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Alcohol and the Bible:

27 Apr

Wine, one sip of this will bathe the drooping spirits in delight beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise and taste.

                                   ~ John Milton

I think it is a great error to consider a heavy tax on wines as a tax on luxury.  On the contrary, it is a tax on the health of our citizens. 

~ Thomas Jefferson

We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana as of a miracle.  But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes.  Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes, to be changed into wine;  a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy. 

~ Benjamin Franklin

This is what men say about wine, but what does God say about alcohol?

I was raised under the teaching that Scripture condemns the consumption of alcohol. There came a point in my life when I began to examine every teaching and belief in light of the teaching of Scripture. I embarked on a journey to discover what Scripture really taught about this issue. It may very well condemn the consumption of alcohol in any form. That was fine with me, but I wanted to know I was thoroughly biblical in my position on this issue.

Those who are reading this and were taught as I was are more than familiar with such passages as Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” and Proverbs 23:31 “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.”* [one should note that the context of this verse is one of drunkenness, not that it is a sin for one to even see a glass of wine. John Gill states, “not that it is unlawful to look upon the colour of wine, and thereby judge of its goodness; but it should not be looked upon with a greedy eye, so as vehemently to desire it, which will lead to an intemperate use of it; just as looking upon a woman, so as to lust after her, is forbidden, Matthew 5:28; ”]

I must confess that although I have been asked multiple times to voice my stance on alcohol, I have delayed. The reason being I really do not wish for my blog to be the host of a “beer battle”. I realize that no matter which side I come down on concerning this issue there are God-fearing people that take the opposite view and I do not want to stir anyone up to anger. What I have decided to do is to post a few Scriptures clearly speak of fermented wine and provide some commentary throughout.

I will then conclude with sharing my stance on this issue.

*Please note that I realize that every time the word “wine” is used in Scripture it is not always speaking of fermented drink. I am only going to list verses that are clearly speaking of fermented wine or strong drink and give a brief reference to the definition of the word translated in the original languages. Also note that I am not going to list every verse in Scripture as I do not think it is necessary. One can get a proper view of whether Scripture condemns or condones the consumption of fermented wine without knowing every single verse that addresses the issue.

The following verse use the Hebrew #3196 yayin yah’-yin
from an unused root meaning to effervesce; wine (as fermented); by implication, intoxication:–banqueting, wine, wine(-bibber).

It should be clearly evident that the wine mentioned in these verses is not merely grape juice. I would urge also you to read each verse withing context.

Genesis 9:21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.

While it is true that Noah was drunk off the wine this verse does not condemn the consumption of alcohol. We must let Scripture condemn it, not the abuse of man. Men abuse food and sex as well as alcohol and we do not condemn the enjoyment of either of those two gifts of God.

Genesis 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.

It is worth noting that the priest of the most high God provided fermented wine.

Genesis 27:25 And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine, and he drank.

Here, Abraham’s drinking is not condemned, but presented as a normal, acceptable action.

Genesis 49:12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

Here Abraham is blessing Judah and expressing how God’s favor would manifest itself. Fermented wine is here said to be a blessing from God.

Exodus 29:40 And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering.

Leviticus 23:13 And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin.

Numbers 15:5 And the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering shalt thou prepare with the burnt offering or sacrifice, for one lamb.

Numbers 15:10 And thou shalt bring for a drink offering half an hin of wine, for an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.

In the previous section of verses it should be noted that The LORD is commanding that fermented wine be offered up to Him. We are not to offer God that which is wicked, nor would God command us to do so. Yet here, He commands wine to be offered thus declaring it to be good and pleasing unto Him.

Numbers 6:20 And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine.

God expressly says that after the Nazarite has fulfilled his vow he may partake of fermented wine.

Deuteronomy 14:26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,

The Israelites are told to go purchase wine and strong drink and to partake of it in celebration before The LORD.

Deuteronomy 28:39 Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them.

Here, God says that He will not permit them to drink fermented wine made from the vineyard that they toil in as judgment. God’s not letting them drink fermented wine is part of their judgment that is couples with poor crop production. Fermented wine is clearly a sign of God’s blessing.

Judges 13:4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:

Judges 13:7 But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.

Judges 13:14 She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe.

She was not to drink fermented wine or strong drink during pregnancy as her child was to be a Nazarite from birth and for his life long. Remember, once the vow was fulfilled a Nazarite could drink fermented wine.

2 Samuel 16:2 And the king said unto Ziba, What meanest thou by these? And Ziba said, The asses be for the king’s household to ride on; and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat; and the wine, that such as be faint in the wilderness may drink.

1 Chronicles 9:29 Some of them also were appointed to oversee the vessels, and all the instruments of the sanctuary, and the fine flour, and the wine, and the oil, and the frankincense, and the spices.

Fermented wine was in the sancturary of God and had a place in worship. This would mean those who were given charge over the wine would have to look on it, as well as those offering it had to look on it. This verse causes one to re-evaluate his interpretation of Prover 23:31 if they hold to the view that God tells us not to merely look at a glass of wine, for it is the very same wine that was here being guarded for the LORD.

1 Chronicles 12:40 Moreover they that were nigh them, even unto Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, brought bread on asses, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, and meat, meal, cakes of figs, and bunches of raisins, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep abundantly: for there was joy in Israel.

1 Chronicles 27:27 And over the vineyards was Shimei the Ramathite: over the increase of the vineyards for the wine cellars was Zabdi the Shiphmite:

Psalms 104:15 And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.

Fermented wine is explicitly said to be a gift of God.

Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

We are not to be deceived by it. This is not to say that one must not drink it, for we know from the previous Scriptures that fermented wine is a blessing from God and the priests were to offer it to the LORD. We also know Solomon drank wine, and as we will see in future verse, even compared love to it.

Proverbs 23:20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:

Proverbs 23:30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.

Again, wine is not condemned, but the abuse of it is.

Proverbs 23:31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.

Don’t lust for fermented wine.

Proverbs 31:4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:

the context here is drinking to the point of drunkenness.

Ecclesiastes 9:7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.

Song of Solomon 1:2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.

Song of Solomon 1:4 Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.

Song of Solomon 2:4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.

Song of Solomon 4:10 How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!

Song of Solomon 5:1 I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.

Song of Solomon 7:9 And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.

Song of Solomon 8:2 I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother’s house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.

Isaiah 5:11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!

Again, drunkenness is condemned, not merely consuming it.

Isaiah 16:10 And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither shall there be shouting: the treaders shall tread out no wine in their presses; I have made their vintage shouting to cease.

The lack of fermented wine is a sign of God’s judgement.

Isaiah 24:9 They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it.

Isaiah 24:11 There is a crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone.

Isaiah 28:7 But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.

They erred, not in drinking, but drinking to excess.

Isaiah 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Here is a gospel plea. Eternal life is compared to fermented wine.

Zephaniah 1:13 Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.

Again, God denies people the pleasure of fermented wine as a form of judgement.

Now for a few New Testament referrences.

The N.T. Greek word is #3631 oinos oy’-nos
a primary word (or perhaps of Hebrew origin (3196)); “wine” (literally or figuratively):–wine.
See Hebrew 3196

Notice that it points back to the same word as we just finished viewing the Old Testament usage of.

Matthew 9:17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

Luke 7:33-34 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!

Jesus drank fermented wine and was falsely accused of being a drunkard.

Luke 10:34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

Fermented wine has healing properties.

John 2:3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.

John 2:9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,

John 2:10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

Some say this was not fermented wine (AKA grape juice). There is nothing in the context to say so and we have already seen where Jesus drank fermented wine. The O.T. Has established that the abundance of wine was a sign of God’s blessing as well as using it as a picture of the beauty of the gospel.

Romans 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

No one stumbles over a Christian drinking grape juice. Paul is not condemning the consumption of alcohol, rather he is saying not to enjoy wine in the presence of a weaker brother.

Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Again, the abuse of wine is condemned, not the consumption of it.

1 Timothy 3:8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

Deacons are not to be drunkards

1 Timothy 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.

Fermented wine is good for medicinal reasons.

Titus 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

Godly women consume fermented wine in moderation not excess.

Summary:

It should be apparent from the passages listed that wine is not condemned in Scripture. From the Old Testament and into the New Testament, fermented wine is seen to be a blessing from God and a thing to be enjoyed in moderation. Now having said that, I do not think it is necessary or good for everyone to drink. Per Romans 14, if you have scruples about it in your conscience then do not partake of alcohol. My only warning would be for those who choose this option not to condemn your brother who does enjoy his God given liberty in consuming alcohol in moderation. It is my opinion that those who try to depict alcohol as “the devil’s brew” instead of a gift from God are misrepresenting the teaching of Scripture as well as calling good evil. They miss some of the strongest illustrative references to the power of the gospel as well as place unbiblical rules on other believers. Let us make sure we are not trying to be more holy than Jesus.

PS. Some of you may have noticed that I quoted from the KJV. I have done this as I am certain that many who read this post and find themselves on the side that believes Scripture condemns the consumption of alcohol will also happen to exclusively use the KJV. I hope that by reading these passages in their favored translation it will help them process what is presented a bit more easily.

 
11 Comments

Posted by on April 27, 2011 in Culture, Legalism

 

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11 responses to “Alcohol and the Bible:

  1. David Trent

    April 27, 2011 at 10:16 am

    This was a well written post and I agree that Scripture does not condemn the wise moderate use of alcohol. However, I do think there are other principles to consider before “enjoying” that liberty.

    The primary principle I am speaking of comes from 1 Corinthians 6:12 which, in context, deals with fleeing sexual immorality. It does however give us a filter through which to wisely exercise any liberty we have in Christ. It says:

    “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”

    Let me give what I think is a practical application of that verse. First, people cannot only be influenced by alcohol, which would be sinful, but also can come completely under its control (power). Studies I have researched say that about one out of every seven casual users of alcohol become alcoholics or binge drinkers. Others say that number could be two out of every ten but I think that may be a little high.

    So, let’s say you have a new neighbor you want to get to know. He has a big fenced back yard with a moderately sized friendly looking mutt of a dog in it. You and you children go to the fence one day when the neighbor is in his back yard and ask if you can came in and speak to him and let the kids play with the dog. He says “Sure, come on in but, I need to tell you that my dog attacks one out of every seven people who comes inside the fence!”

    My guess is that even though you now have a legal right to enter the neighbor’s property that you would not enjoy that liberty as much, or not exercise it at all, knowing that you or one of your children could be attacked. It would be “lawful” but clearly not “helpful”!

    Liberty comes with great responsibility to exercise it wisely and graciously. Again, I am not condemning the wise moderate use of alcohol but, we cannot escape the fact that alcohol can be, and is, dangerous and destructive for many people. Therefore, I personally choose not to partake of it in any amount.

     
    • danielpulliam

      April 27, 2011 at 11:46 am

      Bro. Trent! Great to hear from you, and thanks for reading and commenting. This post was about whether alcohol is biblically condemned, whether one enjoys it or not is an issue for maybe another post. 🙂 but I can understand your decision to not drink alcohol, and I respect that. However I think your illustration is flawed. Your illustration equates alcohol to a dog that attacks peolple, but alcohol is not animate. It does not have feelings that it expresses by biting people. Alcohol destroys people who give in to misusing it. It is no different than food or sex. Think of it this way: obesity is a huge issue in America (pun intended). Since over-eating causes it, and scripture condemns gluttony, then why not abstain from McDonalds, pizza, ice cream, or anything that tastes good? If food tasted horrible then people wouldn’t over indulge. Why give your children ice cream as they could grow up to be diabetic? Or how about sex? Immorality is rampant in America. Since so many people abuse it why not tell people to abstain completely from sex? A man could marry, have sex with his wife, but grow tired of her over the years and want that young, first time feeling again. He may divorce his wife for a new girl. Had he not experienced the pleasure the first time then he wouldn’t know the joy and wouldn’t be immoral.
      I’m not trying to be rude or vulgar, I just am trying to show how fear is used inconsistently. I don’t think every Christian should drink just because he can. Some may choose to abstain, that is wonderful! But scripture clearly says alcohol is a gift from God, so I think comparingg it to a dangerous dog is inconsistent with Scripture. It is not the wine that is dangerous, it is the wicked heart of man. Again, if it is a stumbling block for an individual then they should not drink. But the point of the postt is to establish if wine is wicked. I hope this helps clarify my position. God bless, brother!

       
  2. Adam Jones

    April 27, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Dave,
    I was driven to undertake the same study, for the same reasons, and concluded the same conclusion. There is not greater satisfaction then sipping a glass of wine as meal time or drinking a bottle of my fave beer before bed and know that I God delights in me (moderately) delighting in my drink. I am all the more satisfied in my Creator when I read, “For EVERYTHING created by God (grapes, barley, hops, wheat, etc) IS GOOD, and NOTHING is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the Word of God, and prayer.” 1 Tim. 4:4-5 (ESV). Yes, I do think God for the wine/beer before I drink it. Thanks for the post!

     
    • Karen

      July 23, 2011 at 10:40 am

      Actually, 1 Tim 4:4 says “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:” If you step back to verse 3 Paul is talking about others “commanding to abstain from meats…” People need to be careful about all these versions of the Bible out there. They are not all correct with the original text and they do mislead on what the Lord has originally said. According to history the English King James version lines up most accurately with original Hebrew and Greek text. All other English versions should be compared with the King James. If one does this the inaccuracies of some other versions will present themselves. The King James version was translated by 6 separate groups of 9 experts in the Hebrew and Greek language. All of their translations were checked and rechecked. Any issues with understanding the King James can be helped with the Strong’s concordance of the Bible. The Bible was never to be considered an easy read as is presented with many English versions. It is to be studied, contemplated, and meditated on so that the Holy Spirit will show us the way without using our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5, Luke 12:12, John 14:26).

      I agree wholeheartedly with David Trent. There is wisdom in what he is saying.We can also go back to the first instructions of the priests and “all generations of priests thereafter” by the Lord. Any contact with the Lord in the Temple they were not to have drank wine (Leviticus 10). We as the children of God are called to be priests (Rev. 1:5-6, 1 Peter 2:5) and to desire and walk in the presence of the Lord continually (many references in Psalms).

       
      • danielpulliam

        July 23, 2011 at 3:47 pm

        The KJV is a good translation, Karen, but even the translators themselves said that their word was not without error. They were knowledgable, but they did not have the resources we have today. The 6 groups each took a portion of the Scripture and translated it. One of those groups were dedicated to the apocrypha, which is no longer a part of the KJV. As for the greek underlying the KJV, the TR, it doesn’t match the Majority Text. Actually no other greek text read like the TR. It contains verses that weren’t in any of the original greek texts. The KJV is not the standard to which other English translations are to be compared. I appreciate your comments on the KJV, but I must say you are historically, and textually wrong.
        As for the priests relationship from the OT to the NT, the priests were not to drink wine when they entered the tent of meeting, but the could drink it at meals and weddings and feasts, etc. Paul, Peter, the rest of the apostls, as well as those they taught, drank wine. If one wishes to abstain from it unto the LORD they may, but it is not accurate to say one must abstain from it as we are continually in the presense of God now. We will drink wine at the marriage supper and we will be in the presence of God. Jesus was God in the flesh, He was continually in the presence of the Father, and he drank wine.. He even made it. If the Leviticus idea is to be true then we also cannot wear cotton and polyester blend clothing, nor can we eat pork. Paul’s reasoning in 1 Timothy applies to wine as well as meats. People can’t condemn meat as it is part of God’s creation, nor can they condemn wine. It is good and is not to be refused. David said in the Psalms that wine comes from God and is given to gladden the heart of man.
        Again, seeing as the apostles drank wine, the early church drank wine (even used it in their communion – see Corinthians) and Jesus drank wine (he was called a drunk and a glutton) and these men and church members were in the presence of God and not condemned for drinking it, there is no reason to condemn it now. Even early church history shows us they used wine in communion.
        Again, if one wishes to abstain, that is wonderful! But one does’t have biblical grounds to say no Christian should enjoy alcohol.
        Romans 14 addresses this issue also, and paul even mentions wine along with meat.

         
      • danielpulliam

        July 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm

        Karen, I realize this is not a post concerning the KJVO movement, but I made a few statements and would like to provide some evidence to substantiate it as I do not believe one should just accept something without sufficient evidence as this is not what faith really is. Anyway. i had said that the TR, the underlying text of the KJV, is contains verses that are not found in any other greek text before it… here is a bit of proof for one to research if they so desire.

        “One of those readings produced by Erasmus that lacks any Greek manuscript support is the reference to the “book of life” in Rev. 22:19. All Greek manuscripts read “tree of life”; not a single one reads “book of life.” The corruption of “tree” into “book” occurred in Latin when a careless or sleepy scribe miscopied the correct ligno (tree) as though it were the similar-appearing libro (book). When Erasmus back-translated from Latin, he introduced for the first time ever in Greek the reading “book of life” in Rev. 22:19, and by the slavish reprinting of Erasmus’ text by later editors, the reading “book of life” found its way into the textus receptus and the King James Version, even though it is completely without support of any kind in any Greek manuscript.

        But not only in Rev. 22:15-21 do readings without Greek manuscript support occur. One lengthy insertion made by Erasmus on the basis of the Latin Vulgate and not on the basis of Greek manuscripts is found in Acts 9:5-6. The words (as found in the King James Version), “it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished, said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said to him,” are not found in any Greek manuscript of Acts. Where did they come from? Erasmus found the passage in the Vulgate as he knew it but not in the Greek; nevertheless, he inserted the words into his Greek text, borrowing those forming part of verse 5 from the parallel passage in Acts 26:14, and back-translating those forming part of verse 6 from Latin into Greek. (See Hills, The King James Version Defended, p. 201.) The slavish reprinting of Erasmus’ text by later editors resulted in the textus receptus and the King James Version reading in Acts 9:5-6 as no Greek manuscript on earth has ever read. In fact, in more than twenty places, Erasmus’ Greek text is not supported by any known Greek manuscript (Schaff, p. 231).”

        http://kjvonly.org/doug/kutilek_erasmus.htm

        again, thank you for your taking time to read and comment.

         
  3. David Trent

    May 3, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Brother Daniel,
    I understood the purpose of your post was to show biblical grounds that the moderate use of alcohol is not wicked or to be condemned. I have studied this topic myself and have come up with the same conclusion. However, my purpose was to show that there are other biblical principles that are just as important which help us regulate (not legalistically prohibit) our liberties.

    I feel I need to address one issue with your response. You said:

    “However I think your illustration is flawed. Your illustration equates alcohol to a dog that attacks peolple, but alcohol is not animate. It does not have feelings that it expresses by biting people. Alcohol destroys people who give in to misusing it. It is no different than food or sex”

    I agree that my illustration is “flawed” as most illustrations tend to be. I wanted to point out that the lives, families, and reputations of many people have been destroyed when alcohol has been misused. I would also say that comparing alcohol to food and sex is flawed as well.

    The fact is that we need food to exist. It is not an optional liberty we enjoy. We must eat! Can food be abused? Absolutely. However, eating cannot be avoided. Also, God has created within us a desire/need for physical intimacy which is to be satisfied within the confines of the marriage covenant. He also gave us imperatives to both reproduce offspring and to protect our marriages through sex within marriage (Genesis 1:28 and 1 Corinthian 7:2-5).

    Alcohol is not needed for our survival. God did not place within us a desire/need for it. And, there are no biblical directives that using alcohol helps us obey.

    Again, my purpose is not to deny a Christian liberty but rather, to point out that it is purely a personal choice one makes but, that that choice carries with it great responsibility. I will not condemn those who “enjoy” this liberty but I do have a responsibility to point out its dangers.

    About ten years ago I had extensive knee surgery to repair an injury. The surgeon prescribe two different pain medications. One was Oxycontin. I knew from news reports, the warning label on the bottle, and my experiences in the counseling ministry how addictive this pain killer could be. I chose not to take it but the less addictive pills for those reasons. I also have had friends to take this drug when prescribed for pain and I do not condemn them for their choice. One should enjoy the relief pain killers bring but with full knowledge of the possible dangers involved.

    I was recently at a church planting conference led by a very conservative, reformed, but cutting edge network. One of its leading pastors lamented the fact that more than a few of its young pastors had disqualified themselves from ministry because they had began to rely too much on a bottle of wine each night to help them “unwind and sleep well.” Through their enjoyment of this liberty these faithful Christian leaders had let alcohol replace the roll of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

    My point is this; Christians should exercise their liberties with wisdom (knowing and following all biblical principles given for their wise use) and with full knowledge of the possible dangers involved with their use. Can we honestly and wisely promote the liberty without also exploring the dangers?

    I appreciate the dialogue and hope that my heart of love and concern has shown through this response. I despise legalism in all its forms and I hate how Satan can so easily hijack good things God has given us to enjoy. Be blessed brother!

     
    • danielpulliam

      May 3, 2011 at 11:23 am

      Wonderful response! Thank you very much. You have made yourself clear in this as I misunderstood some of your previous comments. I also thought you were someone else as I would not have chosen to “correct” one of my church elders in a public forum. (For that I apologize. It bothered me greatly when I found out what I had done, but I was unsure of how to correct my error.) I agree with your pointing out the flaw in my logic. Beer is not necessary to life or a biblical mandate such as food and sex (although it wouldn’t bother me if it was. LOL!) Also, please don’t think I perceive you as legalistic. There is one thing I have noted about the elders of FBC and that is that they seem to have a biblical balance between legalism and anti-nomianism.

      Thank you again for your comments. The second one I find most helpful. I thank God for you and the other elders @ FBC. God bless you!

       
  4. Brandon Sullivan

    May 22, 2011 at 12:05 am

    Good post. Looks like it took a great deal of time to search out all those versses.

    As it stands, our Lord drank alcohol. In fact, his critics accused him of being a winebibber, to use an old English word.

    Is it possible that our relationship to things like alcohol has become so distorted that we forget it is a good thing of God’s world that can be enjoyed? (In moderation, of course). I thought your food illustration was very apt. We do need to eat just as we do need to drink. But we could very easily live on veggies and water. Or we could be well-balanced human beings. I suppose the choice is ours.

     
  5. futurefaith

    July 23, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    @ Karen: ktisma
    Thayer Definition:
    1) thing founded
    2) created thing
    Part of Speech: noun neuter…The more accurate translation is, “Everything created by God”. As much as I appreciate the KJV it isn’t the best English here.

    It seems most likely that vs. 4 of 1 Tim. 4 is meant to be a “blanket” statement. Don’t over look that Paul also included the “forbidding to marry” statement as well. “Everything created by God” must also include this statement or else this statement is irrelevant to the point being made and I am pretty sure you are not willing to conclude any statement in Scripture as “irrelevant”. God created marriage as well! (Matt.19:4-6)

    “The false teachers’ asceticism contradicted Scripture, which teaches that since God created both marriage and food (Gen. 1:28-31; 2:18-24; 9:3), they are intrinsically good (Gen. 1:31) and to be enjoyed with gratitude by believers. Obviously food and marriage are essential for life and procreation.” – John MacArthur

    I was simply using the verse as it was given…as a blanket declaration concerning ALL that God has created for man’s use.

    “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and DRINK, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.” – Col. 2:16

    “Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.” – Ecclesiastes 9:7

    All quoted references are God’s Holy Word.

     
  6. A. C. Baker

    July 23, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Thank you for doing your homework on this touchy (at least to some) subject. Far too often we blame alcohol for the sins of men, when in reality, alcohol only amplifies and exposes the already sinful heart. Alcohol doesn’t kill, but immature, unwise, degenerate sinners who allow themselves to be overcome, do.

    It is the tendency of the legalist (i know what I am talking about) to give life to the inanimate in order to deflect blame from the truly guilty. Alcohol is amoral and lifeless. It is no different than dirt. But the legalist acts no differently to alcohol than the little child who would blame the mud that got him dirty for his for his disobedience. It’s not the dirt’s fault when you’re told to change out of your good clothes before you play and you don’t. It’s not the dirt that cause you to disobey. Alcohol isn’t evil – the nature controlled by the “flesh” is.

    That’s one of my two cents.

     

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