This post describes the fallacy that many Christians are falling into these days concerning the drinking of beverages containing alcohol, addresses a variety of issues involved in current rationalization of drinking that we have encountered, and calls us back to a standard that separates us from the world. (By the way, I don’t hold non-Christians to these standards, and I will at the end mention a factor that actually touches on everyone; also, this is a rebuttal to those who would be belligerent in the defense of their practices, so at times it may have an air of irony).
Jerry Lee Lewis is not a friend to Righteousness, Christianity, Holiness or Godliness.
His hit song, “Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee” was one of the first songs he performed in his first performance in 1949. It celebrates drinking wine and getting drunk and the fighting (pugilism – not an option for elders) that results from getting drunk. Later in life, his multiple marriages (one with a close relative) and immorality would become somewhat ‘legendary’ among performers, but is indicative, though, of the varieties of troubles that those who drink wine and linger long over mixed wine have. There are many other songs like this… Elton John’s song, “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” begins with the singer getting, “…a belly full of beer” is another that comes to mind. Likewise, Elton John is no fan of Christianity, Godliness, Holiness or the Scripture.
Why, then, in their right minds would Christians seek to emulate these God-hating pagans (…of which they show that they hate God by their actions; not necessarily with their speech, which, being what it is, is cheap)? Certainly, there is a limit to guilt by association… but why is it that people who are supposed to be known for holiness and reverence engage in behaviors that are at best morally questionable and at worst antagonistic to the God they purportedly believe in?
- Jesus drank in moderation – My response: Was the same wine he drank the same as you drink today?
- A little won’t hurt – My response: Given that alcohol has been shown to impair a person’s judgment, when you are drinking, how do you know for certain that you have had ‘enough’? That you aren’t drunk? If you have the knowledge, isn’t it because you have been drunk?
- Timothy was told to drink a little wine and not water for his stomach problems – My response: Was the water from then as clean as the water from today? Do you have the same stomach problems? Why not use Tums instead, or get checked out for an ulcer?
- Christian Liberty allows me to drink wine – My response: Your freedom in Christ is to do acts of Righteousness; not licentiousness. In the United States, drinking alcohol is associated with licentiousness.
The people who have ‘confronted’ us about their use of alcohol (?) have had the following sins and troubles in their lives:
- Gross immorality and perversity of their employees
- Getting arrested and put into jail
- Questions about their salvation (those raised by them to us)
- Familial conflict and strife
- Living with others outside of marriage
- Immorality prior to marriage
- Drunkenness of ancestors (parents / grandparents)
- Love of fantasy over dealing with reality in a Godly way
- Retreat to painkillers and other types of sedatives in order to deal with ‘life’
First, my visceral reaction to these ‘righteous’ folk who desire to teach me and my children about the benefits of their drinking alcoholic beverages includes such thoughts as, “clean up your own yard…” or in other words, you can feel free to explain to me the benefits of wine and how it is adding so much to your life AFTER you have a life worthy of admiration… or, Were the issues surrounding your divorce complicated by alcohol at all?
You see, scripture is clear:
Proverbs 23:29,30 – “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long over wine, Those who go to taste mixed wine.”
So, if you are going to defend the benefits of drinking the modern day version of wine (which is not the same as the wine back then), in my opinion, you must have a life that is worth it for me to emulate.
I’m not really interested in debating over words, what I want to see is how much better is your life as a result of drinking. If it is so good, let me see in you a life that is superlative that I want to emulate. And, that is only for wine… You can’t make a biblical case for drinking Hard drink… The only possible case you could make would be for wine. Anything else (including beer) is not even valid for the discussion. If you don’t have the life that is above reproach, don’t defend your questionable practices to me as worthy of emulation or even as benign. I have better things to do with my time… like, rearrange my sock drawer.
So, below, I have an ongoing list of some of the issues which have been brought to our consideration, and some of the thinking that I have had concerning such things. Keep in mind that I love these people. It pains me to see what they are doing. I think that they have a troubled conscience and are trying to justify themselves… otherwise, why would they bring it up to me without provocation?
- One of the things I have heard is that people want to give the appearance to others outside the church that it’s ok for Christians to drink alcohol from a viewpoint of being a missionary to them and adapting parts of the modern culture to fit with their practice. Why not let this subtle form of influence be that of living a clean and Godly life? I don’t know how things are elsewhere; I’m not talking about that. I am talking about the United States, though.
- Another is that if you don’t drink alcohol, you give evidence that you were at some time enslaved to it – therefore you should drink it as a Christian to dissuade that perspective. (This line of thinking betrays a lack of wisdom when it comes to a person seeking to escape by way of instituting habit patterns consistent with righteousness). Doesn’t necessarily mean, though, that the person is now a reformed drunk.
- By that opinion, if a former murderer used it, it would be ok for him to continue murdering, wouldn’t it?
- Have you ever been drunk? You know it is sinful from scripture. Why didn’t you stop before you got drunk? Is it because you knew your limits and proceeded anyway? Are you wiser now? Then, why do you see how close to the edge of the Grand Canyon you can get, instead of staying as far away as possible?
- Scripture commands us to be wise and understand what the will of the Lord is. It also says that he who is deceived (by wine) is not wise. Isn’t it a good thing to be wise? Why do you want to continue being unwise?
We are commanded not to be drunk with wine because it is dissipation. Could it be that, even if we have never been drunk with wine (as the author) we are more drunk and more dissipated with other things – Entertainment? Coffee? Chocolate? Money? I can’t think of any mortal being in my direct personal experience, including myself, who has ever been without fault in this way. I think it is safe to say that most, if not all, of us have sinned in some form or fashion as far as it concerns dissipation.
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,” Ephesians 5:18
One of my Uncles took his own life who was also a drunk. Maybe we should be humble and realize our own tendency to fall, and remove as many potential traps from our lives as possible?
We are to be the master of our bodies; not our bodies being the master of us.
And also, why is it that health care practitioners sometimes ask if you drink, esp. those related to the care of children (pediatricians)?