Enjoying Alcohol and Being Careful With It

by Pastor Duane Smets

Throughout human history alcohol has been both used and abused in both in the Christian and secular arenas. For the majority of Christian history (see Drinking with Calvin and Luther: A History of Alcohol in the Church by Jim West) Christians and pastors have prudently enjoyed alcoholic beverages for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31) following the example of the Lord Jesus (Lk 7:34).

Many Christians have added a rule onto the Bible saying all Christians should completely abstain from any alcoholic consumption. While this may be a wise choice for some individuals or for various seasons in one’s life, we believe making such a rule and expectation for all Christians during all times is too simplistic and goes too far.

In order to provide some guidelines, below are eight statements concerning The Resolved Church's stance on alcohol.

  1. We believe the wine spoken of in the Bible was alcoholic (Prov 23:29-35; Is 5:22; Jn. 2:10) and Jesus drank enough to be falsely accused of being a drunkard (Mt 11:19).
  2. We believe all drunkeness is sin and is displeasing to God (Deut. 21:20; Eccl. 10:17; Mat. 24:29; Lk. 12:45; 21:34; Rom. 13:13; 1 Cor. 5:11, 6:10; Eph. 5:18; 1 Pet. 4:3).
  3. We believe there are many potential dangers and sins resulting from the abuse of alcohol (Gen 19:32–35; Job 12:25; Ps. 107:27; Prov. 4:17; 20:1; 21:17; Is. 5:11-12,22; 19:14; 28:7; Jer. 25:27; 48:26; 51:7,39; Lam 4:21; Hab. 2:15; Hos. 4:11; Joel 1:5; Lk 21:34; Rev. 17:2).
  4. We believe there are times when Christians ought to abstain from drinking alcohol: not causing oneself or another to stumble in sin (Rom 14:21) or for the sake of mission (1 Cor 10:31-32).
  5. We believe there are times when Christians ought to drink alcohol: honoring cultural preferences for the sake of mission (Gal 2:12-14; 1 Cor. 10:31-32), medical reasons (Prov 31:6; 1 Tim 5:23), or personal enjoyment (Zeph 10:7).
  6. We believe Christians ought to be given the freedom to drink or not drink alcohol (Rom 14:3; Gal 5:13; 1 Cor 10:29,31).
  7. We believe church leaders may drink alcohol if they choose, but must set a Godly example in abstaining from drunkenness or be disqualified (1 Tim 3:3).
  8. We welcome any Godly and biblical rebuke (Ps 141:5) as we seek to walk circumspectly and honorably in this world. In all things it is our utmost desire to serve and worship our Lord Jesus, doing all things to please him, enjoy his gifts, and carry out the mission of the gospel.

If you’d like to read and study this topic more God Gave Wine by Kenneth L. Gentry Jr. is an excellent resource.