Next to “Merry Christmas!”, “Cheers!” may be the most spoken expression during the Season. So many people look for reasons to drink and the holidays is just one more. Isn’t it funny that when we hear the word “drink”, we automatically assume it’s the consumption of some kind of alcoholic beverage? Maybe that reveals how much drinking has become part of our culture. So, what do you think? Do you think a Christian should drink alcohol?
There are three different positions Christians have taken towards alcohol:
- Prohibition. Alcohol is always a sin and should be condemned.
- Abstinence. Drinking alcohol is not a sin, but it is not wise and should be avoided.
- Moderation. The Bible teaches moderation. There is nothing wrong with drinking as long as it is done in moderation.
I have the conviction that Christians should abstain from drinking. While I can’t make an argument that taking a drink is sin, I believe there are good reasons not to drink.
Here are my reasons why I don’t drink alcohol:
The “Stumbling Block” reason
Two ladies from our church sat down one hot summer day. One of the ladies offered the other a wine cooler. No big deal, right? However, what the lady didn’t know was that her friend was a recovering alcoholic. That day she relapsed.
“So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble.” 1 Corinthians 8:13 (NLT)
Every one of our churches have people who have struggled and are struggling with alcohol abuse. I don’t want to encourage their drinking by my choices, permissible or not (1 Cor 10:23-24).
The “Slippery Slope” reason
I’m surprised that few Christian confront other Christians about their drinking. We see people abuse alcohol and yet, because “it isn’t a sin” we are afraid to confront.
“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18 (NLT)
One of the dilemmas is determining when someone is truly drunk. A recent public service shared this tag line: “Buzzed driving is drunk driving.” Even the world holds a high standard in regard to how much one drinks.
Sober. Drinking. Buzzed. Drunk.
For me, not drinking provides a “guardrail” from the slippery slope towards drunkenness. The line is fuzzy, don’t kid yourself! While I don’t want to be legalistic, abstinence keeps me from crashing over this cliff (see 1 Corinthians 10:13).
The “Appearance of Evil” reason
Years ago I belonged to Kiwanis. Within a month of joining a number of fellow Kiwanians thought I should hear about one of the local pastors who got drunk at their Christmas celebration. What was weird was that it happened 9 years before! They thought it was funny, but the reputation of that pastor had been sullied and his ability to speak with integrity was forever damaged.
“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 1 Thessalonians. 5:22 (WBT)
Sometimes I can act silly, and, as I think about it, could even appear drunk. Having a beer in my hand only opens the door for accusations and misunderstandings.
The “Vulnerability” Reason
Drinking lowers inhibitions. People will say and do things under the influence of alcohol they would never consider when they’re sober. In 38 years of ministry, I’ve seen alcohol factor into ruined marriages, addicted teens and adults, automobile accidents, and early deaths.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
I’ve asked police officers how many domestic violence cases involve alcohol. They always answer, “All of them!” The way of escape is not drinking at all.
The “Beneficial” reason
Did I tell you how much money we save by not drinking? I don’t have any compelling reason to drink. I see no benefit.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.” 1 Cor. 10:23, 24
Here’s a position that I’ve held to in those “gray areas” of life: “When in doubt, leave it out.” That’s why I think not drinking is the best and wisest.
BEFORE YOU GO…
So what position do you personally hold about drinking? I’d love to hear your thoughts.