"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

Thursday, June 17, 2010

God and Guinness

It has been a couple weeks since I put anything on the blog. We had a great vacation this year at PCB with Aimee's family, and since we have been home the schedule has been hectic to say the least. Grace Fellowship had VBS at Christian Fellowship Bible Church in Anniston last week, and the week can be thought of as nothing but a great success. This week our children have been attending VBS at Parker Memorial Baptist Church each evening. Aimee and I have enjoyed spending the evening together. I think we have had more dates this week than in the past 6 months combined (there is no person I would rather be with than my best friend! Thanks for the time and the conversation. I love you!) So now I need to review the two books that were checked off of the must read list while we sat by the ocean soaking up the sun and salt. Today I will talk about Stephen Mansfield's book The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World.

Some of you might not agree with a Christian consuming alcohol on any level. This is a discussion for another post but let me simply say that I believe the Bible teaches a position of moderation and proper boundaries in all things not complete abstinence. If you are in the "dry" camp in regard to alcohol, particularly beer, I would encourage you to read this book. Mansfield does a good job of teaching the history of beer and the church. After reading this book each person will have the opportunity to rethink this issue on historical grounds and this will help to free us from the silly cultural mandates that have no biblical support. With that said let me give a quick review of this book, some great quotes from the book, and a concluding statement concerning the issue of beer and the church.

Mansfield takes the reader back to an age when beer was seen as the healthy drink; an alternative to the hard liquor that was making its presence felt across western Europe. This was an age when pastors and cobblers had home breweries for personal consumption. The culture surrounding consumption of alcohol was not thought of as deviant. One cannot easily right off the use of strong drink as the alternative to a lack of clean water. No. As Mansfield displays with historical accuracy our forefathers viewed beer as a gift from God so that man could enjoy fellowship with friends! It might shock some of my readers to realize that Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, and George Whitefield all partook regularly. The church always viewed moderation as the biblical mandate. Drunkenness was never allowed.

The bulk of the book is spent detailing the life of one Irish family, the Guinness', and how their commitment to the glory of God revolutionized Ireland, Europe, and the world. Yes. This beer making family has used the wealth of their family to promote the preaching of the gospel from the shores of Ireland to the islands in the Bahamas, to the shores of Africa and Asia. God has used this family to revolutionize the industrial working world, create and sustain the history of Ireland, and promote mission work around the globe.

My thoughts are simple in regard to this book and this issue. We need to step out of our culture, take the time to research the subject biblically and historically, and give one another the opportunity to live within the grace of Jesus Christ. I am not advocating that everyone should drink, but I am asking all of us to take our stance on truth not tradition! Whether you like beer or not, you should read this book because it celebrates the life of a godly family and it challenges us to live our life in a radical way for the cause of Christ! Talk to you soon...CW

(This post was lingering for a while as you can tell. I will be posting a fresh thought later today!)