At a previous church, I had a visit with someone in my congregation. The first question was about my position on Christians and “social drinking.” Before I could comment, she informed me that there was no situation in which a Christian could consume any alcohol. I later learned that her first husband had been an alcoholic and her view was understandable considering her experience.
I have seen a number of blog posts with the title, “Should Christians Drink Alcohol?” I purposely didn’t title it that, even though it might get me more hits.
The reason is such a question demands a yes or no answer. Either Christians should drink alcohol or Christians shouldn’t drink alcohol. But it isn’t that simple. We can say that Christians should care for the poor and Christians shouldn’t commit adultery, but it is more complicated than that with alcohol.
A better question is, Can Christians drink alcohol? The answer from the Bible is yes. The Bible, Old and New Testaments, presupposes that most people are drinking alcohol, at least wine. There is no doubt that Jesus drank real wine and not grape juice, even though I understand why people wish it was otherwise.
At the same time, the Bible also makes it clear that drunkenness is wrong. Getting drunk never works out for the best in the Bible, as it is in our experience. The drinking of alcohol should always be done, if done at all, in moderation.
That doesn’t mean that drinking alcohol is always appropriate for Christians. A person who is an alcoholic cannot use verses that support drinking as an excuse to drink. Nor should we drink while in the presence of someone who has had a drinking problem or someone who has been abused by an alcoholic.
I will share my story to give you a sense where I’m at. I drank quite heavily from my mid-teens to early twenties. I did not have a healthy relationship with alcohol. As I was moving toward Christian faith, I knew that I couldn’t continue that way. I attempted to drink in moderation but I would still occasionally get drunk. I came to the conclusion that I needed to completely quit drinking.
That was a good decision for me that helped in my growth as a Christian. I stayed completely away from alcohol for ten years. Then I decided I would try a beer again. I found that I could enjoy the taste with no desire to get drunk. I was satisfied with one and only rarely would I have a second. I stopped after one, not out of a religious rule, but because I had no desire for more.
I still drink beer from time to time. I may have about a dozen beers per year. There were times in my past that I drank a dozen beers in a night.
None of this is to tell people that they should or shouldn’t drink. I am able to drink in moderation at this stage of my life and I not only enjoy it, I see the biblical support for it. However, it has been twenty-five years since I have been drunk and I never intend to get drunk again.
What is your personal conviction on alcohol?