Sticky Conversations: Alcohol

THIS IS THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF FIVE “STICKY CONVERSATIONS”

 

By Tim Harlow

In matters of opinion, beer? “In matters of faith, unity; in matters of opinion, liberty; in all things, love.”

It’s such a beautiful sentiment, but how do we know which is which? There wouldn’t be 30,000 different sects of Christianity in the world if it were really that easy.

Consider the subject of alcohol.

It’s always been confusing to me because, as I grew up in the Christian church, I was always told alcohol was bad/sinful. But Paul told Timothy to drink some wine for his stomach (and my name is Timothy). And Jesus made wine. And Jesus drank wine.

So what happened? It’s really pretty simple. We followed cultural and moralistic reasoning, instead of scriptural reasoning, and turned a matter of opinion into a matter of doctrine.

I was always taught that the wine in Jesus’ day was watered-down, but the reaction to Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine (John 2:1-11) was, “Hey—usually we get the bad wine after we’re drunk—but this stuff rocks” (author paraphrase). Jesus didn’t just make wine—he made good wine.

And besides, if you take wine—which is usually 14 percent alcohol by volume, and water it down—a lot—you might be able to get it down to 4 to 6 percent, which is the alcohol content in beer.

Please hear me—I’m not saying alcohol is good. We all know the pain that can come from drunken driving and the many other abuses of alcohol. I know a lot of people who have been hurt by the abuse of alcohol. Personally, I think the planet as a whole would be a better place if God had not made the fermentation process.

There is also the deeper calling of being an example of Christ and not to be a “stumbling block.” We have freedom in Christ, and that freedom allows us to make our own decisions—either way—on this issue. We should choose to partake or abstain based on our commitment to Jesus Christ.

But can a person drink alcohol and still be a Christian? I hope so, because I’d like to think that Jesus was a Christian. Jesus drank alcohol.

Jesus said in Luke 7:33, 34, “John the Baptist came neither eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’” (So, not drinking must be bad?) “The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors, and sinners.’”

Jesus just admitted that he drank alcohol. Does that make you uncomfortable?

He didn’t get drunk, obviously. He wasn’t a glutton either, but they would have had no accusation at all if he was like his cousin John.

I don’t mean to belabor the point. I don’t think it’s a big deal. Drinking alcohol is a matter of opinion. If you want to be like John the Baptist, don’t drink. If you want to be like Jesus, then drink in moderation. It’s a matter of opinion, so have liberty—either way.

Alcohol is just an example of an issue that is much more important.

Jesus said, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are” (Matthew 23:15).

How is it possible to make “double Hell” boys? I want to know that.

Jesus was saying that by turning matters of opinion into matters of doctrine, these religious leaders were getting in God’s way. They were trying to get people to believe “their brand” of religion, instead of encouraging a relationship with God.

Jesus said, in the preceding verse, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to” (Matthew 23:13).

The verse indicates people were actually trying to get in! By teaching manmade traditions instead of God’s truth, the teachers of the law and Pharisees literally closed the door to salvation.

This is not direct application to us because in that passage Jesus also says, “You yourselves do not enter, either,” but the principle is the same. It’s this key phrase, “shutting the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces.”

How do we do that? Just like the Pharisees—by making matters of opinion into matters of doctrine.

Because if we don’t have liberty in matters of opinion, we could be in danger of making “Hell boys”—in danger of shutting the kingdom of Heaven in men’s faces.

So whether it’s alcohol, politics, our view of creation, or war, capital punishment, eschatology, tattoos, music styles, dress for worship, etc., we must have liberty—and a lot of it.

[Jesus speaking] “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5).

Why did Jesus give us this verse on judgment? Because that’s how people see us. The stereotypical Christians on TV are Maude and Ned Flanders from The Simpsons. In one episode, Maude Flanders went to Bible camp to “learn to be more judgmental.” Those were her words. Why is that funny? Because too frequently that’s who we are.

A Barna Group research study showed that 87 percent of 18- to 35-year-olds who are outside the church think the church is judgmental. Eighty-seven percent! Now in many cases, that’s just not true. If the church takes a stand on moral issues, we’re going to be perceived as judgmental.

However, most of the world sees Jesus as being full of grace while his followers are full of judgment. I’m guilty of it.

Alcohol is not the No. 1 health problem in America—it’s obesity. So it’s a tad confusing to the world when we invite people over for a potluck supper of high-calorie casseroles and carrot cake and Kool-Aid made with white processed sugar—and look down our noses at someone who has five glasses of wine a week—which the American Heart Association says is good for you.

We’re losing touch with the people Jesus wants to save.

Which brings me back to the John/Jesus decision. John the Baptist chose to abstain from wine and carrot cake to set himself apart for service to the kingdom. Jesus chose to eat and drink with the people with whom he wanted to have a relationship.

Our oldest daughter, Rachel, drank her first beer on a mission trip—on purpose. As a matter of fact, we all had to really wrestle with this drinking issue before she went. She was only 20 and not legally old enough to drink in the United States. But she was going to help start a campus ministry in Birmingham, England, and things are different there. If she went to invest her life there and didn’t go into the pubs or drank Diet Coke in the pubs, she would never be able to reach the culture. Jesus realized the same thing.

And many of the people Rachel was able to connect with in a pub over a glass of Guinness decided to follow Christ. One of them became her husband!

So when the father of my future grandchildren comes to visit my house, there will always be beer in the fridge even though I don’t drink it, because I want to live my life trying very hard to never shut the kingdom of Heaven over a matter of opinion.

 

Tim Harlow is senior pastor at Parkview Christian Church, Orland Park, Illinois. He contributes to CHRISTIAN STANDARD’s “Ministry Today” column every other month.

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Some Responses

Becky Ahlberg (Anaheim, California): As a Christian college administrator, I had many a discussion about alcohol and “freedom in Christ.” The discussion usually ended as a legal question—“You’re not 21!” Tim is right, there’s nothing in Scripture that will uphold the teetotaling party line—and judgmental Christians are certainly obnoxious. I don’t drink, so this is not a personal issue for me. My personal bias is that it’s an unnecessary luxury. But here’s the way I think of it: I’m not going to sit in judgment over someone who has a glass of wine at dinner or a beer with their pizza. My job as a Christian is not to judge others, it’s to be discerning in my own life so as to be “above reproach.” I’m guessing there’s not one among us who couldn’t use a little grace in the areas of our lives that are less than they could be—especially the ones we struggle with.
 

Bob Mink (Moreno Valley, California): The subject of a Christian’s usage of alcohol has been a matter of discussion, concern, legalism, and freedom in every youth ministry, Bible study, fellowship group, and church of which I have been a part. I do not disagree with anything Tim has said, but simply add that, for me, attitude is most important. I am equally irritated by believers who flaunt their freedom as by those who are legalistic and judgmental. Tim only seems to mention the latter. And while he does refer to Jesus, John the Baptist, and the Pharisees, I would like to have read at least something from Romans 14 or 1 Corinthians 8, both of which are equally applicable to the references he cited. Finally, when my grandson comes to visit there will not be a beer in the fridge. And I don’t think that will shut the kingdom of Heaven. 


Tom Claibourne (Winchester, Ohio):
 Like Tim, I have stated publicly that taking a drink of alcohol is not forbidden in Scripture, and also that sin and horrendous consequences result from drunkenness. But the simple fact is that, if I abstain from alcohol, I don’t have to worry about the sin of drunkenness and the ugly destructive behavior related to it. (Proverbs 23:29-35 offers a tragic picture.) Likewise, I won’t hinder or confuse countless recovering alcoholics, both inside and outside the church. 

In the same sermon that Jesus spoke about judging others (Matthew 7), he also vividly warned about doing anything that can lead us down the road toward sin, and ultimately, Hell (Matthew 5:27-30). One of Jesus’ overriding themes in the Sermon on the Mount was that his disciples should choose to live by a higher standard than the world. He was not exalting legalism, but strong, healthy discipleship that positively reflects Jesus and lovingly points the world to his saving grace.


Toney Salva (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania): 
I agree completely [with Tim]. In many instances not having a beer can actually be a stumbling block. It is a matter of opinion, yes, but it is also a matter of contextualization. Thanks, Tim, for speaking where the Bible speaks. 


Danny Schaffner (Tampa, Florida): 
Great perspective on opinions and liberty. We often get confused in the 3 P’s—precepts, principles, and preferences. Consequently, the church and Christians reactively shift to “policy” or even “policing” to regulate their people. It’s such a convicting perception to realize we often create “double Hell boys” rather than empowering people with freedom in Christ.  

_____

 

ABOUT THIS FIVE-PART SERIES: One workshop at this summer’s North American Christian Convention was called “Sticky Conversations.” Five panelists each offered a perspective on an issue that troubles Christians today, and then workshop attendees shared experiences and asked questions.

We’ve decided to open these discussions to all our readers. Beginning this month, CHRISTIAN STANDARD will consider one of these topics in each issue, till we’ve dealt with all of them. This month we take up the subject of alcohol: Is it ever right or always wrong for a Christian to take a drink? 

In future months, watch for discussions of homosexuality, Calvinism, pornography and sex addiction, and divorce and remarriage. 

Each month we will ask a few readers to join the “sticky conversation” started by our writer. We invite you to contribute to the discussion by posting your comment below.

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19 Comments

  1. Mrs. Patty Boswell
    October 15, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Thanks for the many articles I have enjoyed in your publication. I want to offer a concern after reading
    the “Sticky Conversations: Alcohol” that was in the October, 2012 issue. The article written by Tim
    Harlow was much too simplistic and opinionated for such a critical subject. Such subjects should be
    loaded with scriptural references, so people can base their decisions securely upon Biblical principles.
    I would suggest a much more thorough Biblical presentation in your “sticky conversations” topics along
    with the responses from others. I was fearful of our young Christians who have come out of bar-hopping
    lifestyles reading this article. There was so very much left unsaid.
    Sincerely,
    Mrs. Patty Boswell

  2. Doug
    October 15, 2012 at 10:58 am

    There are many reasons for not drinking alcohol. But, the only scriptural reason I can find is to possibly to make sure that you don’t fall into drunkedness. And, that is a very valid reason. If you have ever sat with people who struggle with alcohol addiction, you can’t help but wish that these people had never had that first drink. But on the the other hand, there are people like myself who, based on many years of experience, can drink a beer and not have the slightest urge to have another one. I don’t know why I was created to be this way and another person was created with an addicted to alcohol but we as Christians need to obey scripture and not go down the slippery road to man made doctrine. All the preaching I heard about the evils of alcohol was simply playing to the Christian audience in order to make them feel that they were better than the evil drinkers. In truth, there is no one who is righteous and drinkers and non-drinkers alike depend wholly on Jesus and the blood of His sacrifice.

  3. Darrell
    October 15, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I personally struggled with alcohol…..always drank in excess for “the effect” of being drunk….even as a disciple of Christ. God humbled me by allowing me to get a DUI…..boy….what a wake up call…..as God speaks to us through Paul….”all things are lawful…..not all things are helpful” …..wheter alcohol or food or certain TV programs or music….we should always ask this question….” is it helpful and will it enslave”……thank God I can have beer with pizza or tacos, now and not seek “drunkenness”……His grace is sufficient and His blood covers the extremes of our sinfulness……

  4. October 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    But can a person drink alcohol and still be a Christian? I hope so, because I’d like to think that Jesus was a Christian. Jesus drank alcohol.

    LOL! What a great statement. thanks Tim!

    As a pastor, my and I don’t drink alcohol so I won’t be a stumbling block to those who have been alcoholics. My wife grew up in a Christian home where her mom liked to have a glass of wine with dinner occasionally and her dad enjoyed the occasional beer, but she NEVER saw them or heard about them being drunk.

    I do believe a Bible study on the phrase “strong drink” would enlighten many, but the basic point is this: things done in moderation don’t bring bondage. When you want to stop doing something and you can’t; that is bondage.

    God bless!

  5. Brent
    October 15, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Thanks for the Article Tim. Love this statement which is so true:

    “Alcohol is not the No. 1 health problem in America—it’s obesity. So it’s a tad confusing to the world when we invite people over for a potluck supper of high-calorie casseroles and carrot cake and Kool-Aid made with white processed sugar—and look down our noses at someone who has five glasses of wine a week—which the American Heart Association says is good for you.”

  6. K L
    October 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    I found this article disturbing for many reasons. Here are just two of them:

    1) It seems to place the focus of Christian decisions regarding alcohol on “What do I want to do to imitate everyone else in my culture, and how can I interpret Christian liberty in a way that justifies that?” rather than on “What will make me the best example of Christlike purity to those around me?” The letters to Christians in the New Testament are very clear in urging Christians to behave in ways that draw attention to their lives as pure, temperate, self-controlled, and self-sacrificing. Recreational use of any drug that weakens judgment and thus hinders one’s ability to live in this way is certainly contrary to God’s instructions about our conduct. If I am proudly using alcohol and thus encouraging such drug use by others around me (whether they are fellow believers or not), this does not bring God glory –it weakens my witness.

    2) The article also reinforces the poor interpretation of the Greek words for “fruit of the vine”. It was common in Roman times to preserve unfermented grape juice in concentrated form which then could be (and frequently WAS) mixed with water to make a non-alcoholic drink. However, early translators sometimes used the English word “wine” for any beverage made from grapes, causing today’s readers to assume any such drink must have been alcoholic. This was not the case. As the writer agrees, when reading the gospels there is no evidence that Jesus ever behaved in such a way as to call his sobriety into question. It is a perfectly reasonable supposition that his choice of beverage might have been the common non-alcoholic form which was no doubt also available. Building relationships with people who rely on alcohol to socialize is not dependent on sharing that custom. A friend who listens to you with an open heart and a smile is just as welcoming with a glass of water in his hand as with a beer – and you can trust him more!

    So, I would like to encourage any Christians reading this article who choose to abstain from alcohol in an effort to be the best possible examples of Jesus’ love and purity to a world where it is becoming more and more unknown to keep it up! Being the “salt of the earth” may mean not fitting in with every custom, but it is often what we are called to nonetheless.

  7. Jim Dempsey
    October 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Greetings:

    I’ve talked to a few people and we all say the same thing…
    Why, oh why, why did you publish the article???

    In Him,
    Jim Dempsey

  8. Ken Springer
    October 16, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    I’d like to thank Tom Claiborne for his insightful & practical response.

    Obesity may be the number one health problem in America, but I believe alcoholism is a much larger overall problem. In my thirty years of ministry, I have tried to help countless families & individuals who have been devasted by the abuse of alcohol.

    While I “don’t look down my nose” on my brothers who drink in moderation, I have chosen to abstain for what I think are practical and God pleasing reasons.

  9. October 17, 2012 at 5:59 am

    ” . . . and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into excellent grape juice. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the premium grape juice first and then the store brand grape juice after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the Welch’s till now.”

    Somehow that doesn’t make sense to me. It’s amazing how much time people will spend contorting scripture into saying something that it doesn’t. It makes us look silly and inconsistent, willing to cherry-pick our doctrine by basing it upon our culture.

  10. Myka B.
    October 20, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I’m very disappointed in the Christian Standard for its priorities in publishing the article by Tim Harlow. What good can come from it? While there are certainly health problems that can result from obesity, the devastation brought about in our culture from alcohol is much more alarming. Highway deaths, addiction, broken homes, domestic violence, poverty, and illegal behviors frequently and alarmingly result from use of alcohol. There are certainly those who drink without these problems, but will their example cause others to fall into horrible situations?

    Why publish this article? The inevitable result will be that many young Christians will use the article as an excuse to begin drinking, and the result will undoubtedly include innocent people killed on the highways, families destroyed, domestic abuse and violence, and innocent people harmed. It just seems that there are many more important topics for your magazine to deal with than to tell us that it’s okay to drink.

  11. Mike
    October 20, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    I wanted to address several comments here and in the letters to the editor section. The Christian Standard isn’t telling anyone it is okay to drink, as I see it. They are publishing articles from various points of view on a controversial issue where the biblical stance is in question. This is the strategy that the Christian Standard has chosen to take with various topics. I have a firm stance on many of the issues that they treat as opinions, but I can also understand why Christian Standard might choose to take such an approach. I am surprised at how many people are outraged that the Christian Standard would publish an article suggesting that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol is okay when we clearly have the slogan that includes, “where the Bible speaks we speak, where the Bible is silent we are silent.” We argue that instruments in the meetings of the church are okay because they aren’t forbidden… but when someone suggests that the same liberty might apply to alcohol… “well, that’s different.” I would say this issue more rightly belongs in the liberty category than many others that are forced into it just because large numbers have rejected the biblical teaching on the matter (e.g., people/groups that treat baptism as a matter of opinion).
    Besides all that, let me add, relax here a bit. No one – not Christian Standard, not the authors of these articles, not the author of this comment – no one is suggesting that drinking and driving, excessive drinking, drunkenness, addiction, or anything of the like is biblically acceptable.

  12. October 20, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    What good could come from this article? I would suggest a healthy dose of reality when it comes to the freedom we have in Christ. Consuming alcohol is not a sin. Period. You suggest, Myka, that alcohol is much more alarming than obesity, and that it will lead to “highway deaths, addiction, broken homes, domestic violence, poverty, and illegal behaviors.” In fact, the reality is that in the United States, alcohol abuse (which includes both disease and fatal accidents) accounts for approximately 75,000 deaths a year. It is estimated that obesity causes upwards of 300,000 deaths per year. If these statistics are correct, our potlucks tempt and put at risk more people than alcohol ever will.

    Christians are not called to be the morality police; we are not culture warriors. Our role is to love God, love people, and proclaim the Gospel. I hope our up and coming young Christians will take that to heart instead of letting emotion and culture dictate the direction of the Church.

  13. von maples
    October 20, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    As a pastor of a church, I am appalled at views set forth in this column and the pastors of God’s flock that uphold this teaching. Anyone following this belief should “take heed lest he fall.” When I was received of Christ, it was under His condition and not mine. He told me to “come out from among the world and be ye separate saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you.” I not only believe but am assured through God’s word that the children of my Father are not sitting around in a group of fellowship having a social, and as you say, a “responsible drink.” When people try to mix world and Spirit they are in trouble. Things of the world, lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, and the pride of life cannot in any way be considered holy as the Christlike Christian should be. My friends, we serve and worship a very loving, jealous, and judgmental God who we will all stand before and give an account for our deeds, teachings, thoughts, and opinions. His judgement will decide your eternity and my eternity in Heaven or Hell. In conclusion, is social drinking worth the risk or is false teaching worth it? Tim, you should of held closer to early teaching. Less risk. Praying for you all.

  14. Anita
    October 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    As a person who has been involved with church ministry for many years, I feel a caution sign coming into view. While I also believe it is not a sin to drink (responsibly), I have seen many lives destroyed by alcohol over the years. I am currently involved in a situation where my worship elder and I will be meeting with a member of my praise team ministry who is in denial concerning his alcohol dependency. In the choices he has been making, he is destroying his marriage and causing significant damage to his two children. As the church we do need to have these conversations (yes, I believe the article is beneficial) but I think we must consider so many options here. Caution: please be careful that we do not become complacent in this issue of alcohol because the abuse of alcohol is deadly.

  15. Myka B.
    October 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Christopher Kerr, in replying to my earlier comments, talks about estimates of death from obesity, but many of the deaths from alcohol are innocent victims of drunken drivers or violent abusive alcoholics. I was, of course, not advocating obesity, but most people will probably be better off attending a potluck dinner than they will be hanging out at the local bar. Furthermore, nothing Christopher wrote in any way changes the fact that, as I stated, “highway deaths, broken homes, domestic violence, poverty, and illegal behaviors often result from use of alcohol.”

    Mike places the issue in the liberty category, along with musical instruments. As a matter of biblical interpretation, this may be correct, but the use of instruments clearly does not lead to all the social and cultural problems that alcohol does, so perhaps Christian Standard would have been better advised to simply be silent where the Scriptures are silent.

  16. Joe Garman
    November 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    The article, “Sticky Conversations: Alcohol” should never have appeared in the Christian Standard. In May 2013, I will complete 40 years of ministry with incarcerated men, women, boys and girls nationwide. A good percentage of those with whom I work are in jail and prison for alcohol related crimes. They were either under the influence at the time of their arrest or were in an establishment promoting the consumption of alcohol.

    Numbers 13:33 records of the children of Israel, “And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” There are giants in the land today, and alcohol is one of them. Many with whom I counsel see themselves in its sight the same way the children of Israel viewed the sons of Anak. This giant is destroying families and lives on a daily basis.

    The drinking of alcohol is not a “sticky conversation.” It is a topic that needs to be addressed and condemned by the church. At every in-prison seminar I conduct I, as a representative of the church, take a strong stand against it. I urge prisoners, upon their release, to stay away from alcohol. I have yet to hear an inmate debate me on this issue.

    Joe R. Garman, President ARM Prison Outreach

  17. Allen Burnham
    November 6, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    I too was appalled at the article by Tim Harlow. I am convinced that the scripture reference that was used to try and prove that Jesus drank alcohol is about as far out as I have ever seen. I have been in the ministry for nearly 55 years and have seen all kinds of devestation from alcohol. In MN where I live there is hardly a week goes by but what there is at least one person killed in an auto accident and usually more. They are constantly shooting people all of the time and it is almost always alcohol related.
    There are countless scritpures condemning the use of alcohol. I am surprised that Tim did not do his home work before writing an article like this. It has nothing to do with”liberty.” The Old Testament if full of texts against drinking alcohol. I have articles on “The Bible and Use of the Word Wine,” and 75 Bible references on drinking. There is one thing that I have never seen, that being someone beating their chldren, wife or getting into an accident because they over ate. But with drinking alcohol it is happening all of the time. I agree with severl that said the article should never have been printed. It perhaps will turn out to be a curse on many young people today.

  18. Tom
    November 29, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    I too am a pastor and will shortly graduate with an MDIV. I want to make just a couple of points:

    1) Why, oh why would Jesus have turned water into wine if it was evil? Hmmm…God is all-knowing. If he thought of alcohol as evil, why choose that as a miracle, making it appear that consuming alcohol is OK, knowing the damage that is caused by it? Why would John have included the story in his gospel? Is it because he knows that it’s not alcohol that ‘s bad, but the misuse of alcohol?

    2) Did you know that you would not have found a church anywhere that didn’t serve real wine with communion until the temperance movement? Alcohol was not considered “bad” by Christians until man-made rules crept into the church. Now much of our culture has adopted the idea that Christians shouldn’t drink alcohol. That just plain old wasn’t taught until about 150 years ago.

    3) What you see taught throughout all of Scripture is the fact that fallen humans take things that are good and misuse them. (That’s right, I just said alcohol is good) What’s BAD about alcohol is the misuse of it. You don’t teach people that something is bad, when really only the misuse of it is bad (I say this having had my best friend killed in a drunk driving accident).
    Sex isn’t bad. The misuse of it is. Food isn’t bad. The misuse of it. Giving someone power over a people through government isn’t bad. The misuse of that power is.
    Scripture very clearly teaches that the misuse of alcohol is bad. Nowhere does it teach or even imply that alcohol is bad. What does that tell us about what the Church should teach? That ought to be the end of the story, because as Tim said–where Scripture speaks, we should speak, where Scripture is silent, we should remain silent.

    Do you know why we have so many people hurt, killed, etc. because of drunk-driving accidents and alcohol abuse? Because we’re fallen creatures! Those statistics don’t point to the fact that we need to teach that alcohol is evil (any more than American obesity points to the fact that bacon is evil), they point to the fact that broken people need Jesus, who will give them a new heart, and a new Spirit.

  19. Pat
    November 30, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Thank you, Pastor Tom, for your insightful comments. Reading them reminded me of what seems to be becoming the norm in our culture, never take responsibility when you can blame someone or “something” else for your failures or shortcomings.

    It is not alcohol, itself, that causes the highway fatalities, violence, or abuse that we hear of, but human beings who over indulge in drinking it, with the results being devastation and destruction in the lives of others. ….”Broken people,” (quoting from your comments), who need to recognize and acknowledge God has provided everything we need in Jesus Christ if we believe, receive, and yield ourselves to Him, that He may live in and through our lives.

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