by Sam Gaw, Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com
On December 3rd, Greg Laurie posted a new blog post named “Some Thoughts on Drinking in This Holiday Season”.
Here at Christian Headlines, we linked to the new blog post as well as an article about the blog post. But after much thought and prayer, I thought I needed to add my personal comment about Greg’s post. While we love Greg and think he is a great Christian leader, there are times that Christians can disagree.
Here is my response to the post:
I usually love your stuff but must disagree with you on this one!!
While I could start by saying you seem to say, ‘do as John the Baptist did over Jesus’, I will skip that part. While I believe this might be the biggest issue, it could look petty since you never actually said it but only seem to refer to as such.
My biggest problem is that you leave out that John the Baptist was a Nazirite (like Samson). So, yes, a Nazirite would never drink wine or strong drink BUT you fail to mention the other parts of that. So, if we use John the Baptist as your main example, we must:
(1) abstain from ALL things from the vine (grapes, wine vinegar, raisins, and vinegar distilled from such substances. But why? Because they believed the fruit that Satan used in the garden was actually grapes – so NOTHING from the vine!)
(2) Refrain from cutting the hair on one’s head (even though a permanent Nazirite could cut their hair once a year if bothersome)
(3) Stay away from dead people.
SO, if we follow Greg’s version of this, we also must take the vow of the Nazirite and not partake of jelly and jam and vinegar and grow our hair out.
I will agree that if you don’t drink you won’t get drunk. But even the ’cause a brother to stumble’ part is taken out of context…if you read on, you will see that is a one-time deal and there must be actions taken to clarify and talk through the issue (iron-sharpens-iron). The whole stumbling thing has been used against true Christians so others church-goers can have their way too many times!! It is time to really learn what that says and how to react to it.
The only way to get around the drinking part is to say that the wine Jesus made was NON-alcoholic (or at least barely had any alcohol or even that it was grape juice like the IFB churches believe). That is nonsense to the highest degree! First, there were words in each language for grape juice. Second, that means you haven’t seen the grapes from Israel…they are bigger and better than most places (which means more sugar – which indeed means more alcohol, not less). Third, you are changing the Bible and Jesus’s first miracle for your own want and desire…shame on you!! Fourth, you forget all the other positive references there are in the Bible about wine…new wine/old wineskin. Fifth, wine was used in communions in the Bible (Paul got mad and told the people stop getting drunk on it).
I could go on and on but hopefully I made a point here. You must take the Bible in true reference and cannot just piece together your wants and desires from it. And, even though I really like Greg, you have to take EVERYTHING from EVERYBODY (no matter how educated or popular) and read the Bible for yourself!
I actually don’t drink but just because I don’t, it doesn’t mean that others shouldn’t. I know some that are healthier because of a glass of wine but I also know others that can’t even have a drop or they would become an alcoholic instantly. But isn’t that everything? We are all sinners. Some can handle themselves when a pretty girl says “Hi” to them and for others it would start them down a road of adultery. Some can control their eating while others can’t. Some can rise to become a leader while others would be so boastful and prideful that they would fall.
As Christians, maybe we need to relax on the demands that others-do-it-like-me syndrome! I love it when someone yells at me and questions my Christianity because I might prefer more contemporary music in worship. They usually say that I want my preference and that’s wrong…but isn’t preferring only hymns a preference? They don’t even stop to listen that I do actually like hymns rather than them hating new songs.
I digress. Just be careful not to twist scripture to your own liking. And if you have the thought that I just caused the next drunk-driving accident because of my personal response to Greg’s post…maybe you should stop living in the extremes!
Below is Greg’s post:
Is it acceptable for a Christian to drink?
The Bible tells us the story of John the Baptist,who was set apart by God from the time he was in his mother’s womb. In Luke 1:15, the angel said of John, “He will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb” (NKJV).
John gives us a good model for life: he drank neither wine nor strong drink. Personally, I don’t drink at all. That is due, to some degree, to coming from an alcoholic home and seeing the devastation that drinking can bring.
I can’t think of a single good thing that comes from drinking, but I can think of many bad things that come from it: broken homes, violence, accidents, people killed on the road by drunk drivers, addiction, destroying your health . . . the list goes on.
Drinking will never make anything better, only worse. Every illustration of drunkenness in the Bible is a disaster:
– Noah became drunk, and in his nakedness, he acted shamelessly.
– Lot became drunk and his daughters committed incest with him.
– Belshazzar, in Daniel 5, had a drunken feast and worshipped his false gods. He lost his kingdom that night.
– Many a kingdom, family, career, ministry, and life have been lost through drinking.
“But I have the liberty to drink, Greg!” some would say. I would not completely dispute that. I personally drink as much as I want to, but I don’t want to drink!
As Paul told the Corinthian believers, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12 NIV). I don’t want to be under the power of anyone or anything but Jesus Christ!
Here’s a revolutionary thought: If you don’t drink, you will never get drunk. If you do drink, you may get drunk. Is it worth the risk?
But here’s another question for you: Could your so-called liberty ever cause another believer to stumble in their faith? 1 Corinthians 8:9 says, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not
become a stumbling block to the weak.”
John never touched alcohol, but was instead “filled with the Spirit.” The Bible says, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18 NLT).
It’s better to be filled with the Spirit than with the spirits.
FULL POST HERE: “Some Thoughts on Drinking in This Holiday Season”.
Sam Gaw is the publisher and editor of ChristianHeadlines.com. He also owns Flashpoint Media, Inc. He started and ran Indiana Christian News, Illinois Christian News, and Florida Christian News before selling them in 2006. He has since produced a few movies & documentaries, as well as a family travel TV show. Sam has been a deacon and a Sunday School teacher. Flashpoint Media, Inc took over ChristianHeadlines.com in 2011 from Barry Bowen, who started ChristianHeadlines in 2001.