PMT 2013-034b by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
I have been interviewed on Christian radio programs regarding the Christian an alcoholic beverages. I will post a synopsis of one interview I had awhile back.
Aren’t there two kinds of wine in Scripture?
- The one word yayin / oinos is used in both commendations of wine and condemnations of wine abuse.
- This is an argument from silence: no textual evidence supports it.
- God could have employed two different words, had he intended to demarcate safe/unsafe wines.
- The argument ultimately is circular:
- The Bible condemns alcoholic wine.
- Wine is alcoholic when it is condemned.
- No lexicon supports this two-wine theory.
- No major translation supports this two-wine theory
Why are you as a Christian pastor encouraging Christians to drink wine?
- I am not encouraging anyone to drink wine. I myself do not drink it.
- I am urging Christians to learn to properly interpret the Bible.
- I am urging Christians to properly apply the Bible to moral issues.
- We must remember that Jesus both drank (Lk 7:33-35) and manufactured (Jn 2) wine.
I believe our Christian witness should forbid us to drink wine
- Our Christian witness should be informed by Scripture, which does not forbid wine.
- Our Christian witness cannot be any higher or more perfect than Jesus, who made and drank wine.
- Our Christian witness in this area should be to speak against abuse and to show how properly to use wine (if we do use it).
What about recreational use of marijuana?
- I am analyzing the issue of wine. The Bible speaks directly and expressly on this issue.
- We do not find commendation of recreational drug use in Scripture.
- To answer the recreational drug question, we should extend the principles of wine abuse: do they apply in marijuana use? That is, does marijuana impair moral awareness? motor abilities?
- The Christian should be subject to civil authority (unless forbidden to do something God commands).
Drunken driving kills thousands
- Alcohol abuse was involved in moral degradation and criminal activity in the Bible, but the Bible did not condemn wine per se, only its abuse.
- Doctor prescribed medications often lead to accidents, but we should not forbid medication.
- Guns kills thousands, but we ought not urge gun control.
- Knives and other implements are used in murders, but we do not forbid knives.
- Our criminal punishment for drunken driving should be severe.
God Gave Wine Lecture (DVDs by Ken Gentry)
Presents and defends the case for a moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages by Christians.
Hey Dr. Gentry, I appreciate your blog and look forward to your posts every week. You have almost convinced me of the postmillennial position. This quite a few feat considering I adhere to Classical Arminianism. I suspect the two doctrines make strange bedfellows :). But I have a personal case study for you to consider pertaining to alcohol consumption.
I am a pastor (SBC) who believes in moderate drinking and will drink a wine/beer every once in while. You can count on both hands how many drinks I have in a year.
The problem is that my congregation does not know this about me. It was not an issue at my initial interview because I completely abstained at the time. Plus, I never really given it much thought . I always believed in my position but never acted on it until a year or so ago. I have served the church for 7 years and can comfortably say that most will not have an issue. In fact, I know of a few families who partake as well. But my questions is this: “Is it wise for a pastor to secretly drink?”
To be clear, my conscience is sound on whether or not the Bible permits moderate drinking. That is not the issue. But I am unsure about disclosing because a) I suspect that there some who would be upset b) I do not want the give the impression that I have been living a secret life (I do not believe that is really the case but some may interpret it that way) and c) I do not want to inadvertently cause someone to stumble who may be struggling with alcohol abuse. They may incorrectly justify their actions with my own. I know they should not; but I am realistic.
But I want to disclose my position and practice because a) I wanna be honest to the text b) I don’t wanna spend my ministry battling legalism and then submit to this form of legalism and c) I enjoy cooking with wine and having a beer when on a date with my wife. But I am willing to stop if that somehow keeps the peace. And yet, why should I give up something I enjoy just because a small minority are strict about it? I mean, I didn’t quite watching television because a family in the church believes it is wrong. So what is it about alcohol that makes me want to buckle?
Do you get want I am saying? Any thoughts?
It sounds like you have biblical convictions, a good attitude, and a loving concern for those in your church. Whatever you decide to do about your situation, I am sure these will go a long way toward encouraging the people. I know of some folks who love nothing better than drinking in front of people whom they know it will offend. That approach goes a long way in causing trouble and division.
Perhaps you might want to do a study of “controversial issues” from a biblical perspective. You could deal with several issues, one of them being: “what does the Bible say about wine drinking?” Then you could provide a list of verses pro and con. Then let the folks wrestle with the matter on their own before you come together to study the matter. But I would be very clear that you just want them to seriously look into the issue, not to come with a negative attitude.
Our you might want to hand out articles pro and con on this and other “issues.” Then have the folks read them and come ready to discuss the matter.
I have found that some Christians who strongly resist Christian liberty on this issue are eventually won over when they look at the biblical evidence.
Of course, in all of this — or in whatever approach you take — you need to keep the matter in much prayer.
I wish you well in resolving the matter.
You are not called to please man, quite the contrary as a preacher of the gospel.
If someone is convinced it is sin then it would be wise “for them” to abstain. Drinking secretly, then being found out would be more destructive to your flock than being open. I suggest you teach what the scripture communicatess on the subject to the best if your gifting. The Spirit has been given to you to guide and direct you, listen for that voice.
P.S. You might wanna reconsider that whole SBC thing (LOL). Just kidding. Kinda. 😀
Thanks Dr. Gentry, I may give that a try. Oddly, I usually do things backward from what you recommend. I usually discuss the controversial issues in small groups! Looking forward to the future release of your commentary set on Revelation. It will certainly be added to my personal library.
Randy, I hear you but I am not afraid to offend for the sake of the gospel. I am, however, afraid to offend with my own personal practices. Especially if my practices were to be counterintuitive to my proclamation of the gospel. In my circumstance, that very well could be the case. This could be one of those cases in which I have the right to partake but it may be best not to exercise it. Thanks for the kind words, and, yes…belonging to the SBC can be a bummer.
God bless you men.
I am not a church leader so I guess I have the luxury of certain freedoms that others may or may not. Best to you.
What about in places where marijuana is legal, does the same principles for taking wine also applies to taking marijuana as well in those places ? Or what about taking marijuana for medicinal purposes even though the government makes it illegal?
Wine is a food product, one that is drunk with meals. Marijuana is not a food product, but something smoked to provide a form a light escape. If a doctor prescribed it medicinally I would have no problem with it.