What do you think of Christians going to disco’s, night clubs, rock music, dancing, drinking alcohol etc?
© Dr John Bond
This question is a question related to Christian liberty – just what can I or can’t I do as a child of God?
It’s important to realise that we can’t set rules for all of a Christian’s activities. There are some areas like the above and many more where the Scripture teaches that it is a matter of one’s own individual conscience. The Bible says,” Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls”. (Romans 14:4)
As Christians, we are the most liberated people in the world! Certainly we hear a lot today about human rights, freedom, liberty. etc. But those who aren’t Christians really don’t know anything about liberty, because they’re bound by the power of Satan and darkness. Paul teaches us that “the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ”. (2 Corinthians 4:4) They have no true liberty.
As Christians it’s glorious to enjoy the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. However, many people look upon Christianity as very restrictive, because churches or Christians have made a lot of rules. They have tried, actually, to tell us what you can and can’t do as a Christian.
The Bible on the other hand doesn’t spell out such specific rules. However, certain Scriptures thankfully do give us some guidelines and principles to keep in mind when we discuss the kinds of issues mentioned in the above question.
In John we read, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him”. (1 John 2:15). Paul declared, “Everything is permissible for me”. (1 Corinthians 6:12). I don’t know of any broader theological or philosophical ethic than that!
Paul also declares, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. (Romans 8:1) I think these scriptures apply to the areas of dancing, disco’s, alcohol and the kind of music I listen to etc.
But just a minute! Paul didn’t stop there. Though I have a total freedom and there is no condemnation, Paul said, “All things are not beneficial”. “Beneficial” means to helpful, expedient! The idea is that, as a Christian, I’m running in a race. Paul said, ” Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize”. (1 Corinthians 9:24) He is saying there are some things that can impede or slow me down in my walk with the Lord.
It’s totally incorrect to say, “Since I don’t go to night clubs and disco’s, and I don’t drink alcohol this makes me more righteous”. It’s not a matter of righteousness, it’s just a matter of what is beneficial and helpful to me and others as a Christian.
There is no doubt about it, there are things that can impede my walk. So although they may be permissible – it wouldn’t send me to hell – yet, because it would impede my walk I will choose not to go or to indulge etc.
Paul went on to say in another passage of Scripture, “Everything is permissible” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible” – but not everything is constructive. (or builds me up, strengthens me). Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” (1 Corinthians 10:23,24)
There are some things that have a tendency to tear me down or tear my weaker brother or sister down. They may have the tendency to draw me or my brother or sister away from Christ, rather than to build me up in Jesus Christ. My desire as a Christian is to be built up in Christ and to draw close to Him and it is also to be the desire I have for my brother and sister. Though an activity may be lawful for me and I can prove that it’s not wrong – yet, by the same token, if it doesn’t build me up in Christ; if there is the tendency for it to tear me or my brother or sister down in our walk, then we should want nothing to do with it. As we apply this principle to these questionable areas we must ask these sort of questions.
Will this activity, substance or thing build me up, control me, bring me under positive influences, help my brother or sister in Christ? On the basis of your own conscience you must make a decision. Your decisions should be made in relationship to your freedom and the possible positive or negative consequence in your own and someone else’s life.
I encourage you to measure your activities by how they affect your relationship with God and your Christian witness.
A final thought to always keep in mind is that when God’s word speaks specifically about an issue then there is no debate. (e.g. drunkenness etc.)
Let’s summarise the principles:
1. We each must determine before God what our standard will be and why on the non specified issues. Romans 14:4.
2. The world’s standard is not to be the Christians, nor is it the same as the Christians. Romans 12:1,2; 2 Corinthians 4:4,5.
3. While everything may be permissible we must ask ourselves, is it beneficial and constructive to ourselves and others. 1 Corinthians 10:23.
4. The Christian should think of God first in every decision he makes. 1 Corinthians 10:31
5. The Christian should think of others before himself in every decision he makes. We are to look out for our weaker brother or sister. Romans 14:13; 21; 15:1.
6. All activities should be ones that build us up and positively contribute to our lives. Romans 14:19; 1 Corinthians 10:23,24, 32.
It is for these reasons that our church has a no smoking (in the group) and a no alcohol policy for our official functions. We recognise that some Christians do exercise their individual freedom to smoke or drink alcohol but we have established this policy based on the principles that have been outlined.
MANY A PERSON WHO HAS COME TO CHRIST HAS BEEN RELEASED FROM SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND ADDICTIONS AND WE DO NOT WANT TO PUT STUMBLING BLOCKS IN THEIR WAY.
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