Kevin H: On Drinking

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279 Responses

  1. Babylon's Dread says:

    Cheers!

    Let’s agree on freedom and responsibility.
    Let’s agree that alcohol is a serious health and safety problem
    Let’s agree that those who are responsible do well and those who abstain do well
    Let’s agree that lives are destroyed by the irresponsible drinkers
    Let’s agree that controversy is reasonable

    Deadly

  2. Babylon's Dread says:

    oops … DREADLY

  3. Jean says:

    Thanks for weighing in on this topic.

    I’m a hobby chef and here’s what I do when I invite people over for dinner:

    (1) At the invitation, I ask them if they have any food allergies or if they don’t like any particular foods. Then I plan the menu accordingly.

    (2) Then I usually have on hand wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages, such as iced tea or lemonade. When my guests arrive, I tell them what I have and ask them what they would like. If they drink tea, I drink tea. If they drink wine, I drink wine. If they drink beer, I drink beer. If they drink water, I drink water. I want them to feel comfortable

  4. Michael says:

    I’m with Dread.
    I’m a drinker…and for years it was part of my online persona.
    I stopped mentioning it around the time that the rest of my tribe started making a big deal about their cigars and whiskey or craft beers.
    They annoyed me…and I saw the potential risk of making something “cool” that could be deadly to some.

  5. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I like your style. 🙂

  6. Josh the Baptist says:

    I bare the marks of growing up in a family of addiction. I can never have a healthy or balanced view of alcohol. It causes me too much pain to even read this article in full.

  7. Em - again says:

    “How many stupid decisions are made by those under the influence of alcohol? Decisions that aren’t statistically documented, but we know would count into the millions if they were so.” agreed… everything from suicide to running up astronomical totals on charge accounts at Lowes or Nordstrom

  8. Kevin H says:

    Josh,

    Thanks for your honesty and I’m truly sorry for the pains you and your family members have experienced.

    I don’t think this is a subject that as a whole, does the church well to avoid when it does nothing more than make blanket statements that it’s wrong to drink, end of story. But for those in the church who do drink, we certainly need to be careful how we interact on the subject. People with experiences like yours are a good reason to be careful and compassionate. I tried to be thoughtful in my article. Hopefully I didn’t fail in my intents too badly.

  9. dswoager says:

    Em, the drunk Lowes shopping spree immediately flashed a picture of a tragic nail gun accident in my head :).

  10. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    This is very much like the gun issue – people mishandling guns cause great tragedy in society. But gun ownership, or use etc should never come under restriction by those who use them responsibly nor should gun owners be looked down upon.

  11. Dan from Georgia says:

    Wish I had been the first to comment so I could have posted this…

    “Here we go…”

    That is all I have to say about that (a al Forrest Gump)

  12. dswoager says:

    This is topic adjacent, but I just recently got into homebrewing, and they have the (at least so far) well deserved reputation of being an extremely friendly and helpful community. The recognition that we all started somewhere, means that no screw up or question is too stupid. The realization that if we help each other, we can have a more rich and growing community… that if I help you grow, that someday you may help us all grow. It’s a good mindset, well worth being emulated.

  13. Josh the Baptist says:

    Kevin, I think I agree with you that this needs to be addressed better by churches. I just can’t do it. Maybe someday, but its not looking likely.

  14. Em - again says:

    #8 – some things in life don’t lend themselves to blanket statements – this subject is one of them… growing up the home of my grandparents (ordained minister – Bible college graduate product of the turn of the last century) alcohol was not part of the home – yet Grandmother had a very complete “liquor cabinet” supplied by their liquor salesman (for a time) son. She made outstanding fruitcakes 🙂 and it served medicinally on a few occasions also.

    i absolutely have no use for “recreational drugs” … the reason being that i think it brings a society down… we have a couple legal pot farms down the road and i’d destroy them in an eye blink if i could (illegally growing pot in our surrounding mountains has gone on for decades).
    that said, the local handyman says that he’d never have made it thru his adolescent years without smoking dope as he had a very abusive father – he’s sure he would have ended up in prison in some sort of revolt/reaction to his home life … so …?… dunno, do i?

  15. Em - again says:

    one last thought on this subject… i don’t think we can use the Bible to give us explicit directions on this subject – back then they didn’t have cars, handguns or charge accounts… staggering home down a Jericho road after a few too many might find you embarrassing yourself beside the road in one way or another, but you’d not be able to fatally wrap yourself around a tree

    #9 – that is funny – kinda – i wasn’t thinking of using power tools when under the influence – nail guns and chain saws scare me even in the hands of sober folk

    now i’m done pontificating on the subject… there are wiser things to be said by others here

  16. Dennis says:

    I often wonder if people who think we should never drink for fear of stumbling someone believe that Jesus ever stumbled anyone when he drank.

    “I can’t tell you it’s a sin to drink, but you still shouldn’t do it” is almost always the response I get.

    Putting a fence around something to prevent the possibility of sin that goes beyond what scripture requires has never caused any unhealthy problems in the couch, has it? 🙂

  17. Dennis says:

    * church, not couch. Stupid autocorrect

  18. Erunner says:

    Alcohol made a mess of my entire family. Living in a home where things are so unpredictable leaves young children in a terrible dilemma and the person they become is shaped by the trauma. It can take a lifetime overcoming the impact. I see it still in myself and my siblings as well as our mother who didn’t drink.

    I haven’t touched alcohol for at least forty years and have no desire to. I’ve seen the damage it can cause as Kevin mentioned in his article.

    Our oldest son brews bear and is a bartender. I think he’ll make a living from it at some point. All of our children drink but do so responsibly and not too often.

    I’ve learned not to have issues with believers who drink and do so responsibly.

    If I did drink and offered a first drink to a believer letting them know drinking responsibly is not a sin I would still fear that that first drink might lead to big problems down the road.

    I think this is an excellent topic that needs to be discussed. I suspect there are those who are dealing with drinking problems but are too ashamed to come forward for fear of being rejected. I pray that God would work powerfully in their lives.

  19. Xenia says:

    A few glasses of wine at a nice meal, maybe a beer on a hot afternoon. That’s plenty of alcohol for me.

  20. Josh the Baptist says:

    Erunner – sounds like you are a few more miles down the same road that I am on.

  21. Thankful says:

    I’ve considered this over the last few years. I wonder if we shouldn’t obey the tradition we’re a part of? I haven’t embraced that completely, but it would seem to settle the issue without resorting to the lengths you descibe (maintaining secrecy, where I’ve sort of landed).

    If one is Catholic/Orthodox/Lutheran, etc. there won’t be much of an issue. Other traditions may be balanced, i.e. take it or leave it, while others (Methodist, certain CC, Baptist) will condemn it. What I wonder about is interacting with others across traditions (which you are short of addressing); unity would seem to trump personal feeling. The admonition to not give offense seems to be very concerned with causing your Brother to judge you for something you are doing. By him judging you, he now sins.

    It seems the Orthodox take the issue seriously with regard to meat (monks are vegetarian). There is also a verse about not allowing for our drink to destroy the work of God; that would seem to be a reliable guide as well.

    Bottom line, I’m thinking Good is more concerned with our obedience where we find ourselves (Christ was obedient unto death).

  22. Thankful says:

    *sort, not short

  23. Erunner says:

    Josh, maybe because I’m a bit older than you Josh. I’ve watched you here since you arrived and I have come to greatly admire you.

    My father did get sober and during his A.A. time he called each of us children asking forgiveness. He also came to Christ and was able to speak at his funeral 20 years ago.

    I got the happy ending so many don’t get.

    What’s always struck me is my father’s father got sober through AA yet his three sons and my Grandmother (his wife) became alcoholics. There’s a long history of alcoholism in our family.

    I pray God brings you to the place you long to be Josh. He’s good that way!

  24. Erunner says:

    Correction…..I was able to speak at his funeral.

  25. Jim says:

    Oh boy. I am with Josh @6. For me it is impossible to address the issue without bias. I ended up with a loaded firearm in my mouth largely due to alcohol. I do not struggle with it, I just think for spiritual leaders it’s unwise. So much of christianity today is focused on what “I” am free to do rather than how Christ may want me to consider others as more important. Nothing is lost in this life by abstaining. I’ll walk away now. 🙂

  26. Jim says:

    One of the questions that comes up is, “what is drunkeness?” Is it two or three? Four?
    How far can we go? Is that the right question?

  27. Josh the Baptist says:

    Thank you E. You know I think the world of you.

    My Dad got sober as well. Years of abuse have ravaged his body and mind, but he is now living for the Lord with what he has left. I am so thankful for the time I have with him. He came to my Sunday School class this week. I think he is proud of me.

    Still, like Jim says, nothing is lost by abstaining. I know that my kids have avoided a lot of the pain that I experienced, simply because I choose not to drink. Easy enough for me.

  28. Cash says:

    Very good article, Kevin.

    What if everytime you mentioned alcohol in your article, we substituted the word “marijuana.” Lest anyone think I’m just a pothead, I have done a lot of thinking about this because I live in a state that has made use of marijuana legal.

    When we talk about the damage alcohol can do, it’s far more dangerous than marijuana.
    There is no question about that. However, marijuana definitely has it’s own problems.

    It is addictive, definitely has it’s own “drunkenness” for sure.

    I’ve often wished they wouldn’t use the phrase “drugs and alcohol,” because it gives the false notion that alcohol is different in some way than other drugs. Obviously it is different in its chemical compounds, but alcohol is just as much a drug as marijuana. It’s a chemical that does things to your brain, just as marijuana does.

    However, I imagine most Christians, even those with no problem accepting alcohol would have a conscience problem with marijuana. I see this as incongruent. I certainly wouldn’t offer my guests marijuana at a dinner party, because of the societal stigma that still affects the use of the drug, but I see marijuana the exact same way I see alcohol. Two chemicals that mess with your brain.

    But is it permissable for a Christian to smoke weed? I will let others more learned than I answer that question.

  29. Michael says:

    I’ll be blunt.

    I don’t think my choice to consume or not to consume has anything to do with my faith.
    Marijuana is legal here…and it’s none of my pastoral business if people smoke or not.

    At one point in our history abstinence was a mark of holiness.

    That tradition still exists in some groups.

    That’s fine with me, but I don’t see it that way.

  30. Michael says:

    Cash beat me to it…

  31. Jim says:

    Cash you bring up a good point. I have made this point before and usually get shouted down. I remember counseling a young man who was in trouble for smoking a little pot, and he asked me “what is the difference between that and my dad having a couple of drinks every night?” At the time it was only legality. That is no longer the case. Dad gave his son license.

  32. Michael says:

    I have a cultural aversion to pot.
    That doesn’t mean it needs to shape or influence my preaching.
    I doubt I’d ever mention it in church…the Bible doesn’t.

  33. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I come from a Jewish family. I don’t know the case now, but in the past it was that Jews always had the lowest incidence of alcoholism of any group. (it may not be so now because in today’s society everyone wants to be bad.). The reason? It was never the forbidden fruit – wine etc was always considered a gift from God to be used for your good pleasure. It was ordinary, so there was no “let’s sneak into dad’s liquor cabinet”.

    Christians, with the usual stick up our butts make it the forbidden fruit even if we have no issue with drinking.

  34. Xenia says:

    At my church we put bottles of vodka on the tables for our parish Thanksgiving dinner and for any other major meal.

    At Greek parishes we remember the anniversary of the death of a loved one with Metaxa brandy, a small glass after Liturgy for each adult. Cheers, Uncle Dima! May your memory be eternal!

  35. pstrmike says:

    I come from a long line of alcoholics on both sides of my family. At my great-grandfather’s wake, they got so drunk that they pulled his stiff body out of the casket to give him his last drink. Too drunk to put him back in the casket, they stood him up in the corner of the room. My aunt came downstairs and found his body leaning in the corner. Fun times.

    Alcohol caused many problems in my immediate and extended family. Incarcerations, suicide attempts, broken marriages, shorten lifespans, etc. So much for fun times.

    Having been clean and sober for almost 28 years, I wonder if I could drink again being that I am in a totally different mindset than I was years ago. I deal with many who have addiction issues, and I think they are encouraged that I have been sober for so long. That seems to be enough motivation for me to go one more day at a time.

    I’m ok with those who drink, many of my friends do so. What I get tired of is the flaunting of liberty to such excess of treating those who don’t who drink as a “weaker brother”. In laymen’s terms, its BS. The conviction to indulge or refrain does not automatically place us in either category; to do so without consideration is another example of bad hermeneutic.

  36. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I think abstinence is an American cultural issue that we baptized.

  37. Michael says:

    pstrmike,

    The weaker brothers are the ones who have to continually tell us what they are smoking and drinking.
    After a while it’s simply indulging ones liberty to be an ass.

  38. Kevin H says:

    Good conversation here so far.

    Maybe my Phillies still do have a chance this year. 🙂

  39. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Maybe my Phillies still do have a chance this year.”

    Talk about your baseball fan under the influence 😉

  40. Kevin H says:

    Jim,

    There are those who are constantly hyping their freedoms to an unhealthy degree without consideration of others. This is definitely a problem. But at least from my experiences and vantage point, those who want to legalistically condemn the “drinkers” still far outweigh those who wrongfully flaunt their freedom to drink.

    As far as weighing our freedoms in relation to consideration of others, I think we need to find a balance. That was what I was getting at in the last section of my article. While I think we always need to consider others with anything we do in life, I also think that God doesn’t want us to restrict our lives to such a degree that we’re living a life of extreme asceticism. And if we’re consistent with always avoiding any possible thing that may cause others to stumble or cause them offense, that is where we would end up. Thus my point about living a life of poverty. I don’t think God has filled this earth with enjoyable things only for us to avoid them all. We need to find a reasonable balance.

  41. Kevin H says:

    MLD,

    I don’t have any idea how you could come to such a conclusion. 🙂

  42. Jim says:

    Regarding the weaker brother, there is some pretty strong language for those who have liberty to look out for the weaker.
    “But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols? For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died.” – 1Cor. 8:9-11
    I’ve seen this admonition ignored time and time again.

  43. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    However, if the Dodgers keep pulling their starters pitching shutouts and no hitters and turning them over to the bull pen, we won’t be much better.

  44. filbertz says:

    I didn’t drink or smoke anything growing up and all the while my kids were growing up. I provided them a solid example, reasonable explanations, and a church setting that reinforced abstaining from both. All my kids (7) smoke cigarettes or pot AND drink alcohol, some to excess. There is no cause and effect. People defy the party line all the time. I don’t answer for their choices…I did my part. Too many Christians take responsibility for others’ choices and behaviors…that’s usually called co-dependence. My job is no longer to persuade my kids (all adults) to do anything. It is to love them, show them grace, and extend some advice when they inquire. I now drink beer on occasion and I’m partial to whiskey, but take full responsibility only for myself. Never have I been drunk nor even close. I have strong opinions on the way many Christians mishandle scripture to make their points on alcohol or drugs, but will likely stay out of the fray on this round.

  45. Kevin H says:

    “Nothing is lost in this life by abstaining.”

    I think we can draw some scenarios where than can be loss. Here are a couple examples:

    1) In some cultures, such as some in Europe, it is expected that everyone drinks. In some circumstances where you would be offered a drink, it would be considered offensive to refuse. This could cause a “loss” of sorts in a relationship or in the potential of building a relationship.

    2) Similar scenario where a bunch of your buddies are going out for a drink but you won’t join them. This could cause offense in them in that they see you as being too good for them or similar bad feelings. Or even if there are no bad feelings, it still is a “loss” at the opportunity to build further relationships or camaraderie.

    Now, this is not to say that one must drink in these scenarios. Just examples where there can be possible “loss” by not doing so.

  46. Paige says:

    Thank you KevinH for your brave article.

    I’m with Josh, Erunner and pstrmike…. My mother, her mother, her sister, and my late ex husband, all alcoholics. Their choices made life hell for many. They’re all dead. The damage they caused lives on.

    Part of that “damage’ is my complete avoidance of alcohol. It’s not a spiritual issue to me. It’s a health and relationship issue.

  47. j2theperson says:

    I live in Wisconsin. Everybody drinks here–except me and my husband. We’re the odd people out. It’s the rare Christian here who will pillory another Christian for enjoying an adult beverage.

  48. Kevin H says:

    “What is drunkenness” is obviously a bit of a gray area in defining. When someone is totally loaded it is obvious. But at what point would God consider us to be drunk, I don’t know. I do know God tells us not to get drunk. On the other hand, we see God encouraging the drinking of alcohol for enjoyment at various places in Scripture and Jesus himself drank. So there must be a capability to drink some without getting drunk in God’s eyes. Where is the magic line? I can’t say with any certainty.

    I do know for myself that if and when I feel a “buzz” I choose to stop so that I don’t take any chance of becoming legitimately drunk. I believe I am honoring God in this respect.

  49. Kevin H says:

    j2,

    I have spent a little bit of time in Wisconsin. I thought you weren’t allowed to reside there unless you drank beer and ate cheese curds. 🙂

  50. j2theperson says:

    I don’t drink or eat cheese curds, and I’m still allowed to live here, though I am viewed with shock and suspicion. 😛

  51. Jean says:

    Kevin, and brats. 🙂

  52. Mr Jesperson says:

    I will just say that my father was an alcoholic. It ended up killing him a number of years back. He died as an unbeliever who never apologized to his family for things he had done under the influence. On a closely related topic: smoking, my brother died from leukemia treatments after smoking unfiltered Camels for many years. I have a friend who smokes who has stated that everyone he knew who once smoked unfiltered Camels is now dead from leukemia. My best friends dad died from lung cancer. He was a fundamentalist baptist and a closet smoker. All this makes me think of a proverb, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”

  53. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I wonder how many folks have died from too many trips to In N Out?

    I have only one reason to want to live longer than I have. I want to dance at all my grandkids’ weddings.

  54. Steve Wright says:

    Is there anything Christian we would not want our teenage children doing? Anything I am free to do in Jesus but not free in my own house because the kids might find out?

    Question for the social drinkers. Do you allow your teenage children to drink socially?

    If so…Ok. I knew many parents who used to host the keg parties in high school. They were the cool parents for us drunks.

    But if not, then what is the reason you give them?

    a) They are too immature to do so.
    b) They are too young to do so (i.e. the law and the birth certificate)

    How well do both of those lines work with the average teenager. (Then again, maybe your teenagers are above average)

    I assume the answer is not “I make sure to not drink around them” as it would sort of kill the argument that a proper Christian witness can’t be shared in front of one’s teenage child.

    (And please, let’s not say something about not having sex in front of your teenager either. Your teenagers know that mom and dad are intimate, and if they ever asked, you would certainly say you were and it was perfectly proper before the Lord. If single/divorced/widowed of course, you would say you do not have sex. No inconsistency there with what you would want your teenager to do)

  55. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve,
    Am I understanding you correctly? “Is there anything Christian we would not want our teenage children doing?”

    I would not tell my teens (and a couple of my grandkids will be there this year) “God does not want you to drink.” – because God has not said that yet.

    However, I have, would and will tell them your other options.
    1.) They are too immature to make the decision on their own (and their friends are idiots)
    2.) They are too young to do so (i.e. the law and the birth certificate)

    I let the grandkids drive the boat but not my car. 😉

  56. Steve Wright says:

    No, you are not understanding me correctly (totally) because I said nothing about telling them “God would not want you to drink” did I? – I asked, what I asked.

    I made myself clear – and it seems from your answer you have as well. If the drinking age is lowered, then they can go for it but until then that 19 year-old college student is going to have to drink Pepsi while Dad sucks down a Coors Light watching a ball game together.

    Not sure how well that will play back in the dorm but I thank you for answering my question.

  57. Steve Wright says:

    I should probably add that the laws about consumption (as opposed to purchase) do vary state by state which would add an interesting twist to this argument, especially for the Christian family that gets relocated and moves across state lines.

  58. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, the reason I worded it the way I did was you asked ““Is there anything Christian…”
    I don’t see drinking as a ‘Christian’ issue – if it is, it must be because God either wants you to do something or he does not want you to do something. I don’t see drinking in that category.

    When my kids were very young, I picked up on a James Dobson comment that stuck with me and became my overriding parenting motto. Dobson said “Your job as a parent is to get you child to 18 alive and not in jail.”

    I had several of his books – that was the one thing I applied.

  59. Steve Wright says:

    I have to run now..but to further clarify what I am asking. Because I am not suggesting that young children have the same freedoms that adults have. Obviously, there is a reality when it comes to the maturity of growing up. Thus, my focus on the 19 year-old example, and not the 9 year-old example.

    Take movies for instance. Is there any movie I would feel “free in Jesus” to watch that I would not want my 19 year-old son to watch? That I would not feel comfortable before the Lord watching with him that I would by myself?

    In n Out Burger was mentioned above. Anything I would feel free to eat by myself that I would not eat with my 19 year-old?

    Coffee? Again, I’m not letting a 9 year-old drink coffee (or watch Saving Private Ryan for that matter) but certainly would share coffee with a 19 year-old.

    Music, Mixed Martial Arts (or any other sport)…are there ANY examples in life that we as Christian parents are free in Jesus to enjoy that we would not want our 19 year old children to enjoy with us. Or 17 year old. Or even 16 or 15 year old……Anything?

    And to repeat, if you are cool as a parent in drinking some suds or wine with your teenager…then OK. Most aren’t though and it leads to the question, Why?

    To leave conviction and Jesus out of the possible answer seems a mistake to me. Jesus is never to be left out of the answers to life’s decisions…especially parenting ones.

  60. Steve Wright says:

    For the record…I don’t have a 19 year-old son. I probably should have worded that differently.

    I do have one 17 years old, and he is the pride of his mother and I. He’s a better Christian than I am.

  61. Randy says:

    Until the late 19th century baptist pastors in the south got paid in whiskey and tobacco. In fact, a baptist Pastor invented bourbon by accident. But by the end of the century, drunkenness was the norm, at least in the south. Men consumed much more alcohol than today. It was the manly thing to do. They could not hold jobs and take care of their families. The women rebelled and the temperance movement was born.

    The rejection of alcohol was not about a false sense of piety but survival of the family. Baptists, Methodists and others were made up of many poor people, the very ones who could not work because of alcoholism.

    I would say that today close to 90% of Baptists drink as would be true of other denominations. Many of them hide it. I do not care one way or the other but I have seen the pitiful condition of family members and individuals in my southern culture. Many have had these experiences. It is wrong to suggest this legalism or some form of fundamentalist piety is behind the non use of alcohol. I agree with Kevin H. that we need to tolerate each other in the matter of alcohol. As Paul said about food, if eating meat causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again. I am a slave to Christ which means I serve his body, my brother, my sister. Sometimes serving Christ means I stop looking for excuses to indulge myself and start looking at how I might serve my brother.

  62. Michael says:

    Randy.

    Very glad to see you here!

  63. Michael says:

    For introductions sake…

    I’ve “known” Randy online for as long as I’ve had a computer.
    I’ve learned more than I can say from him.

    He is a long time SBC pastor with a doctorate from New Orleans Baptist Seminary if I remember correctly.

    Good guy…

  64. filbertz says:

    funny how the underlying feeling remains ‘the better christian is the one who refuses to exercise his/her liberty’

    liberty doesn’t cover excess or abuse or irresponsible behavior. the exceptions shouldn’t define or negate the rule. the weaker brother shouldn’t be stumbled, but he should be assisted to become strong.

  65. fil,
    It’s the standard Theology of Glory – I can tell that God is pleased with me by what I do or don’t do (no beer in me makes God happy with me)

    The Theology of the Cross by contrast has me look at Jesus hanging on the cross and by his act I conclude that God is happy with me.

    A theologian of glory just will not give up his own works.

  66. Kevin H says:

    Randy,

    You are right about the circumstances that turned the tide of at least some segments of the church to be against the use of alcohol. And certainly there have been and still are those who are against alcohol and do not stand against it for legalistic or fundamental pietistic reasons or in such a fashion. I do not mean to suggest that nearly all opposition is rooted in legalistism.

    However, I have seen plenty of circumstances where people have spoken/preached/written against alcohol in what comes across, at least to me, in a very legalistic and condescending fashion. I am sure I am not alone in those feelings. Some who will also speak very strongly to the concern of stumbling a brother and will speak condemningly of those who do drink because surely the drinkers are placing their own carnal desires over any concern for their brothers. Yet, many of this same group will hardly utter a peep or live by sacrificed example about other issues which could stumble a brother. Thus my example of choosing to live in poverty. I think we need to find a reasoned balance on the “stumbling” issue.

  67. filbertz says:

    MLD,
    I agree with your concise summary. grace is much more at home with the latter than the former.

  68. Dan from Georgia says:

    Kevin (comment #66)…in regards to stumbling blocks, when I first became a believer, I entered into a single’s group at a local church. I remember my first stumbling block being the gossip and negative talk behind people’s back coming out of the mouths of my fellow Christians. I DISTINCTLY remember saying to myself “I thought Christians were not supposed to gossip and back-bite.”

  69. Robert Farrar Capon – one of my favorites, and not a Lutheran said, However much we hate the law, we are more afraid of grace.”

    They are those who continually work to be the better Christian because they don’t believe that God has already made them the better Christian.

    I am just reading an article by Donavon Riley where in the middle he asks “What if a church admitted publicly that we can’t work hard enough to become better Christians?” How timely – read the whole short article –

    http://www.1517legacy.com/donavonriley/2016/04/imagine/

  70. brian says:

    I have told this I think one or two times, honestly when I discussed it in the real world faith community basically it made people want to puke though no one said it that way. I have had an issue with chronic pain for about thirty-two years, the level varies but it is neuropathy and arthritis. My hands are actually twisted now with minimum use and almost always with pain. To my shame and I mean that,, it sickens me to my pathetic disgusting weakness but I did self-medicate with alcohol, beer mainly. I quit it when my liver was affected but it is stupid and disgusting on my part that I ever let things get to me. I can say I am medication free as I will not even take mild pain medication unless absolutely necessary. AA really helped though I only went to three meetings because of the whole prayer for each other thing, I cant deal with that. I have no problem praying for others but I am still not able to remain in the room if others do so for me. Its not really a pride thing it was just so ingrained almost in my DNA that a true Christian just does not do that, ever.

    I know that’s me and its my emotional trip but I guess we all struggle with things. I am glad I stopped drinking it is insidious especially when used to alleviate pain. It makes you feel good and takes away the pain for awhile but it has some real downsides.

  71. covered says:

    I raised 4 kids and drank quite a bit of beer as they grew up. When I was called to be a pastor, I didn’t want to be a “hypocrite” to my adult children and I quit drinking. About 2 years ago one of my sons called me and I realized that his speech was slurred and he was probably intoxicated. Never did I worry about them driving or doing something stupid as I drank responsibly so I didn’t say anything to him. He’s an adult, he’s a great husband and loving dad.

    About 6 months later I was on a trip to the Middle East and received a call from my wife. She was very upset and could barely talk. I begged her to calm down and speak slowly. The very next thing I heard was, “our son was drunk and the cops shot him 3 times!” I can’t begin to share all of the emotions that consumed my heart and mind.

    He is alive. He is sober. He loves The Lord and appreciates his wife and kids like never before. He recently asked me what I thought about him contacting the officer who shot him to apologize and thank him for not killing him.

    Not sure what I am trying to share other than alcohol almost killed me (broken heart) and it also was the catalyst that caused my son to straighten out his life.

    I get numb sometimes and it has nothing to do with alcohol whenever I think about this…

  72. Em - again says:

    #61 – i’m glad Randy posted this – when researching my family history back into that time period – when Carrie Nation was storming the saloons – i found things were just as as he has described it…

  73. JoelG says:

    I’m not sure what a “better Christian” is or means. I think that’s what many evangelical churches are pushing believers to be and why I gave up and put my butt in a Lutheran pew. All we can do is receive, not try harder.

  74. Kevin H says:

    Thank you all for the discussion here so far. I think it has been surprisingly good.

    Although it may be a sore subject for some and it is understandable if they don’t want to engage, I think the church as a general whole has to raise its level in how it discusses the issue of drinking. We have too many who condescendingly condemn drinking while ignoring reasonable discussion from the other side. And then from the other side we have those who like to brag about their prowess to imbibe and want to paint all those who don’t want to drink as legalistic prudes without considering their thoughts and/or experiences. We need to do better and I think we have done so here.

    I think we have seen the real world destructive effects that alcohol can have in people’s lives with the personal stories some have shared here. I’m sincerely sorry for those who have had to live through such things. So it most definitely is a subject to take seriously.

  75. Kevin H says:

    One aspect about which I was hoping to get a little more engagement was the stumbling issue and how we relate it to drinking in comparison all other possible vices. For those who think it is best that we avoid alcohol to prevent the possibility of stumbling others (or maybe some of you think this is not just best to do but is a must to do), how do we hold the same in relation to the many other things in life that we may think we have the liberty to do but could cause others to stumble? And if we don’t hold to the same on other issues, why not?

    I’m not necessarily looking for a fight. I’m hoping to better understand the rationale for those who think we shouldn’t drink for such reasons, but are okay about doing other things that could potentially stumble others. I gave plenty of examples in my article, with the biggest focus on the possibility of stumbling those who struggle with materialism and covetousness.

  76. Josh the Baptist says:

    It depends on how you define “stumble”.

    For me this is practical, rather than scriptural.

    If I introduce someone to alcohol, and it “stumbles” him into being an alcoholic, wrecking his family, etc…that seems worse than introducing someone to North Carolina BBQ, and he eat too much, but he is still in his right mind, and treats his family well.

  77. I was going to say almost the same as Josh – is there an actual context for “stumbling”.

    We use wine in our church service – should we worry that this will stumble some recovering alcoholic? We have some in our church. At communion we offer non alcoholic wine (which is different than grape juice) to those who cannot drink alcohol for medical reasons or because they are alcoholics.

    But we do not stop using wine in our service nor do we apologize because we may “stumble” someone.

  78. Kevin H says:

    I do think the definition and context within which “stumbling” is used in the Scriptural passages is important. I am not a Biblical scholar, so I can’t speak authoritatively to its exact meaning. I do know I have read different takes on its overall meaning from different authors.

  79. However, in the scriptural context I do believe that is where we get the term “weaker brother”.

    I think it means something else and we have (as we always do) codified it into some churchy action.
    The passage in 1 Cor 8 seems to be saying that we need to teach these people and have them come out of their former & false beliefs – to strengthen their conscience.

    “However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.”

  80. Jean says:

    “I do think the definition and context within which “stumbling” is used in the Scriptural passages is important.”

    I think what Paul is talking about by “stumbling” is doing something that could cause a weak brother or sister to turn away from the Gospel of Christ. If a person thought meat sacrificed to an idol carried some sort of demonic taint, that person might say “How could Christianity be true if they pray to the Lord while eating meat infected with demonic spirits?”

    This is not the same thing as alcohol when people talk about exposing someone to gift of God, which like sex, money or food (gluttony) is, just because they might abuse it. Remember, wine is a gift of God, it is not a sinful substance. But, if it is misused, it can become a source of great sin and evil, just like many other gifts of God.

  81. Josh the Baptist says:

    “demonic taint”

    Great name for a metal band.

  82. Jean says:

    Josh, LOL!

  83. Josh the Baptist says:

    Jean – I agree with your #80. This is a different thing. That’s why I can only talk about it rationally and not with scriptural back-up.

  84. Kevin H says:

    Josh, thanks for your input and honesty.

  85. Jean says:

    When we raise children, we teach morality in two ways: Positive teaching; and Negative teaching.

    Examples: (1) Sobriety and chastity are beneficial and right because you will do well in school and have better relationships and likely marriage one day. Yada, yada.

    (2) Don’t drink, don’t chew or go out with the girls that do because you’ll end up unemployed, in failed relationships, etc. etc.

    There is probably some combination of (1) and (2) that is appropriate. However, I would argue that teaching self worth and the positive side of prudence should be emphasized more than always focusing on “don’t do this, don’t do that.”

    But besides the Law, children need to hear the Gospel. When mistakes occur (because they are little sinners too), “Jesus forgives you and so do I.” “Nothing will separate you from His love or mine.” “I will help you get through this ….” “This issue does not define you before the Lord or me.”

    But, talk is also cheap. Children hear all kinks of talk from all kinds of sources. I think what forms children, more than we may care to admit, is what they see. So, if parents say one thing and do another, children will pick that up. If parents live out what they say, then what they say will probably have a lot more credibility with their children.

    But again, children need to understand that parents sin and make mistakes too and need the forgiveness of Jesus just as much as the children do. So, Jesus really needs to be at the center of all family relationships if they are to be healthy.

  86. Jean says:

    And when I said “Jesus really needs to be at the center of all family relationships” I did not mean as a new Moses, but as our Savior, forgiving us daily for our sins, the Holy Spirit renewing us daily.

  87. AA says:

    Thanks for the post Kevin, A great topic for discussion. I did great harm to myself and others by abusing alcohol so I choose not to drink. This is a good conversation to have so as not to be legalistic. Great comments.

  88. I don’t think children seeing parents doing something forbidden to them (the children as children) is sin – and I think this is where Steve Wright began the conversation.

    If I forbid my children from smoking or drinking, and I smoke and drink – I am not sinning nor being hypocritcal. They cannot do it as children either by law or I won’t allow it until they can make their own informed mature decision – which should come with age and with maturity.

    Actually in life it really is “don’t do as I do, but do as I say” – because I may have a good reason for saying so.

  89. filbertz says:

    the stumbling context is very important–first because one’s actions could violate another’s conscience and cause him/her to sin. Second, Paul says ‘we know that meat offered to idols is OK,’ but there are others who differ in their opinion or practice–this is their weakness: a misunderstanding of the truth & nature of their liberty in Christ. This weakness must be addressed and strength developed. Finally, to empower the stance of the weaker brother by sanctioning a ‘weak’ position clouds what we ‘know’ and undermines the broader, greater, and ultimate ‘truth.’

    Also–I am not saying a believer should drink, smoke pot, or other matter of conscience. It would not be liberty if we all had to do something. One’s personal reasons for a personal practice is his or hers. To broaden those or expect others to follow is where it gets sticky. Personal choice to abstain does not make that person ‘weak.’ Instead, they understand their liberty and choose to exercise it by non-practice. The ‘weak’ brother does not understand personal liberty and the freedom we have in Christ.

  90. Jim Jacobson says:

    MLD & Filbertz, you have both stated that the weaker brother in the case of conscience needs to be strengthened/grow. It seems to me that you are missing Paul’s point entirely in 1 Corinthians 8. He begins with “Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.” And concludes his thoughts with “Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.”
    His point, and his example is that loving care for the weaker brother is more important than his personal knowledge and liberty. No where does he advocate for strengthening the conscience in regard to their weakness.
    For me, this is really the issue. Although I do not drink, and I *believe* it is a better practice for pastors and church leaders, I would not forbid others from their freedom. But when I read comments like @77 It comes off as unloving and arrogant, and really the opposite of what Paul was teaching.

  91. Josh the Baptist says:

    How is non-alcoholic wine different than grape juice?

  92. Jim Jacobson says:

    Josh it’s actually wine.

  93. Dan from Georgia says:

    Kevin H (#75)…

    I think part of the problem with setting up (legalistic) boundaries for everyone so as to avoid placing a stumbling block in front of others, is a lack of knowledge of what the Bible actually teaches about these gray areas. I don’t recall the exact verses offhand, and someone here already alluded to them, but in the New Testament Paul discusses the gray area of eating meat sacrificed to idols. This was obviously a stumbling block to many believers back in the day. The principle should hold today. Should, but often doesn’t because, in my opinion, our Christian culture has been so influenced by some teachings that just have to outline behavioral codes for believers, instead of trusting the guidance of the Spirit.

    There are believers who abuse alcohol. There are also believers who can’t control their spending (greed, gambling, lottery, etc), their eating habits (a group of friends that I belong to..almost everyone has a “beer” gut, not from drinking alcohol, but most likely from not taking care of themselves), their TONGUE (gossip, back-biting), how they treat their spouse (abuse), etc etc.

    Not minimizing the effects of alcoholism here by comparing to gossip, for example, so please don’t flame me about that.

  94. Josh the Baptist says:

    Is it fermented, and then the alcohol somehow removed?

  95. JoelG says:

    If being a “stumbling block” is the real issue here, let’s not leave out those who would teach that obedience somehow makes a person a “better Christian”. It’s wonderful that some have somehow made it to the point where they don’t sin as bad as others. But teaching such things as “Gospel” only leads others to despair.

    Now this is a “stumbling block”.

  96. Jim says:

    Josh, I don’t know about the process, but I suspect it’s similar to na beer. There isn’t a lot of na wine available but it is tasty.

  97. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, my understanding is that at the moment the fermentation begins, the process is stopped.

  98. Francisco says:

    As someone who grows wine for a living in a wine growing region this topic comes up quite often. I often see pastors across broad denominational lines who come from a background where any alcohol consumption was considered sinful, now all of a sudden find themselves in a region surrounded by people who drink wine not only as part of their culture, but as part of their livelihood.

    A young man ‘s family with a long history in the wine industry asked me recently:

    ” Should a pastor who preaches on Sunday that having any wine is sinful but then has no problem receiving tithes and offerings from the very hands that work in this industry and that support him? Wouldn’t this go against a man’s conscience?”

    I thought this young man asked a very valid question.

    There was also another case where a local brother who used to espouse to his local congregation that drinking any wine was sinful……….until the church ran into a season of financial trouble to the point where the doors were going to have to close. He received a love offering from someone who’s hands make wine and the local church was given a lifeline. This brother had no problem receiving that love offering and he later clarified before the congregation that that is not the wine that is sinful but rather “the love of it” that is sinful.

    Long story story short this brother and I are now good friends and co laborers in Christ,

    One thing we cannot deny is that the Lord is abstaining now. Those of us who don’t have the freedom to drink will have to wait until that day Jesus spoke of in Matt 26:29. He did say that He will not drink of that cup until he drinks it new with us in His kingdom. That will be the day when in new bodies it will not longer be a stumbling block for anybody and not only that but everyone’s cup, will be full.

  99. Josh the Baptist says:

    Ah, so sort of old grape juice.

  100. Coco B. Ware says:

    Well, if the bible is your god and inerrant, infallible etc etc then drinking is just fine.

    Jesus, who you assert, is all knowing and a deity….turned the water into wine….at a wedding party….where he knew full well the folks were getting drunk….and he turned the water into wine anyway. Jesus was not only complicit in their partying and drunkenness….he facilitated it.

    He didn’t turn the water into grape juice. In fact, the wedding guests were astounded that it was such good wine…..

    But in Calvary Chapel “Don’t drink or you’re a heathen!” is the common theme I grew up with….but you can beat your kids for Jesus and be a general doosh and most of the CC pastors cheat and bend the rules when it comes to the finances….no problem! Praise Jesus! Grace me bro!

  101. Coco B. Ware says:

    Drinking is only a “sin” if you are a pew-sitter in Calvary Chapel and CC type evangelical Sects and Semi-Cults.

    If you are the Pastor or Pastor’s Wife and you tote the CC Water and Party Line….you’re OK, “grace covers a multitude of sins!” and apparently covers 40 years of abusing prescription pills as well.

  102. Coco B. Ware says:

    The stumbling block thing is an over-used pick-and-choose canard.

    I am constantly stumbled by the stupidity in Calvary Chapel…and that doesn’t seem to bother anyone…especially them.

  103. Coco B. Ware says:

    Just as the Pharisees “strained the gnat and swallowed the camel”…so do Tea-Totelers of Calvary Chapel and other similarly Fundamentalist Sects and Semi-Cults.

    Qualifications of Pastors? “WE CAN’T LIVE UP TO THAT! It’s just a suggestion! We cannot enforce that or monitor that!!!!”

    Drinking? Even though Jesus ate and drank with sinners and turned the water into “good wine”? “ZERO TOLERANCE! You’re in sin! Ye heathen!”

    Typical church duplicity and Pharisetical B.S.

  104. Coco B. Ware says:

    How many fat gluttons here? Raise your hand….

    Food is an addiction, more addictive than drink.

    Many of you can no more lose weight and not be gluttons than you can shoot laser beams out of your eyes or turn water into “good wine”.

    Yet, nary a Self-Righteous sermon on what half of you fat-arses engage in…with your food addictions.

    “But, I was BORN with it! I can’t help it! I have a slow metabolism! I am big boned! You don’t understand my situation!” blah, blah, blah.

    Nope. Only one reason you are so fat. You are addicted to high-calorie intake. There are not fat people in times of Famine. You’re fat b/c you are a sinner.

  105. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Hi Alex – welcome back. 🙂

  106. Jean says:

    Wait, you mean were not reading the WWF wrestler from back in the day? He was the bomb!

  107. Coco B. Ware says:

    MLD, gawd the Dodgers suck again.

    What is it with LA? It must be a curse. It’s all the gays in West Hollywood (if the Fundamentalists Evangelicals are right)

  108. Emogene says:

    i think what Coco does is every time someone pawns an ipod or lap top etc. he logs on, creates a new E’addy and goes to town – No sé para ciertos, pero es muy posible 🙂

  109. Coco – it’s a rough start – the Dodgers may need to depend on other teams collapsing. 🙂

  110. Uriahisaliveandwell says:

    What really goes on in the brain:

    By the way, the first drink impairs a person, beginning with their visual acuity, judgment, and decision making. Person has no say-so in this, although will be quite adamant in declaring this is not so. Buzz driving is drunk driving. It’s not about the legal limit–it is about the destruction that is being done, particularly in the brain. Alcohol goes to every crack and crevice in the body, lingering for a very long time, long after the episode of drinking, and during the “detox” time. It can be found in the hair up to 60-90 days later. The damage that is done to others is a result of how the brain has changed and the way reality is perceived while the brain is conditioned to focus more on one’s mood, rather than the welfare and safety of others.

    http://sciencenetlinks.com/student-teacher-sheets/alcohol-and-your-brain/

  111. dennis says:

    Uriahisaliveandwell, that may all be true, but the fact continues to remain that Jesus Drank alcohol, and unless we are willing to setup rules that are more strict than Jesus lived by, no case can be made that it is always a sin to drink.

  112. Uriahisaliveandwell says:

    As far as I am aware, Scripture tells us that He drank once: known as the Last Supper.

    We presume that the “better” wine meant a higher content of alcohol. We also know that those filled with the Spirit were accused of being drunk. Along with this, we are told by Paul to be filled with the Spirit and not with the spirit.

    We are told not to practice drunkenness. The legal limit does not determine this. One’s ability to function in multiple way is hindered by token of imbibing, beginning with the first drink. The second drink does not double the effect, but exponentially multiplies it x 47, the in the hundreds by the 3rd drink. Sin is derived as a result of the consequences that comes about and does affect the lives of others, in particular. To say otherwise, is better know as “being in denial.” You do not have to be a fall down, in the gutter, jobless person to fill the bill—all you need to be is under the influence — even using “social drinking” as a way to make it seems normal devoid of the true affect that is taking upon one’s body, particularly the brain, where we make our choices to sin or not against another human being, beginning with the self. In other words, drinking per se does not take place in a vacuum—

  113. Michael says:

    Please.
    There is no doubt that abusing alcohol leads to myriad problems.
    However…the Bible is clear about drinking in moderation for those who can do so.

    ““You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the LORD your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the LORD your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the LORD your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.”
    (Deuteronomy 14:22–26 ESV)

    Both wine and “strong drink” are part of the Lords bounty for those who can partake.

    Moderate alcohol use also can have health benefits.

    Anyone who’s ever had a drink can testify that the second one does not multiply the effect of the first by 47 times.

    I will have a drink tonight and I won’t sin in doing so or as a result of doing so.

    I will do so because I enjoy it…and my cardiologist thinks it good.
    I’m glad he agrees with me. 🙂

    I can fully respect those who for conscious sake choose not to drink.

    I won’t give any hearing to those who want to tell everyone else what their conscience should tell them.

  114. Michael says:

    I have friends (and church members) who legally use marijuana in various forms.

    I don’t like pot.
    I don’t use pot.

    It stinks and stoned people annoy me.

    It’s also none of my business and we don’t discuss it.

    It has nothing to do with my vocation or faith.

  115. dennis says:

    Uriahisaliveandwell: I’m not sure where you get your facts. Even if they are true however, I note you are making an argument from personal conviction since you are not able to from scripture. A case simply can’t be made that it is sinful for all people to partake responsibly.
    Not sure also how you can conclude that the last supper was the only time Jesus drank. How about Matthew 11:19? (words he said before the last supper.)
    Aside from other Biblical evidences that drinking is not a sin, I’m not going to setup rules for myself or others that Jesus Himself did not put into place or follow-it really is that simple.

  116. Kevin H says:

    Uriah,

    Thank you for proving one of my original points in my article as to how some approach drinking with a legalistic demeanor. How they will create new rules that are not in the Bible and basically say that any drinking of alcohol is wrong.

    As I pointed out in my original article and Michael reiterated here, there are plenty of times in Scripture where God calls wine and sometimes even strong drink as something to be enjoyed. No matter how you want to spin it, we know that Jesus drank wine with alcohol content (even though that first drink starts to “impair” the brain – alcohol worked the same way back in Jesus’s time). We know that Jesus turned water into wine so that others could drink.

    So if you want to make a case that it is always wrong to drink or to guilt-trip those that do drink, then you better take it up with God. Ask why He, Himself, drank and why he has at times encouraged others to do so.

  117. Uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Kevin H

    You missed the point entirely. That is, if one chooses to drink, they cannot control the outcome or affect it has upon their brain. Nor can they decide if they will or will not become dependent upon it or any other mood/mind altering drug.

    If a person feels guilty about this, it is not because of me, but because they know there is truth in what has been shared, but prefer to take license to imbibe regardless of the information being shared.

    By the way “guilt” per se is not a bad thing. Unless it is what is called, “toxic guilt.” Which is not of the Lord.

  118. Uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Dennis,

    Duly noted.

    How about: the last chapter of Revelation.

    If one can drink without being, unthoughtful, unkind, foul mannered -word or deed, angry enough to murder or want to murder or to destroy or to harm, unloving, abusive, corrupted or corruptible, sexually inappropriate directly or indirectly, malicious, or placing oneself or another at risk, in danger, or stumbling another in the faith by making or coercing another to do things that are ungodly, then hey—have at it.

    By the way the verse you quoted was that which was being said about Jesus. Not that he was a drunkard or a glutton.

  119. dennis says:

    Uriahisaliveandwell: you seem to be conflating drinking responsibly with drunkenness. Yes, I know all kinds of people who can drink without doing any of those things you listed.

    Actually, the verse I quoted was Jesus’ words and he is not denying that he drinks, in fact it is a tacit admission, he is not accepting the charge that he was a glutton or a drunkard. Again you seem to be equating drunkenness with drinking responsibly. I don’t think anyone here has said it is OK to be a drunkard.

  120. Jean says:

    Uriah,

    You wrote: “That is, if one chooses to drink, they cannot control the outcome or affect it has upon their brain.”

    You have it half-right. If you had wrote, “if one breaths a breath, they are a total sinner”, then you would be wholly correct. Choose to drive to the store – you sin; choose to watch T.V., you sin; choose to go to church – you sin. Etc., etc. Christians are sinning machines. Why? Because we are sinners. How bad is it? It’s so bad that Paul wrote about himself and all other Christians: “the body is dead because of sin.”

    But, the dangerous thing about your point of view (dangerous from an eternal salvation perspective), is that you live in the flesh. Paul wrote about you too: “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

    Solomon understood your type too: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

    You want to polish your flesh, to breath life into it by your works of the law, as though you were God. Can you bring the dead to life, Uriah? Because Paul is very clear that “the body is dead because of sin.” In another place Paul wrote: “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” Is Paul wrong? Are you stronger than Paul?

    Uriah, “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” Either you can stand before the Father on the basis of your works, or you can stand before him on the basis of what Christ has worked for you. It’s all or nothing. And your all is worth nothing.

  121. Kevin H says:

    “if one chooses to drink, they cannot control the outcome or affect it has upon their brain. Nor can they decide if they will or will not become dependent upon it or any other mood/mind altering drug.”

    Uriah – I choose to drink. I have for many years. I have never once been drunk. I have never once did something wrong because of the effect alcohol was having on me. I have never become dependent on alcohol or any other mood/mind altering drug. By your reasoning, I must then be extremely, extremely lucky that despite all the times that I drank and could then – by your words – “no longer control the outcome”, that I have never had a bad outcome. Same with all the other people in this world who drink responsibly. Maybe we should all play the lottery because we’d all win because all of our luck is just that good.

    And, oh yeah, Jesus, who also drank. Good thing luck was on his side when he could “no longer control the outcome”. I’m glad my God was lucky.

  122. Uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Dennis,

    ” in fact it is a tacit admission, he is not accepting the charge that he was a glutton or a drunkard.”

    That is what I said.

  123. Uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Jean,

    You’re out of line and off topic.

    Kevin, point well taken. And made as well by me.

    Note: have treated thousands of addicts putting in over 45,000 hours in treating them. And yes, they have said similar things that many have said on this blog—but in the end realized their brain and others had been affected long before they realized the damage brought on by the choice to drink/or drug.

    Most of the time, it is their loved ones that have suffered much before they got a clue. Family members suffering from PTSD, depression and other mood disorders, being suicidal, not doing well in school, having to put on an false front, and enduring physiological problems of their own such as ulcers, cardio-thyroid issues.

  124. Uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Kevin,

    Curious, why do you drink? Seriously, what is it about alcohol prompts you to drink.

    What does it provide or enable you to do or to be that you are not able when not under the influence?

  125. dennis says:

    “Curious, why do you drink? Seriously, what is it about alcohol prompts you to drink.
    What does it provide or enable you to do or to be that you are not able when not under the influence?”

    I can’t answer for Kevin, but I will answer for myself. This “under the influence” idea still seems to be conflating drunkenness with responsible partaking.
    One could also ask Why do you drink caffeine? What does it give you that your aren’t able to when you are not under the influence?”

    If I were to answer simply “because I like it.” That would be sufficient, because I’m not under the influence of anything. I don’t drink more than one at a time and don’t get drunk. I also like coffee, and tea, and sometimes I like a beer.
    Why do I like a good steak? Because it’s better than a hamburger. Now if I were eating three steaks and doing so for every meal, then you would have warrant to challenge me on gluttony. Same with this, until I’m being a drunkard, there is no warrant to challenge me on responsible drinking.

    But more deeply, it still smacks of the legalism Kevin just talked about. Putting arbitrary rules in place that go beyond what scripture requires. It really isn’t anyone’s business why I want to as long as I am being responsible.

  126. About drinking; In Uriah’s case it is not legalism – it fits into all of her writings, every one of them which are anti Christian – anti Christ – anti Bible. Satan cannot do a better job of snatching people from God’s grace. I hear that he does copy & paste on her writings.

    Now, if she wants to make the case for social policy, she is well within her rights … just as those who think the gender confused have rights to my granddaughter’ restroom.

  127. Kevin H says:

    “Curious, why do you drink?”

    Uriah, Dennis pretty much already answered as I would – Because I enjoy it.

  128. Kevin H says:

    “have treated thousands of addicts putting in over 45,000 hours in treating them. And yes, they have said similar things that many have said on this blog—but in the end realized their brain and others had been affected long before they realized the damage brought on by the choice to drink/or drug.”

    Uriah,

    I can guarantee you I have never caused any damage due to alcohol having influence over me. You can ask all the people in my entire life. You will not be able to find even one who would be able to point to even one instance where I caused damage due to alcohol’s influence over me. Zilch.

    Now this has nothing to do with me pointing out how great a person I am, because I’m not. I’ve done plenty of wrong in my life. But it is to point out that I can and have handled alcohol responsibly. There are plenty like me.

    Trying to point out that many others have supposedly spoken like me and others on this blog before they “realized” the damage being done by their drinking is just another attempt to guilt us into not drinking. – “You may think you’re okay now, but watch out! You’re probably doing all kinds of harm that you just don’t know about yet!”

  129. Xenia says:

    Why drink? God has given us many things as comforts and consolations. Alcohol is one of these consolations. He has given us cats and dogs for the same reason.

  130. Xenia says:

    If Christ Himself never drank, if real wine was not commanded by God for communion, if St. Paul never commended wine for Timothy’so ailments, if one could never find a passage in the Scriptures where wine is described as a consolation, then Uriah might have a leg to stand on. But since the Bible is pro- wine, she is following a vain tradition of man and not the Bible.

  131. Josh the Baptist says:

    You people sure do LOOOOOOVVVEEEE gettin yer sip on.

  132. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Read Mark 7 – it is not what goes into you that counts for anything – all foods have been declared clean.
    Why people want to argue with Jesus is beyond me.

    Can you argue directly with Jesus and still be a Christian? Can you say certain foods and drink are off limits when Jesus said it was all OK? Can you declare that drink will make you unclean when Jesus said they were clean and still be a Christian?

    Does arguing with Jesus make you unclean?

  133. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD always want to find new ways to make sure he knows who is in and out of heaven.

  134. Xenia says:

    If you don’t want to drink, God bless you. Some people don’t eat artichokes, God bless them, too. To make a rule that everyone should drink is wrong and to make the rule that no one should drink is just as wrong.

  135. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Your #131…
    I can’t describe to you how insignificant an issue this is with me personally…until someone decides to make it an issue.

    I do enjoy a drink when I have one…I also enjoy those strawberry popsicles with a crust on them.

    In other words, it’s not something I even think about until someone makes a religious issue out of it.

    That incites the rebel in me to imbibe. 🙂

  136. Michael says:

    Xenia nailed it…

    My doctor says my pork chop habit is the one I need to break…

  137. Michael says:

    I’ve now decided that since I can’t responsibly consume pork chops no one else can either.

    I’ll find some scriptures and research to back that up later…

  138. Josh the Baptist says:

    “I’m gonna do what makes me feel good, and I don’t care what anybody says”, says the Christian.

  139. Josh the Baptist says:

    It wasn’t artichokes that caused my dad to run a family of four off the road less than a mile from my house.

  140. Xenia says:

    Michael, right! If you eat that first pork chop, it might (in susceptible people) lead to a lifetime of pork chop abuse, metabolic syndrome, obesity and a reliance on CPAP machines. You never know who might be susceptible to pork chop abuse and to make matters worse, you can find verses in the OT where God prohibits the consumption of pork chops.

  141. dennis says:

    Josh, I can’t tell if you are trying to parody the stereotype of the latter half of your IID, or if you are serious.

  142. Josh the Baptist says:

    Just reread all my comments, dennis, I don’t even see anything arguable. Where did I go wrong?

  143. Michael says:

    Josh,

    It wasn’t my occasional drink that led your father to do what he did.
    It was your fathers choices.
    My freedom to consume responsibly does not create responsibility for other peoples choices.

    Furthermore, blaming alcohol for peoples bad choices is misplacing the blame.
    The blame lies squarely on the person.

  144. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Alcohol never made anyone run off the road. A person’s irresponsibility would be to blame.

  145. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael beat me to it.

  146. Michael says:

    I understand the difficulties here.
    We just had a horrible incident here where a young mother drove a vehicle with two young children while under the influence.
    A small child is now dead and many lives are ruined forever.

    It is almost beyond my comprehension to see such devastation.

    I don’t blame the drink…I blame the mother…who will now pay a price beyond withstanding.

  147. Josh the Baptist says:

    You guys LOOOOOOOVVVE how responsible you are.

  148. Michael says:

    Josh,

    This is understandably a hard topic for you.
    I get that.
    I don’t get why you need to insult our character over the matter.

  149. Josh the Baptist says:

    Does anyone care about poverty or over-crowded jails?

    I’ll give you two guesses of one of the major sources.

  150. Josh the Baptist says:

    Where did I insult character?

  151. Kevin H says:

    Josh,

    Maybe you’re intent is not as such, but the tone in some of your comments as some of us are reading them is coming across as potentially insulting.

  152. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Twice you’ve mocked us with you LOOOOOVE comments.

    I care about poverty and over crowded jails.

    The main cause of over crowded jails and prisons is draconian drug laws that are there for the private prison industry.

    I believe substance abuse is a symptom, not a cause…and if I quit drinking today nothing would change anywhere for anybody.

  153. dennis says:

    Josh ,could you go through the other works of the flesh as well and tell me what else you’d make rules against to prevent us from falling into them?
    (sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies)

  154. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD implies that those against drinking aren’t even Christians in #132. Of course, according to all his “you aren’t Christian” statements on this board, heaven will be MLD and 7 other people.

    But I get called for insulting character?

  155. Josh the Baptist says:

    dennis – show me one place I made any kind of rule.

  156. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, if you want to make social policy you need to work within you political policy and not make it a bibilical case.

    So, let’s look at the years of Prohibition – was poverty eliminated? Was crime down? What was the social benefit of Prohibition?

  157. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – where did I make any biblical argument at all?

  158. Josh the Baptist says:

    Furthermore, where have I argued for any type of government enforced prohibition?

  159. Michael says:

    Josh,

    There is no biblical case that can be made for a law against alcohol.
    I could even challenge the “weaker brother” argument if I chose to.

    It’s a matter of conscience…and I loathe people demanding my conscience be theirs on matters adiaphora.

  160. Josh the Baptist says:

    “There is no biblical case that can be made for a law against alcohol.
    I could even challenge the “weaker brother” argument if I chose to.”

    And I have appealed to neither.

  161. Michael says:

    Josh,

    What exactly are you arguing for?
    What is it that you want people to say and do on this matter?

  162. Josh the Baptist says:

    Michael – get involved with a ministry that visits a local jail. Not a federal prison, just the local guys. Ask each one why they are there. It is truly eye-opening.

  163. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – that wasn’t my point. My point was when you say “no drinking” is biblical – you are arguing directly with Jesus – you are telling Jesus he is wrong and that you are there to counsel him in this area.

  164. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Ask each one why they are there.

    Because they are criminals.

  165. Josh the Baptist says:

    Michael – say and do whatever you like. Just know that when you do it will be painful for anyone who has lived my life.

  166. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – I’d ask you not to get involved with a local jail ministry.

  167. Michael says:

    Josh,

    They are there because they chose to break the law.
    As I’ve said, I believe substance abuse is a symptom of an underlying issue.

    My consumption has never resulted in one person being arrested.

  168. Josh the Baptist says:

    Wow – for a person as progressive as you on some issues, that is woefully naive.

  169. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – I think I would be perfect for jail ministry. Once I convince people they are criminals and not victims, I think I could get them to understand Jesus better.

    As victims … Well, it’s the other guys fault.

  170. Jean says:

    “Michael – get involved with a ministry that visits a local jail. Not a federal prison, just the local guys. Ask each one why they are there. It is truly eye-opening.”

    Josh,

    I feel the same way about idiots having children.

  171. Michael says:

    Josh,

    So we don’t have these discussions?
    It wouldn’t bother me because I don’t have them in my own life…because it’s not interesting enough to talk about.

  172. Josh the Baptist says:

    Funny how black people and poor people tend to “choose to break the law” at about a ten to one tip over non-poverty whites.

    Geez. I’ll drop that discussion, and hope that you misspoke.

  173. Josh the Baptist says:

    Jean – considering what I’ve posted in this thread, I’ll take that as another unfortunate choice of words.

  174. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Was God wrong when he advocated enjoying alcohol responsibly?

  175. Josh the Baptist says:

    As long people abuse alcohol (and that is not what most of them set out to do), your local jails will be overflowing, parents will be without their children, poverty will grow…

    And that’s cool because they all made that choice.

  176. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I may be naive, but I simply can’t ignore the myriad other social and economic factors in play when dealing with poverty and crime rates.

  177. Josh the Baptist says:

    Michael – I haven’t made that argument. If you want to have an actual discussion involving historical and textual context on the matter, I can. If you want to reduce it to that quick gotcha, then congrats – You got me.

  178. dennis says:

    Josh, Still not understanding what your solution would be. You are saying you don’t want to create rules or laws, but…….

  179. Josh the Baptist says:

    “can’t ignore the myriad other social and economic factors in play when dealing with poverty and crime rates.”

    But you can ignore this one?

  180. Kevin H says:

    Josh,

    We know you have great pains from alcohol abuse in your family and this is a hard subject for you. At the same time, you can’t shoot at people (and that’s what it feels like you’re doing anyway) who do enjoy gifts given to us by God and do so responsibly. Nobody on this thread has even proclaimed their love for alcohol. The only reason people have even expressed that they enjoy drinking is because Uriah asked as to why drink. People are giving honest answers.

    It is also a topic that needs open and honest discussion in the church if the church is ever going to work towards handling the issue in the best way it can. Unfortunately, it will be a painful topic for some. Just like it could be a very painful topic for some when there are discussions around rape or child abuse or other severe issues.

  181. Xenia says:

    Well, I don’t want to bicker with Josh, a person I admire very much. If I had his family background, I probably wouldn’t drink, either.

  182. Josh the Baptist says:

    dennis – I don’t even drink a sip thought there is no religious or government law that tells me to behave that way. That’s simple, right?

  183. Josh the Baptist says:

    OK -Kevin – Can MLD shoot the other way? He LITERALLY asked if those of us against drinking are even Christians.

  184. Josh the Baptist says:

    Kevin an open and honest discussion will include unpopular views, like mine.

  185. Kevin H says:

    No, I don’t think MLD should be shooting either. I guess in some ways we are used to his over-the-top rhetoric in these discussions and we just get used to MLD being MLD.

  186. Xenia says:

    Pretty much the only time I ever drink is when one of my literature-major daughters are home and they want to sit up all night by candle-light and New Age music, discussing the latest episode of Serial. You need a few drinks to endure a few hours of that sort of thing.

  187. dennis says:

    Josh, so there is no law, religious or otherwise that says we shouldn’t, but……we shouldn’t. Is that what I’m to understand? Sounds like a law to me

  188. Xenia says:

    I imagine the teetotalers would cite the verse about all things being legal but not all things are profitable. That’s the verse I would use if I was them.

  189. Kevin H says:

    Josh,

    I guess I am confused as to what you want us to do about the issue. You have stated you’re not trying to make a biblical case against drinking. Nor have you argued for government enforced prohibition? But it seems like you’re saying we shouldn’t drink. By what standard?

  190. Michael says:

    Josh,

    The confusion here is that you have chosen not to drink, but seem to believe no one else should either.
    I don’t understand how you get there, if I’m understanding you correctly.

  191. Xenia says:

    The non-drinkers believe the world would be a safer place if no one drank.

  192. Jean says:

    Josh,
    I wasn’t saying that anyone in your family is/was an idiot. What I was trying to say is that our society provides liberties which when taken by some people create serious problems. A gun in the hands of someone with anger management issues, would be another such example. I’ve seen proposals which would allow concealed carry in bars; maybe those laws actually exist.

    The Christian understands the universality of sin. The question is how much evil will a society permit in exchange for a measure of liberty? There’s a trade off.

  193. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    188 is well done.

    I wonder what the response here would be to Jesus creating wine for a party when the hosts ran out…

  194. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – nope. My argument was with the biblical case Uriah made. Yu just happened to jump in at an in opportune time where as usual, you think the conversation revolves around you. If YOU are not making a biblical case, that is fine — but… would you not agree with me that someone who does make a biblical case is actually arguing the case directly against what Jesus taught?

    Would you please agree to answer that directly?

  195. Josh the Baptist says:

    The big picture I’d like you to consider. Most you guys kind of like me, because we know each other online. You don’t want to go into things too much that hurt me, and I appreciate that.

    I’m guessing you are surrounded in real life by people like me. You may not know it. We are shamed by the world for coming from the wrong side of the tracks -shamed by the church for not being free in Christ.

    I’m betting you are just as sensitive with them as you are with me. Just be aware. You are FREE. You can do whatever you like. However, EVERYTHING you do affects those around you.

  196. Xenia says:

    To many non-drinkers, they see a world of misery caused by the consumption of alcohol abuse and wouldn’t we all be better off if no one ever drank, period.

    Yet God gave us alcohol, for recreational and sacramental use. There’s no getting around it.

  197. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Also, I am waiting to hear the great social improvments that were brought about by Prohibition.

  198. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – You said something stupid. Own it. We’re used to it. Instead of trying to infer what I’m saying, just quote me. I have spoken clearly.

  199. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – you’d probably need someone who is arguing in favor of prohibition to answer that one.

    dennis – drink all you want.

  200. Josh the Baptist says:

    “Yu just happened to jump in at an in opportune time where as usual, you think the conversation revolves around you”

    You know, that hurt my feelings. If there is even one person here who agrees that it is my usual to make a conversation all about me, please say so.

    Thanks.

  201. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – I recognize when you are being dismissive – it’s OK.

    But you did make the case that WE don’t care about poverty and jail population – which does imply that if WE as society cared, we would once again ban the use of alcohol to improve society.

  202. Kevin H says:

    Josh,

    Thanks for your perspective. While I believe honest discussion of alcohol is an issue that cannot be ignored in the church and the fact that some have suffered the effects of alcohol abuse is not reason enough to end all drinking, we do always need to be sensitive to those around us be aware of the things that are hurtful to them. Finding a perfect balance in these things is not easy.

  203. Josh the Baptist says:

    Just quote me MLD – I didn’t say either of those things.

  204. Josh the Baptist says:

    Thanks Kevin. That is all I’ve argued for, though I’ve been accused of much more.

  205. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – but you do. I will make a general comment and you will jump in saying “no I don’t” or “I don’t do what you just mentioned.” Well Mazel Tov – because usually I am speaking about those who do.

    And to go back, If you (the plural you – or to say ‘if anyone) try to make a biblical case against drinking (not drunkenness) then you are denying the words of Jesus – arguing with Jesus.

  206. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Your #149 – Does anyone care about poverty or over-crowded jails?

    I think it is clear what you are implying

  207. Kevin H says:

    Josh,

    I think people were thinking you were implying more than you were meaning to. I know there were some implications coming across to me when I was reading you that you say weren’t the case when people then accused you of those implications.

  208. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLd – no I didn’t. Here is the quote in full:

    “Does anyone care about poverty or over-crowded jails?

    I’ll give you two guesses of one of the major sources.”

    That’s a rhetorical question with the obvious answer of yes, because I know that Michael does care about those issues. I thought the point was clear, but I didn’t make any appeal to scripture or legal prohibition. None at all.

  209. Michael says:

    I’m confused, so I will move on. I’m very fond of Josh so I will assume the problem is mine .

  210. Josh the Baptist says:

    Kevin – I just read every comment I made today. Everyone else feel free to do so. It’ll take you abut five minutes. Start at I think #133 or so.

    Not once have I referenced any scripture, or even asked someone else not to drink.

    So, the next question may be, why has the reaction been like this? Hmmm.

  211. Josh the Baptist says:

    Per my #210 – Michael, I am curious what I have said that was bad. I won’t even argue with you. You didn’t like my LOOOOVEEE’s, and I will agree they were unnecessary even though I thought it was mild.

    But honestly, I’d love for someone to look at my comments and tell me what it is that upsets them.

    Could it be possible that I’m not the only with an unhealthy view on alcohol?

  212. Kevin H says:

    Josh,

    I don’t want to get into dissecting every single statement that you or others made. You are right that you have not directly say the things people then accused you of or challenged you on. Sometimes this is a tough medium. What is perfectly clear to one is not to another. It is a common thing for people to make implied points without making direct statements. I have some people that I deal with in my life that will not often say things directly but will expect me to “get” the message they are implying. Other times, people have no intent to make implications of any kind. Sometimes the reader judges wrong on the implications or lack there of. I’m sorry that I’ve misjudged you today.

  213. Josh the Baptist says:

    Kev – no problem. I will admit that MLD got under my skin, and after that I may not have been as measured as I meant to be.

    So I apologize to all for that.

  214. Steve Wright says:

    Wine is contrasted with strong drink in Scripture and strong drink is not spoken of positively except when a person is dying and it is used as we would use painkillers today.
    (arguing for alcohol in general is far different than arguing specifically for wine. The two issues are being conflated here with zero Scriptural support for a gin and tonic or Heineken)

    Wine is specifically forbidden in many sacramental functions of the priesthood throughout the Old Testament.

    Wine is forbidden likewise for those making a dedicated commitment to follow the LORD, as well as ordered forbidden by the LORD when the LORD chose certain individuals for His purposes.

    Wine in the New Testament was COMMONLY diluted in a way making it far less alcoholic than wine sold today. Whether the extremely diluted form was used where the word is used in each reference is open to debate but this historical reality is noted in most every exegetical commentary I encounter.

    We have far more safe beverage options (at least in most of the USA) than the ancient world where even water was often polluted. Personally, I don’t see why anyone wants to drink alcohol unless they are looking for the effect of alcohol. Otherwise, why not drink something else. And why not drink it in the morning. Or at work. If it does not effect you in a certain manner.

    Wine is a mocker,
    Strong drink is a brawler,
    And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

    That sort of verse, along with the bulk of teaching that certainly is more negative than positive, and the listing of the sin of drunkenness throughout the Bible tilts the argument for me.

    And it is a different argument than arguing for national prohibition and government laws in this country. I think we should never lose the 1st Amendment freedom of religion in America too, but that does not mean God approves of the 1st Amendment (He doesn’t by the way) or that American Hindus and Muslims get a Christ-less free pass unto salvation.

    (Josh is clearly outnumbered…)

  215. dennis says:

    “Wine in the New Testament was COMMONLY diluted in a way making it far less alcoholic than wine sold today”
    This is a common argument, but it doesn’t hold water. There wouldn’t be warnings against drunkenness, if this diluted wine couldn’t make people drunk, or people wouldn’t have thought that Jesus could be a drunkard if he was drinking this diluted wine.

  216. Erunner says:

    I totally understand Josh. Having had my family ripped apart due to my father’s drinking I can testify to the damage it did to our entire family. I haven’t had a drop of alcohol in 40 years and I have no desire to.

    When people show up here who have genuinely been hurt by the church we give them leeway to let off steam and to express themselves however they choose to within reason.

    When you are hurt by people you trust and love it leaves a scar.

    Thankfully we serve a God full of grace who loves us at our worst who wants to see His will worked out in our lives.

    I have been hurt by alcoholism and the church. The damage done by my father has been forgiven but the debris are still there.

    We all disagree on things and it’s how we disagree that is most important.

    We saw this coming. No surprises here for me.

  217. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Wine in the New Testament was COMMONLY diluted in a way making it far less alcoholic than wine sold today”

    I would like to see the ancient 1st century wine recipe. We often here this but I have never seen the 1st century archeological find that shows this to be true. But it does create a bigger problem, that Jesus, the rebel he was, went against the Jewish wine laws or the Jewish wine recipes and made the good stuff for the wedding.

    How is that explained away?

  218. Kevin H says:

    “strong drink is not spoken of positively except when a person is dying and it is used as we would use painkillers today.” – What about for example Deuteronomy 14:26 which I referenced in my original article? Seems like a rather positive reference to me.

    “Wine in the New Testament was COMMONLY diluted in a way making it far less alcoholic than wine sold today.” – Regardless of how diluted the wine was or wasn’t, people were still getting drunk from it, thus the warnings in Scripture to not get drunk on wine. So it could still have the same end effect as it does today.

    “We have far more safe beverage options (at least in most of the USA) than the ancient world where even water was often polluted.” – The fact that there were people in biblical times who went through life without drinking shows that the restriction on alcohol could have been made for many others too if it was of great importance for alcohol to be avoided.

    “Personally, I don’t see why anyone wants to drink alcohol unless they are looking for the effect of alcohol.” – Is it wrong for someone to be looking for the effects of alcohol if they handle them responsibly?

    “along with the bulk of teaching that certainly is more negative than positive” – I don’t know if I’m so certain about that. Here is an example of someone arguing otherwise: http://drbacchus.com/bible/alcohol.html
    Here is another: https://bible.org/article/bible-and-alcohol

    The deciding tilt of the argument for me is Jesus himself drank wine, directed his disciples to drink it, and created it for others to be able to drink. The same wine that people could get drunk on and could have avoided if so desired. If one decides today that they don’t want to drink, that is perfectly fine. If one starts telling everyone else that they shouldn’t drink either, then I think that becomes problematic.

  219. Kevin H says:

    Okay, never mind my repeat at #219. Already got the previous one pulled out of moderation.

  220. dennis says:

    Still waiting on an argument from the always-abstain perspective that can’t be distilled down to: “I can’t tell you from scripture that you never should, But you shouldn’t just to be safe.”

  221. Xenia says:

    Wine was transported and stored as a concentrate in ancient times. It had to be diluted to be drinkable.

  222. Xenia says:

    On the rare occasion when I drink, of course I am enjoying the effect. Otherwise I would just drink water.

  223. Michael says:

    My gosh, this is wearisome.
    I think the rub is that the teetotalers seem to come across as those trying to occupy the moral high ground…when this is a morally neutral issue.

    The old saws about diluted wine and strong drink have been refuted, but still breathe.

    The bible doesn’t say enjoying the “effect” of alcohol is a sin…I think it assumes people will drink and enjoy the effect.

    ” and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household.”

    That might be one of my favorite verses… the Lord buys a barbecue and expects you to enjoy it and rejoice in Him while doing so.

  224. JoelG says:

    #223 – Love it!

  225. Dan from Georgia says:

    Checked earlier today…130 comments…now 224 comments…something blew up and I don’t care. I am going to have a sip of Moscato later. Later. Sip.

    Get. Over. It. Pharisees (not directed at anyone in particular since I only read 1-2 comments btwn comment 130 and 224).

    Later!

  226. Uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Steve Wright

    Just a bit of trivia on the brain’s awareness of alcohol. It does not discern between wine or hard liquor, or beer. 5 ounces of wine, 16 ounces of beer, and a shot of hard liquor is equivalent to one another.

    And occasional drink or two at any one sitting is will not do the damage that regular weekend, binge, or daily drinking does. However, it does immediately affect one’s judgment, and other faculties that does blunt the person’s ability to make good decisions on the behalf of others — if nothing else due to the false reality they now perceived simply due to now having the brain hijacked and no longer have the controls they had while being clean and sober.

    Most scriptures on drinking is negative. Most people have not a clue what “drinking responsibly means, nor what “social drinking” is, nor do they know the difference between being impaired or drunk, nor what constitutes abuse vs. dependency.

    Josh, it saddens me greatly to read all the comments made to you when the article opened up to what I took to be meant to being able to discuss this with far more objectivity than what has been represented. Not surprised though—as those in treatment sounds much the same when being confronted with their own desire to drink.

    MLD You’re projecting again.

  227. dennis says:

    And…….Still waiting……..

  228. Michael says:

    “Not surprised though—as those in treatment sounds much the same when being confronted with their own desire to drink.”

    No one here is in treatment.

    We are expressing exactly what the Bible teaches us…that we have the liberty to enjoy alcohol responsibly and even to rejoice and thank God for the gift given.

    We are free to do so without judgment from those who choose not to partake.

    Go argue with God over that passage in Deuteronomy…

  229. Pastor Al says:

    Gluttony kills a lot more than drinking.

    How many fat folks in church? Crap-tons. Tons and tons of people who weigh a ton.

    Fat preachers, fat preacher’s wives, fat preacher’s kids, fat pew-sitters, fat people everywhere in church.

    Obesity, diabetes, heart failure etc, all from Gluttony.

    If you’re going to get on the Pharisee High Horse and judge sinners, start with Gluttony, but folks don’t like that one, b/c most are fat.

  230. Xenia says:

    Uriah opined that “most people have not a clue what drinking responsibly means.”

    Should be corrected to read “Uriah has not a clue what drinking responsibly means.”

  231. I am still at a loss to the comparison. My wife and I drink some and always have – the result;
    1.) we have been happily married for over 47 years
    2.) we started dating 50 yrs ago July – we have never broken up and have not dated others.
    3.) I have 3 kids who still come to visit (this is the singular sign to look for if you wonder if you raised your kids rightly & lovingly.
    4.) we have grandkids who adore us and we adore them.
    5.) I have a 92 yr old mother in law who welcomed my into the family and still has me over (she was driving our boat up and down the river 2 weeks ago.)
    6.) I have maintained much long term employment and my family has never gone without.

    So Uriah, as a non drinker and a self proclaimed holy liver – tell us your life / family successes.

  232. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Seriously…that is a praise worthy life.

    Xenia…amen.

  233. Kevin H says:

    “Most people have not a clue what “drinking responsibly means, nor what “social drinking” is, nor do they know the difference between being impaired or drunk, nor what constitutes abuse vs. dependency.”

    And Uriah jumps in to once again reinforce one of my original points of how some who don’t drink have a very legalistic and condemning spirit of those who do drink.

    “Most scriptures on drinking is negative.”

    I posted an article that notes every single reference to drinking in Scripture and it contends the exact opposite is true. Care to deal with the information in the article?

  234. Michael says:

    Kevin,

    I want to publicly thank you…there has been a great response to this article here and elsewhere.
    I’ve overdone it badly today, but thats not your fault. 🙂

    My thanks to you…and to Josh as well.
    I think I speak for all the community in affirming our respect and affection for him.

    I’m going to collapse in a heap now…

  235. Kevin H says:

    Thanks Michael. While I’m sure I certainly fail in doing it all right, I do see a need in the evangelical church to handle this issue better. With more maturity, forthrightness, and respect. I tried to raise the level a little bit here. I hope I succeeded at least a little bit.

  236. Michael,
    I didn’t recite it for praise. Perhaps I give the applause for the success to the fact that alcohol is a part of our life. 😉
    And people who abstain from alcohol can recite just as praise worthy life.

    The point being – it’s not the drink that makes the difference. If someone abuses alcohol, there is probably something stinky already in there life that provides the drive.

    Some don’t see that and blame that devil rum alone. 🙂

  237. Pastor Al says:

    It’s so inane now being outside the church bubble to observe these convos about the Taboo of drinking alcohol.

    It’s probably the second on the Hierarchy Evangelical Totem Pole for Taboo sins, behind being gay like BG and his two incestuous sons (according to BG Jr.).

    Gluttony, no prob. Lying, pride, greed, no prob. Don’t drink, don’t be gay.

  238. Pastor Al says:

    “there is probably something stinky already in there life that provides the drive.”

    Same for food addiction and all the fat folks in church.

    They use food as a drug to cope with life. That is established scientific fact. But, it’s not a Taboo and not acknowledged as a sin, yet is far more destructive from a medical standpoint…far more pervasive, costs us all in very high health care costs etc.

  239. Pastor Al says:

    Chuck Smith died fat. Died a liar. Lying an “abomination” to god. Died a glutton. Died “in sin”.

    Is Chuck Smith in hell?

  240. Xenia says:

    I think one of the reasons many Americans are overweight is the abundance of inexpensive, delicious American food.

    Extreme obesity…. that may be due to other issues.

  241. “and not acknowledged as a sin,”

    Can you name one pastor who has said – now read this carefully – who has said that gluttony is NOT a sin?

    If you could link to that I would love to see it also. Our fatness is just another sin that in this case we wear it on the outside.

    I will wait – you are usually pretty good going through your index to come up with this stuff.

  242. Pastor Al says:

    The Calvary Chapel faithful would in no way even consider Chuck Smith “died in sin”…even though he verifiably did. Fact.

    But, it doesn’t matter, b/c everyone dies “in sin”…which completely obliterates the Calvary Chapel canard of the Transformation Gospel and their false version of the Gospel of “abiding”.

    Total b.s. You are in sin right now in some form, you will die in many active sins. You are not “transformed”, you are not “specially anointed”, you are no different than any other sinner on the planet in terms of you having believed the right set of doctrines, not drinking alcohol and not being gay. That is not the Gospel, you are not saved b/c you believed Chuck Smith Sect and angles and didn’t drink and didn’t partake in the man-on-man pleasure that the BG crew did.

  243. London says:

    Given their history and feelings, I would never drink around either Josh or Erunner.
    If I know someone strugglers with it, or is in recovery, I would not drink around them. I have a dear friend who’s 10+ years sober. When we have eaten together, I have had tea every time but twice. Once when a glass of wine came with the meal I ordered and once when we had lunch at a place that had my favorite English beer on draft.
    its seems common courtesy to refrain when I know it is, of had been an issue for the person I’m with.
    Otherwise, heck yeah, I’ll have a drink with you. If I’m not driving, and/or I don’t work with you, I may have more than one. And for Uriah, it’s cause It’s relaxing, and I like the taste.

  244. I am working on losing 40 – 50 lbs – I am in sin for putting on the weight. My motivation for losing the weight is probably just as sinful – I want the girls to whistle at me when I water ski this summer.

    Alex, you just don’t understand – we can’t even do the right thing for the right reason – none of us … including you.

  245. Pastor Al says:

    “Can you name one pastor who has said – now read this carefully – who has said that gluttony is NOT a sin?”

    Yes, pretty much all of Calvary Chapel. They preach it as “not sin” by their example, their inaction, their lack of emphasis on that sin, I have never heard it harped on in CC in over 32 years in that Sect.

    Never a sermon on Gluttony, never a warning on Gluttony….lots of fat CC preachers who all have an excuse.

    But don’t drink, don’t be gay or else! That’s the troof.

  246. Pastor Al says:

    CC pastors rally to block Gay Marriage, but not to close down McDonald’s.

  247. Pastor Al says:

    I’d drink around anyone and everyone, especially those who had a problem with it.

    No one moderates their behavior around me to accommodate what bothers me, everyone acts just as stupidly as they always do, no problem.

  248. Pastor Al says:

    If you are stumbled my drinking, the responsibility is on YOU to remove yourself from me and not blame me for your weakness. That is a victimhood position and a sign of weakness. Get that weak crap outta here. If you can’t deal with it, leave. Don’t force your weak morality on me and while you’re at it, quit being stupid and fat, it bothers me. It causes me to “stumble” with wanting to slap you.

  249. Alex, you chickened out. If they ALL deny it then it should be easy to find. Go to their recordings of the passages that discuss gluttony, – you should be able to post 10 links in the next half hour.

    “Today I would like to discuss this passage on gluttony. I know it is listed here as a sin but that is not for today.

    Come on – don’t make me do your work for you. 😉

    What does Matt 18 say about people who refuse to forgive? How are you doing on that one? See you are just a not fat sinner – in fact Matt 18 makes it sound like a NT “you go to hell.”

  250. Xenia says:

    Pastors don’t preach on gluttony because they don’t want to embarrass the overweight people in the congregation. This is a kindness. Most churches do have some kind of weight loss / exercise fellowship.

  251. Pastor Al says:

    MLD, I forgive you for being an idiot. I forgive BG just fine, doesn’t mean I won’t seek justice and hold him accountable.

    I think you have a warped view of forgiveness. There is the kind that is general and the kind that is conditional. God’s forgiveness is conditional, correct? Or does everyone go to heaven no matter what?

    Checkmate.

  252. Pastor Al says:

    I know, I know, prosthetic arms or something. God forgives everyone, but many reject the prosthetic arms blah blah, Lutheran bullcrap, Lutheran nonsense, blah blah.

  253. Pastor Al says:

    I followed Matt. 18 btw. I don’t think it matters now after learning the truth about the bible and religion, but I followed it.

    God doesn’t really care about all that, neither do the churches that claim him nor do his leaders.

  254. Michael says:

    God does care.
    I care…too much
    A lot of people in the church care.

    Do not call anyone here names .

    You can insult people on your own space.

  255. Alex – surely you do not understand your Bible – forgivness from God is not unconditional – forgivness of everyone was taken care of on the cross – unconditionally. The issue is not forgivness but belief – there will be forfiven people in hell – the issue is belief.

    You can forgive BG and he does not have to accept it – so he does not gain the benefit of your forgivness.

    But here is God’s standard for people forgiving each other – when is different from God’s behavior – “34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

    Obviously, you do not know how to play chess.
    Note the “from your heart.” – note he does not say a word about getting “justice”

  256. I didn’t word this correctly
    “But here is God’s standard for people forgiving each other – when is different from God’s behavior ”
    Should red
    “But here is God’s standard for people forgiving each other – which is different from God’s type of forgiveness towards us.”

  257. Pastor Al says:

    MLD, exactly. That’s what I stated. I forgive him just fine. Doesn’t mean I don’t seek justice and don’t hold him accountable aka God sending folks to hell, which you assert, correct?

    BG does not accept the forgiveness by confessing and repenting of his sins, he chooses his hell, correct?

  258. Pastor Al says:

    MLD, you assert that people “choose” hell b/c they don’t confess and repent of their sins, that is a fair summary of your version of “forgiveness”, correct?

  259. Pastor Al says:

    “But here is God’s standard for people forgiving each other – which is different from God’s type of forgiveness towards us.”

    Really? You are asserting that humankind’s standard, the created imperfect vessel standard is stricter than God’s standard of forgiveness?

    Again, that is a major point I’ve made time and again that illustrates the ridiculousness and stupidity of your Construct.

    You expect humans to exercise godlike powers and God gets a pass to be an a-hole.

  260. nope – they don’t accept the forgivness that has been already won for them on the cross AND they refuse to go to the place that Jesus has promised to deliver that forgivness continually.
    They don’t receive it is his word, his absolution, his water nor in his body & blood.

    But look, I have lost 4 lbs last week and I am going downstairs now to eat my 4 oz of egg whites … am I any less of a sinner? Do I need Jesus any less this week than last?

  261. Pastor Al says:

    The Truth is: your manmade version of God does not nearly forgive unilaterally and unconditionally, your version asserts he burns the vast majority of humanity in hell forever, many with no chance, b/c most never heard a Gospel message.

    You then put a heavy burden on humans to be perfect and forgive unconditionally and take all sorts of abuse and injustice and just take it and forgive unconditionally….which is man-made for the Powerful to keep the weak and less powerful under their control. Just take it, don’t fight back b/c Jesus!

    The religious leaders who made most of this stuff up are not stupid. Sneaky and evil and good at controlling the idiot masses, but not stupid.

  262. Michael says:

    God gets to be God.

    Please do not refer to my Lord in that manner.

    What you call stupidity is the historic doctrine of the church.

    You are free to reject that…we do not.

  263. Pastor Al says:

    God is used generically. it could be Allah or the Lutheran God or the CC God or whatever God.

    I know God a little, and whatever it is, it doesn’t resemble much of those….

  264. you do need to read your bible – God’s standard for forgiveness was to die – I have not asked anyone to follow suit.

  265. Pastor Al says:

    Whatever MLD, you have a very Lutheran-centric lens, but even so your version of God is a hodgepodge like most on here and everywhere.

  266. Pastor Al says:

    You don’t know God anymore than you know how the Universe and Multiverse works. You’re the blind leading the blind.

  267. Michael says:

    Then why not leave us blind and stupid folks alone and go hang out with people worthy of your intelligence?

    We are happily and faithfully content to be stupid.

  268. Xenia says:

    Happy to be a fool for Christ.

  269. Pastor Al says:

    General you.

    I actually think some of you are bright and get it.

    I like that you call out the Establishment “church” and point out their duplicity and hypocrisy.

    When I say “you” I often refer to the reader who is often-times Calvary Chapel guys or SBC guys or other pastors or cult-followers.

    Many more read here than comment/participate here.

    X is very bright as well, so is MLD. Dreadly? Very bright.

  270. Michael says:

    God has been so good to my family over the last few months I can’t be anything but grateful.

    There is much I don’t understand…I’m very sick and sometimes I’m scared.

    He shows up all the time though…and He has been faithful when I am not.

    People can think what they will, but I know my God is real.

    He even has the church members buy my booze. 🙂

  271. Pastor Al says:

    Had a good chat with a Calvary Chapel pastor earlier today. He is stepping down.

    He is sick of CC.

    He likes to have a beer, but that is a Taboo sin. But, guys like BG? No problem.

    He’s real (the CC pastor stepping down) and an honest dude. He’s looked down on, while a BG is coddled. Telling of the CC Sect/Cult.

    I’m glad this guy is done with them. Shake the dust off his sandals…..

  272. Pastor Al says:

    Michael, your God is real, no doubt.

    Glad to hear that about your family. Good to hear.

    You’re a good dude, a rare cat. Your blog has done good things. Keep it up.

    Don’t take my general comments to be you and your core folks so often.

    If I say MLD specifically or X specifically or Michael specifically, OK. But most of the time my “you” is directed at the silent readers who like to read here, but hate all of us on here.

  273. Michael says:

    My job is not just to call out the bad guys.
    It’s more important that I try to build peoples faith in the face of a fallen world and a oft broken church.

    The people who read here are believers for the most part.
    They sometimes struggle to hang on to faith.

    I would rather strengthen one of them than take down ten bad guys.

  274. Pastor Al says:

    OK. My job is to rail on the bad guys and poke holes in their mythology and their lies and their power constructs.

    You are right about Calvary Chapel and the SBC and even the Establishment folks in your Tribe.

    Power corrupts. Show me a Hierarchical Construct applied to Religion and I’ll show you a corrupt System.

  275. Pastor Al says:

    It is why Ecclesiology is so important.

    It’s why the Moses Model is so bad.

    But, most of the other models are bad as well.

    “You are not to be called Teacher, all of you are brothers (equals), the greatest should be the least, you are to be servant of all”

    None do this, not one Construct today does this, by design.

  276. Michael says:

    I’ve managed to wipe myself out today, so I’ll have to let this go.

    Aging is not for cowards.

    I’m not rare, Alex…just been loud for a long time.
    There are much better men and women out there serving people in Jesus name.

    Have a good night folks…we’ll see if I’m up to running anything tomorrow.

  277. Pastor Al says:

    Paul the Apostle was not Jesus, not God.

    He was a man.

    99% of Christianity makes him into a deity.

    He’s the a-hole who did the opposite of what Jesus taught, he’s the a-hole who made “church” a man-made Construct and invented the Hierarchy and Hierarchical Structure that Jesus spoke specifically against.

    But, you Bible-as-God folks have a god who is the text of the Canonical bible that itself is a pick-and-choose hodgepodge much akin to the article you wrote about “who tells the story” of Ty Cobb. The Romans, heavily influenced by Greek Philosophical thought, created their bible…and that bible and what they told you it says and means became your god.

  278. Pastor Al says:

    ^^ that one is directed to the group here as well as the general reader friend and foe.

  279. Erunner says:

    London, I’m glad I came back and read your comment about Josh and myself. I wouldn’t mind if you had a drink while with me. This weekend my two sons had a beer here at our house. What you shared means a lot to me.

    I have strong feelings about drinking because of my past the same as Josh does.

    I pray God would grant Josh peace and see His perfect will done in his life.

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