January 26, 2012

Should Christians Drink?: The Case for Abstinence

Should Christians Drink?: The Case for Abstinence, Peter Masters, 1992

This one of two books in the list that was published before my 1996 essay. However, in a time before Amazon.com, books published by a small press in the UK were not readily available to geeks in Fred, Texas.

It became apparent after only a few pages that this book is not a dispassionate examination of the subject, but rather propaganda in the purest sense of the word, "the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement." It in no way can stand next to Bacchiocchi's book as a serious inquiry into the subject, or even next to Libatique's work, which is bush league at best.

Chapter One established the foundation for a Christian version of situational ethics, destroying the credibility of any statement to follow. For example, when a book argues, as this one does on page 32 regarding the wedding at Cana that, "It is possible that the Lord may have made the wine in a diluted state, ready to serve," then it is apparent that we're in the full throes of an agenda fueld by speculation to support a preordained conclusion, not an honest inquiry in search of the facts of the case. I mean, I ask you, "What the heck?" And I use that term advisedly.

The speculations that follow this statement beggar the imagination. It was with great effort that I forced myself to continue, even though I was already one third of the way through the book. It seems that this book, for which I paid $9.99 plus shipping comprises less than 30,000 words. It would seem that a Fred ebook, three times as long for less than a third of the price, is a great bargain!

It was also interesting to see Masters advance a completely unbiblical interpretation of equating weakness in faith with reluctance to embrace legalism, in contradiction to the concepts I discovered and discuss in WWJD. However, I do have to credit him with a very clever conflation of Levitical rules and the priesthood of the believer. It would have never occurred to me to connect those particular dots.

Overall, this skimpy book is short on both volume and substance. Don't bother with it, especially if you're looking for a thorough examination of the topic rather than a predictable and boring sermon.

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