Can Christians Drink?

“May I pour you a stiff one on the rocks? Wait a minute aren’t you a Christian? Are you allowed to drink?” So can Christians drink? That is what we will be talking about today on Salt and Light Commission.  At the end of post I’ll share where I stand on the to-drinking–not-to-drink debate.

Drinking Condemned 

There are some Christian denominations that hold that it is perfectly fine to drink alcohol.  And on the opposite side of the coin their are some that say it’s not okay for a Christian to drink. So the question still remains. Can a Christian drink?  Is it allowed? Well the Bible doesn’t specifically condemn drinking for Christians. But there are several passages that talk a lot about drinking. For example:

Galatians 5: 19-21
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Peter 4:3
3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.

Proverbs 20:1
1 Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

There are other verses just like the ones I have listed above, but you get the point. Here we can see that the bible does condemn drinking……to an extend. These verses and others like it have one common theme, and that is, not to get drunk by alcohol or to become obsessed by it to the point you want to drink all the time.

So can Christians drink? I don’t know. I guess, if you can hold your liquor, so to speak. The bible states that you should not get drunk. Getting drunk can depend on a lot of different factors and it’s not an exact science.

Some people get drunk faster than others. Depending on your weight/size, your age, the amount of alcohol consumed in a period of time and the type of alcohol consumed in a period of time. Some alcoholic beverages are stronger than others. If you can drink five beers and be fine, well five shots of whiskey might get you drunk.

So if you are going to uphold to drinking make sure you don’t  get drunk.  You will have to know your personal limits and not to surpass them. You would almost need to get drunk to know your limits which is a very slippery slope.

Drinking Condoned

Well we all know that drinking alcohol could lead to drunkenness. Especially if you are not careful. So with all this mystery surrounding the point when someone can go from social drinking to being drunk, wouldn’t there be a some verses some how condemning Christians to drink and if not there must be some verses stating that it is absolute fine to drink?

1 Timothy 5:23
23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.

Ecclesiastes 9:7
7 Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.

Isaiah 62: 8
8 The LORD has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm: “Never again will I give your grain as food for your enemies, and never again will foreigners drink the new wine for which you have toiled; 9 but those who harvest it will eat it and praise the LORD, and those who gather the grapes will drink it in the courts of my sanctuary.”

In these verses we have almost a directive to drink wine for its healing properties and and social involvement.
Of course the wine now can be a lot stronger than the ones in biblical times, but the principles are the same.

Jesus on Drinking

And we can’t forget the first miracle Jesus performed, turning water into wine.

John 2:1-11
2 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
4 “Woman,[a] why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.[b]
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

When Mary told them that the wine was all gone, Jesus didn’t respond, “Well they shouldn’t be drinking anyway!” No–Jesus didn’t condemn them.

So judging from the facts here… Can Christians drink? It would appear so. There is no definite answer here. Their are positive attributes and negative attributes to drinking alcohol. You have to be wise in your use of it.

Where I Lean

Where do I lean? As promised I would tell you where I lean on this subject. For me as a personal choice I have decided not to drink any alcohol. But I don’t condemn anyone who does.  I don’t want to fall into that point of not knowing my limits, as I have never drunk, or ignoring my limits and becoming addicted to drinking. I rather play it safe, and safe for me is not to drink.

I have heard stories of people, even my friends forgetting what they did the night of a drinking celebration. Or turning to a mean drunk, or happy drunk, or friendly drunk, and that never seemed fun to me. I don’t want to forget things I have done or have something change my personality. So, I rather not partake in anything that can alter my behavior or my personality. I like to be in control of my me. I’m the head of my house hold, a leader of men, and an example.

Proverbs 31:4-5
4 It is not for kings, Lemuel— it is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, 5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.

Now you might be one that can handle it…and that’s good on you.  I’m saying I could possibly handle it too….but what if I can’t?  I rather not find out and follow what Jesus did.

But hold on, what about Jesus? Didn’t He drink wine at the last supper? No.  I know that answer my surprise many.  At the last supper Jesus said he was drinking the “fruit of the vine,” which means, not wine or alcoholic wine. There are two types of wine in those times alcoholic and non-alcoholic….and that’s a topic for another post.   But Jesus on the night of the Passover was surely not drinking alcoholic wine….He was more than likely drinking grape juice or non-alcoholic wine, which is grape juice. Let’s talk about that on anther post. Stay tuned for that one.

But nowhere in the scriptures do I hear about Jesus drinking alcohol. Some use The Last Supper’s wording as proof that Jesus drunk wine to justify drinking, but the words Jesus used are important in describing what He was drinking.  But worth Jesus drunk or not, you don’t need to use Him to justify drinking.  Their is enough justification in the scriptures themselves.

Church Leaders on Drinking

In closing, it’s your choice.  Seek after the will of God.  I got a post on how to find His will.  You can get to it by clicking right HERE.  But like all things in moderation is key. Anything that is good can turn bad if you abuse it or use it in excess. Take sex, or relationships, or food, all good things, but if abused can turn out very badly.

Like in 1 Timothy chapter 5 Paul tells Timothy to take a LITTLE wine for his stomach.  Now this could mean it was non-alcoholic wine…because in a previous chapter, chapter 3  of the same book, Paul states that church leaders should not partake in wine that can make them drunk.

1This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
2A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
8Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to MUCH wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
It would appear here that Church pastors are not to drink  and others leaders can drink but not in excess.   So it would seem that the church goers could drink also, but in moderation.

Final Thoughts

One last thing, In Roman 14: 15-21, Paul says not to drink wine if it causes a fellow christian to stumble and fall.  So the if the christian was once an alcoholic, and non-alcoholic wine is the only approved drink for Christians, why would me drinking grape juice in front of him cause him to fall into his temptations again?  Why this warning?  This is a warning to loving your neighbor above your own rightly liberties, then it stands to reason that drinking alcoholic beverages is permitted, in moderation, and not in the presence of one that my fall back into addiction.   Always choose love over your liberty.
So there you have it.  Can Christians drink?  The evidence says yes, but to be drunk is highly forbidden.  We are supposed to be in this world, but not conforming to it.  We are supposed to be changing it with our light and with our salt, that we get through Him.  How can we shine or season, if we are drunk with the world?  Be blessed and cheers!

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