Thank you to everyone who commented about my previous post asking if it was sinful to drink wine if one does not become drunk. The majority of you stated no and made some great conversation concerning it. I would have to agree. Nowhere in the Bible does it say drinking wine in and of itself is sinful. Furthermore, if there was a Greek word for grape juice (trux), why would Jesus confuse use by using the word only used for wine? So why do so many preach that it is (oinos)?
Now, when people are unable to find where it says that one cannot take a drink of wine, they move to explaining the problems that come with drunkenness and the “slippery slope” mentality. I’m not saying this is bad, but these are two separate issues. It’s like food. Would we ever tell somebody it is a sin to take a bite of food because you may become a glutton? Or it’s sinful to earn a dollar because you may become a lover of money? By no means! Just because something can lead to sin doesn’t make it sin also! You must ask two questions: 1) Is drinking wine in moderation a sin and 2) even if it isn’t forbidden, should we do it?
1) Is drinking wine in moderation a sin?
The simple answer is NO. I have never seen a Bible which tells me it is. Even Jesus and the 12 seem to have had wine (oinos) at the Lord’s Supper. If we become drunk, it is sinful. If wine becomes our idol and all we live for, it becomes sinful. But we must not base a condemning point of view off of what “might happen.” We must recognize that it is a stretch to say that God teaches a sip of wine is sinful. If it was a sin, the majority of churches in Europe and other parts of the world would be sinning each time they take the Lord’s Supper. I have not yet found a verse which states that a drink of wine is a sin.
2) Should we drink wine?
This is a bit more complex. I personally believe that it is a personal choice that we must not push on others. If you plan on becoming drunk, the answer is absolutely not! Drunkenness is a sin. If you drink in moderation it comes down to many individual things. Paul stated that, “all things are permissible but not all are beneficial.” Just because I’m allowed to eat a dead animal that has been roadkill for several days doesn’t mean it is good for my health. Just because we are allowed to drink alcohol doesn’t mean it is good for our spiritual and relational health either. Some struggle more with its consumption than others. Some don’t do it so that they don’t cause a “weaker brother” to stumble. And some have seen the lives it has destroyed and therefore forfeit that rite. All in all, we must make the personal decision.
Concerning causing another to stumble. Is drinking alcohol really going to cause my brother to stumble because he does not believe in it? Is that really what Paul meant? I don’t believe so. If brother Bubba has been a Christian for 40 years, he should not think I am sinning. If brother Bubba does think I’m in sin, it is probably time to have a Bible study with him so he can better understand the passage he points to. It seems that one way consuming alcohol would cause a brother to stumble would be if it was a new Christian (or weak) who used to be an alcoholic and now sees an older Christian taking a drink in front of them and is then compelled to do the same (in other words, don’t take a weak brother who used to drink heavily to the watering hole just because you can). See how this might be a bit confusing considering he just learned that becoming drunk was sinful and he needed to give up alcoholism? Maybe we are causing those aged Christians to stumble because we are teaching them well intentioned but still incorrect information concerning wine. It could be that the older Christians are being caused to stuble because the errant teaching they have received has not only clouded common sense, but has led them down a path of making laws where God has not made one. Should we stop condemning others and activities based off of the “what if” as a friend has put it and realize that the “what if” doesn’t always happen? Should we teach what the Bible teaches about wine and its consumption rather than tradition and “what if’s”?
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we should all go out and drink. In fact, I tell others to think long and hard about it. I recommend not consuming it. I discourage it, however, not because I believe the Bible says its a sin, but because the Bible clearly shows the dangers of crossing a line with it. I discourage it because of what it looks like in our culture and because so many have problems with it. If we are going to discourage the use of it, let’s do it in a manner that is true to the Bible.
At a later time down the road, I will come back to this subject and discuss a position on drinking in our culture, why it may be a good idea to abstain from alcohol consumption. But that is not the purpose of today’s thought.
Thoughts? Concerns? Comments?