My response to Michael Brown’s Charisma Article: Why I Never Drink Alcohol, 9/19/2017
Teachers who say Christians should never drink alcohol are going beyond what the Bible says, prohibiting something the Bible does not prohibit. The Bible handles the subject differently, giving guidelines on how to be wise about how much to drink. Also, many studies show that drinking alcohol in moderation can be healthy, which relates to what Paul said to Timothy 2000 years ago, and as Michael said in the article: Jesus turned the water into wine.
“The lesson here is that we should put greater emphasis on helping weaker brothers and sisters than on enjoying our liberty.”
Michael derives this from a lesson that was about eating *food sacrificed to idols,* which the apostles concluded in Acts 15:20 was a sin — taboo. Michael then applies this to drinking alcohol, which is not in the Acts-15 list, implying we should be as he is, to not drink any alcohol at all.
The truth is we can also stumble others by calling something a sin that is not a sin, placing burdens on others that the Bible doesn’t place on them.
Paul’s elders’ qualifications:
Additionally, in Paul’s elders’ qualifications in both 1 Timothy and Titus, Paul does not prohibit overseers from drinking alcohol. Instead, he says leaders must not be “given to wine” (KJV) / “addicted to wine” (NASB).
An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate*, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine** or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well….. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (1 Tim. 3:2-4, 7 NASB)
…appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine**, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled***, holding fast the faithful word…. (Tit. 1:5-9 NASB)
Cognate: 3524 nēpháleos (an adjective, derived from 3525/nḗphō, “to be sober”) – properly, not intoxicated, free from negative influences (intoxicants); (figuratively) clear-minded; circumspect (“sober”), free from life-dominating influences.
** not addicted to wine (NASB) or given to wine (KJV), from Thayer’s Greek Lexicon:
STRONGS NT 3943: πάροινος
πάροινος, πάροινον, a later Greek word for the earlier παροίνιος (παρά (which see IV. 1) and οἶνος, one who sits long at his wine), given to wine, drunken: 1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7; (others give it the secondary sense, ‘quarrelsome over wine’; hence, brawling, abusive).
***self controlled from HELPS Word-studies
4998 sṓphrōn (from sōos, “sound, safe” and 5424 /phrḗn, “inner outlook” which regulates outward behavior) – properly, safe (sound) because moderated, referring to what is prudent because correctly (divinely) balanced (which is far more than being “the middle of the road”).
4998 /sṓphrōn (“acting in God’s definition of balance“) makes someone genuinely temperate, i.e. well-balanced from God’s perspective. True balance is not “one-size-fits-all” nor is it blandly static. Biblical moderation (4998 /sṓphrōn) describes “a man who does not command himself, but rather is commanded by God‘” (K. Wuest, Word Studies, 2, 46). This root (sōphro-, “soundness”) then reflects living in God-defined balance.
Why isn’t this mentioned anymore?:
Paul says in Galatians 5 that drunkenness will keep a person from inheriting the kingdom, and “Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts.”
The church needs to know that drunkenness is a salvation issue — a sin by which many are going to hell, including those who have been born-again.
The fear of the Lord is to help us keep from sinning. The fear of the Lord should be taught to help people decide how to treat alcohol.
True Christians are led by the Holy Spirit:
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:14).
The Holy Spirit will help us know what the balance is on many things, including alcohol, instead of teaching a prohibition that the Bible does not teach.
What the Bible really says about who goes to heaven needs to be again taught in the church, which I do here:
Who-Goes-To-Heaven Scriptures — Narrow is the Way | Who are the Children of God? — “There is therefore now *NO CONDEMNATION* to those who are IN CHRIST Jesus, who don’t WALK according to the flesh, but ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT”