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I was rsised in a Christian home by my grandparents who taught us drinking was bad for us physically as well as spiritually. We had numerous family examples of how drinking could ruin your life with some jailed repeatedly and all not living full lives happy, joyous and free.

As an adult, I’ve been perplexed by the number of people I know who claim to be devout Christians but who drink alcohol regularly.

In the past, there were times when I drank alcohol, but never did I pretend I was close to God in those moments. In fact, I felt very far from God during those times. I was self-medicating and taking my problems into my own hands instead of giving them to God (Step 3 of a 12 step program). It didn’t work out well for me, by the way!

Most people drink because they are in pain, stressed out, want to escape reality or “relax.” The Bible says, “I will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on me.” So I don’t understand how a Christian can have their minds on God while consuming alcohol.

“Each and every day someone dictates to me how “they choose” to serve the Lord … They decide whether they adopt Christ’s lifestyle or not,” writes Mark T. Barclay in “How to Survive a Betrayal.” “You see, they call Jesus ‘Lord,’ but the spirit of Cain on them demands that they do it their way.”

I hear Christians say often that drinking alcohol is alright because Jesus drank, and the Bible only says not to get drunk. When I say that the water was contaminated in those days, and the wine they drank was actually grape juice, most of them argue with me and say I’m wrong.

In his 2002 article, “Seven Good Reasons Christians Should Not Drink” Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D. offers these things to ponder:

1. Drinking leads to drunkenness. (Isaiah 5:11) In the April 24, 1965 issue of “Christianity Today,” the article on page 25 says, “People must be informed that the use of alcohol is not unlike Russian roulette: every tenth person becomes automatically hooked. The only solution is total abstinence.” These statistics are supported by the American Medical Association. (Like the commercials say, “Buzz driving is drunk driving.” So too, just getting a buzz is also being drunk.)
2. The Bible condemns strong drink. (Proverbs 20:1, etc.) Distillation was not discovered until about 1500 A.D. Strong drink and unmixed wine in Bible times was from 3% to 11% alcohol. Dr. John MacArthur says ” … since anybody in biblical times who drank unmixed wine (9-11% alcohol) was definitely considered a barbarian, then we don’t even need to discuss whether a Christian should drink hard liquor — that is apparent.” Since wine has 9 to 11% alcohol and one brand 20% alcohol, you should not drink that. Brandy contains 15 to 20% alcohol, so thats out. Hard liquor has 40 to 50% alcohol (80 to 100 proof), and that is obviously excluded. Someone will say, “since beer is only 4% alcohol, ITS OK FOR A BELIEVER TO DRINK BEER, RIGHT?” The answer is NO! Heres why…
3. In Biblical tines what Christians drank was sub-alcoholic, basically purified water. (1 Timothy 3:3 & 8) Norman Geisler, former Dean of Liberty Center for Christian Scholarship, Liberty University, has written: “Many wine drinking Christians today mistakenly assume that what the New Testament meant by wine is identical to wine used today. This, however, is false. In fact, What the Bible frequently meant by wine was basically purified water,” purified by adding some alcoholic wine. The Holman Bible dictionary says, wine was also used as a medicine and disinfectant. Geisler goes on to say, “Therefore, Christians ought not to drink wine, beer, or other alcoholic beverages for they are actually strong drink forbidden in Scripture. Even ancient pagans did not drink what some Christians drink today.”
4. It will cause others to stumble. (Romans 14:21) Drinking causes some to stumble, others to be offended, and many to be weakened. Studies support my statement. According to a survey done by “The Daily Journal” newspaper, October 26, 1988, one of the top five reasons teenagers drink is because their parents drink … Parents, you must remember that whatever you do in moderation your child will likely do in excess. The Bible clearly defines drinking as an activity that is to be foregone because it causes others to stumble and makes them weak (fall into sin).
5. It harms our bodies which are the Lord’s (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, etc.) Dr. Robert Haas, M.D., former president of the American College of Sports Nutrition said, “Beer, wine and hard liquor form toxic substances called aldehydes that can destroy the liver, kidney and brain cells. Aldehydes serve a useful function in preserving or pickling dead animal tissue, but they serve no beneficial purpose in people. Alcohol dehydrates (robs) your body of its precious water supply, and along with the water go vital nutrients such as B Vitamins, calcium, magnesium and potassium.” “The most drastic and noticed effect of alcohol is the brain. It depresses brain centers, progressively produces uncoordination, confusion, disorientation, stupor, anesthesia, coma, death. Alcohol kills brain cells, and brain damage is permanent.” (From-Office of Highway Safety, Madison, WI)
6. Alcohol is addictive. 1 Corinthians 6:12 tells us that we are not to “be brought under the power” or to be controlled by anything. The only exception is the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18) Alcohol is clearly a powerful substance (Proverbs 23:35). Because alcohol is addictive, we should choose not to drink alcoholic beverages.
7. Believers are kings and priests separated unto God. The prophets, the kings, the Nazarites, the leaders — those who were special in the plan of God were total abstainers” says Dr. Paul Dixon. Kings and public officials were not to drink (Proverbs 31:4-5). Further Dr. Dixon says, “the priests of the Old Testament were to abstain totally.” The Aaronic priests were not to drink because they ministered in the tabernacle before the Lord (Leviticus 10:9). Believers are a “royal” or kingly priesthood (I Peter 2:9). We are the temple of God (I Peter 2:5). We are God’s special children and should choose total abstinence.

My biggest concern, in addition to the physical and psychological damage it does to people, is how a Christian’s behavior modeling of drinking alcohol will influence others to drink. I’ve heard many stories of people who said they started drinking or smoking cigarettes because they saw sn adult they looked up to do it.

A 2004 study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family conducted by Grace M. Barnes, Alan S. Reifman, Michael P. Farrell and Barbara A. Dintcheff confirmed my theory finding that parents who support and monitor their children drinking alcohol have adolescents who increase their alcohol use and misuse. They concluded that parents are the primary force in preventing teen alcohol use.

My other concern is how this behavior will ruin a Christian’s credibility. Who wants to take advice from a drunk, especially if they’re telling them about God?

You don’t have to agree with me, but I’d like you to use this information as food for thought.

To learn more about Senée visit SeneeSealeGilbert.com.

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