In my reading I’ve noticed the church seems to go through stages in its outrage against evil. Mostly I’ve been studying the history of alcohol. I can’t forget other issues completely, but the stages in the alcohol outrage seem to provide the most accessible template for examining this issue. Here are the five stages history offers over the church’s outrage against alcohol:
The history of alcohol is at it later stages in the USA among evangelicals so that’s not the only issues I’ll be thinking about this week. I’m more interested in the recent movements for social reform—things like prohibiting abortions or homosexual marriage. Will denominations go through these six stages on these issues too?
Now, I can hear it already—some are being tempted to say, “But these things are biblical and those things they fussed about in the past weren’t.” I don’t want to get into a Bible wrestling match, but I need to say that all these denominations 100 years ago were just as sure about prohibition as evangelicals are today about abortion and homosexual marriage. In fact, a close reading of the documents shows they were more sure. So saying, “But the Bible is clear,” won’t guarantee these stages won’t happen. What will?
That’s what I’m pondering this week: What would keep the church from not going through the same stages when it comes to abortion or homosexual marriage? At what stage is your denomination already? Are these stages inevitable? Are they bad or good?
(Copyright 2011, Keith Drury, www.drurywriting.com/keith)
Keith Drury served The Wesleyan Church headquarters in Christian Education and Youth leadership for 24 years before becoming a professor of religion at Indiana Wesleyan University. He is the author of more than a dozen books of practical spirituality, including Holiness for Ordinary People, Common Ground and Ageless Faith. Keith Drury wrote the Tuesday Column for 17 years (1995-2012), and many articles can be found on his blog “Drury Writing.”
Keith Drury retired from full time teaching in 2012. Keith is married to Sharon and has two adult sons and several grandchildren. He is retired in Florida with Sharon and enjoys cycling.