We only have a week before Trinity Fest begins, and we have an important announcement connected with this. Before getting to that, let me encourage those who have not yet registered to go ahead and do so, and to come. This whole event gets more interesting every day. And that leads me to the announcement.
As I have noted in this space before, some time ago a couple of our intolerista friends here in Moscow decided to take up temperance crusading, and they filed a complaint with the University of Idaho over the fact that we were planning on observing the Lord’s Supper with wine on university property. This, they tsked, would involve offering alcohol to minors.
These complaints put the officials at the Kibbie Dome (where the conference talks will be held) in an awkward position. They have been great in how they have worked with us, and we understand that this whole thing has been driven by the temperance ladies, and not by university officials. However, this last week, the university president (who was also caught in the middle) decided that we would not be allowed to offer sacramental wine to minors. We do not believe that this is in any way required by the law, or even by university policy. But if we held our worship service there, this would be taken as a tacit agreement with a standard (as interpreted) that has been announced beforehand, and this is an agreement we cannot in good conscience make. Moreover, if we “made” it (wink, nudge), or were perceived to have made it, and then still offered wine to all our worshippers (which is our sacramental duty), this would be immediately represented by our enemies as a breach of faith, dishonesty on our part, etc.
So here is the announcement. The Trinity Fest brochures say that our worship service next Lord’s Day will be at 10 am at the Kibbie Dome. However, we have moved that service to 9 am at the Logos Field House. Our elders had a special meeting this morning to decide how we were going to respond to this requirement to withhold wine from our children, and this change of time and venue is what we felt we needed to do. The conference talks remain at the Kibbie Dome. But the worship service next Lord’s Day has been moved to 9 am at the Logos Field House. It was not acceptable to us to allow outside complaints to dictate to us how we will worship God. When we worship God, our children worship together with us. Period. And we will worship God in the way we believe Scripture requires, and not in accordance with the dictates of a bizarre and schoolmarmish wowserism.
As I have meditated on the problems created by our adversaries here, I have been confronted with the oxymoronic issue of pettiness growing. How can pettiness increase and grow — as it appears to be doing? How can smallness of heart and mind get bigger? I do not want to be the victim of an analogy, and so I have simply concluded that pettiness cannot grow, although it does appear to have the capacity to get swollen.
The elders took the action we did because we did not want to have a fight over the Lord’s Supper. We intend to do our fighting by means of the Lord’s Supper. We do not leave our weapons to fight over them; we remain at our post with our weapons (Word and sacrament) and will fight with them. So next Lord’s Day, we will gather for worship, as is our custom, and we will do so with our children. And we will serve our children wine because the gospel that saved both us and them is a potent gospel, and is not at all like grape juice. We do not have an adults-only potent gospel, and we do not have a come-one-come-all impotent gospel. All of us, from the greatest to the least, will drink the cup of the new covenant. Jesus Christ came back from the dead, and He is Lord of all heaven and earth. Because He is Lord of the Table, we will continue to do what He requires of us there. Jesus Christ is seated at the head of the Table and not, thank God, Carrie Nation.
But as far as the physical location of our worship service is concerned, our temperance gnat-stranglers have succeeded. The fact that this success ought to be an embarrassment to them does not mean that it actually will be, and so they will no doubt receive congratulations from their friends. But the spiritual location of our worship service remains unchanged — despite the logistical inconveniences to us — and in the heavenly courts God will receive us all and hear our prayers. And so it will be that His kingdom will come, His will shall be done, on earth as it is in heaven. That is how He taught us to pray.