Monday, June 15, 2015

Jesus Drank Wine, So Could Christians Drink Alcohol?

            Christ drank wine from the Passover cup (Mark 14: 23) and possibly otherwise (Luke 7: 33-34). Christ’s first miracle – to turn water into wine – implied that HE did not object to drinking of wine. Then the Bible mandates Christians to be Christlike [1].

            Some Christians attribute their habit of drinking to Christ. They argue that since Christ drank wine, they could drink too. Some extend this argument when they ask, isn’t it Christlikeness that Christians are to focus on, if so, why not drink? Thus the Christian who seeks to consume alcoholic beverages justifies his temptation (or his desire) through Christ.

            Within this context, there are two groups in Christianity. One group argues that Christ did not drink wine except from the Passover cup. This group believes in total abstinence, which is that the believers should not drink. Others think that since Christ drank wine, they could adopt a more tolerant or a rather validating attitude towards moderate drinking.

            Dr. Norman Geisler, an advocate of total abstinence, emphasized that during biblical times, beer and wine were consumed in moderation. More importantly, they were diluted (3 parts water and 1 part wine), and hence did not cause intoxication while consumed in moderation. In comparison, today’s beer and wine are categorized as strong drinks that are condemned by the Bible. [2]

            This article is not about whether Christ drank wine or not or whether moderate drinking is a sin or not, but it’s about whether a Christian could use Christ as a means to drink alcohol. Hence, let’s concede that Christ may have consumed wine although HE certainly would not have been drunk with wine. Drunkenness is a sin whereas Christ was sinless.   

            When a Christian justifies his drinking, even in moderation, through Christ’s consumption of wine, two problems emerge to the forefront:

            Problem #1: Is this Christian more in love with alcohol than Christ?

            Evidently, those who consume alcohol love alcohol. Why would they drink alcohol, if they do not like / love it?

            Anyone who maintains that they do not love alcohol but nevertheless consume it are either addicted to alcohol or compelled to drink because of social or business obligation. Bible denounces addiction. Those who detest alcohol would not drink it or could find gazillion ways and means to evade drinking alcohol, if they so want to.

            Significantly, a Christian is to love Christ and hence follow HIM all through his life. In other words, because he loves the Lord Jesus, the Christian would ardently desire to obey and follow Christ.

            But a Christian who justifies his desire to drink alcohol through Christ could be more in love with alcohol than Christ. His desperation for alcohol alludes to this fact. If this is true, then anyone who loves Christ less, sins against God, for he / she violates the greatest commandment, which is to love the Lord our God with all our life.

            Importantly, a Christian who justifies his drinking through Christ is treading dangerous waters. Anyone who uses the Lord as a means to fulfill his / her carnal desire is playing losing games with God, the supreme judge, who by virtue of knowing man’s heart, will judge him / her for every perverted desire (cf. Matthew 12: 36).

               Problem #2: If a Christian justifies his drinking through Christ, then would he / she do all that Christ did (i.e. the physical activities) or are they merely looking to be preferential in their obedience to Christ? 

            Bear with me now; some of the questions that I am going to raise may appear to be as retarded. But such is the state of justification of drinking through Christ.

            For instance, Christ did not have a place of his own (cf. Luke 9: 58), so are we not called to own a home or to live in a particular location but keep moving from one location to another all through our lifetime?

            Christ died [resurrected and ascended into heaven] at a fairly young age of 33, so are we to die young?

            Christ fasted 40 days and 40 nights, so are we to fast similarly?

            Christ drove out business people from the temple, so are we to wield that authority to weed out unholy business from the church of Jesus Christ today?

            Similarly, Christ died for the sake of our sins, so are we to die for the sake of other’s sins?

            Or are we to remain single and advocate singleness just because Christ was not married; albeit by contradicting the Bible that endorses a heterosexual marriage?

            We cannot literally do all that Christ did or did not do.

            Christ is God. HE came for a specific purpose, which was to die for the sake of man to save him of his sins, so whatever HE did was towards the purpose of redemption. 

            Christlikeness is not to perform the identical physical activities that Christ performed. Christlikeness is to possess an attitude similar to that of Christ in loving, forgiving, sacrificing our carnal desires for the sake of the kingdom etc.

            Significantly, Christlikeness is achieved by the inhabitation of the Lord Jesus in each believer – Christ in us, the hope of glory (cf. Colossians 1: 27). A believer who is Christlike will never contradict Christ; rather perfectly synchronize with HIM.

            Therefore, the man who strives to justify his drinking to Christ will only find himself contradicting with the Lord, for HE cannot do everything the Lord did or did not do. So he would find himself in a deeper dungeon. The man who uses Christ as a means to justify his drinking, sins against the Lord and will have only himself to blame and not anyone else.

            We are not done yet.

            Does moderate drinking benefit us?

            Some may argue that moderate drinking does not interfere with their life or their spirituality, and hence could be continued. Unfortunately recent scientific discoveries seem to disprove this notion.

            National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in 2004 specified that moderate drinking leads to short term health damages [3]. If moderate drinking damages health - be it short or long term - should it not be avoided?

            A paper published in Neuroscience in 2012 indicated the harmful effects of moderate drinking. These scientists concluded that moderate drinking could have profound effects on the structural plasticity of the adult brain because the number of cells produced in the brain was reduced by 40% [4].

            Another paper published in the British Medical Journal in 2014 discovered that moderate drinking (equivalent to less than 500 ml of beer or 2 small glasses of wine a day) is detrimental to health [5]. These scientists concluded that the lesser our alcohol consumption, the better would be our cardiovascular health.

            Hence, we could enjoy the best of cardiovascular health if we totally abstain from drinking.

            So whether Christ drank or not is a moot point; utterly irrelevant to whether we should drink or not. If we agree that our motive in life is to remain safe and secure, then the safest bet for us then is to abstain from drinking. 


[1] 1 John 2: 6; Romans 8: 29; Ephesians 4: 13; 1 Corinthians 1: 11; Philippians 2: 5, 3:10 etc.








Unknown said...

Then what about those who use wine and other alcoholic beverages as a means for 'cooking' food i.e. as an ingredient in soups and sauces?

Raj Richard said...

Thanks for your comment.

I do not think of that as a problem at all.

Unknown said...

You argument is rubbish. Your points - Problem #1 and Problem #2 - do not make any sense at all Biblically. Jesus performed His first miracle by turning water into wine and the use of wine was already there even before Jesus turned water into wine at Cana. Jesus by His actions just approved the tradition of drinking of wine. Jesus drank wine (Matthew 11:18-19) though He was never a drunkard and drunkenness is clearly described as a sin in the Bible. If drinking of wine is a sin you can't find any argument in this wide world to justify the action of Jesus for making people drink wine (and there by sin!) and then preaching against it. You have to spend your whole life searching for explanations to justify Jesus' action which would amount to hypocrisy. Whatever Jesus did were Biblically justifiable and good and noble. Period. You can't put forth any sensible argument to prove that God or Bible is against drinking of wine in the right way. The Bible is full of verses to show that God approves the proper use of beverages like wine.

Yes we, true Christians should imitate Jesus even in the physical sense. We should ask ourselves when confronted with a choice weather Jesus would do this or that. That doesn't mean we can imitate all Jesus did because many of His actions were part of His divine commission aided with His divine power which we lack. Example, healing the sick or cursing the tree etc. Really, the part of our calling as Christians is to go through the physical pain Jesus endured by being homeless, persecuted, starved, rejected etc. (1 Peter 4:13). You can't partake in Christ's suffering without going through what He has gone through physically here on earth.

I am stopping here though much more can be said.