Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Christian and Drinking: Get 'Em While They Last

I just bought mine on Amazon. Looks like you won't get it from the publisher.

P.S. I wonder if this might not be another example of how the rise of faithful, biblical exegesis in fundamentalist circles creates conflict (or perhaps merely perceived conflict) with elements of a culture that is more loyal to its tradition than its professed principles.


Brian said...

Ironically, as the announcement states, the problem is that others "have concluded from some select portions of the text that Dr. Jaeggli condones a Christian’s moderate use of alcohol, which is the opposite of what the book actually teaches."

Sounds like a contextual and comprehensive hermeneutic might help their understanding of this book. Perhaps that could also be the problem behind the broader issue--reading isolated portions of The Book and concluding that drinking alcohol is forbidden, wine is not alcoholic, etc. Such a hermeneutic has the same end: they end up believing the opposite of what the book actually teaches.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Why wonder? Why not just read it and find out if what they are saying is true? Perhaps they are making a wise move, because there were some holes in his arguments and they are taking it back for a revision. I wonder if that good thing is what they are doing, and I actually have read the book.

Why do you wonder bad things? Love hopes all things, believes all things....

Scott Aniol said...

I sell this book on my web site and while on the road, and it is one of the best-selling items. Dr. Jaeggli deals with the subject honestly, historically, and biblically, contra how those who have written against the book have dealt with the issue.

This is really too bad.

It's also too bad I ran out of copies last week!

Ben said...


True, but I'm not sure we have any reason to expect that the folks who would criticize Jaeggli would be familiar with a contextual and comprehensive hermeneutic. Hence my P.S.

Ben said...


Stephen Jones' statement is crystal clear that Jaeggli's teaching is biblical and consistent with the BJU position (as if construe that those two are not utterly synonymous). It's also clear that readers have misunderstood, not that Jaeggli got it wrong. It appears that the primary change will be to clarify the practical conclusions earlier in the volume.

Finally, it seems as though you're "wondering" bad things about Jaeggli's original edition. Hmmm . . . I guess I'd love to hear you tell me whether you think what he's saying is true.

Ben said...

Concerning Scott's point, it's also noteworthy to me that Jones' statement acknowledges that Jaeggli's approaches the issue "in a way that differs from some approaches of the past, which have become less tenable over time."

I think I get what Jones is saying, but let's be clear: bad biblical exegesis does not become less tenable over time. To suggest such a thing is to imply that biblical interpretation and application should be influenced by what culture accepts—our response to it. Obviously, that's dead wrong and surrenders foundational truths.

Bad biblical exegesis and argumentation was not and never has been the least bit tenable. We can be deceived and think it's true, but that doesn't make the false things tenable, as if they were valid.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Thanks for your answer. I appreciate too your wordplay on "wondering," but I have read the book, so I don't have to wonder so much. It is a very short book, so I think it falls short of dealing with certain arguments. I have thought that I would write a review sometime on his book, but I'm also interested in what BJU "revises," so now I might wait. It sounds like what they agree with is his conclusion, as I read the Stephen Jones letter.

I could see the book being a good seller---it is a subject for which there is very little out there to buy, and your average person wants something that short to read on a subject. They are looking for good arguments for prohibition and he provides some from one perspective.

Ben said...


We're obviously reading the statement differently.

In any case, if you want to wait to evaluate that's fine by me, but if you expect them to make substantive changes, I'm still assuming that you've reached conclusions about Jaeggli's original. In other words, you're beyond wondering.

Anonymous said...

Well, hopefully it won't take 50 years for the beverage alcohol statement to read like the race statement. Some of us never thought we'd see that race statement, so we ought to be truly hopeful of a major change in the alochol position someday.

In the meantime, one is left wondering just how much exegeting and wordsmithing is required to figure out how to state clearly that Christ turned water into wine for a social occasion and Christ passed around wine and commanded us to continue doing so as a sacrament. If that's not "condoning" the beverage use of alcohol then what could?

Of course, there are plenty of things that BJU and everyone does all the time that the Bible does not condone -- plays, basketball games, unusual films, etc. If they mean that the Bible forbids it, why not just say so straight up? If they don't mean that, then there's going to continue to be "confusion."


Scott Aniol said...

When I was at school at BJ, Gary Reimers spoke in chapel on the subject of alcohol and basically took the same position as Jaeggli (even had a handout). So it is accurate to say that what Jaeggli wrote matched what the University has taught at least since then.