(We are making the move back to CO and the office, school, church, etc. Please enjoy these posts from the archives. You are welcome to comment as usual and I will respond on the other side.)
Continuing my response to a pastor…
I hope you don’t mind that I point out something here. You wrote: “So many Christians in our churches are now adopting a lifestyle that sees them socializing at the local pubs and there seems to be no distinction between the way we live and those who know not the Lord!” Do you realize that this was exactly the charge the Pharisees made against Jesus? (Mt. 11:19; Mk 2:16; Lk 15:2) They hated Him because He didn’t play by their rules. Instead, He simply followed the leading of His Father.
Now, understand that I do not drink or go to bars. The only charges we can find in Scripture, though, are to avoid drunkenness and be careful not to entrust yourself to the kind of people who frequent such places. There is some concern for those who have struggled with alcoholism also. But is it a sin to go into a pub or bar? It doesn’t say that in Scripture. So I would tell people simply to follow Jesus. There may be a time or a reason for “socializing at the pub”. He apparently did something enough similar to that to be accused of compromise. One of my sons works at a secular store with unbelievers. He is known to be a Christian and has conversations all the time about the Lord. Occasionally, his work-group will meet for a social time and the meeting place will be a pub-type place. He prays and seeks the Lord’s will before he goes to these events and he usually is free to go. If someone saw him there he would look just like the rest of the people, but he doesn’t drink. He hasn’t really compromised in any way.
I have found that many people will complain about the behavior of those who understand grace because they want to do the same things. They want the freedom a proper understanding of grace provides. But they are afraid of what others will think. They know that they will be judged. So they look from the outside and criticize. I would suggest that their own hypocrisy is a serious sin.