Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christians Shouldn't Drink Alcohol?

Recently, I saw this article pop up on my newsfeed 3 or 4 times. I was slightly annoyed by the title and even more so when I read the article. You can read the article here:
but I'm going to break down my annoyance with this article point by point.  Before I do that though, let me just say, I understand why this  ex-alcoholic pastor does not any longer drink--good call on that! I also am not trying to encourage my Christian brothers and sisters to drink. It's completely your choice. I'm just saying, this pastor's logic has serious flaws and some of her statements, although bold and sound "very Christian", they are simply not true. Let's break this down (my comments will be in red, after his statements, which will be in black).

1. I can't be sober-minded if I'm not sober. Right. Your previous statements though said, "reasons I don't drink" not "reasons I don't get drunk". Two very different things.

2. Alcohol has an assignment: destruction. It does? That is just a statement made out of her head or her experience. I have never known this to be true.

3. Alcohol is a depressant. Anything that depresses should be avoided at all costs. It should? Why? Alcohol is a depressant, which is why people generally drink it to help relax. Why should anything that depresses be avoided? There is quite a difference from having a drink to help you relax and being depressed.

4. I don't want to make my brother or sister stumble in the name of exercising my "Christian liberties." My choice to drink could lead to someone's demise. Again, if you were talking about getting drunk, yes. Drinking alcohol is not a sin though. If you are going along this line of thinking, I would hope the author does not eat meat because that could cause vegetarians to stumble etc...

5. Alcohol skews my judgment. Drinking too much alcohol skews one's judgement.

6. Alcohol leaves me worse, not better. If you are an alcoholic, yes. If you get drunk, yes. If you are drinking red wine, no. Red wine, for instance is really good for you and it helps protect your heart as well.

7. What I do in moderation, my children will do in excess. Care to share any Bible reference or a reliable source of research to support this? I have not found any truth to this blanket statement.

8. Even the unsaved know I shouldn't drink. Bible in one hand, beer in the other — any lost person could point this out as a confusing contradiction. Again, there seems to be confusion with getting drunk and drinking alcohol. Why would there be any issue with your Bible in one hand and a beer in the other? I have had a nice glass of wine while doing my Bible study. No contradiction that I can see.

9. Alcohol doesn't bring others closer to the Lord when they see me drinking, but farther away. Back to #8. Unless I am getting drunk, how would this have an affect on others? I would take it a step further and say if someone is judging me for drinking alcohol (not a sin), is actually in sin themselves.

10. Alcohol doesn't bring me closer to the Lord when I drink, but farther away. How? Although having a glass of wine may not bring me closer to the Lord, neither does drinking a Coke.

11. I want to be fully awake and ready for the return of Christ, not drowsy, sluggish and fuzzy. So, you never sleep, relax or take a break? And, if you don't want to be fuzzy, just shave every day :)

12. Show me a family where alcohol has made a positive difference in their lives. You won't be able to. Ummm...yes I can. Have you met my family?! Kidding. Really though, we didn't drink at all for years because we didn't want to afford it. In the last few years, we have been able to and I would say it has positively affected some of our relationships. Just as eating good food with friends and family, it's very nice to enjoy a glass of wine with loved ones.

13. I have never heard anyone say, "Wow, that gin and tonic made me feel so Christ-like!" I've never heard anyone say, "wow, that Coke made me feel so Christ-like!" So, unless you eat strictly for survival and take no pleasure in eating or drinking (non-alcohol), that statement is not a reason not to drink alcohol.

14. I want to avoid all appearances of evil. Me too. Alcohol is not evil and I don't know why it would appear evil.

15. Alcohol makes it much harder for me to practice the fruit of self-control. Chocolate does that for me. :)

16. Alcohol causes me to lose my filter. I don't have much of a filter to begin with. :) Again, I think the author is referring to being drunk, in which case I would agree.

17. Alcohol is a mind-altering, legal drug. I don't think it's classified as a drug. If we are going to say that though, so is caffeine and many other herbs and supplements.

18. Alcohol is addictive. True. As is caffeine, chocolate, etc...

19. Alcohol is a numbing agent for pain and sorrow that only Jesus can heal. If you drink to numb pain and sorrow, you have a problem. Just as using food to comfort you instead of Jesus. The root problem is not alcohol, it's a heart issue.

20. Many regrets are associated with alcohol. (I can give you a whole bunch!) Once again, I think the author is confusing being drunk with drinking alcohol. I understand she is coming from a place of being an alcoholic in the past so that is understandable but inaccurate.

21. No one has ever said, "If only I had taken a drink, things wouldn't have gotten out of control." I get what the author is saying here. I'll just leave this one. :)

22. Alcohol causes me to act in ways I normally wouldn't. Once again, that statement should read, "drinking too much alcohol causes me to act in a way I normally wouldn't"

23. Alcohol kills brain cells.  Actually, it doesn't. Read here:
Moderate drinking does not kill brain cells. In fact, there are many health benefits to drinking red wine, for instance.

24. Alcohol is a counterfeit, and provides a false peace. I haven't found this to be true at all. You could say your soft blanket provides false warmth and can lead to laziness, which is a sin.

25. The Bible says that no drunkards will enter the kingdom of God. Being drunk starts with one drink. I don't want to see how far outside the lines I can color when eternity is at stake. Being drunk does not start with one drink any more than being a glutton begins with one cheeseburger. Again, I understand the author is coming from a perspective of someone who became addicted and abused alcohol in the past. So, in her experience this may be true but it is not true in every experience. 

26. Alcohol is a waster – money, gifts and talents, destinies, etc. this statement is not actually true. I understand the author is speaking from his experience but in my experience, drinking alcohol has not wasted any of these things.

27. Alcohol leads to really bad behavior. It is a factor in 50% of violent crimes. I would like to see a creditable source that demonstrates 50% of violent crimes involve alcohol. Furthermore, I would like the information that demonstrates this "really bad behavior" is a result of someone drinking responsibly and not getting drunk.

28. Alcohol distracts and derails you from living the victorious life for which Christ died. In what way? Again, the author is speaking from her personal experience but this is not a factual statement.

29. Wisdom is the principle thing that I need to pursue at all cost; alcohol makes me stupid. Alcohol makes me stupid?? I have not found that to be true in any way.

30. Alcohol has ruined many, many marriages. The author missed one important word in this one: Alcohol addiction has ruined many marriages.

31. The only influence I should be "under" is God's. I feel like I'm just repeating myself so I'll leave this one too :)

32. The Bible tells me to be alert; alcohol delays my reaction time. So does being exhausted from work, kids, etc...and, once again, having a glass of wine does not delay my reaction time.

33. If I don't start drinking, I'll never have to stop. True. Same goes for eating brownies :)

34. Alcohol severely tarnishes my testimony. How? This is a "Christian phrase" I hear a lot. I think we need to really take a look at what helps my Christian testimony and what hurts it. Being drunk? Yes. That would hurt it. Drinking alcohol? No. I don't think it does.

35. Don't want your teenagers to drink? Yep, same reasons apply to you. I don't want my teenager to drink because it's against the law. The same law that allows me, as an adult, to partake if I wish.

36. God is holy; alcohol is not. Agree with the first part, disagree with the later. The Bible speaks several times about alcohol and does not condemn drinking. In fact, Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding celebration and Jesus tells us to drink wine with joy and that wine makes the heart happy (Ecc.9:7, Psalm 104:7).

37. Alcohol and prayer don't mix. why not? I've prayed many times while taking a bath and drinking wine.

38. Alcohol and Bible study don't mix. Why not? I've do
ne my Bible study lesson while drinking a glass of wine.

39. Alcohol lowers my resolve to resist temptation. Again, I think the author meant being drunk, not drinking.

40. Alcohol = Brokenness (broken lives, health, dreams, etc.) Simply not true. Alcoholism- yes. Alcohol- no.

41. When the world sees us drinking, it sends the message that Jesus isn't enough. This is simply not true. When the world sees us drinking, they see us enjoying some of God's gifts to us here on earth. That is like saying, "when the world sees us drinking coffee, it sends a message Jesus isn't enough."

42. Moderate drinking? How about moderate pornography or moderate heroin use or moderate lying or moderate adultery? Well, except every other thing mentioned here are clearly sins. Drinking is not a sin. Not in the same category.

43. Christians are called to live a life of total surrender and separation from the world. Doesn't God call us to live IN this world but not OF this world?

44. Alcohol makes me forget. It can make me forget that I am married, that I am saved, etc. Again, I've never forgot being married or saved from having a glass of wine.

45. "I don't get drunk. I only have one or two drinks." If they didn't affect you, you would drink soda.
Right. If it didn't affect you, you would drink water for survival only. Soda has caffeine in it, which is mind-altering. You also wouldn't drink tea because that also has mind-altering properties in it.

46. I should never look to the glass or bottle for joy, which can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. This was already talked about. If anyone is looking to fill a void with alcohol, food or whatever, that is the problem--a heart issue.

47. Alcohol fills my mind with impure thoughts.  That would be as a result of drinking too much I would assume. Again, this is your experience, not really having that much to do with alcohol, rather the abuse of alcohol.

48. If it could hinder my faith walk, love walk or dishonor the lordship of Jesus Christ, I need to forsake it. I agree with her. We all must check our own hearts on this.

49. Alcohol doesn't help me run the race that Jesus has marked before me to finish with more accuracy. It does the polar opposite. This might be true in your experience of abusing alcohol but for others without the past history of abuse of alcohol, this is not the case.

50. For any argument that tries to justify Christian drinking, there are at least 50 other reasons not to. The writing is on the wall. It's not God's best for Christians to drink.  This is the statement that might bother me the most. Of the 50 reasons you came up with as to why Christians should not drink, I found ONE I can agree with. To finish off with "It's not God's best for Christians to drink" is a pretty broad statement. I understand the author comes from a history of abusing alcohol but to jump to the belief that Christians should not drink is a big leap with no real ground to land on.

   I know lots of people who choose not to drink, including my parents. I respect their decision. What I take issue with is someone saying Christians should not drink. Hopefully, my responses give a more balanced position and some insight to what God actually says on the topic.



  1. Okay. I have a question but I will preface. I don't drink. I hate the taste of alcohol and would never choose to spend money and calories on something I dislike. However, I have many people I love and admire who do like the taste of alcohol and do choose to drink on occasion. Having never had more than a sip of alcohol at any given time, I don't personally know how alcohol affects a person. Amy, your arguments often involve the idea that drinking isn't the problem so much as getting drunk. My question, and I am asking because I honestly don't know - not to be difficult - is couldn't alcohol cause impairment (of decisions, speech, thoughts, driving) without a person actually being drunk? What defines "drunk"? Does it vary from person to person? How do we know where to draw the line? Again, I am not trying to be difficult and I know these same questions could be applied to other areas in our lives; I am just interested in hearing your thoughts.

    1. I'll take a crack at this a bit because of my experience. I don't drink a lot. My husband and I like wine, but I have a chronic illness that causes alcohol to metabolize very quickly. I have gotten drunk on one glass of wine, thankfully at home within the safety of my husband's presence.
      That being said, you'd have to have some type of metabolic disorder to get drunk that fast. There are legal limits that define what "drunk" actually is. But it does very according to body weight, frequency of drinking, gender, as to what you can safely tolerate before getting drunk. My husband can have two beers with food (protein helps) and still be reasonable. I can only have about half a glass of wine with food before it is beyond my comfort level. (Neither one of us drive if we have any alcohol in our systems.)
      So unless you've never had any alcohol, you'd know your limits.

      Great rebuttal Amy! I completely agree! I would even go so far to say that we could be a good witness to others around us by drinking, because we wouldn't be legalistic, uptight, joyless Christians!

  2. I agree Amy! The original article was written from an acoholic viewpoint, and not one that has gone through a program if recovery. Everything in moderation! You could argue a lot of the same points for overeating. Gluttony is a sin, yes. But doing things responsibly is a choice. Not every person is going to be an alcoholic, the person is very biased and truly doesn't sound happy in their life choices.

  3. I like your format here in debating the issue. Perhaps I'll use it with some political issues that have been making me crazy (guns, women's rights, etc.)
    As for me, I enjoy wine with my dinner and now skip the after-dinner drinks as it interferes with my writing time. It has nothing to do with my religion or lack of such.

  4. It's funny you're talking about this subject. Sunday, while watching a Pastor on television, proceeded to say that drinking was a sin and you will go to hell. He continued to state, all in moderation. Moderation is different with each individual. Some might say 3 beers or 3 glasses of wine is ok, or 5 beers or 5 glasses of wine. I believe anything that begins to control your life and "Becomes your God" is a sin. Just as, food, sports, etc. I don't have an issue with drinking just like Amy.