Friday, October 15, 2010

Is it okay for Christians to drink Alcoholic Beverages?

Popping the top of a can of beer that’s just above the freezing point is a nice way to bring a hard day’s work to an end. A nice glass of wine with supper can make a good meal taste even better. There’s nothing wrong with Christians partaking in these alcohol drinking activities--or is there? Is it okay for Christians to drink alcoholic beverages?

From my vast experience with Christian churches (as an adult, I’ve lived in 3 countries, 8 states and 22 different cities, and I’ve attended churches in each of them), I feel safe in saying that most churches heavily frown on its members drinking alcohol; and most, if not almost all of them required their leadership to completely abstain from all alcoholic beverages at all times (although I did speak with one pastor who offered to drink a beer with me and I’m related to another pastor who will drink a beer or two). But, is this requirement biblical? Is complete abstinence from alcohol commanded by Christ?

Now, let me say up front that I do drink beer, I like it, it taste good, and it’s relaxing; I don’t like wine or liquor, but that’s a personal preference. So I say the answer to my question is a resounding NO. I think it is a game of “I’m holier than you” when Christian put down and/or forbid others from drinking alcoholic beverages.

I will present scripture that allows me, as a Christian, to drink alcoholic beverages and I dare anyone to point out scripture that forbids it. There is not one verse in the whole Bible, Old or New Testament, that forbids God’s followers from drinking any alcoholic beverage. I know because I’ve looked.

Let’s look now at a few verses that ALLOW us to eat or DRINK anything we want:

Colossians 2:16-17 – Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:31 – So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

And how about this one:

1 Timothy 5:23 - Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.

People like to say, “Well, Paul was really talking about grape juice there, wine back then was only what we call grape juice today.”

Really? Then why did Paul write in Ephesians 5:18 – “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery?” It’s the same word and same meaning.

It even seems that Jesus drank wine on occasion, as in these following verses:

John 2:1-11 - Jesus Changes Water to Wine. The Word doesn’t say that He did in fact drink wine that day, but it doesn’t say that He didn’t either (what else would He have drank?).

Matthew 26:29 - I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom.

This verse definitely says that Jesus was a wine drinker; and again, their wine was not our grape juice.

The main problem here is that some people like to add to scripture, as if they know better than God; they know better what people should do to be “holy”. They think of themselves to be wiser than the writers of the Bible. But look at what these verses say:

Matt 15:6-9 Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’

1 Corinthians 6:12 – Everything is permissible for me—but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me—but I will not be mastered by anything.

1 Cor 4:6 Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.”

Rev 20:18, 19 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

Alcohol is not, in and of itself, sinful to indulge in. It is drunkenness and addiction to alcohol that a Christian must absolutely refrain from. We must know what the Bible says; know what our freedoms are and what our restrictions are. It’s better to follow the Bible than to obey man-made rules that add to the Bible, as the Pharisees did and were condemned by Jesus.

No comments: