The Case for Alcohol Abstinence

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I readily confess to a personal bias when it comes to the issue of alcohol. My wife Charlotte grew up in the Georgia Baptist Children’s Home because her parents were alcoholics. Her father died a lost alcoholic. Her mother, by God’s grace, was saved on her death bed. Her body had been ravaged by the twin killers of alcohol and tobacco. Today her sister and brother are lost alcoholics as is most of the rest of her family. My sister Joy and her husband Kevin King adopted a daughter born with fetal alcohol syndrome. She began life with two strikes against her through no fault of her own.

Today there are more than 40 million problem drinkers in America. Alcohol is the number one drug problem among teenagers. One in three American families suspects that one or more family members have a drinking problem. Misuse of alcohol costs our nation $100 billion a year in quantifiable cost. Because of these experiences and many more, I have often said that even if I were not a Christian I would have nothing to do with alcohol. There is simply too much sorrow and heartache connected to it. Avoiding this devastating drug is simply the wise thing to do.

This year at our Convention we again passed a resolution calling for abstinence from alcohol. The resolution passed overwhelmingly, but it did generate significant debate both during and after the Convention. Some have accused those supporting the resolution of being pharisaical and legalistic, traditionalist and anti-biblical. It is said that we fail to understand Christian liberty and freedom, and that we even stand against Jesus. These are strong accusations from fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. However, are they correct? Are those like myself who believe abstinence to be the best lifestyle choice really guilty of these charges? Let me respond as graciously and kindly as I possibly can, explaining why I hold the position I do. I share my heart with no malice or ill will toward anyone, but from a desire to honor the Lord Jesus, and to protect others from the evils alcohol has visited on so many.

We should remember from a Baptist perspective that there are historical precedents for affirming abstinence. In 1886 Southern Baptists issued their first resolution on alcohol. Since then there have been almost 60 resolutions that in a united voice have addressed the risk of alcohol and the wisdom of abstinence. For 120 years Southern Baptists have made clear their stand on this issue. Individual Baptists no doubt continue to take a drink as they had before 1886, but the Southern Baptist Convention as a whole has been crystal clear on where it stands for a long time. I am confident that our forefathers understood the issue of Christian liberty as they passed these resolutions. I am grateful for this tradition. I believe we should continue it.

There are moral reasons for affirming abstinence. John Piper teaches the wisdom of abstinence because alcohol can be a mind-altering drug, and it can be addictive. It does not help one in doing the will of God and can genuinely be a hindrance. Further, he notes “the carnage of alcohol abuse” and therefore chooses to boycott such a product. He then adds, “is it really so prudish, or narrow to renounce a highway killer, a home destroyer, and a business wrecker.” Some questions are in order and deserve an answer. Does alcohol make me a better person? Does alcohol draw me closer to God? Does alcohol help me run the race faithfully to the end (Heb. 12:1-2)?

Some respond by saying the issue is not abstinence but moderation. They draw an analogy to both eating and sex. There is however a significant difference. We must eat to live. We must engage in sex to procreate. Alcohol is not a necessity for life or good living.

I am in total agreement with my spiritual hero Adrian Rogers who said, “Moderation is not the cure for the liquor problem. Moderation is the cause of the liquor problem. Becoming an alcoholic does not begin with the last drink, it always begins with the first. Just leave it alone.” My friend James Merritt wisely says, “It is impossible to be bitten by a snake that you never play with.” Alcoholism cannot strike unless it is given the opportunity. That potential becomes real with the first drink that one takes.

There are biblical reasons for practicing abstinence. Let me quickly note several. 1) It is consistent with the principle of edification (1 Cor. 6:12). Alcohol does not build you up or make you better for Jesus. Avoiding it ensures you will not harm yourself with it. 2) It is consistent with the principle of refusing that which enslaves (1 Cor. 6:12). Alcohol is a drug that can impair the senses and has a potential addictive element. Like addictive pornography, it should be avoided at all cost. 3) It is consistent with the ethic of love for believers and unbelievers alike (1 Cor. 8:13; 9:19-22; 10:32-33).

Because I am an example to others, I will make certain no one ever walks the road of sorrow called alcoholism because they saw me take a drink and assumed, “if it is alright for Danny Akin, it is alright for me.” No, I will choose to set an uncompromising example of abstinence because I love them. 4) I will seek my joy and filling in the Spirit not in alcohol. I love the Phillips translation of Ephesians 5:18 which reads, “Don’t get your stimulus from wine (for there is always the danger of excessive drinking), but let the Spirit stimulate your souls.” Psalm 4:7-8 adds, “You [O Lord] have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” 5) It is true Jesus drank wine, and I am sure I would have had I lived in the first century. However, there is no evidence that he ever partook of “strong drink.”

As Bob Stein has carefully documented, “The term “wine” or oinos in the ancient world, then, did not mean wine as we understand it today but wine mixed with water… To consume the amount of alcohol that is in two martinis by drinking wine containing three parts water to one part wine [a fairly common ancient ratio], one would have to drink over twenty-two glasses. In other words, it is possible to become intoxicated from wine mixed with three parts water, but one’s drinking would probably affect the bladder long before it affected the mind.” It should also be noted that children would have drank this diluted mixture of water and wine. It seems clear that there is no one-to-one correspondence with first century wine and twenty first century distilled liquor. Concerning the latter I believe the Lord Jesus would have no part.

Let me conclude with some practical considerations. Should those who practice abstinence look down on those who do not? The answer is an unqualified no. That is pride and therefore is sin. It is true that alcohol has contributed to many going to hell, but pride, no doubt, has done so in even greater numbers. A smug, prideful abstainer without Jesus is just as lost as the poor drunkard who is always in search of another drink. Those who believe in abstinence should be gracious and humble, kind and caring, loving and patient.

As a pastor or church leader, would I demand abstinence for church membership? No, I would not. Would I demand it for leadership? Absolutely! The principle of Proverbs 31:4-5 is appropriately applied here, “It is not for Kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.”

I agree with John MacArthur. Can I say it is always a sin to take a drink? No. Can I say it is almost always unwise? Yes, because it violates the biblical principles of wisdom and witness. One of America’s leading pastors is Andy Stanley. He wrote a book entitled The Best Question Ever. That question is this, “What is the wise thing for me to do?” I challenge anyone to show me the superior wisdom of drinking “in moderation,” as opposed to not drinking at all. This is not legalism but love. This is not being anti-biblical but pro-brother and sister. This is not working for evil but for good. Given the world in which we live I believe such a lifestyle honors the Lord Jesus. I believe it pleases Him. Without question it is the wise thing to do.

  118Comments

  1. Adam Shields   •  

    Obviously we are not going to agree in the end.

    I want to make three points then I am going to bow out and let you have the last word.
    1) we need to be sure to read scripture fully and in context. The scripture you cited about leadership does not say “Elders and Deacons should never drink”. That is how you are interpreting it. But that is not what it says. Your reference to the millstone passage is also out of context. Jesus was talking about people that teach wrongly, primarily by putting non-biblical restrictions on the gospel.
    2) i think your last point is interesting but I wonder if you apply it to other areas as well. How do you deal with obesity, greed, and a host of other areas where people sin. Of course you should be working to be without sin, but we are always falling short. Part of our role is to help people live in this world and move toward sanctification.
    3) Every single non-drinker I know also lives a life that includes a number of other sins. Yes being drunk can facilitate some sin. But being judgmental facilitates sin, being a gossip facilitates sin, being rich can facilitate a host of sins. Being alive facilitates sin.

  2. Andrew   •  

    Jay,

    Legalism causes people to stumble too (and denies the Gospel by adding works). Paul did not circumcise Titus for this very reason. You are making far too broad a generality. Many of those who use the argument about causing a brother to stumble would not be caused to stumble by someone drinking. The argument is often disingenuous and manipulative.

  3. Jay   •  

    Andrew,
    Calling sin sin is not legalism. Causing a brother or a lost person to stumble is sin. There may be many who would not stumble by someone drinking but there are many who would stumble. We don’t know who will stumble. I have talked to so many lost people in my life who never see a real Christian. I have heard several say “that person says he is a Christians but he drinks and parties just like everyone else.” And I have never brought up the subject of drinking to these lost people. That is something that they bring up because they don’t see a difference in believers and unbelievers. Now I admit that these “Christians” that the lost see drinking are usually doing many other things that hurt their witness as well. But drinking is one of the first things that these lost people notice.

    I know that you are going to say that that is general. I cannot speak for every lost person or weak brother. But the fact is we don’t know what kind of damage we do by partaking in a “pleasure”. Even if only one person stumbles and goes to Hell, is it worth for us to use our “freedom” to send someone to Hell?

    As I have said before, there are too many reasons not to drink and no good reasons to drink.

    Adam,
    The passage in 1 Timothy says that pastors are “not given to wine.” What do you think that means? Now it does say that deacons should not be given to much wine. But again, they didn’t have bottled water then. We do.

    The millstone passage is not out of context. Jesus is addressing those whose cause any believer to stumble. Jesus goes on to say if your hand causes you to sin then cut it off. Jesus took sin seriously. We are to take drastic measures to keep from sinning and to keep from leading others to sin. We all sin and we will never be able to stop sinning till we get to Heaven but this one is an easy one. It never fails. You will not get drunk if you do not drink. There are many others sins that cannot be avoided so easily but drunkeness can. It is much harder not to be judgmental than it is not to be drunk because all you have to do is not drink. This is really one of the easiest sins to avoid. But when you play with fire you will get burned. The only reason to drink is to get drunk. Why else would you drink. If you don’t want to get drunk, then drink a non-alcoholic drink. This should not be an issue inside the church.

    One last thing. I would apply the stumbling argument to other sins as well. Paul did. He applied it to eating meat offered to idols. Read 1 Corinthians 8. I think that obesity is a huge problem inside the church especially with so many fat preachers. I know that people are built differently and some cannot help being big. But I will say that I think a lot of people can help it. It hurts their witness. I lost about 40 pounds 2 years ago by simply cutting back on what I eat and running. It can be done. And I haven’t gained it back.

  4. Andrew   •  

    Jay,

    It is possible to drink not to get drunk. To say otherwise is simply not true. It goes against clear biblical evidence, such as Paul telling Timothy to drink a little wine. The Christian life is not about sin avoidance. It is about actively pursuing holiness. We can avoid sin and be disobedient. Jesus ate and drank with tax collectors and sinners.

    The Bible views wine as a gift from God. Chew on that for a while. Part of the problem is that most who argue for abstinence view alcohol in and of itself as unholy and a curse. That seems to be part of your problem.

    No one here is arguing that we should drink in front of everyone and be loose about it. If drinking in moderation causes someone to stumble, I won’t drink. This is rarely the case though. More often than not, the one who is offended is not the one who would stumble, but the one who is the self-appointed morality police (trust me, I’ve been one).

    Your examples from non-Christians probably have more to do with people who 1) drink to get drunk and/or 2) have an overall lifestyle that is incompatible with their claim to be Christian. Some of this is complicated by the fact that many of your non-Christian friends grew up in a context that told them that Christians don’t drink. Their perception is off, because of the past overstatements of Baptists, Methodists, and other denominations that have prohibited alcohol. We need to speak truth into this context, so that we don’t set obstacles in their way of coming to Christ. If they get the perception that they must stop drinking to come to Christ, then we may as well ask them to be circumcised too. If this is the case, then we have completely denied the gospel (see Galatians 1).

    Your arguments about not causing anyone to stumble need to be put in the proper context. When Jesus talks about someone stumbling, he is referring to a brother, not to those outside the Church. When Paul talks about eating meat sacrificed to idols, the issue is that some believers are returning to their past lives of idolatry. It is one of relationships between believers, not between believers and unbelievers.

  5. Jay   •  

    It is possible to drink and not get drunk but why would you drink? The reason people drink is to get drunk. If you don’t want to get drunk then don’t drink an alcoholic drink. Plain and simple. Timothy did not have Tagamet. We do. They did not have clean water in Jesus’ day. We do. They had to do something to purify the water. They were not drinking the same thing as people drink today. The word for wine was a general term used for any grape juice product. Habakkuk calls it a sin to get someone else drunk. If Jesus turned the water into wine and then they got drunk off of the wine then Jesus was sinning. Obviously Jesus didn’t sin.

    As a Christian actively pursuing holiness we are to avoid sin at all costs. We are free from sin not free to sin. Disobedience is sin. We all agree that it is a sin to get drunk. Like I said earlier it is one of the easiest sins to avoid. Just don’t drink. It works every time. Just like the liberal world does not like sexual abstinence being taught. But it is guaranteed to work every time. If you do not have sex you will not get a disease.

    My problem is not that I view alcohol as unholy. My problem is there are “Christians” out there teaching people that it is okay to drink. Like Adam admitted above, it is a pleasure to enjoy. What makes it so pleasurable except getting drunk? Alcohol is a drug. Read the link that I posted just a couple of comments up. It is from foxnews and drug experts, not Christians, call alcohol the worst drug in the world. My problem is there are people who go to SEBTS knowing that they should not drink but when they graduate they are teaching people that you are free in Christ – drinking is not a sin so have at it.

    You may not drink “in front of everyone” but you have to buy your alcohol somewhere. And you hurt your witness and mine too. Because lost people don’t trust Christians because they rarely see a real Christian. They see a bunch of people who go to church on Sunday and live like them the rest of the week. Those of us who are true believers are called to be different. We are to be set apart from the world not just like them. Everyone on here who claims moderation says “rarely” is anyone actually caused to stumble. It may be rare but you admit that it does happen. It doesn’t matter if it is only one person. If my freedom to drink causes just one person to deny Christ and go to Hell then it is best to never drink. Because we don’t know who will stumble.

    The Bible teaches a lot of principles that we are to live by. Too many people think that if the Bible doesn’t said “thou shall not…” then it is not a sin. That is not the case. There are priciples for us to follow.

    You sound like you are saying that we need to be teaching lost people that drinking is okay. That is the last thing that we need to be doing. We need to be speading the Gospel of Christ. In America, in our context with all of the damage that alcohol does believers drinking damages the Gospel.

    Part of salvation is repentance. We are to repent of our sins, that is turn away from them. Did Jesus deny the Gospel when He told the rich young ruler to sell all of his possesions? Or was He adding to the Gospel? Having riches was a sin for him because it was obviously more important to him than faith in Jesus. If you are telling people that they don’t have to change, they can still live in their sin then you are denying the Gospel. The rich young ruler would be a deacon in a lot of our Baptist churches.

  6. Andrew   •  

    Jay,

    You’re arguing in circles, and moving rapidly from gray areas to attempting to make everything black and white prohibition. First, let’s not call evil what God says is good. God repeatedly calls wine a gift. Wine with alcohol in it. He even says it’s a curse when Israel has no wine (Deut 28:39)

    Second, let’s learn how to reason morally within the gray areas. It is an uncomfortable place to be as a Baptist, I know (I am one). But we need to deal with it. It’s part of growing as a believer; learning to make decisions when you don’t have a black and white answer. The bigger problem is, when people hear the abstentionist/prohibitionist argument from Scripture and see the lack of scriptural support, you have lost their trust. If they can’t trust you to be fair with the evidence with alcohol, how can they trust you when it comes to, say, homosexuality? Dogmatic views on alcohol stand against Scripture, tarnish our witness, and decrease trust in our moral voice on other issues.

    Despite your statements to the contrary, you still think that drinking equals getting drunk. Otherwise, you would have no problem with people teaching moderation. It is beyond your comprehension that some people could enjoy a glass of wine over dinner. You need to seriously sit down and wrestle with this. Have you ever drank alcohol before? I’m not suggesting you go out and do so now, but perhaps your dogmatism here is a function of inexperience. If your only experience with alcohol involves drunkenness, perhaps it is time you spent time with a strong Christian man who enjoys alcohol in moderation. It could do much to redeem God’s good gift from a skewed view.

    Repentance is absolutely part of salvation. But drinking is not a sin. Drunkenness is the sin. Drunkenness is drinking too much, just like gluttony is eating too much (the Bible often places bread and wine together). If someone is guilty of drunkenness and comes to Christ, they must give it up. I would even encourage them not to drink, at least for a time. This is where the argument of idol meat comes in. If drunkenness is their idol, then they should handle with alcohol with extreme caution. If I am around someone who came from this sort of lifestyle, I absolutely will not drink. But the average Christian using this argument shows a complete misunderstanding of the context of 1 Corinthians 8 and Romans 14.

    If you want to compare drinking to sex, bringing in abstinence does not help your argument. Abstinence is the best policy ONLY for the unmarried. When you make this argument, you’re not considering Church history very carefully. The prohibition of sex (e.g. clerical celibacy – in similar fashion to Baptists requiring teetotalism in pastors), due to a misunderstanding of 1 Corinthians 7:6 (usually attributed to Augustine), has long been a problematic issue in the Church. What Augustine did for sex, the Prohibition and Temperance movements have done for alcohol. They have robbed the Church of God’s good gifts and condemned those who receive them from God in faith, with a clear conscience.

    I just completed writing a paper on this topic for Ethics class, and would highly commend to you Andre Bustanoby’s book The Wrath of Grapes: Drinking and the Church Divided, as well as Kenneth Gentry’s God Gave Wine: What the Bible Says About Alcohol. Both are even-handed surveys of the issues, with responses to many of the arguments made in the comments above. I’d also be happy to send you my paper if you’re interested.

  7. Mike   •  

    I found this quote from CS Lewis interesting in relation to the topic that will never end : )

    “One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting every one else to give it up. That is not the Christian way. An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons-marriage, or meat, or beer, or the cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning.”

  8. Stan stiles   •  

    The only problem with this is that the Bible never requires abstinence from alcohol. The argument that the wine of the Bible is different from the wine of today is silly – we have no idea what the wine of the Bible was like except to most assuredly affirm it was alcoholic – enough so to get drunk on.

  9. Jay   •  

    Andrew,
    Sin is not a gray area. Sin is black and white. Like I said earlier too many people think that if the Bible does not say “thou shall not…” then it is not a sin. The Bible teaches principles that we are to follow although it may not say thou shall not do this or that.

    God also called sin a mocker. Proverbs 20:1 says “wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” This verse does not say anything about drunkenness. You say drunkenness is drinking too much but how much is too much. Now I know some people say that you are “drunk” from the first drink and I don’t believe that. I am now saying that at all. But how much is too much? Is it only when you cannot stand up straight? Or when you are legally drunk in whatever state you live? The issue here is wisdom. Is it ever wise to drink? I believe in our culture, in America 2010, alcohol does too much damage for Christians to be promoting it. Again, read the article that I linked a few posts up. Those are lost scientists who are calling alcohol the worst drug in the world. Alcohol is a drug. It is addictive and it destroys the liver. How is it good to destroy your body? You don’t have to be an alcoholic to destroy your liver. When you become a pastor one day and you have to deal with the problem of alcohol in the church, you will see that it is a huge problem.

    I do have a problem with people teaching moderation because the people that you teach are not going to drink in moderation. I have a friend who goes to a Methodist church and he told me “they tell us at our church that it is not a sin to drink.” So he drinks all the time and gets drunk all of the time. I am not sure if this guy is a true believer. I have my doubts not because of his drinking but because I have known him my whole life and he lives like a lost person. But his church is not leading him to Christ. If he is a believer, his church is not helping him grow in his faith.

    You can deny it all you want but most people drink to get drunk. Why else would you drink? Because as Adam said on here it is pleasurable? What makes it pleasurable? It is the buzz you get, which is drunkenness. When you drink a glass of wine over dinner, do you then get behind the wheel? I said on here earlier and no one has ever commented on it, but every single person that I have ever known who drank alcohol at some point they have all driven while drunk. I can’t speak for everyone but every person that I have ever known drinks and drives at some point. Have you ever been behind the wheel drunk?

    Drunkenness is a sin and it is always associated with drinking. You cannot get drunk without drinking. When I compared drinking to sex I was making the point that abstinence always works 100% of the time it never fails. I was not saying that married people should not have sex. You are just trying to twist what I said. I was making the point about abstinence. I cannot find any good reason to drink. You drink because you want to. That is what it comes down to. You are the one who needs to sit down and wrestle with this especially if you are going to be a pastor on day. You have to consider what you “freedom” says to other people and how it affects others. I’m a pastor. If I drank my ministry would be over. I would be fired. You may think that I need to be teaching my church that drinking is ok so I could drink and then I wouldn’t get fired for drinking. You have to take into account our culture and the destruction that alcohol IS causing in America today.

    I thought about what you said about spending strong Christian who drinks and I don’t know any. I’m not just saying this. I’ve never even met a mature Christian who drinks. I’ve met a lot of immature Christians who drink. I do know more than one mature Christian who had held the same view that you hold till it hurt their witness. They actually had unbelievers reject their witness because they drank “moderately.” They have since changed their view on drinking. There are far more mature Christians who have the same view as I do like Danny Akin, Johnny Hunt and John MacArthur. You should listen to Johnny Hunt’s sermon I think it is titled “Should Christians drink?” I think you can google it and listen to it for free.

    John MacArthur says this about the qualifications of a pastor. “This quality is not concerned with whether or not he gets drunk. Obviously, someone given to drunkenness would in no way be qualified for the ministry. An elder who is not addicted to wine is a man who does not have a reputation as a drinker. He doesn’t frequent bars or involve himself in the scenes associated with drinking.”

    As Mike said above, this topic will never end so this will be my last post (I hope). Let’s consider others above ourselves. If drinking leads someone to reject Jesus then we should not drink. The wise thing to do is not drink.

  10. Andrew   •  

    Jay,

    You still are equating drinking with drunkenness. The proverb you quoted contains a literary device that you misinterpreted. Wine and strong drink are not the culprits. Wine does not mock, nor does strong drink brawl by themselves. These are poetic ways of expressing drunkenness.

    Notice that you are using culture to trump God’s Word. Every pastor you cited is American. Go back through Christian history before the 1800s and the story changes. Look at churches outside the US who have not been culturally reproduced by American missionaries. You will discover that this issue is viewed much differently. What about Luther, Wesley, and the Church Fathers? I believe it was Ambrose that listed among the qualities of heretics ‘those who refused wine.’

    If I have an occasional glass of wine over dinner I am not sinning. If I drink, it is very rare. So don’t hear me promoting the kind of drinking that you are assuming. I’m not drinking and driving. I’m not getting drunk. Don’t jump from having a drink to getting drunk. It is a careless argument and is unmoving to hurl these accusations. If you are going to accuse someone of sin, you better have the Bible backing you up.

  11. Andrew   •  

    Not unmoving. Unloving is what it should say. Silly auto correct.

  12. Jay   •  

    Here is the Bible backing it up.
    Isaiah 5:11; Proverbs 20:1; 23:20; Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:9-10, 12; Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 6; 1 Corinthians 9
    Believers are a “royal” or kingly priesthood (I Peter 2:9). We are the temple of God (I Peter 2:5). We are Gods special children and should choose total abstinence.
    Drinking, even social drinking, cannot be legitimately supported by the Bible. Every drink that is available today, even beer, falls into the category of unmixed or strong drink. Clearly, Christians should not drink alcoholic beverages. Drinking socially is a worldly activity and in light of the fact that believers are neither to be conformed to the world (Romans 12:2) nor love the world(I John 2:15) our choice should be clear. We ARE to be SEPARATE FROM the world (II Corinthians 6:17) and LIGHT TO the world (Ephesians 5:8; Phillipians 2:15). Perhaps social drinking has enhanced the acceptability of Christians in society, but it has not advanced the cause of Christ, and it does not glorify God! Social drinking is simply a means which the devil uses to blunt our testimony for Christ and squeeze us into his mold.
    You may not think that drinking is a sin but as Dr. Akin said “I challenge anyone to show me the superior wisdom of drinking “in moderation,” as opposed to not drinking at all.”
    This is my last post. May we all be wise and consider others above ourselves when we go out into a lost and dying world.

  13. Andrew   •  

    Verses against drunkenness are not verses against drinking.

  14. Adam Shields   •  

    Here is the best, post I have seen, with lots of biblical citations for why a blanket “no drinking” recommendation for others is the wrong biblical approach. Jay, I think this directly addresses your request for superior wisdom. I am not at all saying that you should drink. That is a decision for you to make. But saying to others that they should never drink is just not biblical.

    http://www.fundamentallyreformed.com/2006/03/20/wine-gladden-heart/

  15. Stan   •  

    2 questions that I always think of when engaging this debate
    1. does the bible indicate the relationship that a believer should have with alcohol?
    2. is that relationship one of abstinence?

    I think any honest bible scholar will answer yes to 1 and no to number 2. so with what authority can we encourage abstinence?

  16. Jerry   •  

    All of this discussion proves one thing, those who want to drink – will, no matter the harm. Moderation is not a Biblical principle to apply to anything that could be harmful.

  17. Ian Thomason   •  

    It’s one thing to recommend abstinence for Christians, and altogether another to demand it (for example, of those who would exercise leadership in a church). I personally find it illuminative that: (a) Jesus was called a ‘winebibber’; and (b) that he was harshest in his condemnation against those who, by erecting “hedges around the law”, introduced commandments that God nowhere commanded.

  18. Donald   •  

    I cannot understand the courts ruling against the tobacco industry and not the liquor industry as well. The law suit had to do with the tremendous medical bills that resulted from the use of tobacco. But what about the cost of alcohol? I have never know anyone to commit crimes of murder, spousal abuse, car accidents, plus the suffering of hungry children, unpaid bills, etc, because someone smoked too many cigarettes. I understand that there are problems with other sins we Christians tolerate in our personal lives. But many of those sins that have been mentioned in these postings do not have the destructive effects as serious as alcohol does in our society and churches. (This does not justify their existence, I know) How anyone in any way would come to the defense even just for the occasional drink is sad. The fruit alone that alcohol has produced through the centuries of time would seem to prohibit such action regardless of whether the Bible forbids it or not. Where is the common sense in this? If the only defense one has when there is any kind of wrong behavior or attitude pointed out is that of pointing out another’s short comings, then your defense is very weak indeed.

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