The purpose of this paper is to set out what we consider to be a reasonable approach to the issue of the consumption of alcohol, taking into account the direction and wisdom given to us in Scripture. In our responsibility for bringing practical care to the church, we want to provide what we consider to be helpful guidelines on this subject.
Before we outline the aforementioned guidelines, it is important that the reader understand that this is not a paper addressing whether a Christian should or should not drink alcohol. That subject requires study in itself, and we would encourage people to give serious consideration to this matter and arrive at their own personal conviction as to whether or not it is right for them to consume alcohol. This paper is primarily addressed to those who have accepted that our position as a leadership is as follows:
- The Bible does not prohibit the consumption of alcohol.
- Wine was consumed throughout Biblical history, including by our Lord and the disciples, and the wine referred to in the Bible was evidently alcoholic.
- Though wine is sometimes spoken of negatively in the Bible, it is sometimes spoken of positively, and sometimes neutrally.
- The Bible warns us of the potential dangers of wine and the negative
consequences of drunkenness.
- The Bible speaks against drunkards and drunkenness and in it we are commanded not to get drunk.
The subject of drinking alcohol is clearly addressed in Scripture. The scriptural warnings focus on the issue of excess and drunkenness, and challenge us with the need for moderation and self-control. However, in certain cultures, the social effects of excessive alcoholic consumption have caused a major reaction in both Government and Church. This has been most evidently seen in the U.S.A., with the laws of prohibition in the 1920’s, and the continued prohibition of alcohol in much of the evangelical church of America today. With all the good intentions and Godly motives often expressed in this regard, it remains the fact that such prohibition is not found in Scripture. Our concern is that, in enforcing that which we cannot substantiate from Scripture, we are opening the door to an even more corrosive evil, that of legalism.
Our vision is for the local church to be established on the doctrine and practices of the New Testament. Our commitment is to be faithful to this in the midst of the shifting and changing attitudes of the day.