I recently heard a preacher talk about compromise. His lesson was a good lesson in principle. The basic thrust was taken from the story of Solomon. Solomon was given a promise that if he followed the Lord as his father David did,  he would not lack a descendant on the throne of Israel. Yet Solomon compromised by disobeying God’s command and took many wives.

The preacher used this story wisely to explain the danger of compromise. Like any preacher, he had examples that would take the eternal principle of compromise and contextualize it for our day so that we might see the immediate danger that we face (since most of us don’t have the temptation to take too many wives!). Yet the examples he gave evidenced the misplaced priorities of many in the church to misdirect the application of the principles to acts that in-and-of-themselves did not represent compromise.

Here is the list of examples of compromise he gave and expounded upon for nearly thirty minutes:

1. Going to the movies with an “R” rating.

2. Listening to a dirty joke at work.

3. Accepting a mixed drink at a party.

This preacher focused on the pressure that often comes to participate in these actions. He said that others will think you are a “goody-two-shoes” if you don’t take part, but if you do, you will have crossed the first line compromise which is the most dangerous line to cross. Following up these examples, he encouraged the listeners with these exhortations:

“We must obey God’s word”

“God’s word is not about not having fun”

“God knows best, and if he says don’t do these things, then we obey without question”

While I agree with what this preacher said about compromise, its danger, and about God knowing best, I felt that the examples he gave were irresponsible, representing a legalistic folk-theology which is more destructive than constructive. Not only this, but as I sat there and listened, I found myself thinking, “This guy has compromised by giving these examples without qualification.”

I want to focus on the example of drinking for just a moment to illustrate what I mean. Let me loosely quote how the illustration was laid out:

If you are at a party and someone tries to give you a mixed drink, what do you do? You say, ‘I am a Christian and I don’t drink.’ But what if the person says come on, just one. You say ‘I really can’t.’ Then the person just tells you to hold the drink and you do. . . This is compromise.”

From the preacher’s point of view, the person crossed a dangerous line of compromise by even holding the drink. Holding the drink will cause you to take a drink and then, as the preacher said, say, “Give me another.”

The assumption behind this illustration is that drinking an alcoholic drink—especially a mixed drink—is the sin that we must avoid at all costs. This is where I think this preacher has compromised himself. He has given in to the temptation of setting up a legalistic standard. He has built a wall of protection around a sinful act and the wall itself has become the object of sin.  Drinking an alcoholic drink—even a mixed drink—is not a sinful act (much less holding a drink compromise).

Instead of listening to this, I would like you all to take a few theology courses:

“Under the Law Again” 101, room 314 – 1pm-1:15

“How to Scare Sin Out of People” 201, room 500 – 3pm-4pm

“How to Return to the Oldness of the Letter” 301, room 225 – 6am-10am (once a week)

“The Pharisees Were Right – How Evangelicals are Antinomianism Historical Revisionists” 1100 (doctrate level), room 220 – 5pm-until you get it!

I sat at a friends house not too long ago and had a glass of Cognac and a cigar (they are supposed to go good together). While I don’t really drink often, I have no problem drinking beer or even mixed drinks. I even had a shot of Tequila not long ago (and that is not even mixed with anything!). This issue is not drinking, but being controlled by alcohol. Even then, the issue is not simply that God does not like an altered state of consciousness that drinking causes, but it is being out of control.

Ephesian 5:18 “And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled with the Spirit [which does not].”

Notice, the emphasis is on the “reckless actions,” not simply an altered state of consciousness. The encouragement of Paul is to be “filled with the Spirit.” This does not refer to an esoteric state of mind, but one of perpetual control being given to God, not something else. The Bible speaks much about drunkenness (i.e. being controlled by alcohol as a lifestyle) because it encourages a state of being where your actions are perpetually in your own control so that you might yield that control to God.

We must balance the warning passages in Scripture with those that speak positively about alcohol. Some encourage its celebratory, medicinal, and emotional purposes and effects.

John 2:1-11: Christ turns water into wine (“the best wine”) so that the marriage celebration could continue. If holding a drink is compromise, how much more so was Christ’s actions? Let’s face it—Christ was a bartender here.

Psalm 104:14-15 14: “He [God] causes the grass to grow for the cattle, And vegetation for the labor of man, So that he may bring forth food from the earth, 15 And wine which makes man’s heart glad, So that he may make his face glisten with oil, And food which sustains man’s heart” (emphasis mine). Here, “wine which makes man’s heart glad” is spoken of as a gift from God.

Proverbs 31:6-7: “Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to him whose life is bitter; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more. (emphasis mine). Here, strong drink and wine are encouraged to be given to those who are in pain.

1 Timothy 5:23: “Don’t continue drinking only water, but use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.” Paul encourages Timothy to drink wine for his ailing stomach.

Deuteronomy 14:26 “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.” The NET Bible translates “strong drink” as “beer.” The NJB translates it “fermented liquor.”

Even Christ was accused of being a drunkard. Why? Because he drank alcohol!

Matt 11:18-19: “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!”

The sin of being controlled by alcohol is spoken of in the Scriptures as being very serious and many people are effected—even destroyed—by this in our culture. I understand. Alcohol can cause them to be someone who they are not, thereby dishonoring God and His image which they bear. It can lead to destructive behavior. We must do our best to be in control of ourselves if we are to have a consistent witness. But we have to realize that drinking itself is not the sin. And we should not attempt to build walls around it so that it is.

Please know that I understand the dangers of alcohol. Believe me I do. Both sides of my family have members who are totally controlled by alcohol. My sister was controlled by both alcohol and prescription drugs before she took her life. For these and others with this problem, the simple act of holding a drink might be compromised were they attempting to overcome their addiction. However, this compromise would not be unlike the glutton who eyes a chocolate bar, the sex addict who watches a movie with slight sexual provocation, or the person with anger problems owning a gun. If you have a particular bent to certain sins, you must know yourself well enough to act wisely with regards to its provocation. But this does not mean that assumptions must be made about everyone’s ability to handle the same circumstances.

In the end, these things must be dealt with carefully and with much wisdom. We must understand that the possible abuse of something neither makes the abuse necessary or even likely. Most importantly, we must recognize that it is a sinful compromise to deem that which is not sinful sinful, due to misapplied folk theology, no matter how good our intentions are. Drinking alcohol is not sinful. Let us get over this legalistic fascination and represent the principle truly and with perspective.

Some may say that it is irresponsible for me to say such things because of how some will take it. It is true. I know some people will take this the wrong way and see it as a license to sin. But how much more wrong is it for me to build walls around the truth in fear that someone will abuse it? I can’t temper my understanding or teaching upon how it might be mishandled and abused. I will leave room for the Holy Spirit.


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    74 replies to "My View About Prohibiting Alcohol"

    • Kirk Joran

      Your essay rings right in my ears. I do not know if this analogy will work for everyone, but it is a way I have thought about the problem of alcohol abuse.

      Alcohol has the very real ability to be abused. When abused it causes great harm. Therefore, we should avoid any and every use of alcohol.

      Sex has the very real ability to be abused. When abused it causes great harm. Therefore, we should avoid any and every use of sex.

      (Or replace the word “sex” with “fire.”)

      Of course, most folks wouldn’t fall for the logic of the later. The options for the Christian are not between harmful sex and no sex, but between sex in the climate of covenant, and under restrictions that belong to time, place, and decency – even loving your neighbor.

      So… misuse does not dictate no use!

    • Josh Wilson

      This is a great post. It brings up the next question that I get often though, you know the mick-shole or scandalon from Romans 14:13. As a leader/elder who is aware of some who may enticed based on my public actions, what should my stance be? I understand it is up to them to choose wisely but lets face it, if they didn’t need assistance in making wise decisions, we would not have to post on such topics. My intent is not to debate what you have said but to get your answer on the follow-up question.

    • Neil Hess

      Outstanding analysis of scripture on this issue. It is so dangerous to make snap judgments and apply our own black and white take on issues where the bible does have shades of gray.

    • rusty leonard

      I once heard a message from a pastor friend where he explained how Jesus turned water into non-alcoholic wine. When I asked him about it I learned about his childhood of abuse from an alcoholic father.

      I agree with your point but I struggle with a question about conscience as explained in Romans 14. How should one balance freedom to eat or drink with the phrase “do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil”?

      For me I am cautious to discern the conscience of those I meet before I offer my favorite brew. But I wonder is this enough?

    • Ed Kratz

      Great question Josh,

      I remember Chuck Swindoll talking about this saying “Be careful, there are some people out there who are ‘professional weaker brethern.'”

      I don’t think we are obligated to bow our liberty to everyone who has a problem with our actions. A “weaker brother” is one who is truly weaker, not just one who has a misguided interpretation of things. He is weaker because he has not been educated in these issues. Paul certainly had no desire to compromise liberty. Otherwise we would always be bowing to the least common denominator in the church. Result: there would be no action that is not off-limits. Think of all the things people have problems with:

      1. Going to movies
      2. Dancing
      3. “Mixed” bathing
      4. Caffine
      5. Tobacco
      6. Reading Harry Potter
      7. Watching Glen Beck (because he is a Mormon)
      8. Reading C.S. Lewis (because he denied inerrancy)
      9. Sending my kids to public schools
      10. Wearing flip flops to church
      11. Drinking alcohol
      12. Reading any Bible other than the KJV
      13. Listening to Rock music
      14. Going to church on Sat rather than Sun
      15. Making a purchase that others think is a sinful waste of money
      16. Playing video games that have blood
      17. Taking anti-depressants
      18. Women wearing pants
      19. Saying “oh my God”
      20. Going to a “seeker” church

      For all of these things, I really do have representatives in my life right now. Every one of them would be offended if I crossed their line. If I were to follow this “no-offence” model, I would be completely frozen in my life and actions.

      Not only this, but I myself have some legalistic “hang-ups” that I can’t expect others to respect.

      We need to be sensitive, but not to the point where we are simply fueling others falty understanding and legalism.

      We must temper the Romans passage with this:

      Gal 2:4-5
      “But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. 5 But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.”

      Believe it or not, there are people out there who hate our liberty and will do anything to make us lose it. When we do, the truth of the Gospel is lost with it.

    • Ed Kratz

      Just realized that that response would apply to Rusty’s question as well.

    • Very interesting discussion. One of the elements here is how one views their position as either a Christian or a Christian leader. If one seeks to lead others to Christ, then does one have the responsibility to avoid not only the act of impropriety, but also the appearance?

      I think alcohol can be dangerous and a slippery slope for many people. I think one may be wise to avoid it, not because the mere act is sinful, but because the potential for crossing the line and losing control is so strong.

      I’ve also pondered the question that while alcohol may not be a sin, what if in the moment I indulged in a glass or two, God desperately needed to communicate an important message to me, or a situation occurred that I needed to respond to with a sober mind. Is the enjoyment worth the risk?

      I do agree that any preacher should be responsible in presenting the full truth of Scripture.

    • Ed Kratz

      David, good questions. Certainly not a slam dunk here, but I suppose we could have pulled Christ aside and said the same thing?

      “Psst. Hey Christ. Listen, I know you are just trying to get an audience with some of those in need, and these bars are a good place to find them, as well, having a drink or two with them is tactful, but don’t you think that you need to avoid the appearence of compromise? After all, those Pharisees are starting to spread some nasty rumers about you.”

      I am not sure. We certainly need to be wise. And, as a confession, in most situations I will “hide” my actions if the wrong people are around.

      To put your liberty on a mantle, or to not put your liberty on a mantle. That is the question.

    • Matthew

      As a Pastor I see this from my perspective as being “just a place I don’t go.” By this I mean that I am not going to have the drink because I do not want to set the wrong example. Along with that, we have alcoholism problems in the extended family and it would seem we are hypocritical if we were to partake.

      Now having said that, I think it really brings about a discussion of what is “sin?” The drink, the dirty joke, the bad movie, sex??

      Matthew

    • Rob Faircloth

      The religious leaders in Jesus’ day were chastised for building elaborate hedges around actual sin in order to keep far from it. But the hedges themselves became known as sin, and created burdens too heavy to bear. If drunkenness is the actual sin, avoiding consuming a beverage is one hedge, avoiding holding a can is another hedge, fighting liquor licenses is another hedge, and so on. Pretty soon the only place to walk is on top of hedges, far removed from sinners who need to hear the gospel.

    • John From Down Under

      Man, you are the MOST interesting theologian on the blogosphere… I wish I lived closer to meet you in person! If you’re ever game enough to make it to the southern hemisphere, please let me know.

      Set your comments counter, I am ‘prophesying’ that it will exceed 150 by the end of the week!

    • Ed Kratz

      I’m still laughing at those theology classes 😀 I think they may even exist in some places

    • Mike

      My take on alcohol comes from the painful experience of watching someone I loved die from it. In fact it was that which God used to help bring me home. Are we more interested in learning the ways of the nations or being salt and light to those nations?

    • StuartB

      To David – The problem I have with that statement is that the answer inevitably leads to “never”, as well as a healthy dose of fear, the wrong kind of fear. Because, of course, the instance you have a drink, God will want to speak to you RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT. I don’t want to accuse you of anything, but the wording of your statement strikes me as being potentially manipulative to many.

      To Matthew – But why is it a place you just won’t go? No one is saying you need to go there more often than you go to church, but there should be nothing at all preventing you from going there if YOU choose to or if GOD chooses for you to go there. It’s not hypocritical in the least to say to family, “you shouldn’t be controlled by alcohol”, and then have a drink with them, and then tell them that one is enough.

      To Mike – My alcoholic grandfather blew his brains out with a shotgun in a bathtub a week before I was born. Never knew him. My mom became a Christian in college years before that happened. She chooses not to drink, but is ok with her sons drinking, because she knows the Truth and it has set her free, but truth be told, if we have a beer around her, she may take a sip. She also chooses to agree with her husband (my dad) who doesn’t like alcohol either and doesn’t want any in his house. I’m sorry, but Pathos does not trump the Bible, nor personal testimony. Alcohol is not a way of the nations. Salt and light breed self-control and responsibility and accountability.

      I will join the teetotalers in spirit, if not in law, and ask “Why is this even an issue anymore?” Have a drink; God loves you. Sooner or later, you just need to smile and walk away and mentally accept the fact that you are “sinning”. Even though you know you aren’t.

    • Sam
    • StuartB

      But of course I’m not young enough to know it all.

    • hmkjr

      Exactly how is “out of control” defined? How does one know if they are out of control?

      Why do you feel the need to drink alcohol? What is the reason to drink alcohol?

    • StuartB

      At hmkjr – Why do you feel the need to ask that question? What is the reason not to drink alcohol?

    • Sam

      What is the reason to drink alcohol?

      Jesus did. we follow his example.
      It is the gift of God. we are thankful for His gift.
      We are commanded to drink wine in the Lord’s Supper.
      We drink to Glorify God.
      …and the reasons Michael gave in this article.

    • hmkjr

      @StuartB – before I answer that question. Please answer – how do you define “out of control”? and for you personally, why do you consume alcohol?

    • hmkjr

      @Sam, ok, let’s follow that for a moment. Where in the bible then is there a prescription to consume any other alcohol other than wine?

    • Sam

      (Deu 14:26) “And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,”

    • hmkjr

      I can’t see that Jesus would have consumed fermented wine given that God had strictly forbidden the High Priest from such:

      Then the LORD said to Aaron, “You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the Tent of Meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. Leviticus 10:8-9

      And Jesus is our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14)

    • StuartB

      Side comment – the same reason the Bible prescribes us to eat Chipotle, curry, and ice cream…

      @hmkjr – Out of control is losing control of one’s faculties and giving in to excess. How do you define out of control? When you covet the substance. Out of control is not, for example, one beer, because one beer cannot make you drunk unless you previously know you have medical problems that will immediately intoxicate you (I’m of a linebacker build, and I can testify that I’ve had up to 4 shots with no slurred speech, warm feelings, loss of cognition, or loss of self-control, because after those 4 shots, I said no and ordered just water. Contrast that with a petite woman of 4′ 10″, and it’s a different story.)

      Why do I consume alcohol? Freedom. Choice. A taste for hard cider. I also have a taste for Mountain Dew, which I’ve lost self-control over many times and drunken in excess to the tune of extra pounds and loss of sleep.

      I consume alcohol because there is no good reason, Biblical or social, for me not to do so except when I choose not to for specific reasons out of love and not just a general “because I could cause someone to stumble.” Alcohol is something I enjoy, just like 1500 calorie Chipotle burritos and Taco Bell and rock music. I enjoy the form while knowing the form can be abused and too much of the substance can be damaging.

      Kinda like anything else in life.

      I also drink because to not drink is a poor testimony and witness, but I’m not going to argue this point with anyone. That’s just what the Spirit tells me.

      Bottom line – You can choose to not drink, for whatever reason. You answer to your Master. But you or anyone can not take your preference and make it into a law or use it to create a two-tier level of Christianity.

    • StuartB

      Also @hmkjr –

      Read that Lev. verse again and notice that Aaron and priests were on the job. It’s how they should conduct themselves when they are serving.

      And no, Christians are not “on the job 24/7”. Dumb, worthless rhetoric.

    • Sam

      only Aaron and his sons could enter the temple to minister there; now, all believers are in the temple – we are the temple. Aaron and his sons couldn’t drink wine in the tabernacle (Leviticus 11); we are commanded to drink wine in the presence of God. PLUS, Jesus is the High Priest after a different order… (Gen 14:18) “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.” Besides, in the Passover, un-fermented grape juice would have been “unclean” because of the decay process already in motion. only when the alcohol content was present, would it have been “cleansed.”

    • StuartB

      As always, the problem with the Bible is that it is either all right or none of it is right.

      …and other stupid statements…lol.

    • Bill

      Well said Michael, timely words of wisdom. Rather than focus on and recite specific passages, maybe the better approach is to step back for a larger picture. Is not the message, both here, and I would presume from the message of the NT is that it is the inner motivations that define the sin as opposed merely to the action. In the case of drinking, in situations of fellowship, such would seem to fall within the category of not violating the truth of the gospel message. Where that drinking, even in fellowship takes you out of control, where you are no longer living that message would be the fall. At least thats the takeaway I get.

    • Josh Wilson

      Michael, Thanks for your answer. I guess I am still not sure how far “our” liberty should go in today’s society. It seems we abuse so many things in the name of liberty or what we deserve. I guess balance is the answer. I have always hated that word. Thanks again.

    • Yohan Perera

      Michael,

      I got sick of reading your post. I agree that holding the glass is not compromising. But when you said, that you occasionally drink a glass of Beer, mixed drink and even Tequila I realized you are no more than a theological hypocrite giving lame excuses using twisted scripture.

      A Cigar???

      Shame on you!!! Consider reclaiming your own mind!!!

    • Mike

      I still think we should consider Eph 5:3-14 as our guideline as to our behavior. There really shouldn’t be anything that might cause the gospel to be brought into question on the basis of our behavior. The emergency rooms are routinely filled with people who think they knew how to handle alcohol. That alone should be sufficient caution.

    • Alden

      Amen, Michael. While there are many good reasons for folks not to take an occasional drink, none of them involve holiness. Satan doesn’t care if we’re in bondage to sin or to rules; either way, he’s distracted us from the Gospel.

    • Gary Simmons

      Michael, I want to sign up for “How to Scare the Sin out of People.” Do I have to go to a Baptist seminary for that? 😀

    • Rick

      Thats the great thing about being Presbyterian: at the church staff party, there are mixed drinks, possibly even a few dirty jokes.

      When will certain elements of evangelicalism (and I am an evangelical) stop worrying about things that really don’t matter and start teaching people how to love their neighbors, share the gospel, fight for justice, and serve the least of the world?

    • Dylan

      This is probably one of the best articles on drinking and Christianity that I’ve ever read. You are doing a great work here.

    • David

      Wow! Being raised in a “presbyterian” home, alcohol was never an issue. Add the fact that my Dad was a Navy officer that routinely hosted and/or attended social events where alcohol was served, I never knew that alcohol was considered a “sin”. I knew there were “legal” issues concerning purchase and consumption (I worked in a couple of the “clubs” on the Navy base and I stocked Coors to the ceiling in the local Minit-Mart) but I figured that was just because immature people didn’t know how to handle it properly.

      So, now I’m all grown up and live in the south and am an Elder in a Baptist church…

      What to do?

      Is the beer, wine and/or whiskey really the “sin” or is it the fact that it becomes some people’s god that is the real issue? (remember the you shall have no other gods…)

      I like beer. I learned how to drink it well while in college. I have had too much and, thank God, lived to tell about it. I don’t crave it. I can take it or leave it. I don’t buy it with my last dollar. I feed my family. I am almost debt free. I regularly support missions…. Yada yada yada…

      This isn’t about me…

      I love God. He guides me along the path and I see Him at work in my life daily. He has not seen fit to tell me to get the beer out of the refrigerator. He has helped me understand who is the important one… Through that understanding and my love for Him, I can safely say that the abuse of alcohol (and any and everything else in my life) has come to an end.

      God first. Wife second. Kids third. Job fourth. World fifth.

      I need a beer… 🙂

    • EricW

      @30:

      Yeah, what’s up with the cigars? Why does smoking cigars now seem to be a trendy thing among Evangelicals?

      Is it okay for women seminary students/graduates to smoke cigars, too? Or is it just a “manly” thing?

      Smoking to me is like sucking on your car’s tailpipe. I mean, your lungs were meant to inhale oxygen, not carbon monoxide and other pollutants/poisons.

      I.Don’t.Get.It. 😕

    • A.M. Mallett

      Perhaps if we just had our own Christian booze label everybody would feel better about it. Jesus Smokes, too. Let’s not forget about a Christian waiting room at the brothels while our worldly cheating scoundral co-workers kill 15 minutes. It’s all about blending in and being part of what the world thinks is normal …

      Of course I am being flippant but what possible edifying purpose does that bottle of booze in your hand serve? It isn’t nutrition. It is not at all healthy for you. It gives you cause to act like a fool Is it that important for you to hold onto that piece of the world? I must be an old fashioned Christian, whatever that is.

    • rusty leonard

      To Sam

      Thanks for the pointer to that excellent article at bible.org re: The Sin Sniffer’s Catch-all Verse. It gave me reason to pull out the Kittel’s and put on my thinking cap.

    • Rick

      A.M.

      You aren’t an old fashioned Christian, just a probably a southern, conservative-evangelical American. Its pretty much cultural. Most, if not all, Western European Christians drink and see no problem with it. Pretty much every believer in the mainline denominations (with the exception of Baptist) doesn’t worry about it. Even for many evangelicals (in the circles I run in anyway) this simply isn’t an issue.

      I work for a very large missions organization in Europe, and at our national conferences it isn’t strange to see staff drinking the wine that comes with every meal. Nor is it strange to see them sharing a stronger drink later in the evening. Alcohol in many cultures (particularly Southern European) is more about taste and in particular a shared sense of culture and identity. Drinking is much more social and well part of the everyday rythyms of life and the year. Its part of celebrating and sharing a fun moment with a friend. I don’t see why Christians can’t also share in this type of enjoyment of what God has given to us. In fact, the Bible pretty clearly endorses this kind of use of alcohol. Jesus most certainly drank and his first miracle was to turn water to wine for a wedding where most certainly many of the participants were enjoying a warm feeling of exuberance. He was also accused of being a drunkard. WWJD? He would take the drink at the party, drink it, and have a good time.

    • Leslie Jebaraj

      Hey Michael, terrific post!

      The last time I smoked a cigar was when I was a teen. I am tempted to try again, and you are responsible for it! Just kidding!

      Thanks for standing up for grace so bodly!

    • Bill

      My favorite quote on this subject is still Luther’s:

      “Do you suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused? Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women?”

    • EricW

      I actually have nothing personal against cigars. Some of the greatest people in the world smoke(d) cigars:

      Fidel Castro
      Winston Churchill
      Groucho Marx
      Bill Clinton
      Al Goldstein
      Edie Adams http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agdb7To1LlQ 🙂

      Yep, y’all are in great company!

    • Pete Scribner

      The preacher’s logic was airtight:

      “God knows best, and if he says don’t do these things, then we obey without question”

      The problem is (as you’ve pointed out), Nowhere does God say, “Don’t do these things.” After all, Jesus wasn’t just the bartender in Cana, he’s the guy who brought the keg to the party.

      Thanks for your reminder to not think that it’s okay to have a “higher” standard of right and wrong than God does.

    • hmkjr

      “Though fermented wine was drunk in Bible times and though the Bible approved of wine-drinking, one needs to remember that the alcoholic content was much less than that of wine today. What is used today is not the wine of the New Testament! Therefore Christians ought not drink wine, beer, or other alcoholic beverages for they are actually “strong drink” and are forbidden in Scripture. Even ancient pagans did not drink what some Christians drink today!”

      This is my belief at this point.

    • Jody Neufeld

      Like many things in this fallen world, it is satan’s ‘twist’ on the truth that drags us down into a pit with his religious spirit! Some of us SHOULD abstain from alcohol because it is a slippery slope that can become our downfall. It is easy to pound the pulpit about ‘dirty sins’ like alcohol, drugs, and sex. I wonder why it is that we do not pound just as enthusiastically about gossip, condemnation, and self-righteousness? The passage about eyes with sawdust vs. planks comes to my mind! Keep writing, Mr. Patton! You make me think and even repent!

    • C Skiles

      Yes, yes, yes, yes!!!! Michael, I wish everyone in the Christian community could read this. Although I’m sure it would not change the mind of those set in their ways. Truth is truth and it just blows my mind how people can read their convictions into scripture. Jerry Falwell once said (God rest his soul, I mean no disrespect, I believe Falwell was a godly man) that the scriptures taught teetotalism. Where did he find such an idea? I just don’t get it. And I don’t even drink (once every 10 years, maybe).

      Thanks for using a common sense approach to this and letting the scriptures speak for themselves.

    • Michael T.

      hmkjr,

      “Though fermented wine was drunk in Bible times and though the Bible approved of wine-drinking, one needs to remember that the alcoholic content was much less than that of wine today. What is used today is not the wine of the New Testament! Therefore Christians ought not drink wine, beer, or other alcoholic beverages for they are actually “strong drink” and are forbidden in Scripture. Even ancient pagans did not drink what some Christians drink today!”

      Why does the alcohol content of the drink matter?? What is the difference between choosing to have 20oz of ancient wine, 5oz of modern wine, or 1.5 oz of 80 proof tequila? It doesn’t matter. The Bible focuses on the effects of alcohol and forbids drinking it to excess and being controlled by it. The alcohol content of any particular drink is irrelevant other than to say the higher it is the less of it you should have.

    • Michael T.

      CMP,

      Going to an R rated movie?? – I can’t count the number of Evangelicals that need to repent for seeing the Passion of the Christ….

    • hmkjr

      Michael T.

      “The alcohol content of any particular drink is irrelevant other than to say the higher it is the less of it you should have.”

      Apparently God thinks otherwise. He is the one that differentiated between wine and strong drink. You’ll have to ask Him.

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