I didn’t grow up in a church that encouraged drinking alcohol. Actually it was totally verboten.
Ah, how well I remember the first time I visited the home of one of our new Anglican friends – and was offered an alcoholic beverage. Oh the joy of Christian fellowship, wine glass in one hand, Bible in the other. This would not be strange for many of today’s evangelicals, especially younger ones. But for a lot of evangelicals a ‘sipping saint’ is a ‘sinning saint.’ But Anglicanism has never been a teetotalling tradition.
Is this a serious post? Yes, and no.
Yes, because for some conservative Protestants this is a big deal. No, because its really not a big deal and so it shouldn’t take up a whole post.
If there is a serious side, it is the idea that if an evangelical is going to become an evangelical Anglican, he or she will need to at least make peace with beer and wine at Bible studies, if not begin to partake. Will this always be in moderation? Probably not always. But ideally, when we stop prohibiting drinking, etc, then we are able to bring out in the open that which is hidden. Perhaps we are better equipped to notice our brother or sister hitting it a bit too hard, and will lovingly help them get help.
Mostly I just threw this post in to keep it light and have some fun.
I’d like to say that somehow the allowance of alcohol is a sign that Anglicanism is less legalistic than evangelicalism. But alas, we find that legalism rears its ugly head in every human heart, and every human tradition. While Anglicanism is more tolerant of the different approaches Christians have to so-called matters of indifference, which is nice, it still finds ways to impose law.
In sum: Drink or don’t drink. Be free. But know that you will probably be offered a beer at the men’s retreat.
Note: first published many years ago when I was a new Anglican – still enjoyed re-posting it today.
Greg is the founder of Anglican Compass (previously known as Anglican Pastor). He is an Anglican Priest of the Anglican Church in North America. He served in a non-denominational church before being called into the Anglican church in 2003. He has served as an Associate Pastor, Parish Administrator, and Rector. He currently serves as the Canon to the Ordinary for the Anglican Diocese of the South.