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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