Tag Archives: social drinking

February 2015 Bible Questions And Answers

Topics:  biblical names for the church, Christ cursing the fig tree, proper confession of faith in Christ, biblical definitions of wine, the eternal destiny of the thief on the cross

The latest Bible Questions & Answers session at the church of Christ in Duncan, SC, was held last Sunday night, February 22, 2015.  You can listen to the audio of that lesson here.  Below are my written answers to each question.  I hope they are of benefit to you in your studies.

Why does Paul address the church as “the church of God” rather than “the church of Christ”?  (1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 1:1)  In these passages he is speaking to all the saints.  Aren’t the saints the church of Christ?

Christ IS God (John 1:1, 14).  Therefore, the terms “church of Christ” and “church of God” mean the same thing.  The church which belongs to Christ belongs to God.

The term “church of Christ” is not the only biblical name given to the New Testament church (cf. 1 Cor. 1:2; Acts 9:2; Heb. 12:23; 1 Thess. 1:1; etc.)

The term “saints” comes from the Greek word hagios, which literally means “most holy thing” or “one sanctified.”  One is sanctified through baptism into the church of Christ (1 Cor. 6:11; 12:13; cf. Eph. 1:22-23).  Therefore saints make up the church/assembly/ekklesia of Christ, the church of God, the Lord’s church.

Why did Christ wither the fig tree (Mark 11:12-14, 20-25)?  What was the symbolism behind it?

It wasn’t the season for figs, yet he thought the tree might have figs anyway because generally figs bloom before the leaves (v. 13).  He miraculously withered it for two reasons:

  1. To show the apostles that they could perform miracles if they pray in faith (vs. 22-24; cf. Matt. 17:20) and with an attitude of forgiveness (v. 25)
  2. To show the symbolic parallel between the fig tree that falsely advertised through its leaves that it had fruit and the majority of the Jews who proclaimed themselves followers of God yet inside were spiritually bankrupt (cf. Hos. 9:10; Joel 1:7; Mic. 7:1-6; Mark 11:1-10, 15-18; Matt. 21-24; Rom. 2:17-24; 11:7ff).

In order to properly confess my faith in Christ, must I state these exact words: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”?

Jesus himself was asked once if he was the Son of God (Luke 22:70-71; Mark 14:61-64).  He answered by simply saying, “You say that I am” and “I am…”, which was enough to make it clear to his hearers that he confessed that he was the Son of God.

Thus, one can confess their faith in Christ…

  • By following the eunuch’s example (Acts 8:35-38)
  • By following Paul’s injunction to confess Christ as Lord (Rom. 10:9)
  • Or by following Jesus’ example and simply saying, “I do,” “Yes,” etc., rather than making a full statement.

In our efforts to make sure that we obey God, let’s not go too far and argue over words (1 Tim. 6:4-5; 2 Tim. 2:14).

Recently you talked in a class about how there are different kinds of wine in the Bible.  Please elaborate.

Today we see the word “wine” in the Bible and assume it must always refer to an alcoholic beverage because that’s how wine is defined by everyone today.  People today make a similar erroneous assumption about the term “baptism,” thinking that it could include sprinkling and pouring as well as immersion because those are the ways people define “baptism” today.  Yet, in biblical times “baptism” had only one definition: immersion.  In like manner, in biblical times “wine” had several definitions in addition to an alcoholic beverage.

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word yayin is translated in several different ways:

  • “all kinds of wine” (Neh. 5:18), showing that the translators recognized that the Bible referred to different kinds of wine
  • “grapevine” or “vine tree” (Num. 6:4), referring to the plant from which grapes come
  • “…gather wine and summer fruits…” (Jer. 40:10), referring to gathering clusters of grapes from the vine along with other fruit
  • “…no treader treads out wine in the presses…” (Is. 16:10), referring to freshly squeezed grape juice
  • “…you shall neither drink of the wine or gather the grapes…” (Deut. 28:39), referring to picking grapes and drinking grape juice
  • “wine” referring to an alcoholic, intoxicating beverage (Gen. 9:21; 19:32-35; 1 Sam. 1:14-15; Prov. 20:1; 23:29-35; etc.)

Shekar is a Hebrew word in the Old Testament which is translated “strong drink” every time it’s used in the Old Testament (except Psalm 69:12, where it’s translated “drunkards.”)  Yet biblical scholars Moses Stuart and Frederick R. Lees say that shekar could refer to sweet drinks from juices other than grapes, either fermented or unfermented, some of which would have a particularly strong taste, thus earning the term “strong drink.”  Stuart found it unfortunate that shekar was always translated as “strong drink” because it suggests to the modern reader the idea of distilled liquor, which wasn’t known in biblical times.

Therefore, one must examine the immediate and overall context of each biblical usage of the terms “wine” and “strong drink” in the Bible to determine whether it’s referring to unfermented juice from grapes and/or other fruits which may have a strong taste…or a fermented, intoxicating beverage.

  • We know the “wine” Jesus miraculously made was grape juice because the Old Testament which he was obliged to perfectly obey condemned intoxicating wine and getting your neighbors drunk with it (John 2:1-11; cf. Prov. 20:1; 23:29-35; Hab. 2:15).
  • Since it’s illogical to think God would allow the Israelites to buy intoxicating beverages which he would later condemn them for consuming, we know the “wine or strong drink” he allowed the Israelites to buy was unfermented grape juice and strong-tasting fruit juices rather than alcoholic wine which would inebriate them (Deut. 14:24-26; cf. Prov. 20:1; 23:29-35; Hab. 2:15).
  • In the New Testament, Christians are commanded to be “sober” (1 Thess. 5:6-8), a word which comes from the Greek word nepho, which means to “abstain from wine” (Strong) and “be free from the influence of intoxicants” (Vine).  “Wine” as in grape juice?  Obviously not.  Rather, “wine” as in any intoxicating beverage.  (The only exception is the allowance by God to consume “a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments” in 1 Timothy 5:23), referring to small amounts solely for medicinal purposes.)
  • God does not want Christians to socially drink alcoholic beverages because he has commanded us not to “get drunk” (Eph. 5:18), a term which comes from the Greek word methusko which literally means to GROW drunk because it’s an inceptive verb condemning the entire process of becoming drunk.
    • This goes along with the diagnosis of Dr. Herbert Moskowitz of the University of California who stated, “Even a single alcohol drink may seriously impair one’s ability to pay attention to more than one thing at a time.”
    • The American Automobile Association states, “The effects of alcohol begin with the first drink…The first effects are impairment of judgment and reasoning and weakening of self-control and normal inhibitions.”
    • “Even the first sips of an alcoholic beverage can cause changes in mood or behavior.”  (Haven Emmerson, M.D. in his book Alcohol: Its Effects on Man)

Did the thief on the cross go to heaven, or will he?

After the thief showed a penitent heart, Jesus promised that he and the thief would go to Paradise after death (Luke 23:39-43).  Jesus was said to be in Hades after death (Acts 2:27), so Paradise is in Hades.  Therefore, the thief is currently in Hades.

Hades (“waiting place”, the realm of the dead) is where souls go after death to wait for judgment (Luke 16:19-23).  The souls of the wicked are with the rich man in the part of Hades which is torment.  The souls of the saved are in Paradise with Lazarus, Abraham, and the thief.

At judgment, Hades will give up their dead and be thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:13-14).  After judgment, the saved who were in Paradise (including the thief) will enter heaven (Matt. 25:46).

 

Bible Questions & Answers – September 28, 2014

Here is the link to the audio of the second Bible Question & Answer session held by me last Sunday night at the church of Christ in Duncan, SC.  You can read each question and the points from the Bible used to answer each of them below.  These are great questions, and I really appreciate the brethren at Duncan for submitting them.

How can we be more positive in our relationships with the brethren?

This is one of the most important questions that have been submitted.  In a nutshell, practice two steps:

1.  Make the conscious choice to penitently apply every aspect of God’s definition of love to all brethren at all times (1 Cor. 13:4-7).  Put all of your attention on YOU (not them, but YOU) being patient, kind, not envious or boasting, not arrogant or rude, not self-centered, not irritable or resentful, and not rejoicing in wrongdoing but rejoicing in the truth.  Focus on YOU (not them, but YOU) making sure that you bear all things with them, believe all things with them (i.e., give them the benefit of the doubt first), hope all things with them, and endure all things with them.  Basically, focus on loving them.  Do that, and you’ll be a lot more positive in your relationships with them.

2.  When they fail to do likewise, remind yourself that you are still saved by God’s grace from an eternal hell.  You’re still heaven-bound.  That alone is enough reason to stay positive (2 Cor. 12:9).

Is heaven a physical place with physical dimensions?  A physical river and trees with physical fruit?

Heaven is where God dwells (Ps. 11:4).  God is spirit (John 4:24), and a spirit does not have physical dimensions or features (Luke 24:39).  Thus, we conclude heaven is a spiritual place with spiritual dimensions.

The river of the water of life and the tree of life are said to be in the holy city, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from God (Rev. 22:1-2; cf. 21:2).  The new Jerusalem is not heaven primarily, but in reality primarily symbolizes the church (Heb. 12:22-23).  While much of what is said in Revelation 21-22 could correctly apply to our experience in heaven, primarily it symbolizes how God wants the church of Christ to be.

With this in mind, the river of the water of life symbolizes the gospel (John 4:14; Zech. 14:8; cf. Acts 2).  The tree of life represents Christ (John 14:6), and its leaves which provide healing symbolize the spiritual healing of forgiveness of sins received when we obey Christ (Rev. 22:2; Ezek. 47:12; Mark 2:10).  Just as Adam and Eve could physically live forever by eating of the physical tree of life in Eden (Gen. 3:22), we live forever spiritually when we follow Christ the Word.

Lazarus and the rich man could remember and feel while in Hades.  So if we can experience those same senses, won’t we be sorrowful for our loved ones who we can see in Hades?  Love is the greatest commandment.  If we love like God says we will feel great sorrow for our loved ones we will see in Hades.

I take this question to basically mean, “Will those of us in heaven feel sorrow for our loved ones who are in hell?”  We simply do not have the ability to comprehend many things about the afterlife and eternity.  For example, how will God “wipe away every tear” from our eyes (Rev. 21:4)?  Could that in part refer to broken hearts over loved ones who are lost in sin?  We must have faith that in heaven all of the terrible consequences of sin will vanish.

Remember also that if sorrow over lost loved ones will destroy heaven’s joy, there would be no heaven for any of the redeemed because all Christians have had loved ones who have died in a lost state (Matt. 10:34-39).

Additionally, God is supreme love (1 John 4:8).  God is also happy (1 Tim. 1:11)…even though most of the humanity whom he loves rejects him and will be condemned to hell.  If God is supreme love and yet is happy in spite of most of those whom he loves will be condemned, surely we human beings who have a lesser capacity for love than the Almighty can also be happy in eternity even though some of our loved ones will be in hell.  Even in this life we know that some of our loved ones have died in a lost state, and yet we still find joy in the Christian life (Phil. 4:4).  Surely this will be doubly true in eternity!

The most important thing for us to remember is that in this life we have an inferior, incomplete view of the heinousness of sin.  God sees sin completely for what it is, which is why he speaks of terrible, wrathful punishment for the unrepentant (Luke 19:27; Rev. 14:9-11).  Some of us read those passages and cannot relate them to a God of love.  We do that because we have not yet fully grasped how terrible sin is.  Is it possible that we will have a much clearer awareness of the heinousness of sin once we have left the limitations of this human existence?  And when we do, is it possible it will cause us to look those who have rejected God in an entirely different light…even though in this life we were very close to them?

When is war okay?  Does God sanctify it?

God does not tempt man to sin (James 1:13).  He helps us escape being overcome by temptation (1 Cor. 10:13) and does not put stumbling blocks to sin in our path (Matt. 18:7-9).

Keeping this in mind, the Old Testament records numerous times when God commands his chosen people to go to war (cf. 1 Sam. 15).  If war was inherently sinful, God would not have commanded his chosen people to sin by going to war.

In the New Testament, soldiers asked a prophet of God, “What shall we do?”  Notice that the prophet did not tell them to repent of being soldiers (Luke 3:14).  When the gospel was preached to the Roman centurion Cornelius, there is no record of the apostle telling him to repent of being a soldier (Acts 10-11).  Another apostle went out of his way to request soldiers for protection against assassination attempts (Acts 23:12-31).  If war was inherently sinful, these men of God would have acted differently.

Another question needs to be asked.  Why is the war being fought?

Is it being fought in order to punish evil-doers?  If so, God sanctifies it (Rom. 13:1-4; cf. 1 Sam. 15).

Is it being fought in order to conquer and steal from those who are weaker?  If so, God does not sanctify it (Matt. 7:12).  Yet, his wisdom and power is so great that he can use even these types of wars to accomplish his larger purposes (cf. Habbakuk).

What was the plan of salvation for Gentiles living during Old Testament times?

From Eden to Sinai, God gave his laws to man by speaking to the patriarchs of each family (Gen. 2-Ex. 20).  At Sinai, he gave a specific covenant to the nation of Israel only (Ex. 20; Deut. 5:2-3).  From Sinai to the cross Israel was obligated to follow the law of Moses.  At the cross the law of Moses was taken out of the way and replaced with the law of Christ (Eph. 2:14-18).

Gentiles such as Cornelius (Acts 10:1-2) and the citizens of Nineveh (Jonah 3-4) would not be obligated to obey the law of Moses during the time between Sinai and the cross (unless they proselytized to Judaism – Matt. 23:15; Acts 2:10-11).  Thus, the only other law revealed in Scripture would be the patriarchal system described in Genesis.  Paul alludes to this when he told Jews that all who sinned outside the law of Moses would also perish outside the law of Moses’ jurisdiction (Rom. 2:12-16).  He spoke of how Gentiles do not have Moses’ law, but when they still by nature do what Moses’ law requires (such as obeying its moral and ethical commandments), they are a law unto themselves in spite of not having the law of Moses.  In a sense, Paul says, they show that the works of the law of Moses are written on their hearts and have trained their consciences.

When Jesus died on the cross, he made Jew and Gentile into one and broke down the dividing wall of hostility (the law of Moses) by abolishing its commandments, thus making Jew and Gentile both obligated to obey Christ’s laws (Eph. 2:14-18).  The gospel was first preached to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles starting with Cornelius.  From that time forward, Gentiles would be obligated to obey the gospel.

Can a person who is a Christian work at a place where alcoholic drinks are sold and have the responsibility of taking these to customers?

Christians must put obeying God’s will as the highest priority in our lives (Matt. 6:33; 22:37; John 14:15).  The laws of God command Christians to be sober (1 Thess. 5:6-8), which in the original Greek means to abstain from wine and be free from the influence of intoxicants.  The only exception to this is the allowance of small amounts of alcohol ingested specifically for medicinal purposes (1 Tim. 5:23).  Thus, social drinking of alcoholic beverages is sinful.  Christians are not to place stumbling blocks to sin in other’s paths (Matt. 18:7-9), and are to expose works of darkness rather than participate in them (Eph. 5:11).  Therefore, how can a Christian work in an establishment which sells alcoholic beverages and where he or she is given the specific responsibility of taking these beverages to customers, knowing that they will consume them and get drunk?

That said, we must also judge righteously rather than according to appearance (John 7:24).  A Christian working at a bar is more likely to personally bring alcohol to others than would a Christian who works at Wal-Mart, a grocery store, or a restaurant, so we must not assume that a Christian who works at just any establishment which sells liquor is personally involved in such things.  We must also remember that God wants Christians to provide for their families and work (1 Tim. 5:8; 2 Thess. 3:10).  A Christian who has repented (literally, changed his mind) about selling or serving alcohol to folks needs time to find a new job.  We must be patient, forbearing, and encouraging (Col. 3:12-13; Heb. 10:24).  We must pray that God opens a door for him to get a better job, and must also offer him employment in order to help him along if we have the means to do so.

Should a Christian use only certain translations of the Bible?  If so, which ones?

The Bible contains no specific command concerning which Bible translation to use.  In order to avoid adding to God’s Word, we must not legislate on something God has not legislated (Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; 1 Cor. 4:6; Rev. 22:18-19).  That said, these same passages would instruct Bible teachers and translators to do their absolute best to translate as close to the original inspired Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek writings in order to give us the actual will of God.  The scriptural principle to make the laws of God understandable would also guide Bible teachers and translators in their work to make the translations of the Bible (Neh. 8:8, 12).

Most Bible translations over the years have generally accomplished both scriptural goals of accuracy and understandability.  The differences between translations are miniscule in most cases.  For example, compare the different translations of 1 Peter 3:21 as rendered by the KJV, NKJV, ESV, and NASB.  God wants this passage to inform us that baptism saves us, that it corresponds to (meaning it is a figure or type of) the flood which saved Noah as talked about in the previous verses, that its purpose is not to make your physical body clean but to answer or appeal to God for a good conscience, and that it does all of this through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Each of the four versions of the Bible cited above says exactly that (Deut. 4:2; Prov. 3:6; 1 Cor. 4:6; Rev. 22:18-19), and they say them using language that was commonly used by the average reader at the time each of them were made (cf. Neh. 8:8, 12).

Therefore, the decision as to which Bible version to use is a matter of personal opinion for several reasons.  First, there is no version of the Bible that has completely and undoubtedly translated every iota of the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek correctly.  Every English translation has varying degrees of translation error, usually ranging from .5% to 3% of its entirety.  Thus, one who demands that others shouldn’t use a particular Bible version due to it translating a particular verse wrong must be consistent and condemn themselves for using their own Bible translation for the same reason (Rom. 2:1).

Second, a distinct minority of these translation error relates to doctrinal matters which one needs to accurately know in order to obtain and keep salvation.  Whenever I encounter a translation that has an error in a verse which teaches doctrine relating to God or salvation, I choose to correct the error in my own personal studies and also in the class or sermon I’m presenting and then move on rather than condemn the entire translation.  I’ve read that some scholars (such as Alfred Edersheim in his work The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah) have found a few errors in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament which the apostles used in their inspired writings.  Most scholars call the Septuagint “a reasonably faithful translation,” but even so I’ve found none that say it’s 100% perfect.  If the inspired writers of the New Testament could use a less than perfect translation, then why can’t we?

Third, God wants his Word to be understood by those who read it (Neh. 8:8, 12), and each version’s understandability is different for each individual reader.  One might find the King James Version easy to understand, while another might not and thus prefer the New King James or the English Standard Version…thus making it a matter of personal opinion and judgment, something on which we have no biblical right to legislate or judge each other (Rom. 14:1-12).

Brethren who argue or even condemn each other over Bible translations fall into the condemnation of 1 Timothy 6:4-5, which warn of people who “are puffed up with conceit and understand nothing” because they have “an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth.”

I remember as a small girl that the women always wore hats to church services.  I am curious to know for sure if I am sinning by not wearing a hat now.  I don’t remember the verse but am thinking of the words, “Let your heads be covered.”

1 Corinthians 11:2-16 is the passage which discusses this.  Contextually, it falls at the end of Paul’s instruction to the Corinthians to give up personal liberties such as eating meat which had been set aside for idolatry in order to avoid being a stumbling block to weaker brethren whose consciences would be violated (1 Cor. 8-10).  The culture of Paul’s day required all respectable women to wear a veil over their head in public as a sign of subjection to male authority, a practice still observed in most Middle Eastern cultures today.  During Paul’s day, the only women known to go about with their heads uncovered were prostitutes, who were also known to go so far as to have their heads shaved.

Paul commended the Corinthians for keeping the inspired apostolic traditions he had given them, but they still needed to understand God’s arrangements concerning authority in the home and in the church (11:2-3).  In the culture of their day, a man who wore a veil in public would appear effeminate, showing disrespect for his gender and its divinely appointed role, and thus showing disrespect to God (11:2, 7).  In like manner, a woman in that culture who chose not to wear a veil would disrespect her gender and its divinely appointed role, and thus show disrespect to God; additionally, it would be as bad as if she had completely shaved her head and thus caused people to think of her as a prostitute, thus bringing shame upon the church and the gospel message proclaimed by her angelos, angels or literally “messengers”, i.e., human messengers, preachers (11:5-10; cf. Rev. 2-3).  “In the Lord,” meaning in the church, men and women depend on each other and God as well as having their respective gender roles (11:8, 11-12).

Basically, men and women must not ignore their gender roles as defined by both nature and culture (11:13-16).  God’s design in nature was that man should not have long hair, while woman’s long hair was given to her as a covering for her glory.  God did not give this command of women wearing a veil in public worship to the universal church for all time, thus showing it was nothing more than a custom of the time (11:16).  However, the overall passage teaches that men and women must not ignore the customs of their culture, even if God had not specifically commanded that they observe them, if it would harm the influence of the church and place needless stumbling blocks in the paths of others.

Thus, a Christian woman who chooses not to cover her head while worshiping is not sinning.  It is a matter of personal judgment (11:13), a matter of conscience which must be respected by all and not judged by anyone (Rom. 14).  More importantly, Christians should recognize that while God has not commanded us to observe non-sinful customs of our culture, ignoring them will likely harm our influence for Christ and bring shame upon ourselves and the church.  In such cases, God wants us to give up our personal freedoms and observe that custom anyway in order to avoid being a stumbling block to others.

Please explain the proper interpretation of 1 Corinthians 11:17-22, 33-34.

Some at Corinth were not observing the Lord’s Supper properly, resulting in division in the church.  They were selfishly not saving any of the Lord’s Supper for brethren who might come in later, and were treating communion as if it were a regular meal at home (11:21-22).  After explaining how to properly observe the Supper (11:23-32), Paul then told them to “wait for one another” and “if anyone is hungry” for a regular meal, “let him eat at home” (11:33-34).

Some take this passage out of context to promote the error that it’s sinful to eat a meal in the church building.  Applied consistently, this would result in the ridiculous notion that God commands us to go only to our own house and eat at home if we’re hungry, thus making it sinful to eat out at restaurants and putting the homeless in a dilemma since they have no house to call their home and thus would not even be able to eat on the side of the road or in a soup kitchen.  Additionally, those who promote this false doctrine ignore how the church met in the home of Priscilla and Aquila (1 Cor. 16:19); where would they eat?

This is why we must always study the immediate and overall context of a verse before coming to a conclusion about what it is teaching.

Please define “adultery.”  Does it only mean to cheat on your spouse?  I’ve heard that it also means to break the marriage covenant in general and that it’s actually talking about divorce.  Is this true?

The word “adultery” in the original Greek literally means “to have unlawful intercourse with another’s wife, to commit adultery with” (Thayer); it “denotes one ‘who has unlawful intercourse with the spouse of another'” (Vine).  After perusing seven different Greek-English lexicons, I see that all of them define “adultery” as a sexual sin.

Only one English translation translates the Greek word for “adultery” as something other than a sexual sin.  The Tyndale Bible translation of Matthew 5:32 translates the word as “to break matrimony” and “breaketh wedlock,” yet stops short of actually translating the word as “divorce.”  Meanwhile, the Greek word in Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9 is translated “adultery” by the KJV, NIV, NKJV, RSV, TLB, ASV, NBV, NASV, and ESV.  That is significant.

Throughout the Bible, “adultery” is used in a sexual sense (cf. Lev. 20:10-11; Jer. 29:23; John 8:1-4; Heb. 13:4).  Even when “adultery” is used figuratively to illustrate how God’s people apostatized through idolatry, the term still carries sexual overtones (cf. Ezek. 16:25, 32).  In fact, in one such case Jeremiah compares God and Israel to a husband and wife and figuratively says that Israel committed adultery against God through her idolatry, resulting in God figuratively divorcing her (Jer. 3:6-10).  If adultery IS divorce, how could God divorce Israel AFTER Israel had already divorced him via her adultery?

We must reject the notion that divorce = adultery or that adultery is covenant breaking in general rather than the specific type of covenant breaking which is sexual relations with someone other than one’s spouse.  It’s directly opposed to biblical teaching, and opens the door to compromise with sin and fellowship with those with whom God has no fellowship (Eph. 5:11; 1 John 1:7).

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God.  What if a person lived in a homosexual relationship, but was a Christian and died?  Would they go to heaven?  Also, could they have asked God to forgive them right before they died?  Would they go to heaven?

Being tempted to engage in homosexual sin is not sin itself (Heb. 4:15; James 1:14-15).  The one who continually resists that temptation and the one who had given into it but then repented is to be commended and encouraged (1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Cor. 7:9-11).  However, the person who “lives in a homosexual relationship” by definition has given into the temptation and has not repented of it.  Such a person would not be a true Christian if he had not repented of this sin while initially hearing the gospel (1 Cor. 6:9-11), or would be an unfaithful, rebellious Christian if he had started this unrepentant, sinful lifestyle after obeying the gospel (2 Cor. 7:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

We do not know when death will come, which is why we sin if we know the right thing to do and yet fail to do it (James 4:13-17).  By purposefully waiting until the last minute of our lives to repent, we test God (Matt. 4:7).  That said, God is the judge of a Christian who makes a truly heart-felt “deathbed confession,” and his judgments will be just (Heb. 4:13; Gen. 18:25).

If you have loved ones who were not members of the Lord’s church, but lived a Christian life and went to another church and have passed away, would they be in Paradise and go to heaven?

Only Christ is the judge of anyone’s eternal destiny (Acts 17:31), and his Word is what determines our eternal fate (John 12:48; Rev. 20:12).  His Word determines if one is a Christian, and so it is to his Word we must go to answer this question.

We are to glorify God using the name “Christian” rather than the name of any man or church (1 Pet. 4:16).  A Christian is someone who is saved by God’s grace (Eph. 2:8) because they are in Christ’s church, of which he is the Savior (Eph. 5:23).  One becomes a Christian and is saved from hell by obeying the gospel (2 Thess. 1:7-9), which happens when one confesses their heart-felt faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:35-38), repents of their sins (Acts 3:19), and is baptized into Christ, specifically into the church which is his body, for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23).  God’s Word says there is only one body, and thus only one church (Eph. 4:4; cf. 1:22-23).

Can one “live a Christian life” (i.e., be a Christian) if they are part of a church which is different from the one church talked about in God’s Word?  The answer is plain to those with open, honest hearts (Luke 8:15).  The concern felt in the afterlife by the rich man for his loved ones still alive tells us that all of our deceased loved ones, regardless of whether they were a Christian, want nothing but for us to heed God’s Word and become a Christian through the divine plan revealed in its inspired pages.

Will we follow God’s Word…or will we follow ourselves?

 

St. Paddy’s Day Fallout: Answering Objections To What The Bible Says About Social Drinking

It is inevitable that objections come whenever biblical truth is proclaimed.  There are several reasons for this.  Some might sincerely object out of ignorance to what the entirety of the Scriptures teach on a subject, while others might reflexively object due to having heard truths never before heard and thus needing time to process them.  However, there are also those who object due to stubbornness, selfishness, jealousy, pride, and a host of other sinful reasons (Acts 7:51; 13:45; Rom. 2:5; 2 Tim. 3:1-9; 4:3-4).  In my life, I have repeatedly struggled to accept and obey the precepts of God’s Word, and have found myself objecting to Scripture for each of these reasons.  I’m sure all of you can say the same.

Regardless of the intent behind the objections, faithful proclaimers of the truth must “be ready in season and out of season” (2 Tim. 4:2), “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15).  Accordingly, I have prepared a list (which I’m sure is far from exhaustive) of common objections some within and outside of the church have to what the Scriptures say about alcoholic beverages as shown in a post I wrote yesterday:

Didn’t Christ turn water into wine at Cana?  Don’t his actions thereby permit us to socially drink alcohol in moderation as long as we don’t get drunk?

This episode in Christ’s life, in which He performed his first miracle by turning water into wine, is recorded in John 2:1-11.  The overlying question surrounding this event for proponents of social drinking is whether our Lord really made an alcoholic beverage for those at the wedding to socially drink.  However, what is even more important to consider is whether our Lord really made an alcoholic beverage capable of intoxicating those at the marriage feast.  Friends, I know he did not make an alcoholic beverage that day!

The Bible says he made “wine”; therefore, some claim it had to be fermented, alcoholic wine that he made.  Such is simply not true.  Today, we see the word “wine” and assume it must mean fermented, intoxicating wine…because that is what it means in our society.  (We make the same assumption when we assume the biblical word “baptism” would include sprinkling and pouring, or the biblical word “sober” would include having a blood alcohol content which meets the government’s approval for operating a vehicle.)  However, the three words most frequently translated wine in the Hebrew and Greek languages could mean anything from the grape itself, to the juice of the grape, to fermented, intoxicating wine.

In the Hebrew, three words are typically translated as “wine” in English.  (There are more, but for the sake of space I will focus on three.)

  • Yayin is one such word, which Vine defines as “the usual Hebrew word for fermented grape…usually rendered wine…clearly represents an intoxicating beverage…In Gen. 9:24 yayin means drunkenness…”  However, the Bible also generically uses the word in obvious references to the unfermented, non-intoxicating stage of wine, such as “all kinds of wine” (Neh. 5:18), wine gathered along with summer fruit which would imply that it was still in the cluster of grapes (Jer. 40:10), and “the grapevine” (Num. 6:4).
  • Sēkār is another word often used, which the Hebrew lexicon at http://www.blb.org defines as “strong drink, intoxicating liquor, whether wine…or intoxicating drink like wine, made from barley…or distilled from honey or dates.”  However, this word also does not exclusively refer to intoxicating alcohol.  According to the biblical scholars Moses Stuart and Frederick R. Lees, sēkār could be applied to the definition of sweet drinks from juices other than grapes, either fermented or unfermented.  Stuart found it unfortunate that sēkār was always translated as “strong drink,” because it suggests to the modern reader the idea of distilled liquor, which was not known in biblical times.
  • Finally, tîrôš is commonly used, which Strong defines as “must or fresh grape juice (as just squeezed out); by implication (rarely) fermented wine: – (new, sweet) wine.”  Keeping in mind Strong’s acknowledgement that tîrôš on a rare occasion would allude to fermented wine, it is also clear most of the time it refers to the natural state of wine on the vine, freshly-squeezed, unfermented grape juice.

In the Greek of the New Testament, two words are typically translated “wine.”  (There are more, but for the sake of space I will focus on two.)  Vine describes oinos as “the general word for ‘wine,’” and gleukos as denoting “sweet, ‘new wine.’”  Strong exhibits oinos as “wine (literally or figuratively),” and gleukos as “sweet wine, i.e. (properly) must (fresh juice), but used of the more saccharine (and therefore highly inebriating) fermented wine: – new wine.”  Thayer defines oinos as “wine” and gleukos as “the sweet juice pressed from the grape, sweet wine.”  Keep in mind that the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament used in Jesus’ day) uses oinos repeatedly when translating the Hebrew words yayin, sēkār, and tîrôš, and gleukos when translating the Hebrew word tîrôš.

So we see that the Hebrew and Greek words which translate into “wine” in the Bible could mean either alcoholic wine or unfermented grape juice.  As is the case with determining the correct meaning of any word with several definitions, one must consider the context in which the word is found.  Such is the case here.

As another example, consider the words of Isaiah:

“And joy and gladness are taken away from the fruitful field, and in the vineyards no songs are sung, no cheers are raised; no treader treads out wine in the presses; I have put an end to the shouting” (Is. 16:10, emphasis mine).

According to http://www.blb.org, “wine” in this passage is yayin, but which definition of yayin would correctly apply to this verse?  Would it be the clearly alcoholic yayin which inebriated Noah in Genesis 9, or the “the grapevine” of Numbers 6?  From examining the context around the word, it is clear from references to the treader treading out the wine, “the fruitful field” and “the vineyards” that the “wine” in this passage is unfermented, non-alcoholic grape juice.

Context would also be the key in determining that wine defined as the freshly squeezed fruit of the vine would not be condemned for consumption in either Testament (with the exception of the prohibition given to the Nazarites in Num. 6.)  The Bible does not contradict itself.  So passages commanding the consumption of the non-alcoholic fruit of the vine (technically “wine”) in communion (Matt. 26:27-29; cf. 1 Cor. 11:23-29) would not contradict the condemnation of the alcoholic wine clearly alluded to in other passages of Scripture (Eph. 5:18; 1 Thess. 5:6-8).

With this in mind, let’s consider whether Christ made intoxicating wine at Cana.  We know that he was born and lived under Old Testament law (Gal. 4:4).  We also know that he was very familiar with the Old Testament and quoted frequently from it (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10); as a result, he would have been familiar with the passages dealing with the condemnation of alcoholic wine which I’ve cited yesterday (Prov. 20:1; 23:29-35; Hab. 2:5, 15-16).  So Jesus knew that it was a sin for a Jew to partake of and give intoxicating drinks to a neighbor.  Knowing this, did Christ our Savior make the people at Cana avoid wisdom and embrace mockery and brawling by giving them intoxicating wine (Prov. 20:1)?  Did he, by giving them intoxicating wine, cause the people he came to save to violate God’s command to not even look on wine when it is in the cup and thus be bitten like they would by a poisonous serpent (Prov. 23:31-32)?  Did he violate Habbakuk’s law and cause others to do the same by giving his neighbors intoxicating wine (Hab. 2:5, 15-16)?

The obvious answer to these questions is NO!!  Paul, Peter, and the writer of Hebrews would agree (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:22; Heb. 4:15).  Therefore, it is clear that Jesus Christ did not make intoxicating wine nor did he approve of drinking alcoholic beverages in moderation at the wedding in Cana.  Instead, it is clear that Christ miraculously made oinos in Greek (the general word for wine), with the context of the entirety of the Scriptures clarifying that the type of wine was tîrôš in Hebrew (fresh grape juice)

Before moving on to the next objection, let’s also specifically note two verses out of the John gospel in particular:

“When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine.  But you have kept the good wine until now’” (John 2:9-10).

Let us first note the Greek for “drunk freely” (methuo, according to Thayer).  Methuo, according to Strong, does have as a definition, “to drink to intoxication,” but it also has as another definition, “drink well.”   Other translators, such as Henry Liddell and Robert Scott in their A Greek-English Lexicon and Samuel Bloomfield in his Greek New Testament with English Notes, agree and state that it could refer to the quantity of drinking without necessarily indicating as to whether or not the drink is intoxicating.  Therefore one should not be quick to look at “drunk freely” and assume that it is only talking about getting intoxicated.

Notice also that the master of the feast said that Christ’s wine was “the good wine,” or “beautiful” wine in the original Greek (kalos, according to Thayer).  This is important to remember because some say “good wine” indicates alcoholic content instead of taste or appearance.  Not only does the Greek definition of “good” contradict this, but notice also that the master of the feast “tasted” the water which had become wine.  If the master truly was, as some affirm, simply saying, “Christ’s wine is the best wine for getting wasted,” then how could he have known that after a single taste of the wine?

Did Paul give Timothy permission to be a social drinker?

The passage under consideration is Paul’s command to Timothy, “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments” (1 Tim. 5:23).  Paul used oinos for “wine” in this passage, and we’ve already seen how oinos is a general term for wine, leaving it open for the context to determine whether the wine was alcoholic or not.  Still, proponents of social drinking use this verse to say something it does not say when they provide it as a “proof text” for their sinful habit.

  • First of all, it is a proven medical fact that non-alcoholic wine, or grape juice, is very sufficient to help cure physical ailments.  Therefore, it could have easily been the fruit of the vine which Paul had in mind when he wrote this verse.
  • Secondly, especially considering that he taught the same thing everywhere (1 Cor. 4:17), it is not reasonable to assume that Paul would tell the Thessalonians to nēphō (abstain from wine, be temperate, be free from the influence of intoxicants) and the Ephesians to not methuskō (grow drunk, be involved in the process of becoming drunk), and then tell Timothy to do what proponents of social drinking claim he is telling the young evangelist to do in this passage, which is basically to socially drink.
  • Thirdly, notice that Paul acknowledged that Timothy had been drinking water exclusively, and had yet felt the need to give him an apostolic command to drink a little wine.  We therefore have it implied that Timothy had already been doing exactly what Ephesians 5:18 and 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 commanded him to do, i.e., abstain from wine!

However, I also realize that a lot of medicines have extremely small quantities of alcohol in them, and I concede that oinos leaves it open for either non-alcoholic wine or alcoholic wine to be what Paul had in mind.  Nevertheless, several details found in the passage prohibit any honest, open-hearted person from concluding that Paul was giving Timothy permission to socially drink.

  • For example, notice that Paul specifically said to “use a little wine.”  A little, not a lot.  For those who cite this verse as proof they can have a six-pack of Bud Light or a martini at Applebee’s, where is the comparison?  There is a huge difference between modern social drinking and what Paul prescribed for Timothy here.
  • Also, note that he specified the particular purpose behind his command for Timothy to ingest a little wine, namely, “…for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.”  He told him to use a little wine for medicinal purposes.  It was NOT to relax, or to get away from it all, or to be sociable, or to enjoy the party.  It was for a medical problem.  Therefore, assuming that alcoholic wine was what Paul had in mind for this verse, 1 Timpthy 5:23 can be taken into account in light of 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 and Ephesians 5:18 to mean that God condemns the social consumption of alcoholic beverages but not the consumption of small amounts of alcohol for medicinal purposes.

Did Paul forbid elders to drink but give deacons permission to drink?

The passages under consideration consist of one of the qualifications for elders and one of the qualifications for deacons:

“A bishop then must be…temperate…not given to much wine…”  (1 Tim. 3:2-3)

 

“For a bishop must be…not given to wine…”  (Tit. 1:7)

“Likewise deacons must be…not given to much wine…”  (1 Tim. 3:8)

The thought many social drinkers have is that elders are prohibited from drinking alcoholic beverages, while deacons (and thus, they assume without scriptural proof, all other Christians) can consume small amounts.  This is not a valid claim for several reasons:

  • First, God does not show partiality (Acts 10:34-35; Rom. 2:11; Col. 3:25).  We have already seen the commands of Ephesians 5:18 and 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 which command all Christians to abstain from alcoholic beverages.  God would be showing partiality to have Paul make those universal commands, but then allow a small group of Christians (deacons) exemption.
  • Furthermore, 1 Tim. 3:11 says that wives (contextually, either the deacons’ wives, the elders’ wives, and/or all wives) are to be “temperate” (nēphalios, a derivative of nēphō, meaning to “abstain from wine.”)  It would be the height of partiality for God to deny the wives of deacons to have a cocktail at dinner while allowing their husbands to have one right in front of them.
  • Also, exactly who determines what a small amount of wine consists of as opposed to “much wine”?  Medical science would say that the person doing the drinking certainly isn’t qualified to make such a judgment, because their judgment has already been impaired by the alcohol they have taken into themselves.
  • Furthermore, if the command to not be addicted to “much” wine opens the door for small amounts to be consumed, then what happens when this same logic is applied to other commands in the Bible?  For example, God inspired Solomon to write, “Do not be excessively wicked…” (Eccl. 7:17).  If “not given to much wine” opens the door for social drinking, then consistently “Do not be excessively wicked…” opens the door for a little wickedness, just not a lot.  Yet the wages of sin, regardless of quantity, is death without repentance (Rom. 6:23; Luke 13:3).

In actuality, this is one of those cases where the English translations are not the best ones possible.  All English translations make it sound like the word “much” is adjectivally applied to “wine.”  However, let’s examine the original Greek.

  • According to http://www.blb.org, “not given to much wine” is “me prosecho polus oinos.”
  • Strong translates me as “not.”
  • Strong also translates prosecho as “(figuratively) to hold the mind…towards, i.e., pay attention to, be cautious about, apply oneself to, adhere to: – (give) attend…beware, be given to, give (take) heed (to unto); have regard.”
  • Polus is translated by Strong to mean, “(singular) much (in any respect) or (plural) many…”, while oinos of course is the general word for wine.

The key is found in the word polus, or “much.”  Most English translations, as said before, make out “much” to be the adjective to wine, but Strong defines it as adverbial in nature.  Thus, instead of being adjectivally joined to oinos, polus is actually adverbially linked to prosecho.

This changes the entire meaning of the phrase!  Instead of meaning, “Deacons must…not pay attention to a lot of wine…” and thus opening the door for proponents of social drinking to grasp onto this as a proof text, the literal Greek Paul was inspired by God to write says, “Deacons must…not pay attention much in respect to wine.”  It seems that “much” is not describing the quantity of wine, but rather the quantity of attention the deacons were to show towards it.  Therefore, 1 Tim. 3:8 does not authorize social drinking like some believe, but instead should be added to a long list of warnings in the Bible against the use of intoxicating beverages.

Didn’t God authorize social drinking in Deuteronomy 14 and Proverbs 31?

In light of the previously cited Old Testament prohibitions against alcoholic consumption (Prov. 20:1; 23:29-35; Hab. 2:5, 15-16) and more that could be cited (e.g., Gen. 9:20-24; 19:30-36; Is. 5:11-12; 28:7-8; 56:9-12; Hos. 4:11), it amazes me how pride, selfishness, and stubbornness can cause some to continue to grasp at straws in their search for scriptural authorization for their sin.  Their attempts are made even more irrelevant when one remembers that what God may or may not have allowed in the Old Testament does not apply to those of us who live under the New Covenant and its laws concerning alcoholic consumption.  Nevertheless, these efforts are still being made, and their inquiries must be answered.

Let’s examine the first passage under consideration:

“And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the Lord your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the Lord your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the Lord your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire – oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves.  And you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household” (Deut. 14:24-26, emphasis mine)

The thought is that since God told the Israelites to spend their money on whatever they wish, and specifically listed wine or strong drink, then he must have been giving them permission to be social drinkers!  Such a thought is ludicrous when one considers the other passages in the Old Testament that specifically condemn the consumption of alcoholic wine and remembers that God does not contradict himself.  Some will still stubbornly point out that God, in telling Israel to spend the money on whatever their appetite craves, specifically used yayin (“wine”) and sēkār (“strong drink.”)  However, as pointed out earlier when talking about the definitions of these Hebrew words, yayin is used in the Bible in both an alcoholic and non-alcoholic sense depending on the context, and scholars have acknowledged that sēkār can refer to the sweet, either fermented or unfermented juice of many fruits other than grapes (some of which could have a particularly strong taste, thus earning the term “strong drink.”)  Therefore, if one is to take the Bible in its entirety, it is clear that God is not commanding Israel to buy “alcoholic wine (yayin) and alcoholic wine (sēkār),” but rather “fruit of the vine (yayin) and “sweet fruit drinks (sēkār).”

Let’s now examine the second passage under consideration.

“Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more” (Prov. 31:6-7).

These are the words of the mother of King Lemuel (Prov. 31:1), a king named nowhere else in Scripture and whom some believe to be another name for Solomon.  As with the Deuteronomy passage, one must examine both the Hebrew definitions of the terms as well as the biblical context.  According to http://www.blb.org,  sēkār (“strong drink”) and yayin (“wine”) are used, and again one must examine the context to determine whether the alcoholic or non-alcoholic definitions of these words apply to this passage.

Clearly, the context surrounding the words in verses 6-7 are promoting the definition of intoxicating beverages, but one must not stop there if one wants to truly know if divine support for social drinking is found here.  To start off, one need go no further than the previous two verses, “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine (yayin), or for rulers to take strong drink (sēkār), lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted” (Prov. 31:4-5).

It is interesting how the proponents of social drinking grab onto verses 6-7 while conveniently ignoring the message of verses 4-5!  Keeping in mind that God found the words of King Lemuel’s mother worthy enough to inspire him to include them in scriptural canon for the spiritual benefit of the man of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17), why would God and this obviously wise woman warn about the dangers of alcoholic consumption for royalty in one sentence and then in the very next promote alcoholic consumption (and its dangerous results) for the dying and impoverished?

While it is true that the inebriation resulting from getting drunk would definitely cause anyone, regardless of their physical or financial state, to forget their troubles (Prov. 23:35), there are other things to consider.

  • First of all, ethyl alcohol (the kind of alcohol in intoxicating drinks) is a medically-proven toxic poison which, according to DiPalma’s research, “is the greatest single irritant we can ingest.”  (While it is true that DiPalma cited a medical source who acknowledged that extremely small amounts of alcohol in medicines is not harmful to the body, that would not apply to the implied amount of alcohol suggested to be given to the dying and poor in this passage.)  Why would God basically be telling us to poison the dying and the poor, and in the same book where he provided instruction designed to prevent early deaths and care for the poor (Prov. 2:18-19; 5:23; 14:21; 17:5)?  Not only would this be a contradiction, but in a way it would be a divinely-supported method of euthanasia!
  • Secondly, God would be contradicting himself in another way if he would tell the Jews to give intoxicating beverages to others when he expressly condemned both the giving of it to others and even the tasting of it and looking at it in the cup (Hab. 2:5, 15-16; Prov. 23:29-31).  “But,” some might say, “in Prov. 31:6 it is for a medical condition, like it was for Timothy in 1 Tim. 5:23.”  The fallacy in this argument is found when one remembers that Prov. 31:6 talks both about the dying and the poor, the latter not necessarily having a medical problem.  Furthermore, remember that Paul told Timothy to have a small amount of wine for his medical problem, whereas Prov. 31:6 clearly is talking about an amount large enough to cause one to reach enough of a state of inebriation to “drink their worries down the drain.”  Therefore, God would be promoting not drinking, but also the state which even professed Christian proponents of social drinking acknowledge is sin, drunkenness (Gal. 5:21)!  And why would God promote “drinking our worries away” when he knows that they’ll still be there when we sober up, only then there will probably be more of them due to what we did while drunk and how we feel with the hangover!
  • Thirdly, remember that God has shown that alcoholism can lead to poverty and an early death.  While warning against following the pathways of the wicked, Solomon said that “they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence” (Prov. 4:17), and later called “strong drink a brawler” (Prov. 20:1).  How many early deaths have come about due to alcohol?  How many have been killed in bar fights, by drunk drivers, by drunken spouses and parents?  And how many have lost their jobs and their financial security because of drinking?  Solomon wrote, “Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger” (Prov. 19:15), and warns that the one who lies in bed all the time will end up impoverished (Prov. 6:9-11).  Employers, who among your employees is most likely to end up with a pink slip?  Let’s face it, it’s probably the one who can’t keep up with his duties because he’s drunk or hungover all the time and keeps calling in sick from his bed where he’s nursing a hangover!

So what is the true meaning of the passage?  Considering the entire Bible’s divine condemnation of the consumption of alcoholic beverages (with the exception of small amounts for medical purposes only), and especially keeping in mind the immediate context in which the divinely-inspired author condemned alcoholic consumption, it is clear that Prov. 31:6-7 is not a permit to socially drink, nor is it even a permit for the dying and the poor to drink.

Rather, it is King Lemuel’s mother’s way of emphasizing the warning she had just given to her son in the previous verses.  In other words, she is basically saying in Prov. 31:4-7, “When you become king someday, son, remember that kings shouldn’t drink.  If you do, bad things will happen.  You’ll end up being so drunk that you’ll forget important policies that you’ve made as king and treat your subjects in an unjust way.  Look at those out on the street who are dying and poor.  With many of them, their alcoholism got them there and is keeping them there by helping them forget their troubles and thus take away their motivation to fix themselves.  Don’t be like them.”

Conclusion

Much more could be said about what the Scriptures say about alcoholic beverages, but I hope what is written here can help strengthen the faith of the reader and help them in their personal walk with God when it comes to this area of their lives.  Christians are called to be lovingly obedient to their God (John 14:15) and an excellent example to their fellow man (Matt. 5:16; 18:6-7; Rom. 14:21; 1 Cor. 10:32; 1 Pet. 2:12).

It is simply impossible for them to do those things with a beer or wineglass in their hand.