Recent years have seen renewed acceptance of alcohol consumption among evangelicals generally, and among Southern Baptists particularly. Just a few decades ago, teetotalism was the norm in evangelical circles, but now it seems the tide is shifting. If discussions I have had with several of my peers can accurately serve as any indication, the up-and-coming generation of Southern Baptist pastors and leaders will prove with time to diverge significantly from the traditional, recently resolved Southern Baptist position on the issue.
During my seminary career at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, students were required to sign a “Covenant Agreement Form” which outlined several points of requirement for conduct by which enrolled students were expected to abide. This form is still given to incoming students to sign and everyone is required to sign it before they are allowed to enroll for classes. Number six on the list of items is a wholesale prohibition on consumption of alcohol by any student, along with accompanying prohibitions on tobacco and illegal drugs. Every year, Danny Akin, the school’s president, would hold an open forum chapel service where he would field questions submitted by the student body. Every year, one of the questions he answered would be, “Why the prohibition on alcohol?” And every year, it seemed, he reassured us that this year was going to be the last year he would answer the question. Continue reading