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Posted by on Jul 18, 2013 in Voices | 167 comments

Why I Don’t Drink

Why I Don’t Drink

I’ve been debating for a long time whether or not to write a blog on drinking.  I have strong feelings on the subject, but no one has ever asked me directly what they are.  For the most part, they assume and then spend the rest of the conversation explaining (sometimes justifying, though I’m not judging) their own choice. 

I had just about decided to let it rest and stick to blog topics that are more universally neutral in the Christian world when a young lady that I care a lot about made a casual comment about my not drinking.  It was clear from her statement that she assumed my decision not to drink had something to do with my affiliation with the Southern Baptist denomination.  I could easily hide behind that.  I believe I have in the past, actually.  However, my decision to abstain from alcohol has nothing to do with my being a Southern Baptist, and I feel compelled to let her and anyone else who might assume the same thing know how I arrived at the decision I’ve made.  If I don’t, I have wasted an opportunity to influence.

Now, this young lady’s comment was neither critical nor defensive, so please understand that this post is in no way a counterargument.  It is simply a list of reasons that I do not and will not, at any point in the future, drink.  I hope that those who find themselves undecided or feel a check in their spirit when they consider drinking for reasons they cannot identify will be encouraged and bolstered by what they read. 

To my brothers and sisters who do drink, please do not take offense.  I’m sure that you have weighed and prayed about your decision as well.  I do not think less of you for the decision you’ve made, but I’m convinced that there are those who find themselves straddling uncomfortably a fence–which seems to have grown taller as of late–that separates people whom they love, trust, and admire.  I know that’s not fun.  If I can, I want to help them down on the side that I personally believe will bring them peace and spare them regret.

*  The Bible says not to be drunk, and the line between having a drink and having too many drinks is just too fuzzy.  Drunkenness, or being controlled by alcohol (even for a short time), is something that Christ died to set us free from.  To me, drinking after He did that would be like being released from jail and choosing to frequent the jail parking lot.

*  I don’t want to contribute financially to an industry that capitalizes on the pain, neediness, and addiction of anyone.  I know too many people whose lives have either been ruined or forever altered by alcohol.  Though many people are able to drink without becoming addicted, I wonder how many people, without realizing it, have come to depend on alcohol as a social crutch, trading in Christ-centered or even people-centered relationships that might have been for ones that revolve around the consumption of a substance. 

*  Alcohol dulls sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.  Alcohol creates spiritual static, making it hard for me to discern what God might be saying to me, and I never know what He’s going to say or when.  Missing a divine appointment because I chose to drink, for me, would be like letting someone drown because I’m busy watching TV. 

*  I don’t want to exclude anyone or hinder relationships. People who do drink often exclude those who don’t drink when they gather socially.  I like peanut butter, but I don’t let it keep me from spending time with friends who have peanut allergies.  I simply don’t eat peanut butter when I’m around them.  The effects of drinking often carry over into the next day, causing others to feel as if they are less important than the drinking experience to the one who chooses to drink.   

*  I don’t want to point others, particularly my children, toward anything that could potentially become a problem for or hurt them.

*  If I chose to drink, it would be for me, to fulfill my own desires and purposes, which is where every sin issue I’ve ever had has started.   I just don’t want to go there.

* If I broke off a piece of the Loritab, Darvacet, Percacet, or Vicadin in my cabinet every time I felt the need to relax, people would say I had a problem.  I struggle to see how that is any different than pouring a glass of whatever when I feel the need to chill. 

*  I just don’t need it.  As a Christian, every freedom is mine in Christ.  In fact, the spiritual yard that the Father has given me to play in is way too huge for me to worry about whether or not to set foot in the 10X10 plot of freedom that is social drinking. 

*  I want to be set apart.  The Bible doesn’t say that no one can ever drink, but God does tell several individuals whom He sets apart for higher tasks not to consume alcohol.  There has to be a reason for that.  On some level, He must value abstinence from alcohol, and, hey, if God is taking volunteers for higher tasks, sign me up!

So, there it is.  Do with it what you will, friends, but I felt I had to share.  Let me say again that I do not think less of those who drink. 

It does make me sad, however, when I scroll through my Facebook and Twitter feeds and see that so many young Christians I know are constantly posting pictures of their alcoholic drinks and dropping the names of imported beers and mixed drinks they’ve consumed. What are they trying to prove?  If they really believe drinking isn’t an issue, then why the show and tell?

About The Author

Angela Sanders
Angela Sanders http://www.angelasanderswrites.com

Angela Sanders is a writer, blogger, and inspirational speaker.

Angela Sanders has blogged 79 posts at wordslingersok.com

  • This was well written. I abstain for two reasons: it’s part of my church covenant (which has valid scriptural backing) and I am a habitual person so I could easily see myself becoming an alcoholic.

  • Ackim Brian Phiri

    I just came upon this article on facebook. It made me give drinking a deep thought. I don’t drink that much I just drink for fun. however, the article has left me thinking about my christian life. Thanks for the article it spoke to me….

  • Marilyn DiCristo Damianidis

    Excellent blog…and I share the same convictions and beliefs on this very controversial topic…I was just having a conversation about this with my sister yesterday and God in His Divine providence has now provided some clearly penned out answers that convey the convictions I hold to through this post!!! Thank you, so very much for sharing on this sensitive subject!!!

  • Cameron Whaley

    This is a fantastic blogpost…As a pastor who sees both sides of this issue, I would hope more Christians would take the time to exploring the truth in this.

  • Emily

    I appreciate your sharing this so kindly, though I do disagree. I’ve heard these same arguments often, and my hesitation with them is that they (as I’ve seen so far) are not consistent with other areas of life. Take food for example. Many sin in the area of gluttony which the Bible clearly condemns. All of your points then could also be used for unhealthy food/eating too much/etc. Take desserts- so where’s the line between enjoying some ice cream and being a gluttonous? Fuzzy, isn’t it? And many use dessert to feel good, right? Eating a late night snack is often just for our enjoyment, true? We certainly don’t “need” brownies or pizza. And sweets and junk food do often dull our sensitivity to the Spirit. Such foods certainly can be a problem and harmful to our children. All I’m saying is, why be so strict in one area, and not use these principles in others that the Bible clearly speaks to? I’m not trying to be combative, just some thoughts. I respect your view and conviction. But I do not respect pretending the Bible says something it doesn’t and blaming our rules on God. And also hiding things the Bible does indeed say- like that Jesus made the water into wine (and it wasn’t grape juice- it was even called “the best” wine by the master of the banquet. John 2:10) ) or that Jesus himself came drinking and was misunderstood as a drunkard (Luke 7:33-34). I respect your choice to not drink, and I’m not trying to “prove” anything;)

  • Emily

    I appreciate your sharing this so kindly, though I do disagree. I’ve heard these same arguments often, and my hesitation with them is that they (as I’ve seen so far) are not consistent with other areas of life. Take food for example. Many sin in the area of gluttony which the Bible clearly condemns. All of your points then could also be used for unhealthy food/eating too much/etc. Take desserts- so where’s the line between enjoying some ice cream and being gluttonous? Fuzzy, isn’t it? And many use dessert to feel good, right? Eating a late night snack is often just for our enjoyment, true? We certainly don’t “need” brownies or pizza. And sweets and junk food do often dull our sensitivity to the Spirit. Such foods certainly can be a problem and harmful to our children. All I’m saying is, why be so strict in one area, and not use these principles in others that the Bible clearly speaks to? I’m not trying to be combative, just some thoughts. I respect your view and conviction. But I do not respect pretending the Bible says something it doesn’t and blaming our rules on God. And also hiding things the Bible does indeed say- like that Jesus made the water into wine (and it wasn’t grape juice- it was even called “the best” wine by the master of the banquet. John 2:10) ) or that Jesus himself came drinking and was misunderstood as a drunkard (Luke 7:33-34). I respect your choice to not drink, and I’m not trying to “prove” anything;)

    • Sandra Lineback Newton

      Emily thank you for sharing I totally agree with you. Too many times christians go off the deep end in one area and totally ignore another and the gluttony example is a very good one and it’s very true. To that end the Bible tells us we are the temple of God if He in fact lives inside us so why are we eating ourselves to the point we are obese and in turn harming that temple by arming and causes health issues. I by no means am perfect in the gluttony department but this has always chapped my behind so much that christians judge you in one area and just because something is or isn’t a conviction of theirs they look down on you which is flat and simply legalism which God hates.

    • Jon LeVeille

      I agree. I am going to refrain from drinking alcohol myself, but I don’t believe that others are at fault for choosing to do so. The Bible says that being drunk with wine is a sin, not that drinking wine is a sin.

    • Guest

      Thank you for your post, but this is waaay different than overeating (though that’s wrong too); because alcohol consumption destroys others besides oneself.

      • Joanna Westphal

        Actually people who have an eating problem do effect others – their family and children. When a parent goes to McDonalds they don’t take their children hone and make them a healthy meal, they eat that junk too. Just something to think about.

        • Guest

          you’re right, everything we do has the potential to effect others. Is it wise stewardship to drink when it will effect others, especially children or people that look up to you? Alcohol destroys lives.

          • jamantc

            is it wise to buy products that support the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender assoc? is it wise to attend a church (Presbyterian PCUSA, Lutheran, part of the Episcopal) that allows sin to rule over them by allowing ordained homosexuals be leaders over the church? is it wise to support companies that endanger our lives by using genetically modified components to grow bigger and faster veggies while the chemical causes cancer, especially cancers know to be only in children? everything can be used as an excuse to destroy lives, the self-righteous hypocrites just don’t want to see it, they prefer to blame everything but themselves

        • Lisa

          Indeed. Childhood obesity is at an all-time high. We Baptists just like to pick and choose our sins – and talk about “the big ones” as we stuff our faces at churchwide potlucks! 🙂 How many overweight pastors do you know…eekkk…ouch…

      • JC Hall

        “alcohol consumption destroys others” is hyperbole and false. A drunk driver running over someone may destroy others, an abusive drunk may destroy others… nor is this “waaay different” you obviously have not been touch by having a family member with bolemia or anorexia.

      • Daina Westman

        Corner bar signs say wine and spirits, and that’s not by accident. Alcohol consumption alters my spirit, or replaces the one that indwells in me and there’s only room for One in there. The impact of gluttony on the spirit does not compare. The impact of gluttony on the temporary body is a sin of stewardship, much like any sin, can and should be repented of. You could repent of drunkenness when you get sober, but you can’t make good decisions as a drunk, whereas you can of you liked chips. Alot.

        • Daniel

          I disagree with you about the decision making. Any addiction, to chips, alcohol, drugs, sex, work, you name it affects our decision-making. Any time we sin, we’re not making good decisions, and when we sin, we are led away by the lusts that still remain in us.

          While it’s true that certain substances physically affect our decision-making abilities, I would argue that other non-behavior altering things in this world can cause people to make terrible decisions as well.

          • Daina Westman

            Sounds like you are trying to rationalize one drink, many drinks – no matter. I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit. I don’t think He’s willing to share. Hmmm. Not with Jack Daniels anyways. What would be a good reason to have a drink before a Holy God? I would think He’d be pleased with leaving an impression of abstaining from strong drink as a testimony to the unsaved. Have a great day!!!

          • Final_Word

            Why should anyone get married, or have a hobby, or take a nap? Wouldn’t want to do anything fun in this life and have to share the Holy Spirit.

          • Daniel

            I think you’re missing the point. One, God has not called us to abstain from alcohol; therefore, saying that it is right to do so is creating our own law, a legalistic law, apart from God.

            I am definitely not rationalizing getting drunk or even the polite “buzzed.” One drink (for me) will not get me anywhere near drunk.

            Simply by calling something spirits does not make it spiritual. Anything that we place above God is sinful. Anything.

            How is abstaining from drink a testimony to the unsaved? All that does is confirm in their minds that they just have to do certain things to be considered righteous. However, we know from Ephesians 2 that “by grace we have been saved–through faith, and that not of yourselves–it is the gift of God, not a result of works, lest any man should boast.”

            I can think of a good reason to enjoy a beer. I can appreciate the ability God gives to men to create delicious beverages. I can be thankful for something refreshing…just like I could if I had a glass of water.

            As to the chips (can’t help but smile here), a glutton may act irrationally, to the detriment of their body, in order to continue enjoying foods that harm them.

            Former Congressman Anthony Weiner, is a perfect, sad example of a man who is being controlled by lust. His career has already been destroyed, yet he returned to the sin that caused his downfall. Is that rational decision-making? I think not. It’s not just alcohol and narcotics that can trip us up. Hebrews 12 tells us to throw off the sin that so easily entangles us. Depending on your given weaknesses, that may mean abstaining from alcohol, or not, not eating at fast food restaurants, or not, not having the internet in your home, or not, or (for me), not having a tv.

            Does that make more sense?

          • Doug Short

            On what Scriptures do you base these observations? I’m not trying to pick a fight, it is just that if you are going to claim that the Holy Spirit “is not willing to share,” I’d like to know where you read that this is the case. The Scriptures are our rule of faith not our own thinking. Why do you think “He’d be pleased with leaving an impression of abstaing from strong drink as a testimony to the unsaved”? This goes counter to what we read in Scripture (read Deut. 14:26). If the Bible says “abstain,” I’ll be the first to obey, but it behooves us to not make up rules based upon our own thinking. Rather we should submit ourselves to the law of God.

          • Jared

            If your going to point to Duet. for your abstentions, your basically going to be practicing Jewish dietary laws.

            Talk about verses out of context…

            You do know about the Council of Jerusalem? where Peter had it out with paul over whether new christians should have to keep mosaic law? thankfully peter saw the light, and “Christian liberty” is our law

          • Doug Short

            Jared,
            My point was simply that to say “I think God prefers abstinence” goes directly contrary to what God has explicitly said. Diana represents the abominable practice of making our own thoughts king rather than them being taken captive by the Word of God. I could have picked any number of passages, that one came to mind simply because it refers to “strong drink” and she referenced Jack Daniels. I realize we are not under Jewish dietary laws and I think you knew that which makes me wonder why you bothered to comment. Especially since your mention of Christian liberty makes me assume that you agree with me on, at least, the issue at hand. Maybe you just like to start fights?

          • Nate Bishop

            Yeah but wait…. I can think of a good reason to have a drink before God…….Communion. Isn’t that what Communion is supposed to be about? Communing with God? So in effect, countless believers are having a drink with God every Sunday. He kinda even told his believers to carry on the tradition “Do this in remembrance of me”. So if you’re NOT “having a drink before a Holy God” (i assume you meant “before THE Holy God”)…..you’re not taking communion. And I think he wants you to be doing that.

      • Lynn Dye Butler

        Totally agree with you…nothing to do with food!

        • Emily

          It is nothing to do with food because we’re choosing for it to be that way. Should it be though? What does the Bible say on it? We can ignore the food issue all we want and focus on alcohol, but God doesn’t pick and choose areas like that.

      • Final_Word

        Not that different at all really.

      • Emily

        According to the Bible it is not way different; gluttony and drunkenness are often linked. Gluttony is clearly and strongly condemned in the Bible. Overeating does indeed often destroy others. My point is not to argue every what-if, but to try to stick to what the Bible says. The Bible says that drunkenness is a sin, not drinking. All I’m saying is that these points could be made for other areas of life that are often ignored because we solely focus on drinking while being blind to say, gluttony.

    • Krista Wade

      I find it interesting that you compare drinking with food because first while we may not need the brownie and eat it anyway, we are truly only harming our self. Second if I indulge and eat 12 brownies I am the only one that will wake up with a stomach ache, but if I indulge and go have a twelve pack of beer then go to out and drive I could kill an innocent person because I indulged. As a recovering alcoholic I can say that one or judgement is impaired far greater than we may think and two that while God does not want use to overindulge in any material products we are human and all have addictive temptations to one thing or another. Our addictions do not even have to be to something physical, you see an addiction is anything you value in life to the point you would beg steal or borrow for (rather food, alcohol, or even your kids/spouse).

      • ceyanne

        If you drank a 12 pack of beer and stayed home, who would be hurt but you? Whereas you could eat 12 brownies and then go for a drive and end up falling into a diabetic coma and kill and innocent person.

        • Krista Wade

          First I am not defending any kind of addiction. ALL addiction are equally as bad as the next one. Yes you possibly could but how many innocent man, woman, and children are killed by over the limit drivers every day now just for statistical purposes lets compare that with the number of people;e killed by drivers that had one to many Twinkies, or brownies

          • jamantc

            how many men, women, and children over not controlling their DM due to temptation by the food they like? lame excuse

          • ceyanne

            I daresay there are MANY people who don’t eat properly, who over-indulge and end up with health issues that cause heart attacks, strokes, and other maladies that strike suddenly when they are behind the wheel causing accidents and killing innocent people! How about the number of people that develop sleep apnea due to being overweight who fall asleep at the wheel b/c they don’t sleep well at night? We all hear about how drowsy driving can be just as bad as drunk driving. I’d even bet that health related issues rival, if not surpass, the number of drunk drivers causing accidents.

      • Final_Word

        Go have a 12 pack and don’t drive. Is that a bigger sin than eating 12 brownies?

        • ceyanne

          This a response to Jerry Wescott, whose post is awaiting moderation. It won’t let me reply to his post directly.

          Seriously? She’s the one who started with the premise of 12 beers!
          Yeah, 12 beers may dull your sensitivity. 1 beer, not so much. 12
          brownies might make you dulled, too. You might be so sick (or laying on
          the floor in a diabetic coma) and be so busy throwing up that you don’t
          hear the phone ring and the rest of your scenario plays out the same.
          See? I can play the suppose game, too. Most people on here are not
          saying it’s cool to down 12 beers at one sitting. Most are advocating
          light or moderate consumption not binge drinking. It’s people like
          Krista using non-sequiturs to try and twist up worst case scenarios in
          order to make a point. It’s her faulty logic that I am trying to point
          out. And honestly, I don’t really think people are even ADVOCATING
          consumption, just refuting the premise that ALL consumption is wrong.
          You wrote, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a
          roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter
          5:8, KJV).” It says be sober, not don’t consume alcohol. One drink
          does not equal inebriation for most people. It’s you who is equating a
          drink with not being sober.

      • Guest

        I’m trying to stick to what the Bible says- and I’m making the point that the Bible condemns gluttony just as severely as it condemns drunkenness. You are obviously coming from a very personal and trlu heroic experience. I commend you highly for recovering from your alcoholic past! I do think being a glutton is harmful to others- for one, you can teach your children to be gluttonous and cause them the same health issues. But again, I’m not trying to get into personal choices or specific what-ifs, I’m just trying to stick to what the Bible says.

      • Emily

        I’m trying to stick to what the Bible says- and I’m making the point that the Bible condemns gluttony just as severely as it condemns drunkenness. You are obviously coming from a very personal and truly heroic experience. I commend you highly for recovering from your alcoholic past! I do think being a glutton is harmful to others- for one, you can teach your children to be gluttonous and cause them the same health issues. But again, I’m not trying to get into personal choices or specific what-ifs, I’m just trying to stick to what the Bible says.

    • Guest

      Emily, your point on consistency is flawed. While consistency is desired, a stricter standard can definitely be set in one area if the Bible commands us. Whether or not the Bible forbids drinking is a different argument, but to say that consistency is the highest standard (or at least higher than holiness) is flawed and not Biblical. People grow spiritually at different rates, which can lead to inconsistencies, which are normal, as long as the person is constantly improving. Second, You compare drinking alcohol, a known poison that can harm your body, and potentially others, with food, which is necessary but can become “too much of a good thing” if it’s taken to a greedy or excessive extreme. How is that being consistent? Comparing OVERINDULGING in sustenance that’s necessary in appropriate amounts, with INDULGING in a known poison is NOT a good comparison and does not show hypocrisy in a person’s standards.

      • jamantc

        anything that causes one to stumble is a great consistency and the blind who don’t see it is more of a hypocrite than anyone.

      • Emily

        When do I say consistency is the highest standard? And higher than holiness? I do not say that. Although if one is holy, they would obviously be consistent in all areas indeed. Alcohol is no more a known poison than a lot of food we eat. Actually, a lot of wines have a lot of health benefits and are considered good for you in moderation, unlike brownies, say, which are just plain bad for you. All I’m trying to point to is simply what the Bible says on the issue, and that these points that are made against alcohol could be used against other areas that are often ignored.

        • Guest

          You’re arguing that consistency is better than a conviction to have higher standards in one area. Also, your version of consistency is not very consistent because your arguing that overindulging in a good thing (food) is the same as indulging in what you claim to be good (alcohol). That’s not good reasoning. It shows that you have to compare alcohol to something bad to make it look good.

          • Emily

            If you are going to continue to put words in my mouth and pretend that I say whatever you want me to be saying so that you can be right, I’m not interested in continuing this. I will state my point, again, and you can do with it what you wish. I am not going to continue to re-post what I’ve already said for it to continue to be twisted. So, for the last time:

            In response to what you said here, overindulging in food is not always a good thing- overindulging in itself isn’t, and there are a lot of foods that are not good. My point on consistency is that we pretend the Bible says something it doesn’t (not to drink) while ignoring what it does say (not to be gluttonous). Gluttony and drunkenness are what are often linked in the Bible- not gluttony and drinking. I am not comparing gluttony to drinking, because drinking in itself is not biblically condemned. Saying that since the Bible says not be drunk, we shouldn’t drink at all is like saying since the Bible condemns gluttony we shouldn’t eat at all- obviously both are extreme, dramatic responses that twist the Bible’s points. Just like we need to learn to balance our diet we can learn to balance our drinking. Being drunk is biblically wrong- drinking is not. Again, Jesus turned the water into wine and Himself did drink, as I stated in my original post. I do not care that someone would choose not to drink- that is their personal choice and is completely fine for THEM. But drinking without getting drunk should be respected too, and we shouldn’t pretend God condemns something He doesn’t.

          • Guest

            In your first post you were comparing drinking alcohol to enjoying desserts. Now you are comparing drinking to eating any type of food in moderation. Those two things are not equal; alcohol has a much greater potential for harm then food, and any benefit achieved from alcohol is wiped out by the damage it causes to ones body. You are literally equating something with nutricious benefit to a poison! It sounds like you are more interested in justifying your drinking than having an honest conversation about it. So if we are to be consistent, doesn’t that mean we have the liberty to use “light” drugs like marijuana and tobacco in moderation? Or enjoy diluted poison because it is socially acceptable? Wine is named in the Bible, but many times–including when Jesus turned water into wine–it is referring to grape juice. Look up wine in Webster’s 1828 dictionary. Grape juice is one of its definitions. Using alcohol goes against the heart of Christianity. Christ died for us so we wouldn’t have to drink diluted poison that has a potential to addict people. He called us to be set apart, holy, and example of freedom from sin. You have not given one good reason why Christians should drink alcohol. The best you can say is that drinking is not as bad as overeating, therefore it’s ok. Then you equated it to eating healthy food, which is ludicrous. Ultimately, this is a matter you should consider with prayer. Whatever you choose, you are not responsible to me but to God.

          • Nate Bishop

            yeah I really don’t think you read Emily’s post very closely, it makes perfect sense to me. Your rebuttals tell me you’re not quite on the same page as her still. Waitasecond…… okay I just now read your argument about how wine is really grape juice because it mentions it in the 1828 Dictionary, and Jesus never actually drank wine, but juice. You then take it further by saying “Christ died for us so we wouldn’t have to drink diluted poison that has a potential to addict people”

            Ummmmmm…………….. wow. I’m not even a practicing Christian and that kind of offends me.According to the Scriptures in NUMEROUS places, Christ died for us to save us from many, many MANY evils and sins of the world, not just to save us from the horrors of booze. There’s definitely more to it than that. You do your faith a great disservice to be so ill-informed on its basic merits yet proselytize so loudly and harshly on the “do’s and donts” (and you cant even get THOSE right) And how dare you accuse a stranger of defending their drinking in lieu of an honest conversation…. Not only are you being assumptive and judgmental, by not actually reading her replies you make honest conversation impossible.

            And you wonder why so many people are turned off to the church. All it takes is one bad witness with pride and accusation in their heart in place of scripture and love to push someone away from the Christian faith. Remember that, and don’t be that witness. I hope and pray you find the true love of God in your heart and that you learn his word more closely than you seem to have so far.

          • Ray Hollingshead

            Wow, I’m sure glad I didn’t have to facilitate this group and try to keep them on the original subject 🙂

      • ceyanne

        Now whose reasoning is flawed? Moderation in consuming alcohol is NOT toxic. Certain alcoholic beverages, like red wine, are actually beneficial to your health when consumed in MODERATION. Food is toxic, too, if you gorge yourself on it. For crying out loud, WATER can be toxic if you drink too much! Ever heard of water intoxication? Alcoholic beverages were common in some parts of world because some places did not have fresh clean drinking water. Fermenting beverages killed the bacteria, giving people something safer to wet their whistle and allowed longer storage of beverages. They didn’t go bad as quickly and people didn’t have to spend extra time always running to a well that may have been very far away and having to carry heavy water buckets all that distance. Do you all not bother to do any historical research? Good grief! No one is advocating that everyone should drink. They shouldn’t. And if you don’t want to, that’s fine, just say you choose not to. But don’t use flawed logic to justify your abstinence or hyperbole (“alcohol is a known toxin”, “alcohol causes rape/incest”, “alcohol destroys lives & families” or any other blanket statement people have used) and take the time to really educate yourself. Not only in the Biblical sense, but also in the historical sense.

        • Jamey Baxter

          Fermenting did not kill the bacteria, boiling the water did.

          • ceyanne

            You might find the section under Alcohol versus Water interesting. It wasn’t just the boiling of water, it is the natural antiseptic properties of the alcohol that rendered it safe to drink. The alcohol killed off the pathogens. You don’t dump boiled water on a cut to clean it (at least not typically), you use alcohol. And there were many areas throughout the world who didn’t have an abundance of safe clean water to drink, even in the time of Christ. So they drank fermented beverages. http://www.beekmanwine.com/prevtopx.htm

        • Nate Bishop

          i hate alcohol with a passion…….. and I am 100% behind what you’re saying here. It’s not as black&white as people try to make it, and blanket statements are the one of the most basic logical fallacies out there

      • Richard Jefferies

        I’m sorry but wine or beer is NOT a poison, that’s a ridiculous assertion an it only serves to reduce your credibility. Plenty of what is in our food IS poison. A beer, especially one that is crafted well, is less of a poison to your body than 12 oz soda. That’s not hyperbole. In addition most of what is in our processed food is far worse for you than beer or wine.

        • Guest

          Alcohol is recognized as a toxin by the scientific and medical communities because of the damage it causes to cells. in humans alcohol is harmful to the liver and other organs. So yes, alcohol is a poison.

          • 4arrows

            No. A chemical only produces a harmful effect from its toxic properties if it reaches a susceptible part of the body in a high enough concentration. More simply put “the dose makes the poison”. Every chemical will exhibit a toxic effect with large enough dose. Claiming that alcohol is poisonous even in small doses shows a lack of understanding of basic toxicology.

          • Nate Bishop

            4arrows is right. Any substance or chemical can be toxic in high enough doses, including oxygen and water. I agree with you that alcohol is very harmful, and I would love nothing more than to be able to accurately call it ‘poison’…. but i’ve done the research, and sadly, while its technically ‘true’ that alcohol is toxic/poisonous, it’s not accurate. It’s like the saying “any tool is a weapon if you hold it right”. A rolled up magazine can be used to be beat someone to death, printer paper could be used to slit someone’s throat, etc etc. But you wouldnt call these things ‘weapons’ ordinarily.

    • Jerry Wescott

      … but you started off by referring to her decision as arguments when she explicitly declared that she was NOT arguing (“…please understand that this post is in no way a counterargument”) … You sound suspiciously like someone trying to justify something.

      • Emily

        I am not saying she is being argumentative in a negative, bickering way; I am merely referring to the points as “arguments”- noun, not verb. That is what they are, just as my points are “arguments”. Dictionary definition of arguments: “A discussion involving different points of view; a process of reasoning, series of reasoning. A statement, reason, or fact against a point.”

    • Rachael Morgan

      I would have to disagree with what you say. That is like saying because someone else murdered, I can steal. A sin is a sin no matter what. Because someone over eats, I can drink…Really?
      Rachael

      • Emily

        Rachael, do you honestly think that’s what I’m saying? That is not even close to my point.

    • GregD

      You cannot justify one area of life by comparing it to another area. Just because people overeat and it is not discussed much in the church as gluttony does not make drinking and getting drunk right. The bible DOES say not to be drunk. The bible DOES say ‘wine is a mocker’. Take this one area and read everything the scripture says about it. Don’t compare it to any other area. Read the Spirit’s admonition through Paul, “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive” (1 Cor 10:23). Read that and then think through, ‘what is most beneficial … what is the most constructive to my Christian walk’.

      Today, Christians are too “technical” about their walk. It’s like children telling a parent, ‘you never TOLD me not to bounce the ball in the house, only not to throw it in the house’. Let the Spirit lead you in this area and you may just come to the conclusion that although you could technically do it, it is more beneficial to you and others around you if you don’t. And that is the emphasis of this blog.

      • Trenton Ortgies

        Unfortunately people aren’t technical about their walk, they’re biased. They want to drink so here’s where I take scripture out of context and I don’t do any research but I have a ton of arguments… (not saying the pro drinkers here are that way I just know a lot of those personally). Like the article said BE SET APART!

        • GregD

          I agree that we need to be set apart. Hey, technically the bible doesn’t say don’t smoke weed, but I believe that would be dishonoring of God’s temple, too. Some things we just have to decide for ourselves which way would honor God the most and make that decision instead of saying “well, I don’t see that condemned in scripture, so it’s ok”!

    • Trenton Ortgies

      I’m sorry but what you just said was it’s ok to drink because it’s ok to eat eat unhealthy… This is a very big problem to me… I used to say all the same things then when I went to bible college I began to pray about drinking (I was turning 21 my freshman year because I took 2 years off). As I was praying about it one of my professors began telling us that we should read proverbs and 5 psalms a day. I have begun doing this and let me say if you read proverbs extensively you will see that while drunkenness and gluttony are a sin, and drinking is not. God does however very extensively say throughout proverbs it’s bad to drink and DON’T do it (yes technically Solomon said it, but it was divinely inspired as the words of God). Read prov. 20:1 for instance or prov. 23:29-35 those are just two of the top of my head. And one more thing to your point with Jesus making the best wine it was in fact “grapejuice” why? There was a study done a couple years ago by a bar that wanted to see how drunkenness effects a persons taste testers. SO with multiple customers they served many of one product (I forget if it was coors, budweiser, etc…) as they became very very wasted the bar began serving applejuice instead (because it didn’t look any different but had a drastically different taste). And none of the customers noticed, after applejuice and more applejuice they just kept drinking thinking it was what had got them drunk. So back to the wedding in Cana, it was a jewish wedding and at those weddings (and receptions) they go one for hours upon hours. So if they were drinking fermented wine (similar to the wine of today) and not “grapejuice” then they would not have been able to say Jesus’ wine was the best. And as for the Luke 7:33-34 Jesus was basically saying people say stupid things (I am not saying you are) to prove a point about something they don’t like. Jesus could have been drinking “grapejuice” and people would have called Him a drunkard anyway. One more thing, if you question my last point look up the different greek words for wine there are some that call it wine even though it’s really “grapejuice” (John 2), and some verses refer to a wine similar to what we have today, for whatever reason though modern translators choose to use the same word.

    • Gene

      When you show me unrecognizable bloody faces thru windshields stopped by trees, and bloodied wives who got that way at the end of their husbands fists because of their consuming too much food, or a dessert I may agree. And yes, I’ve seen it all….. been there way too many times!

  • Tamera Hamilton-Brady

    Agreed 100%. But to say that one abstaining from it is called to ” higher tasks” is putting your own words into Gods Word , dont you think? Just asking…. No mischief/trouble intended as I ask this question. Xo

  • Guest

    Agree, very good points. Jesus made the water into wine, and with certainty this wine did not have the high alcoholic content that wine/vodka/beer have today. The consumption of alcohol is linked to a huge number of illnesses; beyond that, and even more serious (because it destroys others), is that alcohol is the cause of many, many cases of rape, incest, and abuse.
    For these reasons alone I would choose not to drink alcohol; and when one drinks in moderation and then a brother/sister or son/daughter drinks in access– it’s not worth it in any way.
    Thanks for having the courage to post.

    • Daniel

      Sin is the cause of Rape, incest, and abuse. Sin is the cause of drunkenness. Every wicked deed in this world is caused by sin, not any inanimate created thing. Also, Remember in Acts 2 that the men Peter is preaching to think he is drunk because what he is saying is so radical, but he responds in verse 15 that the men (including himself) were not drunk.

      So what if the alcohol was weaker then (which I doubt it was). Apparently, humanity still figured out how to get drunk, and people could identify the characteristics of a drunk.

      I also think you would be hard pressed to prove that the mere consumption of alcohol causes illness. How about abusing alcohol? That definitely causes illness.

      Also, you cannot blame the actions of one person on the actions of another. We alone are accountable for what we do. No one will stand before God and say, “It wasn’t my fault. I saw someone else doing it.” That doesn’t float.

      • Kelsey

        AMEN.

      • Guest

        You’re right, sin is the cause; but alcohol has a direct influence on one’s brain and decision-making skills. one simple example: have you seen how silly and stupid people act at a work party after drinking even a glass or two? You lose a bit of people’s respect. Another common example: have you ever counseled people whose parents drank in moderation, and under the influence abused their children who are years later buried under guilt and bitterness? Frankly, Alcohol-related sin destroys lives and I don’t want to be the cause of bringing any of the sadness, guilt and horror of its effects into my family or to my children.

        • Daniel

          Look at my comments further up the page about decision-making.

          Also as to the one drink and all discernment goes out the window, that’s not universal. If that happened to me, I would definitely abstain from alcohol. I’ve also wondered about the exact situation you’re talking about, and I think some people use the fact that they’ve consumed any amount of alcohol to act in a way they would normally not.

          If you think that having one glass would cause you to hurt your family or those you love in any way, then definitely avoid it, but that’s a personal conviction, not a universal rule. I have a friend who rarely ever consumes alcohol because he knows he has an addictive personality. Therefore, he should avoid it.

          As to the counseling thing, that’s very sad, but is that a universal rule. Every person who drinks in moderation will abuse their children? Definitely not. Again, your examples are individual specific. Simply because some people sin does not make the act itself sinful.

          • Nate Bishop

            Daniel, I have enjoyed and whole-heartedly agreed with every comment you have made on here, in fact many times you took the words right out of my mouth! I can’t tell you what a relief it’s been to see someone responding with compassion, logic, facts, and actual knowledge of Scripture in this thread….. Some of the things people have spouted on here as either historical truth or as part of God’s Word are just mind-boggling.

        • Adam

          “people whose parents drank in moderation, and under the influence abused their children”

          I don’t think you understand what it means to ‘drink in moderation’. If these parents were behaving wrongly because they were under the influence, then they were certainly not drinking in moderation.

          Stop asking silly questions and posing scenarios; if drinking is a sin, point to chapter and verse. You can’t, because it isn’t.

          Jesus drank wine, and was called a drunkard by His opponents. No, Jesus didn’t get drunk because He didn’t sin, but He did drink. It would make no sense for people to call Him a drunkard if His wine was non-alcoholic (which didn’t exist then).

  • Melanie Vaughn

    One more I could add would be that your body is the temple of God and you should not do anything that would harm it.

    • ceyanne

      Over-indulgence may harm your body. In moderation, red wine is actually very good for you.

    • Kelsey

      But by that logic you better not eat anything unhealthy (diabetes, obesity), or spend time in the sun (skin cancer), or drive a car (possibility of injury), and so on. One drink is not going to harm your body anymore than one cupcake is going to give you diabetes.

  • Jon

    I believe it’s as simple as scripture states…no drunkenness, and don’t be a stumbling block. The application is what is not so simple. What we as adults do in moderation, the younger generation (or the one that struggles with whatever vice) may do in excess. We must ask ourselves, what does it profit ones soul? I’ve surely not been, nor anyone ever will be, perfect with these matters. Thank you Lord for grace and mercy! Gods grace, not sloppy grace.

  • Bart

    In light of the destruction throughout the ages to individuals and families both involved and not involved in the use of alcohol, the idea that God would not have a problem with it seems odd. “Wine is a mocker and strong drink is raging” at the very least God must think it is not a very wise thing to do. I struggle, not being a theologian, with the water and the wine part of scripture, but I can’t help but think that we are not understanding it in light of other verses. Also can you really imagine in any situation Jesus giving alcohol to people he loved and knew would be getting drunk. Remember he knew then the destruction that it would cause in the future also. It just seems out of character for him to contribute to that kind of behavior. There are many instances of in the old testament and some in the new of alcohol being used to sooth a sorrowful heart or for other medical reasons, there was a specific reason for using it. I think we have lost the idea of holy living (not legalistic living), but rather the idea of our responsibility not to cause a weaker brother to stumble, the idea of going the extra mile to live a life above reproach.

    • Daniel

      um…what about the wedding at Cana? He definitely gave them wine.

    • Kelsey

      So, Jesus turning the water into wine at a wedding doesn’t ring a bell to you? Or being criticized by the Pharisees for not only allowing His disciples to drink wine, but drinking with them?

      And what about Ps 104, which specifically mentions that wine “makes the heart merry”?

      Or Jesus’s statement that He would be drinking the “fruit of the vine” with His believers in Heaven?

      • Bart

        Are you suggesting that we will drinking alcohol with Christ in heaven?

        • ceyanne

          Are you suggesting that “fruit of the vine” simply meant grape juice? Of course it means wine, an alcoholic beverage. It’s what was commonly consumed in Christ’s time.

        • Nate Bishop

          well, why not? what would be the harm once we were in heaven? I’m going to be very happy to see Jesus, and I’m gonna greet him like an old friend, laughing and embracing him as he does the same. Then, like a friend, he and I will play flag football together, go swimming, climb trees, play music together, and yes, have a beer together. Why not? If Heaven isn’t the kind of place where you can have fun in any way imaginable, and if Jesus isn’t the type of Messiah who is your best friend, then I’d rather just go to hell and hang out with the all the rock stars. At least they’d be fun. 😛

      • Brad

        Or what about Proverbs 20:1 that says wine is a mocker and strong drink is raging, and whoever is deceived by it is not wise.

        To me, it is not an issue of sin or not sin. It’s not even an issue of Christian liberty. For me, it is an issue of wisdom. As a Christian I am called to live a certain way, a way that would allow others to identify me as a Christian. In America, alcohol is typically associated by people with sinful behavior. So if I am out having a drink, or even have it in my fridge for that matter, and someone who is not a Christian sees me drinking, would they be able to identify me as a Christian?

        Also, what about scriptures that teach about not being a stumbling block? If we have fellow Christian believers who say struggle with alcohol addiction, is it wise of me to drink, or even promote the consumption of alcohol?

        • Daniel

          Paul definitely addresses your concerns in Romans 14. I would never choose to drink alcohol around a believer who thinks it is wrong, but his thinking it is wrong does not prohibit me from having a beer. As to promoting alcohol consumption, why? Why not leave it alone. I wouldn’t tell someone to drink. I wouldn’t tell them not to drink. It’s their choice.

          That’s the thing about the Christian walk, it forces us to make many decisions that are based on personal convictions. It’s just difficult to say this is wrong for me, but fine for you. It’s counter-intuitive to people who just want a list of rights and wrongs.

          By God’s grace, I will not be led astray by alcohol, but I say the same for using the internet. I would argue the internet is a death trap for young men who are not vigilant about their usage, but the internet is not itself wicked.

          I would rather be identified by the fruits of the Spirit, by God’s grace in my life, than by what I abstain from or don’t abstain from.

          • Brad

            You don’t have to “tell” someone to drink or not, but if someone sees you drinking that is a pretty clear indication of your approval. If said individual is a struggling alcoholic, could that not be a stumbling block?

            Paul talked a lot about Christian liberty and freedom, but he also recognized that there are times when we refrain from exercising our freedoms, to me, alcohol would fall under this category.

            And as for being identified by the fruit of the spirit, that is important. However, the Bible also instructs us to abstain. From what? From all APPEARANCE of evil, not that it IS evil, but if it even appears that way it should be avoided. To me, this hits drinking on the head, at least in American culture.

          • Daniel

            I definitely don’t want to be a stumbling block, but I don’t think Paul intended for me to look over my shoulder at Buffalo Wild Wings any time I want to order a beer, and I hope that anyone who would have a problem with it would not condemn me from afar, but would ask why I have no problem ordering a beer. Again, I wouldn’t do it if I knew I were around someone who views drinking as a sin.

            As to the American culture thing, I really think that’s a little outdated. I think this is really only an issue in the American church.

            Really, though, this comes down to personal choice. Drinking is not a sin for me, but it may be for others. I won’t order a beer with those who think it’s a sin, and my conscience is clear if someone who thinks it’s wrong sees me order a beer from across a restaurant or sees me in a checkout line with a bottle of wine.

            It’s really that simple in my book.

          • Brad

            I think that is exactly what Paul intended. We are to look out for our fellow Christians, especially those who are not as mature in the faith.

            And I don’t think it is outdated in our culture. Look at the majority of alcohol advertisements, they all depict party scenes, or some other type similar scene. Could this be perceived as evil? If yes, then I believe the Bible commands that we abstain.

            I agree it is a personal choice. But my question remains, is it a wise choice?

          • Daniel

            I think it’s more about how wise I am in carrying out my choice, not weather the choice is wise. Scripture has no problem with me drinking; therefore, it’s not unwise to drink, but the manner in which I do it is a matter of wisdom.

            As to the party thing, some do. I think beer commercials definitely focus on social gatherings (at restaurants/bars, at football games, just sitting with friends), but so do Coca-Cola, Old Navy, you name it. We’re a social culture.

            Also, I certainly hope people can tell the difference between advertising and actual living, and that one group’s behavior (the partiers) is not indicative of all peoples’ use of a product. Advertising is intended to manipulate our emotions, to communicate that I will get some value by purchasing a product. Victoria’s Secret ads are outrageously inappropriate, but it’s not wrong to shop at the store.

            So do you believe drinking is perceived as evil? If so, do you also believe that I am sinning by having a beer. If it’s a truly a personal choice, then it can’t be perceived as evil.

          • Brad

            For me, as a minister, I know that drinking could cause someone to stumble if they see me drinking, or even hear of me drinking. Therefore, it is not a wise decision for me to drink regardless of how I carry it out. It’s not just ministers who have to worry about being a stumbling block.

            The reason advertisers use those scenes is to sell a product. If it were not, at least in some instances, related to the way the product is used, then it would likely not be used in advertising. Granted there are other reasons for advertising choices, but to me, those adds indicate that the perception of alcohol is that it is a party drink. That doesn’t mean that everyone who drinks parties or vice versa, but that there is at least the perception.

            Also, why can it not be perceived as evil if it is a personal choice? Your choice and my perception do not have to match. There are people who chose to have abortions and are perfectly OK with the choice, but I perceive it to be evil. For that matter there are people who view something the Bible calls sin as being ok, but that doesn’t change the perception.

          • Daniel

            Perception and truth are two different things. As believers, we desire to abide by Scripture, so if drinking is perceived as evil, then it should be universally avoided per the call to abstain from the appearance of evil. Drinking would fall out of the realm of personal choice.

          • Brad

            Which is why I put this as a wisdom question as well as a personal liberty question. And in my assessment both of those require that I not drink. And, as I have said, I believe the wise decision for a Christian is to not drink for many reasons, but the main one being the possibility of creating a stumbling block, and/or damaging my witness.

            Even though I may have the freedom to drink, I, like Paul, think that sometimes our freedoms must be surrendered for the greater good of the Kingdom and for our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

          • ceyanne

            If drinking were evil, why would Christ turn water to wine at the wedding in Cana?

          • Brad

            Because that culture is different for one. But I have never said that drinking IS evil, rather it could APPEAR as evil, at least in American culture.

          • ceyanne

            But that is my point… American culture does not speak for the entire world, though some like to think it does. And what makes American culture more correct than others when it comes to this issue as we (speaking as an American) are likely in the minority when it comes to this way of thinking about alcohol?

          • ceyanne

            So is American culture the center of the universe? Because Americans can’t control their behaviors, either in drinking or even seeing someone drink, then everyone should not drink? There are far many other cultures who drink daily as a normal part of THEIR culture. Are they more sinful than Americans? Really? The Bible doesn’t tell us abstain from drink. It tells us to not over-indulge. There’s a difference.

        • Nate Bishop

          I would hope that you show enough of Christ’s love and mercy in your day to day actions that a bottle of alcohol in your fridge wouldnt call it into question. In fact, if that’s all it takes to blur the line of your faith to the outside observer, maybe you need to ramp up your witnessing.

          To me, the number one most important way a Christian should be “spotted” is for their Christ-like love they show everyone, everyday. So many lose sight of that most important of things…….. if we are to strive to follow the example set by Christ, then above ALL things, we must love and forgive without end.

    • Nate Bishop

      or just the massive historical/cultural evidence that wine was VERY commonly consumed in that time and culture. Drinking wine is not a guarantee of drunkenness. Many people have consumed it without intoxication, and many more will.

  • Adam

    I’m disappointed, I thought there were gonna be serious reasons given here, but it’s basically just the Southern Baptist justifications. So yeah, I just dismiss this author as not drinking for Southern Baptist connections.

    1.The Bible says not to be drunk, and the line between having a drink and having too many drinks is just too fuzzy.

    That’s Pharisee thought… let’s invent rules to help us keep God’s commands. The line between having a drink and being drunk is NOT ‘too fuzzy’. That’s ridiculous. Plenty of people drink responsibly. To say that Christ died to set us free from alcohol is circular reasoning. It assumes alcohol to be sin, therefore Christ died to set us free from it, therefore we shouldn’t drink it.

    2. I don’t want to contribute financially to an industry that capitalizes on the pain, neediness, and addiction of anyone.

    So stop buying any kind of medication because people get addicted to it. Stop driving cards because people get killed by them. Maybe there are modern-day companies that are capitalising on drunkenness to make a profit, but that doesn’t mean that drinking is automatically supporting an industry of drunkenness. Alcohol is also made and sold by people who want it to be enjoyed, not just consumed to make one drunk.

    3. Alcohol dulls sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

    No it doesn’t. Stop making stuff up and adding to the Words of Scripture.

    4. I don’t want to exclude anyone or hinder relationships.

    So stop eating pork and bacon because it may exclude Jews and Muslims. In fact, stop eating meat entirely because it excludes Vegetarians. Stop driving cars and using electricity because it excludes the Amish. Stop eating beef because it excludes Hindus. Obviously don’t go drinking in front of someone who struggles with it, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to drink.

    5. I don’t want to point others, particularly my children, toward anything that could potentially become a problem for or hurt them.

    Alcoholism is worse in the US where children are shielded from it until 21, than in Europe where it’s just accepted for everyone to drink. I hope to teach my children someday to respect alcohol, not to see it as some forbidden temptation. Also, I hope you don’t ever let your children get in a car as it can lead to car crash, never go into a bank as potentially a bank robber might turn up; it’s a ridiculous line of reasoning.

    6. If I chose to drink, it would be for me, to fulfill my own desires and purposes, which is where every sin issue I’ve ever had has started. I just don’t want to go there.

    So don’t drink. Nobody is telling you to. I also eat chicken to fulfill my own desires, and I go for walks because I like walks. I enjoy reading. Do you seriously never do anything to fulfil your own desire?

    7. If I broke off a piece of the Loritab, Darvacet, Percacet, or Vicadin in my cabinet every time I felt the need to relax, people would say I had a problem. I struggle to see how that is any different than pouring a glass of whatever when I feel the need to chill.

    This is just a dumb comparison. Don’t eat chocolate or drink coffee then, or drink tea or anything with caffeine in. This comparison is just silly.

    8. I just don’t need it.

    Ok. Do you need a car? Do you need half the things you have? You could just live on vegetables and water; do you drink soda or juice, or do you eat meat? This reason is just asceticism. Christ didn’t die to give us asceticism.

    9. I want to be set apart.

    Do you watch the world’s movies and TV shows? Do you listen to the world’s music? Do you eat the same kind of food as the world? Don’t single out alcohol and make up a reason to justify the fact that you don’t drink it just because you’re a Southern Baptist and Southern Baptists don’t drink alcohol.

    • jamantc

      I am southern Baptist and they are the biggest drunk hypocrites I know!

      • Kelsey

        Having gone to a Pentecostal college I can say with certainty that they’ve got you Southern Baptists beat in that department. 😉

    • Kelsey

      Brilliantly worded. THANK YOU.

    • George

      I am curious as to how the Southern Baptist comment fits. I know many SBC people who do in fact not see a problem with a drink or two.

      I personally don’t drink, but partly because I just don’t see the point in drinking. So therefore I don’t drink.

  • Deborah Cates Carter

    Angela, I have never read a kinder explanation on not drinking than you have given. I completely agree with you. I have read some of the comments after your blog and it somewhat cracks me up on how many people will bring up over eating, well his, that is a sin. But th point is so missed! Food is essential for us to live….drinking alcoholic beverages isn’t!

    • ceyanne

      No one is missing the point. Some food is essential but not all foods and certainly not to the degree that many people indulge in . And back in the day, fermented drinks WERE essential as a means of killing germs and bacteria. Not everyone had fresh clean water.

  • baptistthinker

    “To me, drinking after He did that would be like being released from jail and choosing to frequent the jail parking lot. ”

    This statement is completely nullified by your other comments that ‘drinking is not a sin’, and that you ‘do not think less of those who drink’. If drinking is NOT a sin, then drinking after Christ died for us is NOT like “being released from jail and choosing to frequent the parking lot’. Drunkenness, perhaps, but not drinking yourself. And in that statement, you showed that you do look down on those who drink, because you see them as “frequenting” their sin that Christ saved them from. You can’t have it both ways there. I’m sorry.

    “I don’t want to contribute financially to an industry that capitalizes on the pain, neediness, and addiction of anyone.”

    Using this logic, am I to assume that you also avoid banks, buffets, fast food restaurants, and companies that tend to underpay their workers? Banks, in recent years, have been shown to be unfairly foreclosing on homeowners, even illegally foreclosing on them. Buffets teach overeating. Fast food has been demonstrated by studies to be able to cause addictions, rewiring people’s brains much in the same way that drugs do. And companies that underpay their workers, either domestic or foreign, prey on the neediness of others.

    “Though many people are able to drink without becoming addicted, I wonder how
    many people, without realizing it, have come to depend on alcohol as a
    social crutch, trading in Christ-centered or even people-centered
    relationships that might have been for ones that revolve around the
    consumption of a substance.”

    Ummm…this seems to be a bit legalistic.

    “Alcohol dulls sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.
    Alcohol creates spiritual static, making it hard for me to discern what
    God might be saying to me, and I never know what He’s going to say or
    when. Missing a divine appointment because I chose to drink, for me,
    would be like letting someone drown because I’m busy watching TV.”

    Could you demonstrate this with Scripture please? Not “drunkenness dulls sensitivity”, but that alcohol itself dulls sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, drank wine with his followers. I doubt that it dulled his sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

    “I don’t want to exclude anyone or hinder relationships. People who do drink often exclude those who don’t drink when they gather
    socially. I like peanut butter, but I don’t let it keep me from
    spending time with friends who have peanut allergies. I simply don’t
    eat peanut butter when I’m around them. The effects of drinking often
    carry over into the next day, causing others to feel as if they are less
    important than the drinking experience to the one who chooses to
    drink.”
    You’re making assumptions here, that you have not provided evidence for at this point. Sure, I may have a gathering where there is alcohol present for my friends who drink. This certainly doesn’t mean that those who don’t drink are excluded. Often, those who don’t drink will refuse to come to those sort of gatherings. And further, perhaps they are not excluding those who don’t drink, but simply not letting a “weaker brother” know about the event. How do you know that they don’t have other events where the non-drinkers come to? This entire paragraph seems a bit legalistic, on your part.

    “I don’t want to point others, particularly my children, toward anything
    that could potentially become a problem for or hurt them.”
    I hate to rehash my point above, but be sure not to feed them fast food like McDonald’s, Chick-Fil-A, etc. And avoid foods full of preservatives. Maybe go organic and non-GMO. Avoid giving them Tylenol or other medicines that can cause live problems, death, etc.

    “If I chose to drink, it would be for me, to fulfill my own
    desires and purposes, which is where every sin issue I’ve ever had has
    started. I just don’t want to go there.”
    You can apply this argument to eating out, driving a car, owning an air conditioner or a television or a computer…
    Further, the Bible tells us quite clearly that God gave wine to cheer the hearts of men(Psalm 104:14-15; Jeremiah 31:12-14). That God gave us wine and strong drink to benefit us. Certainly as humans we have a tendency to turn God’s blessings into sinful activities. We have a fallen, sinful nature. And we have a tendency to take the good things given to us by God, and turning them into something distorted and sinful. Whether it is addiction to or the misuse of wine, liquor, beer, pot, sex, food, or any other thing, it is not because that thing is bad, persay, it’s because we have distorted it’s use. Sex is something that is capable of being immensely destructive in a person’s life, whether it is through promiscuity, adultery, pornography, lust, homosexuality, whatever, we humans have a tendency to distort this gift of God. It doesn’t mean that we say “well sex is bad. no more sex.” No, it means that we encourage the right use of that gift, and discourage the wrong use. Pretty much everything I just said here can be applied to the previous point about not pointing others toward anything that could be a problem or a hurt for them.

    “If I broke off a piece of the Loritab, Darvacet, Percacet, or Vicadin in
    my cabinet every time I felt the need to relax, people would say I had a
    problem. I struggle to see how that is any different than pouring a
    glass of whatever when I feel the need to chill.”

    Some might, but not everybody. Further, God gave instructions to give wine to those who are of a heavy heart, to restore their mood(Proverbs 31:7), and Scripture shows us that wine makes the heart glad and certainly does not forbid that use(Judges 9:13; Ecc 10:19; Jer 16:7-8[refers to the practice of giving wine to mourners]; Zec 10:7).

    “” On some level, He must value abstinence from alcohol, and, hey, if God is taking volunteers for higher tasks, sign me up!”

    This statement just smacks of legalism and pride, although I’m sure you didn’t mean it that way. God uses both those who drink, and those who do not drink. One is not better than the other. Jesus drank, his disciples drank, the Apostles drank. Are you somehow called to a higher task than the Apostles, and the majority of Christianity prior to the late 1800’s? Called to a greater task than John Calvin? Martin Luther? The Puritans? God’s reasons for calling those people not to drink were his own reasons. I can’t say for sure that we know why he chose to do so. But certainly his priests were allowed to drink, just not when they were preparing to work in the temple(Lev 10:9).

    The Scriptures show us that the abundance of wine was a gift from God:

    Joel 2:24-26 “The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine
    and oil. I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has
    eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I
    sent among you. “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame.”

    Joel 3:18 “And in that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine,
    and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the streambeds of Judah
    shall flow with water; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of
    the LORD and water the Valley of Shittim.”

    And the lack of wine was a hardship or a judgement from God:

    Amos 5:11 “Therefore because you trample on the poor and you exact taxes of grain from him…you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine.”

    Deuteronomy 29:2-6 “And
    Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: ‘You have seen all that the
    LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all
    his servants and to all his land, the great trials
    that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. But to this day
    the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears
    to hear. I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet. You have not eaten bread, and you have not drunk wine or strong drink, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.’”

    The absence of wine was a loss of joy:

    Isaiah 24:7-11 “The wine mourns, the vine languishes, all the merry-hearted sigh. The mirth of the tambourines is stilled, the noise of the jubilant has ceased, the mirth of the lyre is stilled. No more do they drink wine with singing; strong drink is bitter to those who drink it. The wasted city is broken down; every house is shut up so that none can enter. There is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine; all joy has grown dark; the gladness of the earth is banished.“

    Jeremiah 48:33 “Gladness and joy have been taken away from the fruitful land of Moab; I have made the wine cease from the winepresses; no one treads them with shouts of joy; the shouting is not the shout of joy.”

    And that the drinking of wine was something joyful:

    Ecclesiastes 9:7 “Go, eat your bread in joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.”

    Wine is something that God has given us to look forward to in His kingdom:

    Isaiah 25:6-9 “On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
    And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over
    all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow
    up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces,
    and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for
    the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.’”

    Jeremiah 31:12-14 “They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD, over the grain, the wine,
    and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life
    shall be like a watered garden, and they shall languish no more. Then
    shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the LORD.”

    Matt. 26:29 “I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

    Wine was also used in the tithes and as a part of rejoicing before God:

    Deuteronomy 14:22-26 “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.”

    Isaiah 62:8-9 “The
    LORD has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm: ‘I will not
    again give your grain to be food for your enemies, and foreigners shall
    not drink your wine for which you have labored; but those who garner it shall eat it and praise the LORD, and those who gather it shall drink it in the courts of my sanctuary.’”

    Deuteronomy 12:17-19 “You may not eat within your towns the tithe of your grain or of your wine or of your oil…but you shall eat them before the LORD your God in the place that the LORD your God will choose….”

    In short, drinking alcohol is not sinful. It is certainly not “driving back to the jail parking lot” as you mentioned earlier. It is a gift from God. And like all of God’s gifts, it can be used wrongly. But that does not make those who use it rightly sinners, nor does it mean that they are looking down on others. If you wish to abstain from alcohol, that is certainly your choice.

    “If they really believe drinking isn’t an issue, then why the show and
    tell?”

    If you really believe that drinking isn’t a sin, then why some of the comments you’ve made, and why do you look down on those who do drink? Because regardless of your protestations to the contrary, your words certainly indicate that you disapprove of those who drink.

    • Kelsey

      So well stated. You said everything I wanted to say, but in a much kinder way. 🙂

  • Daina Westman

    I just glanced over many of the comments and am left wondering how so many people are missing the larger issue: I am SPIRIT controlled! And if I choose to replace that spirit with another one, then my god is vodka, even if it’s till I’m sober again.

    No, thank you!

    • jamantc

      Peter told them to be deacons they must not be “filled” with drunkenness. there is a huge difference between one drink and being filled with drunkenness! if whatever you do causes a brother to stumble it is then a sin. one drink is not a sin and in no way hinders the spirit from controlling your life. one drink is not making the drink your god. lame excuse to say the least. Pharisees were so blinded by such thinking they couldn’t even see the scriptures pointed Christ as their savior and redeemer and continue to look for Him today. if you chose not to drink that is your conviction, but to say A drink will hinder the spirit is a comment the Pharisees and Sadducees used to execute Christ

  • JC Hall

    Do you believe that Paul command anyone to sin? Do you believe Jesus commanded anyone to sin? 1 Tim 5:23, John 2:8

    • Potter89

      must understand the context of that culture and the nature of that substance

      • jamantc

        go to the middle east desert and tell me the wine was different from today. I suppose anyone could make an excuse for using products today that support the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender organizations. I suppose since God said sin should not rule over us that they can find ways to justify ordaining homosexuals to preach like the Presbyterians, Lutherans, and the split Episcopal denominations have? I suppose in 50 years they will be saying you would have to understand the culture and nature of the human will, which will not have changed, it will still be in full bondage to sin!

        • Potter89

          i don’t think you got my comment- i was saying that the wine in the passages JC mentioned must be understood for what it was in that historical context and should not be automatically equated with today’s wine. Though my position is not that drinking itself is a sin, I think some of these passages are ripped out of their context for people seeking to justify their drinking (when in reality the drinks they are drinking have a far higher alcohol content now than back then)

          • jamantc

            today’s Christian has either justified all they do based upon liberal interpretation of the bible or have condemned all they don’t do based upon conservative interpretation of the bible. both can’t be true as we both I feel would agree! and if a drink be a sin, then I hate to tell today’s Christian that we all continue to fall short due to our inability to not live to the extremes that the disciples did as true followers of His. but we justify that as well so that we don’t have to leave our comfort zones

  • Daniel

    First of all, I have no problem with drinking or people who choose not to drink. For myself personally, I have always been a one or two beer guy maybe every six months.

    With that said, I have serious problems with your post, so I’m just going to start with your first argument and move down the list.

    1. For most people, one drink will not get them drunk. So the line doesn’t seem to be that blurry. If people lack all control of themselves, then drinking is definitely a bad idea, but there’s a clear difference between one beer/glass of wine (or even two) and drunkenness.

    2. This one is more interesting. I can definitely understand your perspective, but I don’t think the industry capitalizes on pain. That would indicate the majority of people who consume alcoholic beverages have their lives destroyed by doing so…definitely not, and it is not the industry that destroys, but rather the wickedness of man’s heart that destroys. Now, if you believe that alcohol in itself is a perversion of God’s creation, then definitely avoid supporting the industry, but I don’t think alcohol is like porn. The porn industry is sin. Period. Alcohol is not.

    3. Please explain/support this. Spiritual static? What does that mean?

    4. This is so outrageously stereotypical. “People who drink often”? Is that referring to partiers? People who enjoy a beer a day? 10 beers a week? Define that. I know people who definitely don’t invite me with them when they go bar-hopping because I don’t do that. They know that I don’t find that enjoyable, but those same people would call me up to barbecue, watch a game, or play games. Also, hangovers happen when you get drunk, which is sinful. I can have a beer and feel no physical repercussions from it.

    5. This one is entirely personal preference in parenting, but the entire world could potentially hurt them because the whole of creation is tainted by sin.

    6. Are you saying that drinking is inherently selfish? Or drunkenness is?

    7. I agree with you here. I have Christian friends who talk about needing a drink to relax. That’s a real problem because when we need anything outside of Christ we are creating idols in our lives. We are putting ourselves before God, but at the same time, God gave us creation for our enjoyment. I find playing board games, swimming, running, walking with my wife, etc. to be quite relaxing, and I’m thankful to God for allowing me to enjoy these things. It’s not wrong to participate in an activity, eat a brownie, or have a glass of wine to relax as long as it doesn’t become your sole means of relaxation.

    8. Go for it; your choice.

    9. Christ had wine at The Passover, the wedding in Cana, and during his crucifixion. Scripture definitely warns against drunkenness of kings in Proverbs 31,I timothy 3:8 warns against deacons drinking too much, but it doesn’t say to abstain from drinking.

    Christian liberty is a reality, which Paul discusses in depth in Romans 14, and I have no problem with your choice, but I do take issue with your reasoning.

  • Doug Short

    I grew up avoiding alcohol but embraced drinking after entering the ministry (I am now a Baptist pastor). What caused the shift? Bible study. The more time I spent in the Scriptures the more I saw the blessings that God intended from alchohol (wine in particular) and I now see it as a gift to me that I receive with gratitude (and in that way it becomes a real act of worshipful obedience) and which I would be hesitant to refuse. What caused the shift? A few observations (though I could add more) 1) Nowhere does God say that He has a problem with drinkin per se- only with drunkeness; 2) Wine was a gift given by God to His people as a sign of His good pleasure in them and He witheld it from them when He was disappointed in them. Isn’t it curious that a part of God’s discipline on Israel during their rebellion was that their wine vats would dry up and their vineyards would not produce, yet the promise of blessing was that the vineyards would once again produce fruit? People often point to Jesus turning water to wine as an example of His approval of the use of alchohol (and rightly so), but they miss the bigger picture- “why” did He change water to wine at a wedding? The wedding in Cana isn’t just a nice story. His actions were symbolic of His mission to restore the marital relationship with God’s people and, thereby, restore God’s blessings – represented by the wine- in fulfillment of prophecy; 3) God’s people were commanded to drink. Read Deuteronomy 14:22-26 (in particular vs. 26). God commanded those who could not travel to the temple to offer a sacrifice to, instead, buy “wine or strong drink, whatever the appetite craves. And you shall eat there berore the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.” Of particular note is that it is wine or “strong drink” (This is clearly something with a punch to it). And that it was for them “and their household”- no shielding the kids here! Again, I could go on, but, in the end, I realized that the majority of concerns that I had were not shared by the LORD. In fact, it was quite the opposite, the LORD intended for wine (and strong drink) to be a gift to His people to celebrate His goodness to them. This is why I now enjoy drinking and always think of God’s good pleasure in His people when I drink wine. It seems to me to ironic that the reasons I used to AVOID drinking were due to cultural influences and the desire to partake was biblical rather than the other way around.

    • Jon Doe

      Thanks Doug for this heartfelt response.

      I too believe that being black and white on this issue take the thought and principle out of spiritual discernment.

      Time and again as I study Scripture I find, as you did, that God blesses His People with the fruit of the vine. Solomon notes in Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon the pleasure and enjoyment of strong drink in adding to one’s quality of life, and the passion of love in marriage. The pairing of wine and beer with food was evidence of richness and blessing, just as we pair our coffee with a scone or cut our meat with the flavor of other spices. Cooking with alcohol is another pleasure we can enjoy as it enhances a dish. Are we to dismiss the enjoyment of alcohol because of it’s ability to “dull the senses”? I argue that it actually enhances the senses and builds into the pleasure and experience. We don’t do things excessively because then they lose their significance.

      Let’s be thinking people who can discern how to enjoy the blessings God has given, and not be Peter who when the cloth of unclean animals is dropped before him, confess I’ll avoid anything unclean at all costs lest it in any way dull my testimony.

    • Kristi Guay

      I don’t drink because I grew up without a daddy. He was a Baptist pastor’s son, a preacher himself, and yet he let alcohol rob me of having a daddy. Blessing or not, you decide!

  • Lisa Anderson Martin

    listen, no one was ever molested or sexually assaulted because their grampa ate too much cheesecake.Why did Paul have to tell timothy to have a little bit of wine for his stomach’s sake? It is because it is a normal course of action for Christians to abstain from alcohol. Drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God. I Cor 6:9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

    Romans 14:21

    New International Version (NIV)

    21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

    Paul said 1 Cor 8: 9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.

    • jamantc

      the bible is clear that homosexuality will not enter the kingdom of heaven either. someone should tell this to the Presbyterian (PCUSA), the Lutherans, and parts of the Episcopal denomination since they have ordained homosexuals to pastor and for sin to rule over them. perhaps we should consider ourselves hypocrites when we go eat after church on sunday. we tell our employers that we can’t work on sunday due to our conviction of it being the Lord’s day, yet at 12:05 we can’t get to the buffet line quick enough to support what we just condemned. do you drink pepsi products or shop at home depot? if so, you should stop since they are the two biggest supporters of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Association who send big bucks to them and their cause. if you shop their and someone new in the faith sees you walking in it could cause them to stumble, therefore your shopping at home depot or purchasing pepsi products (taco bell, hardees, pizza inn, and a few other places owned by PepsiCo) and a brother or sister disagrees with that and the cause behind is justified, you have cause them to stumble and sin, therefore you have now sinned. Jesus stated He would not drink of this cup until His returns, insinuating that He may perhaps had drank wine with His disciples. Paul did not say not to drink, nor did Peter when he told those who wished to be deacons not to be “filled” with drunkenness. the sin of drinking is when it causes another to stumble or one falls to drunkenness, drinking a glass of wine or a beer is not the sin. the reason a Christian shouldn’t drink (if there is a reason) is due to the strong temptation that alcohol presents, not having the single drink itself

  • Timothy J Kerttula

    Angela, I want to thank you for this article and the courage it took to write it. I am a College kid and many of my Christian peers believe it is good to drink, I am on the opposite end of the spectrum and will not touch any alcohol whatsoever. It is refreshing and encouraging to see someone who does not drink alcohol for the same reasons I do not drink alcohol. Thanks for sharing.

  • guest

    To those in support of social drinking as a Christian, what would be appropriate reasons for those who choose not to? Just wondering . . .

    • Lisa

      Good question, Guest! As someone who for 30+ years of her life choose not to drink and now does so only on very rare occasions, I would say it would be appropriate to drink when the choice not to would harm the name of Christ. Yup. You heard me right. Americans are very short-sighted and we think the entire world revolves around us (or should) and our way of thinking. In MANY places in the world alcohol is completely a part of the culture. Children are introduced to it at a young age, and often, for the masses, it is consumed responsibly and in moderation. It took dating an Italian man who trusted Christ later in life (38ish) whose entire family was unsaved for me to seriously evaluate the topic of social drinking. Each sibling family (he was one of seven) made their own wine (Ah ha! So I wasn’t supporting the industry!) and it was the wine that often brought the family together socially. Nick understood my “conviction” (I’d call it preference now, since it’s not biblically based), but shared that to not even just take the smallest of sips of his gracious hosting family, would’ve been a terrible insult AND, worse, a stain on the cause of Christ and the groundwork He had laid in witnessing to them. Making alcohol an issue, or the refusal of his “Christian girlfriend” to drink it, would have made them less open to hearing about the Christ we served. I’ve also found that being willing to drink on occasion socially with unsaved colleagues and casual friends while remaining firm on other truly biblical convictions (sexual abstinence before marriage) opened doors to sharing Christ that wouldn’t have otherwise been there. To this day, I rarely drink. But I do still drink on occasion. Never more than one, usually not even a whole glass, and I’ve never been “fuzzy” or felt less Spirit-filled as a result. Just my story. 🙂

    • ceyanne

      How about that just choose not to drink? That it’s not something you feel you want to partake in. That FOR YOU, you don’t feel it’s the right decision or a good thing to do. Your reasons are your own. You don’t need to justify why you choose to do what you do or don’t do. The problems comes when you try to use YOUR justifications to tell people what THEY should or shouldn’t be doing.

  • Joshua

    I respect your decision, however much of your reasoning could be just as easily applied to many other amusements that most of us enjoy on a regular basis. There is as much danger in making a bigger to-do than necessary about alcohol than there is in consuming it, e.g. Pharisaism. I’ve more concern with Christians who are co-dependent on coffee & Coca-Cola as those who occasionally and responsibly enjoy God’s good gift of the “wheat & barley water”.

  • michaelhutchins

    Ok. I can’t think of a good reason why anyone would care whether or not you drink, Angela. Go ahead and abstain if you must. The rest of us couldn’t give a rip.

  • Kelsey

    This is so well-stated. Thank you!!!

  • Jerry Wescott

    Great post. Here is the challenge I present to high school students: “Name one truly beneficial attribute of drinking alcoholic beverages.”

    • Doug Short

      When I drink wine I am reminded of my gracious Father’s desire to impart to His people the blessings of His covenental love and this leads me to respond to Him in worshipful gratitude.
      It was my experiencing this truth which took me from a simple rejection of the teetotaling I was raised under to a positive embracing of the consumption of wine.

  • Fellow Believer

    I don’t think this blog was for anyone to agree or disagree with. I think this blog was posted to simply express this particular author’s convictions and feelings of drinking in her personal life. She has clearly stated over and again that this is not a judgement or a critique of others’ views or beliefs or in anyways purposed with changing one’s outlook/actions.

    We all have different struggles, and we all have different convictions. God molds us in a unique fashion to be compared ONLY TO HIM. Also, she has clearly expressed that she is a Christian. That being said, she is being held to God’s standard (not that she can reach this by any other means that total surrender in Jesus Christ); those that have not accepted Christ as their Savior and align themselves with Christianity cannot be held to a standard they don’t believe in. While we are all accountable for our lives and actions, how can one’s standards come from something they don’t believe in.

    I am proud of this blogger to boldly post her convictions where she knew they would be torn apart and debated. BUT … news flash to all … your opinion on her convictions DON’T MATTER!! As Christians we are to live for no one but Christ! This blogger was obviously convicted to loudly express the reasons for her convictions about drinking alcohol; for her not to obey the Spirit would be wrong and a missed opportunity for His Kingdom. I believe the most important aspect of her post is that there is a FREEDOM IN CHRIST to be different than the world without the cares and worries of anyone else’s opinion.

    Further the Kingdom

    • baptistthinker

      The problem is, that she IS putting those who drink down, regardless of her statements that she wasn’t. She repeatedly put down those who drink, and made no apology for it. I have no problem with her personal opinion on drinking, even though it is an unbiblical one. The only Biblical position on drinking is that we do so in moderation, and do not be a drunkard.

    • Emily A

      I wholeheartedly agree!

  • DP

    Ultimately, these lists of reasons have the opposite effect that the author intends.

    As others in this thread have pointed out, every one of these reasons could be listed for other actions that people could take (driving cars, eating foods with corn syrup, eating any foods with added sugar, NOT exercising).

    I have yet to find impassioned articles about the sin and evil of eating canned or processed foods – foods that have been directly linked to increased incidences of cancer.

    Also, this article is RIFE with logical fallacies. While the entire premise is guilty of the fallacy of composition (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_composition), there are individual problems, as well. A statement such as:

    “The effects of drinking often carry over into the next day, causing others to feel as if they are less important than the drinking experience to the one who chooses to drink. ”
    Is guilty of….

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question

    And – my word – here’s a gem:
    “If I chose to drink, it would be for me, to fulfill my own desires and purposes, which is where every sin issue I’ve ever had has started. I just don’t want to go there.”

    Yes, but that is a non sequitir. All sins start with an initial action. If that is the case, then why is there no Biblical prohibition against action in general – you know, since every thing we do could potentially be to fulfill our own purposes?

    Frankly, I have no problem with drinking, and I also have no problem going months at a time without. I don’t sleep as well at night if I drink, and I just prefer better sleep. Does that make drinking a sin? NO. Does the fact that SOMEONE could be offended that you drink make it a sin? NO! Does the fact that you could “potentially” get drunk, could potentially this that or the other make it a sin? NO!

    If it’s not a sin, then why not?

    I grew up in an IFB church and I heard all of these arguments. When I was old enough to think for myself… and started reading the Bible critically, without the “added” baggage… I found that I had been (at best) misguided and (at worst) lied to. Fortunately, I was not one of the many who left the church because the churchgoers ADDED to Scripture. I find NO prohibition for simply drinking alcoholic beverages. I DO find a prohibition about adding to Scripture.

  • Crystalyn Cook

    The reasons I don’t drink: 1. I tried a few types and thought them all nasty. 2. I found out a few distant family members have either died or ruined their lives due to drinking problems and I just don’t want to risk it. 3. If others see, it might be a stumbling block to them and their beliefs. 4. I need heavy painkillers for my back, and hate that “fuzzy feeling” and don’t want to pay for it!

  • Kurt Brown

    Tell said…thanks for writing…and for reminding me why,,,,,

  • Emily

    Thank you! That is a great, thought provoking other article to read. Thanks for sharing!

  • Richard Jefferies

    That was very well stated, however in the future, can you temper your wisdom with paragraphs 😛

    • Andrew

      LOL about the paragraphs. 🙂 I was afraid to hit “Enter” to start a new paragraph because I wasn’t sure if it would just submit my comment right then instead of putting in a page break.

      • Caitlin

        Shift+enter, my friend.

  • I am a Christian but my reason for not drinking is not scripture based. It’s based on the reality of alcoholism and how it all started with one drink. I decided to take the “it’s better safe than sorry route” and no theological argument is going to change that. However, you mentioned gluttony which is HUGE in America yet does not receive the amount of criticism as alcoholism. Don’t you think that’s a bit hypocritical?

  • Doug Short

    Just a few more observations:
    1) Is drunkenness and alcohol abuse something unique to our day and age? Obviously not. We even know that alchohol was used to fuel drunken orgies centered upon idol worship. And yet….and the silence should be startling to those who argue abstinence based upon today’s permissive culture….and yet, no where in Scripture- no where- do we read that Christians should abstain from partaking of alchohol for fear of being misunderstood or mistaken for a drunkard. Does this not give you pause when you are quick to promote abstinence based on such things?
    2) Do you really believe that wine (and other drinks) had such a significantly less amount of alchoholic content that practically render them impotent and that is why drinking was permitted? Why then the warnings against drunkenness? I mean, come on! How much did someone have to drink before drunkenness was even a possibility if wine was mostly water with just a touch of fermented wine to purify it (as I have heard it argued)?
    3) Lastly, I would love to see the statistics that report just how many people have been turned away from Christianity because they saw a Christian drinking wine or beer with a meal. I think this is a big red herring (that i once assumed was true) that has absolutely no basis to it.
    Again, the concerns that I see repeated over and over again were not shared by Jesus, the apostles or the Holy Spirit who inspired them. Shouldn’t that count for something?
    I understand the responses of those who have dealt with alcoholism in their families, and I get it that they, as a result, do not desire to partake. But it does not follow that, because some people fall into sin over alchohol, that everyone must abstain. My guess is that most teetotalers are those who have been affected by alchoholism, have a great distaste for alchohol as a result and, then, base a doctrinal stance upon that distaste rather than upon a close reading of the Scriptures.

  • Jared

    This mainly a Puritan affliction, as Christians have been enjoying wine for centuries, actually millenia, without this much hand-wringing. There is no reason that one must become a gnostic, and treat alcohol as evil, temperance, the wisdom to know how much is proper and no more, is a particularly Christian virtue.

    However, one of the church fathers, John Chrysostom, said it the best:

    “For wine was given us of God, not that we might be drunken, but that we might be sober; that we might be glad, not that we get ourselves pain. ‘Wine,’ it says, ‘maketh glad the heart of man,’ but thou makest it matter for sadness; since those who are inebriated are sullen beyond measure, and great darkness over-spreads their thoughts. It is the best medicine, when it has the best moderation to direct it.
    The passage before us is useful also against heretics, who speak evil of God’s creatures; for if it had been among the number of things forbidden, Paul would not have permitted it, nor would have said it was to be used. And not only against the heretics, but against the simple ones among our brethren, who when they see any persons disgracing themselves from drunkenness, instead of reproving such, blame the fruit given them by God, and say, ‘Let there be no wine.’ We should say then in answer to such, ‘Let there be no drunkenness; for wine is the work of God, but drunkenness is the work of the devil. Wine maketh not drunkenness; but intemperance produceth it. Do not accuse that which is the workmanship of God, but accuse the madness of a fellow mortal. But thou, while omitting to reprove and correct the sinner, treatest thy Benefactor with contempt!’”

    • Doug Short

      Great quote. Not to bicker, but just as a clarification, the Puritans had absolutely no problem with consuming alcohol so to call it a “Puritan affliction” is a bit of a misnomer.

      • Jared

        True, I would correct that to today’s follows of the Puritans.

  • laura merrone

    All my family, except my husband, me and one of our sons, drinks but none of them are alcoholics. They are more like “social drinkers”. But we don’t like the taste of it, first of all, esp. beer. Secondly, we don’t like the effects of it. I am already feeling it after one drink. Driving a car would be problematic. Thirdly, I get migraine headaches sometimes after just one drink. And in Jeremiah chapter 35 the Rechabites abstained from drinking and the Lord rewarded them for it so there is a scriptural basis for not drinking, too. People by the way, get real defensive when you talk about this sensitive subject. I think because most of them are ADDICTED to alcohol to a certain extent. This is why I seldom share my viewpoint with others. By the way, the wine Jesus drank was very much diluted compared to the wine we drink today so if there was any alcohol content, it was very low and therefore, a lower possibility of drunkenness. Food can be harmful to you and others also but it is a necessity. Drinking alcoholic beverages is not a necessity.

    • Doug Short

      The Rechabites were also told to not build houses but to live in tents all their days. So I guess there is a Scriptural basis for living a nomadic life.

      • laura merrone

        That’s us to the tee! We’ve moved around a lot and now live in an apartment in Germany. I call it our “chateau”.

  • Cary Eaves

    How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed and keeping watch [on himself] according to Your word [conforming his life to it]. With my whole heart have I sought You, inquiring for and of You and yearning for You; Oh, let me not wander or step aside [either in ignorance or willfully] from Your commandments. Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119:9-11 AMP)

  • Doug Short

    The reason that some of us get a little impassioned over this is because of the benefits that come from partaking of God’s gift to us- not because we are addicted (Laura Merrone).
    As I noted below, when I drink wine I am reminded of my gracious Father’s desire to impart to His people the blessings of His covenental love and this leads me to respond to Him in worshipful gratitude.

    It was my experiencing this truth which took me from a simple rejection of the teetotaling I was raised under to a positive embracing of the consumption of wine.
    I am simply astounded (but shouldn’t be) that the vast majority of reasons put forth for abstinence have no basis in Scripture but are based upon cultural biases and feelings. Is this the way we address other doctrinal issues before us? If so, the church today is in deep trouble.

  • Joan

    This is a great artical. I don’t drink and it is nice to know there are a few people left that don’t. Keep the news going.

  • Caitlin

    I think most of these arguments can (and should be?) applied to coffee! How many people are addicted to caffeine, and can’t function without their first cup(s) in the morning?
    As for me, I do drink, on occasion, responsibly. Did you know, Responsible drinking is defined as 1 alcoholic beverage per day for a woman, and 2 for a man? My father was an alcoholic (he’s been sober for more than a decade, praise the Lord!), so I never have more than one drink, so that I never experience being drunk. My husband knows my family history, so he is always there to keep me accountable, and I him. The consumption of alcohol isn’t a sin—Jesus drank wine, as I’m sure you’ve been frequently told by drinkers—it’s getting drunk that’s a sin. As having money isn’t a sin, but needing it (the love of money) is a sin.
    I think it’s honorable to be a teetotaler. I was one for many years. But having a small drink, for me, is as relaxing and harmless as having one cup of tea in the morning or one piece of chocolate (both of the latter containing caffeine, which is technically a drug).
    That said, I know that many people can’t limit themselves to just one drink, and for those people, it’s the equivalent to playing with fire.
    I do like the point about not giving money to businesses that profit on drunkenness. I feel like those companies should donate some profits to MADD and have stronger campaigns against irresponsible drinking.

  • Excellent article. Sounds like someone has had some time to think and pray about something important. Thanks Angela.

  • Emily A

    I cannot even tell you how much it means to me to hear someone put my heart into words so perfectly. I am the only one of my Christian friends and family that chooses not to drink. It’s not a big deal and there are many people whom I respect that drink. However, sometimes I feel a little lonely in my decision and reading this felt like coming home. Thank you for braving the cyber and real-world critic and being honest about this issue!

  • Pastor Dave

    The author’s opinion can be applied to anything. If you can’t drink responsibly, don’t drink. If you can, cheers.

    • Gene

      Do we also smoke weed responsibly? Why or why not??

  • CherylWillis

    It’s interesting reading all the comments – – – it’s like “don’t touch that spot…because I have something to say in comparison…”

    1 Corinthians has a meaty content regarding our behaviors – whether they lead us into sin or not – AND if they cause another brother to stumble… or if they are looked away from and by doing so, condoned in the Body.

    When you read that letter, and put the “love chapter” in context with the rest of the letter —- it’s not fluffy, it’s correcting, even the “love” part —and the need to repent is incredibly imminent on each of us when the Word penetrates our hearts in its fullness – Are we those who desire to be vessels in the hands of our Savior, ready to serve, and ready to stand and give an account before Him? He is worthy of it all.

    I appreciate this writing –
    We also have one more point to add from our house regarding, “why we don’t drink” – We didn’t have any problem with it – have been very fortunate to be able to drink, and not go too far… but one day, the Lord said “You won’t need that – ” and we had to make a decision to burn the bridge that would allow us to have a drink whenever – – even though we weren’t troubled with it – and that’s the point where the greatest test came – weddings; celebrations; even some communion services; – because God set us apart to fight for those who are in trouble; destroyed; imprisoned; and broken by the amount of alcohol in just the borders of our city. We can’t coexist with the drinking and win the battle.

  • wassup402

    All well and good. And I commend your willingness to share your convictions, but to say your Baptist upbringing (Southern of otherwise) had nothing to do with your decision to not imbibe is misleading, incredulous and basically unconvincing.

  • HVACBIZ

    Thank you for taking the time to write this blog. It’s so on the money and refreshing to read and hear! God Bless!

  • Brendan Burger

    Thank you for sharing this. I am with you on this. God be with you and bless you.

  • Gene

    I’ve worked in the field of law enforcement for nearly 20 years, and have dealt with the consequences of so much tragedy. I would agree with 95% of this piece except for the attitude of not wanting to offend someone. I do make judgments on the ones that drink because the Bible states that the ones who are deceived by this are not wise….therefore, in Godly wisdom I have to proclaim that those who drink are not wise.

    • You are right, Gene. Clearly drinking is one of the curses of this society. If people are offended by my opinion, I feel sorry for them.

  • Gene

    What makes this issue such a heated topic? Nearly everyone I’ve ever discussed with this always tries to tell me what’s not wrong with it, rather than what’s right with it? Every one of the detractors posting comments here could also use these exact same examples for the “responsible” use of crack, ice, meth (and you can even make your own at home in a 2 liter soda bottle!) , acid etc…… BUT why do we NEVER hear anyone defending their rights to those items….I’ve never seen anything in the Bible prohibiting the use of those…hmm?

  • Julie

    I, too, do not drink. I did in my younger years but no longer do. I am not a recovering alcoholic. I am not judging anyone else. I am not choosing this path because of what the bible does or does not say. It is just a personal preference. My two difficult pregnancies have played a significant part in my decision. I was extremely ill…vomiting 10-15 times per day, extremely dizzy, bed ridden for months. I just don’t want to do ANYTHING that may lead me in that direction again! I am usually the designated driver, although I am unsure of which came first. When family and friends, who know I don’t drink, ask if I want an alcoholic drink and I reply, “No thank you. I don’t drink.” I am often scolded for being judgmental. I try to look at it this way; if someone offered me a cigarette, and I replied in kind, there’d be no issue. Before assuming someone is being judgmental, ask yourself why you are feeling judged.

  • Amy

    That’s a thoughtful list, Angela. Thanks for posting it. We post-moderns do not take kindly to talk of abstaining from anything, so that may account for some of the pushback you receive.

  • Nate Bishop

    Ms. Sanders,

    First off, I want to say that I’ve enjoyed reading this article, thanks in no small part to your ability to stand firm and proud in your convictions, while yet managing to maintain a very gentle, non-judgmental tone throughout. I stumbled upon your blog after doing a search for the phrase “why i don’t drink”, in the hopes that I would find some writings such as this one. It’s always encouraging to hear opinions and ideals that match our own, especially when it seems they aren’t shared by many people. I totally relate to you on nearly every one of your reasons to abstain from alcohol, with the exception of the Biblical reasoning. I don’t quite share the same religious beliefs, BUT, I was raised in the church, and much of my family are very active in their walks with God. So while I don’t necessarily identify with those particular points, they are no less valid than any secular reasoning to abstain, and I applaud and support them. 🙂 You’ve helped me to reflect on my own decision not to drink, and helped to reinforce my conviction not to imbibe, and I thank you. 🙂

    One thing I wanted to comment on (not criticicize, mind you) was your musing on the Facebook and Twitter photo postings of young Christians with alcohol. In my opinion and experience, there’s two possible sides to it. I agree with you that there is a very ‘show and tell’, exhibitionist thing going on there just beneath the surface, coupled with a good dose of standard youthful rebellion It’s not about how they see drinking, it’s how WE see it (by ‘we’ I mean adult society).. Let’s assume these young’uns are early to mid-20’s, and that they followed the rules while they were under 21 and waited patiently until they were of legal age.(underage drinking is a whoooole different animal I wont go into here). Well now, suddenly, something that was an absolute no-no yesterday is readily available and even encouraged for them today! I think, to them,. drinking isn’t a big deal….. but being ABLE to drink is. They want people to see them being “adults”, friends and family alike, and maybe even shock a few people in the process. Turning 21 is a huge milestone in young person’s life nowadays, possibly the biggest (in their eyes) of their whole life. And once they do, alcohol makes a sudden 180, turning from forbidden fruit into socially acceptable. And the excitement that creates gives way to youngsters who treat alcohol like an accessory, a recreational activity, and an obsession…… not good. :/

    There’s definitely some idolatry going on in this aspect of our culture, and the idol is a bottle.

    On the other hand, though, I think in many cases the ‘show and tell’ aspect, though still present (i mean, that’s what FB and Twitter are all about, essentially), isn’t so much about ‘proving’ something as it’s about having fun and letting everybody see how much fun you had. And that’s okay. In fact, that’s good! Enjoying life and enjoying our friends is great, and technology allows us to share that enjoyment with others like never before. A person can discuss types of alcohol or post about drinking or take pictures with booze and have nothing “to prove” but that they are happy and enjoying themselves as “adults” at long last. Regardless of whether they are trying to ‘prove’ something (which we can only speculate, not know) or not, is that really such a bad thing? In essence, no. However, if they cross the lines of safety and good judgment along the way, that’s where it becomes a problem. And that’s where we, as adults, need to step in and offer guidance. Guidance without yelling, condemning, or punishing, but instead with love, wisdom, honesty, and our own experiences.

    My uncle criticized me awhile back for cursing in my facebook status (i was quoting a song lyric that had an f-bomb in it). I didn’t mind that so much, I understand those words offends some people a lot more than they do me, and I need to be more conscientious of that. But here’s what kinda got me: He inferred that i was ‘trying to impress my friends’ by using that kind of language, and that kind of bothered me. Partly because it wasn’t true (im 28 years old, at this point in my life, my friends are all pretty set in their opinions of me. No impressing is needed.), but in larger part because it felt condescending. It felt like being called a poser, one so desperate for approval that I have to curse to get people to like me. I’m pretty sensitive to things like that, and I know teens and young adults are MUCH more so. So, if you feel these young Christians are playing ‘show and tell’ and have ‘something to prove’ (which is a 100% valid opinion, and you’re not wrong) , a different wording and approach would, I think, be much more effective in the long run, and set the best of examples possible. Are they trying to impress their friends and overdoing it as a rite of passage? Probably. But It’s not our job to point that out to them. Our job, as adults, role models, and symbols of leadership is to set an example for them in confidence, compassion, empathy, respect, and above all else, honesty.

    Wow sorry this turned into such a ramble! But thank you for letting me share, and keep up the excellent writing!!! Blessings!

  • JCMasterpiece

    Angela, in response; do you wear makeup?

    Do you wear jewelry?

    Do you dress in a way that emphasizes or shows off your bodily appearance?

    Wearing makeup is clearly attempting to hide and falsify your appearance to make you more attractive to others. It is deceit and a lie.
    When you purchase cosmetics and jewelry (or accept them as gifts) you contribute financially to an industry that capitalizes on the pain, neediness, and addiction of almost half of the population. Many, many more that that are addicted to alcohol.
    Focusing on how you dress and how you look dulls sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.
    When you dress up to look beautiful you wittingly or unwittingly exclude and hinder relationships with people who are too shy or afraid to be friends because you are “too” beautiful.
    Dressing yourself up and pretending to be someone you are not shows your children, and especially your daughters that women are not worthwhile unless they are fake. You teach them that in order to be loved and accepted you have to hide who you really are behind a facade.
    When you choose to wear makeup and jewelry you do so to fulfill your own desires and purposes, which is where every sin issue we all have ever had has started.
    When you buy yourself something new or beautiful, or try out some new color or foundation in order to help you feel better about yourself you have a problem, a problem that over 50% of the population have.
    Yet you find it acceptable, and chances are you look down on people that either don’t or do it “wrong”.
    You believe that you just “need” it!
    Not wearing makeup or fancy jewelry would set you apart, and you just don’t want to go there!

    Don’t even get me started about wearing clothing that is suggestive or seductive!

    If you think that this post sounds critical or judgmental, you may want to consider how your post sounds to others. Do we need to be critical and judgmental at times? Yes, absolutely! In fact the Bible, even the NT, and even JESUS calls us to be at times! I’m glad that you had the guts to express what you believe and why. Most people are too afraid to or too afraid of what people will think. The questions is how are you going to take what you have learned through this process?

  • April

    I think most people missed the point of this blog…I think she is explaining why she chooses not to drink. It is her CHOICE! Why condemn her for making a statement so that you can justify your own actions? I also have chosen not to drink alcohol, and her blog describes my feelings also. Thank you Angela for sharing!

  • bushrat49

    Lol! That was easy! When it comes to drinking, it doesn’t take much to push someone’s button does it, Angela? I have to admit , you have “guts.” 🙂

  • Your own decision not to drink is fine, no worries, but your arguments, though you say they’re not meant to shame those who do choose to consume alcohol, do just that.

    It may be time to step back just a little and check for self righteousness in this one.

  • Jim Harrison

    Anything that hinders our relationship with God through the Holy Spirit needs to be put aside. Too many time we as Christians talk about what we do or don’t do and that sometimes puts a bad taste in people about Christianity. I think the first thing that people should understand about a relationship with God is that he accepts us where we are and as we grow closer to Him, He changes our want to’s so we can participate in His work and we all have different things to do. It is not about what we do or don’t do that is on display it is how we love people and God’s creations.

  • Wanda Greatorex

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS. As one who gets questioned about my choice to not drink alcohol, it puzzles me—why does it matter to someone if this is my choice? I would not question their decision to not eat chocolate! I drank alcohol when not walking close to Christ….seeking the high, hating the taste. When leaving the emptiness of that life to return to walking close to Jesus, I began living in grateful thankfulness that He spared me from destroying someone else by driving under alcohols influence. I despise the taste, the effects on my body and mind, and the cost. Why is that offensive?

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