I’m on vacation from home, work, and the blog July 16 – 27. But today, I’ve got a sweet guest post from K.C. Procter, who blogs at ‘Some Wise Guy.’ K.C.’s been a good blog friend to me for a long time, and I’m really happy to feature him here today. Leave K.C. some comment love, and then visit his blog and Twitter. Regular programming will resume Monday, July 30.
And I’m a Christian.
And I drank one beer with dinner last night.
And I’m still going to Heaven.
To be more accurate I’m prone to alcoholism. I have a family background in depression, ADD, substance abuse and have a tendency toward obsessive/impulsive behavior. Based on my family history (and what I understand of biology) my brain has a chemical imbalance that causes me to be inclined to drink too much.
But I don’t. Why?
Wine Cooler Christians
Christians have this weird polarized view of alcohol. You’ve got the Mark Driscoll’s on one side drinking Guinness while watching UFC (who, on this one topic I tend to agree with) and the abolitionists on the other decrying anyone who does drink as guilty of making others stumble.
The favorite argument of those passionately opposed to alcohol consumption by Christians is the good ol’ stumble two-step.
But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.
– 1 Corinthians 8:9
That’s talking about eating meat sacrificed to false gods. Paul explains that people should feel no guilt in eating this kind of meat because by definition false gods have no power over the food and basically a steak is a steak. However, he also points out that if you do feel guilty then don’t partake for the sake of your own conscience. Sounds reasonable. I refrain from drinking too much because I love my family more than beer, I want to set a good example, and the Bible tells me not to. But I do occassionally because I’m free to do so, beer goes great with pizza and barbecue, and I have people who love me enough to hold me accountable.
Stop Tripping Each Other
I think that most people who use/abuse the “stumble two-step” don’t really care all that much about the well-being of their neighbors.
For starters, look at who is quoting the stumbling verse. It’s never someone who is actually struggling with alcohol. It’s nearly always some busybody with boundary issues or a control freak with their knickers in a twist. Secondly, the verse doesn’t talk about alcohol, but that seems to be the only scenario where it is ever applied. What if something else you did caused a brother to stumble?
Later in the same passage Paul says
Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
– 1 Corinthians 8:13
You could substitute “meat” in that sentence for anything else. Would you be willing to give up chocolate, bacon, movies or music if it made your brother/sister stumble? If we lived by other peoples’ shortcomings, we wouldn’t be allowed to do anything!
Besides, we aren’t supposed to be using our weaknesses to control others.
And there is a big difference between “making someone stumble” and “someone taking offense” because of your actions.
What Would Jesus Drink?
Maybe you think it’s a cop-out argument, but if Jesus was so vehemently opposed to drinking, do you really think His very first recorded miracle would’ve been transforming water into fine wine at a wedding party? Given the size and duration of wedding celebrations in that day I would bet good money there was at least one alcoholic present and more than one attendee had to call for a mule ride home.
Personally, I would love to sit down with Jesus in an Irish pub and order two pints of Guinness. An intimate conversation with my Savior about real life and stories from His time on the road with the disciples over ice cold brews sounds like Heaven to me.
How about you? What’s your take on alcohol? Should Christians drink at all? Would you be willing to give up something if it made your brother/sister stumble? If you had a beer with Jesus what would you order?