My conversation about drinking

Thought I’d post a re-occurring discussion I have with other Christians around this area. I’m kind of a jerk in it, but that’s because I’m getting tired of this kind of debating in general, which I find myself getting pulled into it a lot. The irony is that I don’t like drinking alcoholic beverages. So why do I defend it? I’m just a stickler for not calling something a sin that clearly isn’t. I believe that drinking may be a sin for people who have alcohol addiction problems, but if you don’t, than it is OK in moderation.

I don’t have a problem with people who think it is a sin for them. In fact, I have a lot of respect for them. However, I do have a problem with people who think it is a sin for everyone on the planet and like to vocalize this opinion.

Friend: Drinking is sinning. Everyone who drinks is sinning.
Me: Where does it say that in the Bible? Jesus turned water into wine. Paul told Timothy to drink wine instead of water.
Friend: That was grape juice.
Me: Really, can you prove that? Jesus said the Pharisees called him a drunkared. You have to probably drink at least some wine to be called a drunkered, and you can’t get drunk on grape juice. Either Jesus is lying, or you’re probably mistaken.
Friend: It was grape juice – the Greek proves it.
Me: Really? Lets look at the EXHAUSTIVE Greek dictionary I have here of the entire New Testament. (we look together) Hmmm… looks like it says you can get drunk on onios (Corinthians), which is the same word used in John which is what Jesus turned water into. Hmm… they must have had some pretty potent grape juice back then.
Friend: You’re dictionary isn’t complete.
Me: Its an EXHAUSTIVE dictionary – every single word in the Bible is in here.
Friend: You need the bigger Greek dictionary.
Me: Huh?
Friend: Anyway, wine didn’t ferment back then like it does now. It’s really potent now.
Me: Really? You mean God changed the physical laws of the universe sometime in the last 3000 years to make wine ferment more? Can you prove that? Regardless, isn’t whether or not God changed the process of grape fermentation irrelevant? I mean, you can’t get drunk on grape juice no matter how hard you try. You’ll probably die drowning before you get drunk.
Friend: Well, I don’t drink because it is a bad witness.
Me: Why, because non-Christians will look down on you if you do? You think they think you are a big fake because you have a beer? They will suddenly turn away from God and stop believing because of that? Just between you and me, if they’re looking for anything to turn away from God, they’ll use the fact that you don’t tie your shoes as a reason. Who cares.
Friend: Yes, it says its a sin in the Bible.
Me: All it says is not to get drunk, it doesn’t say not to drink at all…. anywhere. I know. I’ve checked. As I said before, I have an EXHAUSTIVE Greek dictionary for the entire New Testament and an exhaustive concordance with the Hebrew for the Old Testament.
Friend: It’s a sin.
Me: (Speechless. Set down the Bible and Greek dictionary and walk away.)
Me: (Thinking: Did God send me up here to pull Christians out of a weird non-drinking, pastor-worshiping cult?)

    4 Responses to “My conversation about drinking”

    1. Elise

      I think the idea of individual sin is intriguing – i.e., something that is fine for one person can be a sin for another. This concept seems to get lost in the practice of organized institutional religion, where rules tend to get set for the entire crowd, rather than individuals governing themselves based on the values learned and embraced.

      As a believer and as one who doesn’t think drinking is a sin, I can’t wait to sit down with Jesus someday and share a glass or two of the most incredible red wine ever bottled. And I don’t mean that in a lighthearted way – I’m serious! Some of the most intimate, open, and fondest moments I’ve shared with family and friends during this lifetime have been in a quiet setting over a glass of wine. I just don’t believe that’s sinning.

      Reply to this comment.
    2. Jonathan
      Author Comment

      Yeah, the whole “it’s a sin for you but not for me” is always a fun issue.  I agree with you about institutionalized religion masquerading around as authentic Christianity.  Regarding wine- YES!  I can’t wait myself.  Wine then will taste better than it does now! Jesus agrees too:

      Matthew 26:29 (at the last supper where they were drinking wine according to the Passover tradition)

      I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

      Reply to this comment.
    3. Jeff

      I have been in a conversation with the same principle on my blog. Is something wrong, wrong universally? Some things yes, others no. I think drinking is “no”. However, I do think there is something to what Paul said about the eating of the meat that was sacrificed to idols. It isn’t wrong, per se, but if it causes strife in others (bad witness), than why risk it? I think drinking CAN be as the meat, but it doesn’t have to be. I guess one should examine why it is so important to them.

      Reply to this comment.
    4. Jonathan
      Author Comment

      Thanks for coming over and commenting! Your line of thinking was similar to mine after I wrote this post. I decided to try to reason out what Paul said in regards to how people who are free in Christ can interact with the “weaker brother.” who places rules on themselves. It’s a hotly debated topic – I’d be interested to see what you have to say on the subject. I’ll have to check over at your blog (you’ve got 2??) And see how your discussion goes…

      Reply to this comment.

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