A friend, David Krueger, posted this article on his blog yesterday. Following is the response I recently posted on the MBC Yahoo list: David Krueger is a friend and a good man. I appreciated his article that he posted on his blog and on here. However, I wanted to point out a few things in response.
1. Karis has never had a "View and Brew" ministry. It has never been our intention at "Theology at the Forge" to encourage people to order a beer and spout off opinions. This is a "view" ministry. We gather every month for a discussion on a current issue. Our goals are two fold: First, we want to interact with unbelievers who might see the relevance of the Christian worldview to all life. Second, we want to challenge and equip Christians to think "Christianly" about all things.
2. This takes place at the "Forge and Vine," which is just a locally-owned Applebee's type of place. David Tolliver met with me there, along with others. He can confirm this. It is no bar. Yes, "Vine" stands for wine. But Applebee's could easily be called "Apples and Beer," too. We all eat at places like these every week.
3. Having said that, we don't police what people order. Very few people order alcoholic beverages. If they do, they only consume in extreme moderation. We just don't feel compelled by Scripture to rebuke people who order something we don't like.
4. Karis has never purchased alcohol for anyone. We have never promoted this as an event that involves drinking. We just gather around a meal and discuss a current issue from a Christian perspective.
5. I have never consumed alcohol at these meetings. I have signed the alcohol covenant and have abided by it. I practice abstinence and teach the biblical warnings against drunkenness, as the covenant I signed requires.
6. This event has led to some great relationships with some people very far from God. However, it has not been a very successful ministry, quite honestly.
7. However, we feel as a church that this event fits with us trying to be on mission in our city, going where the people are. We strongly feel as if this event is godly and fitting for a church. We feel as if we have not wronged God, His church, or the MBC.
8. The reason, as Hinkle says, the "other situation has not changed," is because we were offered to continue to receive funding, while a part of Acts 29, if we stopped this event. As we do not feel God's leading to do this, we cannot stop doing "Theology at the Forge". We see having a conversation in a downtown restaurant as a very good thing. We have the full support of our DOM and sponsoring church pastor, as well as many in the MBC building, for that matter.
9. We have no intentions of leaving the MBC, but rather we plan to stick around out of love for the people that have been so good to us and strive for change that will be more welcoming to young pastors and planters such as me.
10. I am frustrated at this decision. I am frustrated by the distractions it has brought us. But I harbor no ill will toward anyone in MBC life or the executive board.
11. Anyone with questions about our ministry should contact me, Jim Shaver (BC), or Steve Tanner (DOM, Grand Crossings).