I'm sure this discussion has come up over the years but since I'm starting this as a research discussion, I would like to categorize this topic into three groups: Are you a prohibitionist, an abstentionist or a moderationalist? Included with this answer, I would like to know where you live and type of church you attend. This will better give me an idea of the culture you live in. Also, is your belief, the belief of your church also.
Let me give a little detail on each although they seem to be self explanatory.
Abolitionist believes that all drinking is a sin.
Abstentionist believe, while drinking is not sinful but that all Christians should avoid drinking out of love for others and a desire not to cause anyone to stumble. They'll usually quote Romans 14:21 and 1 Cor. 8:1
Moderationalist teach that drinking is not a sin and that each person must let Christian conscience guide them without judging others (Romans 14:22) Drinking in moderation can be done to the glory of God just like eating. 1 Cor. 10:31
I think it is safe to say that all Christians agree that drunkeness is a sin. Deut. 21:20; Eccl. 10:17; Luke 12:45; 21:34; Rom. 13:13; 1 Cor. 5:11; Eph. 5:18; 1 Perter 4:3
I've read a lot of diaries and stories about the American west and when a gold or silver strike was discovered, the first structure they would build would be a saloon. They would put up a tent and set up a couple of barrels with a board across it and call it a bar. As the town progressed there was always numerous saloons and maybe sometime later, if the town took off, they would begin to have church services somewhere.
Have you heard about Carrie Nation (1846-1911) ? She was the hatchet- weilding prohibitionist whose husband was an alcoholic. She used to smash up gentlemen's clubs and saloons!
While Carrie was a little over the top, I think it was probably a lot worse in her time, so I might have been a prohibitionist too.
I thought it could be time to discuss a few scriptures. We'll look at two of them together to get a better understanding of one since one of these was mentioned earlier.
Pro 31:4-7 NKJV
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink; (5) Lest they drink and forget the law, And pervert the justice of all the afflicted. (6) Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to those who are bitter of heart. (7) Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his misery no more.
Ecc 10:17 NKJV
Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, And your princes feast at the proper time— For strength and not for drunkenness!
The first scriptures seem to refer for kings to not drink but in looking a little further it seems to refer to being drunk while sitting in judgement because he would not be able to judge right. In Eccl. we see that kings and princes (notice it said in the Proverbs that princes were not to drink either) but in Ecc. we see the words (at the proper time) obviously meaning not while judging.
Then it even goes on to say to give it to him who is dying. Could have been as a medicianl purpose to ease pain but the next verse gets interesting. Give wine to someone who is depressed and has a heavy heart so that he can forget his poverty and problems. I've heard many people quote the part that it is not for kings to drink and since we are kings and priests (Revelations 5:10) we shouldn't drink. They never quote the rest though, haha.
It's one thing to use scripture to find God's mind, it's quite another to seek scripture to justify one's own mind.
She was feared. While she and prohibition seem like over-the-top puritanical ideas, it made sense back then as the country was awash in alcohol. Every town village and farm rang a bell at certain times of the day to remind people to go have a drink! It was insane.
And I have to say - Puritans were actually brewers of ale and growers of grapes, so "puritanical" is a misnomer.
When I first became a Christian in Scotland in the seventies, alcohol was seen as sinful in Christian circles because it was associated with 'dirty old drunk men' on the streets. Pubs were for 'these people' only. That was how it was.
I was not brought up in a Christian home and my own father died of alcohol-related disease at age 42. My younger brother also died as an alcoholic just a few years ago. As a new Christian I was tee-total for several years, purely because of the 'associations' that alcohol had.
However, over the years society has changed and alcohol has become an acceptable social drink. Pubs are now family-friendly, smoke-free and provide a 'within budget' family weekend meal.
I am now a 'Moderationalist'. Many would say that my family background should make me an Abolitionist or Abstentionist, but that would not change the past or the present. I am an 'Abstentionist' in certain company out of respect for their views, but otherwise I have a freedom to observe 'all things in moderation'.
I have learned over the years that the important things are to obey God first and foremost, to not do anything to cause a fellow believer to stumble, and to be a good witness for the Gospel in our lives and words. With these rules we can make wise decisions for each circumstance we find ourselves in.
i adhere to Moderationalist opinion...my pastor does not drink alcohol, has never drank alcohol but does not teach that it is a sin. I belong to a large, prophetic anointing church, multicultural, multiethnic...I am Latina "Chicana"...I am a travelling minister...drsoki meza
My mind has changed through the years, started off being tought that it was sin to drink any, then I went to moderation after doing some extensive studies and not finding any scripture to back up not drinking, just not getting drunk. Now because of being an Assembly of God Pastor I need to follow the guidlines and not drink but I chose not too before that and was basically a Abstentionalist. I believe as a Pastor I need to set a good example and not cause anyone to stumble, but will not tell anyone they are living in sin unless they are getting drunk. So I don't condone drinking but I will not keep anyone out of the church for having a glass of wine or a beer now and then, but leaders I hold to a higher standard as i do myself.
I got saved in LV, NV, moved back to Wisconsin and now live in NM and see no difference in the way people think about this topic in each of the different denominations or non denominations in any of these places.
If you have to hide it to do it it is probably sin, and that goes for anything, not just drinking, because in God's eyes sin is sin. Take the log out of your own eye before you try to take the speck out of a brothers eye. Your sin may not be out in the open but that doesn't make it any less in God's eyes!
I've been saved for 24 years and a Pastor for 21 years and a Senior Pastor for 11 years and hve not had alcohol of any kind for the last 12 years except for niquil.
For his first miracle Jesus got the drinks in so I am a moderatory type although even the smell of the stuff makes me want to puke. Oh and I am an ex pub singer from the Church of Scotland in Glasgow. Maybe that's another miracle!