Summary: Alcohol is a major problem in our culture and a political hot topic within the American Church. But what does God really think about it? Is it sin? Is it evil? Or is it okay in moderation? Pastor Ryan attempts to answer these and more in part 2 of his for
Part 2- What’s The Bid Deal About Alcohol Anyways?
Pastor Ryan Akers
Hymn #365- A pastor was preaching on alcohol one Sunday and to finish up his sermon with some passion he said, “If I had all the beer in the world, I would throw it into the river!” Then with a little more passion and fire he said, “And if I had all the wine in the world I would throw it into the river!” Finally really fired up with a fist shaking in the air he yelled, “And if I had all the whiskey in the world I would throw it into the river!” With that he sat down and the the music director came up on to stage to close the service with a song. When the director saw what they were singing he laughed to himself and then said to the congregation, “Please turn to hymn #365, “Shall We Gather At The River.”
The topic of alcohol is a very sensitive subject in the church today. I have never drank (one drink of corona, grew up in a home of drinkers.) Churches have diverse opinions. Some require total abstinence to be a member and others have beer tents at community events.
Been has been around a long time- Genesis 9- Noah made, drank and got drunk on his own wine. Until Prohibition many churches used wine for communion. Thomas Welch- Dentist and Wesleyan created grape juice as an alternative to wine for communion. His son would later start Welch’s juice company… after the lifting of prohibition alcohol became a major problem in the United States. The American Medical Society classifies alcohol as an “addictive drug” yet it is readily available and heavily advertised (Best Super Bowl Ads)
61% Americans drink. 10% adult drinkers are alcoholic (10 mil). 60-100 billion is spent each year by gov’t to educate and help with alcohol related problems. 50% of all traffic fatalities and 33% injuries are b/c of alcohol. Today it is the leading cause of death of youth between 14 and 17 years of age. 21,634 alcohol induced deaths in 2005. Same year, 12,928 alcoholic liver disease deaths.
Some have a belief that wine is “good for you”- same anti oxidants in grape juice as there are in wine. Some say, “Doesn’t effect me.” 200 pound man, after one drink has .02 alcohol level. Liver only metabolizes one drink an hour. .08 is legal limit over 21. 2 drinks 200 pound man will be at .05-.06. Feeling of warmth, relaxation, mild sedation, exaggeration of emotion and behavior, decrease reaction time; impaired judgment about continued drinking. Whiskey= feeling of warmth but actually thinning your blood and making you colder. Some believe shots are okay because their smaller- 1 shot = 1 12oz. beer. This is not a basis for if drinking is right or wrong these are just scientific facts.
Major confusion in the church. There are people who love Jesus who are on both sides of this issues. What does the Bible say? All Christians can agree drunkenness is sin…Isaiah 5:11-12, Prov. 23:20-21, Eph. 5:18. To get drunk is sin. All believers can agree on that.
But to drink is not a sin. In fact God says some positive things about alcohol. Psalm 104:14-15, Isaiah 55:1. Jesus drank wine, Matthew 11:18-19- Some might say, “maybe he was drinking grape juice.” If that was true why would they accuse him of being a drunkard if it was just grape juice. Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine.
So if drunkenness is sin but drinking is not what then do we need to know? Drinking is not sin but abstinence still might be the best way for a believer to keep from sinning. Why? Because living a life of holiness that is pleasing to God means living in the middle of two polar opposites. One side is incredibly legalistic while the other is completely immoral. You have to live a life of balance and to do that means you may have to sacrifice things in life that may not be sin, but you know you cannot say no to, you have a hard time letting go of, things that will hurt your relationship with Christ or things that set a bad example for others.
Our natural tendancies are sin and evil and immorality. Nobody need to teach us how to be bad. So to me when it comes to the issue of alcohol I believe it is better to not drink at all then to have to worry about how much is too much or worry about falling into pressure, or worrying about if my drinking might lead someone down a wrong path.
Besides alcohol there are many “gray areas” the bible never directly addresses like smoking, tattoos, clothing(what’s appropriate for school or church or swimming), should we watch rated R movies, should we watch TV shows that portray any sex or violence, should our kids play Grand Theft Auto, should teenagers kiss or even hold hands, should we listen to music that is not categorized as “Christian”?