In yesterday's post, I addressed the miracle at Cana, and whether or not the wine Jesus made was fermented. It did not take place during the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread, so there was no religious reason for it not to have been fermented wine. The real problem conservative Christians have with it actually being wine is that most believe it is a sin to drink any alcoholic beverage. Just for the record, I am a conservative Christian who comes from a background of being an alcoholic, and I personally do not use alcohol. It is difficult enough living for Christ with a clear mind, so I know that drinking would weaken my resistance all sorts of temptations. For me to drink would be just plain stupid.
On one hand, the Bible does not teach that alcohol is bad, in itself, but the excessive use of it is. Deuteronomy 14:26 seems to indicate that wine and strong drink are okay as long as you can in faith consume it before the Lord. Whatever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). In 2 Chronicles 32:27-30, God gave Hezekiah an abundance of riches including wine. Psalms 4:7 and 104:14-15 also show that God provided wine. Proverbs 31:6 says, "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts." The only New Testament verse that specifically says a Christian can drink wine is 1 Timothy 5:23, where Paul prescribes wine for Timothy's illness.
On the other hand, the Bible has much to say about drinking wine and strong drink in excess. The priests were not to drink before going into the Tabernacle of the Lord (Leviticus 10:9). The Nazirites, a sect of Judaism set apart for God's service, were to abstain from any product made from grapes, including vinegar (Numbers 6:3). In Proverbs 21:17, 23:29-31, and 31:4, the Word of God tells of the consequences of drinking: poverty, fights, incoherence, and poor judgment. The New Testament warns of drinking to excess (1 Corinthians 11:17-22; Ephesians 5:18; Titus 2:3), but it does not appear to prohibit the consumption of wine.
Perhaps one should avoid wine and strong drink since it is difficult to tell when "you have had enough." In fact, the more one drinks, the chances of him making a decision to stop diminishes proportionally. This is intended to be funny, so take it as a joke. A Christian bar should have a two-drink maximum. I know, I should stick to "spiritual things."
The keys to the Christian deciding whether or not it is okay to drink are these: Can I be disciplined enough to drink without drinking to excess? Can I drink with a clear conscience (remember Romans 14:23)? And, can I drink without causing a brother to stumble (Romans 14:21)? If the answer is no to any of these, don't drink.