Contract isn't just about you
Here at Biola we engage in various topics that will never be resolved. Topics such as whether we should have a white Jesus versus a multi-racial Jesus mural or whether we will ever discover the logic in the campus-wide ban on longboarding. Students thrive on debate. Most guys know that if you sit in the hallway around 1 a.m. or later to discuss Calvinism, other men will come … it just happens.
One issue I haven’t mentioned is the contract — the same contract we all signed when we applied to Biola. One of the more contentious elements of the contract is the embargo on the use of alcohol. I hope to bring some material to the table that will influence us as students to recognize, and appreciate, the spirit of the law rather than the mere letter.
Common argument against contract
A common argument is that in order for us to develop into mature adults we have to be allowed to make mistakes, but if under the contract we are constricted and unable to do so. Well, if you’re smart enough to know it’s a mistake then it’s no longer a mistake — it’s disobedience. The Bible provides instruction on how to avoid sin and also gives us instruction on how to mature. To make the above argument would therefore deem the Bible contradictory.
Alcohol consumption in moderation
Alcohol never got me in trouble or influenced me to make a life-altering choice. However, it did cause me to spend a plethora of cash on what would only provide me with shallow instant gratification and often left me with a headache in the morning. It’s disheartening when I consider the amount I’ve spent on alcohol in my past considering the investment of that money elsewhere could have attributed to my future wife, children, ministry work, tuition, campus safety citations, etc. Money is one thing and time is another. Many nights could have been spent fostering relationships with others or reading Nicholas Sparks with mint ‘n’ chip ice cream and a box of Kleenex.
Now we have biblical examples of alcohol being partaken in moderately so we can’t berate the use of it altogether. However, if the administration was to open the floodgates under the premise of moderation, we know the reality is that abuse would soon follow.
Deny oneself out of love for others
The purpose of banning the use of alcohol on and off campus is to provide us as students with a clear and sober-minded state where we can focus on our priorities and grow in the Lord. I would challenge us all to look at two things primarily.
One, consider that we have a responsibility as disciples of Christ to be a witness. This includes the responsibility as future spouses and parents to be wise with our money as if unto God.
And two, remember that just because it may be fine for us to have one or two drinks, we could be causing major damage to a weaker sibling who observes it. This isn’t to say that Christians should never drink, but just to take into consideration your surroundings. Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians 8 in saying it’s best to deny ourselves from that which may stumble another.
Let’s consider honesty. All students signed the contract. We’ve made a commitment to refrain from the consumption of alcohol among other activities. Before you use your legal age as leverage to break the contract remember that the contract says nothing about age and the principal of the contract goes far beyond one’s age or level of responsibility. If students are frustrated by this I would encourage them to be the bigger person and accept the challenge of abiding by the contract and being above reproach. Getting over one’s self and leading a life of integrity — regardless of what we feel we’re entitled to — is a huge exercise that will prove to be beneficial in the long term or as some may experience soon after graduating the short term.
“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future,” says Proverbs 19:20. I challenge all students to grow out of naivety and into understanding based on others’ life experience instead of thinking we have to have traveled there ourselves. Remember, the contract may be targeted at us for now but we also have a witness to adhere to and a family to start preparing for now. Next time you ask if you want to adhere to the contract remember that this decision is not about you.