New Prohibition Movement

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by YoungChristian, May 10, 2005.

  1. YoungChristian
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    YoungChristian Member

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    The issue of alcohol has always been a controversial one within the Christian community. Did Jesus make, or advocate the use of, intoxicating wine? Is having an occasional drink really that big of a deal? These are certainly valid questions that committed Christians have asked over the years.

    In looking at the overall teaching of the Bible, as well as observations made in my own life over the years, I firmly believe that total abstinence is by far the best policy. I am not a prude, nor is this message intended to be legalistic or condemning. On the contrary, I want to share a truth with you that is very liberating. God's Word has been compared to a map showing us where the "land mines" in life are. Beverage alcohol is one of those land mines.

    BIBLICAL USE OF THE WORD "WINE";

    It is important to remember that in Bible days, the word "juice" was not widely used. It only occurs once in the entire Bible (Song of Solomon 8:2.) Wine was a general term for any grape juice product-even when it was still in the grape clusters (Isaiah 65:8.) Even in pre-prohibition America, nonalcoholic grape juice was often referred to as "grape wine." Their are nine Hebrew, and four Greek words translated "wine" in the Bible (to study this further,see William Patton's classic book "Bible Wines or Laws of Fermentation and Wines of the Ancients.") Generally, it is easy to see from the context of individual Scriptures which form of wine is being referred to. For example, in the Book of Proverbs, alcoholic wine is referred to as a mocker and a deceiver that leads to violence (20:1-2), poverty (23:21), sorrow (23:29-30,) immorality(23:33,) insecurity (23:34,) insensibility (23:35,) and is even compared to a poisonous snake! (23:32)

    On the other hand, abstinence from wine and other intoxicants is presented as a great virtue. God honored Daniel for refusing the King's wine (Daniel 1:5, 8, 16; 10:3.) John the Baptist's greatness in the eyes of God was directly linked to the fact that he drank no wine or strong drink (Luke 1:15.) Even as He was dying, Jesus refused the wine that was offered Him to deaden His pain (Mark 15: 23.)

    In Ephesians 5:18, we are told to "be not drunk with wine...but be filled with the Spirit." Note the contrast: Being drunk with wine is in total opposition to being filled with the Spirit.

    If we look at the most strictly literal translation of this verse, it reads "Be not entering into the act of being drunk with wine, but be continually entering into the process of being filled with the Spirit."The context of the verse goes deeper than just "Don't get drunk." It is telling us not to even enter into the act of drinking intoxicants.

    JESUS AND WINE

    What then, about the wine that Jesus made at the marriage feast? Was it alcoholic?The Greek word used here is "oinos," a variation of the Hebrew word "yayin."This word can refer to grape juice in any stage, either fermented,or unfermented.

    Regardless of your opinion of casual drinking, I'm sure most of you will agree that drunkenness is definitely a sin. In light of this, would Jesus contribute to drunkenness?

    At the time Jesus had arrived at the feast, the guests had "well drunk"of whatever they were drinking (V.10.) Jesus knew well the solemn warnings of Habakkuk 2:15,"Woe to him who gives his neighbor intoxicating drink." (Note: If it is a sin to put alcohol to our neighbor's lips, would it not also be a sin to put it to our own?) With this in mind, we can be sure that the beverage Jesus made was a refreshing, nonalcoholic grape drink. To do otherwise would have been totally incompatible with His nature.

    ALCOHOLISM AND ADDICTION

    We often hear the term "alcohol and drugs."This is a false distinction, because alcohol IS a drug. It is one of the most abused narcotics in the world. I have personally witnessed, and many of you have as well, how strong the addictive bondage of alcohol can be. I have known a number of people whose lives were shattered by alcoholism. I have often wondered how much different their lives might have been if they had just said "no" to that first drink. No "social drinker" thinks that they can become an alcoholic, just like no one who casually experiments with cocaine, heroine, or other drugs thinks about the possibility of becoming an addict. The old adage about an ounce of prevention certainly holds true here. It is far better to stop a problem before it starts, wouldn't you say? God does not want us in bondage to ANYTHING, whether it be alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or any other vice (1 Corinthians 3 :17; 9: 27; 1 Thessalonians 4:4.) As a teenager, I heard a simple,but profound statement that has always stuck with me: No one ever became an alcoholic, who didn't take the first drink.

    THE IMPORTANCE OF EXAMPLE

    In my experience in doing personal evangelism, I have made the observation that the fact that there are Christians who drink is a major excuse many alcoholics hide behind. God calls us to be salt and light to the world that we live in (Matthew 5: 13-14) and to avoid conduct that could cause others to stumble (Romans 14:21.) I was once discussing this with an elderly Chritian gentleman who brought up a very good point. He said "One beer might not send me to hell, but it could lead ten people there who saw me, and followed my example."

    To quote Gleason Archer; "If we really care about the souls of men, and if we are really in business for Christ, rather than for ourselves, then there seems to be no alternative to total abstinence-not as a matter of legalism, but rather as a matter of love.?#034;

    Friend, this issue is a very serious one. In light of Jesus' soon return, we are called to live holy and sober lives (Luke 12:45-46; 1 Thessalonians 5: 7-8.) Those who indulge in drunkenness will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven (1 Corinthians 6: 10; Galatians 5: 21,) so in sharing the Gospel with others, it is vitally important to warn them against the dangers of alcohol. God doesn't call us to abstain from alcohol because He is trying to take away our enjoyment of life. Quite the opposite is true. God loves us, and knows what it takes to truly make us happy (see Jeremiah 29;11, John 10:10.) Alcohol is counterproductive to the abundant life that Jesus came to bring us. He knows the devastating impact alcohol has on countless people. He sees the jobs lost, the families shattered, and the lives destroyed by alcohol, and He wants to protect us from these things. He has a plan for your life that is far greater than any bottle of alcohol could ever possibly give. If you have never given your life to Jesus, why not do it now?

    And therefore, in light of all the downsides to alcohol, should not the Christian community unite and bring about some fair and just laws on this issue?

    MOD EDIT: here's the link: http://www.james-dave.com/alcohol2pfv.html
     
  2. MissileMan
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    MissileMan Senior Member

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    All things in moderation. Anything can be taken to extremes and abused, not just alcohol.
     
  3. YoungChristian
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    YoungChristian Member

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    This is a very real theological and social imperative for all Christians, in my opinion. I would like to invite all atheists and agnostics to consider that what if Jesus is really what he said to be? If He isn't I don't lose anything, but if He is, I'm going to heaven. A true win-win situation.
     
  4. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    YC, I disagree with your theory. I will try and post a reasoning behind my beliefs a little later on. But, I will begin with this: I certainly believe that the consumption or non-consumption of alcohol is not an "essential" of the faith, and that whether we agree or disagree on the subject, we can still share in fellowship as believers in Christ. :)
     
  5. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    My Rebuttal of the Original Post.

    First, let me start with the nature of wine. Many people have argued that wine in the Bible contained no alcohol. This statement is obviously false. Growing grapes to make wine goes back to Noah, who got so drunk off the wine from his post-Flood vineyard that he passed out naked. Drunkenness is condemned throughout both the Old and New Testaments; obviously, if wine was non-alcoholic, such prohibitions would have been unnecessary. There is no general prohibition against drinking wine in the Mosiac law, except for those who chose to be Nazrites (e.g. Sampson). In fact, the presence of wine is considered a blessing in several places in the OT, including the blessing given to Jacob by Isaac, and blessings promised by God in Deuteronomy.

    So then, did Jesus drink wine? While the wedding in Cana, described in John 2, is the most famous episode concerning Jesus’ consumption of wine, there are several others. In fact, Jesus knew that He was maligned for drinking. He addressed this abuse in Matthew 11: “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard.” Obviously, Jesus was drinking alcohol if His accusers called him a drunkard. Therefore, if Jesus felt that the consumption of alcohol was permissible, why would we attempt to call it forbidden?

    The use of wine is specifically mentioned as one of the issues that could potentially divide Christians in Romans 14. In this chapter, Paul discusses behavior that is not specifically forbidden, but that some Christians felt was nonetheless wrong. See Romans 14:1-4: “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” Verses 19-21 continue: “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.”

    These verses should guide our view of alcohol consumption, as Paul specifically mentions drinking wine as a subject that falls into this realm. Those who choose to drink alcohol have several responsibilities: first, to remain sober, second, to not look down on those who choose to abstain, third, to keep from causing a fellow Christian to stumble (i.e. cause something to hinder that person’s relationship with God) because of his consumption. Likewise, those who choose to abstain have responsibilities: first, to not condemn those who drink, because they are just as chosen by God as those who abstain, second, to understand that God has given those who drink the liberty to make such a choice (see Galatians 5). Moreover, both those who abstain and those who consume have a responsibility towards each other to not provoke each other as being “prudes” or “sinners” because of their choices. We are to mutually edify each other, not tear each other down regarding choices we make about permissible activities.

    In conclusion, I believe we can draw the following truths about the use of alcohol:
    1. Drunkenness is never permissible.
    2. Consumption of alcohol is permissible.
    3. All Christians have a responsibility to edify each other and keep each other from sin, regardless of their personal convictions about alcohol.
     
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  6. dmp
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    dmp Senior Member

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    I'd say refusing to drink wine to show 'an example' does more to hinder people from accepting Christ than anything else.


    I'd also say Christian's efforts to combat gluttony would be a better use of time-Gluttons are widely accepted in the Church - it's mind boggling.
     
  7. dmp
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    dmp Senior Member

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    oh - and lest we forget...

     
  8. freeandfun1
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    freeandfun1 VIP Member

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    I agree with GOP and -=d=- on this. Drinking is not the issue. Being a drunkard is. The reason we shouldn't drink is so that we can continue to become closer to God. Drinking is okay as long as the one drinking can control their drinking. Once one becomes a drunkard, they will move further and further away from Christ and that is the problem with drinking. If one can have an occassional brewskie or glass of wine (or bottle for that matter) and still maintain their faith, then hey, so be it. All of our sins have been paid for in full. Our goals now should be to keep the faith no matter what and to strengthen our relationship with our saviour. Each of us does that in our own way.
     
  9. Nienna
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    Nienna Senior Member

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    I had not had a drink in maybe 3 years. Alcohol does not appeal to me because I don't care much for the taste, and because I get VERY sleepy! But, in February, I had a Bahama Mama at our neighbor's 40th birthday party.

    His wife is very shy, and I have been trying to get to know her better. She would talk to my husband, but was always sort of stilted around me. But after I accepted the drink, she opened up and talked a little more. Then I realized that my husband had gone over and had a beer on their back porch a few times, but, even if I went over, I never drank. I think this made her feel like I was "holier than thou" or something. I think I have a better witness now that the ice is broken.

    Of course, I would never get drunk, but that one drink may have opened a door. You never know.
     
  10. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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