Thursday, August 13, 2009

Should we drink, or not, to that?

When I type the word “wine” into my bible search engine (courtesy of, I get 233 results (using the KJV search). Everything from the proverbial - “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” - Proverbs 20:1, Proverbs 21:17 - “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich”, to the very sweet: “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.” (Song of Solomon 1:2) There is also the miraculous (John 2), to the practical suggestion that Paul gave to young Timothy, “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.” (I Tim 5:23). From health tips to unspeakable sins, wine is mentioned throughout the Bible. The question is simply this: is it wrong to partake?

Where I work, there are many people who do not feel it is wrong to drink. Even at my church, I know there are some who do not feel it is wrong to drink. I am specifically thinking of one person who says there is not a problem, provided you do not become drunk. Where does one draw the line on a controversial issue in modern Christianity?
I really don’t like topical issues, because I think there is more to life and more to Christianity than trying to nail down specific topics. I do think, though, it is very important to set down some points in advance.

1. Does the activity bring me closer to God, and bring Him glory?
2. Does the activity encourage my friends/family and reflect God in my life for them to see?
3. Does the Bible specifically prohibit the activity?

Once we set the points down, then we can look at the activity, which in this case, is the consumption of alcohol.

1. Does the activity bring me closer to God, and bring Him glory? If we were to look at this question, the answer would probably be… I don’t know. Is it possible for two Christians to have a glass of wine with dinner and have God-honoring conversation? Sure. We’ll come back to this later.
2. Does the activity encourage my friends/family and reflect God in my life for them to see? Again, the best answer is I don’t know. I don’t drink, so my life experience is limited. We’ll come back to this later as well.
3. Does the Bible specifically prohibit the activity? Now we’re getting somewhere. If we are treating the information in the Bible fairly and accurately, the answer is no. Wine is mentioned in the Bible, and people (including Jesus) drank some variation or form of wine. Paul recommended it to Timothy. So, if the people in the Bible did it, it must be okay for Bible-believing Christians, right? RIGHT?

Maybe not. Let’s reexamine questions 1 and 2 with some modern context, and let’s add one more question: What is the purpose of drinking alcohol today?
I think if we were all absolutely honest, the main purpose of alcohol today is to get people drunk. There are such high contents of alcohol in beer, wine, spirits, etc., that one cannot make any other conclusion. Wanna forget about a tough day? Have a couple of drinks; you’ll forget the day. Wanna celebrate? Have a couple of glasses. The advertising, the whole gearing of alcohol sales is to have a good time partying, and generally doing things that wouldn’t honor the Lord Jesus Christ. I haven’t seen any beer commercials in churches recently. : )
So, let’s go back and answer 1 and 2 with the context.
Does the activity bring me closer to God and bring him glory? Probably not.
Does the activity encourage my friends/family and reflect God in my life for them to see? Probably not.

It is my opinion that it is not prudent for Christians to drink. Is it wrong? That is for that Christian to decide – each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. (Romans 14:5) Would I separate or not fellowship? Absolutely not! It is not that big to me in light of eternity.

There is a message that has been very helpful from my pastor in this regard – I’ll link to it so that you can hear it; it’s called “The Beverage Use of Alcohol”.

It is sad that some people make too big of a deal out of this, but at the same time, as Christians, we should be showing Christ in all that we do, even in this.


  1. "Would I separate or not fellowship? Absolutely not! It is not that big to me in light of eternity."

    To me it is.

    Here are some stats to take into consideration:

    * US Alcohol Abuse cost Americans $185 billion a year.
    * Alcohol related car crashes kill someone every 31 minutes.
    * Everyday in the US, 7,000 kids take their first sip of alcohol.
    * More than 100,000 deaths in the US alone are caused by excessive alcohol consumption each year.
    * The stats are not available for how many broken homes and mangled relationships alcohol has caused...

    Alcohol consumption blinds the mind and hearts of so many people from seeing Christ as He is. Children are beaten, woman raped and lives killed by those who drink alcohol excessively... Why would we as believers even attempt to handle such a dangerous temptation?

    Would I separate from a believer over the consumption of alcohol? I believe I would... The glory of God and eternal souls should be what Christians are concerned about; not what is in their cup...

    Bible? Romans 14:13
    "Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way."

    Judge this rather: Don't be a stumbling block to the church... Don't drink.


    Here is my source... Oops!

  3. Aaron, Aaron, Aaron.....
    While your argument has some merit, you mean to tell me that you would cease fellowship with someone who consumes alcohol? What do you do with someone not from the States who occasionally drinks?
    As for the social difficulties you mentioned, one does not need to be drunk to commit any of those atrocities (with the exception of drunk driving).

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  5. Question 1: Intially I would have to say yes unless they are ignorant of the Word of God, i.e., a new believer.

    If they know what the Word of God says about "strong drink" and the place of alcohol in a leader's (church or secular) life, and they are totally beligerent to the sensitivity concerning alcohol in a believer's life (Whew! Let me catch my breath!) then probably. One brother's social drinking or wine tasting could lead to another brother's fall and shame... Romans 14:13

    Question 2: Why does it matter if they are not from America? The Peruvian pastors I was around in Arequipa, Ireland and Mexico taught and believed the same; alcohol is dangerous no matter your culture.

    No one needs alcohol to commit social atrocities... and a wood stove doesn't need gasoline to burn either. Adding alcohol to an already depraved society does nothing but cause more heartache; certainly the wicked hearts of men alone could find evil but alcohol only intensifies the perniciousness.

  6. I'm no brainchild, but I used to be a drinker. I gave it up, honestly, because my wife asked me to. It was the least I could do considering what she's gone through with me. And while I'm no alcoholic, I have had very strong cravings from time to time in the six months that I've been without "strong drink".

    I didn't stop drinking because I thought it was against the Bible. We simply cannot read into the scripture something that isn't there, and having a drink with dinner or whatever, isn't going against the Word, no matter who you are or what your context is.

    So sure, in our culture, you probably can't drink and be a perfect representative of Christ, but misinterpreting believers are as much to blame for that one as our society. Aaron, I have to agree with Brandon...I wouldn't separate myself from someone who drinks.

    I don't want to get in the way of a great conversation, so I hope I didn't just blow the whole thing up. I apologize if I overstepped...

  7. Sorry for the delay in response...

    The only command I specifically see in Scripture is not to be drunk. As for me personally (and this is key), I would not or never drink; however, my choice is based not only on Scriptural PRINCIPLES (that is also key), but personal and social preferences.
    That is where question 2 comes into play - there are a lot of good Christians from the Eastern European area who drink - are they wrong? They would say no, and use the Biblical command of not being drunk as their justification.

  8. I was asked last night by a friend to define "cease fellowship." Ceasing fellowship from a believer would have to be situational... I didn't really go into alot of detail in my previous posts, but it definitely should be handled carefully and with a measure of grace! :)
    Concerning Eastern European believers (or anyone for that matter): 1. If they are in Church Leadership there are Biblical rules, a. Elders/Pastors: No alcohol b. Deacons/Church Servants: Little alcohol... I Timothy 3. If Eastern European Pastors are drinking they are in error... And if the deacons are drinking it shouldn't be frequent...
    Here is something to consider: Are Eastern European believers exempt from Scriptural principal because of the society they live in? If I negeted and lived contrary to Scriptural principles because of the society in which I have been raised in, why even have Biblical instruction?
    I don't believe it would be wise to calculate the "goodness" of our brothers and sisters in Eastern Europe who find it alright to drink; but I still believe it would be prudent for them to follow Biblical instruction and abstain for the sake of the weak believers around them. Romans 14:13

  9. Wow... long delay for me... LOL

    Dan I understand your stance on the issue of fellowship with believers who drink and respect you for it... My background was that of a "super, hard-liner" so many times my intial answers come out quite, well, blunt. LOL

    As for now I'm not sure how "much" fellowship I would have with a believer who drinks, but I believe for now it would be wise to be open to such things while remaining cautious concerning all things alcohol...

    Keep commenting Dan! :)