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"Those who have the disease called Jesus will never be cured" ~Old Russian Proverb

Monday, January 08, 2007

Stirring It Up

Here's a post I found on Tall Skinny Kiwi's blog concerning Christians and alcohol. Give it a read if you get a chance.

It caused me to wonder if I could shake things up with a dialogue here on Christians and the consumption of alcohol or perhaps stir up some controversy (both shameless puns intended). Let me tell you that the first church I was a part of as a new believer routinely departed the local softball field after our church league games and drove to the local Winghouse to enjoy hot chicken wings and pitchers of beer. In fact, there was one night in which a member of our church, who also happened to be a law officer, 'commandeered' a neighbor's trash can to ice our keg at an all church social. So, you see where my roots are on the issue.

That said, I then proceeded to Bible College where drinking alcohol was a strict no-no. Alcohol was of the devil, and students who touched it would be disciplined. There was a professor there, by the way, who insisted Jesus didn't make 'wine' as we know it out of water, but that it would not have been fermented, and therefore simply fruit juice. He could argue his interpretation from the Greek.

So, what do you think on the whole issue of Christians and alcohol? I'm interested to hear your opinion. I promise, I'll chime in with mine as a part of the conversation. Cheers! (there I go again with another shameless pun!)

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  • hmm... it's funny you brought this issue up because it's one I have really been thinking about. Before I go off on my long tangent, Jesus turned the water into wine… or else it would have said juice… since when have we lost trusting in the breathed words of God? And I make my view full well knowing that there are instances of drinking in the bible... so here I go 

    Coming from a Greek family, when I go to the Greek Church (which is never anymore) they serve wine for communion. My family at get-togethers has always enjoyed a glass of wine, and I’ve never really thought anything of it...

    that was until I went to Bible College :-) I liked the last comment on skinny kiwi's blog, considering I am around many Baptists throughout the year :-) But I think it's a really good thing to be surrounded with different people because that's when you really learn a lot about who you are, who you aren’t, and who you want to be.

    I've been struggling with this issue because I've never necessarily had a problem with it, but there have been far too many times when I don't like the affects of what I see. Not to mention when you live in a dorm full of girls you learn pretty quick about pasts. It has been those pasts and remembering my own that has really been making me think deeper into this issue. One of my best friend’s fathers is an alcoholic and has brought so much pain to their family, she hates the stuff and struggles with respecting anyone who drinks... I really can't blame her because of what she has been through. I myself know that when I was little and was being abused, he always had the smell of alcohol on his breath. Girls at school who have been taken advantage of, mothers who have been beaten ... and the list goes on…

    I guess a verse that I’ve been thinking of is 1 Cor. 10:23-24

    "Everything is permissible—but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”

    I just feel that alcohol could have a huge hindrance on my ministry (and I know some people have had ministry opportunities by talking to people at bars ect... but I'm pretty sure the difference between a coke and a martini was not the reason for the ministry it was God working in the person's life. I feel that although having a glass of wine might not be "wrong" it isn’t very “good” either. It's a known fact that alcohol makes you less aware of your surroundings and that can happen with even a glass of wine for a lot of people. I'm just not sure if I can take the fact that "it tastes good and makes you feel good" as a good enough reason to drink... it may be permissible but in the overall picture it doesn’t seem beneficial, especially when thinking of the ending of verse 24.

    Worst of all there are some non-Christians who have been hurt by alcohol, and I wonder how good of a ministry that would be to them? Given there is a difference between advertising that you drink and drinking in the quiet of your home, as well as the difference between being drunk and drinking a beer or a glass of wine.

    In Namibia the drinking age is younger so I have had a couple of different drinks while I was there…(don't worry not all in the same night :-) and I did feel good after, and I did like it (although I noticed it tasted better after the first few sips- probably after it had taken affect). But I could never fully enjoy it knowing that alcohol is such a huge part of the problem in Namibia.

    Alcohol can lead, and often times, does lead to so much sin, and I don't think I want to be associated with it, if glorifying God is my first priority it makes the decision a little easier. I don't have a problem when I am around others who are drinking, (again note the difference between drinking and being “drunk” I do have a huge problem being around drunk people). I have too many good friends that do drink and it doesn’t appear to cause them to stumble, but I do have a problem when it makes others around them feel uncomfortable and I have been in that category before. Yet at the same time I feel hypocritical for never feeling bad about having a sip of champagne on new years, its tradition... I don't know… I think the only part of the issue that makes me consider wanting to drink is the fact of tradition and that some of my friends do... but even with that it still doesn't seem good enough, which is why I am leaning towards not drinking especially when the magical age of 21 comes up for me in a year and a half.

    These are just some of my random thoughts, I know quite a few people will disgree with my conclusion, and I'm okay with that... I'm still learning, and I will still love you anyways :-)

    By Anonymous, at 1/08/2007 11:56 PM  

  • PS: I would be curious to hear the argument from that professor of yours... especially to see how the greek word "wine" was different from the miracle Jesus did, to Noah falling into drunkeness and awakening from his "wine"... because I would be very surprised if it was a different word for each instance, and I would love to know how Noah got drunk off of grape juice :-)

    By Anonymous, at 1/09/2007 12:18 AM  

  • (This is aimed at no one in particular)

    Who cares? Really? Who reallllly cares whether or not Jesus made unfermented wine or not? We as Christians continually focus on the wrong things. We put so much energy in trying to convince ourselves that what we do is right in the eyes of God instead of just focusing on God.

    Now, I am not of the oppinion that alcohol is bad, not at all - just in moderation and when it doesn't cause others to stumble.

    However, with that said, why is it SO important TO drink alcohol? Why can't we be fine with just a soda? Honestly, we need to stop analyzing what is and what isn't sin - when in doubt, DON'T DO IT!

    Shouldn't we be focused on what we can do FOR Christ, rather than what He will let us get away with?

    If we focused more on the grace, the truth, and the love of Christ and allowed Him to Be, just BE... then we would know what is right and what is wrong in our own hearts.

    How come we can't put this much effort into our walks with Christ? Or this much effort into sharing our faith with others?

    WHY IS ALCOHOL THAT IMPORTANT TO YOU? -- That's the real question - not whether or not it is "ok" or not.

    By Ryan, at 1/09/2007 4:19 PM  

  • PS. AMANDA - I agree with your conclusion.... :)

    By Ryan, at 1/09/2007 4:22 PM  

  • Amanda and Ryan, thanks for sharing on the subject. It is an issue that has emotional ties (as you so clearly remind us, Amanda) and has applied theology ties (as you point out, Ryan).

    I like both of your conclusions, personally. I think the greatest use of our liberty in Christ is to love others. I think where Christianity oversteps love's boundaries by becoming prohibitionist (of anything, really) we error in the other direction. For too many Christianity should be defined by people's choices: if they choose to listen to a certain music, drink a certain beverage, watch a certain movie, or whatever. Those are the kinds of guys who come with an opinion and then try to make the Bible agree with their position, i.e. 'Jesus turned water into fruit juice', etc. Amanda, you asked about my professor's argument from Greek - there really wasn't one that I'm aware of. He said it, I believe, for the shock value because he figured few people would challenge it. I did.

    I want to live a life that reflects my devotion to Christ, when I eat, drink, work, share, and live. If that is consistently evident in me, I'll not worry so much about the rest.

    By Darin, at 1/12/2007 8:05 AM  

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