The Truth About Drinking and the Bible.

12 Oct

First of all, I just want to say that I am not an expert. This is the random musings of a person who happens to know a bit about the Bible, and has questions about its pertinence in today’s life.

Drinking. Alcohol. Beer. Wine. Coolers. The line between to drink or not to drink use to be clear. It used to be that when a revival meeting would come to town, they would close down bars. It used to be that drinking was something never to be named among God’s people, and God’s church. Today is a different. We have people who believe in social drinking. We have Pastors who participate and coordinate “mixers”. We even have “brewing” activities at different churches.

The way I grew up (church-wise), is that Christians weren’t even suppose to go near alcohol. I do admit that as a child/teenager, there wasn’t much questioning on my part. I did as I was told. I understood a little bit about it, but only obeyed in faith of how my leaders (parents/pastor) was leading me. Which, I believe is necessary at different points in our life. Children will not understand a lot of the deep meanings of the Bible or the dynamics of ethics when making decisions later on in life. They have to be led with their best interest in mind. That’s what leaders do, and that’s how some people have to be lead, to a certain point. It wasn’t until college that I really dug deep and even now, tried to understand the whole issue around drinking.

Here’s my conclusion on the matter:
In Bible times, refrigeration was an impossibility. The Bible has gives no differences when describing wine. The word “vinos” could be translated as alcoholic, or non-alcoholic wine. What we do know is that there was both. Wine was used as a drink for celebration (fresh grape juice) as well as for drunkenness. Now, the Bible doesn’t cloud over whether drunkeness is permitted or not. In fact, early on in Genesis, we see the devastating results of drunkenness when Noah decided to drink. There are many warnings against drunkenness, and there is no doubt that the picture of drunkenness would not be one that Jesus would like to us to identify with.

So whether Christians should get drunk – the answer is an emphatic NO. That’s the easy question. The tricky question is: What about drinking without getting to the point of drunkenness? (i.e. Social Drinking). There are many Christians out there that see nothing wrong with a beer now and then, or a glass of wine with friends. Now, they’ll always use two key points of reasoning.
1.) Paul told Timothy to have a little bit of wine for his stomach ailment. Okay, let’s get realistic. Wine in those days did have a little bit of medicinal value. But we have to point out that wine and the process of fermentation was different then than it is now. Simply, wine is more potent, more fermented, and more “able” to get one drunk. Well, what about a glass of red wine at dinner for your heart? Yeah, I’ve heard that, and people never point out that the research is spotty, and the results change every 5 years. AND, if you’re really concerned about your heart, why not excercise instead of a glass of wine. Any scientist or doctor out there will tell you that excercise will benefit you more than any glass of wine. 

2.) The second argument most people use is that the Bible never out-right says: Don’t drink. This is true. The Bible has warnings about drunkenness. Most verses in Proverbs are written to a young man preparing for rulership — and he is told to be wise and to abstain from drunkenness. So what are we to do then? To me, its about maturity. The mature Christian will view things not as, “what do I want?” but as, “what does God want?”

Want – I guess that’s what it really boils down to. People don’t drink because they ‘have to’ drink. People drink because they want to. So, the question to point to ourselves is: Whose want will I fulfill?

Well some may say, why do priests drink wine in the communion? That is the most disgusting, most crooked, most blasphemous act of religion I can think of. What kind of picture is that? Fermentation happens when the grapes rot, when they spoil, when they get corrupted. Fermentation is living organisms dying. And that is suppose to be the picture of the Blood of Christ? The Blood of Christ is pure, spotless, it is precious blood, it is sinless blood, and it is righteous blood. Why in the world why God use the picture of something corrupt to depit the incorrupt blood of the Lamb?

There are many many many more points, and I’m sure some guy can take me to school on this but, I can’t get around the whole “want” factor. We drink, not because of necessity, because of want. And really, if we were actually to abstain from the appearance of evil, all Christians should not be drinking.

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