I agree that it's hard to make a case for complete abstinence. However the real issue here is discipline in all things, not just alcohol. If a person knows they will not be able to stop at one or two drinks and there is a real temptation to drink themselves stupid, then it is better that they do not drink at all. Secondly, if this is something that perversely affects your relationship with God then by all means it should be avoided.
As someone who has experienced and seen the effects of alcoholism, I have no desire to wake up on a floor drunk like a fish. But the problem of addiction is not always easy to conquer. I am surprised that the churches in Wycombe have not thought to start an AA or small support group - we are talking about Wycombe here and I'm sure EVERYONE in Sands/Micklefield has at least one person in their family or knows of someone who has a drinking problem.
If someone is not disciplined to read the bible on a DAILY basis, and spend time with God, it is even harder to develop good habits in diet, exercise, and lifestyle.
We baptize people and make them vow to not drink, smoke etc. But where is the support for those that do? Jesus didnt go round telling people what to do. He also cared and provided for their physical needs. Sometimes, actions speak louder than words.
I agree it is hard to make a case, but it can to done it requires a little more knowledge of the scriptures and some understanding of the original languages, the King James Version of the bible was translated by scholars of whom some of them drank alcohol and so there was a bias and cover-up of some of the texts about sobriety and abstinence, but if you know how to use a good analytical concordance, you will see that the evidence for total abstinence is quiet strong. We should allow the clearer texts help us interpret the more difficult texts. Even the Adventist Church changed its position from one of biblical imperative to one of health issue, but from my understanding of the scriptural case it is a biblical imperative. Prov. 20:1 Wine [is] a mocker, strong drink [is] raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. wisdom comes with temperance, only those with a sober mind can discern some of the more difficult passages. some people will not give up alcohol unless there is a moral reason to do so.
Yes, strong drink is given a bad name in the bible, but then there are so many other things are bad for you if you eat or drink in excess. Gluttony is just as much sin downing ten pints. i manage a public health programme at the university and the researchers are not concerned about drinking half as much as they are concerned about obesity. That's because, statistically, obesity is the biggest killer and cause of chronic diseases. (Alcohol consumption is, related to obesity in that obese people are more likely to be drinkers too), however the key word here is EXCESS.
Biblically, the bible warns to stay away from it because the excess of it can make you drunk. That's my position on it.
can i recommend a book to you, Wine in the Bible (and the scriptural case for total abstinence) by Leighton G. Campbell this is coming from an evangelical perspective. the forward is by Richard J.B.Willis who says, It should be a 'must read' not just for people interested in healthy living but to all who claim to be enjoying the abundant life in Christ! every church, home and youth group should possess a copy and act on its contents-what a witness that would be!
I've read that book and while it makes a case for total abstinence, its not conclusive enough as some of its references are not contextual and open to different interpretations. Let me point out that I'm not in favour of drinking alcohol but I'm just saying the Biblical reason for total abstinence is not there. Off course there are many other reasons why we shouldn't drink.
It might be worth bringing some of the points in the book into the discussion so that we can look at it further.
can I recommend another book then by an adventist also called wine in the bible by Samuele bacchiocchi, he does a good job, I didn't suggest this one first even though its a better book because I wanted to show what other christians are advocating, before I gave the adventist perspective.
I tend to agree with Leroys initial opening parargraph.
The temptation to drink or the excuse for drinking is just that. The bible says yield not to temptation. And we know what yielding would do. We start out very small and then we are out of control. Sin.
With regards to the remark about Obesity being the major killer. I think that Alcohol is indirectly a major killer also. People not only kill themselves healthwise, but think about all the fatal accidents that has happened.
Some things the bible do not always say thou shalt not, but advises and counsels us on what is best practise.
many christians believe in the immortality of the soul, based on the way the bible has translated certain texts, but if we look at the original words they give no indication of this teaching, it is the same with wine in the bible, and sobriety, the original language is clear, it is the bias of the translators that is the problem. that is why we need to use more than just the King James Version. and why it is good to know how to use an analytical concordance.
yes, the bible talks about yielding to temptation and warns against getting drunk, but again, my point is, i'm not well-read enough to be convinced that there are texts saying not to drink at all. all the texts i've seen so far relate to temptation (which can lead to addiction) and excess (not in moderation).
yes, we should abstain from that which is bad, however as pointed out there are many foods and drugs that are bad. not just alcohol. it's ok to eat polluted, genetically modified meat that can cause colon cancer, but not drink wine that can cause liver cancer? to me its on the same level.
Expanding the point Godseeker made, why is it that we don't apply this "total abstinence" concept to foods we eat i.e. sugar content/fat content? How come we give those an "eat in moderation" label when we know how bad they are for us? Are we missing the principle the Bible has given us and instead concentrating on wine instead?
alocoholic wine in the bible, represents sin because of the levening process, that is why we use grape juice at the communion service, sugar, fat, and salt can be used in moderation, but most use to much thats the problem with moderation, we tend to go to the excess, that is why we should abstain from alcohol.
i read somewhere that milk and sugar (most often found in eating cereal) kind of turns to alcohol and has similar effects when digested...so if the fermentation of grape juice is bad, so is the compounding of milk and sugar substances. LOL. it's a stretch...i know...
but seriously, my point is, there are some people that can have one drink and are disciplined enough to stop at one. then there are some folks who have one drink and cant stop. every person must determine for themselves if there is even a chance of being tempted to have more than they should, then it is better to abstain.
In some ways, it is similar to the idea that it is better to marry to burn in hell. if you know you cant keep your hands to yourself then do the right and stop the adultery. in this case, rather than have a drink and fall into a stupor, just dont touch it at all.
yes there may be many folks that think they can handle a drink when they can't, but at the end of the day its between them and God. I can't judge or control that.
true...some people don't know what their weaknesses are...i would encourage everyone to examine themselves nevertheless. hopefully at some point in a person's life they will get to this point in maturity.
Since God communicates with us only through our minds, it is well to remember that alcohol adversely affects their every function.As the level of alcohol in the system rises, the drinker progresses through loss of coordination,confusion, disorientation, stupor,anesthesia,coma and death.
Drinking alcoholic beverages on a regular basis will eventually produce loss of memory, judgement and learning ability.
The used of alcohol was not in God's original plan, therefore He will never endorse it's use.
While I'm not a food scientist, its common knowledge that fermentation is a natural process that takes place in most organic products under the right conditions. With this in mind, it must have been part of God's creation or are we suggesting that it wasn't and it came about due to the result of sin entering this world.? If so, please expand.
Well we can say that God has already made our bodis/ stomach so thate we convert food to alcohol if we need it, so we do not need to put more into it. On the other hand fermentation is a process, but our bodies get rid of the poison.. so if the alcohol produced by milk and sugar for example of bodies will get rid of it and take what is essential to its function.