Is it sinful for a Christian to drink alcohol?

(Cynthia johnson) #1

I’ve heard a few conflicting opinions regarding whether or not a born again believer can drink alcohol without it being a sin. One side says stay away from ot completely and the other is ok with it as long as a person doesnt get drunk. It seems the justification is that Jesus turned the water into wine.

(christopher van zyl) #2

I think we need to go to scripture.

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
Ephesians 5:18 ESV

It says here that we aren’t to be drunk.

Jesus turned water into wine. Paul told Timothy to drink wine for his stomach. The psalms and Proverbs speak about it gladdening the heart.

So for me, regardless of what man says, we go first to scripture.

We see that we may drink, but not in excess to the point of drunkenness.

If it is your conviction not to drink, then that is between that person and God. They should not impose that on others though because scripture is clear. We shouldn’t be adding burdens on people.

What are your thoughts?

(Marvin Mauro) #4

Thanks for sharing these passages.

If I may add some questions…

How would you say properly ‘no’ or share your convictions to:

a group of Christians who promotes wine drinking?

when you’re in a social gathering ie. Boss’ party, reunions by non-believers and you’re invited to drink?

(Roger Greene) #5

This gets into a tricky situation, because as @c3vanzyl pointed out, drinking alcohol is not a problem. Drinking in excess is. So where you draw the line as far as do you drink a little or not at all is going to depend on the person and the setting.

I would draw your attention to Romans chapter 14 (the whole chapter) and 1 Corinthians 8:9-13 (particularly verse 13)

"But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emoldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

So it is more so a matter of who you might be impacting if you decide to drink. If you know you’re around someone who had an issue with drugs and alcohol, I would certainly think the proper course is to abstain from drinking yourself. If you’re spending time with brothers who have no issue with alcohol and your having a drink will not harm them, I don’t see a problem there. Basically, consider your surroundings and your present company.

I know personally, when I first started attending church, but before I was Christian, I noticed many people in the church going out and getting drunk. That was a huge stumbling block for me because the people in church did not look any different at all then the non-Christians outside the church. It made me wonder just what the point of being in church was. Not everyone may have that same stumbling block, and the Lord did see me through it. But be considerate of how your actions, how you speak, whether you drink, etc. will impact the people around you.

The consideration isn’t so much is drinking a sin but more whether or not you are placing potential stumbling blocks in front of other believers with your conduct? Though just to re-iterate, I think it is pretty clear that drunkenness is incorrect.

You should also consider how alcohol affects you personally. You might not have any issue with a single drink or two, but any amount of alcohol does impair your faculties and does lower your inhibition such that it is easier to make bad decisions.

To @Marvs questions specifically:

Dealing with a group of Christians who promote drinking wine would be a tricky subject. I guess it would all depend on what you mean by promote. Are they actively promoting a “wine and wisdom” Bible study or something like that. You might chuckle, but I’ve actually seen just such studies started in churches. If so, the consideration is very similar for me: who might they negatively be impacting by promoting that? I think you’d really have to take that on a case by case basis. It really depends on the local congregation, and many many factors that we can’t cover all of here.

In a social setting it is all going to depend on you. If you have no problem with a drink, I’d stick to just the one. If you don’t want to drink, then politely decline. At one point in my career I was attending many conferences and work functions and alcohol was omnipresent. More often then not people would make comments if you refused it and that made me uncomfortable, so I took to order non-alcoholic beer. For all intents and purposes it looked like you were partaking, but you actually weren’t. Plus I like the taste of beer so that was a good option. Once I got comfortable with refusing and dealing with the associated commentary, I would simply order water and stick to that. Most people aren’t going to give you too hard a time about not joining in their festivities, and you can always offer to be the designated driver if you want an excuse.

(LaTricia J.) #6

@Marvs are you asking that if a group of Christians are together and having wine and ask if you (or someone else) would like some? If so, you (or anyone else) can decline the offer. That goes the same with any other situation. I don’t feel pressured to drink. If it’s not something I want to do, then I don’t do it. But, for me, it’s not something that makes me feel out of place or uncomfortable if those around me, Christian or not, are having drinks. I just simply decline when offered.

(Jennifer Judson) #8

There are conflicting views, especially between different denominations. I think Christopher and Roger make good points that there is no general prohibition against imbibing, but there are against drinking to excess.

Paul’s admonitions to the Corinthians (see Roger’s comments) about their excesses and behaviors that become stumbling blocks for others is generally the justification for denominations that ask their members not to drink.

Just as Paul was speaking to the cultural challenges of the Corinthian Church, some American denominations began their prohibitions when we were dealing with a period in our history where drinking caused great harm. (Although this was not strictly and American momement). Men often drank away their paychecks bringing calamity on their large families. The liquor industry was not regulated and often available alcohol was quite poisonous and detrimental to a person’s health. Drunk husbands were more likely to abuse their wives and children. So “tea-total” was part of a pro-family movement to improve the quality of life and cure social ills.

Throughout Christianity the church has often taken the lead (sometimes not often enough) on social issues. I believe prohibitions on drinking generally fell into this category. As a matter of fact, the making of grape juice that would not ferment into wine, was the invention of Thomas Bramwell Welch in 1869 (of Welch’s Grape Juice) for the purpose of communion wine that would not tempt parishioners into drinking.

Sometimes church policies are not from precise biblical references, but from the totality of the gospel and God’s desire for us to become conformed to image the image of Christ.

(Marvin Mauro) #9

@rgreene, I appreciate and I agree with your answer for Christians should think of “who might they negatively impacting by promoting alcohol drinking” .
Perhaps my focus would be on secular gathering. I’d give a specific example, especially in Japan. When drinking beer or other alcholic drinks were demanded to you by your boss. How would you excuse yourself not to drink if you live in shame-based society and you cannot really drive.

Thank you @LaTricia_January for your response too!
@Jennifer_Judson, thankful for your insight and research 'bout Wlech Grape juice, this is informative for me.