Approving Alcohol, Prohibiting Marijuana: An Inconsistent Position

There are 168 Comments

David R. Brumbelow's picture

Approving alcohol while prohibiting legal marijuana is an inconsistent position. 

We should stay away from the recreational use of mind altering drugs whether they be alcohol, marijuana, opioids, etc. 

For multiple reasons, a Christian should be sober (1 Peter 5:8).

David R. Brumbelow

Andrew K's picture

This article confuses moral and legal categories. Conceivably, we might have very good reasons for prohibiting something in law while not making it a moral matter. For example, I would shed few tears with a national ban on tobacco in favor of public health consideration due to concerns re. second-hand smoke. Furthermore, I fully approve of draconian laws against DUI. But that does not entail that I am inconsistent in not making an immediate moral judgment on someone who lights up a pipe on occasion or takes a sip of beer.

That is to say, it's the govt's job to weigh laws carefully regarding substance use and legality and make good legislation in the interests of advancing human flourishing where possible. Whether the decisions they reach have innate connection to morality or God's moral law is another matter. If someone decides legalized marijuana has a negative net effect on society, they are not being inconsistent in approving something else while opposing legalization of the latter--even if I disagree with their position. Nor does it necessarily entail that I consider someone who lights up a joint to be sinning in that act (provided, of course, it is legal).

UPDATE: Oops! Just realize I misread the article so that my response above is completely irrelevant. I need more sleep. :( 

I might respond later with a more reply that makes more sense. 

Bert Perry's picture

It's worth noting that Wally's column here continues a regrettable habit of the prohibitionist wing; to assume that all drugs are equally bad without differentiating them on the basis of addiction potential (marijuana is not physically addictive), possibility for responsible use, categories of drugs (psychotropics vs. depressants), fat solubility, and a host of other factors.  Really, the inconsistency that is most troubling to me is that prohibitionists more or less want to ban all drugs except for the ones they like (caffeine) and the opioid painkillers they need when their gluttony (Proverbs 23) makes them a candidate for open heart surgery, knee and hip replacement, and the like.  

It would be really refreshing, as Andrew hints, if regulation and bans were actually predicated on these factors, and not a lingering awareness of "Reefer Madness."  It would furthermore be very refreshing if we'd come back to what God's Word actually says about drunkenness--Proverbs 23 and 31 note clearly that it's about losing memory of significant principles (or pain), red eyes, not feeling any pain, and the like--symptoms that appear to show up when the drinker is well past the legal driving limit for the most part.  Proverbs 23 even defines the drunk as the one who must have a drink when he wakes--that would be either a hangover cure ("hair of the dog that bit ya"), or outright alcoholism.  Solomon is not talking about the person who has a glass of wine or two with dinner here.

Apply that to marijuana, and yes, I think it's entirely appropriate to take a leaf that's not physically addictive and does not kill by overdose off Schedule 1, especially in light of the fact that opioid deaths in states that have legalized it have dropped by 23%.  In a matter of speaking, for a lot of people the choice is dope or heroin.  If we value their lives, what do we do?  One is physically addictive and lethal; the other is not.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

The main reason why marijuana use is prohibited by TMS (and other institutions), while alcohol is not, is because alcohol is spoken of positively in Scripture. Drunkenness is not, but these are not the same things. No matter what else can and should be said, these are facts.

Fundamentalists recognize this, and often try an end-run around these facts by claiming that alcohol then isn't like alcohol now. Fair enough - but that case is a minority position. Moreover, I suspect the abstinence position came about in the wake of the temperance movement. My hunch is that the modern abstinence position cannot be found in history, in its current form, prior to the mid-19th century.

I don't care enough to research this matter myself, but this is my hunch. If anyone has some credible sources for or against my hypothesis, please provide them.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

Tyler, my understanding is that American-style prohibitionism dates back only a couple of centuries as well. Per Jim Peet's comments about "Beer Street and Gin Lane", 1751, I suspect it has something to do with the greatly increased amount of grain that could be grown, and for the first time in history, the average person could afford to get seriously drunk on a regular basis, and in the U.S., crops were very typically shipped to market in liquid (whiskey or moonshine) form--think the "Whiskey Rebellion" when Washington and Congress taxed it.  It's no surprise that in a culture not used to hard liquor, many just said "let's be done with it all already", especially as new ways of purifying water were found like drinking coffee and tea and chlorination.  In contrast, the Puritans and Separatists were great beer drinkers, the latter landing at Plymouth because their beer had run out.

There were earlier groups--many monastic ones--that viewed liquor as a luxury that Christians ought not enjoy, but those sects were also the type that would eschew meat and dairy, clothes of anything but coarse wool, and the like.  Let's just say that I don't think too many FBFI members, or members of the churches we attend, would consent to this.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry Nelson's picture

 

TylerR wrote:

Fundamentalists recognize this, and often try an end-run around these facts by claiming that alcohol then isn't like alcohol now. Fair enough - but that case is a minority position.

"alcohol then isn't like alcohol now." - What some mean by this is that distillation  is a relatively recent process: in the last few hundred years.  Distilled spirits were unknown in Bible times.  So of course today's 40 or 50 proof spirits (e.g. Scotch, Gin, Vodka, Bourbon, et al...) are far more potent (have a higher concentration of alcohol) on a volume  basis than non-distilled alcoholic beverages (such as wine).  Wine, however, was/is still wine: then or now.  Fermentation as a natural process ceases once all of the sugar in the juice has been converted to alcohol. 

Yet another argument that "alcohol then isn't like alcohol now" then goes like this: the claim is made that wine back then was usually diluted, typically at a ratio of 3:1.   [Note: occasionally you'll see someone claim a ratio of 20:1, but the single reference in ancient literature to a ratio this great is in Homer's Odyssey  (a mythological wine that was so strong it maintained potentcy even at such a high ratio).]

Regarding the latter, I have been asking a question for years, and nobody ever addresses it: "Let's say Joe Believer goes into a restaurant and orders a glass of wine (typical serving = 5 to 6 oz.) to accompany a ribeye.  (He believes the wine complements the flavor of the steak.)  During the meal, he also consumes a 16 oz. glass of water.  In doing so, hasn't he succeeded in diluting the wine by a ratio of about 3:1?"  (By my math, 16:5 or 16:6 are equivalent to just plus or minus 3:1.)  

TylerR wrote:

Moreover, I suspect the abstinence position came about in the wake of the temperance movement. My hunch is that the modern abstinence position cannot be found in history, in its current form, prior to the mid-19th century.

Furthermore, the abstinence/temperance movement isn't just a product of a certain time  in history, it is a product of limited place(s)  in history.  It is distinctly limited in where  the movement occurred. 

Andrew K's picture

Larry Nelson wrote:

 

 

TylerR wrote:

 

Fundamentalists recognize this, and often try an end-run around these facts by claiming that alcohol then isn't like alcohol now. Fair enough - but that case is a minority position.

 

 

"alcohol then isn't like alcohol now." - What some mean by this is that distillation  is a relatively recent process: in the last few hundred years.  Distilled spirits were unknown in Bible times.  So of course today's 40 or 50 proof spirits (e.g. Scotch, Gin, Vodka, Bourbon, et al...) are far more potent (have a higher concentration of alcohol) on a volume  basis than non-distilled alcoholic beverages (such as wine).  Wine, however, was/is still wine: then or now.  Fermentation as a natural process ceases once all of the sugar in the juice has been converted to alcohol. 

Yet another argument that "alcohol then isn't like alcohol now" then goes like this: the claim is made that wine back then was usually diluted, typically at a ratio of 3:1. 

Regarding the latter, I have been asking a question for years, and nobody ever addresses it: "Let's say Joe Believer goes into a restaurant and orders a glass of wine (typical serving = 5 to 6 oz.) to accompany a ribeye.  (He believes the wine complements the flavor of the steak.)  During the meal, he also consumes a 16 oz. glass of water.  In doing so, hasn't he succeeded in diluting the wine by a ratio of about 3:1?"  (By my math, 16:5 or 16:6 are equivalent to just plus or minus 3:1.)  

 

TylerR wrote:

 

Moreover, I suspect the abstinence position came about in the wake of the temperance movement. My hunch is that the modern abstinence position cannot be found in history, in its current form, prior to the mid-19th century.

 

 

Furthermore, the abstinence/temperance movement isn't just a product of a certain time  in history, it is a product of limited place(s)  in history.  It is distinctly limited in where  the movement occurred. 

Interestingly, I recall reading that the prohibition was not initially targeting wine and beer as such, but they got pulled along in the enthusiasm, so to speak. Tossing out the bottle with the bath water. ;) 

David R. Brumbelow's picture

The Bible commends wine, it does not commend alcohol.  There was no word for alcohol in Bible times.  The word wine was used for both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.  The way you know for sure the Bible is speaking of alcoholic wine is when it describes its effects (Proverbs 23:29-35).  And it says to not even look at that kind of wine.  You would also do well to not even look at marijuana, opioids, and other recreational drugs.  

Ancient people knew full well how to make and preserve alcoholic, and nonalcoholic, wine.  

http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2017/04/11-reasons-to-not-drink-alcohol.html

David R. Brumbelow

Bert Perry's picture

Larry, couple of minor corrections.  Distilled liquors are typically 80-100 proof, which is 40-50% alcohol.  Also, fermentation stops two ways; like you say when the sugars run out, or when the yeast actually dies from the alcohol it's produced.  That last bit limits the strength of wines and sake to about 15% alcohol or so.  Anything stronger requires distillation, or the addition of distilled spirits.

And agreed 100% that prohibitionism is geographically limited--I would dare suggest to areas where making large amounts of grain into liquor wouldn't result in people starving.  A point of reference is the Bavarian Rheinheitsgebot  or purity law, passed in part to prevent too much wheat from being made into beer instead of bread.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry Nelson's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Larry, couple of minor corrections.  Distilled liquors are typically 80-100 proof, which is 40-50% alcohol. 

Correct; I misspoke.  I was thinking of 40-50% alcohol, as you state.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Here are two comments from P&D:

Don:

  • For reasons I cannot quite fathom, Don has objected to my posting his comment from P&D here. So, read it for yourself at P&D, then return to comment. 

My reply:

Don, a few things:

1. It is certainly not settled that alcohol then isn't like alcohol now. There is a reason why that is a minority position.

2. Alcohol is spoken of positively in Scripture; marijuana is not. This is a problem for Wally's article and the allegation of hypocrisy.

3. Paul's advice to Timothy does not "clearly imply" an abstinence position. Rather, it clearly implies you WANT it to clearly imply abstinence.

4. The link to the temperance movement is significant, because (if true) it ties the abstinence position to a particular slice of time in Western culture since the mid-19th century, and not to the church catholic. When that happens, it's always a potential red flag. 

5. A better tactic is to argue for abstinence on the basis of holiness and prudence. I've never been convinced there is a good Scriptural argument to be made.

I advocate personal holiness, don't drink at all, and advise others to not drink. I share your concerns about the lack of holiness, but I think its a bad tactic to argue for abstinence from alcohol with bad arguments. People see through them.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

If you doubt this, check out the etamology for "yayin".  It comes from a word meaning to bubble or effervesce, which is a pretty good description of the fermentation process.  The word for new wine, "tirosh", comes from a word basically meaning "pressed".  Neither resembles the Hebrew words for grape or vine; the very words are a clear picture of the process by which the ancients made most grapes into ordinary wine containing alcohol. They weren't chemists yet, but anybody who's ever toured a brewery or winery is going to recognize the terms used and the process they're describing. 

It should be noted as well that if you're playing shell games with the definitions of words to satisfy your ideas, you're going to have a huge problem sustaining any coherent notion of Sola Scriptura or the First Fundamental.  It's really no surprise that theological liberalism arise at the same time as Prohibitionism; both require a redefinition of words to mean something else than what they actually mean.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Bert Perry's picture

...there are a number of big problems Don and Wally are going to run into.  For starters, you've got the scientific problem that when we look at Proverbs 23 and elsewhere, the consequences to drunkenness are exactly the same as they are today--I can even give numbers on what BAC it is.  You also see it in Luke 5:39, where Jesus says that the old wine is better or milder--any oinophile will instantly know what's going on and agree. 

Theologically speaking, you've got an issue if you are to argue that it's different because the yeast is different--that really requires one to argue, more or less, that it's evolved.  Yes, there are strains of yeast that will make some difference, but when you read the ancient sources, it's pretty clear they were making it about the same strength as Napa and Bourdeaux do even today.  Is P&D picking a fight with Ken Ham?

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Don mentioned Harding in his comment. I know Harding was on Julie Roy's program on Moody Radio a few years back, advocating abstinence (I believe).

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Don Johnson's picture

TylerR wrote:

Here are two comments from P&D:

Don:

Tyler, there really is no debate that alcohol was different in ancient times and drinking culture was different in ancient times. There also is no debate that modern technology makes the consequences of drunkenness potentially far more significant than before the Industrial Revolution. These arguments speak to the wisdom issue, NOT the theological issue.

Tyler, it is not good netiquette to post someone else's comments from another site without permission. While I stand by what I said, I do NOT give permission to repost my comments elsewhere over here.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

TylerR's picture

Editor

My apologies. Because the P&D article is linked here, I didn't see an issue. I will make sure to not post any comment of yours in any forum ever again. I'll just provide a direct link, instead. I see no practical difference, and find your reaction rather bizarre, but I'll respect your wishes.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

David R. Brumbelow's picture

The Old Testament referred to just pressed grapes as “wine” (Proverbs 3:10, tirosh; Isaiah 16:10, yayin; Joel 2:24, tirosh). Just pressed grapes produce nonalcoholic wine or grape juice. Notice Isaiah 16:10 refers to just pressed grapes with the word yayin; English translations simply use the word wine.  

Scripture even refers to grapes on the vine as “wine’ (Isaiah 65:8).

Jesus referred to unfermented wine as “wine” (Greek word, oinos; Matthew 9:17).

So yes, Scripture and ancient writing commonly used words for wine to refer to both unfermented, and fermented drink.  

David R. Brumbelow

TylerR's picture

Editor

Don has replied to my comment (above). He appears upset. My response:

Don:

I've spoken in measured tones, and simply disagree. This is not an "attack," as you claim it is. P&D is not interested in dialogue in the comments section; that much is clear. Why bother with comments?

You and your people are clearly writing for your own constituency, and are not interested in having a conversation. Come to think of it - why not just erase the blog? You're not interested in a discussion anyway, right?

I wish our interactions could actually be constructive. I tried.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Don Johnson's picture

Tyler, this is a side issue. It is fine to post your responses to my comments here, of course, but it is just not right to post something said elsewhere, especially in its entirety without asking permission first. I don't think that's too hard to grasp.

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Bert Perry's picture

David, so tell me; what was going to happen with the freshly pressed must when it was put into the vat or skin?  Why did Jesus note that new wineskins must be used?  

Sorry, David, but you are, at least in this regard, quite adept at ignoring the obvious.  The clear implication of the very passages you cite is that must quickly became alcoholic new wine (that would make the heart merry), and then became stronger, milder old wine commended by our Lord in Luke 5:39 and made by our Lord in John 2.  

 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

David R. Brumbelow's picture

Ancient people knew and practiced multiple ways to produce and preserve nonalcoholic wine.

Methods included boiling down fresh wine to a thick consistency that would not spoil or ferment. When ready to drink, they simply added water. This thick, strong wine (grape molasses, pekmez, vincotto) was also used for cooking.

The grape harvest (different harvesting times for different varieties of grapes) lasted six months and certain type grapes would keep fresh for months. These grapes could be pressed into wine at any time of the year (Genesis 40:11).

Dried grapes or raisins were re-hydrated and pressed into fresh un-intoxicating wine, a practice used by many Jews right up to modern times. Ancient warriors were issued cakes of dried grapes to make their own wine as needed.

Nonalcoholic wine was also preserved with salt and lactic fermentation.

For detailed documentation see “Ancient Wine and the Bible.”

http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2015/03/ancient-wine-and-bible-book-update.html

David R. Brumbelow

Andrew K's picture

David R. Brumbelow wrote:

Ancient people knew and practiced multiple ways to produce and preserve nonalcoholic wine.

Methods included boiling down fresh wine to a thick consistency that would not spoil or ferment. When ready to drink, they simply added water....

But this mixture would be lacking the disinfectant properties of alcohol, so any water would have to be boiled prior to adding to the concentrate. Salty juice sounds horrible and wouldn't exactly quench thirst. Lactic fermentation (yogurt) assumes milk would be readily available.

And all this is beginning to sound like a lot of work and expense. A lot more than just fermenting. A lot more exegetical work getting around it too... Smile

Jim's picture

I was going to make this the 2nd point but I will [for the moment] elevate this to the 1st point:

John MacArthur’s personal position on alcohol consumption appears to be abstinence. Yet The Master’s Seminary allows its students to consume alcohol as long as they do not get intoxicated

Seems to be a rule at FBFI to never miss an opportunity to throw John MacArthur under the bus! His position is abstinence! I literally just read a GFY sermon by his this week. No equivocation - abstinence! But if everyone under the reach of his domain doesn't agree with him - he's inconsistent! If he doesn't drive the rule to every corner of his dominance - he really doesn't hold that position. Seriously FBFI - you are ludicrously lame!

Now to the major point:  Approving Alcohol, Prohibiting Marijuana: It's an inconsistent position ... "Christians who accept the consumption of alcoholic beverages will find it difficult to justify prohibiting tobacco and, particularly, marijuana."

This works only if "alcoholic beverage consumption" [A] = "marijuana usage" [M]

If M = A then if A should be eschewed, M should be eschewed!

The problem is A ≠ M

Follow this along. Alcohol is a drug! Caffeine [C] is a drug. Does A = C? (They are both drugs!)

Therefore when FBFI members consume C (in a nice warm cup of joe at their fellowships, they are promoting A

Only a simpleton would fall for this fallacy. [and since Wally promotes this idea, all of his church members must be simpletons (another logical error)

---------------

Giving:

  • If T = 10%
  • If giving T is good
  • Giving 10 X T must be very good 

----------

I'm not going to get drawn (today) on whether W in 50AD = W in 2017 and the like!

Simply if one cannot see the illogic of A = M, there's no use discussing it

 

Bert Perry's picture

Beyond the issues of unclean water and reconstitution of grapes Andrew mentions, it's worth noting that David's source is Columella, who is said to have had his slaves boiling must in a lead pot (yum) over an open fire 13 centuries before the chimney was invented > 2000 miles from Israel in Cadiz, Spain.  He himself noted that if one enjoyed too much of the resulting syrup, one would start to show the symptoms of lead poisoning. 

In a nutshell, what he's claiming is that Israelites would have done the same, exposing themselves to heat stroke, smoke inhalation, lead poisoning. and intestinal parasites all while burning a large portion of scarce fuel in the process.

Personally, I think the ancestors of my Jewish friends were a bit smarter than that.  A land where the average farmer ate barley bread three meals per day (or only two) is not one where one will be practicing nonsense like David notes, and there is a reason Thomas Welch became wealthy from his process of safely preserving unfermented juices.  It's because Columella's method had thankfully been left in the historical dustbin where it belongs.

(it's funny, though, that David thinks one of the chief ways Israelites processed their grapes was with equipment similar to a "still")

Regarding the notion of simply squeezing grapes into a cup per Genesis 40:11, all I can say is "give it a try".  There is a reason the wine-press was invented , and all the wine-steward would have gotten if he'd actually tried that is a mess.  This is another obvious word picture that is not meant to be taken literally.  

I'm sorry, David, but work like yours is a big part of the reason that the world thinks we have lost our minds.  You need to repent of it, take your book off the market, burn the existing copies, and destroy the manuscript.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Rob Fall's picture

 The total abstention position in America grew out of multiple factors among which were:

  • Saloon ownership by the breweries.
  • The lack of legal recourse for wives and families of abusive alcoholics.
  • The lack of a minimum drinking age.

These factors, among others, lead to Prohibition:

  • Alcohol consumption was seen as foreign. The Irish drank beer and whiskey. The Italians and Jews drank wine. The Germans (who also owned breweries that sold the poison to good Americans) drank beer.
  • The passage of the income tax. Which meant the Feds didn't have to rely on either the saloon tax or the excise tax on alcohol.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Jay's picture

 I'll just provide a direct link, instead. I see no practical difference, and find your reaction rather bizarre, but I'll respect your wishes.

I learned a long time ago that it's best to provide direct links instead of quoting, as then people can get the fullest possible view and understanding of what's going on.  What conclusions they draw from the interaction is up to them. Smile

Completely agree with Jim that the FBFI simply cannot pass up on any chance to throw dirt John MacArthur's way.  Maybe that's why so many of us appreciate him more than the FBFI...he stays focused on what he's supposed to do and not engaging in gutter fights with brothers.  It might also explain why the FBFI is fading out - people are tired of the "whosoever isn't with us must be against us" mentality.  

As for alcohol / marijuana, I completely agree with David Brumbelow:

We should stay away from the recreational use of mind altering drugs whether they be alcohol, marijuana, opioids, etc. 

I don't have a problem with marijuana or alcohol or opioids for medicinal purposes, but I would be extremely careful with recreational use.  Personally, I don't partake of any of those substances as a result, but that's my opinion and I think that it's possible for believers to disagree amiably about it.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Ron Bean's picture

Did you ever see a man who couldn't get through his day with drinking? The first thing in the morning he needs to have one or two to get going. There's always a drink within reach at his desk. Watch him take his drink, holding it in both hands and savoring its aroma. No "cheap stuff" for him. He knows the best brands. He'll pay top dollar to drink the finest...let the lower classes get theirs in the grocery store. He knows it certainly has no nutritive value and that its addictive component may raise havoc with his heart and blood pressure but he's also read reports that it may be good for him, so he'll go with the latter. His doctor may have told him to cut back or even quit.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

This is probably a hopelessly cluttered topic. So much energy goes into matters that are related topically but not relevant to the main question.

Anyway, as for the main thesis of article that it's inconsistent to allow moderate alcohol use and not allow moderate marijuana use... This is as clear as day -- in any location where recreational marijuana is legal, which will be just about everywhere in a few years.

And to set the record straight on one point: the Bible does not speak positively about non-medical use of alcohol or the specific properties of alcohol. It just doesn't. Every passage people try to cite in support of this claim either refers to medicinal use or speaks more broadly of the beverage as a whole not of alcohol specifically.

Part-whole fallacy: to argue that what is true of the whole must be true of every part. (Also called fallacy of division: https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-the-fallacy-of-division-250352)

Another popular fallacy in the debate is that abstinence should be dismissed because of its alleged origins in the temperance movement. This fails on two points:

  1. What's so bad about the temperance movement? (Sure prohibition didn't work out, but read up why temperance got off the ground in the first place. Clue: temperance)
  2. Fallacy of origin. (Also known as genetic fallacy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_fallacy): to argue that something can't be true on account of where it came from.

I'm probably not going to follow this discussion though. Gets too frustrating too quickly and I find it very difficult indeed not to attack the motives of alcohol defenders. I don't want to do that though. It's just so hard to avoid going there because the facts of the situation are so clear to me.

But hey, I'll change my tune completely as soon as someone can find me a verse that warns of the perils of failing to consume alcohol socially. (Not holding breath Wink )

TylerR's picture

Editor

My aim with my comments is not to defend alcohol. I think Christians should stay far away from alcohol, because it doesn't ever lead to personal holiness. My objection to the fundamentalist abstinence position in general (as it's typically argued), and Wally's article in particular, is that they're really bad arguments.

A few brief comments in response to Aaron:

  1. I wasn't arguing that the abstinence position should be dismissed because of its ties to the temperance movement. I was arguing that, if it can indeed trace its modern origins to the temperance movement, then it is a localized and fairly recent development and does not reflect the modern or historical position of the church catholic on the use of alcohol.
  2. Regarding Aaron's assertion that the Bible nowhere speaks of alcohol for non-medicinal purposes in a positive light - I am surprised at this statement, because the OT disagrees. What, for example, should we do with this description of Israel's future restoration - "Yea, how good and how fair it shall be! Grain shall make the young men flourish, and new wine the maidens," (Zech 9:17)? What about Amos 9:13ff;:

      “Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD,
      “when the plowman shall overtake the reaper
      and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed;
      the mountains shall drip sweet wine,
      and all the hills shall flow with it.

      I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel,
      and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them;
      they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine,
      and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit.

I don't particularly care about this subject one way or the other. Fundamentalism has its sacred cows, and the FBFI's usual suspects are MacArthur, music, alcohol, evangelicalism, conservative evangelical leaders in general, and younger fundamentalists. This time, it's alcohol. I understand that. I just think the arguments are bad here, and broadly representative of the poor way the FBFI usually argues for its sacred cows. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

G. N. Barkman's picture

For those who believe that New Wine in the Bible is unfermented grape juice, take a look at Joel 1:5 where the New Wine is cut off from the drunkards.

I choose to be a total abstainer.  I see many liabilities and few advantages in drinking alcohol.  But I decry the misuse of Scripture to support a prohibitionist position.  A careful study of Scripture reveals prohibition of drunkenness, but temperate use of alcoholic wine. 

All of this strikes me as similar, at least in some ways, to the KJVO position.  A case for it can be made to the satisfaction of those who are determined to believe it, but those who study the issue more carefully know that truth is not on the side of KJVO.

G. N. Barkman

Pages