Saturday, June 2, 2018

Is it sinful for a Christian to attend parties where there is drunkenness, sex and drugs?

Should I lower my standard?

Is college partying sinful according to biblical principles? I am a 
college student myself and I have avoided parties mainly because of all 
the sinful activities I hear about parties such as drunkenness, sex, 
drugs, etc. But what I don’t understand is if it is ok for Christians to 
attend college parties and even participate in the drinking, sex, and drug 
usage? I know the bible speaks against drunkenness and immorality, but 
what about simply attending parties and hanging out with friends?

Of course, the Bible is clear on drunkenness (and by implication abuse of 
other drugs), sexual immorality and the like. I assume your question is 
whether it is a sin for us to voluntarily be hanging around with people 
when they are involved in such activities. Specifically, is it a sin to 
be at a party where blatantly sinful activities are going on when we are 
not partaking in such behavior?

My answer is that it is not in general sinful to be in the vicinity of 
others who are sinning. We do not become sinners by being in the 
neighborhood while sin is happening. In my opinion it is more a matter of 
wisdom than of sin as to whether it is OK for us to be be present at 
parties at which blatant sin is going on. Jesus did not withdraws himself 
from the world. He does not ask us to withdraw from the world. He asks 
us to be in the world so that we can influence the world. Jesus went to a 
wedding at which we can assume that some of the guests drank too much 
(John 2:1-11). Jesus was accused of associating with sinners, as were his 
apostles (Matthew 9:11,12 is one of many examples). It is not sinful, per 
se, to walk into a bar or to walk into a room where drugs are being used. 
In fact, in some situations, Jesus himself may have been willing to walk 
into such a place to reach out.

Having said that, I believe that wisdom and biblical principles both tell 
us that it is unwise, and in some cases extremely unwise for disciples of 
Jesus to be hanging around in certain situations where blatant sin is 
going on. Drunk people are rarely if ever open to the gospel. Why would 
a Christian want to be hanging out in such places? If a person who claims 
to be a follower of Jesus attends a drunken party or goes to a provocative 
bachelor party, etc… a good question is why? What is the attraction? 
To go to a sporting event where there also happens to be drunk people is 
one thing. The purpose in that case is to attend a game, and the drunken 
people are along for the ride. To go to a drinking party or to be at an 
orgy or the like is another thing. There is the matter of example. Paul 
vowed to not do anything which might make a weak brother or sister 
stumble. Even if we think we can handle being in such a compromising 
situation, our brothers and sisters may not. In such a case, being at a 
wild party can rise to the level of being sin. (Romans 14 and 1 
Corinthians 8 for example). 1 Corinthians 10:12,13 warns us about putting 
ourselves into situations in which we will be tempted. “So if you think 
you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.”

If you or a friend are going to such parties, you should ask what is the 
reason. Why even ask the question? Are you looking for an excuse to do 
something you already know is at best foolish, or at worse sinful?

To summarize, I believe we should not make blanket statements. There is 
no scripture one can use which proves that under any circumstances it is 
sinful to be present while others are committing sin. It is a very bad 
idea to be legalistic about this issue. Nevertheless, common sense, 
wisdom and biblical principles tell us that it is foolish in most cases to 
make a habit of taking part in wild parties and blatant sinful events. 
Because of our example, it can even rise to the level of being sin against 
our brothers or sisters. Rather than teach some sort of unbiblical law, 
let us not judge on another, but let us give wise and loving advice to our 
fellow believers about the wisdom on this question.

John Oakes, PhD

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