How should Church deal with an habitual drunk.

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by Free Christian, Dec 6, 2017.

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  1. Free Christian

    Free Christian Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hi everyone. This question is directed please to Minister's and Pastors. Perhaps Elders. (edit, I changed to include Elders as they too would perhaps have dealt with this)
    If in your congregation you had a person who kept turning up drunk and clearly smelling strongly of alcohol, unsaved, but week after week turns up this way. Sometimes speaking out of place during the service, not profanely but interrupting with questions. Has been offered help but doesn't take it, habitually lies and acts like they are an actual member, how or what action would you take? Say this has been taking place week after week for months. The gospel is spoken to them but they don't accept it fully and have they're own interpretation of it.
    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  2. Wayne

    Wayne Tempus faciendi, Domine.

    There may be something to glean from a reading of Dr. Barry Waugh’s article, “Mr. Machen’s Protege,” which appeared in The Westminster Theological Journal 71.1 (Spring 2009): 21-51. What particularly struck me was Machen's persistent patience and long-suffering in dealing with the alcoholic Richard Hodges.

    See this link for the first page of the article:

    Contact me if you don't have access to the article.
  3. Free Christian

    Free Christian Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks Wayne for the link.
    In all honesty I stay away from monthly subscribing bills with my credit card.
    Its probably a 100% honourable organisation, it's just my own decision not to. Maybe I'm over cautious.
    On the subject though.
    I would never expect to turn a person away from hearing the Word, means of grace. But it is difficult to sit there week after week trying to worship smelling the strong odour of freshly consumed alcohol. There are other issues as well which include a lack of respect for the solemn reason we are there.
    The reason I have asked is that no effort has been taken to minimise his disturbances. If anything the lack of it is enabling to him and normalising his sin and actions, which seem to be escalating. I know for a fact that I am the only one who has offered him help, to get him some help. He declined, was grateful I cared but declined. If anything he is being constantly humoured by the others. Sometimes he leaves a bit into the service then returns plastered. I understand patience and pity and caring, but boundaries need to be set for all. If members, professing believer's have boundaries and come under discipline for causing scandal or disruption to the Holy worship of God then why should non believer's be free to do what they want to do in Church? By letting them do so it seems to me to fly in the face of the Westminster Confession of Faith, Of Church Censure's, section 3.
    If he was just drunk that would be different. Can I accept an alcoholic coming to Church? Of course I can.
    Do I accept disruption to worship and no respect shown for the service? No.
    Thanks for the reply Wayne.
  4. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Seem like this is an issue for the leadership to determine. If they are ok with it, I would just settle back in...
  5. Krak3n

    Krak3n Puritan Board Freshman

    Why, and how, do they act like a member? They've been spoken to in private about this, reject help, and disagree(?) with the gospel as stated.

    I would say that Paul addresses this in 1st Corinthians 5:9-13.

    I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-- not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler--not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you."

    I understand that you asked specifically for elders, ministers, and pastors. I'm none of those, but I think this text would need dealt with in any decision made.
  6. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    In a friend's SBC congregation on the rare occasion that someone disrupts the service a Deacon will immediately stand saying, "Order, order." He will approach the person and admonish them to behave properly.
    If necessary they will be asked to leave, and if they are not compliant they will be removed from the room. If help is required to do so there are other Deacons who will assist.
  7. Free Christian

    Free Christian Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hi all. Thanks for the replies.
    Turns out there was a small meeting called to deal with some financial things at Church. I was with others invited to attend. When it was over I raised the issue at hand. Turns out everyone was disturbed by it but didn't know how to bring it up and deal with it, I did and it was well received as others then expressed their concerns. We agreed to have him told of what will and will not be tolerated, that he is welcome to come but that his out of order actions to date are not to continue. I was nervous in a way as I'm the newest worshiper there but it had to be addressed. Cheers everyone.
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