Comment Rescue: Alcohol

Posted: 11/08/2007 by that's Elbert in Christianity, church, conservative, culture, liberal, opinions, Rants/Opinions, society, theology

I wrote the post linked here about the 5th liquor store in Laurel opening, which prompted a comment which I’d like to address in this post. My reply to the question was going to be, in my opinion, too long for a comment box, so it will get it’s longer treatment here. In addition, it might stir up some additional discussion.

The question: Just wondering Elbert (not throwing stones) are you from that school of theology that totally eschews alcohol? – Comment by swampcritter2

I was raised to abstain from alcohol. The churches where I have been involved have not actually taught that a Christian should abstain from alcohol, but it was a behavior that was understood to be part of the Christian’s character.

I believe that the Bible is clear about drunkenness, but not about the abstinence from alcoholic beverages. The Scripture most often quoted as a license for consuming alcohol: Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. (1 Timothy 5:23 NIV) Apparently it was used medicinally at various times. I remember my mother telling me stories about getting a dose of whiskey (at least I think it was whiskey) just prior to going to bed when she had a bad cold.

A pastor friend of mine once visited a missionary his church sponsored in Germany. During his visit, he spoke to the missionary’s church. Sometime during his visit, the church had a family dinner after a meeting. He enjoyed the meal, but was uncomfortable when he saw that beer was served at the dinner. I settled on the idea (as did he) that the presence of the beer was mostly an overflow of the German culture.

I’ve written all this, at the very least, to make this post as long as one of Michael Swartz’s posts. Nah, just kidding. I’m hoping that the reader has the idea that I’ve at least though about this, regardless of my resulting opinion.

So how is all this shaking out in my life? I don’t drink nor do I want to drink. That decision comes from my religious upbringing in addition to the fact that beer smells bad and champagne tastes nasty. My father scared me when he was drunk, not because he was violent or abusive but because he appeared to have no control over his actions when he was under the influence. I have raised my children to stay away from alcohol. If asked, I would discourage anyone from consuming alcoholic beverages.

I’m aware that some of the more “liberal” Christians have no issues with drinking the occasional “adult beverage”, but I can’t lie, it does lower how I think of them. Would I want to avoid that person or not speak to them? No way. Would I pound them with my views about the consumption of alcohol? Not likely, but actually highly unlikely. If the person asks I’ll tell them what I think, but I won’t stop being their friend/neighbor. More than likely, this view will cause some to say that I’m not very conservative theologically, but I almost don’t care. I’m convinced that these issues lay in those areas that are not going to toss me out of Heaven. Regarding those issues, that might be subject matter appropriate for another post.

In light of what I just said, remember my disclaimer on my “About” page.

Does this answer the question?

  1. swampcritter2 says:

    Elbert, I would deem that to be a very good and adequate response to my query. Hope you understand I never intended to put you or your beliefs on the spot, I was just interested after reading your “About” page. Besides that you don’t answer to me. Next issue: Medical Marijuana maybe?