The Absurdity Of Arguing Alcohol
Before I start, people have a right to know where I stand. I have never been an alcoholic, I feel free in Christ to drink without getting drunk, yet I have made a personal decision not to drink. The church organization that I am going to pursue ministerial credentials asks their ministers to abstain from drinking. I am writing this because some scruples are not shared by others and I would rather see a wholistic view of drinking in regards to the Bible rather than emotional and potentially manipulative arguments for a well-meaning cause. Alcohol does help cause pain but there are people behind it also.
I have seen a growing trend in pastors who are either all for drinking alcohol or completely against it. I rarely see a biblical stand of moderation while considering Paul’s thoughts on abstaining from anything that causes a “weaker” Christian trouble. I saw a 50 reasons a pastor doesn't drink article shared a bunch of times and I remember that when I initially went to read it, I could not even get through the whole thing. Why? Because I kept asking the question “what about….” As in the same argument can be made against other things that pastors do and don't think twice about. So whether or not I ever post this for the world to see, I have decided to argue with each of the 50.
Listen to our discussion on Christians drinking alcohol
The Article is "50 Reasons Why I Don't Drink" by Jamie Morgan.
- Any mind altering substances should be fought against including medication for mental illness (since God made us with chemical imbalances) and caffeine.
- Alcohol can be used for cleansing and Paul assign alcohol for stomach pain (1 Timothy 5:23).
- "My job and wife depress me", I guess I should avoid them at all costs.
- This is one of the only arguments that has true validity, but where do we stop? Paul even said about not eating meat, but we are still eating meat when we have vegan congregants?
- So does adrenaline, trying to impress a girl, and music, but we aren't outlawing them.
- This is such a cliche statement. So do many people but we are called to love them. Should I love alcohol? No of course not.
- I can see this for some things but I've never seen a moderate prayer with kids praying in excess.
- Yet, Catholics are able to drink and no one questions it. Its just a cultural thing that Protestants don't or shouldn’t drink.
- This could be said about anything we do and someone has a false expectation, but could you offend someone? maybe. Have the beer with your neighbor after some hard work, unless it really would be a stumbling block.
- I can't see this statement being true in situations of true temperance. This is true of getting drunk.
- I guess all of those Christians who take medication for their insomnia are going to be drowsy for Jesus.
- This again is a reactionary statement of growing up with alcoholic parents. Show me a wealthy family that wouldn't be better of not having as much money as they do? It is hard for a wealthy man….
- But drinking that wine along with bread should.
- I hope you drive 2 miles an hour under the speed limit. Going even 1 mile an hour over is breaking the law.
- This is another argument that I agree with. We have to be aware of things that tempt us.
- Is this such a bad thing? All the church buzz words about being transparent and authentic. if you have a filter, what are you keeping from us?
- Yes, so are prescribed medications from doctors. I hope women like natural births and people like feeling the pain of surgery.
- Yes, so is caffeine, hope you are a denomination that doesn't drink caffeine.
- Yes, but so is food, sex, and a host of other things that we worship rather than God.
- This of all the other regrets that are not associated with alcohol! That is a lot more! it's all the other ones.
- A drink? Maybe it wouldn’t have. All the drinks? Okay you are out of control.
- Normally wouldn’t? Or want to but won’t? There is a difference.
- Nope: Does Alcohol Kill Brain Cells?
- Again anything can be a false peace, but are you saying the peace someone finds from anxiety disorders in medication false or counterfeit?
- I guess Jesus who drank wine and made wine or Timothy who Paul told to drink colored too far and will not enter. Poor Jesus. Never gets to go home.
- So are video games and movies, but yeah Alcohol costs a lot. Hopefully you are a cute girl who people give free drinks to.
- I am too lazy to check this statistic but if it’s like most statistics…. old or made up.
- So do women, sleep, and Netflix.
- I don’t think it's fair that having a drink makes someone stupid. What about cooking with it?
- People ruin marriages.
- I agree. Now go and do likewise.
- So does sleeping. So do many medications.
- That is true but the same goes for anything.
- Your testimony is tarnished by you. Alcohol may be a part of that but make no mistake, it is ourselves who tarnish it.
- No, my teenager is underage = against the law. That is why. My first drink was in my kitchen with my father on my 21st birthday.
- Neither am I, but I am redeemed and what God has made clean do not say is unclean.
- You have never prayed after a drink? I have.
- Going on a date or driving also do not mix with studying the Bible. But I think I can have a drink and still read it.
- Okay, This one is true.
- My life is broken without Alcohol.
- Same as caffeine and medications. No more coffee or doctor visits. Jesus will heal you.
- You picked things you believe to be inherently bad and then compared alcohol to them. How about moderate eating? Yes? We talk about doing things in moderation but then picked things people would agree we shouldn't do at all.
- I guess television and Netflix are out.
- So can Alzheimer’s but are those people no longer saved?
- Soda doesn't taste like alcohol. You know some people actually drink and spit it out. Plus I'm pretty sure soda is worse for you.
- Yes, we cannot look for joy in anything else. Not your spouse or children or job or hobbies.
- … Let's be honest, they were already there.
- I hope your family does not do that. Ever read Pilgrim’s Progress?
- Anyone who puts his hand to the plow and looks back… it’s not just having 2 drinks that keeps people from running the race.
- For every argument there is the true Biblical standpoint that we should be looking at.
What's the Bible have to say?
Now that we have moved past that, we can look at a few accounts of Alcohol in the Bible (this is no way exhaustive).
I want to first want to bring up Ephesians 5:18, which clearly says not to get drunk. That’s that. Now we just have to decide how much is too much and if having any is too much.
In Genesis 9:20-27 Noah gets drunk after they are off the ark and some scholars believe that when his son uncovered his nakedness it means that his son had sex with him while he was drunk. Noah curses him for seeing him naked? I doubt that… Noah cursed his son for raping him. Can we blame alcohol for this? No. Just like someone drunk at a party is not responsible for someone raping them. It is important to note that this is a time when someone was drunk, which I believe the Bible always condemns. Alcohol does make us more vulnerable the more of it that we consume and a real lesson to be learned is that we should consider everything that we put into our bodies that make use more vulnerable to things.
John 2:1-11 Jesus made water into wine and and the person in charge of the party says that its the best wine. Was Jesus enabling people to get blitzed? Also, I find it interesting that in Matthew 11:18-19, Jesus talks about the reception that John the Baptist and He received pointing out that one abstained from everything and the other partook in everything, with the end result being the same: people still did not listen. They accused Jesus of being a glutton and a drunkard because of the parties with undesirable people that He attended.
Some people use Galatians 5:19-24 to show how drunkards do not “inherit the kingdom of God” but I am pretty sure everyone fits into a category that is within this list. Jealousy? Envy? On those two alone I believe we have all failed, yet since we can see someone having a drink (since a drink is apparently one too many) and condemn them. The fruit of the Spirit offered in verse 22 seem to be in essence the exact opposite of the previous list of the works off the flesh. Certainly getting drunk can be at odds with the fruits of the Spirit (especially self-control).
Josh wrote a great post using Leviticus 10 and Hebrews 7 to make a case that Christians should abstain form alcohol because they are all priests and God told the priests not to drink when they met with God, but even Josh concedes that there is a flaw in the argument.
Numbers 6:1-21 describes a special vow people could take dedicating themselves to God (The Nazirite Vow). Although, there are many stipulations for what one does and what they avoid when they take this vow, I want to point out verse 3 and 4 that say that the person has to abstain from any strong drink and anything that has to do with grapes at all (juice, the fruit, seed, or skin). They were to abstain from the thing that gave them the most common strong drink as well! If you accept that you shouldn't get drunk but you don't follow Josh’s logic, maybe it’s time to take some time away from alcohol to dedicate yourself to God through prayer and reading the Bible to really get a handle on what the Bible has to say about this subject (maybe start with our several blogs: 1, 2, 3). When you begin make a decision on how long you will do this for and stick to it. At the end, see if you have learned anything new about the alcohol debate and consider if God is asking for you to give it up completely. If you do this, be ready to do whatever God asks of you, don't live in denial of what God tells you during this time.
Alcohol and many other drugs are dangerous. Addiction of any kind seems to be something that comes between us and our relationship with God. The only thing that it seems to be that we cannot over partake in is in fact God Himself. Yet, that does not even mean to listen to God focused music, pray alone or read the Bible all day. There is an aspect of God that we cannot know if we neglect to share what God has done. If God has freed you from the clutches of alcoholism, by all means share so we may all celebrate with you. Share so that others may know not to tempt you with your vice and even keep you accountable. But do not share as though your vice is another’s. Theirs could be “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, orgies and things like these,” yet you ignore those because you have not dealt with those and you condemn one who does not struggle with drinking for a glass, all the while he is addicted to the rush that comes from stirring up trouble and watching the world burn.
Please see the absurdity in having an over-developed stance on one thing, while not applying the underlying ramifications outwards to other relevant things. When people hear our words, the words will strike a nerve in different ways with people and either we can end up with someone who thinks it's okay to get drunk all the time or someone who thinks they cannot take their medication since it affects them in a similar way to alcohol; we can end up with someone who thinks it's okay to do drugs besides alcohol or someone who breaks every one the list save drunkenness.
That is why we do what we do here at Empty Church. We want to have the hard conversations. The ones that could cause trouble. We want to talk out what we believe so that we can see the bigger picture. We need to talk so that we can see how we have not applied what we believed evenly or fairly. The more we talk things through and learn more, the closer to the truth we can get.
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