Since I was in college, I have been aware of a debate
regarding the use of intoxicating drink. The debate has not
centered on drunkenness. I am not aware of any Christians who
claim drunkenness is acceptable. We know Romans
13:13; I Corinthians 5:11, 6:10; Galatians 5:21; I Peter 4:3
et. al. The debate centers on drinking in moderation. Or as is
often stated, “Surely it is not wrong to have one drink at
mealtime or after a hard day’s work in the privacy of my own
home.” There are essentially two sides to this discussion. One
side says the only lawful use of intoxicating drink is medicinal,
while the other proposes intoxicating drink in moderation is
allowed for any purpose. For some Christians, this debate is
merely an intellectual exercise. Even if they believe in some
technical sense that one intoxicating drink is allowed, they
understand the dangers of alcohol and would never in any real
sense endorse even one drink. These are typically very quick to
point out they do not advocate drinking. For others, however, it
does become an issue of practice. To our young people it is more
than an intellectual exercise. Drinking is often part of fitting
in for high school and college students. Many believe and say to
themselves, if not consciously, then subconsciously, “If having
one drink is lawful, I can go ahead and milk this beer (or this
cooler) all night and I will be just like the guys without getting
drunk.” Many Christians are involved in business and sales where
“wining and dining” clients and bosses is the rule of the day.
They, too, find this debate to apply to practice. After all, if
one drink is lawful, they can participate in what seems to be an
essential to modern salesmanship and business practice and not be
hindered by what their associates believe is a fanatic moral
stance. Finally, there are those who, having come out of the
world, have found that nothing ends a day of hard work like a cold
beer. They have lived the commercial that said, “It doesn’t
get any better than this.” Now that they are children of God,
they want to purify their lives, but if they can be pure without
giving up their daily beer, then why not? If, in fact, God’s
Word does allow drinking alcohol in moderation, then we can at
best appeal to someone’s judgment not to be involved in these
practices because of influence. But we must not bind where God has
not bound and we cannot really tell them, in any legitimate way,
to quit drinking.
So we must ask ourselves, “What does God allow?” We
know how to answer this question. II Timothy 3:16-17 says God’s Word equips us for every good work.
Does God’s Word equip us to drink intoxicants in moderation? I
am like you, wanting my life to be run by the principles and
guidelines of God’s revealed Word. I do not want to bind where
the Scripture does not and I do not want to loose what the
Scripture does not. This morning I hope we can all approach this
topic with fresh eyes and ears.
Modern assumptions that cloud the Bible issue.
“Wine is wine is wine and all of it is
If I asked you to go to the store and buy me some
cider, what would you purchase? Because you know me, you would
purchase unfermented apple cider. However, if I was a drinker and
you knew I was going to a BYOB New Year’s Eve party, you would
run by a package store and pick up some hard cider. Here is a word
that we use today which can mean either intoxicating or
non-intoxicating drink. We determine which is meant based on the
context of the statement.
In our modern day, the words “wine” and
“cider” are different. “Cider” refers to either
intoxicating or non-intoxicating juice depending on the context,
but, for us, “wine” always refers to an intoxicating drink.
Was it that way in the Bible? No.
No doubt in places the term “wine” referred to
intoxicating, alcoholic drink, e.g. Genesis
9:20; 19:32; Proverbs 23:29-31. On the other hand, notice some
other places where “wine” could not possibly have referred to
intoxicating, alcoholic drink. Isaiah
16:10 spoke of “wine” being treaded out in the presses. It
is not possible for what is treaded out in the presses to be
fermented and intoxicating. Likewise Jeremiah 40:10-12 referred to gathering in the wine along with the
summer fruits. In other words, this was the juice in the grape
when brought in from the field. It could not possibly be
fermented, alcoholic, intoxicating drink. Jeremiah
48:33 spoke again of wine being in the wine presses. Again,
this was the juice as it was pressed out of the grapes and
therefore must not have been alcoholic or intoxicating. Understand
clearly what this demonstrates. As we strive to see what God has
equipped us to do in scripture, it is not enough to find a place
where “wine” is consumed with approval. It must be a place
where we know it is intoxicating wine and it is consumed with
“Ancient people of the Bible days did not know
how to keep juice from fermenting.”
Some will grudgingly concede the prior point that
in the Bible, “wine” is a generic term used to refer to juice
from a grape whether fermented or not. So, if it is freshly
squeezed it is non-fermented. But if it was squeezed a week ago,
the ancients had no way of keeping it from fermenting and
therefore it must be intoxicating and alcoholic. It is not
surprising that people feel this way. After all, every generation
believes knowledge and wisdom begins with them. But it simply is
A study of history has demonstrated that men of
antiquity knew how to keep wine unfermented. Consider the
“If you wish to have must (i.e., grape juice) all
year put grape juice in an amphora and seal the cork with pitch:
sink it in a fishpond. After 30 days take it out. It will be grape
juice for a whole year.” (De
Agri Cultura CXX, Marcus Porcius Cato the elder who lived from
234-149 B.C.; quoted from Sipping Saints by Rick Lanning
and also The Bible, The Saint, and The Liquor Industry by
Jim McGuiggan). Thus juice could be kept from fermenting if sealed
and kept below a certain temperature which immobilizes the yeast
from fermenting. Interestingly, the Bible speaks of storing wine
in cellars which by their very nature would perform this cooling
operation (I Chronicles 27:27).
Pliny who lived from AD 61-113 said, “The most
useful wine has all its force or strength broken by the filter.”
And Plutarch who lived from AD 46-120
said, “Wine is rendered old or feeble in strength when it is
frequently filtered. The strength or spirit being thus excluded,
the wine neither inflames the brain nor infests the mind and the
passions, and is much more pleasant to drink” (From the same
sources as above). This filtering referred to a process by which
the yeast would be removed and thus not allow fermentation. The
Bible speaks of this very thing. In Isaiah
25:6, God claims He will host a feast in which He will provide
“refined” wine. According to Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon, that
translates the Hebrew word “zaqaq” which refers to purifying
or straining. In other words, in Isaiah’s day, they knew they
could filter wine.
Have you ever heard someone who argues vehemently
against consuming alcohol claim it is lawful to cook with alcohol?
Of course you have. Why? Because the alcohol cooks out. Alcohol
has a lower boiling point than water. When boiled, the alcohol in
fermented wine will cook out just as it cooks out of the vanilla
you add to your cake recipes. Virgil who lived from 70 to 19 BC
wrote, “Meanwhile his spouse, … over the fire boils down the
liquor of the lucious must, and skims with leaves the tide of the
trembling cauldron” (quoted from The Bible, The Saint, and
The Liquor Industry, p 45). After the wine was boiled down it
became pasty and thick like honey. It was a concentrate and to be
drunk it had to be mixed with water.
The ancients were not as simple or ignorant as we
may think. They knew full well how to keep juice unfermented. And
if it fermented, they knew how to remove the alcohol and make it
non-intoxicating. They did this by procedures even referred to in
the Bible. Thus, we cannot assume that the word “wine” in the
Bible refers to alcohol or intoxicating drink, no matter how old
Since we are striving to find equipping from the
Bible to perform what might be the good work of drinking alcohol
in moderation, it stands to reason that we must find some Bible
verses that demonstrate a moderate consumption of intoxicating
drink with God’s approval, either by command, approved example
or necessary inference. How does the Bible present consuming
intoxicating drink? I have found 21 passages that clearly speak of
drinking intoxicating wine. They can be classed in two categories:
negative and positive.
Passages that are negative.
9:21; 19:32; Numbers 6:3; I Samuel 1:14; 25:36; Psalm 60:3; 75:8;
78:65; Proverbs 20:1; 23:30; 31:4; Isaiah 5:11, 22; 24:9; 28:1;
56:12; Jeremiah 23:9; 51:7; Joel 1:5; Ephesians 5:18.
We do not have time to read all 20 of these
passages during this sermon. I encourage you to look them up on
your own time and see if I am not correct. These passages link
intoxicating wine with sin, judgment, loss of control and folly.
Perhaps the strongest of these is Proverbs 20:1, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler …”
More on that verse in a few moments.
Passages that are positive.
Only one passage clearly mentions consuming
intoxicating drink in a remotely positive light—Proverbs
31:6-7. Lemuel’s mother tells him to let the man who is
perishing and whose life is bitter to drink to forget his trouble
Thus the one who is dying and in great pain, as the
term for “bitter” is defined by Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon,
can consume intoxicating drink in order to forget the trauma he is
experiencing. At most we have a positive view of alcohol for
medicinal use, used as a painkiller here, just as morphine is used
today. We would all say it is lawful to give morphine to the man
who is dying and whose heart is bitter, that is, in pain. Would we
take that to mean that a little morphine with our supper, taken in
moderation is scriptural?
Considering the above, I find us hard pressed to
come up with a command, approved example or necessary inference
authorizing the consumption of intoxicating drinks even in
moderation. This alone, for a people who demand Jesus’ authority
for all we do in word or deed (Colossians 3:17), ought to be enough to cause us to refrain from
intoxicating drink and to teach others to do so.
Bible words and principles, their meanings and how
they apply to our question.
says, “And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be
filled with the Holy Spirit.” One may ask, “What part does
this passage play? By your own admission, Edwin, no Christians
argue that a man can be drunk.” This passage and two others (Luke
12:45; I Thessalonians 5:7) do not refer to what we commonly
think of as drunkenness.
In each of these passages a form of the Greek verb
“methusko” is used. That term is in turn a special form of the
verb “methuo.” “Methuo” means to be filled, and in context
of intoxicating wine indicates being drunk. W.E. Vine points out
that “methusko” is the inceptive form of “methuo.”
Vine goes on to add, this inceptive verb is “marking the process
of the state expressed in No. 1 [methuo]” (Vine’s
Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p 343.).
Webster’s Dictionary defines “inceptive” as
“expressing the beginning of the action indicated by the
underlying verb, …”
Abbot-Smith’s Manual Greek Lexicon of the New
Testament claims “methusko” is “causal of [methuo]”
(T&T Clark, Edinburgh, Scotland. 1973, p 282.).
Bullinger’s A Critical Lexicon and Concordance
To the English and Greek New Testament says “methusko”
means “to grow drunk (marking
the beginning of No. 1 [methuo])”
(Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids. 1978. P 238.).
5:18; Luke 12:45 and I
Thessalonians 5:7 do not condemn the final state of
drunkenness, but the process by which people become drunk even at
its inception or beginning. Also note, this is purely grammatical
and says nothing about whether the process was completed or
intended to be completed. It condemns the process from beginning
to end. Why? Because, according to Ephesians
5:18 this process leads to excess, also translated “riot”
in Titus 1:6
and I Peter 4:4.
Beginning this process is forbidden because it leads to greater
sin. In contrast, we are to be filled with the Spirit. Filled with
the Spirit means to be guided by the Spirit through the Word.
Therefore, to the extent you have continued in the process of
getting drunk you are hindering your ability to be filled with the
Spirit. With each drink you become more filled with the drink and
less with the Spirit.
In addition to Paul’s command to abstain from
even the beginning of the process of getting drunk, there is the
positive command to all Christians to be sober found in I
Thessalonians 5:6-8; I Peter 1:13, 5:8.
According to Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon
“sober” translates the Greek word “nepho” and defines it
“1) to be sober, to be calm and collected in spirit 2) to be
temperate, dispassionate and circumspect.”
W.E. Vine says it “signifies to be free from the
influence of intoxicants” (p 1067).
G. Abbot-Smith says of “nepho”: “to be sober, abstain from wine; metaph., of moral alertness,
Bullinger defines it “to be sober, temperate,
abstinent, esp. in respect
to wine. …” (p 713).
Regarding soberness, I would like to share with you
the advice of the Channing L. Bete Co. to teenagers in a pamphlet
entitled What Every Teenager Should Know About Alcohol. Be
aware, pp 4-5 of this pamphlet claim you will do one of three
things with alcohol: 1) Not use it, 2) Use it safely or 3) Abuse
it. This pamphlet supports drinking in moderation as safe
drinking. Page 6 of this pamphlet tells teenagers, “It takes 1
hour for the alcohol from one drink (12 oz. of beer, 5 oz. of
wine, a 1 ½ oz. ‘shot’ of 80 proof whiskey or mixed drink) to
leave the body. So a 150-180 lb. person could consume 1 drink per
hour and still stay relatively
sober” (emphasis mine –
ELC). In other words, compared to the guy who has drunk two or
three drinks in that same hour I could be considered sober.
However, if I am only relatively sober, then I am also relatively
intoxicated. That is, in comparison to the one who did not drink
any that hour, I can be considered drunk. So, if God’s command
were to stay relatively sober, we might be allowed to have one
drink per hour. But that wasn’t God’s command. His command was
to be sober, period.
There are three passages in Proverbs that help us in this discussion.
“Wine is a mocker and strong drink a brawler, and whoever is
intoxicated by it is not wise.” Many people focus on the latter
half of this verse and think anything less than intoxication is
not spoken against. But three things are addressed in this verse:
wine, strong drink and intoxication. All of them are condemned.
Wine is a mocker, that is, it is arrogant, puffed up and scoffing.
Yet, some view this verse as saying we can drink a little bit of
the mocker. Strong drink is raging or a brawler. That is, strong
drink makes a loud, raging, thundering, clamorous noise. According
to Ephesians 4:31 we
are to put clamoring away from us, but in Proverbs 20:1 we are allowed to drink a little of it? Some of our
brethren practice with this verse what they condemn the Baptists
for doing with Mark 16:16.
That is, using the last half of the verse to deny the first half.
Amazingly enough, Proverbs
23:29-35 is used to justify the moderate drink. We all know
this passage says the one who lingers long over wine has woe and
is therefore condemned. But the proverbialist also defines a
second man who has woe: the one who tastes the mixed wine
(according to the KJV it is the one who searches it out). In other
words, the man who has woe is the one who even looks for some of
this intoxicating stuff in order to drink it. Then to drive the
point home, the Proverbialist says don’t even look at wine. I am
consistently amazed, that some brethren read Proverbs
23:29-30 and come to the conclusion that it is right to drink
a little of this intoxicating wine. When Solomon wrote these
words, he came to the conclusion that you shouldn’t even look at
31:4-5 says it is not for kings to drink wine. Notice, this
passage doesn’t say it is not for kings to get drunk. It says
they should not drink it. Why? Because if you drink wine or strong
drink, you might forget what is decreed. That is exactly what
alcohol does, it affects our judgment, willpower, attention and
inhibitions. I remind
you that we are in the same position as this king. We are a royal
priesthood (I Peter 2:9),
reigning with Christ. It is not for us to drink intoxicants, lest
we forget what is decreed. Lest one wants to claim he is only
drinking a little and it is not affecting him. Allow me to share
with you a chart taken from Listen
Magazine, reprinted in a booklet called Sipping Saints
by Rick Lanning. We all know that .10 BAC (blood alcohol content)
is legally drunk and you will be arrested if caught drinking at
that point. For a man who weighs 220 pounds it will take on
average 5 12oz cans of beer to become legally drunk. However, at
.01 BAC, the alcohol in that beer already affects the Frontal Lobe
of the brain which causes “Removal of inhibitions, Loss of
self-control, Weakening of willpower, Feeling of well-being, False
confidence, Impaired judgment, Loquaciousness, Dulling of
attention.” Do you know how many 12oz cans of beer it takes to
get a 220lb man to .01 BAC? Only ½ of a can. Perhaps, considering
this list, we understand why Lemuel’s mother said not to drink
it at all. It affects our ability to remember and follow what was
decreed before we even finish one drink.
We began by demonstrating that the Scripture equips
us for all good work (II
Timothy 3:16-17). Considering all that we have seen
from the Scripture, could you honestly go home this afternoon, sit
down, eat lunch and drink a beer in Jesus' name (Colossians
3:17)? I hope you could not. And I hope that
every drinker to whom you teach the gospel, you will also teach
they must quit drinking. Not only quit drinking to excess,
but quit drinking intoxicating drinks period.
Is Intoxicating Drink Allowed
I am well aware of some
objections that may be raised against my sermon regarding
intoxicating drink. No matter how many objections I answer,
someone may always come up with one more. However, I thought it
might be easier for you as a possible questioner and for me as the
questioned to answer as many of the objections in a short paper to
accompany my sermon. Hopefully, this will alleviate some possibly
time consuming interviews and answer any questions you have. Of
course, do not take this to mean I am unwilling to talk personally
with you about any questions. I am more than willing to defend my
stance and give an open, honest hearing to yours, if you disagree
drank wine to the extent that he was accused of being a
11:16-19 and in Luke 7:31-34,
the Word recounts Jesus’ statement about the difference between
Him and John the Baptist. John didn’t eat or drink and Jesus
prove Jesus drank intoxicating wine? Not in the least. That fact
that people accused Jesus of being a drunkard does not mean He had
drunk intoxicating wine, anymore than the accusation against the
apostles in Acts 2:13
means they had drunk any intoxicating wine.
Jesus’ point is these people are looking for and dreaming up
reasons not to believe and follow the truth. If a man is ascetic
as John, they will claim he is a nut. If a man has a good time at
a meal, they will claim he is immoral. In either case, they have
justified why they don’t listen. But the whole point is they
conjured up an illegitimate excuse not to listen. Their
illegitimate excuse does not provide a legitimate authority for
having a little of the mocker wine at any time.
turned water into wine in Cana for those who were already drunk on
unaware that Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine at
a wedding feast (John
2:1-12)? Some are absolutely convinced that Jesus provided
intoxicating wine to guests who were already drunk with wine.
Others, while conceding that Jesus could not have given the guests
intoxicating wine, claim the natural wine they had already drunk
must have been intoxicating because they were “well drunk.”
Neither position is correct.
can be sent spinning by trying to read all that the scholars say
on this passage. If you have done any study, you know the scholars
disagree. But, of course, scholars disagree on Acts
2:38 as well, don’t they? Despite this disagreement, with a
small amount of common sense and a comparison between the thoughts
of this passage and other Biblical concepts, I believe we can make
sense of what has happened here.
demonstrated in the sermon, the mention of wine does not equal
intoxicating wine. This alone demonstrates the error of claiming
Jesus gave intoxicating drink to people at this wedding feast. But
even beyond that, are we to believe that Jesus gave more
intoxicating wine to those already drunk? If so, in what way could
you limit this passage to authorize only moderate drinking? After
all, if Jesus could give intoxicating wine to those already drunk,
why couldn’t we? And why couldn’t we be the ones to whom He
gave it? Are we to truly believe Jesus manifested His own glory by
Jesus is at a wedding feast where people are already drunk on
intoxicating wine and they want more, Jesus is sinning. Proverbs
23:20-21 says one is not to even be with heavy drinkers of
wine. And of course, we are aware that drinking parties are
condemned in I Peter 4:3.
Despite this, are we to believe our Lord and Savior performed His
first miracle and manifested His glory by working a miracle at a
the positions on this passage that condone drinking in moderation
measure up to the context of the Bible as a whole. Thus we learn,
though the scholars disagree, this word for “well drunk”
doesn’t mean intoxicated unless in reference to a drink which
intoxicates. In this passage, it simply means to have drunk a
great deal of the drink on hand. Further, we also learn this
passage does not equip us to drink intoxicating drinks in
are not to be given to wine and deacons are not to be given to
qualifications for elders and deacons mention a restriction on
being given to wine in I
Timothy 3:3, 8 and Titus 1:7, some suggest having wine in moderation is allowed. This
argument is formed in a couple of ways.
argue that a restriction is placed on being given to wine, not
drinking wine. Therefore, drinking wine, so long as you are not
given to it, is lawful.
a more sophisticated argument by noting the distinction between
what is said about the elders and what is said about the deacons.
The elders are not to be given to wine at all. But the deacons are
not to be given to much wine. The claim is that somehow, since
Paul used different phrases regarding quantity, drinking in small
quantities is authorized.
On the first
hand, what makes us so sure this refers to intoxicating wine?
Understanding that the use of the term “wine” does not
necessitate intoxicating drink must cause us to stop and consider
that perhaps another point is being made; one which is actually
deeper than just “the man can’t be a drunk.” Ecclesiastes 10:16-19 claims that a king should know the appropriate
time to eat and drink, for strength and not just to be filled.
That is, the king is not to be governed by his stomach, for that
brings destruction. Yes, I know this passage says
“drunkenness” but notice it links the drunkenness with eating,
not drinking. Nobody eats to be intoxicated. The message is like
the oft repeated cliché, “Eat to live, don’t live to eat.”
In all honesty, we must give consideration to this possibility.
Elders and deacons must be men who are not governed by their
stomachs, but have control over fleshly desires.
On the other
hand, if, in fact, these passages do refer to intoxicating wine,
there is still no equipping for moderate drinking. One must admit
that because a thing is restricted from a particular group does
not necessarily mean it is restricted for all. Consider that
Nazarites were not even allowed to touch grapes (Numbers
6:4). But that restriction did not apply to all Jews. However,
just because a restriction is mentioned for a particular group
does not mean others are not also restricted from the same thing.
In this list, the elders and deacons are restricted from polygamy,
contentiousness, brawling, striking and the love of money. Are
these things authorized for other Christians?
the fact that an extreme is condemned in one passage does not mean
moderation is permitted. These passages also claim the men are not
to be given to or greedy for filthy lucre. Does that then
authorize the elder, deacon or any other Christian to seek filthy
lucre in moderation?
isn’t this objection the same approach to scripture that Jesus
condemned in the Sermon on the Mount? The Pharisees had honed in
on extremes that were condemned, such as murder and adultery,
believing that condemnation of the extremes provided authority for
the things that led to those actions. A person could still hate or
lust, just as long as he avoided the extreme of murder and
adultery (Matthew 5:21-28).
“Romans 14 says drinking wine is a matter of Christian liberty like
that of eating meats.”
14:21, Paul says, “It is good not to eat meat or to drink
wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.” Some
therefore claim drinking intoxicating wine in moderation is
obviously lawful just like eating meats. Often, the person who
brings up this verse will also be proud to claim the he is the
“big” brother whose understanding is true and strong. Because
of his spirituality, he will not drink or encourage others to
drink because so many have conscience against it. But at the same
time, he will not judge the drinker. Are we to believe such
spirituality is commendable? I do not.
verse in Romans 14
would you discern Paul to be speaking of intoxicating wine? One
replies, “Well it is obviously intoxicating because no one has a
problem with drinking something that doesn’t intoxicate.” Are
you sure? Someone had a problem with eating meats and that had
nothing to do with intoxication. Perhaps someone regarded the fact
that even our Lord was considered a drunkard for drinking
non-intoxicating wines and thinks that is a good reason to be
leery of drinking them. Intoxicating drink is not mentioned nor
does Romans 14 support it in even the most moderate of amounts.
Timothy he could drink wine in I
verse can be used to support moderate drinking of intoxicants is
beyond me. Are we sure Paul is telling Timothy to drink
intoxicating wine? Have you ever heard Paul Harvey delineate the
healthful benefits of Welch’s non-intoxicating grape juice? It
doesn’t have to be alcoholic to help the stomach or frequent
But, even if
this passage does refer to intoxicating wine, it can at the most
be used to support the use of alcohol for medicinal purposes, a
repeat of the permission found in Proverbs
31:6-7 for the man in pain. Notice, this is about a physical
ailment, not for relaxation or to “distress.” If you want to
relax or “destress”, then take a nice hot “Calgon bath” or
have your spouse give you a massage. But don’t turn to the
“I am only
drinking one to help me relax and it doesn’t impair my
itself dealt clearly enough with the Bible issues of drunkenness
and sobriety to demonstrate that this argument is fallacious. But
because it is so often made, I want to visit it again and add some
more information to what you have already learned.
plea from the moderate drinker is “I am not getting drunk. I
won’t get drunk. And what little I am having doesn’t impair my
judgment.” This is basically the same type of argument used to
“Bad communications corrupt good morals.” Though God has said
bad communications corrupt good morals, many today want to claim
bad communication doesn’t affect them. In like manner, though
God said wine is a mocker and it is not for us to drink lest we
forget what is decreed, some believe they are an exception to
God’s rule. Because for them, the small amount they drink
doesn’t affect them.
ever heard anyone say, “If you think you are crazy, you
aren’t. Because crazy people never question their sanity.” The
fact that one believes his judgment is not impaired when under the
influence of a mind-altering narcotic (classed by Canada’s
Addiction Research Foundation as a sedative/hypnotic drug) holds
absolutely no weight. The man or woman who has imbibed this drug
is the least qualified to determine his state of judgment.
I remind you
that according to scientific study and testing, alcohol begins
working on your brain the moment it is absorbed into the blood
stream. Though different organizations might have slightly varying
numbers, without one exception, all that I have read claims that
even the lowest of BAC levels produces impaired judgment. I remind
you of the sermon where I quote from the Listen Magazine chart. At .01 BAC, after just half a can of beer for
a man who is 220 lbs., alcohol begins to remove your inhibitions.
That is, it affects your conscience, that part of you that says
you shouldn’t do something you know is wrong. At this same level
you begin to lose your self-control. As Christians, we are
supposed to be increasing our self-control (II
Peter 1:5-8). Our willpower begins to weaken. We can easily
see the danger for our souls if our willpower to overcome sin is
weakened even a little. We begin to have a sense of well-being.
That, of course, is why we are so convinced what we drink
doesn’t affect us. The drug itself causes us to believe we are
better off than we are. We begin to have a false confidence. In
other words, due to the affects of this drug, even after one drink
we begin to think more of ourselves than we ought to (Romans
12:3). Our judgment is impaired. Of course, that again is why
we think our judgment is not impaired. We are not able to assess
our own abilities anymore, even after only one drink and even when
we don’t realize it.
not only is alcohol a drug, it is an addictive drug, which, by the
way, is more addictive to teenagers than adults. According to the
Connecticut Clearinghouse, a program funded by the Department of
Mental Health and Addiction Services, an adult may take 5 to 15
years to become addicted while a teenager will only take six
months to two years (www.ctclearinghouse.org; reproducible fact
sheet Why Adolescents Should
Not Use Alcohol At All). The fact that alcohol is an addictive
drug, makes it increasingly difficult to support even in
moderation. An addictive drug, by its very nature, causes us to
become tolerant of the amount we are taking and crave more. Notice
what the Addiction Research Foundation says, “Psychological
dependence on alcohol may occur with regular use of even
relatively moderate daily amounts. It may also occur in people who
consume alcohol under only certain conditions, such as before and
during social occasions. This form of dependence refers to a
craving for alcohol’s psychological effects, although not
necessarily in amounts that produce serious intoxication.” What
psychological affects is the moderate drinker looking for? Isn’t
it obvious? The moderate drinker begins to crave the psychological
affects that occur with moderate drinking, the loss of
inhibitions, the relaxation, the destressing, the feeling of
well-being and the self-confidence.
all of this, can one seriously claim one drink doesn’t hurt?
Only if he lives by the world’s standards as represented in the
pamphlet, What Every Teenager Should Know About Alcohol,
quoted in the sermon. That worldly standard is we only have to
stay “relatively sober.” If that is all we must do, then
drinking a narcotic that immediately attacks our sobriety is
justified as long as someone out there is more drunk than we are.
However, that is not the standard. The standard is sobriety,
In conclusion, if you still desire to maintain that
drinking a small amount of a narcotic drug is lawful and want to
press objections to claim we all have the right and the scriptural
authority to drink a can of beer, a glass of wine or a shot of
whiskey in the name of Jesus Christ (Colossians
3:17) and that we can do so to God’s glory (I
Corinthians 10:31), please consider carefully and prayerfully
why making such a claim is so important to you. If what I have
presented is Scriptural, then making that claim can cost people
additional notes to answer objections many raise when
discussing intoxicating drink.
to God in the church by Christ Jesus
Church of Christ