Saturday, July 21, 2007

Scattered Thoughts Series: Strong Drinks & The Believer

These are some thoughts I've arrived at in different ways, some in the past and some more recently. Some might seem obvious, but I hope they shed some light or bring some interesting questions into your mind.

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Recently Ian had an interesting post that brought my mind to the subject of alcohol. I agree with Ian that wine, and other forms of alcohol are a gift of God that can be legitimately used. I choose to abstain--in moderation, that is. :) I like the occasional wine or beer

This is something I've considered before. There are all sorts of positions people take, both regarding personal consumption and regarding whether others should be allowed to do so.

Rather than writing something new, I just want to repost to something I've written in the past. I think it still generally reflects how I feel now:

May Christians consume alcohol?

Yes. Consider the following:

  1. Alcohol was a part of the Jewish ceremonies and an accepted part of their religion (Ge.14:18, Ex.29:37-40, Nu.15:7, Ne.10:39).
  2. Alcohol has spiritual significance for the New Covenant believer (Is.55:1, Mat.9:17, Lu.22:20).
  3. Alcohol is characterized in the Scriptures as a gift of God (Ge.27:28, De.7:3, De.14:26, Joel 2:19).
  4. Alcohol is characterized as a cheerful and joyful thing before God and man (Ju.9:13, Ps.104:14-15, Ec.9:7).
  5. The Scriptures indicate that alcohol has its time and its place to be used (Pr.31:6).
  6. Jesus Christ Himself partook of alcohol (Lu.7:33-34, Jh.2, etc.).
  7. Alcohol is recommended in the New Testament because of its healing properties (I Ti.5:23)


As many of us have witnessed with our own eyes, there are great dangers in becoming drunk and the Bible has specific warnings to drunkards (Ge.9:21, Ge.19:32, Pr.20:1, Pr.21:17, Pr. 23:21, Pr.23:31, Pr.31:4, Is.5:11, Is.5:22, Is.28:7, Hs.4:11, Joel 1:5, Tit.2:3, I Pe.4:3, I Co.5:11). This is the very reason why God made regulations regarding drinking alcohol (Lev.10:9, Eze.44:21,
Ep.5:18, I Ti.3, Ti.1:7), but He never outright forbids it.

It is worthy of noting that in Bible times there were certain vows/oaths that caused a person to abstain from drinking (Nu.6:3). Also, abstaining from strong drinks was often a sign of concecration (I Sa.1:15, Da.10:3, Lu.1:15, Lu.7:33).

It must be said that we need to be sensitive to the weaknesses of those around us. We shouldn't drink if it will cause someone around
us to sin (Ro.14:21).

A Christian can enjoy moderate alcohol consumption with a good conscience! "Wine maketh glad the heart of man" (Ps.104:15 - KJV).

The Bible allows for two points of view regarding consumption of alcohol:

A) It can be harmful, so I will consume it in moderation

B) It can be harmful, so I will abstain.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous JP said...

Dear Mark,

For your entertainment/shock/bemusement let me report to you a part of a sermon that I heard by the leading theologian of a certain denomination. He was preaching (I think) on the wedding at Cana, or at least that incident came into the sermon. Then in the midst of the sermon, he stated (with some satisfaction I think) that he was going to prove theologically that the wine Jesus created was not and could not have been alcoholic…yes now I’ve got your interest, he certainly got mine…I paraphrase….

Jesus, the Son of God could not and would not have created alcoholic wine because alcoholic wine exhibits the signatures of sinful corruption…i.e fermentation is consequence of the Fall and the Son of God would not and could not have created anything that was tinged with the consequences of the Fall. I kid you not. Now I’ll not get into this now but I think he is completely mixed up in his understanding of creation/providence/miracle but with regard to his main thesis he is completely wrongheaded.

His thesis is of course a complete nonsense and we can easily prove it is nonsense by going to the most famous miracle of all..the feeding of the five thousand….is bread not equally the result of yeast fermentation and yes Christ “miracled” so much of it that there was 12 baskets of left-overs….Ah! some might say the bread was unleavened, maybe, but the fish was DEAD, plain dead, leave it a few more hours and it would be rotten!...what exhibits the consequences of the Fall more than the death of a once living, breathing creature…and yet again Jesus turned a few small dead fishes into great piles of dead fishes!

Be aware brethren, you may get hit with this argument in the future, maybe it’s not new to you, but it was new to me.

JP

4:39 AM  
Blogger Ian said...

Great post Mark! Well balanced.

4:06 PM  
Blogger David said...

JP,

I just ran across this post and across your comment, but I am curious how your argument that Jesus would not have created alcoholic wine relates to sex. Is Jesus not allowed to create something that can be misused in one context and lawfully enjoyed in another? God created sex and we know that it can be misused or lawfully enjoyed. I guess I don't see why you're saying that Jesus wouldn't have created alcoholic wine. Could you elaborate?

11:01 PM  
Anonymous JP said...

David,

EEEEK!....it's not my argument....it's someone elses I was just pointing it out...I agree with you! Your point merely adds to my point that the other's person's argument is fallicious, because the wine he miracles at Cana was indeed alcoholic I believe.

JP

2:17 AM  

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