“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Tim. 4:4). With those words the Apostle Paul sums up his teaching on the relationship between believers and creation. Christians are not aliens on a dangerous and threatening planet. We are surrounded by creations of God that are good and given to us for our enjoyment. Such being the case, we need to undergo a pretty serious makeover in the way we face the created world. This is no where more apparent than in the relationship many believers hold toward alcohol.
Drunkenness is universally condemned in the Scriptures. Let that point be firmly established at the start. However, moderate consumption of wine and beer is not only tolerated in the Bible, is at times positively commanded. We must not seek to be holier than God. It was one of the Pharisees’ and Scribes’ great sins that they sought to enlarge the fence around the prohibitions of God’s law, adding commandments of men as if they were the requirements of God’s law.
American Christians, since the time of Prohibition, have worked hard to prevent the abuse of drink by prohibiting its use. Our modern society is currently on the same warpath against all tobacco consumption. Yet it is sobering to observe that if the same “prevent the abuse by abolishing all use” approach were applied to sexual sin there would be no more babies. Were it applied to the sin of gluttony we’d have all starved long ago. But the abuse must not be allowed to abolish the right use. So it is with wine, beer, and even tobacco consumption in the church. Christians ought to set the way toward restoring a sane and wise application of these good gifts of God.
Wisdom is required in making this move. In some cases, it may well take a generation or more to undo the mess we’ve made. In the meanwhile, the rule is: Moderation in everything! It is our hope that the resources we’ve provided below might give a nudge toward a recovery of the wisdom we need. May it be that Christians once again might be renowned for the creation we love rather than for the creatures we refuse to taste, touch, or handle (Col. 2:20-23).
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