Saturday, October 27, 2007

Drinking is it a sin?

Here is a theological writing of mine, it is on the topic of drinking. I am not supporting underage drinking (it would be sin according to Romans 13). I am stating simply that I do not believe that in and of itself, it is not a sin.

I had never really considered that drinking was a sin, until one day a person challenged me, saying that she could prove with scripture that drinking alcohol was a sin. Here is her challenge and then my response.

This is a challenge from a person who believes that drinking is a sin.

“These verse state if you are deceived by wine or Strong drinks, you are not wise/smart. And what is amazing regarding the deception of wine/strong drinks are there are millions of statistics proving its use is not wise.

Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart. Hosea 4:11
Again, medical, statistics and much more shows this is true.
You can argue with me and maybe even prove me wrong. But no one can argue with God's word.
Wine is a mocker and strong drink is ragging. Whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. Proverbs 20:1
Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart. Hosea 4:11”

And here is my response:

You see there is major problem with your view mainly that it does not take into account: all of the scriptures and reality.

1 Tim
othy 5:23 No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.

How does one justify Paul in an inspired writing telling another man to drink, if it is sin? Make no mistake this is the Holy Spirit telling a man to drink, as it is good for him. However, we can clearly see that there is a limit put in place because Paul says a little wine, speaking not only to amount but also self-control.

Next do you realize that if it is Sin to drink, that we are all going to hell?

Mark 14:25 [Jesus is talking] Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."

Luke 22:18 [Jesus again is talking] For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."

This means that Christ has drunk wine, if that were a sin, then he could not have been our atonement. Thus we have no payment for sin, and we are all damned to hell, Christianity is false.
This is Jesus' First Miracle, turning water into wine at a wedding feast:

John 2:2-10 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast." So they took it.

When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now."

Would it be logical to say that Jesus is knowingly by the power of God helping people to sin? We must say by the council of scripture that it is not drinking that is the sin, but being drunk. Here are two more examples of God approving drinking.

Proverbs 31:6-7 Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.

Isaiah 25:6 On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.

The question that one must address is what we are not to do? The following two verses clearly state that we should not be drunkards or prone to getting drunk.

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

1 Peter 4:3-5 For you spent enough time in the past doing what the gentiles like to do, living in sensuality, sinful desires, drunkenness, wild celebrations, drinking parties, and detestable idolatry. They insult you now because they are surprised that you are no longer joining them in the same excesses of wild living. They will give an account to the one who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Notice that we are commanded to not get drunk; we are not told that we should not drink because we it is sinful.

A common objection to allowing a person to drink at all is that one drink is followed by another and another, and before one thinks about their actions, they are sloshed. I would respond by saying that it is wholly illogical to assume that one drink will always be followed by another. The biblical ideal is that you can have one or two and be fine. I am 6'5" 350 and I'll have two or three beers with a buddy or my father, and will definitely say that I was not drunk. How can one say that is sin? Let's get real here for a second, If someone is an alcoholic, I would never say give them a drink, but I see no bases for the claim that one always leads to two, and in fact we have clear biblical teachings that say we are not sinning by having alcohol.

Now I realize that one objection that people may bring up is that in the New Testament, fruit of the vine, could have been juice, with no alcohol. For this I think it is best to look at two scholarly sources.

“All the wine [of Bible times] was light wine, i.e., not fortified with extra alcohol. Concentrated alcohol was only known in the Middle Ages when the Arabs invented distillation (‘alcohol’ is an Arabic word) so what is now called liquor or strong drink (i.e., whiskey, gin, etc.) and the twenty per cent fortified wines were unknown in Bible times. Beer was brewed by various methods, but its alcoholic content was light. The strength of natural wines is limited by two factors. The percentage of alcohol will be half of the percentage of the sugar in the juice. And if the alcoholic content is much above 10 or 11 percent, the yeast cells are killed and fermentation ceases. Probably ancient wines were 7-10 per cent . . .To avoid the sin of drunkenness, mingling of wine with water was practiced. This dilution was specified by the Rabbis in NT times for the wine customary at Passover” (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Chicago: Moody, 1980, Vol. I, p. 376).

Dr. Jack Lewis states that: “Wine was ordinarily used at the Passover and is called ‘fruit of the vine’ in Berakoth 6:1” (Commentary on Matthew, Austin, TX: Sweet, 1976, Vol. II, p. 147).

I think that this shows that it is very possible, though not definite that the fruit of the vine did contain alcohol.

Also, I think it is necessary to look at the scriptures that were raised by this woman, so that we can show that scripture does not contradict itself. I will start by giving the verse from Hosea in the larger context.

Hosea 4:7-12 [ESV] The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; I will change their glory into shame. They feed on the sin of my people; they are greedy for their iniquity. And it shall be like people, like priest; I will punish them for their ways and repay them for their deeds. They shall eat, but not be satisfied; they shall play the whore, but not multiply, because they have forsaken the LORD to cherish whoredom, wine, and new wine, which take away the understanding. My people inquire of a piece of wood, and their walking staff gives them oracles. For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray, and they have left their God to play the whore.

I would say that this passage is not speaking about wine at all, but rather it is talking about breaking the law, which includes being drunk, as something that pulls Israel away from God. This is described by the commentator Adam Clarke as debauchery. However, we see that the debauchery in wine is not drinking it but getting drunk. Ephesians 5:18 says, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery”. I think at most what can be said is that being drunk takes you away from the Lord, or being in the sin of debauchery takes us away from the Lord.

Proverbs 20:1 [YLT] Wine is a scorner--strong drink is noisy, And any going astray in it is not wise.

Again this is taken from Adam Clarke:

Wine is a mocker - It deceives by its fragrance, intoxicates by its strength, and renders the intoxicated ridiculous.

We need to understand that the Proverbs is not literally talking about wine; it is a metaphor, for a person who drinks wine. Now do you mock people when you have had a glass of wine? No, How about 4 or 5? Yes. The same is with strong drink. Look how young renders the end of the verse... Going astray in it, meaning being led by drinking, a drunk is not wise. These verses are not saying you are a fool to have a glass, like Christ Did, but that to be a drunk is to be a fool, and a sinner we see in the rest of the Word.

I am confidant that drinking alcohol is not a sin. I believe that I have shown that not only does scripture teach that the sin in regard to alcohol is drunkenness, but that if having a drop of alcohol is indeed sinful, we have no sacrifice to atone for our sins.

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