Saturday, 28 September 2013

Here's Why I Don't Drink Beverage Alcohol

    I’ll just go ahead and admit from the start my extreme personal bias against alcohol consumption. And it has little to do with what the Bible directly says on the subject. Don’t get me wrong ... I believe a strong biblical case can be made against social drinking,1 and I have found eager attempts to justify the practice to be rather shallow and misleading.2 Nevertheless, my strong disdain is largely based on personal experience. I am all too familiar with how alcohol has negatively affected me and members of my family, and I have seen its devastating effects on the lives and families of so many others. The bottom line is, I have yet to find anything good that comes from beverage alcohol, while I am painfully aware of a whole lot of evil associated with it.

Here are a few reasons I choose to completely abstain from alcoholic beverages.

1. If I refuse to take even a single drink, my actions will never influence my spouse or my children to drink. I take very seriously my God-given family responsibilities, including my position of leadership in the home and my role as a husband and father. As I seek to provide for my family, inclusive of their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs (1 Timothy 5:8), being a good example is of far greater value than providing incentive or opportunity to consume intoxicants.

2. If I refuse to take a single drink, my actions will never influence anyone else to drink. Even if I believed I could occasionally drink alcohol with no ill effects, I can never say with assurance that no one else will be adversely affected. This is especially true with respect to my brothers and sisters in Christ who are recovering alcoholics (cf. 1 Cor. 6:9-11). It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a giant millstone tied around my neck than to lead an innocent soul into sin (Mark 9:42; cf. Prov. 20:1).

3. If I refuse to take a single drink, I will never get drunk. Most Bible-believers concede that drunkenness is sinful, but what constitutes drunkenness? Is methuskō (Eph. 5:18) an inceptive verb, marking the initial stages of the process,3 or is drunkenness to be equated only with full-blown inebriation? Who decides? Science uses blood alcohol content (the percentage of alcohol in the blood) as a measurement of intoxication for legal and medical purposes. While variables such as gender, weight, and food consumption determine the extent of alcohol’s effects, here are the scientific standards.4
     To be considered legally drunk in the USA (as well as countries like Malta, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, and Singapore), the limit for those over 21 years of age is 0.08. However, in Costa Rica it is 0.075, while 0.07 is the limit in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Honduras. For Sri Lankans the threshold is 0.06, and in countries like Austria, Belgium, Denmark and France it is 0.05. Togo sets the limit at 0.042, and in Columbia it is 0.04. The benchmark in Jamaica is 0.035, and in India, Japan, and Uruguay it is 0.03. In Belarus blood alcohol concentration is not to exceed 0.029, while the maximum in China, Mongolia, Norway and Poland is 0.02. In Algeria, Albania, and Guyana the legal limit is as low as 0.01.
     Is it reasonable to conclude that a person is drunk in Albania and Guyana but not drunk when the same amount of liquor is consumed in New Zealand or the United States? How many social drinkers are in the habit of testing their blood alcohol concentration to see whether or not they have reached the legal limit, and if God has set his own legal limit, how would that be determined?
     It takes about 30 minutes to feel the effects of alcohol,5 which include (as per blood alcohol levels) slight mood changes (0.02), lowered inhibitions and impaired judgment (0.06), deterioration of reaction time and control (0.08), impaired balance and coordination (0.15), decreased sensation and erratic emotions (0.20), diminished reflexes and semi-consciousness (0.30), loss of consciousness (0.40), and death (0.50).6 Yet “the absence of symptoms does not guarantee safe or low blood alcohol levels. With regular drinking a person develops a tolerance to alcohol that will reduce the outward appearance of high blood alcohol levels.”7

4. If I refuse to take a single drink, I will never become an alcoholic. The type of alcohol one drinks is not a factor in determining if there is a problem.8 While there are those who seem to have a physiological predisposition for alcoholism, anyone has about a 12% chance of becoming an alcoholic.9 It doesn’t matter whether my chances are any greater or not if I am committed to total abstinence. I can easily live without it. For anyone to say otherwise is to acknowledge there is a problem.

5. If I refuse to take a single drink, I will never alienate myself from so many good people who are troubled by it. On multiple occasions I have been offered a drink, and by respectfully declining I have never offended anyone. But the thought of a professing Christian knowingly indulging in intoxicants is disturbing to so many. Ethyl alcohol is a habit-forming drug that routinely divides families, friendships, and churches. If I am to genuinely look out “for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4) and if love “does not seek its own” (1 Cor. 13:5), how can I conscientiously insist on engaging in such divisive and destructive behavior?

     “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12).

--Kevin L. Moore

     1 See the author’s The Christian and Beverage Alcohol. All scripture quotations are from the NKJV.
     2 See the author’s Questions & Answers: Beverage Alcohol. Health benefits? See Natilie O'Neill's A bottle of wine ... , Amy Woodyatt's Drinking any amount of alcohol damages the brain, Kayla Rivas' Any amount of alcohol can harm the brain
     3 E. W. Bullinger, A Critical Lexicon and Concordance 238; W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary 343; R. Young, Analytical Concordance 275.
     4 U. S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Digest of Impaired Driving And Selected Beverage Control Laws, 27th ed. (May 27, 2012); also “Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits Worldwide,” <Link>; and “Blood Alcohol Limit by Country,” <Link>.
     5 Bradford Health Articles, “Alcohol 101: Learning new facts and remembering what you forgot,” <Link>.
     6 Note that half the people who attain a blood alcohol level of 0.40 will die, and death has been documented at levels as low as 0.35. See Chris Bigsby, Erin Ratcliff, Letitia Rexrode (Radford University), “R U Aware: Blood Alcohol Levels and Metabolism,” <Link>.
     7 Bigsby, Ratcliff, and Rexrode, op cit.
     8 Bradford Health Articles, op cit.
      9 Bill Arck, M.S. and Julie Hamel, M.S., “Alcoholism: Nature vs. Nurture,” in Higher Education- An Informational Newsletter 54 (Spring 2011): KSU Alcohol and Other Drug Education Service, <Link>.

Related articles: Barry Cameron's Can a Christian Drink?, Jamie Morgan's 50 Reasons I Don't Drink, Wes McAdams' What Does the Bible Say?, & Four Reasons I Don't Drink Alcohol, Neal Pollard's What's So 'Social' About It?, Cliff Boyd's Why I Don't Drink; Tom Hermiz's Biblical Perspective on Drinking Wine; Barbara Krantz, Alcohol is Killing More People than the Opioid Crisis, Melissa Cunningham's Alcohol Causes Most Harm, Olga Khazan, America's Favorite Poison, Ben Giselbach's What's So Bad About a Little Alcohol? , Patrick Swayne's Under the Influence

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  1. Amen! Thank you so very much for sharing!!!

  2. This is excellent. It takes spiritually maturity to understand these reasons and take them to heart.

  3. As a 25 year old woman who doesn't drink (and has also never taken a sip of alcohol in her life) it gets harder as I get older to find anyone else who has made the same life choice. I can't tell you how encouraging and refreshing this is to me. Thanks for sharing it.

    1. Jamie, I applaud your convictions about keeping away from beverage alcohol. You are a great example to other young adults who apparently don't share your common sense and wisdom. Keep up the fight!

    2. By dropping in the line of "your common sense and wisdom" it makes it seem like you are saying everyone who else who doesnt believe like you just isnt as smart and has no common sense. We need to watch out for using phrases like this because this is what turns people away from the church.

  4. Kevin, we have much in common though we have never met. We worked with the Church in Wellington from 1963-1966. My husband baptized Rodney Kyle. He and Eddie Cantrell helped lead Peter and Nona Gray to the Lord.....etc. etc. etc. Now, we have something else in common. I absolutely hate alcohol! I have never tasted it myself (except the few times wine was served at the Lord's table) but I have tasted the results of it within recent years. A close family member began drinking socially. I was shocked, as her own father died a homeless drunk while in jail. Years of this brought about a split family and much heart ache and sorrow, and it continues. The heartache and sorrow will not go away once it hits the ones you love. I appreciate your comments and pray more members of the Lord's body will quit trying to justify social drinking (which will one day lead to one becoming drunk at one point in their lives, I believe) and begin living a life above reproach. Oh yes, I see you were associated with Freed-Hardeman.....our youngest grandson is a Freshman there this year and loving it.

    1. We share a love for New Zealand and the Lord's work there and a disdain for bottled poison. Rod Kyle is still going strong in his service to the Lord. Peter Gray passed away several years ago, and while Nona is home-bound, her faith is as strong as ever and can still talk your ear off! I had the privilege of getting to know bro. Eddie during some of his visits to NZ prior to his death. Tell your grandson to come introduce himself to me at FHU. I'm organizing a campaign to NZ next year, and he might be interested. Thank you for your comments and for your faithfulness to the Lord. God bless you.

  5. Thanks for the article. It is a subject that seems to keep coming up in my life and I'll admit I've been on both sides of the fence from time to time. Here is a question I would like to throw in the discussion. Please understand that I am desperately trying to come to the most accurate biblical understanding and am not poking fun by the below question. I want to be true to the word regardless of my preferences or bias (as much as any human can).
    Why does the subject of alcohol take frequently take this line of thinking but other issues do not?
    For example, why do we not say, "I don't drive a car because...
    1. I will never influence my family to drive.
    2. I will never influence anyone else to drive.
    3. If I refuse to drive then I will never speed or make a rolling stop at an intersection.
    4. If I refuse to drive then I will never have a case of road rage.
    5. If I refuse drive I will never alienate people who have experienced tragedy in their lives due to automobile accidents.
    I'm not one to overly indulge in alcohol. I might have one drink every few years. Literally, one glass of wine, or one mixed drink over dinner.
    Any feed back is appreciated.
    John D.

    1. John,

      I'm sure you've heard the expression, "Apples and Oranges." When comparisons are made, the nature of each case must be taken into account. One might reason that riding rollercoasters is equivalent to methamphetamine usage. After all, people get addicted to rollercoasters and there have been documented cases of rollercoaster-related deaths. Thus recreational methamphetamine use is no worse; to condone the one is to accept the other.

      It is interesting that you chose driving as a comparison. The relative risk of death in single-vehicle crashes is 385 times less likely for drivers with 0% blood alcohol content (BAC) than drivers with high BAC, and the risk is 707 times lower for males. In 2001, there were 42,196 car-crash deaths in the USA, of which 40,933 were alcohol related. Each one started with a single drink, by the way. When alcohol is removed from the equation, there are 97% fewer auto fatalities.
      Unlike beverage alcohol, driving does not routinely divide families and churches or potentially lead to harmful addiction, while it does facilitate much good (e.g. transporting dying people to the hospital, families to church, evangelists to Bible studies, recovering alcoholics to AA meetings, etc.). I am unaware of any legitimate good that alcohol contributes to people’s lives and our society.

      Thank you for your honesty and sincerity and the spirit with which your query was made. KM

    2. I've got to agree with John -- those are silly arguments. Why not "If I refuse to eat I will never become a glutton," "If I refuse to talk I will never tell a lie," "If I refuse to open my eyes I will never lust," etc.

      To KM, alcohol does not divide churches; people's attitudes about alcohol do. The Bible does not condemn the use of alcohol, only drunkeness (or being a drunkard), and drunkeness means habitually becoming drunk. Psalms says God made wine to gladden men's hearts; Jesus turned water into wine. Why would Jesus lead all those people at the wedding feast into sin?

      Also KM, you might want to look at some more up to date figures on alcohol related vehicle deaths:

      In 2010, less than 1/3 of traffic deaths were alcohol related, a far cry from your figure of 97%.

      This site

      reports 17,448 alcohol-related fatalities in 2001 (41 percent of total traffic fatalities for the year), way different from the numbers you claim.

    3. Dear "Anonymous,"
      Despite your condescending tone, I will offer a brief reply. While the English word "wine" typically refers to an alcoholic beverage, the underlying Hebrew and Greek words used in the Bible are more generic and not always used in this sense. I refer you to the first article cited in the Endnotes. As far as alcohol-related traffic deaths are concerned, 1 is too many. I find no comfort or reassurance in "less than 1/3 of traffic deaths were alcohol related." If you think that equating alcohol consumption with eating, talking, and vision is not "silly," you and I are at opposite poles on this issue. KM

    4. Well KM, I find your tone condescending as well.

      I agree that one alcohol-related traffic death is too many, but so is one non-alcohol-related traffic death, so if that's your argument, John D's point is well taken.

      Where the problem comes up is when you either deliberately or ignorantly misrepresent facts, to support your position, and it is condescending of you to expect us to believe on your say-so that there were only 1263 vehicle fatalities in 2001 that were not alcohol related.

    5. Dear KM,
      I respect your decision not to drink alcohol, but I do not think it should be condemned. Many people condemn alcohol because of drunk driving or family alcoholics. Just because some people abused alcohol does not mean everyone will; if you practice self control, do not drink and drive, and are not pregnant, then alcohol is not harmful. You stated above that you are “unaware of any legitimate good that alcohol contributes to people lives.” While large amounts of alcohol consumption have negative effects, if consumed in moderation, alcohol contains health benefits. Alcohol can reduce your risk of developing heart disease, dying of a heart attack, having a stroke, developing gallstones, and obtaining diabetes.

    6. Dear "Anonymous" who finds my tone condescending and my facts misrepresented. Thank you for calling attention to an error in one of my previous comments. I assure you it was not deliberate. I was not doing extensive research for a published article but simply (and hurriedly) responding to a comment on my blog. I had read an article on, entitled, “Alcohol linked to 75,000 U.S. deaths a year: Third leading cause of mortality, government study finds,” , which gave the 2001 figure of 40,933 alcohol-related deaths in car crashes in the US. I then took a short cut and checked Wikipedia to see how many auto-accident deaths there were in the US in 2001, and the figure given was 42,196. When you accused me of propagating error, I went back and rechecked the sources and discovered that the figure of 40,933 “died from car crashes and other mishaps caused by excessive alcohol use.” Thank you for calling my attention to this unintentional mistake. And I have made a concerted effort not to be condescending in this reply.

    7. While we are talking about deaths caused by alcohol I think it would be wrong to not talk about deaths caused by obesity (gluttony)

      300,000 a year...300,000 now that is a sad, sad figure.

      I posted below about gluttony and a I appreciate your response but I have to disagree with blaming it all on genetics, etc. Yes some people may have a tendency to be a little bigger (same as some people may be have a tendency to be an alcoholic from birth) but this is no excuse to be unhealthy. I am not basing whether someone is a glutton off of size but off of their health. I think we would all agree we are suppose to take care of our body's and be healthy yet if you look around today (in America) we are not doing that and I see many in the church that arent healthy either so its not just a world thing. I think we all too often point to alcohol and drugs but arent paying any attention to what is killing majority of people daily.

      Another thing (sorry for the loaded reply): Do you think Jesus turned water into non-alcoholic wine? I dont think it was. I believe it was alcoholic wine (without looking at the Greek for the word used) I look at the context it was used at it was said " 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” If it was nonalcholic wine then them having too much to drink would not affect which wine he brought out.

      Thanks again in advance for your response.

    8. Thank you Joe for your helpful thoughts about obesity. Btw, I didn't blame it all on genetics. Because of time constraints, I'll have to refer you to the second article cited in the Endnotes in response to your question about the wine Jesus made. KM

  6. To say that beverage alcohol “routinely” divides families and churches or leads to harmful addictions, etc., is an overstatement at the least. If we could say that alcohol lead to those things typically, ordinarily, or always, then perhaps it would be “routine.” Does alcohol lead to those things in many tragic cases? Yes, certainly. But it is hardly routine. There are plenty of people who consume alcohol responsibly who have had none of those things happen.

    The same can be said of many other gifts from God- such as sexuality. Does the misuse of sex divide families, churches, lead to addictions, single parent families, abortions, broken marriages, etc? Of course it does- quite frequently. Would avoiding it altogether prevent you from committing adultery, leading others into impurity, etc.? Yes, of course. But it would also prevent you from enjoying a gift from God. Alcohol is like sex, or food, or the internet, or driving (to borrow the previous commenter’s analogy). It has the potential to be misused. Yes, we can avoid this potential by avoiding it altogether… but if we do that in every case we wind up running from all of creation. Better to learn to use each of these gifts with prudence and right reason.

    If you did, you might come to learn a “legitimate good that alcohol contributes to people’s lives and our society” which others have appreciated for millennia. Come have a beer with me sometime and we’ll have a good long conversation about it. You’ll see it, I promise. :)

    Just my two cents.

    1. I assume you are responding to my response to John’s response, although you left out “potentially” in referencing my statement about alcohol leading to harmful addictions. You claim that the devastating effects of alcohol are “hardly routine,” even though 14 million people in the US abuse alcohol, more than 700,000 people in the US receive treatment for alcoholism each day, 40% of those who start drinking before the age of 15 will become alcoholics, and 43% of the US adult population has been exposed to alcoholism in the family. What does it take for something to be routine? Which of the above did not start with the first drink or the intention of being a “responsible” drinker?
      I strongly disagree that ethyl alcohol is “a gift from God.” It is a man-made substance (narcotic drug), and I would put it in the same category as tobacco products and heroin. Not everything is intended for human consumption. God designed, sanctions and extols sex within its proper context and for reproduction, and God enjoins food intake as a necessity of life; I can’t see ethyl alcohol fitting into either category. While the Internet certainly has the potential for abuse, it can also be used as a positive tool to effectively reach and benefit and bless the lives of many people (see how it brought us together?); I can’t see ethyl alcohol fitting into this category either. And I’ve already addressed the driving comparison in my reply to John.
      I respectfully decline your offer of a beer. But thanks for your two cents.

    2. Brother in Christ1 October 2013 at 08:31

      What excludes alcohol from being a gift from God?

      Is it because it is “man made”? So are bread, dentistry, the internet, and my car. I’m grateful to God for all of those things (and many more man made things), and I’m sure you are, too. So we can’t exclude alcohol on that basis.

      Are those things only gifts from God which are necessary for life? Well, my friends aren’t a necessity of life (in the same sense food is), and neither are sports, movies, music or chocolate. But I’m grateful for all of those things, and I consider them gifts from God (I bet you do, too.) So we can’t exclude alcohol on that basis, either.

      You correctly take biblical sanction for sex as evidence of its goodness, but you seem to bend over backwards to explain away the numerous positive references to alcohol in the bible. If God’s word is any evidence of what He intended as a gift, we must surely accept that wine is part of his bounty as well. See Psalm 104:14-15, or Ecclesiastes 9:7, for instance (among others). I certainly appreciate your scholarly approach to the bible and the work you’ve done differentiating between different words for wine in the bible, but I think an honest, objective review of the bible in its historical context makes it clear that Jews from Abraham through the Apostles drank wine (that is, fermented grape juice), and did so with God’s blessing.

      “I can’t see it” is hardly an effective argument against the positive blessings of alcohol. Perhaps you can’t see it because you’ve never attended a joyful wedding celebration (the scene of Christ’s first miracle, not coincidentally) and partaken of the bounty of wine in the proper spirit. Maybe that would be difficult for you.

      I can certainly understand and appreciate how the tradition you’ve been raised in and the personal experiences you’ve had may have shaped your personal biases. Lord knows that abuse of God’s gifts has led to great evil in the world, and that the abuse of one of those gifts has injured you and those you love grieves me. I do not blame you if you don’t have a drink. I hope you will not judge and condemn those of your Christian brothers who do.

    3. Could you please provide your sources for the statistics you mentioned? There is a lot of unreliable information on the internet. You should also consider brushing up on your scientific facts. Contrary to what you have repeatedly proclaimed, alcohol is NOT a narcotic. It is a depressant. The term "narcotic" refers to a drug class also known as opiods. You did get one thing correct by stating that heroin is in that particular drug category. However, tobacco is not. Nicotene is in a drug class of it's own due to both stimulant and depressant effects. I'm not going to state a particular stance on the matter, I'm just saying that before you try to condemn anything you should probably get your facts straight instead of relying on your uneducated, passionate opinions.

    4. I don't know if this "Anonymous" is the same "Anonymous" that posted above, but I must say that "Brother in Christ" is much more cordial. I find it interesting that I have written an article in the first person about why "I" don't drink beverage alcohol, and it has apparently bothered some folks who seem to want me to start drinking! The point of putting alcohol in the same category as tobacco products and heroin has nothing to do with the type of drugs they are. The point is that opium and tobacco are part of God's creation, which might be viewed as a gift from God, but not intended for human consumption in the form of heroin or cigarettes, etc. I view ethyl alcohol the same. Comparisons to good things that man has made and good things not essential to life have again missed the point. I'm simply saying that the proverbial "apples and oranges" are not always good comparisons. I appreciate all the comments (particularly the thoughtful ones), but unless a ground-breaking or earth-shattering point is to be made, I'll have to let what I've written to this point speak for itself. My heavy work load will not allow me to continue this dialogue for now. Maybe in a future post? God bless.

    5. To piggyback off of what Brother in Christ said:

      He brought up a great point. We make many man-made things sinful. If we treat the internet, sports, movies, money, people, etc as idols then that is sinful. Are they wrong in moderation? Of course not! Are they wrong when they rule our life and when we put them above our walk with Christ, certainly!

      Also I would never want you to start drinking if that is against what you want to do, just like I would never make someone come to a sporting event with me, movie etc if they did not want But I would not accept them telling me I was wrong to go to these things if I am using them correctly.

  7. Very well said, brother. Thank you.

  8. What are your thoughts on gluttony? I see many Christians who are overweight and overeat,would this too not be considered a sin? Why do we talk about drinking but never gluttony? We have dinners and lunches at the church where people continuously overeat and are destroying their bodies and we enable this by providing them the food. Thanks in advance for your response.

    1. Since being overweight can be attributed to a variety of factors (e.g. genetics, hormonal imbalance, etc.), I’m reluctant to label it sinful, but gluttony would certainly fit into this category. To say we “never” talk about it is probably an overstatement, but it does seem we don’t talk about it enough. The Bible has a lot to say about gluttony, though we should be careful about drawing parallels where there are none. In the Bible gluttony is often coupled with drunkenness and describes a lifestyle of laziness and intemperance (e.g. Deut. 21:8-20; Prov. 23:2, 20-21; Tit. 1:12). This is not the same as a man having to loosen his belt after a fellowship meal. Gluttony fits into the category of decadence, debauchery, and excess. Overeating, especially if it is a lifestyle, is addressed by scriptures calling for self-control and healthy living (1 Cor. 6:20; Gal. 5:23).
      While you weren’t making this point, I feel the need to mention it here. Temperance in food consumption does not legitimize moderate alcohol consumption. Food has been created and enjoined by God as a necessity of life, while beverage alcohol has not.
      Thank you for your thoughts. KM

  9. Those of the first century and earlier (children of God) mixed several parts water with wine to ensure the wine was diluted. Do those who advocate wine drinking do the same today? The alcohol content of first century wine is NOTHING like today ... far less in content. While there was the fermentation process in the first century, and prior, they did not have "brewing", i.e., they did not have liquor and or whiskey (hard liquors). So, if one is going to seek authority for brewed alcohol, he or she will not find it. What we find is that wine was available, both unfermented and fermented. However, no one today may equate wine with whiskey or liquor they are not the same, nor are they made the same way. Of course, "wine" did not always mean fermented wine, which also needs to be kept in mind.

    1. This "wine" mentioned in the Bible still had enough alcohol to get these people drunk. We see many instances that talk about the people being drunk, under the influence of alcohol, etc. So just because they may have mixed it with water doesnt mean it wasnt enough to get them drunk (if thats what they wanted to do).

    2. The word "wine" in the English Bible is a generic term that applies to both fermented (Prov. 23:31) and unfermented (Isa. 65:8) substances. The context must determine whether the "wine" is intoxicating or not. Moreover, the wine in ancient times was not fortified with additional alcohol as in modern times, and there was no such thing as distilled liquor. And it was customary, particularly among the Jews, to dilute wine with 2 to 3 parts water (see A. Edersheim, The Life & Times of Jesus the Messiah 2:208.

    3. The "wine" that caused drunkenness was apparently the undiluted (full strength) variety as discussed in Prov. 23:29-35.

  10. Thank you, Kevin, for making such excellent points! I, too, have witnessed the devastating effects of alcohol consumption on both sides of my family. Although it was from grandparents and great-grandparents, the choices they made have had a direct impact on the present generations of my family members! One may choose to drink, but one may not as easily choose their consequences. Decades ago, choices to drink were made by a few of my ancestors; I'm fairly certain, however, they would have never chosen the consequences their decisions led to. Kyle and I hope you are doing well. I remember meeting you over thirty years ago when you and a small group from F-HU came to my home town and we all went door-knocking to invite people to worship. It's good to see how all these years later you are still encouraging people to remain faithful. Keep up the good work, Amerikiwi! In Him, Wendy Wadley

    1. Thank you Wendy for your thoughts. Love to Kyle, and congrats on the grand-baby! I have fond memories of the campaign in Arab, which is where I was first introduced to New Zealand (by the Colemans). And as they say, the rest is history. God bless you.

  11. Kevin,
    Thank you for sharing, you bring up some interesting points. In your opinion, do you think a person can be a christian and still drink if he or she drinks responsibly and in moderation? Is there anywhere in the bible that specifically states that drinking (not getting drunk) is prohibited?

  12. You've asked for the opinion of someone who's already acknowledged, "I have a strong personal bias against alcohol consumption"! I will briefly respond to this question and perhaps a few other comments that have been made above, but I just don't have the time to continue this discussion indefinitely. I'll try to make this the final word.
    The admonition is issued in Eph. 5:18, "And do not be drunk with wine, in which is recklessness, but be filled with [the] Spirit.” Some will read this verse in English and conclude that it’s okay to drink wine (beer, vodka, whisky, etc.) in moderation as long as it doesn’t lead to drunkenness. But if we exercise a little more diligence (2 Tim. 2:15) and dig deeper (i.e. read it through 1st-century Greco-Roman glasses), we learn that the word translated “drunk” is methuskesthe = the present passive imperative 2nd person plural of methuskō. Imperative = a command; 2nd person plural = all of you; present tense = ongoing activity; passive = allowing it to happen. The verb methuskō is an inceptive verb, which means “to begin to be softened” (R. Young, Analytical Concordance 275). As noted in the article, the effects of alcohol start with the first drink (even before the effects are felt). And when one does feel the “buzz,” how can that be anything other than a stage of drunkenness? As a Christian my life should be filled with spiritual things rather than something the Bible says leads to recklessness (cf. Prov. 20:1).
    The word "wine" in the English Bible is a generic term that applies to both fermented (Prov. 23:31) and unfermented (Isa. 65:8) substances. There are scriptures which neither approve nor condemn the use of wine (Dan. 5:4), scriptures which approve the use of wine (Psa. 104:15), and scriptures which condemn, warn against, or associate it with ungodliness (Prov. 23:29-32). It is irresponsible to read the English word “wine” in the English Bible and interpret it according to the modern-day concept of alcoholic wine and then stretch the definition to include beer and distilled liquors. The context must determine whether the "wine" is intoxicating or not.
    Thank you all for reading and for commenting. If anyone wants to discuss this further, please send an email to

  13. Enjoyed reading this Kevin. If I could add my own thoughts, I can't help but think we have to examine the topic from within our cultural setting, not Jesus' or any other o the ancients.
    Alcohol has become a catalyst for physical, mental & spiritual rot within modern society. Therefore, we should not be basing our decision on whether to drink on some abstract understanding of past cultures or greater weight of biblical authority (the "it's my biblical right" attitude), but instead on the FRUIT of alcohol consumption in today's context, as presented to us unarguably within our culture. For many things are no longer as they once were. Alcohol is now mass -MASS- produced, readily available in large quantities and commercialised into a reason for living.

    Therefore, from OUR modern cultural perspective, I think we need to consider the following:
    a) Alcohol is a habit forming drug which leads to addiction, drunkenness, and alcoholism. "The drinking of alcohol beverages can produce addiction, a mental & physical ‘need’ or craving for alcohol."
    b) Alcohol influences many social, physical, mental, emotional, and psychological problems.
    c) Alcohol is a contributing factor in an overwhelming number of traffic fatalities and suicides.
    d) Alcohol breaks up marriages, impoverishes families and displaces children from their homes.
    e) Alcohol causes congenital malformations and mental defects in children born to mothers who drank during pregnancy.
    f) Alcohol lowers moral resistance. (1 Thess 5:6-8)
    g) In America alone, alcohol is involved in an huge number violent deaths.
    h) Alcohol costs the nation many -MANY- millions annually in medical care and jail maintenance’s, hundreds of millions in accidents, thousands of millions in wage losses.
    i) Alcohol contributes to child abuse, molestation, and neglect.

    And the list could go on and on... and on...

    1 Cor 10:23-24 -
    All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbour. (NAS)

    Often remember fondly our times together bro.

    1. Thank you Richard. Very insightful and very helpful. Miss you and your good family. God bless.

  14. You are doing a great job by refusing alcohol! Also, add how long does alcohol stay in your urine in such a way, addicts will also aware from this harm too.

  15. Alcohol:” “I’ve heard all the arguments, been part of the problem, and still think the world would be a better place without it.” – Brent Fisher