Contend Earnestly: Is Drinking Alcohol a Sin?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Is Drinking Alcohol a Sin?


I have been having a little discussion with James in my post on the 10 Steps to Become a Legalist. He is doing well with the 10th point of becoming a legalist. He is following it well and even trying to state his case on why he is allowed to be a legalist in this area. Instead of answering his questions in the combox, I decided to make a post answering his last questions. You can check that post to see our discussion, but I wanted to get these answers to these common objections to drinking alcohol in post form. Again, I want to stress that if you have a conviction to not drink yourself, more power to you, I respect your decision. My problem comes when someone calls it sin or then tries to put that yoke on others. Below is the Q and A that we have been discussing. Sounds like a lot of my readers will be reading it while drinking and smoking a good cigar. Hope they both go down well.

James: Ok, here we go Seth:

I start with this verse.
Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: Whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise
Proverbs 20:1

Seth: This verse is one that is not that difficult when you look at its intent. The reason is that the first part of the verse gives the conclusion to what happens in the first part. Wine can become a mocker and strong drink is raging if someone is "deceived" or better put in what the original Hebrew is getting across, the NASB states that these things happen, when you are "intoxicated" by it. Here is how the NASB reads: Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise. Which I agree with, don't get drunk with wine or strong drink because then you become mocked and beyond angry.

James: There was a day & time when it was commonplace for Christians of all denominations to abide by the Biblical conviction that no person should drink alcohol. In recent years, the radical grace movement, with it's extreme teachings concerning Christian liberty, has spread across America. With this self-centered view of Christianity many Christians have left behind their convictions concerning intoxicating drinks. The sale of Alcoholic beverages has risen by 40 percent, in the last 25 years, which is an epidemic problem that has made it's way into our churches.

Seth: This is almost a completely made up statement. History tells us that most Christians, for 2000 years, have always drank wine, beer, etc. It is only since the prohibition where people started to go against it, which they should have not taken drinks when it was illegal.

James: Leaders should avoid alcohol.
Proverbs 23:31 says,Look thou not upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth it's color in the cup, When it moveth itself aright. (fermenting) It says NOT to.


Seth: I wonder if you read context. The reason that it says to stay away from it, is because of the previous verses of those who misuse alcohol. Who get drunk with it. He just got done talking about those who "linger" over it. And then afterwards talks about wine making people see strange things, uttering perverse things, etc. Meaning that the person is drunk, not merely drinking some wine. The term "do not look at it when it is red" is speaking of it being inticing to a drunk that can't wait to get his hands on the drink. This comes from the most respected Hebrew scholars in Keil and Delitzsch. It could be this or just the use of hyperbole, because the context is clearly speaking of a drunk. Think of when Paul says in 1 Corinthians 8:13 that he would never eat meat again if it were to make his brother stumble.

James: There are many spiritual leaders who abstained from drink.
1. Nazarines (Nazarite vow) Numbers 6:1-4
2. John The Baptist (He followed the Nazarite vowel.) Luke 1:15


Seth: Are you going to also never cut your hair, pledge not to touch a dead animal or eat locusts and wear camel hair? Or can we be more knowledgeable and try and understand that the Nazarite vow is no longer a vow to be followed and John the Baptist was a special prophet among God's people? If not, can I be the first to buy a ticket to your circus in the desert while you wear camel hair, eat bugs and drink grape juice?

James: 3. Deacons/I Timothy 3:8

Seth: This verse says that deacons shouldn't be addicted to wine. What is your point? You can drink wine without being addicted.

James: Leaders should not encourage others to drink. (Habakkuk 2:15-16)

Seth: Did you read this verse? It is speaking of drunkenness. I don't remember the last time I saw someone sip on some wine at dinner and then get naked. Maybe our experiences have been different.

James also lists off Isaiah 5:11 & Proverbs 31:4,5

Seth:


1. Isaiah 5:11
Again, this is speaking of pursuing strong drink and being inflamed with wine, both showing an uncontrollable urge with drinking instead of fearing the Lord. Again, context. Look at verse 12...these people cared more about getting drunk than keeping the deeds of the Lord.

2. Proverbs 31:4-5

Again, keep reading. I never have known people to forget what they have said, when drinking in moderation. This again, is speaking of the dangers of getting drunk. Verse 5 speaks of someone forgetting what is decreed and perverting the rights of the afflicted. Again, drunk, not simply drinking.

James: * in ancient times, wine (as we would call it) was mixed with water in an eight-to-one mixture for purification purposes. The Bibles word wine does not have the same connotation as alcoholic beverages. When water purification was a problem, people would add crushed composites of a grape-type syrup called wine for the purpose of purifying water from parasites. When the Bible talks about wine it is not talking about intoxicating substance at all; it is speaking of treated water in some instances.

Seth: Where did you find this material? I have heard this to try and be explained, but just read the Bible to find it to be false. Because I find it interesting that you keep saying that the wine was not intoxicating, yet you just listed off many verses that speak of wine being intoxicating, making one forget, perverting justice, being a mockery, etc. So, which is it? Intoxicating or not?

James: In reference to spiritual leaders read I Timothy 3:3- Not given to wine...

Seth: Do you know what "given" means? It is the Greek word "paroinos" which means addicted or drunk. So, this isn't speaking of abstinence either.


James: More of what scripture says:
1. Condemns drunkenness/Eph. 5:18



Seth: We are speaking of drinking alcohol at all, not getting drunk. I agree that to get drunk is wrong.


James: 2. Warning/Pro. 23:19-21


Seth: Be consistant. It also speaks of gluttons here. So, are you going to abstain from food too? Just because some abuse it doesn't mean that you MUST abstain. Your logic is very flawed at this point.


James: 3. Recommended to go ahead and drink wine. Don't think this is a loop-hole. I Timothy 5:23- In this verse where wine is mentioned it is commended for medicinal use. Because of the condition of the water in that day, it is believed that Timothy suffered from infirmities relating to his stomach and intestines. so Paul told Timothy to use a little wine for his stomachs sake. Again, this instruction was related to the syrupy grape juice mixed in with water for purification and medicinal purposes.

Seth: This does nothing for your point. This same term of "oinos" which is the same term that people could get drunk on in Ephesians 5:18. Again, I will trust the original Greek instead of your thoughts on the matter.



James: Scripture warns of Alcohols dangers.
1. It hastens ruin/Pro. 23:31-32
2. It enflames lust/Pro. 23:33
3. Destroys families/Genesis 9:20-25


Seth: Correction. This isn't the dangers of alcohol, this is the dangers of the abuse of alcohol. There are also dangers of eating too much and overindulging in money as well (greed) are we supposed to abstain from these as well? How do you get around this?

James: Is today's wine the same as Bible times?
1. No it is not. The majority of the O.T. usages of the word wine comes from a Hebrew word that means "boiling up". Does that sound like intoxicating beverages, yes it does. But that is not what it means. "Boiling up" comes from the idea of boiling grape juice into heavy syrup to use as a mixture in water.


Seth: According to actual scholars in this area, which I quoted to you before, you are not correct here. The Hebrew word that is used speaks of being drunk with wine...again, how do you get drunk from grape juice? I mean, you just quoted a lot of OT verses where people get drunk, is this supposed to be people overindulging in grape juice? Just wondering. Also, for your information, the noun used in the Septuigant for the Hebrew word for "wine" was translated into the Greek as...yep...oinos. The same that is used throughout the NT.

James: Proverbs 23:30- They that tarry long at the wine; they go to seek mixed wine.

According to this verse, some people would drink to much of this mixture deliberately seeking to become intoxicated; but the original intent was for water purification. The second Greek word used for wine simply means "nonintoxicating syrup". We often read about wine in the Bible. When Jesus turned the water into wine, I do not believe that he turned the water into rotten grape juice(fermented wine)that would intoxicate any who drank it. He turned the water into a safe, purified, and refreshing beverage that was non alcoholic. I believe in John 2 when the scripture speaks of Jesus' good wine, it speaks of the drinks mildness as a water like substance. In ancient times the process of fermentation may have begun because of lack of refrigeration. Today's wines, beers, and mixed drinks are highly intoxicating and very dangerous for families, and they are processed to be such. This is definitely different from what the Bible refers to when it teaches about wine.

I hope this enough scripture and evidence for you Seth.
James


Seth: This is completely unfounded with what we find in the Scriptures. The original Greek could not be more clear in this area. Context and the many usages of wine speak of us enjoying wine in heaven (Isaiah 25:6-9; Jeremiah 31:12-14), that wine was given to us for our joy (Judges 9:13; Zechariah 10:7; Ecc 10:19) and that Christ drank this wine at the Last Supper and turned the water into wine at Cana. The warning is that this same wine, this same "oinos", if overindulged is a sin and is very dangerous. We see this in many other ways in the Bible with food, sex, money, anger and the tongue. But we are not told to abstain from eating, sex, making money, righteous anger or talking. Why do you think it is okay to present a double standard where your logic is completely fallacious? If you think it is wrong to drink because it leads to drunkenness, which is exactly what all of the verses you listed are saying, you then better live consistantly and stop having sex with your wife, stop eating, making money or talking.


At least be consistant.



18 comments:

Clark said...

Like many things that we as Christians encounter on a daily basis alcohol is a slippery slope. What defines “drunk”, or “too much”? In the state of Washington (as well as most others) we have an "affected by" and a .08 standard which makes it seem very easy to determine if someone is under the influence of alcohol. I realize that this is applying man's laws to try and interpret God's law but it will lead to some thought provocation; at least for me it did.
The Human Body is an incredible machine that has the ability to metabolize or digest (for lack of a better word) poisons. Alcohol at it very simplest is a poison. Of the three (common) kinds of alcohol ethanol is the only one that will not immediately adversely affect you. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, meaning just that. It decreases fine muscle control and decreases inhibition.
Now with a little scientific info on alcohol it comes down to how much is too much. The bible is very clear that we are not to be "drunk". What is drunk? Some studies, which I tend to agree with, show that someone MAY be affected by alcohol at a .04. (grams per 210ml) For reference that is approximately 1.5 beers, one shot, one 3 ounce glass of wine, for someone who is 150 pounds. A diluted glass of wine is twice as potent that a reduced alcohol beer like O’ Douls(which is not non-alcoholic contrary to popular belief), which someone can still get drunk off of. I know this because I have seen it. Oh and I forgot to mention that alcohol used as an antiseptic or disinfectant is 70 percent alcohol. 8:1 wine to alcohol would be approximately .015 percent alcohol.
I have seen people lose their ability to safely operate a car at that level (.04). The other issue that accompanies one glass is that the first glass makes it easier to have a second glass. After one glass many people “feel fine” and have a second drink.
The next factor that plays into this equation is how often you drink. One of my favorite movies is "The Princess Bride". In that movie the hero develops a tolerance to a highly toxic poison over time. The human body can do the same with alcohol. If you drink often it will take more to become intoxicated. I have encountered people who have had an entire bottle of wine and can still function.
Not to compound matters even more but just for thought...Many people take prescription drugs. Everyone knows that you have to wait a few days to see how you react and all that stuff when dealing with pills. Now let’s say that you are cool with your meds and then you decide to have a beer. A lot of drugs (prescription) have a profound interaction with alcohol, for the worse.
Many of these "prescriptions" can have the same effect as alcohol when taken alone. Abilify, Ambien, and even caffeine adversely the body’s ability to function. Oh and I forgot to mention all of the prescription pain killers (opiates and narcotics, the same categories as heroin and cocaine).
What is the core issue here? Is it how Christians appear to non-Christians? Is it how alcohol is a poison and you shouldn’t do “bad stuff” to your body? Is it simply that alcohol is “bad” and we should make the bible agree with us? If the argument is that alcohol appears bad to non-Christians that is one issue that can lead to a lot more debate. If the issue is that alcohol is a poison well…every prescription has those “risks” also know as side affects, which are the consequences of ingesting a poison (even though there are some benefits). If it is the third, you need to quit drinking caffeine, smoking cigars, speeding, taking anti-depressants, pain killers (aspirin included), cough syrup, and the list goes on and on.
Jesus drank wine. I drink wine. Jesus drank wine in moderation. I drink wine in moderation. I feel fine, and know I’m fine via a P.B.T. if I have one beer, one glass of wine, one jack and coke, or a glass of 8:1 ration wine water mix. Moderation and self control dictate the “rightness” of drinking alcohol. Just my thoughts, filtered through the eyes of someone who sees the abuse of alcohol every day at work.

Keith said...

Is drinking alcohol a sin?

No - but drunkenness is..... as is gluttony, cheating on your tax return, eyeing off your neighbours wife, laziness, not providing for your family, not sharing with your neighbour who has nothing, and calling the KJV infallible (woops that slipped out).

Now I didn't need to tell you that....

John James said...

Seth,

Good treatment of a common folk theology there. I understand this particular brand of folk theology, and there are great things to come out of it. Unfortunately for someone who tries to make it a universal theology there are too many false 'facts' woven through the foundational propositions for it stand up to much criticism.

Without any malice or agression toward our teetotalling bretheran, the extra-biblical prohibition traditions can be good religion (that which helps us to relate with God), but they are not exegesis so much as eisegesis. Not drawing meaning FROM the scriptures as much as finding what we intended to find in them (reading into).


Of course there are also the verses such as in proverbs 31 to consider:

6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.

7Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more....


Medicinal use to be sure, but medicinal use to treat heartache, depression, worry and poverty.


There are good social reasons to not drink, stemming from biblical reasoning to be sure (care for the weaker brother, etc). But to suggest that alcoholic drinks are sinful in and of themselves are an indefensible argument.


I would also point out that it is not what goes into a man's stomach that is sin, but that which comes out of his mouth. (see Matt 15). If the alcohol helps you to act in a sinful manner, abstain. If not, fill yer boots (although the undertone of sweaty socks in your wine may cause you to reconsider and abstain after all. :P)


Whatever you do, PLEASE don't try to legislate, neither in society nor within the church based on such theological gymnastics as the dubious 'to purify water' 1/8th mix or 'its not really alcoholic wine at the marriage at Cana'.

James Washburn IFB said...

Well, Seth you know where I stand now on wine from my last comments. You argument has not convinced me.

Steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve said...

If drinking wine is a sin, are we saved? Was Christ's sacrifice and work on the cross really valid? If drinking wine is a sin then we have no hope. Jesus drank wine and caused others to sin by turning water into wine. IF drinking wine is a sin, or if it is a sin for a leader to drink wine then Jesus sinned and therefore we are still in our sins.

http://theauthorofmyfaith.blogspot.com/

James Washburn IFB said...

Seth I disagree with everything you said & obviously you are going to use multiple versions to get your point across. Anyone can pick whatever version agrees with what they are trying to say argue. That must be nice. We are getting nowhere here, so we will have to agree to disagree.
James

Seth McBee said...

James.
A couple of things. I was not trying to win an argument, but wanted others to see the fallacies in the argument of abstenance for all Christians as a mandate from the Scriptures. So, I am not surprised that you still don't agree, but hope that you go to the Lord in prayer and look to the Scriptures alone as your guide to what is true and right.

Second.

You are either not reading my posts and comments or you are deliberately being deceitful.

Not sure which one.

You say I will use whatever translation helps my cause, but the fact is, I used the original languages and then also the translation that the apostles themselves used with the Septuagint.

So you are wrong on this and it is no surprise that you say that I am eisegeting Scripture even though I have shown through the original languages, context, etc. to make my point.

What I find interesting is this charge is brought by someone who has cherry picked verses out of context to try and put a yoke on others.

May people see you for what you are and the misrepresentations you have put forth.

James washburn IFB said...

Please, Seth I could say the exact same thing about you. I didn't handpick any verses, I supported my argument with as much scripture as you. Another thing You haven't seen any Greek originals lately, no one has. The only one misinterpreting the scriptures is you and your many Bible versions. Also, the only ones that are going to agree with you are the ones who believe like you on the subject. I know a lot of people who believe like you and believe like I do on the wine subject. You are just as much as a legalist as any IFB that you have made fun of lately. When you say many people have seen my misrepresentations of the scripture you mean you and your bunch of Calvinistic friends. It wasn't misrepresentation of scripture it was truth. Once again I will have to agree to disagree on this subject. Reverently,
James Washburn IFB

John James said...

James,

I don't usually get caught up in this sort of thing (it usually degenerates into people talking 'past' each other rather than engaging each other's arguments). However, I'm sufficiently intrigued,and concerned, by some aspects of your arguments to list a suggestions here. Not for any other purposes than to a) help others when weighing the validity of your propositions and b) maybe assist you in presenting your thoughts in the future.

Errors percieved in the above presentation:

1. There was a day & time when it was commonplace for Christians of all denominations to abide by the Biblical conviction that no person should drink alcohol.

This is an error of fact as Seth pointed out. My church history is fairly strong, and where it is week I have access to some friends who are quite strong church historians from various traditions (Baptist, Orthodox, Roman, Presbyterian, and Pentecostal). There seems to be no extended period of time when this conviction was commonplace. In some minority denominations, in the late 1700s and early 1800s it was commonplace, but it was short lived and it was minority denominations. It has from time to time seen revivals in some localities, enough to bring about prohibition, but never 'commonplace for Christians of all denominations'. If you believe this to be untrue, please site sources which may validly show the truth of your assertation. I'd be interested and open to learning more about the history of the church in this regard, as I'm sure others reading would also.

2. The sale of Alcoholic beverages has risen by 40 percent, in the last 25 years

Again, sources would be good here. Also a comparison to the rise in population would be helpful. Are we drinking more, or is it that there are more people of drinking age? A straight rise of 40% in sales doesn't indicate much if the drinking age population has risen by 60% in 25 years, in fact it would indicate a drop average consumption. Clarity of this statistic and it's source would help your cause here, and your credibility.

3. I echo Seth's questions about the source of the 1/8th mix and the usages of the words for wine in the bible like the 'syrupy grape juice'. I did 2 years of Koine (the language of the earliest extant New Testament documents) and I have never come across this in reputable scholarly opinion, only in folk theology. My hebrew is not as good so I must rely on hebrew scholars or the LXX (Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures).

Please, if there is a reputable source, it helps in the presentation of your case, and for the learning of those who wish to emulate the Bereans, to reference it.

4. The versions comments.

That one sort of came out of nowhere. Which variant versions do you suspect Seth of using? If there is some sort of deception through the use of versions going on, then it would be good to have some presentation of it, rather than a seemingly out of the blue accusation. If Seth can be shown to be misrepresenting in this way, he should repent and apologise to his readers. If there is no valid support for this accusation, then it is false witness and you should apologise to Seth, and to the readers.

Oh, and I'm optimistic that the homonymous use of 'Greek originals' meaning the original greek documents in place of Seth's 'original greek' meaning the language used in those documents is an honest accidentof understanding, and not a cynical diversionary tactic. I still have faith that you are genuine, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered pointing all of this out.

I'm hoping for and looking forward to the case for abstainece presented in a more credible way. I'm always eager to learn, but get quite frustrated when a teacher doesn't present his thoughts coherently enough for testing proplerly.

Just as an aside, I'm not a calvinist. I can only subscribe to maybe 2 petals of TULIP. (I'll leave which 2 as a mystery).

Sorry this has gone on for so long. I'd understand if Seth chooses to remove it for that reason.

In Christ

John

Seth McBee said...

James
Very sad. Again, you twist what I said and use it for your "argument." I never said I went from the original manuscript, but from the original languages of the Scriptures, which would be Hebrew and Greek.

If you want to keep blinding yourself, that's cool...what did Christ say? The blind leading the blind?

And it is sad that you don't even know what the term legalism means. You might want to understand terms before you use big words.

Let me teach you something real quick. Legalism is anything you add in order to deem someone to be saved or anything that you add to the Scriptures that deems someone to be more spiritually mature because of it.

What you probably want to call me is an antinomian. One who sins without care because of the idea that they will be forgiven no matter what. So, you would charge me with this because I say drinking is okay to do in moderation.

Anyways...I should have remembered never to talk to a KJO guy, I will have to put a string on my finger for next time as a reminder.

Keep ignoring what the original languages speak of and you will be able to continue to add yokes to others that Christ never did.

Seth McBee said...

John James

Thank you for the comments. I'll let you hang around even if you aren't a Calvinist. ;)

Still don't understand why drinking is supposedly a tenant of Calvinism? Whatever...before 1900 most drank, soooo...

I hope you keep stopping by John, thanks again.

Bob Hayton said...

Well, I sure hope James comes back... I can relate with him as I'm a former IFB.

Seth, I think you started out dealing with his arguments by appealing to the New American Standard Bible's reading of Prov. 20:1. That turned him off instantly, I'm sure. That is where his charge of using other versions comes from.

Sadly, in viewing this debate, it is evident he doesn't want to listen to contrary arguments. Seth provided him with a list of verses (he borrowed them mostly from one my posts "Wine to Gladden the Heart of Man": Thoughts on God's Good Gift of Wine), and rather than submit to those verses, he basically shrugged them off and went and dug up his own.

Here's the rub, as I show in my post above, these verses praise wine because of its alcoholic effects - the joy producing, spirit uplifting effect which can be experienced well before sinful intoxication and loss of control results. In fact, for those who have never drunk alcoholic beverages, there's a certain amount of naivete involved. They think one drink makes you drunk. One drink or two, depending on the kind and the physical makeup of the one drinking, can bring the pleasure Scripture speaks of but does not bring the intoxication Scripture warns of.

Furthermore, Scripture doesn't clearly forbid the use of alcohol, but it strongly warns against its abuse. Drunkenness is wrong, Seth and I as well as you James agree on that point.

The Nazarite vow mentioned is different really, it forbids eating grapes and raisins and drinking grape juice too.

Now every time Scripture mentions wine being mixed with water, it implies that the resulting product is weak and not to be desired. Robert Stein for the Evangelical Theological Society (I think, or else for Christianity Today), published research on the dilution. He concluded, if I remember correctly, that wine in Jesus day was likely diluted 4 to 1 with water. Old Testament wine wasn't. The 4 to 1 would actually bring you to the equivalent of alcohol content in modern day beers 3-4%.

Here are a couple points you need to explain according to your view, James. Why does Paul mention that the Corinthians were drunk at the Lord's Supper and condemn them for lack of self control, rather than clearly explaining that they were using the wrong substance altogether? He was correcting the abuses of the Table, why not correct the obvious error (if it is one) of their using fermented rather than unfermented wine? Also, why is the pastor exhorted (KJV language here), not to be given to wine, but the deacon only exhorted not to be given to much wine? (1 Tim. 3)

This is the kicker here: Deuternonomy 14:26 says "And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household".

Strong drink is always taught by preachers of the tee-totaller persuasion to be always a fermented beverage. Yet its use is encouraged for those who want to eat before the Lord in celebration!

I encourage you to peruse some of the posts and debates (in the comments) over at my blog under the category of wine. I share my story of converting through the study of Scripture to a lifestyle of the prudent and moderate enjoyment of alcoholic beverages.

Encouraging you to be a Berean,

Bob Hayton
Fundamentally Reformed

Keith said...

Coming from Australia I thought the letters I and F and B went together to form the acronym FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) it's taken me a few days to work out they go together to form IFB (Independent Fundamentalist Baptist). FBI and IFB - well they seem to do the same sort of work... investigating breaking of laws?!Or maybe stepping outside of law to be a law unto themselves.... or interpreting it in their own way.

Thankfully we can all fall back on grace upon grace and a 100% sanctification sure in Christ (not working for our sanctification oursleves).

Well James if you see scripture saying that to imbibe wine (or ale or malt whiskey) as sin - then for you it is sin. If others (myself included) see that scripture allows and indeed commends as good, certain beverages, and we can freely with grace partake with good conscience.. then we must be allowed to do so.... even in your presence. If you were a recovering alcoholic, I would by scripture, need to hold back from drinking in your presence. If however I had James around for a meal, I would have no qualms in having a glass of wine(or a beer)myself and offer him a grape juice/water/orange juice/etc etc.

I suspect James that you will remain convinced in your theology - most of us do remain within the walls that make us feel safe and sanctified - even f they are not biblical. We all need to be Bereans.. But my prayer is that we all grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus - as we debate, and chastise and edify one another.

Just beware that there are dangers at either end of the spectrum - antinomianism on the one end and legalism at the other.

jayfersgirl said...

Is it just me or does "independent fundamental Baptist" seem like an oxymoron?:)

Seth McBee said...

jayfersgirl...

Yeah...and remember that there is fun in fundamentalism, but so is the word mental...so take your pick. :)

Keith said...

... da...?

DA=Drinking Alcohol is sin

kprochas said...

I remember when I had this same argument (couldn't call it a discussion) w/ a Southern Baptist at a party long ago. He kept using that same argument that the word "wine" means grape juice. I didn't have my Bible with me, of course it was a party, and though I hadn't really studied the issue I knew that the word "wine" meant normal wine (fermented). So after the party I did a study on the word wine and sure enough both the Hebrew and the Greek words would be translated as fermented wine. Not only that but all the Bible proscribes against is drunkenness and never against the normal consumption of wine which was an everyday sort of beverage at that time except in the case of the Nazarite who has taken a special vow before the Lord and has to abstain from consuming any grape product. I agree that the concept of not drinking anything alcoholic comes from a time in the US when the abuse of alcohol was widespread and social reformers were trying to deal with my legal means. Just like sayings like "God helps those who help themselves" (Benjamin Franklin) is viewed as something that came from the Bible (those who don't read the Bible) among some in the church so too the concept of abstinence from alcohol because of a social situation that existed in the US. Alcoholism is an evil that causes destruction to families and lives so the urge is to deal with it legally (prohibition) and from the pulpit. I do think that it is sometimes better to abstain from alcohol entirely but I sure wouldn't justify it using the Bible. I should also mention that I have also come up against an abuse of our liberty in Christ from some "new Calvinists" sounds antinomial. Yes the balance between legalism and antinomianism is very difficult.

Kerry

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