Monday, June 1, 2015

Alcohol 4 - Under the Influence

          There are three basic positions when it comes to drinking alcohol. Teetotalers refrain from all alcoholic beverages. This is usually a Christian position. The opposite extreme views drinking to be perfectly wholesome in all situations. This is usually the perspective of the unsaved man. In between both of those, however, is a substantial number of Christians who are against drunkenness but in favor of moderate alcoholic consumption. They maintain that God created wine to be a blessing as long as it is consumed in moderation. They believe Jesus drank wine. They believe the historic Christian position is that alcoholic beverages are allowed via Christian liberty.
        I have a number of Christian friends who hold this latter position and they do so for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is that they maintain that drinking alcohol does not affect them. In other words, they believe that the line between allowance and sin is getting drunk. At that point, the alcohol has negatively affected you and so you have crossed the line into sin. But since they do not allow the alcohol to affect them they don't believe they have crossed the line into sin.
          One of the great problems with this reasoning is that it is dangerous. It is playing with fire and hoping not to be burned. The fact is alcohol does influence you, pushing you toward a set of wrong behaviors and actions whether you intend to be pushed there or not.
          To illustrate, notice drinking affects your natural sense of propriety.
          The sex drive is one of the most powerful human appetites. God tempered
this somewhat by putting within us a natural modesty in relation to our bodies. He created us with a natural sense of propriety in relation to sexual activities. This is seen in the fact that people instinctively cover up their bodies and their intimate activity is done in private. Of course I full well realize our culture has undermined this natural sense of modesty but it still comes built in to every human being born since the Garden of Eden. Infants and toddlers have no shame about nakedness. Children though do and that is a good thing. It is a God-given thing.
          One of the marks of a culture that is moving away from God is an increased acceptance of public nakedness. This is a bit of a gross exaggeration but the less of God there is the less of clothes there usually are as well. But each individual is still born with a natural sense of modesty and propriety. The devil knows this and so he sets up a system that tries to gradually beat that out of people via music, television, leisure activities, fashion, peer pressure, etc.
          Similar to this gradual coarsening or hardening of the natural sense of modesty by our culture so the same thing can be developed within hours by ingesting alcohol. Many a woman has found herself on top of a bar swinging some article of clothing over her head after a few drinks. Sober and in her right mind she would be too embarrassed or ashamed for such a public display. Drinking obviously affects the natural sense of modesty and propriety which God put inside of every person.
          This is seen in the very first mention of wine in the Bible.

Genesis 9:20  And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
21  And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
22  And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
23  And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.

          I doubt Noah intentionally set out to get drunk, take off his clothes, and invite judgment upon his family. Intent is not the issue however. The issue is the result and the result was that Noah's natural sense of modesty was affected.
          We see this again in one of the most difficult stories to read in the entire Bible. A mature Lot, disconsolate over losing his home and life in Sodom, commits incest with his own daughters under the influence of alcohol.

Gen 19:30 And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters.
31  And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth:
32  Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.
33  And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.
34  And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.
35  And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.
36  Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.
         
          Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that my Christian friends who believe in a moderate consumption of alcohol are committing incest with their children. I am saying that alcohol moves you in the direction of some awful behaviors, activities that would never be contemplated by those of sober mind. I do not believe for one moment that Lot intended to do as he did. But he did drink alcoholic wine and he could not control the affect it had on him. It loosened his sense of propriety and decency to put it mildly.

          The adverse effect of alcohol is so well known that people who act erratically are automatically assumed to be under the influence. I Samuel 1 tells us that Hannah prayed so intensely, albeit silently, that Eli thought she was drunk. Obviously she had not been drinking but Eli assumed she had because her behavior appeared out of control. Acts 2 shows us the same common perception. The Apostles were speaking in tongues and the crowd around them could only explain it in terms of drunkenness.
          Under the influence – why is that phrase understood by one and all to mean that a person has been drinking? Because we know that drinking affects people, whether they intend for it to affect them or not. Alcohol is a narcotic. Inherent in its chemical structure is a sure and certain effect on human reason, speech, motor control, and propriety. Alcohol loosens the governors God placed on us.

          Don't tell me that drinking alcohol doesn't affect you. It may affect you to varying degrees at varying times but it absolutely affects you. The only way to avoid being affected by it is to avoid ingesting it entirely. Go ahead. Take a drink. You will be under the influence whether you are willing to admit it or not. 

63 comments:

  1. "Many a woman has found herself on top of a bar swinging some article of clothing over her head after a few drinks."

    Ummm; no. Not unless she has a metabolic disorder.

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    1. Apparently during Spring Break Florida and Mexico are filled with women who have metabolic disorders...

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    2. Spring break Florida is filled with women...and men...who go intending to break all moral bounds. Your example doesn't count.

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    3. But Tom--you just said (below) that one glass of wine is not equivalent to seven glasses. There is intent to get drunk, and there is moderation within the bounds of sound Christian judgement.

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  2. So.................................................

    Did Jesus drink wine? Hmmmmmmm

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  3. There's a lot that can be said here. Both in this post and the previous. First things first.
    Can you define "narcotic", and explain how "narcotic" applies to alcohol?

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    1. I agree that this is fuzzy but it is also true that there are many reputable quotes by medical doctors and government control boards going back a very long time that class alcohol as a narcotic. By narcotic I simply mean the classic dictionary definition such as "a drug or other substance affecting mood or behavior and sold for nonmedical purposes, especially an illegal one."

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  4. Bible constantly condemns drunkenness, not drinking. Are you linking the two together and saying that ALL drinking is condemning?

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    1. I am answering that question gradually over a series of posts b/c I think the answer deserves a fairly in-depth response.

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    2. In depth? This is very clear and very simple. A drink does not =drunkenness anymore than a bite of food = gluttony. This is not rocket science. This is paying attention to Scripture. Even Scripture that makes you uncomfortable.

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  5. "This is usually a Christian position."

    Actually, this is a fairly modern, primarily American Evangelical Christian, as opposed to the historical, worldwide, orthodox Christian position.

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    1. I wonder what Jesus's position was when He was drinking it? And what did the Pharisees accuse Him of? hmmmmmmmmmmm.

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    2. Let's not bring what Jesus drank into a blog that says it is about Him ;)

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    3. Will, I did say that the moderate drinking position is viewed by most Christians who hold it as historic. It is just as true that most people who refuse to imbibe at all are Christian. That was my point with that sentence. I think you confused the two.

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    4. Or Muslim. It's probably higher among the Muslims than among Christians(teetotalers).

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    5. I must have missed the verse that said "And be not affected by wine wherein is excess"

      If being affected is the threshold then all narcotics (medicine) are prohibited.

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    6. Or Mormons.

      I think it's safe to say the majority who refuse to imbibe are not Christians.

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    7. Tom, loan a teenager a car and see if that loosens their behavior.

      and don't forget that sensuous rock beat that just forces people to take their clothes off. That's another one.

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    8. Somehow I don't think whichever faceless fellow this anonymous is is going to like my series on music very much either... =)

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    9. Anonymous has many faces. Don't let it skeer ya.

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  6. Many a man has found himself eating the whole bucket of chicken or ice cream in his lap after having the first two bites.

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  7. By Tom's thinking, one shouldn't be fat because other judgmental people might *think* he's a glutton. Why is gluttony the one sin ignored by preachers? Especially overweight ones?

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    1. Because we love to preach about the sins we don't do; not so much about the sins we do...

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  8. "I am saying that alcohol moves you in the direction of some awful behaviors, activities that would never be contemplated by those of sober mind..."

    IOW: Don't drink or you might get drunk.

    That is the exact reasoning behind why I didn't get my license until I was 19. I had the absurd thought that I would get behind the wheel alone and hit a pedestrian. Seriously. That's what I thought and why I drug my feet to get my license.

    And now, after all these years being affected by the car. . . I haven't hit a single pedestrian. =) (Dagnabit!)

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    1. Point. But cars don't have the intrinsic quality of loosening a person's behavior. Nothing does that other than drugs and alcohol.

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    2. Actually, both food and water can alter one's behavior. Water intoxication, although rare, can cause: changes in behavior, personality changes, confusion, drowsiness, irritability, etc. Dietary changes, particularly among folks who have diabetes, hypoglycemics, etc, can cause major changes in behavior, among other symptoms.

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    3. Tom, loan a teenager a car and see if that loosens their behavior.

      and don't forget that sensuous rock beat that just forces people to take their clothes off. That's another one.

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    4. Will, are you saying that alcohol and water are equivalent? Seriously? Is that the leg you are standing on here?

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    5. Oy. Water was just an example. Hormones/arousal can loosen a person's behavior. I have a relative who is diabetic who can turn very mean very quickly after consuming too much sugar. The point being, things besides drugs and alcohol can alter behavior.

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    6. The point being that all kinds of things can cause changes in behavior, personality, confusion, etc, etc, etc. Not just alcohol. Don't tell me that sugar doesn't affect you(especially if you're diabetic), you'll be under the influence whether your realize it or not.

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    7. Well, Tom, are you saying that one glass of wine and seven glasses of wine are equivalent?

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  9. The glass of wine I have with dinner each night has never caused me to take off any clothing in inappropriate places.

    Jesus came eating and drinking and he was called a winebibber and a glutton. Do you think Jesus was being called "winebibber" over grape juice or something unfermented?

    Through every single one of your posts about alcohol, you have swung to the extreme of the position as if that's holiness and righteousness embodied. Never mind that you are confusing the defintion/description of drunk (and other forms of the word) with drink.

    And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess. Can one be drunk on something unfermented? To excess? Not given to much wine, Deacons. That's what the Bible says. But it's been rewritten to say "no wine."

    So, in order to continue Tom's belief of wine is evil terrible very bad no good, you have to rewrite the Bible. That in itself is against the KJB position. The Word was either written as intended or it wasn't.

    So the verses in Proverbs about the wine moving itself in the cup is either about drunkenness (habitaully so) or it is about the first glass of wine.

    I personally see soda moving more than my wine does.

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    1. Speaking of soda....sugar is addicting and more harmful than a glass of wine. Don't Christians want to take care of their temple? Then why is it ok to eat so much sugar? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristin-kirkpatrick-ms-rd-ld/dangers-of-sugar_b_3658061.html

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    2. Calling me a wifebeater does nothing to establish that such a pejorative has a basis in fact...

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  10. "WE PREACH CHRIST"


    Not really, just IFB opinions.

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    1. Moralism = Christ in the IFB world.

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    2. Ignorance is bliss, eh?

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    3. "Don't drink or you might do bad things." How is this preaching Christ? This is moralism. There's no pointing people to Christ here.

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    4. I've written 185,000 words on this blog alone about Christ. I've preached hundreds of sermons about Christ. If you didn't know that you are ignorant. If you did and don't care you are simply argumentative and there is no point in further discussion.

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    5. The series on alcohol is teaching moralism.

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  11. "John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard". Here is Scripture, Tom. I suppose John should have drunk so that others wouldn't think he had a demon, by your logic. And do you see how Pharisees are? One doesn't drink, and he's demon possessed. The other one does (the Son of God), and he's a drunkard. No one EVER saw Jesus drunk, but because he DRANK, he received the label of a "drunk." You are labeling other Christians the same way. Because Pharisees.

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  12. All these blogs have been dishonest. When Tom is challenged with scripture, he ignores it. There has been MANY MANY unanswered questions asked of him and he has purposely ignored them.

    Ever wonder:

    It only seems those who are actually reading his blogs are those who oppose and have a very good knowledge of the scriptures. Those who, if any, agree with his viewpoint have NOT made any attempt to back-up his viewpoint. Not one comment at all.

    In fact, my guess being a former IFB extremist, he and his flock thinks that they are doing the "Lord's work" BECAUSE of the push-back he is getting. He probably thinks he "hit and nerve", "God's convicting them", etc. and yet in all this, scripture is suppose to be the final authority but there is no evidence of this when passages in context is obviously proving his viewpoint incorrectly and is ignored.

    It's so bad that Tom actually created a "weight scale" to help understand context and just made it worse. It doesn't make any sense at all. Food, sex, etc can also be shown as things to avoid by using this same "logic". This was also shown to him and, of course, ignored.

    This post isn't for Tom though. I know he'll ignore this too. This post is for his followers.

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    1. So what would you like me to respond too?

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    2. 1. "For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty:"

      You do realize that a part of this verse isn't speaking of alcohol right?

      Drunkard = too much alcohol.

      Glutton = too much food.

      I mean, that's like saying, "food is wrong and brings poverty."

      2. You say "give yourself to drinking alcohol." What does that mean?

      It seems your focus is on drunkenness, not alcohol. It seems odd to me that, as a pastor, you cannot tell the difference. Or refuse to acknowledge the difference. Why is that?

      3. What are "the Bible's rules and the exception to the rules" when it comes to alcohol and Christ? When I look at alcohol and the Bible, I don't see contradiction, do you? Tom does. Because he sees alcohol itself as evil and automatic drunkenness if one "imbibes" or "gives themselves to drinking alcohol" when they partake of just one glass of wine. The Bible does not say this. Why? Because the view is not Biblical, but is a product of 20th century revivalist/prohibitionist/progressive agendas.

      4. So you automatically qualify those who admit to drinking wine with dinner as being uncommitted and limping along on spiritual life support? I'm doing my best to grasp the logic in what you are saying.

      5. Tom: Where in the Bible are we instructed to lay a burden of conscience on others in matters that lie in the area of Christian freedom and sound Christian judgment?

      Also, where in the Bible does God condemn the proper and responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages?

      6. Will you be differentiating and clarifying "drinking alcohol" and "drunkenness?" Or are they the same to you?

      7. "Studies show that 100% of the money put into those paper cups gets spent on drugs and alcohol."

      Can you produce the studies that show that 100% of the money in those paper cups gets spent on drugs and alcohol? I'd like to see those studies.

      Here ya go!

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    3. 1. "For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty:"

      You do realize that a part of this verse isn't speaking of alcohol right?

      Drunkard = too much alcohol.

      Glutton = too much food.

      I mean, that's like saying, "food is wrong and brings poverty."

      -The consequences of poor or sinful decisions do not come all in one size. They vary usually in proportion to the size of the error. To the extent that one delves into drunkenness one will find oneself in poverty. It is proportional. That is Solomon's point. I don't think my application of this verse was out of line with that. The larger point of my post's context was to warn of the dangers implicit in alcohol. Poverty is one of those dangers.

      2. You say "give yourself to drinking alcohol." What does that mean?

      -Someone whose purpose in life has largely become drinking.

      It seems your focus is on drunkenness, not alcohol. It seems odd to me that, as a pastor, you cannot tell the difference. Or refuse to acknowledge the difference. Why is that?

      -There is a difference in proportion between drinking and being drunk but not a difference in subject. As I have repeatedly said in this series I am trying to lay the groundwork of the larger context in which the Bible sets the whole subject of alcohol. I doubt that I will ever convince you to change your mind but the least you could grant me is the patience to hear me out before you accuse me of ignorance or ineptitude.

      3. What are "the Bible's rules and the exception to the rules" when it comes to alcohol and Christ? When I look at alcohol and the Bible, I don't see contradiction, do you? Tom does. Because he sees alcohol itself as evil and automatic drunkenness if one "imbibes" or "gives themselves to drinking alcohol" when they partake of just one glass of wine. The Bible does not say this. Why? Because the view is not Biblical, but is a product of 20th century revivalist/prohibitionist/progressive agendas.

      -This isn't a question. It is opinion. You are welcome to it, of course.

      4. So you automatically qualify those who admit to drinking wine with dinner as being uncommitted and limping along on spiritual life support? I'm doing my best to grasp the logic in what you are saying.

      -No.

      5. Tom: Where in the Bible are we instructed to lay a burden of conscience on others in matters that lie in the area of Christian freedom and sound Christian judgment?

      -We are explicitly directed not to. You are assuming alcohol is one of those areas of Christian freedom. If you are correct about that assumption I am wrong. Obviously, I do not think you are correct.

      Also, where in the Bible does God condemn the proper and responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages?

      -I plan to answer that gradually and then more specifically. You do not have to agree with my plan but at least give me the benefit of the doubt that I have one.

      6. Will you be differentiating and clarifying "drinking alcohol" and "drunkenness?" Or are they the same to you?

      -No, they are not the same. They do, however, come from the same source.

      7. "Studies show that 100% of the money put into those paper cups gets spent on drugs and alcohol."
      Can you produce the studies that show that 100% of the money in those paper cups gets spent on drugs and alcohol? I'd like to see those studies.

      -Can't find them. I just spent an hour online and I don't have any more time to give to it. I found a bunch of reports, articles, campaigns, warnings, statements, etc. that the vast majority of panhandlers spend their money on alcohol and drugs but I can't find any peer reviewed studies that state this. I have edited my original post to reflect that.

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  13. 2015: Wine is sin!

    1915: Radios are evil!

    1815: Trains are demon spawn!

    1715: Devil pianos!

    1615: I HAVE THE PLAGUE!

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  14. Anonymous writes like he’s knocking back a few with a Bible in one hand and a Daiquiri in the other.

    I have yet to hear anyone arguing against Tom’s position acknowledge the horrifying cruelties related to addiction. My wife is an ER nurse and she can tell you some tragic stories of people who couldn’t stop. Let’s keep it simple. If you never drink you’re not going to wreck lives under the influence. There’s no risk to your health, your behavior, or your reputation.

    It’s not an issue of Christian liberty (being free from the Law) because there’s no liberty in foolishness. It is always foolish to drink (because of the dangers) but it is not a sin to drink responsibly. On the other hand it is always wise to avoid alcohol.

    It does become a sin to drink when you have an addiction and cannot stop. It is also a sin to drink to excess or to offer alcohol to children. It is a sin to tempt an addict with alcohol or to “ply” someone else with alcohol to take advantage of them in any way.

    Without quoting scripture I believe a loving, heavenly Father would prefer his children stay away from the fermented beverage and not risk the dangers.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Here's the thing, Bill, Tom's not talking about addiction, he's talking about alcohol. There's a difference. addiction can take on many forms.

      Applying your reasoning--you better stop having sex because you might become addicted and start chasing the wimmin-folk like a hound dog. There are dangers in having sex--you might take it too far!--so I believe a loving, Heavenly Father would prefer his children to stay away from sex and not risk the dangers.

      I know. Totally ridiculous, right? *wink*

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  15. I am one of those Christians who maintain that God created wine to be a blessing. I base that on what MY God has said in HIS Word. Like in Isaiah 25:6 which says: The Lord of Hosts will prepare a feast for all the peoples on this mountain — a feast of aged wine, choice meat, finely aged wine.

    Or how about where God promised in Duet. 11:13-14: If you carefully obey my commands I am giving you today, to love the Lord your God and worship Him with all your heart and all your soul, I will provide rain for your land in the proper time, the autumn and spring rains, and you will harvest your grain, new wine, and oil.

    And Genesis 14:18 which shows a man of God giving wine as a blessing: Then Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine; he was a priest to God Most High.

    And here in Judges 9:13 which shows us God's view of wine: But the grapevine said to them, “Should I stop giving my wine that cheers both God and man, and rule over trees?"

    I also believe Jesus drank wine because He said so. Luke 7:34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!'

    As for Christian liberty Tom, I think you need to read through Romans 14. I don't look down on you for not drinking alcohol and you have no right to judge me for choosing to drink (vs 3-4). I stand before God with a clear conscience. Just like Paul 'I know and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself.' Tom, you're not corrected for abstaining from alcohol; you're corrected because you're in danger of judging your fellow brother or sister in Christ who freely enjoy the good things God has given. I am disappointed that as a pastor you feel you can pass judgement on God's slaves.

    As for Bill...Just because some have no self-control or restraint does not mean all people do. And I am posting anonymously because I know that what I have to say will be dismissed and therefore there is no need for my name. It's not like either of you will show a greater level respect simply because my name is attached.

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    1. I have a post planned to deal with the verses you mentioned. In regards to your contention that I have no right to judge you I simply disagree. If it is a matter of right and wrong I have every right to judge you. I wrote about that extensively in my book on the Sermon on the Mount. You are more than welcome to read it and give me any response you like.

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    2. I don't need to read your book Tom because I have God's book and as it so wonderfully says
      "... no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus..."

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    3. Drinking wine is not a matter of right and wrong. Right and wrong begins when you see the wine moving itself in the cup. It begins when all you can think about is the wine. It begins when your liberty to enjoy something turns into an obsession.


      There is NO moderation in obsession.

      As long as moderation remains, there is no sin where God has not specifically called sin.

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    4. Anonymous,

      I agree with your last post. There's no 11th Commandment that says "Thou shalt not drink fermented beverage". Drinking responsibly is not a sin just like walking on a highwire without a net is not a sin. But they are both foolish risks. I'm sure that 2% of the population can successfully tight-rope walk across a highwire without a net and not get hurt. But for the rest of us it is a foolish risk.

      I can't recall Pastor Tom arguing that alcohol is the devil's brew or evil in itself but I will argue that it was never created for human consumption by God. Here's why. Even when you drink responsibly you may be deceiving yourself. The first stage of alcoholism is denial. And the sin that hides behind the foolish risk of drinking responsibly is the sin of pride. "I can handle it." "I'm in control."

      But in reality it often takes the intervention of a family member, policeman or personal tragedy before one will admit to an addiction. And then it's too late.

      In so many of these postings opposing Pastor Tom's position, I'm hearing this kind of pride. Pride in how many scripture versus you know. Pride of your "Christian Liberty" Pride in your numbers because your position is more popular than ours.

      Just sayin'

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    5. "I'm hearing this kind of pride. Pride in how many scripture versus you know."

      This is the first time I've heard someone not an atheist complain about Christians hiding God's Word in their heart.

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    6. "Drinking responsibly is not a sin..."

      I'm glad someone in IFB finally has the guts to say responsible drinking is not a sin.

      Baby steps.

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    7. Or maybe instead of IFB, I should say someone taking up the "unpopular position" in these comments.

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    8. "I will argue that it was never created for human consumption by God..."

      Wut! How in the world do you arrive to that conclusion?

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    9. Bill,

      You seriously need to read the bible. Seriously.

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  16. Copied from above:

    "6. Will you be differentiating and clarifying "drinking alcohol" and "drunkenness?" Or are they the same to you?

    -No, they are not the same. They do, however, come from the same source".

    You seem to fall back to this "source" argument. Are you saying, then, that alcohol (the "source") is intrinsically sinful/evil? You do realize that's the same argument the left makes for gun control, right?

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  17. "-The consequences of poor or sinful decisions do not come all in one size. They vary usually in proportion to the size of the error. To the extent that one delves into drunkenness one will find oneself in poverty. It is proportional. That is Solomon's point. I don't think my application of this verse was out of line with that. The larger point of my post's context was to warn of the dangers implicit in alcohol. Poverty is one of those dangers."

    Again, you wrote, "Drinking alcohol produces poverty" This statement is false. Its not biblical. Drunkenness and Gluttony produces poverty. If alcohol is produces poverty than so does food.

    I'm sorta shocked that you can't see the difference between a substance and excess usage of that substance (food included). I think your reading is viewed based upon your theology rather than scriptural context.

    "You cannot give yourself to drinking alcohol and be spiritually sensitive at the same time."

    Really? How do you explain Jesus drinking wine then?

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