06 October 2011

Is It OK To Take Alcohol?

"It must be surely!" Many say, "after all, even Jesus turned water into wine." That argument seems to be the most quoted by those on the "It's OK" wing.

Yes, it is true. Jesus attended a wedding where the wine ran out and saved the day by providing wine miraculously from water. There are many other positive references regarding the taking of wine in the bible. Wine was fermented in order to preserve it and so was certainly alcoholic even in those days.

He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts. ~Psalm 104:14-15.

Let beer be for those who are perishing, wine for those who are in anguish! Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more. ~Proverbs 31:6-7.
Note: In the preceding verses of this particular scripture, the writer says that alcohol must not be taken by those in authority lest they make decisions without sound judgement.

Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.~ 1 Timothy 5:23.

On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines. ~ Isaiah 25:6.

There are several more verses which can be used to argue that it is OK to take alcohol but there are also some verses that can be used to argue against it. I will not argue for or against taking wine necessarily, however, I will give reasons as to why I do not.

To begin with, the bible does not out rightly condemn taking alcohol, however it does condemn in no uncertain terms, drunkenness. Paul, for instance, mentions drunkenness, in his letter to the Galatian saints, among many other 'acts of the sinful nature' stating that those guilty of such, will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. ~ Galatians 5:19-21.

The only conventional way of getting drunk is to drink alcohol. I do not think it prudent to walk close the edge of the pit of drunkenness by taking alcoholic drink even if it be moderately. I think it would be wiser to avoid it altogether. That is the first reason why I abstain from it.

The second reason is because I want to love my neighbour. I would have said, "I love my neighbour", but most times I do not. However, I desire to.

In my culture (and by culture I mean the worldview of those in the region where I reside), alcohol and Christianity are antithetical. A pastor who spends his evenings drinking in bars will soon have an empty church. Any school boy/girl walking home with friends would not be proud to identify their Pastor if they saw him in a bar drinking. It would be shameful. Thus if I am going to be a light to those around, those in my culture, I will abstain from alcohol. No one can be attracted to Christ in a man who takes alcohol -not in my culture. And for Paul, his desire for people to come to Christ, i.e. to be saved, dictated how he lived only after the requirements of God. Thus he said:

19For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. ~1 Cor 9:19-23 (ESV).

It is always surprising to see 'Christians' in Zambia arguing that it is OK to take alcohol. How do they expect to reach a dying country/region with the gospel? Anyone with a bible in one hand and alcohol in the other will be mocked. If Jesus was born to a culture such as mine, I'd bet my life, he would not take alcohol simple because his desire for alcohol would be nothing compared to his desire to see men and women, boys and girls, accept him as the Son of God and be saved.

Those are the two reasons why I do not take alcohol.

Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...