Alcohol and the Christian (once again); Was Peter masters

Discussion in 'The Pilgrims Progress' started by CalsFarmer, Nov 25, 2005.

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  1. john_Mark

    john_Mark Puritan Board Freshman

    Concerning fast food. On the health frontier, heart disease is the #1 killer in the USA and obesity is also a huge (no pun intended) problem. Yet, we don't here the same type of preaching against this from pulpits and papers. Actually, the SB churches may even encourage unhealthy eating with potluck meals. How often are warnings given of bringing low-fat meals and limiting one's portions?

    Once on a Wed-nite service the teacher said that we shouldn't buy alcohol because it's poor stewardship. When I challenged him on that position since the "poor stewardship" could virtually be limitless he admitted he had no biblical mandate not to buy alcohol.

    My point is that there are many things that we do daily as Christians that could couner what could be poor witnessing from the jokes we hear and laugh at to the internet to the #1 value meal. There are many more addictions than just alcohol.

    I also don't think the "Jesus didn't live in the 20 century" arguement to be one that could be detrimental were we to adapt this as our hermeneutic. The fact is that in the time of Christ there were alcoholics and drunkards. Yet, Christ still drank to a point that he was called drunkard. While Paul warned us about causing another to stumbled he also encouraged Timothy to drink alcohol. Today we also have many medicinal drugs that are far more addicting and could have far worse effects than alcohol. Should we still take them if the Dr. recommends them?

    Actually, I think we could use a beer as a witnessing tool or a tool to give proper teaching to the weaker brothers. We could explain to them that we aren't Mormons or JW's and that our religion is not about not drinking (and smoking?). Explain the freedom we have in Christ, etc.

    Done rambling....
  2. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor


    I suspect I run the risk of being jumped on here, but I will pregress nontheless..

    I love video games, in my free time I feel they can be stress relieving and fun. I also know that they can be addicting and time consuming. If any of you came on here telling me I needed to give up gaming I would passionately defend my liberty to play games. Same with TV, there are a few shows I very much enjoy. (Notice I have not commented in the TV discussion in another thread).

    However, I know I am biased in any discussion regarding two things I enjoy. I ask some of you to consider this in this discussion. Many of you seem to love alcohol consumption as much or more than I love gaming and television viewing. If not, it sure comes across that way. Some of you don't even seem willing to consider that consuing strong drink (especially in public) could be a bad idea, so much so that the "beware of the pharisees" warning has been sounded.

    Our culture worships alcohol. It is hailed as a god. It will get you women, money, nice cars, and a social life like you can't even imagine. A recent alcohol commercial shows young people dancing wildly to loud music. For almost the entire commercial you have no idea what is being sold until they show a bottle and the announcer says something like "Yea, it's like that." While TV and video games can be bad, I don't see them being worshiped in that manner.

    I have attended many wedding receptions where alcohol was celeberated far more than the bride and groom. I have seen people who would proudly profess Christ fighting over the last "jello shooter". When I make this argument with some CHristian bretheren I have been told that a drink would loosen me up!

    I love this place, and I respect of all of you for your biblical knowledge and dedication, but it all honesty the passion of which alcohol is defended and praised here often makes me sad. I try as hard as I can to ignore it and will continue to do so. But a thread like this makes me feel that I am safe speaking up.

  3. john_Mark

    john_Mark Puritan Board Freshman

    Hey Adam,

    I understand where you are coming from and thanks for admitting your bias. (We all have them.) Our culture worships many more things that just alcohol including themselves. Yet we don't hear the same admonitions given in churches about the other idols of our culture.

    I really don't believe that the folks here defend their freedom because they "love acohol consumption" to the nth degree so to speak. And I don't believe that's a fair accusation with which to paint folks. This tends to get into questioning the motives of those posting rather than proving your particular position. What I have seen so far is folks are hashing this issue out trying to be biblical or in the very least as biblical as possible as we do with all things.

    As to your wedding example, Christians sin. We do stupid, stupid things and I am so thankful we are saved by grace. There are too many worldly examples of these types of examples of Christians behaving badly that we could make doctrines out of. Thankfully, we don't or we just might all live Amish-like lives of isolation. Hey, sometimes this doesn't sound like such a bad idea.

    I am just not biblically convinced that total alcohol abstinence is a doctrine that should be binding of the consciences of the church.

  4. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    Thanks Mark, I get worked up when I see the "pharisee" comment. I have had terrible experiences in my past when dealing with those I thought were friends and sin. When I wanted to hold my brothers (and myself) to higher standards I was literally called a pharisee. I want to think I have forgiven them, but that acusation sticks with me.


    PS- That situation in my past was NOT about alcohol.

    [Edited on 11-25-2005 by houseparent]
  5. tcalbrecht

    tcalbrecht Puritan Board Junior

    Could you please describe the environment where moderate smoking caused identifiable harm? How moderate was the smoking?

    Interesting idea. I was on a plane fight once where they refused to serve peanuts because there was a child onboard with a peanut allergy.

    Is moderate second hand smoke any more harmful than, say, living in Los Angeles or New York City or any other city with significant air-born contaminates?

    [Edited on 11-25-2005 by tcalbrecht]
  6. bond-servant

    bond-servant Puritan Board Sophomore

    Adam, once again I reiterate a comment I made in a previous post:
    Like Mark, I haven't seen anyone on this thread treat alcohol as a 'god'-
    I have also seen our society treat sex as a god. Yet, abstaining contradicts Paul's charge to married couples as does God's command in Genesis.
    Dr. Clark made the same point about eating/drinking:
    I have not drunk now socially in 15 years, nor do I intended to go to bars, nor to I intended to violate Scripture and drink unto drunkeness...just a fellow servant of our Lord re-examining actions and Scripture.
  7. mgeoffriau

    mgeoffriau Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm not sure I follow the argument that meat and soft drinks do no harm to others, but tobacco products do, and so that separates them into different catagories...

    Counterexample #1:
    Smoking is (apparently) wrong because you cause harm to others. What about chew and dip? Nobody is harmed by that but me, and if I brush my teeth frequently, then even my wife isn't offended by it.

    Counterexample #2
    Red meat and soft drinks harm only me, right? Well, unfortunately, the high death rate from obesity means that everyone pays more for health insurance and life insurance because of my abuses of red meat and soft drinks. So my abuse does in fact harm others.

    My point? There are no hard and fast lines between "public sins" and "private sins".
  8. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    Beth, if I sounded as if I was attacking you or anyone I am sorry. I wasn't. I just want some to consider that they may have a strong bias toward alcohol in the way I would about games or some TV watching. Simple as that.
  9. bond-servant

    bond-servant Puritan Board Sophomore

    Adam, no prob! I didn't feel attacked, just wanted for my position to be clear.
  10. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    Sure Josh, but I don't see Society as a whole bow to the alter of video gaming like I alcohol use and partying. I know people who won't go to a party or function unless alcohol is served. I know people who refuse to go anywhere until they are told alcohol is being served then they suddenly cannot wait to go.

    Surely you (meaning all of you) see those kinds of things as well?
  11. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    Let me ask this.

    What if alcohol was outlawed again? If video games were I would find it silly, but life would go on. I wouldn't campaign for them, I wouldn't buy them on the black market, etc. I would whine a little and let it go.

    Those of you who enjoy alcohol, how would you reat if it were drink outlawed?

    [Edited on 11-26-2005 by houseparent]
  12. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    We would be like Machen and send off the warning bells. One gets in trouble trying to be holier than Jesus.

  13. Jie-Huli

    Jie-Huli Puritan Board Freshman

    Due to the time difference, there have been quite a lot of posts since the last time I checked. But it still seems there is no one else here who has actually read Dr. Masters' book, which is unfortunate. I would certainly encourage Rick (and anyone else interested in considering the subject) to read the book, since it seems there are not many reformed writers who have written from the abstinence position. Dr. Masters deals with all of the arguments that have been put forth in a scholarly (yet simple) way.

    Well, I will not have time to post later today, but I did just want to address one point which I see has been made, in regard to the wine of biblical times being the same as the wine of today. Some verses were posted showing the point that it was possible for people to get drunk in biblical times (such as Noah, etc.), and therefore the conclusion was drawn that wine was the same then as today. What this fails to take into account is that though the fermented wine of the grape will always have similar qualities, in and of itself, in biblical times the wine that was normally consumed was much more heavily diluted. And the fact that the water of that time needed a mixture of some wine to be more sanitary should also be taken into account. Obviously people could overconsume even this, or dilute their wine less and get drunk. But the "moderate" consumption of wine which is apparently condoned in Scripture was with a much different substance than modern alcoholic beverages, I do not think this can be denied.

    The Webmaster himself posted this in another thread (emphasis mine):

    Obviously he was not arguing there in favour of abstinence, but the point remains that the wine used in Jesus' time was generally quite diluted.

    Incidentally, I do see the issue of the Lord's Supper as the greatest challenge to a total abstinence position. Actually, at present I myself lean towards a position of total abstinence from drinking alcohol in day to day life, with the use of diluted wine for the Lord's Supper, though I do not condemn the use of unfermented grape juice either, since it is still the fruit of the vine.



    [Edited on 11-26-2005 by Jie-Huli]
  14. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    Abstinence makes Christ to be a sinner and a false teacher.
  15. tdowns

    tdowns Puritan Board Junior

    A tid bit

    I'm on vacation, I've tried to read most, but just a little something that I was discussing with my friend that is interesting.

    My dad is totally anti-alchohol, and a good Christian, and he did not smoke either, but didn't have any neg. emotions behind it. So growing up is was alchohol is BAD, but we'd have a cigar after a Clint Eastwood movie or on a road trip (we're talking twice a year, swisher sweet, just for fun.).

    Well as I entered my college years, many of my friends took up smoking, and I never did, never wanted to, felt no need, but I hugely abused alchohol. So I find it interesting that the "vice" that my dad allowed, I handled with maturity (this was pre-christian) and the "vice" that was forbidden I abused.
    So I don't know about the stumbling argument..
    when my Dad asked me once recently, "Do you want your daughter to drink like you do?" I said, "Yes, I do, because I drink under control now, I don't want her drinking like I used to."

    I don't see how hiding something, that is o.k., is a good thing.

  16. Jie-Huli

    Jie-Huli Puritan Board Freshman

    The abstinence position put forward by Dr. Masters most assuredly does not do such a wicked thing. Nor is Dr. Masters blind to the texts in the gospels which concern Jesus and wine. He deals with them very sensibly.
  17. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    Jesus wants us to drink!

    I hope my daughter never reads that.
  18. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    :um: Ok an exception is made for that, but not social drinking of any kind.
  19. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    I know that many other countries are way more liberal with alcohol (in terms of ages etc.) than the US. Do those countries have the trouble that we have with alcohol?
  20. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    Nope, but what can we do about that now? I have friends from Italy who have told me how they were raised to respect alcoholand how they used it. They have never been drunk and laughed at their friends as teens when that's all they wanted to do.

    But now that our Country has glamorized it and made getting a buzz the thing to do I can't see how we as Christians should be out partaking of it with those who do drink in that way. Scott (or whoever) drinking a little at home is no big deal, but to be seen at a bar or out drinking at a party is a poor witness In my humble opinion.

    I told my pastor that if my daugher ever repents and comes to church I would never want her to see beer in his fridge.
  21. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Because we have done bad things does not mean all hope is lost. We have learned to have a wrong attitude towards guns, but no one would say the solution is to not deal with guns.

    I think the solution is to demonstrate responsible use, just as demonstration of responsible use of guns helps set a proper example.

    I do not see how responsible use can be a bad witness. A person that drinks and then says "no, I have had enough for tonight", at the very least cannot be a bad witness. I personally think it to be a very good witness.

    Lets imagine that the scenario that you describe was to happen. What exactly would your daughter be offended by? And then would her response be to reject the gospel that she has now embraced?
  22. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    I want to see if I am understanding you here..

    Are you saying it would be good for me to frequent the local pub tonight (I am terribly bored right now) and drink a beer or two while chatting to whoever is willing, stopping before I have had too much in order to be a good witness?

    If in her recent past she has had a hard time controlling alcohol and associated it with the rampant sinners she once spent all of her time with, I would assume she would see this as condoning alcohol use of which she (like me for MANY years) has never seen used in an acceptable way.
  23. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate


    The argument was centered on engaging in alcohol in front of the general populace. Your new scenario is now centered on being in questionable scenario with or without alcohol.

    And.... How is this different from various other misconceptions, she will ask question/make accusations and at that point a discussion will take place. She will be straightened out and hopefully learn that alcohol in itself is not demon water.

  24. gwine

    gwine Puritan Board Sophomore

    To be honest I don't know how "moderate" the smoking was, as my dad is gone now, but he was diagnosed with emphysema and never smoked but worked in an office where people did.

    My wife had asthma to the point of needing emergency shots when she was little and her dad smoked - again I cannot say how much. Another lady I worked for long ago had a chronic cough and her three little ones had many colds and respiratory problems and her live in (finally her husband) smoked.

    Even today walking into a restaurant gives my wife problems if there is smoking near the waiting area. Of course, that doesn't happen much now because many restaurants in the area are smoke-free and we choose to frequent them instead of those that aren't.

    I am not a passionate anti-smoker * but I believe there is sufficient reason to keep away from second-hand smoke and smoggy cities.

    * In that I do not actively engage in anti-smoking campaigns or get in people's faces about smoking. I'm more of a passive guy who goes out of my way to avoid second-hand smoke. I believe too that parents who smoke around children are not being responsible stewards of God's gifts to them. (added as an edit)

    [Edited on 11-26-2005 by gwine]
  25. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    I am still learning that and I am not completely convinced. I promise you that you guys are the ONLY people I know who when they drink do not do so in excess.

    That also goes back to my idea of going to the pub. WHERE is it all of you are drinking socially? When you go out to dinner? Where else? I know of no places to socially drink besdes some resteraunts and the bars. Even the resteraunts I know are clearly seperated, one half is for those who wish not to drink, the other half is for those who do. The idea being that the drinkers may be louder and "rowdier" and they don't want the non-drinkers to be disturbed.
  26. gwine

    gwine Puritan Board Sophomore

    How about going to other (reformed) friends's houses for supper and a good evening together? It's social but very small group - maybe just the 4 of us (and their children.)
  27. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor


    I still thinin a much larger scale when I talk of social drinking.
  28. gwine

    gwine Puritan Board Sophomore

    #1 Smoking and chewing are not the same. I've never heard of second hand spit, unless you are being careless. :bigsmile:

    #2 Methinks you are trying to divert the problem (I know there is a name for that in the logic book). You might just as well argue that the PB causes harm since you could get carpal tunnel syndrome typing all night and then that would be an insurance issue, etc. etc.
  29. gwine

    gwine Puritan Board Sophomore

    I know that. But I am serious, since I am not into the social scene you are picturing. I average 1-2 beers a week and dropping, more because beer has calories, which are empty, and it is not as healthy for you as Bob Vigneault says (just checking to see if he's reading this.) And I did have a couple glasses of wine for Thanksgiving dinner tonight with our daughter-in-law's family (her dad is the pastor of our church), so this is my social setting.

    But her grandpa, an OPC pastor as well, choose not to drink because it was his liberty not to and never suggested that his daughter or son-in-law (our pastor) should follow his example.

    I remember years ago at my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary. My aunt arranged everything and alcohol was part of the arrangement, which was interesting since my grandparents didn't drink. Man, did the party get rowdy. It was sad . . .
  30. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    And therein lies my issue. I wish I could go to a few social gathering without having to worry about some idiotic drunks spoiling it.
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