Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Response Regarding “Sipping Christians”

I want to respond to a comment made regarding the recent post, Sipping Christians. The best way is to insert comments so I will. I appreciate your response but I feel this deserves a public response. The responder's comments are in quotes.

"I want to respond to this blog post not because I necessarily want to change your mind (though I'd be glad if you did) but because I would like to convince you that there are Bible-believing, Jesus-loving, true-blue Christians who believe that God has not forbidden moderate consumption of alcohol."

First, there is no convincing me of this so forget that. I have been saved for almost thirty-three years now and I plan to stay on the same road I've been on. I've lived in victory in Jesus for the past thirty-three years and plan to continue with God's help. I've had the same wife for thirty-two (and the only one) and four grown children who attend church regularly. I will tell you that some of them are not living like they should but they have not rejected God or his word. Some just don't live all of it. I used to drink and play in the nightclubs in college and after that but when I got saved, the alcohol went. Why would I want to partake in something that even many sinners will not partake in and many others have been delivered of?

"The Bible clearly prohibits getting drunk; I'm not aware of any Christians who disagree with that statement. As for the verses you quoted I believe they are all concerned with the abuse of alcohol, not its moderate use. The statement "wine is a mocker" is the same sort of statement as "knowledge puffs up" in the New Testament. Of course we don't believe everyone with knowledge is arrogant. The verse is saying that knowledge has the potential to make someone arrogant. The same goes for wine. It will mock the one who is deceived by it. And note the language: "mocker" and "raging." Both sound like words used to describe someone who is drunk. Being "deceived" by wine and strong drink sounds like a euphemism for being drunk."

I don't think you can take the scripture regarding "knowledge puffs up" in the same context as "wine is a mocker." Here is the scripture: "Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth." 1 Corinthians 8:1 The last part of the verse sheds more light as to why we should not partake of beer, wine, etc. Paul was talking about eating things sacrificed to idols and his main point was that, the idol is nothing to the believer however to the idol worshipper it was like a deity, therefore the believer's eating things sacrificed to idols would definitely be a bad witness. The same goes for alcohol.

"There are, in fact, positive references to alcohol in the Bible. God has given wine to make men's hearts glad (Psalm 104:14-15). Melchizedek gives wine to Abraham. Wine is a part of various OT sacrifices. We should drink wine with a merry heart (Eccl. 9:7). There are others: Is. 55:1, Amos 9:13-15, Is. 25:6-9."

Note that none of these are in the New Testament and you may also want to consider the incident of Noah and Canaan when Noah became drunk and what happened. Please read Genesis 9:20-29. Also, the incident of Lot and his two daughters where wine was used to cause their father to commit insect. Please read Genesis 19:30-38. The positive references are made in that the wine was not fermented as is today.

"It is furthermore pretty clear that Jesus himself drank wine. In Luke 7:33-35 Jesus contrasts himself with John the Baptist, who ate no bread and drank no wine. In Luke 1:15 John is prohibited from drinking wine and strong drink. (Even if you want to argue that wine is not alcoholic I'd say it's pretty clear that "strong drink" is alcoholic. And if God's people were not permitted to drink alcohol then why would there need to be a special prohibition made for John?) Jesus contrasts himself with John by saying that his enemies call him a drunkard. There's a clear parallelism here. John did not drink alcohol but Jesus did. Besides, how could Jesus' enemies call him a drunkard if he never drank alcohol?"

Yes, Nazarites, which is what John the Baptist was, were prohibited from drinking anything regarding wine, even the cernal, that's true. However, once again, wine was a staple that was common among the Jews but the fermentation was not like today.

"I think your concern about alcohol being the appearance of evil is misguided. The only people who think moderate consumption of alcohol is a morally questionable practice are those who have been taught that it is. Here's the kicker: consumption of alcohol has only been an issue among Christians in the past couple of centuries, particularly here in America, because of the prohibitionist movement. Talk to a Christian in the ancient or medieval world and they wouldn't understand your concerns. Your argument about alcohol being the appearance of evil only makes sense to you because we are in a culture that has a history of being uncomfortable with alcohol. If you were born in Ireland or Italy or France you wouldn't be asking these questions. And we are not permitted to bind the consciences of God's people just because we are the descendents of sincere, well-meaning, but misguided prohibitionists."

There is no "kicker." You are correct in that through the centuries many in the church drank wine and such however you are not aware of the progress of the church age given in Revelation 2:3 as in the letters to the churches. The sixth church, which was the previous age, was when much of the missionary work was done and ushered in the revivals of the 1900's.

7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 3:7-13 This describes the church up to the recent times.

"Alcoholic wine has always been used in the Lord's Supper throughout church history. Martin Luther, who rediscovered the doctrine of justification by faith alone, was a lover of beer. John Wesley, to whom your own tradition owes so much, is known to have drank wine and beer. (Later Methodists repudiated his example and became prohibitionists.) With all due respect, you're quite wrong that the traditional, Bible-believing church has rejected alcohol. It's quite the opposite.

As I said, I'm not trying to turn you into a drinker. I am troubled, however, by your condemnation of Christians who disagree with you on this issue. Believe me, I know many devout Christians who love Jesus every bit as much as you do, who pray, go to church, read and believe the Bible, and still do not believe there is any sin is drinking a beer or having a glass of wine. But we don't even have to get into that kind of argument. I think the Biblical argument is strongly on my side. At the least I'd for you to acknowledge that there is a possibility that fellow Christians can disagree about this and not condemn each other as false Christians. "

You are right though, about today. Many do believe they can "sip" and still be right with God. That's because we are now in a different age. See below.

But, you may have a point, because now we are living in the Laodicean age where Jesus says, "15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

Could it be that we're too busy trying to justify our sins and actions to get that faith needed to make it through? That glass of wine isn't going to help you pray through to salvation and the Holy Ghost! May the Lord Help you as you seek after him in the Spirit of Truth.

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