Beer, Beer, Beer! Christians and Alcohol.

This is Side 1:  See Side 2 here!

I know right? How can a person who claims to be a follower of Christ say such a terrible word! Beer is evil! So is anything else that contains alcohol! How dare Christians drink! If this is your mentality, buckle up.

Alcohol! Not many things are as controversial among Christians as alcohol. I grew up in churches where the consumption of alcohol was looked down upon. My parents never drank, their friends never drank, and the church body I grew up in preached drinking as a sin from the pulpit. I have known many other Christians who took the same strict stance.

There’s a problem though. Not only did Jesus drink wine (which was strong enough to get drunk off of), the Bible condones drinking. There was wine at the last supper. Paul tells Timothy that the elders should not be lovers of MUCH wine not any wine, and let’s not forget that Jesus’s first miracle was turning water in to wine. If Jesus did that miracle at a church meeting, there’s a good chance he’d get a talking to by the pastor or other Church leadership. Alcohol is Biblical and there is nothing wrong with drinking in moderation. However there are still Christians who look down on other Christians who have a beer or glass of wine over dinner. It’s completely unbiblical to cast judgment on Christians who enjoy such a beverage, if that’s you, you need to check your heart and get Biblical.

I personally don’t drink, it’s a personal conviction I’ve had for a very long time. My father’s family all had major alcohol problems. The Lord was very clear that I was not to drink casually, and that alcohol was not for me. However many of my friends do enjoy beer, wine, or a mixed drink, and they are followers of Christ. For me to look down on them as “less” of a Christian is wrong because the Bible is so crystal clear that drinking is not wrong, being drunk is.

It’s also interesting to me that I’ve met so many Christians that view any kind of drinking as wrong but they are either are unaware or forget that many of the people we look up to in the history of the faith had their own brewery’s for beer. In fact, I recently read that the founder of Guinness became a follower of Christ by listening to John Wesley preach. Guinness turned his company in to one of the most charitable companies in Ireland. He paid his staff extremely well, and took care of the poor all through his brewing company Guinness. Owning a brewery was common back in the earlier centuries, C.S Lewis (Author of Narnia), A.W Tozer, and many other titans of the faith all enjoyed their beer. It was not until the fundamentalist movement came along in the 19/20th/21st centuries that our view of alcohol changed as something dirty, unbiblical, and something that only party people do. This view is wrong and in the grand scheme of history is a very small view of any kind of alcoholic drink.

Now I know people will say “well Tim people who drink shouldn’t cause a brother to stumble” to which I agree. I’ve been blessed to have great friends who made sure to check with me before they drank in front of me. If I told them I found it to be a stumbling block they would never drink in front of me. There are Christians who drink who like to rub it in other people’s faces, this is a terrible approach. However, the opposite is true, Christians who don’t drink need to get off their high-horse mentality and realize that they are only going above and beyond what Scripture teaches and we call that legalism. If you choose not to drink you have that prerogative (not to mention you save a lot of money when you go out to eat), but to cast judgement on brothers and sisters who do is so out of line I think Jesus would look at you in the eye and say “Get the plank out of your own eye before you get the speck out of your brother’s eye”.

What’s my point? To the Christian who says “did you see so and so drinking tonight?!” check your heart. Alcohol is all throughout the Bible. The Jews drank it when they threw week long parties. Jesus drank wine, so many saints of the faith had their own breweries and enjoyed beer all throughout the centuries. I can give you example after example of people that loved The Lord, had thriving relationships with Him that enjoyed their adult beverages as well. I realize that our culture abuses alcohol, I realize that it’s seen as a party drink, I realized getting so drunk you black out is cool among people my age, but that shouldn’t make Christians view the actual beverage as sin when the Bible mentions it so often.

To Christians who enjoy a beer or glass of wine, be aware of who you do it in front of. Sometimes the drink isn’t worth your brother stumbling over it. Make sure if your around fellow brothers and sisters that you check with them to make sure it’s not a problem to anyone. Paul is so clear in this and it saves relationships. Be patient with those who have opposing views, speak in love and in humility when approaching this subject.

EDIT- I should mention here that by drinking I do not mean being drunk or getting tipsy. These things Scripture is also clear on. Just like anything, alcohol can be abused. I just wanted to make sure I was clear on this point that by drinking I mean simply enjoying a glass of wine or a drink, not drinking to the point of being impaired.

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10 responses to “Beer, Beer, Beer! Christians and Alcohol.

  1. Psst…Tim. Over here. I, um, kinda agree with you. Just don’t let it get out that I do. Ruin my rep and all that.

  2. Or, you could belong to a denomination that has a solid, unbroken history longer than 300 years. Lutheran, Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, they all have been drinking at church and church related events since before some Johnny-come-lately fundies decided that ethanol was the devil. To this day, church functions (inside or out of the church) will include alcohol for every adult of drinking age, and, often, their teenaged children as well (parents can give their kids alcohol in most states). This is the way church functions (and life) have been happening for thousands of years, with a small, western, fundamentalist blip in the last two hundred years.

    What do you think about the idea that beer wasn’t looked down upon until after potable water became widely available, thus giving a wide enough group of people the ability to choose something else and feel superior (a version of aestheticism)? Beer and wine have been relied upon as primary hydration sources for millenia due to the fact that a little alcohol kills parasites from water. The much-maligned Puritans rationed out quarts of beer a day. Yet, today, if one of their descendents says they had more than three pints of beer in an afternoon, certain churches or pastors will send them to an AA meeting. Go figure.

  3. I’ve heard the argument… and I’m sure you all have too… that Jesus turned water into grape juice, because it didn’t have time to ferment.
    Seriously? You believe that the King of all didn’t have the power to complete His own miracle?
    I don’t drink either, but I love God too much to “explain away” every verse He uses in his Word in order that it matches my doctrine.

  4. I have a bit of a problem with this post because there aren’t scriptures to support your own opinions of Christians consuming alcohol. While I agree that the Bible may not include a specific statement on whether or not we can have a few drinks, the Bible is very clear on the Biblical standard Christians should be more concerned with for their lifestyles. Rob spoke to this in his reply to the same topic.

    Just because wine is included throughout the Bible, doesn’t mean anything. There are other subjects like war, for example, that are also included throughout the Bible. But God would prefer peace rather than war if people could make the best choices possible in areas of forgiveness, anger, and relationships.

    Overall, while I don’t believe a glass of wine can truly separate me from the Lord, I do think Christians should tread very carefully if they have a general acceptance of Christian peers consuming alcohol on a regular basis. Rather, I would suggest shifting the focus off the opinions of one another and ask if God can be glorified through the consumption of alcohol. I have yet to figure out how God can be glorified in drinking. Each of us should individually pray and seek His eyes for why we might be consuming alcohol – to relax, to fit in, to escape, etc. and most likely find the Lord has a very different answer to whatever it may be already delineated in the Bible.

    • Jesus turned water in to wine for his first miracle. God was glorified through that.

      You are quite entitled to the opinion you have and I think you are certainly wise to abstain, but there is absolutely nothing sinful about enjoying an alcoholic beverage.

      Alcohol is all throughout scripture and was a part of things such as the last supper, Jewish feasts, weddings, and all other things that we see in scripture that were good. -TW

  5. Pingback: Christians & Alcohol: The Other Side of the Fence | Coffee, Theology, and Jesus

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