Should Christians Drink? (Part 1)

This is an age-old questions. As many as there are denominations, there are answers.

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It is a question that has merit, though. “Do not be drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,” is what Ephesians 5:18 commands. Bottom line is: if drinking leads you to sin, you need to cut it out.

The same could be said about food, or being addicted to entertainment in our culture of leisure. But there are many passages, of course, in the Old Testament that refer to wine in a positive way. Even Jesus’ first miracle was turning water to wine! (I’ve heard the argument before that it actually wasn’t wine, but grape juice. I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that one.)

Catholicism, Anglicanism and Methodism both embrace wine as part of their communion. Other denominations, like Baptists and Brethren have historically prohibited the drinking of alcohol. Baptists also, at one time, prohibited a number of activities, including card-playing and dancing. Popular author Philip Yancey explores some of these tensions. The question is where to draw the line with activity that could lead to sin?

This process can take time. For some people, if they come from a family where alcoholism was a chilling reality, they choose to cut it out completely. Other people, though, do not have that experience and are able to drink in moderation, exercising self-control. Another aspect that I should point out is that it is advisable, in order to protect the integrity of your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, to not drink with them if they have a drinking problem. Paul addresses this concern in the fourteenth chapter of Romans.

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