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Fort Gibson

May 12, 2014

Drunknness condemned in Bible

Drinking alcoholic beverages is not condemned in the Bible as sinful. Drunkenness is, though (1 Corinthians 6:10). Beyond that, the wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, had some really bad things to say about alcohol, “bites like a snake and poisons like a viper (Proverbs 23:29-35).” So, why does this issue keep coming up in families, schools, and communities? I think it's because each generation sees the issue from a little different perspective.

These days, it is not uncommon for Christians to openly drink at sporting events, restaurants, and during holidays or celebrations simply because they enjoy it, and they are enjoying the liberties granted them in New Testament passages such as what Paul wrote in Romans 14. But, as with any privilege, considerations must be made for how your actions are affecting other people. Paul also said, "I have the right to do anything," you say — but not everything is beneficial. "I have the right to do anything" — but not everything is constructive. (1 Corinthians 10:23).”

For instance, any time I've ever spoken to an audience and asked whether it would affect my credibility if I were to drink a beer while teaching their Bible class, I always get strange looks of disapproval. And if I were speaking at an AA meeting, common sense would dictate it would be highly inappropriate to sip a glass of wine while leading a discussion group. However, if I were trying to teach the Gospel in a different country or culture where I would be seen as a snob if I made a big deal out of alcoholic abstinence, then sipping a little wine might actually help the cause of Christ.

 In my case, any amount of alcohol consumption would not be a good thing because it would violate my conscience.

In Bible times, the wine was commonly watered down in households for meals. So, it was not the kind of potent beverage we have today. That is likely the reason the phrase “drunkard and a glutton”was often used together in the Bible, because in order to get drunk, a person would have to consume a LOT of wine.

That is not the case these days.

The Mothers Against Drunk Driving website says high school students who use alcohol or other substances are five times more likely to drop out of school, and one in six teens binge drink.

Only one in 100 parents believes his or her teen binge drinks.

Kids who start drinking young are seven times more likely to be in an alcohol-related crash.

Teen alcohol use kills about 4,700 people each year, more than all illegal drugs combined.

Over all, more than 10,000 people die in alcohol-related crashes each year, averaging one death every 51 minutes.

Keep in mind that the number of drunk driving deaths has been cut in half since MADD was founded in 1980.  

The Barna Research Group says many younger Christians describe themselves as far more tempted by alcohol abuse (28 percent) than any of their predecessors. So even if we as a culture feel empowered to drink whenever and wherever the law permits, that does not do away with our responsibility as Christians to look out for the greater good of mankind. It's called agape' (love), and it is the first and greatest commandment. Have a great week!

Reach Barrett Vanlandingham at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ at (918) 478-2222 or barrett@ftgcc.org.

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