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Can Christians Drink Alcohol?

Aug 17, 2007
How are we as Christians supposed to look at alcohol today, in our time and culture?

Nowhere in the Bible is it taught that drinking wine or alcohol is a sin. It is, however, taught that drinking too much alcohol IS a sin.

I am not going to lecture you about drinking. But I am going to say this: In our society, there are few problems worse than alcohol abuse. Alcohol kills 25,000-plus people in highway accidents every year. The greatest single cause of death among young people between 18-25 is being killed in a traffic accident caused by a drunk driver. Five hundred thousand people are seriously injured in traffic accidents caused by drunks.

Countless thousands other die from alcohol-related disease. Alcohol has been linked to heart disease, cancer, hypertension, liver disease and scores of other ailments. It is literally a poison. Alcohol abuse causes families to be torn apart, relationships shattered. Sexual abuse, crime, violence, scores of other problems have their root cause in alcohol abuse.

But in our society, unlike the society that Jesus lived in, we talk about alcohol abuse as a disease, instead of a sin. Alcohol addiction is indeed a disease. It is a disease that has its origin in a conscious decision to drink. No one becomes an alcoholic at the first sip.

Drunkenness is the result of a conscious decision. Alcoholism results from continued abuse. Alcoholism is a disease that starts from sin.

Now in Jesus day, it was hard not to consume alcoholic beverages. There were not a lot of alternatives. But the wine was usually diluted to avoid or minimize its intoxicating effects.

Now follow me: In our society, alcohol is totally unnecessarty. We have plenty of alternatives, non-alcoholic fruit drinks, pop, good, clean water. But WE produce it intentionally to enhance its intoxicating effects. Some of it we age FOR 35 years to make it particularly potent.

See the difference? Then, it was very difficult to make fruit juice without alcohol. They had very limited control over fermentation and wine was a staple, a food, but something which was often diluted so as to cut down its intoxicating effects.

We, today, have many other non-alcoholic drinks available to us and the alcohol we do have is brewed, distilled and fermented TO intentionally be intoxicating.

I am not telling you it is a sin to drink alcoholic beverages. But I am saying you can not accurately defend your indulgence by trying to show how wine was used and viewed in Jesuss day. There is a difference.

The Bible talks a lot about self-control. And often it is related to drunkenness and excell alcohol consumption. For example, consider Job 12:23-25, which says: "He makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them. He takes away the understanding of the chiefs of the people of the earth, and makes them wander in a pathless wilderness. They grope in the dark without light, and He makes them stagger like a drunken man."

Want more" Check out See Proverbs 20:1; 23:29-32; 1 Samuel 1:13-16; Genesis 9:21-27; 19:30-38 plus references below regarding drunkenness. In the New testamant, consider Galatians 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:22, 23)."

Being under self-control means that that if we use alcohol, which easily upsets our ability to control our behavior, it must be carefully consumed in great moderation.

Here's one more verse: "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18).

That's the best advice I can offer. So while it may not be a sin to drink alcohol, it is dangerous ground to tread.
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