Friday, May 11, 2007

Wine

It’s fascinating to compare Christians’ attitudes toward alcoholic drinks with what the Bible actually says. Folks who talk about this topic the most fall into one of two camps: those who say all drinking is wrong, or those who try to justify drinking too much. The Bible doesn’t support either one of those views.

So what does the Bible actually say? Wine is a gift from God to gladden our hearts (Ps. 104:15). Jesus made it (Jn. 2:7-9) and drank it, too (Lk. 7:33-34). Paul told Timothy to drink wine for his health (1 Tim. 5:23). So those who say all drinking is sin are going way beyond what’s actually written. But so are those who try to use the Bible to justify getting drunk. Read Prov. 20:1; 21:17; 23:20-21; Rom. 13:13; 1 Cor. 5:11; 6:10; Eph. 5:18 and a bottle full of other passages if you think it’s just fine to drink all you want. According to the Word of God, wine is like sleep or rich food (Prov. 6:9-10; 23:20-21). Too much will damage not only your body, but your soul.

And not only is drinking too much alcohol sinful, so is thinking too much about it. If we have our minds and hearts in the right place, drinking shouldn’t become a problem. Trouble comes when we try to use alcohol, or anything else, to feed an appetite that only God’s love can fill. As the Psalmist shouted to the Lord: “You have put joy in my heart, more than their wine and grain when it abounds!”

(c) Copyright 2007, A. Milton Stanley

8 comments:

Dylan said...

I recently chatted with a Baptist pastor who pastors a no-alcohol-at-all church. I asked him to explain that to me and he did.

Basically he said, water was unsafe to drink in that time and so they'd squish up grapes in the water which would absorb the bad stuff that would make you sick. Then they'd skim off the grapes leaving grape flavored water. That's the "wine" referred to positively in scripture. The wine that gets you drunk is the normal kind of alcoholic wine.

Crazy eisegesis!

Milton Stanley said...

I've been told that today's wine has a higher alcoholic content than wine in the first century, but that wine certainly had some alcohol, or else there would have been no reason for his enemies to call Jesus a drunkard for drinking wine.

Sista Cala said...

As someone once said,"Medicinal purposes require teaspoons not fifths."

Milton Stanley said...

Hah!

DLE said...

The whole issue is silly, especially this "wine today is stronger than it was back then" stuff.

As someone who knows something about wine, any purely natural fermentation is going to yield a product with 7-10 percent alcohol. While it may be true that winemakers today often create wines with higher alcohol contents, they do so in balance with the other components of the wine. People like wines that are "fruit foward" and winemakers must balance that intense fruit with higher acids and alcohol. Most wines made today are in the 8-15 percent alcohol range, which definitely overlaps naturally occurring fermentation.

So I read what Dylan wrote of the baptist pastor and I just shake my head.

Still, it's intriguing how different denominations view alcohol. I took a bottle of champagne to a Pentecostal church's New Years gathering and despite sixty people being there, not a one wanted a glass. On the other hand, we attended a gathering of PCA Christians for New Year's and every couple brought at least two bottles of something alcoholic, much of it more potent than wine.

Ya just never know.

Milton Stanley said...

"Ya just never know" is right. One can't speak for all individuals, but from anecdotal information, it seems that many of the groups who speak loudest against alcohol have some of the worst problems with abusing it.

Thanks for your input.

Robert said...

Great post Milton, I completely agree. I always get a little uncomforable when I hear someone "go off" on either extolling the biblicity of drinking or condeming the slightest sip. Very well put.

It's also interesting that the Word calls wine a mocker--it's a mockery of everything the Holy Spirit is, think about it. But it's still not wrong to have some.

Milton Stanley said...

Thanks for your comments, Robert. It's worth meditating on the idea that wine is a mocker.