So while driving home from dinner after church on Sunday, my son brings up a task that was presented in school last week. He said they were learning a song but had to change a word that they were told shouldn’t have been used. I asked if this was a Christian song. He said yes. I asked what word did they have to change. He said “wine”. I asked why? I was told that his teacher taught that because wine today is different from the wine mentioned in the bible that it was not any longer appropriate to use wine in the song.

I then had to explain to him the truth behind wine. I hate having to correct the teaching of a well meaning teacher but this has been symptomatic of our new breed of Christianity we have beheld in America. It’s a breed of Christianity rooted in fear…and laziness.

Wine was created by God. The fermentation process used to bring its strength is a result from the duplication of life itself. It has been used to celebrate many of the feasts, weddings, and ceremonies we read about in the bible. It is used as a medical remedy. Commanded actually by Paul’s charge to Timothy…a PASTOR no less. And while it may have been watered down to diluted strengths, it still contained enough alcohol to cause drunkenness. How do I know this? Because of all the warning NOT to get drunk! If it was so different that it couldn’t get you drunk, then there would be no need to warn against drunkenness.

So why the current deception? Why has the church at large trained its members to abstain? Because the Bible says so? There is not one verse commanding us not to drink of it, unless we have taken a special vow to abstain for a certain period of special dedication. I believe it is because of fear and laziness. We don’t know how to teach our children as they become adults to use God’s gift properly. We are too lazy to bother with the task. We fear, and thus display our lack of faith in the God who created alcohol. We go to great lengths to “connect the Scriptures” to “prove” our case, even at the cost of ripping those verses kicking and screaming out of there biblical context. We promote false guilt.

We have done this in other areas as well. There are a few generations just before the current one that have been told, “Sex…Bad.” Because of the church’s lack of leadership in training parents to instruct their children in the truth of sex according to the Bible, countless men and women have grown up thinking sex is “dirty”. Ironically, they’ve reproduced that same sentiment in their offspring. We have men and women today who have a very repressed outlook when it comes to sexuality. Guilt ridden. It is attitudes like this that gave us the “Sexual Revolution” of the 60’s and 70’s.

No, like most things in Scripture, there is a balance. A “not too much, not too little, and with the right heart, in the right way” approach. Before He was crucified, He took the cup…of wine…and He will not drink of it again until the day of celebration is at hand, the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, when we will share in the wine of His making. Wine that will be of the same caliber as Cana, if not better. And the pinnacle of intimacy will be realized when the Bride is face to face with her Groom. Sexual intimacy between a groom and his bride is a picture of that anticipated event.

But the American church stumbles on in fear and laziness. “Alcohol…Bad….Sex…bad”.



    • I can appreciate a disagreement, especially when backed up with the teachings of Brother John. He’s one of my heroes of the faith. But MacArthur actually bolsters my point. What you see him do here is exactly what I posted was missing from the Christian response to alcohol. He is educating the flock on the history and purpose of alcohol. Today’s Christian church at large has instead just labeled the whole topic as “sin” and thus just says “don’t do that”.

      But where I differ from him is this, all of his arguments, (his 8 points), are based on an abstinence only approach…mostly based in fear. Fear of what? Fear of not being able to drink within the guidelines set forth in Scripture, much of which MacArthur outlines ever so eloquently.

      Let me illustrate by going over his 8 points:

      1) Different strengths of alcohol and its purpose.

      – I had admitted in my article that this was the case. They did dilute. But still, in its diluted state there is still the warning to NOT get drunk. Therefore they still drank with a potency that could effect the body to a drunken state….if not used properly. I agree the purpose was to kill bacteria. As a former member of the food industry, I had to be certified in food safety. The Food Sanitation education is pretty extensive. One thing we learned is that in today’s America only about 2% of our meat is actually USDA inspected…All of it might be “certified”. But only 2% is actually inspected. We were taught that most people who “don’t feel well” and think they have come down with a “24 hour bug” actually have food poisoning either brought on by poor cooking methods or by contaminated meat. Thus the need to kill bacteria in the body still remains…which is why now we have these artificially generated so-called “Pro-Biotics” marketed to us today. So the church should be teaching the same Biblical methods of watering down wine to drink for health reasons…but we don’t.

      2) Is drinking alcoholic beverage necessary?…There’s…I’m assuming there’s no bacteria in my faucet water. I mean, I’ve been drinking the stuff for all these years, I’m still here. Why? Because we live in a sanitary world.

      – False. People in Sauk Village, Illinois now know better. Even though their water has been FINALLY cleared to be “safe” after many years of unsanitary conditions, partly due to corruption and government failure, the people are still boiling their water. The proper use of wine could aid in this matter. Even his response at the end of his wrong assessment states: “We don’t have a world now where we live with impure water so it’s purely a matter of choice…purely a matter of choice.” So at least he’s admitting it can be a “choice”. Then we have: ” “Well I like the taste of it,” and I gave you a modern test, a recent test about how they’ve proven that it tastes better, the more water you mix with it even now. And that’s true with coffee. Remember our little discussion about that? Coffee as well because it has a chemical ability to release flavor when you mix water with it. It’s purely a matter of choice today.” – OK…so educate the flock that they can drink alcohol as long as they follow these Biblical cautions.

      3) Is it the best choice? Let’s phrase the question a little bit different. If you want to be sure that you avoid drunkenness, is it the best choice? Does that help? If you want to be sure you avoid drunkenness, is it the best choice? No. Again it’s a question of your choice.

      – Still, as long as you have the ability to not get drunk, you can use the alcohol as intended for the right reasons…and it may be a wise choice…especially when considering the bacteria issue.

      So then he reintroduces the horror stories of people who fell victim to their “choice” and craftily frames the debate back in “fear” mode. This is what I have a problem with the most. The guilting, “We want to take the high ground, don’t we?” and the fear factor, “Don’t you think there might be a connection here? Not you, not your sons with you when you come into the tent of meeting so that you will not die. Ah…I think they were doing weird stuff because they couldn’t think clearly. They were drunk. Don’t do that so that you will not die. And make it a perpetual statute through your generation.” Pretty strong statement of fear from an “Ah…I think” thought. So, note to self, if I’m ever performing Priestly duties, don’t be influenced by any wine or drink. But when having Communion, feel free to have wine and bread…as the Eastern Orthodox church still does to this day. A tradition over a thousand years. So once again, educate the flock in when its appropriate and when its not. Don’t guilt and fear them by just calling what God has made sin.

      As far as the Nazerite vow and the connection of “guilt” he tries to convey, You want the highest level of consecration…don’t you? Interestingly enough, the God-Man from Nazerene did not take the Nazerite vow. Even at His last supper. Only to take the full effects of the wrath of God against our sin that was placed on Him did He finally say no to being dulled by the effects of alcohol.

      4) Does it have the potential to bring me under its power?

      – Yes it does…so does food, sex, money, skydiving, racing, etc… Even my wife has had at times the power to bring me under her influence. These are only true…if I let them. It is possible to experience all of the above, even alcohol and NOT be under its power…as in addiction. So just as the church teaches responsibility in these areas of living, so too should it be teaching the same in drink.

      5) Is it potentially destructive?

      – Yes. So do a lot of things. But if used properly, with the proper motives, it can be constructive…or at least neutral. Now mind you, he then goes into a diatribe about being drunk. I am against drunkenness. He is trying to draw the listener to a conclusion that if one takes a drink, no matter to how small the drink is, it will lead to drunkenness. IE, to drink is to get drunk. I can attest that this is false. It is also MacArthur being clever and crafty to drive fear in to his audience, which if I read my Bible correctly we are not to be “crafty”.

      6) Question number six, is it offensive to others, particularly other Christians?

      – I am not advocating the flaunting of drinking under the Christian Liberty banner. I am exposing the hypocrisy of the church by its laziness and faithless fear-mongering. I understand their are weaker believers. I have never had a drink in front of a believer that I was not convinced they would not be affected by my behavior. I am responsible in that aspect. The church needs to be out in front on this issue. On the other hand, because of its teaching based in fear and laziness, it has CREATED more weaker Christians. Why do I say that? Because these believers read the Scriptures and see a contradiction. The church says it is sin. They read Jesus had wine, made wine, instructed (Holy Spirit moved men aspect) Paul to instruct Timothy to have wine. Trust the church? Trust Jesus? Trust the Word of God? Hard to have faith let alone grow. The church has failed to educate thus has been responsible for creating these offended brethren.

      7) Is it harmful to my testimony?

      – Because of our addition to the Law of God by adding this as a sin, to the 613 additional Pharisaical sins such as how far your spittle could travel on the Sabbath, now the unbelieving world has one more hypocrisy to point a finger at…which shouldn’t be the case. We should be setting the example of how and why drink can be used responsibly. We can use the drink and maintain our testimony. What ruins our testimony is setting up different hurdles that should not be hurdles at all, but now we trip on them.

      8) Am I absolutely certain this is a behavior that is right. That’s how I get…that’s where I get with things like this. Will God be disappointed if I don’t do this?

      – Those are two separate questions and John makes a big jump to connect the two. My answer is, “It is not wrong” to the first question, and “No, God has not commanded anyone to drink, but has said if you do decide, here are your responsibilities”.

      But let me say this. I am not advocating that those who do not drink to start. Or giving license to those who abuse the drink. To “repent” because one does not drink is ludicrous.

      Repent if one has added to the Scriptures the same way Eve did in the beginning. Repent if one has abused their liberty. Repent if one has abused alcohol and has not met the Scriptural boundaries for its use. Repent if one has taught wrongly out of fear and/or laziness. Repent if one has used “cleverly devised speech” or “craftiness” to install guilt or fear over what God has made. Repent if one is guilty by neglecting to teach the subject at all, thereby leaving their congregation to struggle with the inconsistent message they hear from the church vs. what they see in Scripture.

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