Alcohol Policy Q&A
This page offers additional rationale for one of the elements of DTS’s Community Covenant.
The short answer is we wanted a policy that is biblical, reflecting both truth and grace. Scripture clearly forbids drunkenness and causing others to stumble. It does not command absolute abstinence from alcohol.
The new alcohol policy allows faculty, staff, and students as guided by the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, their local churches, and appropriate cultural considerations to drink alcoholic beverages in private or in public, giving due consideration to honoring the body as God’s temple, the church, and their influence on both believers and unbelievers.
One may still choose to abstain from alcohol as conscience or prudence demands. Because alcohol abuse is common, many Christians rightly give up this Christian liberty. The new policy prohibits the Seminary community from drinking to excess and causing others to stumble, which the Bible prohibits.
The average age of the DTS student is 37. The seminary believes the DTS student should be mature enough to make biblically informed decisions while avoiding offending others. In addition, as a trans-denominational ministry with students, faculty, staff, and board members attending churches that differ in their practice with regard to alcoholic beverages, we are asking the seminary community to submit to the leadership of their own local churches, denominations, or parachurch ministries in which they fellowship and serve.
DTS will continue to be alcohol free on all DTS premises and will not serve it at DTS-sponsored events. At the same time, DTS will not seek to dictate abstinence for those who travel as our guests on seminary sponsored study tours.
The revised alcohol policy affects all members of the seminary community–board, faculty, staff, and currently enrolled students.
The Board of Incorporate Members, the faculty, and administration have prayerfully discussed the issue for some time and revised the policy to best represent the biblical teaching on the use of alcohol. Although the motives of those initiating the previous policy may have been appropriate, that previous policy put limits on the use of alcoholic beverages that went beyond the constraints of Scripture. Scripture does not prohibit the moderate use of alcohol. In fact, while warning of its dangers, the Bible also affirms the usefulness of alcohol.
The subject of drinking alcoholic beverages has been a topic of discussion for the past several years among our faculty and board. To help us determine how to move forward, a cross-divisional and inter-departmental ad hoc committee of the faculty contributed to the study, development, wording, and editing of the policy throughout the 2014 Fall Semester. At the recommendation of both the Faculty and the Board of Regents, the policy was then approved by the Board of Incorporate Members.
Knowing that alcohol abuse hurts many and that the Christian community holds strong and varied views about alcohol use, time and prayer were necessary to make a wise decision. The change reflects a desire to be biblical in our leadership qualification standards.
We recognize that some might hold this view, but we ought to be more concerned about what God thinks than what people think. We believe the new policy reflects what the Bible says, can be applied in the variety of cultures, and seeks to go no further than what God’s Word commands.
When a violation of the policy becomes known, it should be reported to the appropriate leadership responsible to shepherd that individual, and appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken with a view to redemptive restoration, just as they would be for any other rule or policy infraction.