Christians and Alcohol: A Timeline

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Todd Bowditch's picture

I think the Noll quote is very good:

Some evangelicals have made opinions on liquor more important for fellowship and cooperation than attitudes toward the person of Christ or the nature of salvation. This is particularly unfortunate since the Bible speaks clearly about Christ and salvation, but not about the question of total abstinence.

The timeline is selective and not that helpful. The biblical references offer the most merit, but can easily be discarded depending on how one translates <oinos>. I'm sure that that topic has been covered exhaustively enough that it doesn't need to be rehashed here. The historical information is supports the author's thesis that Christianity has had a varied approach to alcohol throughout the ages. The book itself sounds interesting and will hopefully lead to good discussion of the theological underpinnings of certain positions within Christianity.

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Charlie's picture

Really? All those quotable quotes by that hops-guzzling Luther and he doesn't even make it on the timeline?

My Blog:

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Marsilius's picture

"Hildegard von Bingen discovers hops in beer." -  That one is a gut-splitter.

Marsilius's picture

Among other things missing in this timeline (some much more important than things contained), the Temperance movement in the US was begun by a doctor, Dr. Benjamin Rush (also a signer of the Declaration of Independence).

Ron Bean's picture

I don't intend to be snide, but doesn't <oinos> simply translate as wine and that the wine Jesus created in John 2 is the same wine that church leaders are warned about in the pastoral epistles. Makes sense to me.

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

Todd Bowditch's picture

Jesus turned water into wine. Paul stated that church leaders should not be characterized by drunkenness. That is of course, my opinion. Others will disagree...and I think that's been hashed out in several different posts.

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Easton's picture

The "Timeline" is interesting, but glosses over Prohibition and the influence the amendment had on American culture, politics and religion.  Also, The Dry Movement's most ardent supporters, namely fundamentalist evangelists Billy Sunday and Bob Jones, both of whom used their own popularity to promote temperance.

Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., traveled the Midwest and South (along with William Jennings Bryan) speaking and promoting "The Dry Movement" – a movement that eventually led to Prohibition. In 1915, Dr. Jones, Sr. said of Mansfield, Ohio, “I would rather be in Hell than in a city with 40 saloons.”

Now that's Temperance....

In 2008, Dr. Randy Jaeggli of the BJU Bible faculty published a book via BJ Press entitled, The Christian and Drinking: A Biblical Perspective on Moderation and Abstinence.  Wasn't long (6 mos? a year?) before that book was pulled from printing and distribution.  (A few copies are out there.)

Seems Dr. Jaeggli personally recommended that every Christian practice total abstinence from any type of alcohol – but the conclusion arrived at by sticking to Scriptural historical and cultural corroboration is not abstinence, but a Biblical teaching of moderation.


Oh, no.  Can't have that.