Tasty Toxins: The Long Version

December 17, 2005 — 64 Comments

“‘Everything is permissible’–but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible’–but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”
–1 Corinthians 10:17

Quite an interesting verse in light of our recent discussion about consuming alcohol, the effects of it, and what the Scripture says about it. It’s a controversial topic–one I’m not afraid to tackle. It needs to be wrestled with, and I hope the truth shines through.

A lot has been said. Every side has basically weighed in. We have every extreme talking, we have people in the middle, and we have people leaning one way or the other.

I have promised to look at the issue once more, and to examine especially the comments of Steve McCoy, Joe Thorn, Derek Wallace, and One Salient Oversight, as well as a few others.

Steve–it’s your turn first.

But you have worked pretty hard to isolate the passages on drunkenness and these aren’t anti-alcohol but anti-abuse…We should rather seek to use the gift in the way God intended. That means abstinence is not a biblical position.

I can take that two ways–I can take it as you saying “Christians are not allowed to drink” is not a Biblical position or I can take it as “saying drinking is not best for Christians” is not a biblical position.

Now, if I assume you were speaking about the first instance, then I would agree. I never said that. I said drinking is not best for Christians. And that’s where I stand.

What truly stands is the fact that drinking alcohol is not necessary like continuing life or eating to stay alive. It is very unlike those things. One needs to realize this when they bring that argument to the floor.

The Bible doesn’t mention the goodness of smoking like it does with alcohol (Ps 104:15).

What does Psalm 104:14-15 say exactly?

He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for man to cultivate—
bringing forth food from the earth:
wine that gladdens the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine,
and bread that sustains his heart.

Now, that is a very, very good point. A point, which I am sure, everyone automatically says, “well, there you are. You can’t beat that verse and you can’t beat all of these verses either”:

Ecclesiastes 9:7 – “drink your wine with a merry heart, for God approves what you do.”
Psalm 104:15 – the Psalmist writes “wine gladdens the heart of a man.”
Isaiah 25:6 – God will provide a feast of rich foods and choice wines.
Amos 9:14 – God declares that His people shall plant their vineyards and drink their wine.
Zech. 10:7 – God says that when He saves His people, their hearts shall be glad as with wine.
Gen. 14:18 – Melchizedek offers a bread and wine sacrifice, and Jesus is the Priest in the same manner.
Gen. 27:25 – Isaac brought Jacob wine, and he drank, with God’s favor.
Neh. 8:10 – Nehemiah commands the faithful to drink sweet wine to celebrate the Lord and His holy day.

“Tim, you’ve just been shot out of the water. You’re dead, you’re gone, and you have no argument whatsoever. Why bother?”

Seems to be, until we do some deeper study–study deeper than just glancing at all of those verses. But before I look at this, let me clarify something: I am not saying drinking is a sin. I am saying that it is not best for Christians. I hope you get that and do not miss it.

What we truly need to consider is what “wine” are these passages referring to? Is it “non-alcoholic wine” (which sounds like a oxymoron) or are they what we today consider as “wine.” Certainly, this wine was not grape juice, and had some alcoholic content. What we need to look at is the historical aspects. What was the wine like in biblical times versus today?

Although there is dispute over the alcoholic quality or lack thereof in Biblical wines, it is safe to say that today God would not condone the use of fermented drink.

Alcoholic wines in Bible times were not nearly as full of alcohol as they are today; while modern wine may be 12% alcohol, unmixed wine in Biblical times would not have exceeded 4%. It was considered barbaric in Roman times to drink unmixed wine, and citizens would mix water and wine from about one part wine to four parts water to one part wine to eight parts water, and this would leave an alcoholic content of between 0.5 and 1% alcohol. Simply put, one would have to drink twelve glasses of Roman wine to even begin to equal one glass of modern wine, and such a quantity in Roman times would be inordinate for an average meal.

We must remember the wise words of Solomon in Proverbs 20:1 and Proverbs 23:31-35:

Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler; And whosoever erreth thereby is not wise.

Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, When it sparkleth in the cup, When it goeth down smoothly: At the last it biteth like a serpent, And stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange things, And thy heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, Or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.

“They have stricken me,” shalt thou say, “and I was not hurt; They have beaten me, and I felt it not: When shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.”

It is also good to note that “drunkenness,” which in Greek even includes the process whereby one gets drunk, is condemned as a “work of the flesh” by Paul in Galatians 5:19-21, and those who would do such things “will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” There is no need in our day to drink beverages with minor alcoholic contents since we have pure water and many other alternatives, and it cannot be proven to be profitable to bring one so close to temptation to sin (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:23).

Now, obviously, today’s wine is entirely different from the wine of Bible times. Yes, it was alcoholic, but there was so little. An interesting conclusion can be drawn from this. If Biblical alcohol was alcoholic, and it was permitted only in moderation, then those who drink only a single drink today may very well be exceeding moderation spoken about in the Scripture! (http://www.gospelgazette.com/gazette/2000/nov/page11.htm)

The sad fact is everyone who is pushing for drinking in moderation is entirely correct. The only problem is that you can’t even drink one cup without exceeding the limits set in the Bible.

But the questions continue:

Why would it [wine] be used for OT sacrifices? Why would Jesus make it in John 2 when the wedding guests were already getting inebriated?

First of all, a sacrifice was giving something up. The Israelites had to give up wine to God. Now, in the second case, it’s much harder to grasp. The people at the wedding were getting drunk, yet the New and Old Testament tells us that God is not pleased with drunkenness. Why then would this change now?

I highly doubt that Jesus would have made wine that was different from the ordinary wine of that day–wine that would not make you drunk unless you drank about 12 cups of it. That’s where I stand on that issue, and I believe that there is nothing wrong with that as long as you remember what I’ve already said about biblical wine.

Joe Thorn weighs in on the debate:

I would argue that your father is not seeing the impact of alcohol, but the impact of selfishness, gluttony, drunkenness, etc. He sees the impact of sin, not simply the impact of wine/beer/alcohol. To push abstention because of drunkenness and resulting deaths would be the same as arguing for radical gun control because “guns kill people.” Though I imagine most tee totaling Christians are gun-friendly.

My dad will tell you about these men–men who started with one drink in moderation. They never thought they’d be in the place they are now. But now they are suddenly behind a wheel, telling the police that they can handle it. It all started with one drink, one sip, when they were young. They developed a taste for alcohol, and started drinking. Just a little bit. Then it grew. That’s how this stuff works.

Another interesting look at alcohol is from Marshall Sherman

All toxins are not bad, which is why I believe the scripture in which Paul tells Timothy to drink a little wine and not just water is there.

I believe Alex King answered this question well in the comment section of his post “Side Effects May Include…”

1 Timothy 5:23 is commonly quoted to say that wine is healthy, but could it perhaps be just the lesser of two evils? We all realize that the water was not safe to drink in those days, and so most people drank wine. Why does Paul have to tell Timothy to do this? Perhaps he was abstaining for spiritual reasons, and because of that, running into stomach trouble from all the bad stuff in the water. Why else would Paul prefix the whole thing with “drink no longer water”?

I believe that answers that question.
What it really comes down to is something I’ve been bringing up over and over. Why drink alcohol? There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to start drinking. You have to develop a taste for alcohol. It’s not essential to life.

There aren’t any things that benefit you when you drink alcohol.
What we need to be is filled not with wine, but with the Spirit of God. We need to be “drunk” with the Spirit. We need to be overflowing with the Spirit.

I think commenter Sparky said some of what I’m trying to convey best:

You will NEVER have the problem of:
– Drunk Behavior
– People Killed by drunk driving
– Children abused by drunk fathers
– Deaths(Like my Grandfather) because of years of Drinking
– Other Crimes commited while under the influence
– Broken lives because of alcohol
– Broken homes because of alcohol
– Broken minds because of alcohol
If you NEVER take the first drink.
I encourage you Tim, and any other young person who has yet to take that first drink, never to do it.

Exactly right. Why start drinking other than the fact that “wine has a very pleasant taste to it and goes very well with a lot of food served at dinners.” If that’s all, then why drink other than the fact that you enjoy it. There is no reason to let yourself get into a situation that may possibly prove dangerous to your future health, or could possibly lead to drunkenness.

I heartily encourage you to not drink. It is not best. It is permissible, but it is not best. That’s where I stand–and I’m not going to bend in any way. There is no reason to drink today’s alcohol, which can possibly lead to sin. You may think you can handle it–so did those guys sitting in jail for drunk driving.

Think before you drink. It could save your life (and others).

Tim Sweetman

Posts

Tim Sweetman is a 22-year-old writer, blogger, and student who lives near our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. He has been much more widely known by his “code-name,” Agent Tim. This name also served as the name of his popular blog, which received over 750,000 visits between 2005 to 2007. In 2005, he quickly rose to become a leading teenage spokesperson and cultural critic within the booming blogosphere, taking on issues such as MySpace, alcohol, homeschooling, pride, racism, tolerance, and other topics relating to our culture today. His blog has come to the attention of people such as Albert Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Alex and Brett Harris, and La Shawn Barber. Tim’s written work has appeared in Lifeway’s Living With Teenagers (February 2012), Lookout Magazine, FUSION Magazine, The Brink Online, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Virtue Magazine, Regenerate Our Culture Online Magazine, and on many other blogs and websites across the internet like Marry Well and the Lies Young Women Believe Blog. He has also been featured in WORLD Magazine, The Towers Magazine, and Maryland Newsline. He is scheduled to have an article appear in Veritas Magazine this December. Most recently, his work can be found on Focus on the Family’s Boundless Webzine. His personal interests include writing (surprise!) and sports, both watching and playing. He is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan.

64 responses to Tasty Toxins: The Long Version

  1. Well done Tim. Once again you handled that really well and proved your point and it was completely Biblically based. I would write a longer more thought-provoking comment but I completely agree with you.

  2. Tim,
    Not to question the guys credentials or anything, but how do we know that the wine back then was less alcoholic than now? Obviously it had to have been close, if the ratio was truly 12/1 then that means that in order to get drunk these people were drinking an INSANE number of glasses. Surely if you had to drink 36 glasses of wine to get drunk they would know that was frowned upon. Or question it by themselves, at the very least. Another thing, if the wine had a “limit”, so to speak, on the amount of alcohol you could consume, then why didn’t God saym “You can’t have a drink with more than 4% alcohol in it.” Or 0.5%? Surely he would have known that alcohol would become more concentrated. I mean, after all, He is omniscient.

    “I believe that answers the question.”

    No. Only because in the scripture, Paul tells Timothy to no longer drink only water. He never tells him to stop drinking water altogether.

    23Drink water no longer exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. 1 Tim. 5:23 AMP

    Therefore, my contention still stands. If Paul was telling him to because the water was bad, (which, I’m not really contesting, just contesting whether or not that was why Paul told him to drink some wine) then he would have told him to no longer drink ANY water.

    Why drink alcohol?

    Because you like the taste. Why eat chocolate? It has absolutely no health benefits for you.

    My parents will have a drink of wine every once in a while. I’ve never seen them drunk, tipsy, or otherwise influenced by it.


    You will NEVER have the problem of:
    – Drunk Behavior
    – People Killed by drunk driving
    – Children abused by drunk fathers
    – Deaths(Like my Grandfather) because of years of Drinking
    – Other Crimes commited while under the influence
    – Broken lives because of alcohol
    – Broken homes because of alcohol
    – Broken minds because of alcohol
    If you NEVER take the first drink.
    I encourage you Tim, and any other young person who has yet to take that first drink, never to do it.

    True. However, that could be said of a lot of things. Satan will pervert anything He can. I mean, what about guns? If you never touched a gun, then you couldn’t kill someone. Or what about sex? That can be perverted. Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. And he will try and pervert anything and everything he can.

    Oh, and as a side note. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But guns sure help. I don’t think it would have the same effect if you stood there and yelled BANG really loud ;)

  3. I don’t believe your argument is biblically based. Even though you have admitted that drinking alcohol is not sinful, you still argue that it is best for us not to use it.

    The problem is, again, the Psalm 104 reference. You cannot interpret the verse in any other way as to believe that wine is actually a gift from God for us to enjoy.

    I can’t understand why you would continue to hold onto this unbiblical position.

    There is no doubt that the Bible comes down very hard upon the misuse of alcohol. God is explicit in his denunciation of the abuse of alcohol. But nowhere in the Bible is God similarly explicit as you are in recommending people do not drink alcohol

    Why can’t you see that “drinking in moderation” is not only the best solution, but the only truly biblical solution that fits in with all the verses you have mentioned?

    I stick by the bible, Tim.

  4. I am going to have fun weighing in on this one as well. ; )

    Unfortunately it will have to wait until tomorrow or Monday. Great post though Tim, very thought provoking. I had a feeling you’d be bringing up the wine-was-different-then argument.

  5. My question: are you prepared to say that, while it is not a sin to eat ice cream, Christians should not eat it, because it is not the best thing for them to do? Ice cream and other desserts have many, many bad effects on one’s health (I get the gory details from working at a health food store), yet I assume you agree that it is perfectly acceptable to eat dessert in moderation. Why is wine different?

    Also, I don’t think it’s very solid to say that taking one sip of alcohol means you risk becoming a drunkard. I know many Christians, my parents included, who drink a glass of wine once a week or so, and yet never come close to being ‘inebriated’ (I love that word).

    Anyway, I’m loving this discussion. I can’t wait for you to keep responding.

  6. Once again, well done, Tim.

    Of course, I still don’t agree that it “wouldn’t be best.” I admire and applaud your position but that does not mean that I myself hold it.

    My family, generations back, has an alchoholic history. I’m aware of that, and of the risks that there would be in my even having one drink. However, there are a few things I have in my favor – my faith, my Christian friends, and my knowing about everything associated.

  7. Great post, Tim. Nicely researched! :)

  8. As a homebrewer, I know that if you add yeast to grape juice, you get wine. I think it is a big stretch to suggest that the wine then was different than the wine now. The process is pretty simple. Unless they had different yeast, or different grapes, they where drinking the same stuff we are. Considering that there are pleanty of examples of drunkeness in the bible, this is likely the case. The reduced alcohol content argument is convienient for those promoting abstainence, but I don’t think it is reasonable.

    The benefits of alcohol are many — especially before the advent of modern medicine. Nowadays we have a lot of alternatives that do not have the same side effects. As a result our culture is mainly interested in alcohol for it’s side effects.

    I think I agree with your stand. In most cases, It is permissible, but not beneficial. Some people cannot drink in moderation. It is all or nothing for them. I should not become a stumbling block to them by encouraging moderation over abstainence.

    On the other hand you can become a stumbling block by presenting an unbiblical legalistic viewpoint on alcohol.

  9. Greetings to all!
    First of all, I want to say how much I am enjoying this discussion. Second, I have a few things to point out.
    To those of you who have come down hard on Agent Tim about his posts, I don’t think he is trying to revive prohibition. Neither do I think he is trying to start a war. You are jumping down his throat, so to speak, like he is saying you are wrong for being pro drinking. All he is doing is voicing his opinion. So why are you comming down so hard on him?
    Also to One Salient Oversight, the bible is interpreted in many ways. That is why there are so many different religions. I believe that alcohol is bad for you, because, in the long run, it is detremental to your health. Maybe not very much, if drank in moderation, but possibly someone would be a bit healthier if they didn’t drink it at all. Just like chocolate. I am a chocoholic, and I know that I would feel ten times better if I didn’t eat it, but all I get (or all that I know that I get) from it is a sugar rush, and some added pounds. I would much rather get that instead of a bad liver. Mind you though, I am not saying you are bad or wrong for your opinion, this is just mine.
    Although I don’t believe in drinking any alcohol, it does have it’s uses. We buy big cases at a time (I don’t know what kind it is), but we don’t drink it. We use it to make tinctures, for our medicine. We use herbs for those of you who were worried about that last sentence.
    If you like alcohol, and you think it is o.k. for people to drink it in moderation, thats o.k. with me. I will listen to you on that subject all day if you want. But don’t dog me for my beliefs just because you think I am wrong. I try to respect all opinions (though I do slip sometimes):)
    I am wondering how many people have heard the song “Alcohol” by Brad Paisley. It is a very funny, yet true song about alcohol. I won’t write the whole song here, but just a few lines.
    “I am medicine and I am poison, I can help you up or make you fall,”
    I really like the song, and I hope that one day all of you guys will hear it. Yes alcohol is good, and it is bad. But to me, the bad outweighs the good. So I won’t drink any.

  10. I, like Derek, will have to do more on Monday, but for now, I wanted to address the end of Josh R.’s comment:

    On the other hand you can become a stumbling block by presenting an unbiblical legalistic viewpoint on alcohol.

    Right on target. I’m not being legalistic. As I said in the article, “I am not saying drinking is a sin. I am saying that it is not best for Christians. I hope you get that and do not miss it.”

  11. I hope you don’t feel as if I’m jumping down your throat Tim. That was not my intention at all! I, like you, was simply presenting my opinion and trying to back it up. Please don’t misinterpret that. I don’t think any less of you, or think you are trying to force your opinion on anyone. We can disagree but but still be friends. Sounds cliche, but it’s true.

    I still respect you, even though I think you’re wrong. ;)

  12. Yes, it was alcoholic, but there was so little.

    While I have a hard time believing the “less alcoholic thing”, I wanted to address that statement. It means nothing. It still had alchohol. So, you are saying alcohol is ok in moderation? Or, Christians should not drink, period? Don’t say “it is best for Christians not to drink.” because that doesn’t answer my question.

    If you are coming from a health perspective, please tell me, what’s the difference between eating junk food and drinking alchohol? And BTW, drinking is good for you in moderation (and red wine is supposed to be good for your heart).

    If you are just coming from a “I think drinking is bad, just because it can be abused” perspective, then that is your personal conviction and you can’t make the choice that it is best for Christians not drink.

    If there is another reason not listed, please let us know. I hope you are not offended by anything I’ve written, but this is the first time I’ve seen you make a decision on “what’s best for Christians” that is not biblical, and in many areas, not even logical. I’m finding this whole “debate” very interesting and I’m not at all trying to make anyone mad. Just pointing things out that I find inconsistent and wanting to know your opinion.

  13. Amen, Agent Tim! Another great post on a contreversial subject. Morgan McCawley said it best: “Yes, alcohol is good, and it is bad. But to me, the bad outweighs the good. So I won’t drink any.”

  14. Coie said:
    If you are coming from a health perspective, please tell me, what’s the difference between eating junk food and drinking alchohol? And BTW, drinking is good for you in moderation (and red wine is supposed to be good for your heart).

    I say:
    Eating a bunch of junk food in one sitting never hurt anyone else physically, like drunk driving does. Though, I bet that a person has had a heart attack while driving and gotten into a wreck and possibly killed someone, all because of years of bad eating that gave them clogged arteries. But it is much more rare. So rare that it is never mentioned in the news if it ever has happened.

    Marshall, your last two paragraphs of your first post here is right on. And, yes, maybe we shouldn’t be doing those things if they could stumble us to live by the flesh instead of the spirit. 1 Cor Ch. 7. I won’t talk about it here because it has been pointed out to me that it may not be quite proper since there are young people on here. I think they could have a very mature discussion, but it isn’t my place to decide that. But if we can do without certain “things”, then it is better to do without if it will help us to be more in line with the spirit.

    I think Tim is right. Since we don’t know how alcohol will effect us spiritually, it would be best not to try it. If you’ve already tried it enough to know that you will not get drunk or be a heavy drinker, and you are always keeping your relationship with God at its best, then I don’t see a problem with drinking occasionally, and only a little then. Jesus did drink and never got drunk. Some people think it’s ok to get a little drunk. It’s not. Jesus also didn’t get married. Should we follow Jesus example and not get married? Read 1 Cor 7. It is just Paul’s opinion, but he was inspired by God,not like we are inspired by God. I mean really inspired by God, enough to make it in the bible.

  15. Tim — I agree so much with what you’ve written. My husband and I stopped drinking years a go and know it is the best thing we’ve ever done.

    As I studied and researched on this — I came to one thing. God had people take a Nazarite vow in the old testament — they abstained from all alcohol to be set aside for service to God. I know some very devout Christians who have chosen the other side of this issue and I do not doubt their Christian sincerity.

    But for me, I believe that I choose to not drink alcohol because I am set aside for service to God. That is my choice. That is my vow.

    Whereas I agree totally with you, I find it important that we must focus as Christians on the cords that tie us together — the holiness of Jesus Christ as God’s Son and his redemptive plan of salvation on Calvary. We are not to spend our time in vain disputes.

    I hope that the Christians on the other side of the issue can honestly ask God what He wants them to do. Is alcohol helping their witness? Is it bringing them closer to God? Is it helping them in any way?

    “[I] do not live the rest of [my] earthly life for evil human desires but rather for the will of God.” 1 Peter 4:2

    I will continue to love my friends who choose to drink and not see that as an indictment of their unsaved status — we are saved by the blood of Christ alone – despite our sins. Drunkenness has always been a sin – (Galations 5:19-21 and 1 Peter 4:30)

    Can one have one drink without being drunk? That is for each person to determine in their prayer closet.

    As for me and my house, we are joyfully, happily alcohol free and never missing it a moment!

    Merry Christmas!

  16. What about what Jesus says?

    It’s not what goes into a man’s mouth that makes him unclean, but what comes out.

    Aside from bad breath, what bad things come out of it. I’m not talking generally, I’m talking about a specific person. If…Joe…were to drink alcohol and it did not cause him to sin, then according to Jesus, it’s not wrong. But if Suzie were to drink alcohol and it made her do stupid things, or whatever the case may be, then for her that thing is sin.

    I think this is something that is going to have to be decided on an individual basis. It’s like Paul talks about.

    “One person says it is ok to eat meat, one thinks it is not. It’s not worth arguing over, let the one that says it’s ok to eat meat, eat meat. As long as it doesn’t cause them or others to stumble. And the one that thinks it is wrong, let him not eat meat. It’s not worth quarrelling over.” -Marshallified Version ;)

    basically, it’s up to the person. Something like this, that is not clearly set out in scripture, is up to each person to decide…

  17. Annalise: those of us who are comparing drinking alcohol with eating junk food are advocating drinking in moderation, not drunk driving. Thus far, no one has addressed that specific comparison. Just for clarification. ;-)

  18. Hello Tim. I would like to share a story that my mom has told me many times.

    My mom was a missionary in Scotland many years ago. She believed it was wrong to drink any sort of alcohol. One day, she was invited to some non-Christians’ home, to share the Gospel with them.

    When my mother arrived, they offered her a small glass of some very expenise wine. They did not know that my mother did not believe in drinking. Of course my mother refused to drink, and that offended these people.

    Today, my mother wishes that she had taken that small glass of wine. She believes that what she tried to say about the Gospel was rejected because she offended the homeowners. It wasn’t a lot of wine, definitely not enough to get my mother drunk.

  19. Karen Kovaka Said:

    Annalise: those of us who are comparing drinking alcohol with eating junk food are advocating drinking in moderation, not drunk driving. Thus far, no one has addressed that specific comparison. Just for clarification. ;-)

    Karen,

    Thanks for that. I was just coming in here to say that. I was talking about drinking in moderation and also the long term, not immediate, effects of junk food vs. alcohol.

    Tim said: If Biblical alcohol was alcoholic, and it was permitted only in moderation, then those who drink only a single drink today may very well be exceeding moderation spoken about in the Scripture!

    Tim, the moderation talked about in Scripture is: Don’t get drunk. It doesn’t say “Have only one glass”. So, what moderation exactly are you referring to in this statement?

    I’m going to post part of my above comment again, because I don’t want it passed over when you start answering tomorrow.

    Yes, it was alcoholic, but there was so little.

    While I have a hard time believing the “less alcoholic thing”, I wanted to address that statement. It means nothing. It still had alchohol. So, you are saying alcohol is ok in moderation? Or, Christians should not drink, period? Don’t say “it is best for Christians not to drink.” because that doesn’t answer my question.

    What’s the difference between eating junk food and drinking alchohol? And BTW, drinking is good for you in moderation (and red wine is supposed to be good for your heart).

    If you are just coming from a “I think drinking is bad, just because it can be abused” perspective, then that is your personal conviction and you can’t make the choice that it is best for Christians not drink.

    If there is another reason not listed, please let us know. I hope you are not offended by anything I’ve written, but this is the first time I’ve seen you make a decision on “what’s best for Christians” that is not biblical, and in many areas, not even logical. I’m finding this whole “debate” very interesting and I’m not at all trying to make anyone mad. Just pointing things out that I find inconsistent and wanting to know your opinion.

    Unfortunately, I think I’m driving across the state tomorrow (er, today) and I won’t see any more comments until night. Darn!

  20. I was disappointed to see several people, when commenting on this post, praise Tim for his “biblically based” argument; refer to alcohol as “being detrimental” in the long run; and imply that there is a big risk of getting drunk from one glass of wine or beer.

    Let’s start with Tim’s post, though. First of all, Tim completely switches his argument. He originally argued in his first post that Christians should not drink alcohol because of what the Bible says: “There are many reasons that I oppose drinking, mainly because of the fact that God speaks in His Word about strong drink..”

    But faced with literally dozens of Bible passages that show that God does not have any problem with Christians drinking (in moderation), Tim has switched his argument to: There wasn’t as much alcohol in the stuff they drank back then! In the process, Tim has clearly abandoned any Biblical basis for his view, and his original argument—that it is best for Christians to not drink at all because of what the Bible says—is now completely without merit.

    As others have already pointed out, the level of alcohol in wine over the centuries is irrelevant. Alcohol is alcohol, period!

    And did anyone notice the sudden jump Tim made in his post? “If Biblical alcohol was alcoholic, and it was permitted only in moderation, then those who drink only a single drink today may very well be exceeding moderation spoken about in the Scripture!”

    Next paragraph: “The only problem is that you can’t even drink one cup without exceeding the limits set in the Bible.”

    Really? How did we go from “may very well be exceeding” to “you can’t drink one cup without exceeding”?

    There is another jump in logic here that is even more important though. Tim quotes a source that concludes: “Simply put, one would have to drink twelve glasses of Roman wine to even begin to equal one glass of modern wine.”

    So what does Tim say later on? “I highly doubt that Jesus would have made wine that was different from the ordinary wine of that day—wine that would not make you drunk unless you drank about 12 cups of it.”

    As a side note, while it is true that Romans and Greeks mixed wine with water, I believe Tim’s source is incorrect when it states that “citizens would mix water and wine from about one part wine to four parts water to one part wine to eight parts water.” Common sense tells us that diluting wine by this much is a bit strange and hard to believe, and after doing some research, it appears to me that wine was diluted usually between a two parts water/one part wine ratio and a two parts wine/one part water ratio.

    This would mean that the “12 glasses” conclusion of the source and Tim’s “12 cups made you drunk” conclusion would both be inaccurate. But once again, Tim’s conclusion really comes out of thin air, especially when you consider the following: Tim quotes a source that says 12 cups of wine at that time equals one cup of wine now, then says 12 cups of wine at that time made you drunk. That must logically mean that one cup of wine today makes a person drunk, and that is—without a doubt—not true at all.

    This means that somewhere along the line, there is a mistake in Tim’s argument, his source’s claim, or both.

    (to be continued)

  21. Tim says, “The only problem is that you can’t even drink one cup [of today’s wine] without exceeding the limits set in the Bible.”

    What limits in the Bible are you referring to, Tim? Obviously, the Bible only sets one limit: do not get drunk. There is no limit on specific numbers of glasses we’re allowed to drink, and there is no limited on whether we drink wine that’s 4 percent alcohol, mixed wine that’s 2 percent alcohol, or today’s wine that may be 10 or 12 percent alcohol.. The only limit is: do not get drunk. You claim that we can’t even drink one cup of today’s wine because it exceeds the limits set in the Bible (don’t get drunk!). But once again, I cannot stress this enough: one glass of wine does not get a person drunk!! Perhaps if a toddler or a young child were to gulp down a glass of wine on an empty stomach, it would him or her drunk, but that’s about it.

    Tim, look at this website: http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/FAQs/General-English/FAQs13.htm
    It’s the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Do you see what it recommends as a safe level of drinking?

    “For most adults, moderate alcohol use–up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women and older people–causes few if any problems.”

    Your claim that one glass of today’s wine exceeds the limits set in the Bible has no Biblical basis and no basis in today’s medical and health fields.

    This point can really be hammered home. As you have admitted, drinking alcohol moderately has benefits. By one researcher’s estimate, there are 200-300 different studies that show clear benefits of moderately drinking alcohol. (see my posts at Smarthomeschool for details!).

    It is generally recognized today that people who drink one to two glasses of alcohol a day benefit the most, are the healthiest and live the longest. If you drink less than that per day, you start to lose any health benefits (and coincidentally, you die younger). You drink more than that, you start to lose any health benefits, and you die younger as well. Drinking seven drinks on Saturday does not make up for not drinking anything the rest of the week either—this too is not as healthy and is certainly unhealthy.

    (This is in today’s wine, remember!!)

    As any Christian ought to be able to see, this is part of God’s plan. From the Bible passages quoted, God has clearly given wine and strong drink to men as a wonderful gift. If His people do not use this gift, they do not receive any of the health benefits. If His people abuse his gift, they do not receive any health benefits and instead, often suffer severe health problems. The more people abuse His gift, the more problems they suffer.

    But the people who enjoy God’s gift in a God-pleasing manner also enjoy all the health benefits, including longer life!!!! And clearly, studies show that one to two drinks (of today’s alcohol) is the amount that provides the most health benefits and the longest life, and that one to two drinks (of today’s alcohol) is a perfectly safe level of consumption for adults.

    If I didn’t know better, I’d think God, in His wisdom, has set up a perfect plan that rewards those who responsibly use His gift and punishes those who abuse it. And the level of responsible use is clearly one to two drinks of today’s alcohol.

    Tim, if your claim that one drink of today’s alcohol breaks the limits set forth in the Bible, don’t you think we would see the health benefits of alcohol consumption decline at that amount? Why, then, are the health benefits greatest at this amount?

    (To be continued)

  22. Tim writes: “Why drink alcohol? There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to start drinking. You have to develop a taste for alcohol. It’s not essential to life.”

    You have to develop a taste for ANY food, not just alcohol. Some people never do develop a taste for it. Some people (like my dad—who happens to be a minister, btw) enjoy wine but don’t like beer. Some people like beer but can’t stand wine.

    Yes, there is a reason to start drinking. We already covered this. Moderate drinking is healthy for you. And it happens to be a gift from God that makes our hearts “merry.”

    Tim writes: “There aren’t any things that benefit you when you drink alcohol.”

    Yes, there are. We already covered this. Moderate drinking is healthy for you. And the Bible itself lists the benefits of wine.

    Tim writes: “Why start drinking other than the fact that “wine has a very pleasant taste to it and goes very well with a lot of food served at dinners.” If that’s all, then why drink other than the fact that you enjoy it.”

    You act like there is something wrong with this! But as we showed in the numerous Bible passages that you never really responded to and just brushed off, wine is a gift from God that he meant to be enjoyed! Believe it or not, God does provide us with numerous gifts that he meant for us to enjoy and to be thankful for. Otherwise, why don’t you just sell off all your possessions and your house and extra clothes and live life on the streets? Why use all your possessions and your house other than the fact that you enjoy them?

    Tim writes: “There is no reason to let yourself get into a situation that may possibly prove dangerous to your future health, or could possibly lead to drunkenness.”

    What happens when we apply this kind of thinking to other things? Perhaps we should never eat anything sweet due to the fact that it may possibly prove dangerous to our future health, or that it could lead to obesity and/or gluttony?

    Perhaps we should never engage in normal marital relations when married, either! Doing so would, after all, open the door to addiction to evil things and possibly lead to things like unfaithfulness or impure thoughts, etc.

    As someone correctly pointed out, this type of thing can even be applied to gun control issues, etc. And I’m sure you’re not in favor of gun control.
    ; )

    Tim writes: “There is no reason to drink today’s alcohol, which can possibly lead to sin. You may think you can handle it—so did those guys sitting in jail for drunk driving.”

    See above. As a Christian, it should not be hard to avoid getting drunk. A) Don’t hang out at bars or the wrong kind of parties. B) Don’t hang out with people who drink excessively. C) Don’t drink when you’re in a bad mood, angry, upset, etc. D) Always limit yourself to one or two glasses a day!

    Tim, it’s nice that you keep pointing out the people who end up in jail for drunk driving, but you know what? There are a lot more examples of Christians who enjoy alcohol responsibly and have never had any problems, and never will. My parents both fit in that category, as do pretty much everyone else in our congregation. Alcohol abuse is simply not an issue.

    Some comments on what other people wrote:

    “You are jumping down his throat, so to speak, like he is saying you are wrong for being pro drinking. All he is doing is voicing his opinion. So why are you comming down so hard on him?”

    We’re not coming down so hard on him, we’re merely saying that his claim—Christians shouldn’t drink because of what the Bible says—is wrong and unbiblical.

    “I believe that alcohol is bad for you, because, in the long run, it is detremental to your health. Maybe not very much, if drank in moderation, but possibly someone would be a bit healthier if they didn’t drink it at all.”

    I cannot stress enough that this is completely and utterly not true. It is generally agreed upon in the health and medical communities that people who drink moderately (one to two drinks a day) are healthier than those who do not drink at all.

    “I will continue to love my friends who choose to drink and not see that as an indictment of their unsaved status—we are saved by the blood of Christ alone – despite our sins. Drunkenness has always been a sin – (Galations 5:19-21 and 1 Peter 4:30)

    Can one have one drink without being drunk? That is for each person to determine in their prayer closet.”

    Unless you’re drinking something really strong that I’m not as familiar with, like liquor, it is extremely, extremely unlikely, if not downright impossible, to get drunk on one glass of wine or beer.

  23. Hello again!
    This discussion is getting very interesting, so I’ll put in my two cents in again.
    To Derek, first of all, how many people do you know, who drink moderately, are healthier than people who don’t drink? Another thing. When you are happy, you feel good right? And when you are sad or mad, you feel bad, right? Long term health is based more on attitude, than on how much you drink. The people that my family have known who drank for years, were only happy when they drank. When you are sad or mad, your body produces poisons. That is why hypochondriacs can actually get physically sick from their mindset. That is why Jesus said find joy in everything.
    You bring the point that strong drink is a gift from God. Have you ever thought about the fact that those verses were written to the Jews of bible times, in an arid and sandy country, that relied on wine. Just like 1&2 Corinthians were letters written to the Corinthians, so that they could change their ways.
    I know you can’t get drunk on one glass of wine or beer. And we shouldn’t eat sweets, because it is also decremental to our health, in the long run.
    You said “As a Christian, it should not be hard to avoid getting drunk.” But it can be hard for Christians. The way the world is now, Christians have to work much harder not to give into peer pressure. The reason I say that it is harder, is because sadly, many Christian fall into apathy. With apathy, which is laziness, they may not want to try this time to do right. Then it just gets easier and easier to give into that sin.
    I know there are many Christians who drink responsively. And I know you know lots of people who drink responsively. I also want to say that there is a new study that has come out that shows that drinking one to two glasses a day is not that beneficial to your health.
    Of all the people you know that drink, can you honestly say all of them never get drunk?

  24. Wow, this is getting to be a really interesting conversation! Looking forward to your responses Tim!

  25. “Long term health is based more on attitude, than on how much you drink.”

    But I never said that a person’s health was based only on how much he or she drinks. The amount a person drinks is only a contributing factor, along with things like how often the person exercises, the person’s diet, whether the person smokes, etc.

    “Have you ever thought about the fact that those verses were written to the Jews of bible times, in an arid and sandy country, that relied on wine. Just like 1&2 Corinthians were letters written to the Corinthians, so that they could change their ways.”

    Um, we don’t look at 1 and 2 Corinthians and think: “Ha ha! Those stupid Corinthians! We don’t need to worry about this applying to us!” We do the opposite.

    The Bible is God’s word. What you’re saying here and Alex’s “lesser of two evils” argument concerning the Timothy passage strike me as being invalid, but I’m not quite sure where yet.

    “But it can be hard for Christians. The way the world is now, Christians have to work much harder not to give into peer pressure.”

    I know, but there are steps you can take to make sure you don’t put yourself in a position where you are liable to begin drinking irresponsibly.

    “I also want to say that there is a new study that has come out that shows that drinking one to two glasses a day is not that beneficial to your health.”

    I will grant that there is some–some–disagreement on whether drinking alcohol in any amount is beneficial, but I believe most studies are on my side here. As just one example, see http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/AlcoholAndHealth.html

    BTW, when these studies say “one to two drinks,” we are not talking humongous glasses full of wine, here. I believe (I’d have to look this up again, though) that one drink is defined as, for example, a 5 oz glass of wine. I’m not sure what it is for beer.

    “Of all the people you know that drink, can you honestly say all of them never get drunk?”

    Of all the Christian people I know/am friends with, I can honestly say all of them never get drunk. I have no reason at all to believe that any of them in the past ever have, and their behavior is, as far as I am concerned, a model example of how Christians can enjoy alcohol without any ill affects or drunkenness.

    My uncle struggled with alcohol when he was younger, before I was alive. He cleaned himself up though.

    I am acquaintances with some college and high school kids who go out and get drunk, but they are not Christians. And I do not hang out with them outside of classes, etc.

  26. Good point. I have a relative who is an alcoholic, and I have seen what it’s done to his family. I feel like what you posted reinforces what I thought about drinking before: why start?

  27. If these people want to drink, they can drink. I trust that they *think* they know what they are doing. If they get drunk, God can deal with them.

    Tim, and others, if you think it’s best not to drink, don’t drink. I trust that you know what you’re doing. If you don’t drink, you can’t get drunk, and God will deal with you.

    So, if you do drink, you migh get drunk, or get addicted. But guess what? If you don’t drink, you’ll never get drunk and you’ll never get addicted. So when Tim says that it’s the best choice for Christians not to drink (and for everyone else), he is absolutely right. But it is a choice that we get to make.

    We can’t be sure that we will keep our relationship with God as the first and most important thing in our lives. We can try. But we can’t be sure. It is then, when we are weak, that we let things like alcohol and other things that *could* be a problem for us, become more than we can handle. Not always of course. It may be that we are a little down and we may stop praying. Maybe we did something that we feel guilty about. Not a terrible thing. And we stop praying and we get depressed and we like alcohol and know that alcohol can help us not feel. So we drink. It depresses us more. And we feel worse and more guilty. And we still don’t pray. This happens to people. It’s normal, sadly. Alcohol does indeed make people feel depressed. Even just a little sometimes.

    If we stay away from it, it can never make us feel bad. It can never make us drunk. It can never make us lose our senses and do something that we will regret. Can we all agree on that? We still may do some of these things but it won’t be caused by acohol.

    Ok?

  28. I think both sides have made some excellent points. I see what Tim is saying, and understand it, but I also see what the moderation group is saying, and I understand that too…hmm, I don’t really know. Great conversation, though! I’m enjoying reading these comments!

  29. The problem with the ‘If you do drink alcohol occasionally, you might get drunk’ argument is that if we choose to apply it in this area, then why not in other (unreasonable) areas? Where is the line? Why is drinking in moderation different from many other pleasures that are enjoyable – but only in moderation?

    After all, if I do choose to get a credit card, I might spend money I don’t have and bankrupt myself. If I do choose to play poker for M&M’s with my friends, I could become a serious gambler. If I do choose to learn how to drive, I might cause a fatal accident one day. Credit cards, poker, and driving are far from being inherently bad, and I know Tim is not saying that drinking is inherently bad either, but if drinking in moderation is
    not wise or benficial, then why not say the same for these (and many more) activities?

  30. “If you don’t drink, you’ll never get drunk and you’ll never get addicted.”

    This same kind of think applies to all things in life, though. Perhaps we should never eat anything sweet, never engage in normal marital relations, never go hunting or own a gun, never set foot in a car or an airplane, never take any painkillers of any sort, never watch any movies, etc. etc.

  31. Just out of curiosity, I’d like to make two statements and then see which statement people agree with.

    1. It is best for Christians to never drink alcohol under any circumstances.

    2. It is best for Christians to drink moderately and responsibly as long as they do not get drunk, and do not drink enough to impair decision-making ability.

  32. It’s best to do whichever is the safest.

    Derek said:
    This same kind of think applies to all things in life, though. Perhaps we should never eat anything sweet, never engage in normal marital relations, never go hunting or own a gun, never set foot in a car or an airplane, never take any painkillers of any sort, never watch any movies, etc. etc.

    I say:
    If we have the right heart condition toward God, then none of these things will be a problem. It’s when we lose that that we get out of control. We get unhealthy, we get lustful, we want to kill animals for fun instead of food, the airplane and car thing isn’t a moral issue, the get addicted to pain pills and hallucinate or get angry when we run out and hurt someone, we get involved in movies that glorify immorality. So yes for most of these things, there are moral issues involved. And it would be best not to do most of them. Have you ever enjoyed watching a movie that glorified violence, promiscuity, drinking, drugs, hate crimes, and been ok with it? And said, oh that wasn’t so bad? Have you ever seen Titanic? Did you like it? I didn’t like it, but most do. How about American Pie, even edited? And after seeing it, saw the second American Pie? Have you ever gone hunting and enjoyed killing an animal? Not just for food but because it made you feel proud that you shot it? Made you feel like a man?

  33. ENOUGH ALREADY!! This discussion is going around in circles still. Tim said “it is best for Christians not to drink.” Common sense tells you that guys. If you think of sweet and happy images (I do not think of a bunch of Christians gathered around a table on a Friday night, playing uno, each with a bottle of beer.) when you think of alcohol, then by all means drink!! If you think that you have the self-control to drink in “moderation”, then drink! Whatever moderation is? And if you use the head that the Lord Almighty gave to you, then I hope that you will realize that drinking isn’t a bright and fluffy thing. It ruins people. Totally. And how do we know that in Bible Times when people drank that it wasn’t a cultural practice. For crying out loud polygamy was a cultural practice! People did it but that doesn’t mean that it was good or right. Which means that eating junk food might not be a good thing either, but we still do it. Please….. do not reply to this comment because that will just start the circle again and it’s all been said in the above^^^ comments. Merry Christmas!

  34. “So yes for most of these things, there are moral issues involved. And it would be best not to do most of them. Have you ever enjoyed watching a movie that glorified violence, promiscuity, drinking, drugs, hate crimes, and been ok with it? And said, oh that wasn’t so bad? Have you ever seen Titanic? Did you like it? I didn’t like it, but most do. How about American Pie, even edited? And after seeing it, saw the second American Pie? Have you ever gone hunting and enjoyed killing an animal? Not just for food but because it made you feel proud that you shot it? Made you feel like a man?”

    See, here’s the thing. A lot of people like to hunt. Not even because they need to, but because they enjoy it. And yet, a lot of these same people insist it is either wrong for Christians to drink, or best for Christians not to drink, etc. I could go down the line. The point is, there is no consistency here.

    To answer your questions (although I’m not sure they were directed specifically at me). :P

    “Have you ever enjoyed watching a movie that glorified violence, promiscuity, drinking, drugs, hate crimes, and been ok with it?”

    First, I object to your use of the phrase “hate crimes.” See http://blog.virtuemag.org/2005/09/15/hate-crimes-101/
    The answer to your question is, I have enjoyed watching a movie that probably glorifies one or more of those things, but I doubt I enjoy–or even watch–many movies that glorify them all.

    “Have you ever seen Titanic? Did you like it? I didn’t like it, but most do.”

    I have seen Titanic, and I do not like it either.

    “How about American Pie, even edited? And after seeing it, saw the second American Pie?”

    Nope, never seen either of these. Don’t plan on doing so either.

    “Have you ever gone hunting and enjoyed killing an animal? Not just for food but because it made you feel proud that you shot it? Made you feel like a man?”

    I’ve never gone hunting, although maybe once or twice a year I do go fishing. Hunting doesn’t really appeal to me, but I recognize that other people enjoy it and I really don’t have a problem with it.

    Kaitlin said: “If you think that you have the self-control to drink in “moderation”, then drink! Whatever moderation is? And if you use the head that the Lord Almighty gave to you, then I hope that you will realize that drinking isn’t a bright and fluffy thing. It ruins people. Totally.”

    See, this is the kind of attitude I’m trying to dispell. It’s great for you to say, “it’s best for me not to drink because of so and so,” and I completely respect that, and it’s great for you to say, “I think Christians should try to avoid alcohol,” but you guys don’t stop there. The same time that you grudgingly admit that yes, the Bible tells us it is perfectly ok to drink responsibly, you disrespectufully run down those Christians who do drink moderately and responsibly.

    Drinking doesn’t “ruin people. Totally.” It has the potential to ruin people

    if

    people

    abuse

    it.

    Just like with anything and everything else.

    BTW, you clearly haven’t been reading what I’ve been saying very closely, because if you did, you would know exactly what moderation is!

    “People did it but that doesn’t mean that it was good or right.”

    Yes, but we have Bible passages! Here are some examples:

    Ecclesiastes 9:7 – “drink your wine with a merry heart, for God approves what you do.”
    Psalm 104:15 – the Psalmist writes “wine gladdens the heart of a man.”
    Isaiah 25:6 – God will provide a feast of rich foods and choice wines.
    Amos 9:14 – God declares that His people shall plant their vineyards and drink their wine.
    Zech. 10:7 – God says that when He saves His people, their hearts shall be glad as with wine.
    Gen. 14:18 – Melchizedek offers a bread and wine sacrifice, and Jesus is the Priest in the same manner.
    Gen. 27:25 – Isaac brought Jacob wine, and he drank, with God’s favor.
    Neh. 8:10 – Nehemiah commands the faithful to drink sweet wine to celebrate the Lord and His holy day.

    “Please….. do not reply to this comment because that will just start the circle again and it’s all been said in the above^ comments. Merry Christmas!”

    No one is really forcing people to post here. If you’re tired of going around in circles you don’t have to keep participating! Just a thought. ; )

    Merry Christmas to you as well

  35. Derek,
    While I agree with much of what you’re saying, you have alienated me from your point of view by your immoderation in your debate techniques. You say you’re not trying to pound Tim, but the very next thing you say he is being unbiblical. Isn’t that the same thing? I know it’s cliche, but you catch more flies with honey than with vinagar.
    Tim,
    This is a very interesting topic, especially for me because my grandfather collects wine, and whenever we go to his house he has something alcoholic present, though I’ve never seen him tipsy. I can see much of where you come from, as I can see where my tee-totaler friends come from. But I think whether or not to drink (in moderation, obviously) is something that each person must decide for himself. I totally respect you if you decide to go all out, but I hope you’re not going to call me heathen just because I haven’t.

  36. “It’s best to do whichever is the safest.”

    Annalise, not to pick on you. But you’re wrong. I don’t see that anywhere in scripture. Jesus didn’t always do what’s safest. He told his disciples to do dangerous things. I think Alex and Brett’s “Do Hard Things(tm)” is a good reminder here. Just because somethings easy, or safer, doesn’t make it right. And just because something is hard doesn’t make it wrong either. I think that’s a big problem with the culture today. I hope to do a post on that on my own blog sometime soon about that.

    I realize that this is off topic, but just thought I’d point that out.

    To get back on topic. If drinking makes you sin, don’t drink. If it doesn’t, there is nothing wrong with drinking in moderation.

    “Tim said “it is best for Christians not to drink.” Common sense tells you that guys. If you think of sweet and happy images (I do not think of a bunch of Christians gathered around a table on a Friday night, playing uno, each with a bottle of beer.) when you think of alcohol, then by all means drink!!”

    That has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion, and everything to do with my previous paragraph. Life isn’t always sweet and happy, or “fluffy”.

    Kaitlin:
    “And if you use the head that the Lord Almighty gave to you, then I hope that you will realize that drinking isn’t a bright and fluffy thing. It ruins people. Totally. And how do we know that in Bible Times when people drank that it wasn’t a cultural practice. For crying out loud polygamy was a cultural practice! People did it but that doesn’t mean that it was good or right.”

    Alcohol doesn’t ruin people, the abuse of it does. Who cares whether it was a cultural practice or not. The Bible condones drinking in moderation. If it was wrong, it wouldn’t! Or even if it wasn’t best.

    And look at Jesus, He never did anything that wouldn’t have been best. And He drank wine. And this wasn’t extremely diluted wine either. He turned water into wine. That was his first miracle. And the people marveled at the host, because in those days you brought out your best wine first, so that when you ran out of the top grade stuff, people were already drunk, and they wouldn’t care. But the Bible says the people marveled, and they told the host, “you’ve saved the best for last!” (Paraphrased). Obviously it was strong drink, and Jesus made it. And He knew people were going to get drunk on it, those that weren’t drunk already. Yet He made it anyway, why? From what those that think alcohol isn’t best are saying, that was wrong, or at the very least, a mistake. How else do you explain it? Understand, I don’t condone getting drunk, but you cannot Biblically back your statement that alcohol is not good. If you feel it best not to drink, then don’t drink! But you cannot say that drinking is not best for all Christians.

    I’m interested to see the response to this.

  37. Life isn’t always sweet and happy, or “fluffy”. (I’d italize that but I don’t know how to) I didn’t say that life was alway sweet and happy, or bright and fluffy, I’d be one of first to tell someone that it’s not. My point was: if you don’t associate something with something else that’s good, then how can you call it good?

    People wouldn’t be ruined by the abuse from alcohol if they didn’t drink it. So indirectly, alcohol ruins people.

    One question: can you honestly look at the way people lived in Bible Times and say that it is the same as today?-the way they lived not their sin.

  38. “People wouldn’t be ruined by the abuse from alcohol if they didn’t drink it. So indirectly, alcohol ruins people.”

    Again, it’s the abuse of alcohol that ruins people. There are MANY things that will ruin people if abused. It’s not the alcohol that ruins people. This has been said over and over and over. All that is said against it is, “If they never drank it, they wouldn’t abuse it.” Agreed. But you can’t blame the abuse of alcohol on alcohol, the abuse of alcohol should only be blamed on the person abusing the alchohol.

    One question: can you honestly look at the way people lived in Bible Times and say that it is the same as today?-the way they lived not their sin.

    No. But that has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion. Whether or not it was socially acceptable or not doesn’t way in, it’s socially acceptable to drink now. What we’re looking at is, “Is this the best for Christians?”

    I don’t even think that’s a fair question, “Is this the best for Christians.” You’re putting it into a heirarchy of values that the Bible doesn’t put it into. Meaning, the Bible never says that alcohol isn’t the best choice for Christians. It never says it is the best choice either. I mean, as we have seen from the scriptures that moderate drinking is ok, even encouraged, so I don’t see where we get the idea that it’s not.

    Actually, I take that back. Yes I do. We see the twisted version that Satan has created and made popular and have an automatic aversion to it. And we should. Have an aversion to the twisted version that is. It’s like sex. God has created sex to be a wonderful thing. And we should naturally be ashamed of the twisted version that Satan promotes. But that doesn’t mean that we should have that same aversion in the right situation. (The only right situation for that activity is marriage.)

    Drinking is not so specialized. The only circumstance that is should NOT happen, is if it will cause you or your brother(in a Biblical sense of the word), to stumble.
    For instance, if I am a recovering alcoholic, it’s not a good idea for me to drink. Because it’s too easy to be sucked back into what I’m trying to get out of. Or, if I’m fine, but I know you are a recovering alcoholic, then it’s not a good idea to invite you over to my house, and then serve you a glass of wine, or a beer, because that could cause you to slip back in to something you’re trying to get out of.

    And so far, none of my analysis of Jesus’ actions has been responded too. :)

  39. And so far, none of my analysis of Jesus’ actions has been responded too.

    *hasn’t

    Typo…:)

  40. “You say you’re not trying to pound Tim, but the very next thing you say he is being unbiblical.”

    This is what Tim first wrote on this topic:

    “Some Christians believe that we are drink alcohol in moderation, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing that . . . The other side is often portrayed as hypocritical and old-fashioned. These Christians believe that one should not drink, and believe God addresses the topic of drinking in His Word . . . As for me, I side with Christians who believe alcohol is not for Christians.”

    Pointing out that this is an unbiblical view does not equal “pounding” someone, so in answer to your question–no, that isn’t that the same thing at all. I’m not saying his view is stupid or ignorant or whatever, I’m merely pointing out that the above view is a view that, while claiming support from the Bible, is actually contradicted by the Bible. Thus, the unbiblical comment.

  41. Kaitlin, I don’t think anyone here is attempting to be harsh or mean. I don’t want to start a flame war in any way, but want to continue civil conversation. Thanks…sorry to edit this.

  42. I don’t think any comment could say what this article does. I agree with what this writer says, and greatly enjoyed it. I look forward to the response to it. Perhaps a little different look at what I’ve already said will be good:

    Link.

  43. Also, as to the “health” benefits. Check out this article. Some may have already seen it, but if you haven’t read it, it’s powerful.

    Also, Derek, you said “Tim completely switches his argument.”

    Actually, I didn’t. I added to it. I clarified it. I spoke about strong drink in the past article to point out the fact that the Bible warns about strong drink, and what it CAN lead to very easily. I merely clarified my stand, and did not “change” or “switch” my view in the least. I listed the verses about strong drink to, as I said, point out that the Bible warns about where drinking CAN lead to.

    I reread my first article after receiving all of that response, fearing that I had said something wrong, or had typos of some sort, but found it to be exactly right in what I was trying to say. This article is an extension of the first.

  44. It’s hard for me to keep up with this, but a few quick comments.

    First of all, I’m a little disappointed in Tim. Instead of trying to respond to specific points and arguments others have raised, he’s just given us another link to read that is in many ways a rehash. I really don’t want to spend five hours doing the research to refute specific points, but after briefly glancing at the article, there is one thing I want to point out. The author writes:

    _What about Deuteronomy 14:22-26? This verse should not be taken as an excuse to imbibe strong drink for several reasons: First, the passage does not grant permission to drink strong drink. What it says is: “You may spend the money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.” The stated command was not to drink it, but simply to buy it._

    This is really not a defendable view. All you have to do is look at the Bible passage to realize that. All the items listed are either food or drink, and these items are followed by the statement: “and there you shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice . . ”

    Eat!! It is clear from that context that when strong drink is mentioned, it is mentioning in the context of eating and drinking. The author’s argument is extremely, extremely farfetched and weak.

    Tim writes: “Also, as to the “health” benefits. Check out this article. Some may have already seen it, but if you haven’t read it, it’s powerful.”

    More powerful than these? http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/AlcoholAndHealth.html
    That’s 65 different sources/studies that indicate health benefits from moderate consumption of alcohol right there!

    I think now would be a good time to excuse myself from this discussion. I really think we have gotten as far as we’re going to get on this, and Tim’s latest responses and Kaitlin’s response to Marshall’s excellent post make me think it isn’t worth it for me to continue in this.

  45. *mentioned, not mentioning

  46. A fellow soldier December 20, 2005 at 9:08 PM

    Quite frankly, the Bible never directly says anything as to whether or not to drink. Both sides in this argument are calling the other unbiblical, each quoting scripture that seems to defend their stand. However, both sides are stretching their scriptures a bit much. To the moderates: Notice that your passages come from the Old Testament, a time when God’s perfect plan had not yet been worked. The people are bidden to be merry, and drink is mentioned. But can you really get “it’s OK to drink” out of “be merry”? To the conservatives: As far as I can see, your main scriptures refer to not getting drunk, a rather obvious admonition. From there you chose to err on the side of caution by saying “just don’t drink at all.”

    The moderates claim to being Biblical is that they quote Scriptures directly. The conservatives take Scripture and go farther with its commands.

    Both sides are using the label “Biblical,” but both sides have shakey support for that claim.

    In short, the Bible never directly says “do not drink anything containing alcohol,” and neither does it say “go ahead and drink.” Therefore, we must discuss the practicality of drinking. In this I think the conservatives win because of the tremendous risks run by consumption of alcohol. But we cannot say in any definate terms, unless a point comes up which I haven’t yet seen, whether drinking is actually good or bad. (Tim says this in his post.) Therefore, everyone is merely stating his or her opinion on the topic and full-fledged debate is quite unnessisary.

  47. “In short, the Bible never directly says “do not drink anything containing alcohol,” and neither does it say “go ahead and drink.””

    Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong, fellow soldier. Paul explicitly tells Timothy to drink wine vs. only drinking water, for health reasons. That has been brought up before, and debated. So the Bible does, in places, explicitly tell people it’s ok to drink, and Jesus drank it. If He did it, then it’s ok for us to do. I expounded on that in an earlier comment, that I’d like to point out, no one has responded to.

    Looking forward to you response Tim.

  48. Yes, Tim, where are you? You’re not answering questions again. We don’t want more links to read. Pleae answer these (and these are for Tim, you guys– I mean, feel free to defend your no-alcohol position, but I still want Tim to answer):

    Are you saying alcohol is ok to have in moderation? Or, Christians should not drink, period? Don’t say “it is best for Christians not to drink.” because that doesn’t answer my question.

    If you are coming from a health perspective, please tell me, what’s the difference between eating junk food and drinking alchohol? And BTW, drinking is good for you in moderation (and red wine is supposed to be good for your heart). (remember, I’m talking about the long-run here, not immediate). Medicine is another thing that helps you, but you can get messed up with it, abuse it- you can even get high from a hairspray can. Should we never use medicine? Or hairspray? I mean, once you smell that hairspray, you just might want to keep sniffing (if that’s actually how you do it…I don’t exactly know. haha)

    If Biblical alcohol was alcoholic, and it was permitted only in moderation, then those who drink only a single drink today may very well be exceeding moderation spoken about in the Scripture!

    Tim, the moderation talked about in Scripture is: Don’t get drunk. It doesn’t say “Have only one glass”. So, what moderation exactly are you referring to in this statement?

    If you plan on not answering for a while, could you at least let us know? I’m dying here.

    Coie

    Derek and Marshall- It’s been interesting reading what you guys have said. You think things through well and I’ve agreed completely with what you’ve said so far.

  49. Marshall, don’t be stupid. I was replying to Derek who said:

    Just out of curiosity, I’d like to make two statements and then see which statement people agree with.

    1. It is best for Christians to never drink alcohol under any circumstances.

    2. It is best for Christians to drink moderately and responsibly as long as they do not get drunk, and do not drink enough to impair decision-making ability.

    I replied:

    It’s best to do whichever is the safest.

    Marshall, you then said:

    Annalise, not to pick on you. But you’re wrong. I don’t see that anywhere in scripture. Jesus didn’t always do what’s safest. He told his disciples to do dangerous things. I think Alex and Brett’s “Do Hard Things™” is a good reminder here. Just because somethings easy, or safer, doesn’t make it right. And just because something is hard doesn’t make it wrong either.

    He told his disciples to do dangerous things that would help further the preaching of Jesus as God’s son and about the kingdom. Drinking alcohol is not about furthering interest in God’s kingdom. You are being childish and debating just to argue.

    Of course you must do what can sometimes be dangerous, but only when it is for the work of the lord. Alcohol isn’t. Don’t be condescending. You’re looking for things to attack me with. Good for you. I don’t care if you drink. I hope you won’t get drunk or violent or mean or “easy”. And you probably won’t because you are aware of the consequences that alcohol can have if you drink too much. But, if you ever do get drunk, even unintentionally, remember this discussion here, and how we said that if you never drink alchol you can never get drunk.

  50. Let’s sum up.
    Tim and others say it’s best not to drink.

    Others say it’s ok to drink.

    Both are right.

    Th bible says it’s ok to drink and only says not to get drunk.

    We also can’t judge those who decide to drin. Tim isn’t judging.

    He’s only stating a fact. It is best not to drink. He isn’t judging you. Go ahead. Drink if you are of age and can do it in moderation and not get out of hand.

    For those who choose not to drink, they don’t have to worry about getting out of hand because of alcohol. Because they won’t be drinking it. For those who do drink, it is a small possiblity that you may drink too much even unintentionally. One drink can be enough, depending on the drink, if you’ve eaten, if you’re taking medication, sometimes you could still get intoxicated by one drink. But probably not. So just be careful. Be considerate. Err on the side of caution. That’s good advice

  51. Marshall: As you said, Paul’s recommendation to Timothy has been discussed, so I thought I didn’t need to mention it. There are arguments on both sides, so this is not a sure fire point. On one hand, the water back then was impure and dangerous, so alcoholic beverages were indeed safer. But then again there is the question of why would it be in the Bible if it didn’t have some use? Perhaps it’s to show that Christians shouldn’t be foolish in their rules for themselves. But at any rate, there are arguments for and against this point, they have been discussed, and no one has gotten anywhere with them.

    Now that you mention it, Jesus’ actions are the only directly Biblical point that holds water. I shall think on them and maybe add more later.

    Annalise: The only problem with erring on the side of caution is that one can get legalistic about it. As long as you’re not pushing your opinions on me, I’m cool. Notice I say opinions. If you can prove me wrong using Scripture, I’ll change. But as I’ve said already, unless a new passage comes to light, I haven’t seen any (excepting Marshall’s actions of Jesus, which I shall ponder) direct quotes saying anything to the sort.

  52. “…why would it be in the Bible if it didn’t have some use?”

    “…why would the quote be in the Bible if it doesn’t have some use?”

    Sorry, forgot to proofread. :)

  53. Marshall, don’t be stupid.

    I try not to.

    He told his disciples to do dangerous things that would help further the preaching of Jesus as God’s son and about the kingdom. Drinking alcohol is not about furthering interest in God’s kingdom.

    That wasn’t my point, my point was that just because something is hard doesn’t make it wrong. That had absolutely nothing to do with the alcohol discussion, or very little, as I said when I commented.

    You are being childish and debating just to argue.

    Ouch. That was a little bit close to an ad hominem attack right there. I don’t debate just to argue, beause arguing and debating are two different things. I learned that through my experience in the NCFCA. However, since that’s not an argument, I’ll choose not to respond to it. ;)

    “Don’t be condescending. You’re looking for things to attack me with.”

    Annalise, where are you getting this? What comment made you feel like I was condescending? In which one did I say I wanted to attack you?

    “if you never drink alchol you can never get drunk.”

    Others have pointed out the flaws with this logic, I just wanted to give one more example. That’s like saying, “If I never eat, I’ll never have to go to the bathroom.” Or, “If I never try, then I’ll never fail.” The same logic applies. The problem is, that’s not scriptural.

    “Th bible says it’s ok to drink and only says not to get drunk.”

    Yes, not only that, but it also encourages those who can drink responsibly, to drink. If you can’t drink responsibly, Jesus is pretty clear, “If your left eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better to enter into eternity with one eye, than for the whole body to be cast into the lake of fire.” Applied in this situation, “If you can’t drink without getting drunk, then don’t drink. If it will cause you to sin, don’t do it.”

    But to those that can drink responsibly, the Bible encourages it, as has been pointed out with numerous scriptures.

    “It is best not to drink.”

    That’s great Annalise. However, that’s our contention. Our contention isn’t against Tim, it’s against his claim that that is a fact. We haven’t seen any solid evidence or scriptures saying that it’s best not to drink. If that is Tim’s personal conviction, great! We have nothing against him for it, nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that for all Christians, it’s best not to drink.

    Going back to what I had talked about in a previous comment, that’s not a question that should be asked. Asking, “Is it best for Christians to drink[alcohol]” assumes that one is better than the other. It assumes that drinking only water would be better. I don’t see that in scripture. If you can show me that, I’ll change. But I have never read a verse like that. In fact, I don’t think it’s possible, in light of all the scriptures encouraging the consumption of alcohol in moderation. Back to what Jesus said, “Everything in moderation.” Again, and has been agreed to by both sides, drinking is not a sin, therefore consumption of alcohol in moderation, stands.

    And the only problem I really have with most of the arguments, is that their intent is to prove that alcoholic drink isn’t best for all Christians. Again, no Biblical backing. In fact, looking back at Tim’s post, there were no scriptures in support of that view point. Simply excerpts from responses and articles.

    Tim Said:
    “What we need to be is filled not with wine, but with the Spirit of God.

    The one problem here, is that that you are mixing the physical with the spiritual. God filling us with His Spirit does not depend on how much food we eat or don’t eat. Or how much we have to drink or how much we don’t drink.

    “We need to be “drunk” with the Spirit. We need to be overflowing with the Spirit.”

    Again, I agree 100%. I don’t know of any commenter that has comment on this post that is advocating getting drunk on anything else. We (the moderate group) don’t agree with drunkeness any more than you do. We just don’t believe that drinking alcohol=getting drunk.

    DISCLAIMER: I hope no one feels like I’m attacking them. That was not my intention with this comment.

  54. Marshall, I do feel like you were attacking me by saying:

    Annalise, not to pick on you. But you’re wrong. I don’t see that anywhere in scripture. Jesus didn’t always do what’s safest. He told his disciples to do dangerous things. I think Alex and Brett’s “Do Hard Things™” is a good reminder here. Just because somethings easy, or safer, doesn’t make it right. And just because something is hard doesn’t make it wrong either. I think that’s a big problem with the culture today. I hope to do a post on that on my own blog sometime soon about that.

    I never said that “It’s best to do what is safest” was in the bible. I was only talking about is it best to drink or not to drink. Purely for safety reasons, it is best not to drink. If the water was bad and we only had alcohol, it would be safest to drink alcohol. That’s all it was about. It can be a moral issue. (End of my reply to Marshall.)

    Maybe I should shout this. IT IS NOT WRONG TO DRINK. THE BIBLE IS OK WITH DRINKING. YOU CAN STILL BE APPROVED BY GOD IF YOU DRINK. YOU CAN STILL BE FILLED WITH GOD’S SPIRIT IF YOU DRINK. WE SHOULD NOT JUDGE. IS THAT CLEAR ENOUGH?

    Spirituality aside, it is safer not to drink, for moral reasons. No matter if you are a christian or not. This has nothing do with being a christian. Maybe people think that I mean that as a christian it is better not to drink. That’s not what I think. I think it is better for everyone not to drink. It is safer. If there was no alcohol there would be no alcohol related badness in the world. This is true. Again, I’m not talking about spiritually. I’m not saying that if you drink God will be less happy with you. Or that if you don’t drink, God will be happier with you. I’m talking in general.

    I drink on occasion. I don’t drink a lot. I don’t drink often. I never get out of hand. It doesn’t take me away from God. It doesn’t draw me closer to God. It’s a drink. That’s all. How many times do I need to say that I don’t care if you drink? God will be just as happy with you no matter how you choose so long as it is controlled.

  55. “Are you saying alcohol is ok to have in moderation?”

    Yes, it’s “ok,” but it is not best for Christians to drink. It is permissible, but it’s not best.

    “Christians should not drink, period?”

    That would be best, but I’m not legalistic about things like that. I’ve said time and time again that I am not pushing for a legalistic “if you drink you’re sinning” message. That would be completely unfounded.

    “Don’t say ‘it is best for Christians not to drink.’ because that doesn’t answer my question.”

    Really, I don’t see how that doesn’t answer your question, mainly due to the fact that that’s what I’ve been saying all along, that’s how it can be answered, and I’ve talked about it in detail in my post. But many commenters don’t want to look at the “biblical wine” argument, brushing it off like they’ve said I’ve brushed off all of those verses (do you want me to go through each verse?).

    “What’s the difference between eating junk food and drinking alcohol?”

    Big difference. Number one, junk food only affects you. It does not affect others around you. On the other hand, alcohol does affect others, and not just yourself. But it’s nice to see you putting junk food and alcohol side by side. Interesting.

    “Drinking is good for you in moderation.”

    There are studies after study supporting each side. There is no clear statement really one-way or the other. Looking at the health affects, I believe the bad far outweighs the good.

    “Medicine is another thing that helps you, but you can get messed up with it, abuse it.”

    Medicine is moderated by doctors. Maybe alcohol should be given by doctors? Maybe we should buy it directly from them?

    “You can even get high from a hairspray can.”

    I know. (just kidding).

    “Tim, the moderation talked about in Scripture is: Don’t get drunk. It doesn’t say ‘Have only one glass’. So, what moderation exactly are you referring to in this statement?”

    See, this is where we have an argument really, and a problem. The definition of “moderation” used in the Bible.

    “If you plan on not answering for a while, could you at least let us know? I’m dying here.”

    See latest post. Good to know people are dying to hear my answers.

    Now, I also wanted to look at some of what Marshall said (which annalise answered well already).

    “Jesus didn’t always do what’s safest. He told his disciples to do dangerous things. I think Alex and Brett’s “Do Hard Things™” is a good reminder here. Just because somethings easy, or safer, doesn’t make it right. And just because something is hard doesn’t make it wrong either.”

    I really can’t believe you’re using Alex and Brett’s “Do Hard Things” to argue for drinking alcohol (or used it in this context). It almost sounds like “Drink because it’s a hard thing to do.” As annalise said “He told his disciples to do dangerous things that would help further the preaching of Jesus as God’s son and about the kingdom. Drinking alcohol is not about furthering interest in God’s kingdom.” I’m agreeing more with her. I can’t stop you from drinking. I’m only saying that not drinking is the best thing to do. And, again, as annalise said “I hope you won’t get drunk or violent or mean or “easy”. And you probably won’t because you are aware of the consequences that alcohol can have if you drink too much. But, if you ever do get drunk, even unintentionally, remember this discussion here, and how we said that if you never drink alchol you can never get drunk.” Exactly spot on.

  56. Ok, you’ve officially made me dizzy. :P:P It seems to me your opinions have changed in some ways. Maybe not. I could be reading things wrong. Anyways, here’s more to answer.

    “Tim, the moderation talked about in Scripture is: Don’t get drunk. It doesn’t say ‘Have only one glass’. So, what moderation exactly are you referring to in this statement?”

    See, this is where we have an argument really, and a problem. The definition of “moderation” used in the Bible.

    I’m not understanding your answer here…I’m, still wondering what moderation you are talking about?

    “What’s the difference between eating junk food and drinking alcohol?”

    Big difference. Number one, junk food only affects you. It does not affect others around you. On the other hand, alcohol does affect others, and not just yourself. But it’s nice to see you putting junk food and alcohol side by side. Interesting.

    I’m going to say that the only time alcohol affects those around you is when you are drunk, so, you are already sinning. If you are drinking in moderation, and not causing others to stumble, it doesn’t affect anyone else.

    “Medicine is another thing that helps you, but you can get messed up with it, abuse it.”

    Medicine is moderated by doctors. Maybe alcohol should be given by doctors? Maybe we should buy it directly from them?

    Perscriptions (I know that’s spelled wrong, but I’m too lazy to look it up) are moderated by doctors. But stuff like Nyquil and regular medicines are not.

    “If you plan on not answering for a while, could you at least let us know? I’m dying here.”

    See latest post. Good to know people are dying to hear my answers.

    Always up for a good debate. Phooey with the politics; I find them dreadfully boring. ;)

    Also, in that article you linked to it says that “strong drink” was made with barley. I’m going to make the assumtion that it is beer, since beer is made with barley. It’s interesting to note though, that wine has a higher alcohol content than beer, yet, according to this guy, more barbaric.

  57. Wow, I’m totally seeing so many grammatical mistakes in that above comment. And even in that sentence I just wrote. I think I need to go to bed now.

  58. I really can’t believe you’re using Alex and Brett’s “Do Hard Things” to argue for drinking alcohol (or used it in this context).

    I’m sorry. I guess I needed to bold or italicize what I said, when I said that this had nothing to do with the discussion. That’s my fault, I should have made that more clear. But to clear it up now, that had absolutely nothing to do with alcohol, it was simply pointing out something I noticed. I repeat, it had nothing to do with alcohol. Nothing.

    I’m only saying that not drinking is the best thing to do.

    That’s fine. And I’m only saying that that has no Biblical backing, and works fine as a personal conviction. I don’t respect you any less. I’m just saying that you can’t say, “It’s best for Christians not to drink.” It would be absolutely fine for you to say, “It’s best for me not to drink.” But to apply that to all Christians, you have to have Biblical backing. So far, I haven’t seen any.

    No hard feelings Tim?

  59. Marshall, I do feel like you were attacking me by saying:

    Annalise, not to pick on you. But you’re wrong.

    Annalise, that has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with what you said. I sincerely apologize for any harsh words, however, I still hold my position that you are wrong. I don’t see any biblical backing. I’m not attacking you, just your arguments. It’s something called negative scrutiny, where you look at someone’s argument in every possible light, and then respond. So I was not attacking you. I apologize if it came off that way. That’s not in my heart, and not what was intended.

    Truce?

  60. Don’t worry Marshall, I don’t hold hard feelings, and, in fact, haven’t gotten in the least bit offended in this argument. Now, I did see your comment about it having nothing to do with this argument, hence the comment “in this context.” I guess it was just misplaced–no need to bring up “Do hard things” any way.

    Now, there may be a Square Talk radio show on alcohol next week. I need to double check that, but it is possible, and we’ll talk quite a bit about this. BUt the best thing about the show is that you can call in early and leave a message. See my latest post.

  61. Ok, a few days after the last post, but one thought, basically why I do not drink: how many lives and/or relationships have you seen damaged or destroyed as a result of drinking? I have lost enough friends to alcohol and have seen many leave the church because of their addiction to this substance. If it destroys lives (chocolate does not, but for extreme circumstances perhaps) is it something God would like us playing with? (I remember being grounded for playing with fire as a kid). Think about the possible consequences, whether or not you think them likely to happen

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