After From the Pastor’s Desk #228, under the title, “Serving alcohol during your wedding reception,” came out, I have received mixed responses. Some liked and appreciated it, others not as much. It was expected. But I also sense that there is some confusion among us. What’s obvious in my head, at times, is not so obvious to others. For example, the answers to questions like “Does this apply to everyone? What if the wedding takes place outside of the United States where having wine and beer is just part of their everyday life? What if the bride and the groom are not connected to our KSC at all? What if the parents of the bride and the groom would like to provide alcoholic beverages for their guests? What if a dating couple made a contract with their wedding venue already with alcoholic beverages included in that contract before I have made this decision in regards to serving alcohol?” are very clear to me. However, they are not so clear to many of you. Therefore, I felt the need to write Part 2 to clarify some things in regards to serving and consuming alcohol in public.
The main point of the previous From the Pastor’s Desk was not about not drinking in public. It was about my conviction to submit to my authority figure that God has established over me. Nobody can fault me or complain to me about having this conviction that is from the Spirit.
However, my submission and obedience to my spiritual authority, which is Pastor Lee from the KSC at this moment, will go as far as his influence reaches, which is the members of our KSC. Apostle Paul said:
“Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews…To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law…I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings.” (1 Cor. 9:19-23)
For Paul, sharing the gospel and winning people over to Christ was his one and only passion. And I want that to be mine as well. If eating meat that was offered to an idol or drinking wine was going to stumble others, then he was ready to become a vegetarian or totally abstain from alcohol. If eating pork, even though it was very distasteful to him because he grew up not eating it as a Jew or having a glass of wine would definitely open the door for him to share the gospel and win people over to Christ, then he would gladly do it.
When I wrote last time that, “I will not be able to officiate your wedding if you insist in serving alcohol,” it was assumed that the context was those weddings where a good number of KSC members would be present. I mean, can you imagine applying this decision on two Germans who happen to be members of New Life who plan to get married in Germany? I can’t. And it wouldn’t make any sense to them. This is what Paul meant when he said that he became like a Jew when he was with them, and he became like a Greek when he was with them so that he can possibly win them over to Christ.
This means, my decision in regards to alcoholic beverages during wedding receptions applies primarily to those cases where our KSC members would be present or where the parents of the bride and the groom strongly oppose serving alcohol. Just as I am submitting to my spiritual authority, I think it will be great if marrying couples can respect and obey their parents’ wishes and desires.
If your wedding reception doesn’t fall into this category, then I would simply suggest the following:
One, if you are planning to serve alcoholic beverages, please consider putting a cap as to how much people can drink instead of having an open bar all throughout the reception. An open bar is extremely costly and putting some restrain on people is not a bad thing.
Two, please consider providing just wine and beer if you are planning to serve alcoholic beverages. They are more common and acceptable to many people than other mixed drinks with hard liquor.
Three, please do not turn these suggestions into laws. If we do, then we will become very legalistic.
Yes, it is your wedding and your reception. However, no matter what we do in life including our wedding reception, we are to do it for the glory of God. If we live by the answer to this question, “What will bring the greatest glory to my God?” I don’t think we will go wrong. The Holy Spirit residing in us will lead us into all truth if we pay attention to Him.
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