Alcohol use has always been a contentious issue within the Church. It defines the thin line between socially acceptable behaviors and solitarily that accompanies those enslaved by it. Many people drink responsibly, but equally many people have been irresponsible in their use of alcohol rendering their personal and family lives dysfunctional. The consequences of using alcohol range from minor hangovers to serious illness – alcoholism, including traumatic events such as auto fatalities and domestic abuse.
Interestingly, the bible does not appear to condemn use of alcohol, it does not teach abstinence either, but emphasizes the need to exercise temperance. In Psalms 104, wine is included among the blessings from God and described as something that “gladdens the heart of a man.” In His first miracle, Jesus made wine from water, wine apparently was taken at the last supper, and Jesus Himself drank wine. Throughout the scriptures, excessive drinking is condemned, whether wine or alcohol, whoever is led astray by them is not wise.
The book of Proverbs 23:29 – 35, give a powerful descriptive nature of alcohol abuse. It says, “29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? 30 Those who linger long at the wine, Those who go in search of mixed wine. 31 Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly; 32 At the last it bites like a serpent, And stings like a viper. 33 Your eyes will see strange things, And your heart will utter perverse things. 34 Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, Or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying:35. “They have struck me, but I was not hurt; They have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?”
As much as the Bible warns against drunkenness and teaches moderation in drinking, the most favorable message remains to be abstinence. Modern day Christians conclude that moderation is good, but abstinence is better, especially in view of the clear dangers inherent in drinking. Alcohol is a mind altering drug that too many become addicted to it. While its moderate use is not condemned or forbidden by the Scriptures, the act falls into a category of behaviors that are insignificantly beneficial. The Church has a duty to restore people who fall into sinful patterns of behavior that harm themselves or others, especially as a result of alcoholism. It is not a question of how many bottles are consumed, naturally, the good always hangs around an individual, and the desire to quit drinking is usually as strong and yearning for the soul. However, the drive is absent or weak, and that’s where the Church comes in. The Church needs to increase awareness of the need to teach healthy decision making, conflict resolution, and building the community, in an effort to empower the people the danger of alcoholism.