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How far is too far when it comes to drinking alcohol?

Most Christians agree that getting drunk is wrong, and there's even a question about getting tipsy. But is it okay for Christians to consume alcohol at all? I realize there are many views, and different (Christian) traditions and cultures have different takes on this question, so please provide Biblical (or other authoritative) evidence for your view.

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In order to answer this in the negative, one needs to show that there are no verses that say that consuming alcohol is bad. This is asking to prove a negative, which can be very difficult. –  Jeff Aug 27 '11 at 22:40
    
@Jeff: Proving a negative in a narrow context (such as "All verses in the Bible") is not so difficult. –  Flimzy Aug 27 '11 at 22:50
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This sounds more like justification for guilt than a real question. Am I wrong? –  tjameson Aug 27 '11 at 23:17
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@Richard: I think it's clear to anyone who has ever consumed alcohol that consuming alcohol is not the same as becoming "tipsy." –  Flimzy Aug 28 '11 at 0:10
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Hmm... I think you're right. The other question comes from a standpoint that consuming alcohol is allowed. THis is a different question. –  Richard Aug 28 '11 at 0:19
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marked as duplicate by Richard, warren, wax eagle, Dori Sep 3 '11 at 2:57

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No, it's drinking to excess that is wrong - Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:17-19).

Then, one needs to define "excess". Which is likely to more personal and will vary from believer to believer; one might draw the line at the legal limit for driving as a useful guideline. It's widely recognized that a glass of red wine a day is healthful and beneficial.

Then there's the case of the wedding feast an Cana where Jesus made 120-180 gallons (455-680 liters) of wine - and not just any wine, but wine of superlative quality. I find the argument that Jesus created non-alcoholic wine to be tortuous, at best. Then, too, there's the comment about the normal practice of serving the best wine first and the worst last - because after drinking the better wine people are too inebriated to notice the poorer quality of the latter wine; that's a clear indication the that what they were referring to as the "best wine" contained alcohol.

There was wine at the Last Supper, and every Passover Jesus celebrated in his life.

And Paul instructs Timothy to "Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses" (1 Timothy 5:22-24), probably because the alcohol in wine and the process of fermentation kills germs, where clean drinking water was harder to obtain.

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No it is not wrong to consume alcohol.

You know that Christ would never convince or encourage a person to sin, let alone give them MORE of something to sin with.

Let's dissect Jesus' first miracle. Understand that these wedding goers drank all of the wine at the wedding. These people are drunk, some are probably tanked and yet Jesus turns water into wine so that they can continue to drink.

Was he just testing them? I think not.

Now, the Bible is very clear that you should stay sober in all things and not drink to the point that you become a fool. It also tells us that we should add wine to our diets for health reasons. I will provide verses later today.

Finally, it is said that it is not what goes into our bodies that makes us unclean, but what comes out of our mouths that does. This relates back to Gods command for us to love each other.

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And don't forget that the wine Jesus made was way better than the wine they had been drinking up to that point. –  wax eagle Aug 28 '11 at 18:52
    
Lol, amen to that ;) –  Jonathon Byrd Aug 28 '11 at 18:55
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I say yes, but each is entitled to his/her own opinion.

For example, from Romans 14 (vs 19-21 specifically):

19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.

21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

I take this to mean that if another will be offended by our partaking (whether that be alcohol or whatever), then we shouldn't do it. Many people take 1 Corinthians (vs 19-20) more literally than others:

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

This means that our bodies are sacred. There are different interpretations of this, but I think nearly everyone can agree on that. If are bodies are sacred (and compared to God's holy temple), then we should take care of it. This means that we should put good things in and don't put bad things in.

I take this to mean that anything that has a negative affect on my body (alcohol, tobacco, excessive caffeine/sugar) should be avoided. As such, I don't drink any alcohol and I don't smoke. I also don't drink soda very much in favor of juice (which I think tastes better anyway).

But this can be taken to extremes. Sure, a little sugar is fine, and to some alcohol may be fine. My family happens to have a history of alcoholics (and other addictions), so that's even more reason for me personally to avoid these things.

But always remember Romans 14 (vs 17):

17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

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Chat belongs in Christianity Chat; you needn't do it in real-time -- if you highlight someone using @nickname they will see your message in their inbox when they come on to SE. Feature requests belong on Christianity Meta. –  HedgeMage Aug 30 '11 at 16:29
    
@HedgeMage - I created one. Thanks for the reminder though. –  tjameson Aug 30 '11 at 18:05
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As you said we are in agreement that getting drunk is wrong. My point of view is you can never get drunk if you never have a first drink. Alcohol is an addictive and habit forming substance. To take one drink is to begin the path of giving up free will to the possibility of addiction, drunkenness and sin. I am not saying that one drink leads to damnation, but one drink can lead to another. Why start down a road you don't want to follow?

As Software Monkey pointed out, the alcohol in wine and the process of fermentation killed germs during Jesus' time, when clean drinking water was hard to obtain. Today I believe the risks of drinking wine outweighs the benefits when I can easily get clean drinking water.

While I abstain from drinking alcohol recreationally, it is occasionally present in my cough syrup.

Summary: Yes, I believe drinking alcohol to be a sin. It should be avoided when possible. I would advocate that others avoid it as well, but understand if they have beliefs to the contrary.

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