Resolving Personal &
Responses from readers on the issue of alcohol and Christians were overwhelming.
Thank you very much our readers for such insightful and valuable contributions.
Well, the responses showed that opinion is divided among Christians concerning drinking alcohol. Some say that Christians must not drink alcohol at all while others say that small quantities are allowed.
However, most of the responses lacked scriptural evidence to substantiate personal opinions. Accordingly, I made recourse to the Gotquestions.org website to find solidly biblical arguments on the issue.
The following are sample responses from readers, Gotquestions.org extracts and my own personal opinion on this controversial issue.
Reader 1: I beg please let’s not confuse people; one of the founding principles of Christianity in the Bible is non-drinking of beer.
Reader 2: Thanks for your piece in this week’s edition of The Financial Gazette. It was a short and concise article, which did not necessarily conclusively deal with the debate on the Bible’s attitude towards alcohol, but was nevertheless enough to take many extremists out of their starlight jackets. Those that have the tendency to “add” or to “subtract” from the scriptures to suit their own agendas have been challenged to relook at the Bible in general and the alcohol issue in particular. I am giving you an assignment: Can you come up with “is the Bible against polygamy?” in the next few weeks.
Reader 3: Pastors, you should not read verses to mean what you want. If you want to drink alcohol it’s your choice but what is driving you to that in the first place is what matters.
However, please take note that wine is not equal to alcohol, but fermented wine is. So you are saying people can smoke, use drugs etc. because this does not go to the heart. I am a little baffled by your interpretation of Bible verses.
Reader 4: Thank you very much brother for a very insightful article. First and foremost I would like to say that the Bible does not prohibit alcohol. I am told that in the Jewish culture during the time of Jesus all meals were accompanied by wine. It is also my assumption that at the Cana wedding when those people said this “wine is good” they mean it was making them drunk and not that it was sweet. I concur with Reverend Ramsay, the Bible is very clear about alcohol. It prohibits drunkenness explicitly but the challenge is people (particularly pastors) mislead other people. These pastors fail to distinguish what the Bible says and church doctrine (what the church believes). In my hermeneutics (Bible interpretation) course I learnt two very important lessons: firstly, use scripture to interpret scripture and secondly, scripture does not contradict itself.
However, in Zimbabwe the challenge is with the teachers (Reverends and pastors), they know the truth but don’t want to teach it for reasons best known to them. They are busy preaching heresy because it brings money at the expense of salvation.
I have also discovered that most Christians in Zimbabwe own Bibles but don’t read them, we only use them on Sunday when we require to have a reading thereafter they gather dust in bags or shelves.
Extracts from www.gotquestions.org: Scripture has much to say regarding the drinking of alcohol (Leviticus 10:9; Numbers 6:3; Deuteronomy 29:6; Judges 13:4,7; Proverbs 20:1; Isaiah 5:11).
However, scripture does not necessarily forbid a Christian from drinking beer, wine or any other drink containing alcohol. In fact some scriptures discuss alcohol in positive terms for example Ecclesiastes 9:7; Psalms 104:14-15; Amos 9:14 and Isaiah 55:1. What God commands Christians regarding alcohol is to avoid drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18).
The Bible condemns drunkenness and its effects (Proverbs 23:29-35). Christians are also commanded to not allow their bodies to be ‘mastered’ by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Peter 2:19). Drinking alcohol is undeniably addictive. Scripture also forbids a Christian from doing anything that might offend other Christians or encourage them to sin against their conscience (1 Corinthians 8:9-13; Romans 14).
In light of these principles, it would be extremely difficult for any Christian to say he is drinking alcohol in excess to the glory of God. It is drunkenness and addiction to alcohol that a Christian must refrain from (Ephesians 5:18; 1 Corinthians 6:12). Alcohol consumed in small quantities is neither harmful nor addictive. Consumption of small quantities of alcohol is a matter of Christian freedom. Drunkenness and addiction are sin.
However, due to the biblical concerns regarding alcohol and its effects, and due to the easy temptation to consume alcohol in excess, and due to the possibility of causing offence or stumbling of others, it is often best for a Christian to abstain from drinking alcohol.
Personal evaluation: The Scripture does not say we must not drink alcohol but it clearly condemns drunkenness and its effects (Proverbs 23:29-35). The Bible forbids Christians from getting drunk with wine but it commands us to be filled with the Spirit instead (Ephesians 5:18).
However, though the Bible does not say we must not drink, it does not also say we must drink. Since we are apt to lose control in many things I would personally call for abstinence from alcohol.
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