DOES GOD DEMAND TOTAL ABSTINENCE?

I attend a small church that believes in total abstinence.

I once was told, by a senior member, that if he saw someone enter a bar, or see them have a drink, he would doubt their salvation!

This idea is not new in this church. It has been taught so long that somewhere in the past the symbol, that God gave us, for the blood of Jesus, was changed from wine to grape juice! No one seems to understand that if God gave us wine as a symbol it would be wrong to change it! It shows a great lack of faith, to imply that God somehow did not understand that a drunk would someday be tempted to return to alcoholism if they participated in Communion.

I understand how this could have come about. Too much alcohol can certainly destroy anyone’s life and it can be the cause of many problems for those who are close to the drunk. However, the basic cause of the problem is the person, not the drink. The person cares more about themselves than others. To be as plain as I can, the person cares more about getting drunk, than he, or she cares about what it does to others.

It seems that we tend to blame inanimate objects for the sins of man. If that were true, then we could remove the everything that causes sin and therefore we could no longer sin.

There are many verses in the Bible that imply too much alcohol will lead to problems, but there is only one verse that states someone should not drink at all. Proverbs 31:4 (NIV) says, “It is not for kings, O Lemuel– not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer”. The next verse explains why, (Prov 31:5 NIV) lest they drink and forget what the law decrees, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.

I am a child of God and a Christian, however I am not a king. We have only one King and that is Jesus. Compare Proverbs 31:4&5 to Matthew 26:29, Mark 14:25, and Luke 22:18 and you will understand who the verse applies to and why it does.

By now I think that you believe I am advocating drinking, however what I personally have determined to be proper as to drinking I will keep to myself. (Rom 14:22 NIV) “So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.” It is proper that both sides of the issue keep their views to themselves. However, those who have determined that it is wrong to drink, have not kept their views to themselves and have confused many.

If you are one that thinks it is wrong to drink, then consider Communion. God chose wine to represent the blood of Jesus. In fully fermented wine all of the yeast, the symbol of sin, is destroyed. There was no grape juice before refrigeration or pasteurization, so it was not possible for grape juice to be the proper symbol of Communion. God chose bread without yeast (sin) and wine, where all of the yeast (sin) was destroyed, to represent the body and blood of Jesus. He did not just choose at random.

Then consider the first miracle of Jesus. He made somewhere between 120 to 180 gallons of wine for a party where the guests had already drank everything in site!

If you have not changed your mind yet, then consider the Tithing banquet. (Deu 14:26 NIV) “Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice.” This was a banquet to celebrate and understand how good the Lord had been to each and every person that attended, and God Himself attended!

I have not revealed my own beliefs about drinking. I have only pointed out some verses that do not condemn the practice. If you believe God made a mistake, when He directed Scripture be written (Deu 14:26, John 2:1-11) then keep it to yourself (Rom 14:22).

3 Responses to DOES GOD DEMAND TOTAL ABSTINENCE?

  1. drairwolf says:

    The Pharisees looked clean on the outside but their hearts were full of sin. You can not say it’s wrong to drink Biblically. It might be wrong for some people who struggle with alcohol, but you can’t say it’s a sin. My guess is alcohol is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to their strong views of what people should and shouldn’t do if they’re a “true Christian.” Christianity is about enjoying Jesus and following Him with your whole heart. But, if churches don’t focus on the enjoying Jesus part, they miss the whole point. I wrote about this recently. http://refuelblog.com/2014/07/08/3-things-jesus-calls-us-to/

  2. astudent says:

    drairwolf,

    Forgive me, but I always seem to view everything from a slightly different angle. I would say “enjoying God, our Father”, but it is only slightly different, as Jesus only said what our Father wanted him to say and only did what our Father wanted him to do, so he was the perfect representation of God on this earth.

    I think that we both believe we should focus on ourselves when it comes to what a “true Christian” should, or should not do.

    You have a great blog. Keep on, keeping on.

  3. Jerome E. Goodwin Sr. says:

    Remember the comment about the wine was ” You saved the best for the last.”

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