Fence Laws

fenceAs a retired pastor, I have attended and ministered in many churches and denominations. In those churches, I have found most people are loving, caring, and wanting to please God. But these good people, in their desire to obey and follow God, have adopted want I call “fence laws” to the teachings of God’s Word. Allow me to explain. One of the hot potatoes in the church world is the drinking of alcohol.  The Bible clearly prohibits drunkenness but it does not prohibit drinking alchol in moderation. So in an attempt to keep people from excessive drinking (drunkenness) churches have adopted fence laws to keep people a safe distance from temptation.

They begin by requiring total abstinence for their members. They serve grape juice instead of wine during Communion and I have no problem with churches that have that policy. But Scripture makes no prohibition. To make it even safer, they ask their members not to eat in restaurants that serve alcohol or at least do not serve alcohol during meal times.

There are many “fence laws” that find their origin in Scripture but they are not Scriptural. I will not attempt to address them here due to limited space. But while we should teach the principles of God’s Word, we should allow the Holy Spirit to apply it to their individual situation. John 16:13  We should not allow man-made rules to be elevated to the same authority of Scripture.


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