Monday, February 23, 2009

Don't Come Home from Drinking with Jesus on Your Mind, or Jesus Didn't Die So You Could Make a Real Ass of Yourself

I use "ass" in the King James meaning of the word.

Okay, what's stuck in the preacher's craw this morning? The basic comfort that many people in evangelical churches have with excessive consumption of alcohol. Unlike previous generations of PCA ministers, I am not a teetotaler, nor do I believe the Bible demands such of us. One look in my refrigerator would be sufficient to establish this point.

Yet, I find it a sad thing when someone questions whether Christians should consume alcohol, he is immediately met with the objection of freedom in Christ --the liberty we are given from man-made regulations in pursuit of a holy life. Yet, I wonder if some of this protesting is actually against what Paul's intention --professing to be mature in Christ, and is actually infantile Christian behavior, if it is Christian at all. IT is using liberty as an occasion for the flesh.

The truth is this: if you are drinking to the point where you ought not be driving, you are drunk in the Biblical sense of the word. Drunkenness is sin. Don't do it.

Now here me: addiction falls into a different class. People become dependent upon things --sin takes deep and thorny roots. A person struggling to overcome addiction will find nothing but help, support, and counsel for me --Paul's call for gentle restoration.

But, there are a whole host of social drinkers out there --for whom a party just isn't a party unless alcohol is served. Christians who are comfortable consuming multiple alcoholic beverages, treading as close to the line of drunkenness as they dare go, and probably kidding themselves that they have not stumbled over it.

Why not try this: if you like an occasional beer and wine, enjoy one. One? Yes, one. If that's a problem for you, then you have a problem. Do not tell me you can consume five drinks and still honor Christ. Do not tell me you can empty a bottle of wine and still maintain your faculties. Protest your liberty before Jesus, not me.

Or, maybe it's just Monday.


  1. Saw your fb status and figured you'd probably blogged... I have been cautioned to be mindful of what I put in print -- being that it sets me up to be judged, and sets others up to judge me. So I'll just say this: I can only speak for myself (I don't want to try to speak for anyone else because that's when I get in trouble). I had to quit drinking (and I mean DRINKING) at the end of November. It was very hard. For ten years, I've been a "social drinker". We've kept some in the house as well. It was in having dinner with friends from church where I knew I consumed WAY too much alcohol that I realized I had been over the line way too many times and was, as you say, "kidding myself" that I could handle it, that I wasn't drunk. It was a rude awakening (I think brought on by nothing other than the conviction of the Holy Spirit) and I didn't like it one bit. I have since at two special occasion dinners with Daniel had ONE glass of wine (I don't consider this drinking as much as I consider it enjoying a glass of wine). I can only do this with him because he knows my struggle and will hold me accountable. We don't keep it in the house anymore. I don't have a drink in groups at all because in a group, I am much more proned to excessive consumption. Those are the rules I now have for myself. It's not that I think these rules should apply to everyone but it's the only way I know to protect myself from this immature behavior...

    That being said, I tend to view drunkenness as I view other "infantile" behaviors -- a symptom of a deeper problem. In instances where someone is judgmental (TRULY judgmental in using their words to cut others down and justify their own standards, not just taking a convicted stand on an issue), I tend to wonder what issues and actions they are trying to justify to themselves. I wonder the same for myself -- when I catch myself judging someone (which I'm sure I don't catch it as often as I do it), I have to ask myself what I'm hiding. It's the same with alcohol -- bad behavior to make one oblivious to a greater problem. Such is the nature of sin, in my opinion. Our sins help us "medicate" ourselves against our own sins... What an ugly cycle! Only the grace of God can open our eyes to this problem and help us out of the pit that we dig for ourselves.

  2. WHOA! Why am I always surprised by my own loquacity? I dunno. *sigh* It's definitely Monday...