in order to teach the truth of freedom to drink in moderation.   Many conservative evangelical churches today require those who served in church leadership to be total abstainers of alcoholic beverages..

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The Lease Of The Former Cappella Coffee Shop

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The Building Positives

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  • The property has significantly appreciated about one-third in appraised value over the purchased price.

  • A church donor payed the down payment keeping the monthly costs low for the church.

  • Church men volunteered many hours on the building to put it in excellent condition–much better than when we bought it.

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The Building Negatives

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  • The church has been unable to find a capable leasee to pay a low monthly lease in exchange for the church use of the property during off business hours, on Sunday and some evenings.

  • The church has not been unable to find a capable buyer to pay the fair market value for the property.

  • Due to unexpected expenses last year, the church does not presently have the financial resources necessary to ready and manage the building for ministry as planned.

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The Immediate Viable Lease Offer

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  • A financially capable family desires to lease the building at fair market value with a first option to buy it at fair market value.

  • We are told the proposed use is for a family-friendly establishment that will serve alcoholic beverages.

  • The church leaders have worked out a ready-to-go win-win lease arrangement advantageous to the leasee and to the church.

  • The church needs the rental income to replenish our depleted reserve fund.

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The Concerns

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  • A few church leaders have expressed concern that the church’s testimony might be hurt if the building was leased to anyone serving alcoholic beverages–making us look like we promote drinking alcoholic beverages, will be a stumbling block to the weak Christian and encourage drunkenness and alcoholism.

  • Most of the church leaders do not feel the testimony of the church will be hurt if the building was leased to anyone serving alcoholic beverages–as we all shop in grocery stores that sell alcoholic beverages and we eat in restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages even if we choose to be total abstainers.

  • A few of the church leaders think it might hurt the church’s testimony to refuse to leased the building to anyone serving alcoholic beverages–making us look legalistic and hypocritical with respect to the biblical freedom to drink in moderation, as our church teaches the biblical truth that drinking alcohol beverages in moderation is not a sin and many enjoy this blessing.

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THE VOTING OPTIONS (the weekend of Aug. 17 & 20)

During the three weekend services of August 17, & 20, 2017, after an overview of this material, the congregation was asked to indicate their preference on the back of the Keeping in Touch card.  The following options were offered:

  1. “YES”   (This means you think the decision to lease to an establishment that serve alcoholic beverages is a wise one for the church both in terms of testimony our freedom in Christ to drink in moderation and to financially benefit the church)
  1. “YES?” (This means you generally support the decision to lease to an establishment that serves alcoholic beverages, but have concerns, however if the majority approve of it you will accept it as God’s will)
  1. “NO?” (This means you generally do not support the decision to lease to an establishment that serve alcoholic beverages, however if the majority approve of it you will accept it as God’s will)
  1. “NO” (This means you do not support the decision to lease to an establishment that serves alcoholic beverages, and will still consider it not God’s will for our church even if the majority support the decision)

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THE RESULTS OF THE CHURCH VOTE

The results of the tally of the congregational voting during the three weekend services of August 17 & 20  is as follows:

74%  YES

14%  YES?

7%   NO

5%  NO?

THE COMBINED TOTALS

88%   Approval

12%   Disapproval

Several congregants offered helpful comments and suggestions along with their vote.

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