It all comes back to discipleship

When I was a boy growing up, my parents told me about this man. He dressed up in a red and white suit, drove a sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer. Every Christmas Eve, if I was a good boy all year, he would leave me presents and usually the ones I had asked for. As I grew up, I stopped believing it was true and my parents confirmed it. But as a child, I really believed in Santa Claus, because that is what I was told.

I’ve been in a discussion about moral relativism, legalism and the standard debate turns to the subject of alcohol. How can one christian be convicted not to drink and one think it’s O.K.?

As you study the bible, you see, drinking is never called a sin. Getting drunk always is. Eating is never called a sin. Gluttony always is. Then it dawned on me, ” it all comes back to discipleship”.

If I’m taught that the bible teaches drinking is a sin, I’ll believe it. Until that day comes, like with Santa Claus, I’m old enough to study the scriptures myself and realize drunkenness is the sin.

You can have a drink without being a drunk, just like you can eat a hamburger without being a glutton. And had I grown up hearing the “gluttony” sermons, I’d have a much different view of “super size.”

Someone said it’s a cultural thing. Maybe I’d be better suited to be in Germany for their fine brewed beer, or France or Italy for their wines. As part of their culture, for the most part, drinking is a non-issue amongst christians. Because they learn otherwise.

Someone said it’s perception. And if someone sees me staggering out of Joe’s nightclub, that’s one thing, but if I bring home a bottle of White Zinfandel to go with the grilled swordfish for dinner,that’s another thing.

Someone asked “Is it holy?” I guess a glass of wine brings me as close to God as a grilled swordfish dinner.

Someone said it may cost someone their salvation, and that could be true. For if someone who drinks moderately thinks they’ll be judged by those christians, who think drinking is a sin, decide not to go to church and never hear the gospel, yes that cost them their salvation.

Temperance is not preached much (if any) from the pulpit and I really don’t know why. If we choose to drink a glass of wine or beer isn’t the issue. It’s where does your belief system stem from. Don’t say the bible says drinking is a sin, when it doesn’t say that ( no-one did by the way). We need to teach the truth, that moderate drinking is O.K., it’s biblical. The hypocrisy comes from the mis-teaching of the bible.

So the issue isn’t moral relativism, legalism, culture, perception or even holiness.  

It all comes back to discipleship. Teaching the truth.

4 Responses

  1. I think that you are asking the wrong question. Let’s stop asking “is it a sin?”. Let’s ask, can it hinder someone else’s spiritual growth or hinder them from coming to Christ. The fact that you said that the standard debate always comes to this seems to confirm that it is an issue with many people. Tim, I would agree with you that a glass of wine is not a sin. If it were, then Jesus would have sinned and, of course, He did not. So let’s put that arguement to rest. The problem is the fact that many non-Christians and many Christians, in the United States, in Alabama, etc. feel that it is wrong.
    Romans 14:13-23
    Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. [14] As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. [15] If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. [16] Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. [17] For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, [18] because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
    [19] Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. [20] Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. [21] It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.
    [22] So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. [23] But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

    I don’t judge you or say you are a sinner because you drink wine. It is wrong for me because I know that if others saw me, it would hurt their faith. Verse 21 explains it best for me and where I am in my faith.

  2. Within the Baptist tradition, the purchase, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages is a no-no in most church constitutions. So if anyone participates in that activity they have already been judged, and that would be a stumbling block if you personally chose to participate.And judging by the sales of alcoholic beverages in “our” grocery store, many Christians and non-Christians think it’s O.K. too.
    You know it’s not a sin, but the traditional Baptist teaching says it is(from the pulpit to the Sunday School curriculum)and it all comes back to discipleship.
    If the tradition teaches moderation, that it’s O.K., then the likelihood of it being a stumbling block diminishes within that tradition, because it’s the way they were taught.That’s my point.
    So I do understand where you are coming from and that’s cool.
    Cool post,too. Thanks.

  3. I don’t mean to be a “blog hog” (as Deanna would put it) so let me say this last thing and I will be done with this issue.

    We keep talking about Baptist tradition, church constitutions,judging, discipleship, etc. but since this is “A word on The Word” (great title by the way) let’s address the scripture from Romans 14:22. “It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.”
    As we learn about the church, we learn that we are truly our brother’s keeper. I am not saying that I am responsible “for” my brother (ie what he does,etc.), but I think it is very biblical that I am responsible “to” my brother (ie to keep from being a stumbling block to him, or putting anything in his way that would harm his spiritual growth).

    To me, this subject is one that many people have a hang up about, and that some people struggle with as an addiction and I don’t want to give my brother an opportunity to sin (because, according to the Word, for him, it would be).

    Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to address this controversial subject. I have enjoyed it immensely!

  4. I agree with everything you said. Better discipleship however, will strenghen the weak.
    Paul is refering to converts from Judaism and Paganism to Christianity, who associated eating foods sacrificed and drinking wine, to their previous religions. We ought never to put a stumbling block in the way of a brother(13) and we are to build up in maturity of faith, and in truth. The truth is,if this doctrine is taught correctly, the weak grow stronger instead of remaining weak and the truth will set them free(Jn.8:31&32).
    Yes,this has been a very enjoyable debate. And thank you!

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