Loophole Logic

By Tommy Glendol McClure

As the morals of this nation and the world continue to decline, many professed Christians have either completely lost or are on the road to losing their righteous indignation. I recently heard an excellent sermon where the preacher stressed the fact that many are not willing to accept God’s Word and the principles of Truth contained therein are the absolute standard of authority. Therefore, they are not willing to make a logical decision based on Bible principles concerning a practice but resort to situation ethics to make their determination.

Some of our so called “conservative” brethren, who stand opposed to institutional issues are rather liberal in their thinking and practice on moral issues. It has been reported of late that several gospel preachers in California participate in the social consumption of alcoholic beverages publicly and privately, some serving such in their own homes. A man told me that his son was advised by an “elder” of a local congregation that there was nothing wrong with drinking beer socially. Not so surprising is the fact that these brethren are often the proponents of error on marriage, divorce and remarriage.

Some gospel preachers and brethren have resorted to what I call “Loophole Logic” in their justification of immoral practices. A gospel preacher in California was recently asked this question: “At what point does the drinking of alcohol become sinful?” In his answer he cited Rom. 13:13; Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:21; Deut. 21:18-21; and Prov. 23:20-21, which specifically condemns drunkenness and no one would disagree. However, he also cited Luke 21:34 implying that this is Christ’s final word on the matter stating, “The simple answer to the question, then, is, ‘When the drinking becomes drunkenness, it is a sin(Contender! January/February 1993, p. 5). He also taught that to cast a stumbling block and cause a brother to fall would be sinful. Therefore, the conclusion reached from his answer is, drinking strong drink is sinful only if one becomes drunk or if a brother is offended and caused to stumble?

Nowhere in his answer does he mention the dangers of the brewers art (strong drink), but only seeks to justify its use by implying the Scriptures condemn only drunkenness. The answers given are very dangerous in light of the blight inflicted on society in general, and especially teen-agers, from the consumption of alcohol. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reported in the 1992 Driver Handbook (p.76), “In 1990, there were 4,600 fatal collisions in California, killing 5,173 persons. Alcohol was found to be the main cause of 46 percent of the accidents.” More importantly, God’s Word warns of the dangers of strong drink (Prov. 20:1; 23:20-34; Isa. 5:11). The gospel demands soberness, holiness, the presentation of our bodies as a living sacrifice, and abstinence from all appearance of evil (1 Tim. 3:2-I1; Titus 1:7-8; 2:11-12; Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 6:20; 1 ‘Mess. 5:22; 1 Pet. 1:13-10, 22; 2:5-10; 4:7; 5:6-8). The warnings in the Scriptures, the debauchery, doom and death caused by the use of alcohol should cause all accountable people of God to realize the dangers of this poison. For Christians and especially gospel preachers, to attempt to justify the social consumption of alcohol using “Loophole Logic” and neglecting to warn of the dangers of its use makes for a shameful disgrace!

This same preacher again used “Loophole Logic” when asked this question: “Does the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 5:27-32 and 19:3-12 prohibit the one put away for fornication from marrying again?” He answers 

Dear reader and questioner, please turn now in your Bible and read the above cited passages. Does your Bible say such sinners cannot marry again? The “putting away” is the sin, not marrying . . . If these passages prohibit one from marrying, then the Apostle Paul should have said in 1 Corinthians 7:2, “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man (except those the Catholics have determined cannot many) have his own wife, and let every woman (same exception) have her own husband” (Contender! March/April, 1993, p. 5).

You will notice that his argument is based on what the Bible does not say. The same sort of logic could be used in an attempt to justify instrumental music, social drinking and a host of other practices which are not authorized in the Scriptures. Where is the positive divine authority that allows the one put away for fornication to marry again? When God specifies a thing in a class, is not everything else in that class eliminated? Jesus specified in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9, the one exception for putting away, and further stated that when one marries the guilty one put away for the only lawful exception (for fornication), adultery is committed. Only the innocent party who puts away the guilty party is free to marry again.

Brethren, we need to respect the principles of divine Truth and severe all sinful relationships which place our soul in eternal jeopardy. Let us cease excusing sin, let us rid our minds of “Loophole Logic” and let us strive with all diligence to “come to the knowledge of the Truth” (1 Tim. 2:4)!

Guardian of Truth XXXVII: No 19, p. 23-25
October 7, 1993