Perhaps you followed our discussion last week about some guys in Utah who are offering a Beer and Bible study in a local lounge. (If not, you gotta at least watch the video). I loved the conversation (more than 80 comments so far) and appreciate the diverse views (from "it is sin!" to "how else will we reach people?"). I promised I'd tell you what I think (which I did in a comment but most people will never make it that far), so, let me say... I absolutely loved the discussion!
After reading every comment with great interest, I think it comes down to one basic issue. I don't want to over-simplify, but I think every person's view of alcohol colors their response. I know my view colors my response...
I don't drink alcohol. Yes--I've had a few of those fruity drinks while sitting on a beach in Mexico (and I should also confess that I LOVE Nyquil), but I've never had a beer and don't drink wine. Why? I love Coke, it's a lot cheaper, and I'm a tight-wad. But many (most) of my friends drink in my presence--and it's not an issue for me.
I don't think alcohol is evil. I don't think a bar is a den of iniquity. I've never had to deal with an alcoholic in my family and I've never lost anyone close to me because of the actions of a drunk. Those are all very important factors which color my response.
That being said, I absolutely LOVE what these guys are doing. There is really nothing innovative about Christians having a spiritual conversation in a bar with someone who isn't yet convinced. That happens every day in every city across our country (praise God!). However, what is innovative is a couple pastor-type dudes who see that as a way to make an impact in a community where there are ZERO non-Mormon churches. They aren't hanging a banner and saying, "You come to us." They have made an intentional decision: Let's go where the people are. That's exactly what Jesus did when the religious-types were looking down on him for the same thing. He didn't care what they thought--he went anyway! He didn't expect or wait for the crowd to come to him (although sometimes they did)--he hung out with them.
You may disagree with the method or location--but these guys hearts are in the right place. They are going to rub shoulders with some people who they would NEVER otherwise reach. They are going to spend time with a grandfather who--without intervention is going to RUIN his family--but he will hear of the grace of Jesus and his life will change--not because he stops drinking, but because he is transformed from the inside out and his values and choices are turned upside down. That's what Jesus does--and that excites me.
So...I celebrate it. God bless you Charles and Patrick. Carry on.