Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Video Post: Is Drinking a Sin...

Some Christians think of alcohol as up there with adultery, idol worship, and South Park. I met a fundamentalist who argued that the "wine" drunk in the Bible is not wine at all but actually grape juice (I'm pretty sure Thomas Welch was behind that theory). I simply asked for a scripture reference which bans alcohol. He couldn't provide one. I wasn't lobbying for the alcohol industry, I was simply advocating for a balance of scripture.
When I don't have the answer on a topic, I search for one. Being a nerd, I found the experts of all experts, a conservative Christian oenophile named Daniel Whitfield. Whitfield has made an astoundingly exhaustive study of every alcohol reference in Scripture--all 247 of them. I quote his findings here:
On the negative side, there are 17 warnings against abusing alcohol, 19 examples of people abusing alcohol, 3 references to selecting leaders, and one verse advocating abstinence if drinking will stumble a brother. Total negative references: 40, or 16 percent.
On the positive side, there are 59 references to the commonly accepted practice of drinking wine (and strong drink) with meals, 27 references to the abundance of wine as a example of God's blessing, 20 references to the loss of wine in offerings and sacrifices, 9 references to wine being used as a gift, and 5 metaphorical references to wine as a basis for a favorable comparison. Total positive references: 145, or 59 percent.
[Note: Being an over-achiever, I also found one reference to medicinal alcohol in 1 Timothy 5:23. Maybe my grandma knew a little sumthin' sumthin' if you know what I mean!]

It comes down to the battle between the Bible's gusto for life, and the Bible's weariness of excess. Between it's Epicureanism and Puritanism. You can find both themes in Scriptures. The Epicurean side is best seen in Ecclesiates:
"There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and find fulfillment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God" (Ecclesiates 2:24).

So, what's do you think? How can we have our liberties, yet be mindful of our weaker brothers? Comments, suggestions, stones to throw?


Melinda said...

When I was growing up my father was (is) an alcoholic. He has been sober for 18 years. When I was in high school and college my stepfather struggled with past addictions to drugs/alcohol and as a result, we lost EVERYTHING multiple times. Because of those life experiences I could not see how someone could just casually drink alcohol. I had never been exposed to it so I didn't think it was even possible. I thought one sip would lead to a life of excess. My husband would occasionlly enjoy a beer or two (but never three) and I was so fearful that he was just one day away from jumping off the deep end and I would be left with an abusive man and losing my home, car, etc like had happened in my life before.
I had my first drink when I was 22. It took a lot of time on my own discussing, reading, searching the scriptures and weighing it all out. My dad said to me at one point, "I never expect you to NOT drink, but I expect you to do so cautiously." I think that is where I am at now. I will from time to time enjoy an alcoholic beverage (although no shots - because the goal is just to get drunk then). I have never been drunk. I do carefully choose I am with when I enjoy said beverages. So, now I believe it is possible to casually enjoy a beverage, but it should be done cautiously and considerately. And it definitely isn't for everyone.

Anonymous said...

I don't drink because Christians should be an example and not be like the world.

I don't know when or who would be stumbled, therefore I do not drink.

Bianca said...

Wow! Melinda, thanks for sharing your story. I never knew that!

Anonymous, I love your convictions. Hold strong to them. But make sure it's done in love. My mother feels the same way you do, but she's SO gracious. It's her love that speaks louder than her words.

Rebecca said...

I choose not to drink because I think it tastes bad. ;) I don't judge those who do as long as they do it LEGALLY and respectfully. Thanks for sharing those references!

Angie said...

Like Melinda there is alot of alcoholism that runs in my dads side of the family and I do think when your exposed to that it does affect your choices. With that being said we do not drink and do not allow any kind of alcohol in our home ever since we became christians 12 years ago. I know we cannot judge those christians who choose to have an occasional drink but I personally have not many people who can just have 1 or 2 and stop.

Anonymous said...

Wow Bianca, just want I want to hear. I personally being a Christian do sometimes had a glass of wine with my meal, I consider that doesn’t make me an alcoholic or a sinner. I have never get wasted, just a cup of wine here and there and that's it. But I do understand that conservative and legalist people may pointed and had pointed at me as the worst sinner ever because I once a year had my glass of wine. On the other hand my doctor recommended me to have a cup of wine which is good for my heart but, I just don't like that daily. I respect and agree with those who are so holly and decided not to but, please cut the sister some slack and pray for me; maybe one day won’t need to have it at all. I hope I am not being a stumble to anybody out there that‘s just me, being me. Also I don’t hide from my church goers some of them have decided to stay away from me because I am evil and some have just decided to accept and pray for me(which I appreciated) who is my judge obviously Thanks God is God and not my church goers cuz I would be death by now.

Anonymous said...

Bianca I really know this is a touchy subject but I think the Lord allows these different exercises within our own lives and they are truly based on our individual expierences and upbringings.
Some people who were raised with alcoholic parents or family are dead against it and that is ok. For others it is a cultural upbringing and that is ok too. We need to look into scripture for ourselves and pray about issues like this as an individual and decide what we feel is right for ourselves.
As Christians we should not be judgemental of another brother or sisters personal exercises reguarding subjects like this. We should all look to scripture and the Lord for our answers ;)

christy said...

wow...serious topic..i'm sort of on the same page as Melinda..i've had to deal with alcoholism (bad stuff)..not me, but someone I when u say let's have a drink..i tend to tense up and want to leave...when I was younger i did drink with my friends...really just to get drunk (being that i am allergic and i don't really like the taste)...since then I don't drink...i've had an occasional beer or so, but in general, i don't drink...i don't judge others that do, but sometimes it's hard for me to be around it...just because i tend to associate alcohol with bad times....make sense?

Danielito said...

Funny you bring this topic up - being in Vegas this week due to my job and sick everyone was in my face about taking a shot of tequila or cogac to kill the germs! Every time I said no they asked me why so it was a good way to open up a convo and witness at moments.

There is liberty in having a glass of wine, etc as long as one does not become buzzed or drunk - once that happens the line has been crossed. Also let me add that being drunk does not help one make wise decisions at all....NEVER! You make the worst one's.
If one chooses to drink then it should be done with precaution so that another believer who has possibly struggled with alcohol in the past or is maybe even new to the faith may not be stumbled. For example you don't want to throw a party with church folks and have bottles of wine available - it may tempt the brother/sister and cause them to stumble, or even drink at a restaurant with another brother/sister if they had an issue with this in the past. Do it in private if possible, in the privacy of your home. Having 1 drink is not a sin, being buzzed or drunk on wine or hard drink IS.
I also think if one serves in Church or is a leader they should abstain from drinking since they are setting an example to those they serve. You don't want to come teach the youth and they fall out from the bacardi breath you have.

On a personal note my grandfather struggled with alcoholism and my mom told me many stories as a kid about how she suffered. I myself struggled with it several years back and it's the worst feeling to wake up around 3pm and just feeling awful. The Lord filled me up with His Living Water and today I could be in a room with people drinking and I wont be tempted one bit. On the contrary the smell makes me sick - blah!!!

I would just be cautious with who and where I drink if it is something you plan on doing.
You may be strong but your brother and sister in the faith may not be there yet.

Anonymous said...

I try to look at these things in light of my relationship with God. Do I have a problem with drinking? Not really. Do I drink? No. Why? Because when I ask if it brings me closer to God the answer is no, no matter how hard I try to justify it. I think we all need to really look carefully at the everyday things we do and allow in our lives and decide if it is something to bring me closer to the Lord or will it build walls? This can go for tv shows or movies we watch that we feel a little guilty watching because we know it isn't exactly faith building. Or the music we listen to, even the kind we say we don't "hear" the words, just the beat. I like that you bring up how we are responsible for caring about our brothers and sisters in Christ (and outside of Christ for that matter) and if something will be a stumbling block, should we be doing it? And are we doing things, or not doing things, out of a humble loving spirit or out of a legalistic set of rules? I truly believe God has set guidelines for us to follow because he loves us and wants our lives to be full and rich with his blessings and he knows what is best for us and how to have the best in our lives. Anyway, I think each person has to decide for themselves, we are not to judge eachother, but I really feel those who are honest with themselves and their relationship with God, they will see if their choices reflect a life of God's love or the world's love.

hmk said...

I personally don't drink because I don't like the taste of it but I do believe as long as you do it not to get drunk then it's alright.

Also you need to make sure it isn't going to be a stumbling block to others. My brother-in-law is a recovering alcoholic so my husband (who does drink a beer every now & then) makes sure he doesn't drink in front of him. Just because that might cause him to stumble on his journey away from his addiction.

Love you blog!

Marisa said...

i happen to attend a church that doesn't discourage drinking alcohol as long as you are not drinking to get drunk, you are of legal age, and you are not causing a brother or sister in Christ to stumble. my grandfather was an alcoholic and i chose not to drink until i was of age.
i do enjoy a glass of wine or margarita on occasion (mostly with friends from church!) and have found that being able to use self-discipline when it comes to drinking can help non-Christians in my life feel more at ease. paul talks about becoming all things to all people to win more for Christ, and i believe having the freedom in Christ to enjoy a drink occasionally falls under this scripture. (1 corinthians 9:22) the focus should still always reamin on Christ and your personal convictions.

hmk said...

As far as the church site which gave information about how to make an alcoholic beverage, I think that is wrong. Like you said, it wouldn't have any effect on me but on someone who does struggle with that certain addiction, it would.

Name Nazi said...

I grew up in a household where no one ever took a drink. Just for reference. I remember my cousin bringing a bottle of wine to Christmas and the rest of the family whispered and questioned the rest of the day.

Now? I drink moderately. Likely 3-4 a month, but sometimes, I have those all in one day!

The key here is excess. Everything in moderation, have enough control over yourself to prevent excess. And I would question those that believe church leaders shouldn't have a drink ever so that they can lead by example, are they allowed to have more than one chocolate bar at Halloween? A second helping of mashed potatoes at dinner?

Did someone mention that a Christian shouldn't have bottles of wine at their dinner party? Are they then allowed instead to have plates and plates and plates of food to serve? More than one Christmas tree? Three cars in the driveway?

I believe the Bible cautions us against excess. And frankly, my problem with eating too much is WAY HIGHER on my list than my concern over having three beers in one night. Because my indulgent eating seriously is a problem and a sin. Having a six pack in one evening is as well. But I personally completely disagree with churches that prohibit drinking and allow/encourage other sorts of indulgent behavior.

Just my two cents. And Bianca, I have never posted here, but I read your blog often. Great job!

Bridget said...

God has blessed you with the best sense of humor...
that and beauty,brains and lots of love!
I sometimes will have a margarita with a nice mexican dish. I'm not really into the taste of alcohol.
I don't crave or miss it. It's not a problem for me. I maybe have 2 drinks a year!
I personally think it goes back to your own convictions. As I draw closer to God, I want to please Him and drinking doesn't go hand in hand with serving Him. Just my own conviction.
I've also seen alcohol ruin family, (some of my family) I'm watched like a hawk so I choose to stay away:) I think getting drunk is wrong, shots are wrong, but a tasteful glass on wine I think is fine if you have no personal convictions...I as mother have to be very careful too... I have young kids watching and I don't want to stumble them either.

Anonymous said...

This topic comes up in my circle of friends every so often. I love that you chose not to state *your* belief on the matter.

I'm on the same page. I have often thought about Jesus's first miracle (water into wine), the last supper, and the medicinal reference in 1 Tim. I've also always held the "stumble a brother" verse in my head as a sort of final argument when making decisions regarding the freedoms that I have.

I've both been DRY for years at a time... and occasionally had a drink with dinner. What I find more interesting than whether or not I imbibe is people's reactions to me both when I refuse a drink and take a drink.

It is surely one of those subjects within the church that really seems to divide. Thanks for the vlog. Always love seeing & hearing you. :)

Bianca said...

Name Nazi, hmk, and Angie, welcome to the commentor's club. You're officially part of the cool kids ;)

Okay, I love the conversation, but unless everyone who reads my blog is balanced (or liberal), what about those who are totally against it? Come on! Stand for your convictions!

Brianna said...

??? There seems to be lots that are against it from what I just read.

I mostly agree with Name Nazi (not sure what kind of screen name that is).

I feel like people need to understand that having a drink is different from being drunk, just like enjoying a good meal is different from gluttony. Like was said before, it is the excess that is the problem, not the activity...IMHO. So I shouldn't drink 6 glasses of wine, and I shouldn't drink 6 milkshakes either--but one of either doesn't have any negative impact as a Christian.

Aaaaand...your blog is for sharing your views and giving your opinions as you have done many, many times in the past so I don't think now is the time where you should go quiet.

His Jewel said...

It's really a hard one because usually I take a stand one way or the other and who knows, after everyone reads this, you can tell me what I lean towards. ha ha I know I have the freedom to drink. I know it's not a sin. I don't see a problem with a glass of wine with your meal and I even have 3 bottles of wine at home this very second! However, they have been in my apt. since before I moved in 3 yrs ago, never to be opened. I bought them when I was backslidden several years ago. And while I've never been drunk in my life, I have enjoy(ed) a glass of wine every now and then. Sometimes I will think "A glass of wine sounds good tonight." But the minute I get home, I forget all about it. The bottles have since become a sort of nic-knack on my fridge door along with the mustard and ketchup! But then I have to also say, when I'm watching a guys walk whom I am interested in, if I saw him ask for a drink, I would be disappointed. My hopes would be shattered. Why?? I don't know. Am I judging? Probably, huh? I know it's not wrong? I DON'T KNOW! I guess I want a man to just be so in love with Jesus that the thought of a drink never even enters his mind, like me and anything less is disappointing. I've never said anything to another Christian asking for a drink, nor have I slandered them, just in my heart I get a little disappointed, but then I'm over it. It's not like I never hang out with them again.

Cindy A. said...

Eeeek, where to start. In short, there are certain people in my life I am totally against having an alcoholic beverage with because I feel THEY have issues with alcohol and I want no part in advocating alcohol. On the other hand, there are 3 believers that I do feel comfortable sharing a drink ("a" being 1 or 2, no shots, no beer) with because we all know where we stand, we hold each other accountable, and we know we are representing Christ WHEREVER we go, so where we choose to have a drink is important too. But for the most part, I will say that I am on Team Prohibition.

Melinda said...

How about this thought - there is more alcoholic content in a standard glass of wine than there is in a 12oz beer. So, why do we all think it's better (ie, more acceptably) to drink wine? I know lots of Christians (and was one) who feel that a glass of wine is totally cool, but there is this stigma associated with drinking a beer - which has much less alocholic content (wine: 11.5%, beer: 4%).

christy said...

well...i think if you asked my friends and husband they would think i was totally against it...but myabe i am a little biased...a) i am allergic, b) i don't really like the taste, and c) i've seen a lot of far as it being wrong biblically, well i don't think it's wrong as long as you don't get drunk...but like"anonymous" said, does it bring me closer to God, no...could it be a stumbling block..yes...and there is the question of where is the line between drunk or buzzed...and would people still drink it if it didn't have an effect at all, like juice or soda...does it taste that great...these r just questions...maybe lots of people love the taste and would drink it if it had no alcohol effect at all...i don't know...but those r just thoughts that cross my mind...i've seen a lot of heartache, destruction, and sadness come from alcohol, and i am totally against people using it as a comforting blanket when they have issue/problems...that can only lead to bad things...for me i've seen it do worse things than not.

Jessica Shae said...

Go you for being willing to tackle such a huge and controversial subject :)

I have loved reading all the kind banter back and forth here in the comments. I thought I would go ahead and add my two cents for what it's worth.

My grandfather was an alcoholic (and still kind of is, he has gotten it under control, but it is a constant struggle for him). I grew up hearing stories from my dad about the ways that it damaged his family. Obviously alcohol in general came to have a very bad connotation to me in my mind. I have never had a drink, and do not plan to ever drink by the grace of God.

I totally agree that there is not place in the bible that it flat out says drinking alcohol is a sin, but I have seen other things that have led me to believe that abstaining from drink is what God would have me do.

Another key point that you brought up--Stumbling blocks.

The grandfather that I said was an alcoholic went to a resturaunt one Sunday afternoon and while there saw a very prominent {TV} preacher having lunch. The pastor was having a glass of wine with his lunch and to this day my grandfather will say, "If it's ok for him to do it, then it's sure ok for me." Now I am sure that pastor had no intention of getting wasted that afternoon, but because of his careless actions, he caused someone to continue in a path that leads to destruction.

You never know who is watching you. :)

P.S. another little note I wanted to add... alot of people have commented so far and one thing I have noticed alot of people saying is that they think it's ok to drink a "few" drinks, just so long as you don't get drunk. So I have a question. At what point are you considered "drunk"? While you may not be legally "drunk" after 3 drinks, your ability to make the wisest decision will probably have lowered considerably.

For me, its not a matter of, Well, God doesn't ever say we CAN'T, so I can't be faulted for indulging every now and then. It's more like, as a Christian (a "little christ") I want to do my best to be an exemplary follower of Christ. Since this is what most people would term a "gray area" I will just stay away completely...not a problem :)

Name Nazi said...

Since I'm a new commenter and someone asked, I was dubbed "the Name Nazi" at work because I like names. I study trends, derivations, history, etc. And at work, anytime a baby was born and a name announced, I had 10 plus people emailing me asking me what I thought of the name. So it just became a joke.

A play on "the Soup Nazi" from Seinfield.

My blog is equally a story of my life and comments on names so I thought it was fitting.

No offense intended.

Lydia said...

I don't think I can say it better than Jessica did (but I'll try? lol).

While I don't believe it's a sin to drink in and of itself, I just believe it's wiser not to drink. Alcohol is a suppressant that affects how you think and react. Consumption, over time, can lead to the degeneration of your body. If you study the alcohol family scientifically, I don't think you'd want any of that in you.

All this to say, the real questions are "does it draw you closer to God?" and "are those around you drawn closer to God through your actions?"

Anonymous said...

I have a hard time with the argument... "does it draw you closer to God" that has come up several times.

Does me sleeping on a down pillow draw me closer to God. No. But I use one. I just don't see how a glass of wine draws me closer or distances me from God.

I believe over-consumption of anything (i.e the milkshakes mentioned earlier) seems to be the line I see.

Is it a cultural thing? Is there a stigma to Christians drinking alcohol in other countries or is this left over from the days of prohibition or something? Honestly, this is a confusing subject for me as to why it is so controversial?

Background: I grew up in a dry house/family. No history of alcoholism in family of origin. Family was pretty conservative. I am probably now viewed as kind of "liberal." (it's all relative). I had a glass of wine with dinner last night with great christian friends. ;) And I left that dinner feeling closer to them & neither closer to or further from God.

Anonymous said...

Scripture makes very clear that only the ABUSE of alcohol is a sin. That being said I have honestly never had the interest in it.

In general, being legalistic and making rules for people (rules based, more often than not, on our own personal likes and dislikes) bothers me more than giving people grace where there is no clear indicator that sin took place.

Brian Banker from Whittier College

Flower Power! said...

Hi Bianca,

There are most definitely pros and cons to drinking an alcoholic beverage. Medical pros and cons,Social pros and cons, Personal pros and cons.

So, what is one to do:
Pros: good for cardiac health, (in moderation, 4 oz every so often, the major one there are others)
Cons: to much over an extended period of time causes liver damage, liver failure, diabetes, mental/cognitive problems, renal failure, loss of a limb (and more)

Pros: not much, other than as you drink you feel "accepted" by your peers, most people in the business world often have "parties" where it is not only expected, but quite often demanded, part of moving up the ladder so to speak.
Cons: to much consumption causes you to do and say stupid things that you can't remember doing or saying having you to try to remember what you did or said.

Personal: I just have questions to ask:
1. Why do you drink?
2. For what reason do you indulge in alcohol?
3. Is it in a group setting to feel accepted? or to cope with your surroundings?
4. Is it to cover a deep internal pain?
5. Is it to relieve stress from work or family?
6. Does it make you feel closer to God?
7. How does it affect the people who are around you?
8. Do you get questioned by Non Christians? if you do have a little when you are around them?
9. What does Jesus tell you personally about this? What type of convictions do you get when you do have a little?

Just a few thoughts, is all. I, too have been confronted with this same issue, to have or not to have. I do enjoy a glass of red wine from time to time, but am careful of whom I do have a glass in front of. I have discovered that, I have to be very strong and know that one glass is enough. Moderation is key. In my line of work, it is available freely and it is expected to partake of regularly, but I don't and will never partake in a business situation, not even a social situation, it is usually at home, with my hubbie.

Hilda Q said...

I don't know B. Chuck Smith, Raul Ries and my pastor Mike MacIntosh are so opposed to drinking and preach about not consuming at all.

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I am wrong, but is not Raul Ries a recovered alcoholic? If that is the case then he should never drink, and is likely to be anti-alcohol across the board.

juniorj said...

thanks for point out the "balance" view but more importantly, staying faithful to Scripture. You rock sister!

Jen said...

My thoughts on this is simple. I don't drink at all. I try not to judge others who do, But in our society, even the world pictures drinking as wrong. Even if you don't get officially drunk, the Bible says to avoid all appearance of evil.

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beth said...

I've never been anti-alcohol or anti drinking. I like curling up on the sofa with a baileys and milk in the winter, it's so British! However as a christian I don't think it would be appropriate for me to be getting drunk, or even close to the point of becoming drunk.

There are loads of reasons for this but mainly, I don't think it would give glory to the God that I love and adore if I was to become intoxicated it to the point where I have no control over the body or spirit He has blessed me with.

My fiance's feelings differ from mine. He is completely T-Total and does not agree with christians drinking at all. I'm still not 100% sure why as we've never spoken about it in too much detail.

Since I've met Ben, I've not had any alcohol at all. Not because he has control of me, or because he's told me not to - but simply because I love him and I would not want to do something that he would not like. He's told me a few times that he'll pop out and buy me some wine or baileys if I fancy some...but why would I go against what he believes is right and good for me, when I love him?!

If I'm willing to make a sacrifice, no matter how big or small, for much more should I do for God?! I can't imagine He'd like to see me getting off my face it's not going to happen. Not because He has specifically told me not to, or because I'm trying to earn brownie points in heaven - or in chruch, But because I love Him, why would I do something He wouldn't like!?

Tiffany said...

When drinking becomes an addiction it is a sin. The best thing to do would just be to avoid alcohol in my opinion.

Bridget said...

I think as Christians it's not all about us but about who's watching us. So is it really worth it? When my husband was a brand new Christian we went on a Church Couples Cruise and some of the church couples were drinking. Asst Pastors etc. This really confused my husband. I thought that it was wrong as we were representing a Church. I wonder how many other's on the boat they stumbled. *we no longer attend that church.

Jeremy and Mindy said...

I believe that nothing good comes from alcohol. I believe it can take you down a road you don't won't to walk.
I also like to stay away from gray issues. I'm a black and white girl. Many of the commenters have said they don't *think* it's wrong. I would rather stay away from something that I may have to answer before God for in shame then to hope it's not wrong.
I don't judge other Christians who choose to drink. That's their decision. However, I do not drink and do not allow alcohol to be consumed within my home.

Diandra Ann said...

I would just like to say that you look gorgeous in this video :) THat is all.

Anonymous said...

@ Hilda Q - I've also heard Chuck, Raul & Mike state that they personally refrain from alcohol; however, they make it very clear that their reasoning is NOT because the bible prohibits such deed. Rather, the opt not to do so so they may not "stumble a brother" & secondly, for the bible says to avoid all appearance of evil.


Staci L. Photography said...

Yes...a question everyone wants to have answered. Alcohol as a problem and an addiction is a huge issue for our society. It is misused, done in excess, used to fill empty places and done for pure pleasure. Any time we put something into our bodies to fill a void or to change our behavior or make us feel so called "better" is drunkeness. I never really thought about it like that before...but truly, any form of addiction is wrong. Whether it be drink, food, money, gambling, pornography, etc. In some way, it's a form of drunkeness because you are over indulging in something for pleasure. However, we are given choices. We do have freedoms & what we do with those freedoms is between us & God. He knows our hearts. And we know our motives, too! If we are truly in touch with who we are...we know what goes through our own minds, right?! To enjoy a glass of wine with my dinner or as I meet for lunch with a friend is different for all of us. If I drink, it is NOT to get drunk. I lived my life down that road in my early 20's & it led to emptiness, regrets & major hangovers. I know my body. I know myself. I know the situations I can be in & the ones that are not ideal for me. I know who I can have a drink with & I know those whom it bothers & those it could cause to stumble. I believe that all of the choices we make in our freedoms should be done with a keen sense of who we are, who is around us & for what reasons & purposes. Knowing who we are in Christ & seeking to do his will on a daily basis truly sets the tone for the decisions we make & the places we find ourselves in both physically & emotionally.

Laurel said...

Wow! Lots of comments. Good discussion.

My husband and I got married at 20 and 22. We would have the VERY occasional wine cooler ) or Margarita at a Mexican restaurant. (But, I found that I preferred the Virgin Margarita.)

When we became Young Life leaders we were asked not to drink at all. Our mentors felt that having any alcohol in our refrigerator (where the teens we ministered to might find it) or going to a public drinking establishment (where those teens parents might see us), was not best for our ministry. We gave up all alcohol 25 years ago and have never looked back.

When we had children we realized even more how important it was to just stay away from it, as we did not in any way want our children to think "drinking is okay".

However, we have an "adopted Grandma" that has her big jug of wine in her refrigerator (for her once a day drink "for medical purposes"). And, it doesn't bother me one bit. Our kids were at first, "What's that in Grandma's refrig.?" But, we didn't make a big deal out of it.

The question that we always want to ask ourselves, and that we have encouraged our 6 young adult children to ask themselves is ...

"What is God's very best for me ...?" in each situation.

We do not believe that drinking alcohol is "God's Best", even if it isn't an explicit sin.

Now ... some will call us legalistic ... because we also: don't watch R rated movies ... don't watch tv (except on vacation at hotels) ... don't _______

But, it's not that our house is filled with "don'ts" ... it's that our family is filled with wanting God's very BEST.

When people want to drink alcohol, I would encourage them to ask themselves, "Why?"

If they are drinking because, "It relaxes me." ... than ... I believe it's wrong. They should not be drinking it for the physical affect it will have on their body. (Oh yea ... I'm against caffeine addiction also, even though it's legal, and not an explicit sin.) If you want to relax ... spend some time reading God's Word and praying.

If they are drinking because, "everyone else is doing it" ... than ... I believe it's wrong. We are not to live our lives "in the world" just because everyone else is doing it.

If they are drinking because, "it tastes good" ... than I would just ask, "aren't there a lot of alternative drinks that also taste good?"

Scripturally ... I think the "causing someone to stumble" is a huge admonishment from the Lord. This is serious, folks. Why would we even risk, just for the sake of "it tastes good" the possibility that our actions might turn someone away from the Lord???

Now ... I have 3 young adults that are of legal age to drink. One is not walking with the Lord, and I expect he is drinking again (to excess). Breaks my heart. The 2nd hangs with a group of Christians that don't see anything wrong with drinking. I'm concerned about the focus that alcohol has in her roommates life. (Wine racks, a wine refrig. lots of wine glasses ... definitely a big part of her social life.) The 3rd has chosen to not make alcohol a part of his life at all, and is in a very serious relationship with a young lady that feels the same. I also have a daughter who is just a couple months away from "legal age" that has also chosen to completely abstain from alcohol. And ... the other 9 kids ... who knows? Either way ... they will all know that we love them dearly, even if they disagree with our stance on some things.

I would prefer if all Christians chose not to drink alcohol ... but I am not upset that some of my friends choose to drink socially (NOT to excess).

mama of 13

Anonymous said...

I appreciate you tackling such controversial topics. I also appreciate how you leave it open for interpretation. I think the most inviting thing about religion is the power to believe. With that said, I think scripture is written to speak to your heart. How you read and interpret it is your own. Something may compel you and weigh heavier on you than someone else. We all have our demons that we battle with. If alcohol is your demon, you should give it to the Lord and refrain from letting it win. Otherwise, as a Christian and the Lord in your heart, you should be able to decipher whether or not it is right or wrong for you to have a glass of wine.

Kayla said...

Thanks for approaching this topic! I always thought that it was wrong. Dead wrong. Any time I was around people who were drinking, I wanted to run away because I was conditioned to think that I would catch a sin disease if I was around it. If I knew someone and respected them, then saw them with alcohol, I completely lost all respect for them.

I know many Christians who would say that I was right to have these convictions and stick to them. Except that I was actually judging people, and THAT was actually ruining my witness. It's funny when people say that drinking can ruin your witness, but I was doing the complete opposite.

God totally got my attention on that. Right now, I'm in the journey of trying to figure out what to believe about it, and I'm seeing more and more that a strong Christian who can have a couple drinks and stop, every time, can actually be a POWERFUL witness because they aren't allowing it to control their life. As I've become more comfortable around alcohol, I've made so many more friends who need Jesus and who are so much more receptive to my beliefs than they would have been in the past because they can tell that I'm not uneasy around them at all.

Becoming more accepting of drinking and those who drink has actually made me more like Christ, and it's the best feeling ever. Do I go out and drink in my town? Not often. I'm still trying to figure it all out. But I feel so much more freedom, and I honestly have less of a desire to ever get drunk than I ever have before.

ajnrileysmommy said...

i guess i will answer the question with a question...which is a little annoying. but, what is your purpose for drinking? (not YOURS, bianca...people in general) if your answer is well, it makes me relax and feel a little bit better. can i suggest you may be going to the wrong thing to make you feel better? (O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14)

if your answer is, well i just drink socially when my friends are. can i suggest standing alone and being different from your friends? (present yourself to GOD as one approved)

so that's my question. what is your puprose in drinking. i made my personal choice when i had kids (and started working in youth ministry) that i would never have alcohol in my house. i will say one thing. there is a 100% chance i won't get drunk if i don't have any alcohol. the chances get less and less once i start. oh ya, one last thing. deut. 32:33 Intoxicating wine is like the poison of serpents. why would i want even a little poison in me? that's it. i'm done :)

Anonymous said...

I see you've been reading A.J. Jacobs ;)

Aaron said...

Hey Bianca,
I know I am a few years late on this one, but this subject is a great one to touch. Because it get's people thinking. Which they need to do to find out where they stand on it. I am the youth leader at my church and the student's asked me to speak on drinking in the Bible. Who got drunk and what it say's about it. I was glad to hear this from them. That they wanted to learn about. I went through my phase of drinking/drugs and I am so happy that God brought me out of it. If I would have stayed in it I would not be where God want's me to be. Being in the ministry drinking is not an option. Because if I don't want my student's to drink I don't need to drink. If they saw me walk out of a store with a bottle of wine or a 12 pack of beer, their gonna think that I condone it. They'll see that as I am going home to get drunk. They don't see the part where you only drink one or two. It's our job as christian's to not make our brother or sister stumble. Thank you for talking about this subject. The study that Daniel Whitfield did is going to help me get some sermon's ready.

Unknown said...

Yo, Bianca, thanks for the reference to my article on "Alcohol and the Bible" which I distributed under a pen name in 1996. I recently expanded and updated the concepts in a short book called "What Would Jesus Drink?", including addressing the issue of causing someone to stumble, which you rightly point out is missing in the original article.

You can find it on Amazon for 99 cents.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin