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drinking in moderation is not condemed by the Bible

Posted: Thu Aug 26, 2004 10:42 am
by email
Although I believe drinking is too dangerous for it to be in my house, I must say that I am starting to believe drinking in moderation is not condemned by the Bible.

I have reached a conclusion. If the Hebrew translation for wine in the following 2 versus is the same, then I believe the bible accepts wine as a celebratory drink, but cautions against abusing it, just like it cautions us to not abuse sex and money, which of themselves are not sins but their abuses are. Do you know how I can find the Hebrew for these words in the Bible?
(Eph 5:18 NIV) Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

(John 2:9 NIV) They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside .............
An analogy with sex is also interesting in that the Bible refers to marriage as a good thing, but some people in the bible chose to abstain from marriage in an effort to become closer to God (Paul). They recognized that sex could potentially become a problem for them and they abstained, but they never claimed it was a sin to have sex in of itself. See what Paul writes:
Paul wrote:(1 Corinthians 7:1) Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.(7:2)Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
The same goes for money. Paul noted in:
Paul wrote:1 Timothy 6: 10, For the love of money is a source of all kinds of evil. Theres nothing wrong with money, only the love of money.

Posted: Sun Sep 26, 2004 9:32 pm
by m273p15c
Just a few thoughts on your points:

These verses do contain the same Greek word; however. This word can be used to refer to alcoholic wine as well as non-alcoholic grape juice. You have to look at the context to determine the meaning. Matching up the Greek words, in this case, is not sufficient to answer you question. Naturally, the next question would be, "Which meaning is supported by the context of John 2?"

Here's my thoughts: Do you think the people were intoxicated by the point Jesus turned the water into wine? If they were not, after drinking up all the wine, then it must not have been the intoxicating variety? If they were already intoxicated, then Jesus would have been guilty of promoting drunkenness and potentially violating the command and curse of Habakkuk 2:15-16. Since Jesus was sinless, this must not be the case either. Either the wine's alcoholic content was so low that the people could not become intoxicated from it, or Jesus condoned drunkenness. Which is more likely? I had a few other thoughts in the e-mail that I sent, but I wanted to add this one.

Also, I think you are a little off on your analogy between wine, sex, and money. On the macro level, it sounds fine, but when you consider the details, I don't think you will agree with the ultimate application. I don't think moderation is the key to determining what is sinful in regards to sex and money. For example, would you find it acceptable for someone to have a little sex with your wife, as long as they did so in moderation? Could someone steal a little of your 401k money, as long as it was in moderation? There is a time and place when both can be "filled up" to capacity. The wise man advised becoming "intoxicated" with your own wife, in part to help reduce the temptation of adultery (Proverbs 5:15-20). In this case, he advised throwing away moderation - just make sure that it is with your own wife. A similar point could be made in respect to money. A Christian can have lots and lots of money, as long as they don't have a love for it. It is the pursuit of money ABOVE other critical things that makes it wrong. (Although I don't think a Christian will hold on to lots and lots of money for long.) However, a Christian should not drink lots and lots of alcohol under any circumstances, except medicinal (I Timothy 5:23).

Let me know what you think...