To drink, or not to drink – that is the question that simply will not go away.
I know there are different views on this subject. I respect people on both sides of the issue. I know some good Christians who drink, and I know some lousy Christians who don’t. And vice-versa.
I am taking OFF my Every Nation and Victory hats, and putting on my husband/father hat to write this blog. These are my personal views – my opinions – my reasons for not drinking. This post is not about you; it’s about me, and my opinions.
I am NOT saying drinking is a sin — that depends on the context, the amount and the motive. I AM saying that drunkenness is a sin – not a disease, a habit, an addiction.
Note: I did not grow up in a religious non-drinking home — exactly the opposite. My Dad was in the liquor business. He was good at it. Represented Barcardi, J&B and 25 others. He thought something was wrong with me when I refused to drink after I got saved as a teenager.
No one told me to stop my under-aged drinking. I just knew I should. And, I saw no reason to resume drinking simply because I had an 18th and a 21st birthday.
So, with that lengthy preamble, here are the current top 10 reasons I choose not to drink:
1. My Taste Buds. People say beer is an “acquired taste.” Do you know why Coca-Cola is not? Because it actually tastes good. Why acquire a taste for something that tastes nasty?
2. My Motive. I stopped trying to impress people with my drinking skills when I turned 16. Really. I did. And haven’t tasted alcohol since. No need. No desire. No one to impress. Nothing to prove. Remember, I’m talking about me, & my reasons, not you and yours.
3. My Past. I already did the drinking thing and have no desire to bring that part of my past into my present or my future.
4. My Culture. I am a missionary, church planter and pastor living in two cultures where public drinking is not exactly the acceptable norm for religious leaders — Catholic Philippines and conservative Evangelical Nashville. I do not live in a city where they baptize in beer, or in a nation where they brush their teeth with vodka. I have to respect the culture I live and minister in. I’m in a root beer and sweet tea church culture. Some things are OK biblically, but wrong culturally.
5. My Job. See #4 and add this…
I work with a church and ministry that focuses on youth. I am sick of seeing drunk teens wreck their cars and kill their friends. I choose to set a non-drinking example for every young person who might be looking. Unfortunately in our culture, non-drinking examples are about as rare as a Bigfoot sighting.
6. My Fear. I don’t care what you call it — genetics, generational curses or bad domestic examples — all I know is that my family has had a pattern of alcohol abuse, and I fear that if I start, I will not know when to stop. I have no intention of getting delivered from that fear.
7. My Wife. She does not want me to drink. So I don’t.
8. My Bible – O.T. As I said in the disclaimer, I do not believe that it is a sin to drink. But I do believe that in certain situations it is irresponsible and foolish for leaders to drink. Proverbs 31:4 seems to warn LEADERS about drinking, saying that it is “not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer.”
9. My Bible – N.T. Paul had a biblical right to eat pork chops, lechon and meat sacrificed to idols – but he didn’t – in certain settings. Likewise, I choose not to drink because…it is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else that will cause your brother to fall…therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall… (Rom 14:21, 1Cor 8:13) But that’s just me, and how I apply Paul’s words to my life.
10. My Family. I grew up in a home ripped apart by alcohol abuse. So did my wife. We decided 25 years ago that our home would be a no drinking zone. No regrets about that decision, and no intention of changing it.
Last thought — I’m not one of those mindless illiterate “theologians” who teach that Jesus turned water into grape soda. I realize that Paul told Timothy to drink a little wine, “because of your stomach and your frequent illness.” This instruction might have had something to do with the fact that it was sometimes difficult to find amoeba-free bottled water on his mission trips, so, for Timothy it was wiser to drink red wine than brown water. Therefore, if you find yourself on a mission trip with no bottled water available, then feel free to find some good wine and drink up. I’ll have a Coke.
And finally, before you write back to correct my theology or to balance me – please re-read disclaimer #2, take a deep breath, relax, visit the pub, order an unsweetened iced tea, smile…then respond. I’d love to hear your opinion.