Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Moral and Biblical Case Against Alcohol

This past Wednesday was my 52nd birthday. Years ago I had looked forward to having birthday drinks in bars. Nowadays I consider myself a teetotaler. I’ve seen firsthand the devastation alcoholic beverages can bring.

During my twenties, I frequented nightclubs and beer parties. One night I was arrested for drunk driving. Eventually, I plea-bargained to lesser charges but still had to pay over $400 in towing charges, fines, and court costs. Two other times I went to the hospital for stitches after being attacked by men who were intoxicated. One of them was a roommate.

Family and friends have also been negatively affected by drinking. My mother grew up in a home where her father physically abused the family when drunk. One of my uncles died from alcoholic poisoning. Another former roommate of mine was killed when his car collided with a drunk driver going the wrong direction on the freeway.

A few months after giving my life to the Lord in 1991, I made the decision to shun alcohol completely.For those of you who think I’m being “religious” or “legalistic”, the Bible has accounts of ruined lives resulting from the consumption of intoxicating drink…

    Noah became uncovered in his tent and pronounced a curse upon one of his sons. (Genesis 9:20-25)

    Lot had incest with his two daughters producing races of people that caused future problems for Israel. (Genesis 19:30-38)

    Amnon raped his half-sister and was later killed by his half-brother. (2 Samuel 13:28-29)

    Belshazzar drank from temple treasures and lost his kingdom as well as his life. (Daniel 5:30)

Many will argue, “But Jesus drank wine!” One person emailed me claiming “the wine Christ made from water [in John chapter 2] was not grape juice.” On the contrary. The wine drunk in Biblical times was often unfermented (Hebrew word “tîyrôsh”) and diluted with water. It had far less alcohol content than most of the wine manufactured today.

It should also be pointed out new wine takes up to eight weeks to ferment. I can’t imagine Jesus instantly adding alcohol to wine. Otherwise, He would have produced approximately 180 gallons of a destructive drug to launch a new marriage with slurring lips and staggering feet. The Lord would violate His own Word by doing that (see Leviticus 10:9-10, Habakkuk 2:15; Luke 12:45-46, and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

A fellow missionary recently told me about a time he visited Spain and drank one glass of wine at somebody’s house. Afterward, he noticed it took away his spiritual discernment and for a while felt totally lost. I remain convinced nothing good comes from drinking booze especially for those aspiring to be in Christian leadership. 1 Timothy 3 warns against bishops and deacons “given to wine.” Romans 14:21 says, “It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.”

Instead of looking for loopholes to justify moderate drinking, I exhort all sipping saints reading this to sincerely seek the Lord as to whether or not He wants you drinking alcohol at all. Would you be willing to give that up if He asked you to? Isn’t being filled with the Holy Spirit enough?

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.” - Ephesians 5:18

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