Pastor’s Desk May 11th

Scripture Passage:  “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”  Proverbs 20:1

Dear Friends,

     I am a teetotaler by choice and conviction.  I believe in total abstinence from alcohol and the Baptist Faith and Message, The Church Covenant, and Holy Scripture all are the basis for my decision to abstain from alcoholic drink.  In all my years of Pastoral Counseling, I have never seen a positive influence that a person experiences by imbibing in an intoxicating drink.  The opposite is always true. I have never seen anything good that comes from it.  So why are people today so attracted to alcohol?  Why are even Christians drawn to participate in social drinking?  The answer lies in marketing strategy and transforming moral absolutes brought on by cultural change.  We are told by the media that alcohol is a prerequisite for social acceptance and peer inclusion.  Every sitcom, every movie, every athletic event, and even musical concerts are saturated with advertisement and availability of alcohol.  It is portrayed as the norm and anyone who abstains or criticizes its use is depicted as a simple minded social reject. In recent years even Baptist life has been affected by social drinking and the camaraderie and fellowship produced by the consumption of alcohol.  A hundred years ago, Baptist would have considered it a shame, and a sin, to drink alcohol. This would have been the beginning of the temperance movement.  Today it is becoming accepted more and more and is one of the identifying characteristics of the Age of Tolerance.  I beg to differ and would like to give you some logical reasons why.

     One of the reasons people give for accepting the use of alcohol is that the Bible does not directly condemn it.  Many people use the excuse that even Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee.  Even Paul told Timothy to take a little wine for the stomach’s sake. Without presenting a case to argue, let us review some accurate facts.  There were at least two types of wine mentioned in the Bible and the term “wine” could be used for either one.  There was any fruit of the vine that had been mixed and diluted with water, and the fruit of the vine, or grain, that had become fermented.  One could lead to intoxication and drunkenness, the other could not.  While the Bible does not say, “Do not drink alcohol,” it always condemns drunkenness.  One could argue that it all comes down to drinking in moderation and knowing when to quit.  It could be said that alcohol itself is not bad, only what it causes us to do and say.  Can a person say with certainty that he or she will never become an alcoholic?  Certainly, but only if that person never takes a drink.  Can a person predict whether or not they will be predisposed to be an alcoholic and is drinking in moderation one of the steps of Alcoholic Anonymous?  No!  It is better never to take a drink to begin with than to have to try and quit as well as pay the consequences for bad decisions made while under the influence.  Paul also says in Romans 14:21 that it is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is made weak.  It would be an awful thing to be responsible for the downfall of another because I failed to live a life of integrity and sobriety before them.  I choose not to take that chance. 

     This passage of Scripture from Proverbs chapter 20 makes several things clear.  Alcohol mocks people by creating in them a thirst for more while never satisfying that thirst.  It mocks them by giving them a false sense of happiness and strength.  It mocks the weakling by causing him to think he is superman.  It mocks the simpleton by causing him to believe he has a profound sense of intelligence.  It mocks the poor by leading them into increased poverty.  It mocks the wealthy by giving them a false sense of power, security, and importance.  It mocks anyone who has become inebriated by its deceitful lies.  There is a Japanese proverb that says, “First the man takes a drink; then the drink takes a drink; then the drink takes the man.”  Alcohol makes a peaceable man a brawler.  It takes the humble and either makes him a bumbling fool or a raging maniac.  It takes a person inclined toward violence and turns him into a demon.  Alcohol can completely change the personality and mannerisms of those influenced by it. Finally the Bible is clear in stating that anyone deceived by the allure, enticement, and intoxication produced by any alcoholic product is not wise.  Modern day statistics bear evidence and support this truth in addition to what the Bible says.  Let us pay attention to the facts and live lives of purity and sobriety before God.

In Christ,

Pastor Johnny