Pastor Mike, Do you think the wine or beer in ancient Bible times can be compared to the alcohol of today? I have heard it said that a modern glass of wine can be similar to a "strong drink" in the Bible. If this is true, is it possible that it is a sin to drink, even socially?
Post by Mike Miller on Oct 31, 2012 9:32:59 GMT -5
In the Bible, wine was wine. It was not grape juice. It was fermented, and people could get drunk on it. While it was at times diluted with water, that was not always the case, and it was still potentially intoxicating. Ephesians 5:18 says, "Do not get drunk with wine." That means 1) that a person could get drunk from it and 2) that drunkenness is forbidden for the Christian. That is the way the Bible treats the drinking of wine consistently. It is not forbidden, but drunkenness is.
Now, let me tell you why I do not drink:
1. I don't want to be a stumbling block. While drinking would not cause everyone to stumble, it could affect some. For one thing, as a Southern Baptist pastor, it could be scandalous in my church. Therefore, it is a small thing for me to forgo alcohol for the sake of the body. For another, I don't want to cause an issue for alcoholics in my church or community.
2. Just because something is permitted does not mean it is wise (see 1 Corinthians 6:12). I used to drink quite a bit. I was not an alcoholic, but I was an almost daily social drinker. I am well aware that there is a fine and invisible line between sober and intoxicated (even "buzzed"). I also know that once the line is crossed, good decision making is diminished. For me, I'd rather keep control of my faculties so that I don't ever say or do anything I regret (not to mention that I am not supposed to get drunk). It's just too easy to get to that place of non-sobriety.
3. I want to set a good example for my kids. Again, while drinking isn't necessarily a sin, I don't want my kids to equate maturity with drinking. I don't want them to see that as one of the privileges of adulthood. I want the best for them, and if they can go through life without ever drinking, they will not be damaged. But if they do drink, it is entirely too easy for them to say and do stupid things and even those things with severe consequences.
4. Good stewardship. On the one hand, alcoholic beverages are expensive, and I don't want to spend my money on them. On the other hand, while wine producers might not be (as) guilty of this, breweries and distilleries are deceptive marketers. According to their commercials, bars are smoke-free environments frequented by beautiful and happy people, and their products make life great! I don't want to fund their lies. The truth is (and no I don't have data, but I don't think I need it) that alcohol ruins more lives than it helps. I don't want to support the industry.