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Do you consider drinking a "sin"... Christians only

Discussion in 'Same Faith Debates' started by Scuba Pete, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. BUDDY

    BUDDY User of Aspercreme

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    Well, I believe drinking alcoholic beverage is a sin. I believe that given the context of the verse, Jesus did not make alcoholic wine at the wedding feast, but "new" wine or grapejuice. Not only does the context of the passage show me this, but also the context of Christ's ministry. In one hand the Lord teaches us through His apostles not to become drunk, but if you are to believe what he created at the wedding feast was alcoholic wine, then he made enough to have a keg party. That just doesn't make any sense to me.

    Kevin Cauley from the Berryville church of Christ writes:

    Why did Jesus turn the water into wine?
    I suspect the questioner has a little more in mind than this. The question is not one of what was the motivation of Jesus to change the water into wine, but rather, why is it that Jesus chose wine as the beverage into which to change the water and is this the same kind of beverage that we speak about today when we talk about wine? This is a good question.
    It cannot be correctly assumed just from a glance at the word wine in John 2:1-11 that this necessarily refers to an alcoholic beverage. Those who do so ignore the greater context of scripture and how this word is used in the ancient world. Sometimes it is used to refer to intoxicating beverages such as in Isaiah 5:11 "Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!" However, sometimes it is used to refer to the fresh squeezed juice of the grape such as in Proverbs 3:9, 10 "Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine." What comes out of the "wine press?" Does it come out as an alcoholic beverage? No. It comes out as grape juice, which must subsequently be processed and fermented in order to make alcohol. But the Bible describes this fresh juice of the grape as "new wine." Notice also Matthew 9:17 "Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved." The very concept of "new wine" here is the unfermented type because the process of putting it into bottles is what causes the fermentation and the subsequent stretching of the wineskin. Wine in these contexts refers to non-alcoholic beverages.
    So how can we know what Jesus made in John 2. Simply understanding the fact that the word wine could be used to describe a non-alcoholic beverage does not necessarily establish the facts of the case. At this point all we know was that it could possibly have been non-alcoholic wine. How do we come to the conclusion about what type of "wine" this was? First, we must look at the immediate context. Notice what the governor of the feast said concerning the quality of the wine in John 2:10 "Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now." This man, after having "well drunk" of the previous wine was still able to discern the difference between the wine that had formerly been served and the wine that Jesus created. If the wine were alcoholic, then he would not be able to discern the difference at all. The first thing that alcohol impairs in the mind is the sense of judgment and after having "well drunk" of alcohol this man should not be able to discern the appearance of the person in front of him, much less the quality of two different types of drink. Yet, he can discern between the two. This indicates that the wine was of the non-alcoholic sort.
    The extended Biblical context makes this clear as well. In Proverbs 20:1 we read "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." In Habakkuk 2:15 we read, "Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!" Jesus knew the Old Testament scriptures better than anyone alive. Would he knowingly violate those scriptures to satisfy the festive spirit of his fellow man? Would he do something upon which the Holy Spirit himself had pronounced a woe? Could Jesus cause someone to be drunk with wine and remain sinless? Such would be contradictory to what Jesus' purpose was upon the earth, namely, causing another person to sin while preaching that men ought not to sin? Rather than face this extremely problematic situation by saying that Jesus created alcoholic wine, it is much more consistent with the life of Jesus to say that he made a non-alcoholic wine in this context.
    Finally, what do we make of the statement of the governor of the feast that this was "good wine?" Again, the phrase "good wine" was used to describe not only intoxicating beverages but non-intoxicating ones as well. In Ancient Rome, a man named Columella wrote regarding horticulture of the day. He has extensive information on the different wines that were used during that time period. He describes one of these "wines" in book three of his twelve-volume work "On Agriculture." He says regarding a particular good wine that it was inert, non-intoxicating, not harmful, ineffectual on the nerves. So it was within their custom to categorize both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages made from grapes under the same classification of "wine." Moreover, even "good wine" can, according to the ancients, refer to something that is non-alcoholic.
     
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  2. BUDDY

    BUDDY User of Aspercreme

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    I find it quite telling that there are not any scriptures to support these claims that drinking alcohol is a perfectly acceptable thing to do. It is never specifically authorized in the New Testament.
     
  3. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    What's really interesting about it, is there aren't any Scriptures in the NT that explicitly condemn it either. So, which should we do? Should we bind people with a principle that you can't establish by either Christian tradition or Scripture, or should we let the Law of Grace prevail?

    However, it has some critical errors. First, we know that the Jews traditionally used alchoholic wine as standard Passover practice. Jesus practiced this passover, and He fulfilled every detail of the Law. It is true that they watered it down, but this doesn't mitigate the fact that the Jews (it actually strengthens it) did use wine and Jesus talks about wine, is reputed to have transformed water into wine, and practiced the Passover. Paul prescribed it as a medicinal drink to Timothy in I Tim. 5.23.Lastly, ancient Christians used wine mingled with water in their regular worship services. There was no way for them to prevent it from fermenting, and they couldn't have, or afford, freshly squeezed grape juice all year long.

    Take, for example, the passage from Proverbs 31.4ff. It's easy to quote simply the cautions on wine, but it also says:
    It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.​
    So, is it sin to reccomend wine to the sick or to the poor? This passage seems to indicate the opposite (and some smart politicing for a ruler who wants to keep the people under check).

    The Law of Grace intersects here, for the Apostle says:

    Do not tear down the work of God because of food. All things indeed are clean, but it is wrong to the man who eats through hindrance. It is good not to eat meats, nor to drink wine, nor in whatever thy brother stumbles against, or is caused to stumble, or becomes weak. The faith thou have, have in relation to thyself before God. Blessed is the man not condemning himself in what he allows. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because it is not from faith, and everything that is not from faith is sin. (Rom. 14.20ff.)​

    Notice here that wine is equated with eating meat. For this cause, I would say nobody should drink alchohol around someone who is offended by or has been injured by it, but just as Paul opposed the imposition of such rules on people as a whole, so will I.

    The NT is also replete with cautions that the priest or bishop ("elder/overseer") is not to be given to much wine or enslaved to it, but this warning against excess is evidence also that it was accepted (It is "much" not "any"). Jesus' parable in Mt. 9 uses fermentation as an illustration for the coming of the New Covenant. Of course, this is not an endorsement or condemnation of wine, but it is certainly another hint that He was comfortable with it. The parable of the Good Samaritan also has wine in a positive context, medicinally. Jesus never speaks of it in a negative light.

    It is, thus, pretty one-sided that Christians may drink wine.
     
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  4. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    Dear No*s,

    You took the words right out of my mouth! I want them back! :D

    Buddy,

    It is always best to speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where it is silent. To that end, there are no NT scriptures that forbid the use of alcohol, and unless we resort to twisting of words, there is no reason for us to believe that wine was not consumed at most every meal for reasons No*s has already given to us.

    Examine this scripture:

    I Corinthians 11:17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, 21 for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22 Don't you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not! NIV

    Perhaps you can explain to me how they got drunk on "new wine"??? He did not condemn the drinking of the wine... just getting drunk while others are in want!

    I think it telling that John made the distinction of "new wine" for the wineskins and "wine" for the wedding. I don't see it as a typo.

    In my humble opinion, we are just as guilty of teaching tradition over God's word. This can be said about alcohol, singing, kitchens... the list goes on. If God didn't condemn it, then neither should we!
     
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  5. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    You'll have to take them then. *Grips 5-iron* :p
     
  6. BUDDY

    BUDDY User of Aspercreme

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    Well, I think the previously mentioned scriptures are enough to tell me that the "better safe than sorry" approach is the one best suited for the christian and alcohol. I think that another thing one must consider is, how drunk is drunk? What is God's view of drunk? IT seems to me that when you drink that first alcoholic beverage, you are one drink drunk. You are one step on your way to being drunk. People have different alcoholic tolerance levels, so what may make me drunk, may not make you drunk. There are so many factors involved that it is best just to avoid it, and therefore avoid the sin. Why try to find ways to come as close to that line as possible? Why not avoid that line altogether?

    I am not going to get into the authority issue again as I have discussed it at length in several other threads. Here is a tract from David Padfield, a gospel preacher from Zion, Illinois, that talks about the different types of authority. Now there are a lot of things that Mr. Padfield teaches that I disagree with, but this is an excellent tract on Biblical authority, and how to look for authority in life and in worship. NetDoc, brother, I encourage you to read through it.
    http://www.padfield.com/acrobat/greeson/order.pdf

    For me the questions is,

    "By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?" Matthew 21:23

    and the answer is:

    "We ought to obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29

    The old, "he didn't say not to" is an excuse children use to do things that they know they shouldn't. There is nothing that comes from the consumption of alcohol that helps me to further the kingdom of God here on earth, that is the church.
     
  7. BUDDY

    BUDDY User of Aspercreme

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    No, if he didn't authorize it, then neither should we. There is a very big difference and distinction there. There are plenty of things that exist in todays world, that by your reasoning are authorized, but that most would agree is not.
     
  8. angellous_evangellous

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    I agree, NetDoc.

    1 Cor 11 has an explicit command to drink at home, but in the context of the verse, it could even mean to get drunk at home.

    EDIT: The idea that Jesus gave them new non-alcoholic wine is silly. The master of the feast said that it was good wine. Non-alcoholic juice is not wine, and one can immedeately tell the difference between the two. Also, the master of the feast said that the people were already drunk when Jesus gave them the wine. Jesus gave wine to drunk people. :bow:
     
  9. angellous_evangellous

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    (1) It works wonders in the bedroom (enrichment of marriage relationship)

    (2) It makes for great fellowship meals, provided one does not get unsociably drunk before the appropriate time.
     
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  10. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    Using your logic, we should stop using cars, microphones, buses, electricity, AC, washers & dryers... heck the list could go on.
     
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  11. angellous_evangellous

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  12. dorcas3000

    dorcas3000 Member

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    I entirely agree! I was going to say that! There's a difference between drinking alcohol and abusing alcohol.
     
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  13. Bishka

    Bishka Veteran Member

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    Do I count as a Chrisitian?
     
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  14. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    Are you sure??? Jesus sure thought it was appropriate... he was known as a friend of sinners. Paul too, was far more flexible than the average cofCer...

    I Corinthians 9:19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. NIV
     
  15. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    He didn't authorize your using a computer or a closed canon of Scripture, but that doesn't stop us. However, He did give authorization: He commanded the Eucharist, which was alchoholic wine, used it in analogies, did turn water into wine (which as Nate has already pointed out well, even without wordplay was clearly alchoholic), and practiced the Passover. If He did it, it was common in His day, and He didn't condemn it, then it stands to reason that it's OK.

    Here we would have to add, "But Daddy, I saw you do it" to the list. Christ leads by example, and He used the stuff.

    This is actually the logic behind the laws the Pharisees introduced. You see, if they could isolate what was a sin and produce safeguards that make it impossible, then you would not sin. The Scripture, for instance, says that we cannot boil a kid in its mother's milk. By extension, if you can't even store them in the same place, much less cook them together, then there's no problem (this is still observed by some Jews today).

    This approach is Pharisaic, not simply Christian. It is one thing to take it on as your own discipline, but it is quite another to advocate that it be the standard practice. In the former, you are managing your own household, and in the latter, you are creating a form of legalism, which is soundly condemned.
     
  16. Buttercup

    Buttercup Veteran Member

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    Here's a source that explains it way better than I could......from reformed.org. I think the lines in bold are quite telling.

    Christ's Witness. Interestingly, our Lord Jesus Christ miraculously "manufactured" an abundance (John 2:6) of wine [yayin] for a marriage feast. This wine was deemed "good" by the headmaster of the feast (John 2:10) -- and men prefer "old [i.e. aged, fermented] wine" because it is good (Luke 5:39).

    Having "manufactured" wine in His first miracle, it is no surprise that the Lord publicly drank it. This put a clear distinction between Him and the ascetic John the Baptizer: "John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, `He has a demon.' The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, `Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinner!" (Luke 7:33-35).

    6. Prohibitional Silence. Scripture nowhere gives a universal command on the order: "take no wine at all". In fact, select groups that forgo wine are worthy of mention as acting differently from accepted Biblical practice, e.g. the Nazarites (Num. 6:2-6) and John the Baptizer (Luke 1:15). Others are forbidden to imbibe wine only during the formal exercise of their specific duties, e.g. priests (Lev. 10:8-11) and kings (Prov. 31: 4, 5).
    All prohibitions to partaking wine involve prohibitions either to immoderate consumption or to abusers: "Be not drunk with wine" (Eph. 5:18). "Do not be with heavy drinkers" (Prov. 23:20). "Do not be addicted to wine" (I Tim. 3:8; Tit.2:3). "Do not linger long over wine" (Prov. 23:30).

    When all is said and done, we must distinguish the use of wine from its abuse.
     
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  17. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    Of course... anyone who holds that Jesus was the Son of God can play in this thread.
     
  18. BUDDY

    BUDDY User of Aspercreme

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    Yep. Got it covered.
     
  19. Bishka

    Bishka Veteran Member

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    Why thank you. I was just making sure. :) Anywho, many people know that the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints don't drink any sort of alcoholic beverage. Many don't know why. It is something we call the Word of Wisdom and is in our official canon of scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 89. In this section, Joseph Smith asked something of the Lord and we believe this is His reveleation to His people.

    It mainly touches on

    -moderation in all things
    -exercise
    -do not use 'strong drinks'

    Where we get the idea of not drinking is the 'strong drinks' part, and because of this also many members do not drink coffee or tea.

    If you want a link to the Word of Wisdom, here it is: http://scriptures.lds.org/dc/89
     
  20. Dentonz

    Dentonz Member

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    Drinking is not a sin, but if your drinking causes you to sin,it is.
     
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