An Old Post on Alcohol

Back in July of 2006 (a long time ago, I know), I wrote a blog post on the biblical view on alcohol.  It was right before a mission trip to Russia and before my junior year in college.  A long time has passed since then, obviously, but it was interesting to see how my views on it have remained rather consistent (because, well, I don’t think the Bible changed its mind on it 😉 ).  The post is rather long and mostly interacts with an article written by some ultraconservative Church of Christ author, who believed that Christians should not drink alcohol at all.  I will not repost the whole thing, but I will quote the last, concluding parts of the post.  I’m a bit more abrasive in my tone than I typically am now, but hey, I was young then :).

So here is what 20 year old Isak thought about drinking:

  1. Christians should not get drunk.  The biblical evidence is clear on this, and both sides of this issue agree.  Sorry.

  2. Christians should not drink underage.  This is debatable, as drinking ages vary from place to place, but Christians should generally respect the laws of the land they are in.

  3. If a Christian feels compelled to drink in order to have a good time, he has a problem and needs to grow up, get a life, and develop a stronger mind (yes, I know:  Ouch).  Seriously, this betrays a pathetic desperation that has no place for a Christian walk.  If you cannot have fun without having a chemical mess up your senses, you lead a boring life.  Hence my saying, “People get drunk not to have fun, but to forget they are bored.”

  4. Moderate drinking is not condemned by Scripture, but it is not sanctioned either.  In theory, moderate drinking by responsible and legal Christians is generally fine.

  5. Christians should take number 4 into consideration as far as their example and influence for the people around them.  As I talked about in my “Legalist” essay, Christians should always keep their witness and their influence in mind when they engage in certain activities.  Paul makes it clear that not all things are beneficial, even if they may be permitted.  Drinking in front of a recovering alcoholic is a stupid thing to do.

  6. Ahem:  These days, Christians should be especially wary of alcohol consumption.  There are many Christians that I know and respect that say that Christians should indeed abstain from alcohol, and they do not use the arguments that Waldon does.  They actually agree that, in theory, alcohol consumption is not forbidden by Scripture, but they also point out the negative affects on witness it has as well as the chronic irresponsibility that accompanies it.  I cannot argue with them that the amount of responsible drinkers is sadly dwarfed by the number of irresponsible ones.  In addition, alcohol is much stronger now than it was back in ancient times.  Drinking strong, undiluted alcoholic beverages was seen as the gross activity of barbarians and the unsophisticated.  For those of you bereft of any math or science sense, this means nothing came close to the current punch a shot of whiskey can give you now.  Waldron correctly points out the negative effects of alcohol consumption, the death, rape, and broken marriages that accompany drinking.  While this is undoubtedly the fault of individuals, we would be naïve to say that alcohol can only be a blessing and not a curse.  The situations have changed now, and the biblical writers could not have possibly predicted these differences.  If the Apostle Paul knew what kind of cheap, ready, and strong drinks were available today, with the dangers of operating something like a car when even buzzed, and with the disturbing links that alcohol has with rape, murder, and premature death, he would be appalled and might very well have laid the hammer on the whole thing and forbade alcohol to all Christians today.  However, we do not know for certain, and while I still think alcohol is okay for responsible drinkers, I say so with great caution. I would never encourage anyone to be overly excited about their 21st birthday (by the way, if you think barfing after drinking a lot is cool, you’re stupid).  What did I just say?  Oh, I said people who think barfing at their 21st birthday is cool are stupid.  Yes, I said stupid.  And I mean in the strong sense, like my dog has more common sense than them.  I need to ask for forgiveness, because there is not an ounce of me that is worried that I offended someone..

  7. This is somewhat beside the point, but I want to say it anyway.  The argument, “Some people are not themselves and hard to get to know unless they are drunk,” or for oneself “I can’t open up unless I drink” is woefully weak.  This speaks of mental softness, nothing more.  If I want to “open up” or “loosen up,” that is something that I, I, myself must conquer in my own mind and perform.  To take a drug that does this for you is, in my mind, great weakness.  Letting a chemical have more mastery over your behavior than you is not something to be proud of.

Like I said, while this is an important issue (as statistics would tell any person), it is not the most important, and it is not a determining factor of salvation.  So, if you as a Christian have become hammered before, it doesn’t make you a horrible one, nor does it make you destined for Hell (I have never gotten drunk, but I have my own sins that I have to worry about).  However, I will stress again about the honesty of making a biblical case.  For those that disagree with people like Waldron or with lay writers like me… I will frankly say show the courage and integrity to honestly deal with Scriptural evidence.  If not, your opinions are worth less than even the stereotypical wacko conservative like Waldron.  Disagreement is fine; childish cowardice is not. 

My theology overall has changed a bit over the years, as anyone else’s probably will who continues to study theology and Scripture, but this actually pretty much represents how I view alcohol still.  It’s permissible, but rarely, if ever, necessary or helpful, and it should be consumed with the utmost responsibility and awareness.  I know that’s not fun to hear for a lot of folks, but as believers, we should be about holiness and following God, not about our own desires and “fun.”

And yes, I still think you’re lame if you feel like you need to drink to have fun ;).

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One thought on “An Old Post on Alcohol

  1. Pingback: Blogging Archives #1: “Ching chong ling long ting tong! A Post On Cultural Criticism.” | leesomniac

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