Permissiveness, Cheap Grace, and Easy Forgivism Run Amok in Christianity – Dallas Preacher Todd Wagner Says Christians Can Use Heroin / Why some Christians turn agnostic
Christian radio host Janet Mefferd recently discussed a preacher of a Dallas mega-church named Todd Wagner who said it’s okay for Christians to use heroin, or he pretty much said so.
Wagner was answering in response to a question from a viewer who wanted to know if it’s okay for Christians to drink alcohol.
You can listen to that Mefferd show here:
(Link): Janet Mefferd Show-11/20/2013
Before I get to the specific Wagner story:
Mefferd mentions a story about a preacher being arrested for drug dealing. This story:
(Link): Former Pastor Arrested In Record-Breaking Ky. Pill Bust
- Reported by Kallie Cart
Reported: Nov. 15, 2013 12:10 PM EST
A former pastor has been arrested in a major drug trafficking bust in Kentucky.
Members of the fade drug task force in Kentucky said Scott Gilliam, the pastor of Perry’s Branch Holiness Tabernacle in Olive Hill, was using his former church as part of a major drug enterprise.
Mefferd also mentions this story:
(Link): Local (Florida) pastor arrested for drugs
Mefferd also mentioned this next story. This preacher thinks selling drugs is okay, as long as you also do charity work in your spare time, and hand out free drug samples to junkies so they will consider converting to Christianity:
- -Pastor Mark Derksen told police his drugs brought users ‘closer to God’
-Derksen often gave free samples to convert new believers
Back to the “heroin is just peachy” preacher, Wagner.
Mefferd has audio clips of the guy, Wagner, (Link): on her site mentioning that heroin use is just peachy.
Wagner’s church also has a video channel on You Tube that you can check out here:
(Link): Watermark Church channel
After a glance over their You Tube channel, I am not seeing any video about the alcohol and heroin comments that Mefferd references.
Mefferd said she got her audio clips from a Wagner podcast.
Wagner’s podcast can be accessed here:
(Link): Wagner Podcast (on i Tunes)
(Link): Is it Wrong for Christians to Drink Alcohol?? – by Wagner (on podbay)
You can also read Wagner’s blog about the alcohol question, but the response about alcohol apparently was taken from “got questions.com” site and does not appear to contain the heroin remark:
Here I thought “Christian Pundit” (name of my blog) was pretty lame or dull, but “Words from Wags” has me beat on the lame-o-meter.
Here are some excerpts from Can a Christian Drink Alcohol? – Words from Wags, which seems to be quoting a site called “got questions”:
- [quoting Got Questions]
… However, Scripture does not necessarily forbid a Christian from drinking beer, wine, or any other drink containing alcohol.
… What God commands Christians regarding alcohol is to avoid drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18).
The Bible condemns drunkenness and its effects (Proverbs 23:29-35).
Christians are also commanded to not allow their bodies to be “mastered” by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Peter 2:19). Drinking alcohol in excess is undeniably addictive.
Scripture also forbids a Christian from doing anything that might offend other Christians or encourage them to sin against their conscience (1 Corinthians 8:9-13).
In light of these principles, it would be extremely difficult for any Christian to say he is drinking alcohol in excess to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
More excerpts from Can a Christian Drink Alcohol? – Words from Wags, and these appear to be written by Wagner himself or another staffer:
- Am I/Will I be mastered by this activity. Specifically, is this now, or could this become, a coping strategy or idol or addiction that takes the place of God in my life? (1 Corinthians 6:12)
Is it profitable/beneficial (1 Corinthians 6:12)?
Will it cause the/my ministry to be discredited in any way? (2 Corinthians 6:1-3)
Could it cause other believers to stumble/be confused if they saw me engaging in this activity (1 Corinthians 8:9-13)?
Does it help me to make disciples/advance the Gospel (Matthew 28:19-20)?
Am I living under a yoke of legalism that doesn’t honor the Gospel? Am I limiting my freedom in Christ for any reason other than my love for Him or my concern for others (Galatians 5:1)?
I don’t see any mention of heroin in skimming that page over, but Wagner does mention heroin in the audio clip provided by Mefferd at the link at the top of this page.
You’ll notice in the responses above that a lot of those arguments could apply to sexual morality, too.
Regarding these quotes:
- Christians are also commanded to not allow their bodies to be “mastered” by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Peter 2:19).
Am I/Will I be mastered by this activity. Specifically, is this now, or could this become, a coping strategy or idol or addiction that takes the place of God in my life? (1 Corinthians 6:12)
For example, I have been saying all along that every human being, but Christians especially, have self-control over sex: they do not have to give in to a sexual urge.
The Bible never says that chastity or celibacy are only “gifted to a few by God.”
The Bible actually makes sexual purity a commandment for all Christians, yet most Christians today act as though celibacy, singleness, and virginity, are the perview of only a tiny minority of believers, and at that, ones who God chose in eternity past to be single and chaste.
The Bible never says God calls, or gifts, or chooses anyone to be single; that is a matter God leaves up to the individual to decide for him or herself.
A few negative results of teaching the opposite belief in these areas is we have preachers, Christian book authors, and bloggers who teach and repeat erroneous notions such as…
- 1. marry early because no person is capable of sexually abstaining past one’s early or mid 20s;
2. men, even Christian males, are sex-obsessed, dangerous raping sex fiends, so women should never be left alone with men (this hampers women being able to form platonic friendships, as well as getting married);
3. the Christian un-married are barred from working as teachers, leaders, and preachers and other positions of responsibility or authority within Christian circles on the assumption they cannot control their sexual urges and will make passes at any persons under their charge;
4. gender stereotyping, such as:
only men want sex and only men are visually stimulated;
women are emotionally led only in relationships and should be pretty and thin all the time, to appeal to the visually oriented males (this leads to allowing men to feel they can be sloppy- looking, and some females develop eating disorders, poor self esteem, etc)
The negative impacts of Christians teaching and supporting the view that “believers are gifted by God with celibacy / singlehood, and only some are called/gifted in this way” is one reason I encourage all singles to stop endorsing it. If you are an unmarried person using that rhetoric, you are causing more harm to your side.
While the Bible makes clear that God respects singleness and celibacy (and married Christians need to be reminded of this), it does not say God “gifts it” to individuals, that God chooses who will be single.
I know on this blog, I ordinarily discuss Christian views on marriage, dating, sex, and so on, but these comments about this Dallas preacher who talks about heroin are related, if you stop and think about it.
I am not a supporter of legalism. I want to make that clear.
On the other hand, I’m not a fan of this permissiveness and easy-forgivism, anything goes flavor of Christianity, I am seeing from preachers and Christians today.
(please click the ‘read more’ link below to read the rest of this post.)
The first time I listened to this Mefferd broadcast, my computer kept freezing up on that file.
It’s not been until typing this post that the rest of the audio played out, and Mefferd went out to point out some of the same things I have written here and in previous posts.
Mefferd has mentioned in this specific show that the church today looks too worldly, and many Christians have this attitude towards drug abuse and sexual sin of, “so what, everyone is doing it!”
Mefferd is not suggesting that Christians become legalistic (neither am I), but that Christians stand up and speak out against self-professing preachers and other believers, who are abusing drugs, selling drugs, fornicating, or sexually abusing children.
One other point Mefferd brought up – and one reason I have personally become agnostic – is this:
When Non-Christians see that Christians are living no differently from the non-believing world, they tend to think or ask, “What difference does Jesus make, because following this Jesus person doesn’t seem to change people?,” and this is especially true when Non-Christians see some Christians defending things like drug abuse and pre-marital sex, or engaging in those behaviors themselves.
Mefferd raises the point that Non-Christians may look at the Christian faith and think, “What, then, is the point in following Christ, as he doesn’t seem to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Yes, thank you. That is one problem, among many, that has caused me to drift away from Christianity.
Again, I am NOT advocating legalism.
However, I see too much hedonism among Christians, as well as Christians who are actually defending drug abuse, pre marital sex, and homosexuality (specifically, homosexual sexual behavior).
If Christians are not even going to bother to defend and live out even the most basic of biblical morals (such as waiting until marriage to have sex), why the hell should I bother remaining celibate, or staying in the faith at all? I don’t see a point in any of this.
I see a parallel between the two subjects. There are Christians who think it’s fine for Christians to abuse drugs, just as there are some Christians who think pre-marital sex is not a big deal.
Even if these Christians are not doing drugs themselves, or necessarily defending drug abuse or illegal drug sales per se, they water it down and diminish it as being “no big deal, so what, everyone is doing it,” and that is the same attitude Christians carry into sexual behavior.
Christians are not taking sin seriously anymore (and again, not that I support the few who do take sin too seriously – the ones who go overboard about sin, such as Independent Fundamentalist Baptists, who do not seem to recognize the believer’s freedom in Christ, who rant and rail against such banalities such as secular pop music and the length of women’s skirts, who run around pointing out the specks in other people’s eyes all the time).
The fact remains that many Christians today are too comfortable with and around sin, and are too lax about sin.
Many Christians merely pat people on their heads, say, ‘that’s okay, nobody can be expected to abstain from illegal drugs or fornication! Just ask God to forgive you, and move on.’
It’s amazing to me we are living in an age where American Christian preachers are more often than not defending illegal drug abuse, homosexual sex, and ridiculing virginity, and defending promiscuity.
I think Christians find it easier and more comfortable to excuse sexual sin (or other types of sin), and to make those of us out who are literally abstaining, as being weirdos or abnormalities, than it is for them to do the hard work of abstaining themselves, or in defending things like celibacy, virginity, and sobriety.
I’m guessing preachers and other Christians who excuse sin or downplay it, find it is ten times easier to take the gentle, passive approach, which is, keep repeating to serial offenders of fornication, or cocaine users, that it’s all okay, don’t fret, God will forgive you of these sins, than it is to call those people to stop sleeping around or snorting cocaine and say in no uncertain terms “God unequivocally condemns fornication and drug abuse, so stop it!”
One caveat on that point, though:
Some of the biggest “stop fornicating, stop homosexual sex” preachers (and these men, in most denominations are married to women) – and these guys are the rare ones who do bother to warn about sin, the ones who scream and yell about fornication and homosexuality -they sometimes turn out to be child molesters on the side, or raging porn addicts, or adulterers themselves.
Which makes me wonder again why Christians do not avail themselves of using honest- to- God, literal adult virgins who are past age 30, to give lectures or sermons about sexual ethics in churches. But no, oddly, we singles are suspected of being horn dogs who hump a different person every night, while we are actually abstaining, but the married preachers are humping the church secretary, using porn, or hiring male prostitutes. Go figure.
I also think one reason sexual sin is coddled and excused as much as it is in Christian circles is that Christians, like secular culture, have turned sex into an idol (along with marriage, children, and the nuclear family).
On a last note, I believe some of the drug-selling, or drug-approving preachers, mentioned in the news stories above are married.
I mention that fact to say there is no point in a Christian un-married woman sticking with the “be not yoked to a non believer” teaching in so far as marriage is concerned, when a Non-Christian man would make an equal, or, in some cases, better quality spouse than most Christian men.
Many Christian men these days are looking at porn, selling drugs, or having affairs on their wives. Not all of them, but surveys and polls and news headlines I see indicate that there’s still quite a number of them who are sexual deviants, spousal abusers, rapists, or drug addicts. Christian women are just as well off to consider Non Christian males for a marital partner, really.
Related posts this blog.
(Link): False Christian Teaching: “Only A Few Are Called to Singleness and Celibacy” or (also false): God’s gifting of singleness is rare – More Accurate: God calls only a few to marriage and God gifts only the rare with the gift of Marriage
(Link): Why Christians Need to Uphold Lifelong Celibacy as an Option for All Instead of Merely Pressuring All to Marry – vis a vis Sexless Marriages, Counselors Who Tell Marrieds that Having Affairs Can Help their Marriages
(Link): Pro Ball Player Convicted for Kid Diddling Three Kids Claims to be an Outstanding Christian (and he’s married with a kid of his own) – again, why should Christian single gals limit themselves to only marrying Christian men? The Whole “Being Yoked Equally” thing is irrelevant and unduly limiting for singles
(Link): Being Unequally Yoked
(Link): Update: Family Worshiping Cult Leader – Doug Phillips – Admits to Physical Affair / And Christian Skeptics Who Deny that Churches and Christians Harbor Stereotypes Against Unmarried Women (and Men)