Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Teetotaling revisited

I got to thinking last night about the last few churches I've attended, and one thing that I've noticed is that as I sit down with somebody, they very often will share their testimony of faith with me--dirty laundry and all.  I've noticed that not too many have actually had difficulties with alcohol.  I can (but won't) name a few, but all in all, it's not that prevalent.

In short, the old idea about "we are teetotalers to protect those disposed towards alcoholism" is not exactly true.  Of course, if we were serious about reaching out to those without Christ, that might change, but we are where we are.

On the other hand, I have noticed a lot of cases where....let's just say that while a case of beer or a bottle of wine were not involved, a case of Mountain Dew and a crate of Doritos were--beer guts sans beer, more or less.  Which leads to an interesting fact from history; mankind seems to have an interesting compulsion to get a lot of sugar and fat in the diet, followed by alcohol. 

Along the same lines, one theory of weight control is that the overweight person is generally not seeking sustenance from their food and drink, but rather a certain amount of taste.  Some have even encountered significant weight loss simply by adding spices to their food; having indulged their taste buds, they stop eating and watch the pounds slip off.

Not a bad idea, and it leads to a secondary thought.  Everyone who has been given a sip of beer or wine knows that they tend to have stronger flavors than pop (even mass produced American swill), right?

Would it follow, then, that it might be a good thing for American evangelicals and fundamentalists to imitate their Lord and enjoy a cup of wine from time to time?  That instead of 20 ounces of Coke with 250 calories, they'd get six ounces of wine with about 100 calories--and maybe enjoy it more as well?  Instead of that Coke with 250 calories, would it be better (especially come Thanksgiving time) to enjoy a glass of beer with about 150 calories?  Keep in mind as well that, unlike Coke, liquor does generally have some actual nutritional value--Christ got much of his Vitamin C, most likely, from wine.

An odd thought for a fundamentalist Baptist like myself, but sometimes we need to go where Scripture and science lead, no?


Jim Peet said...

I came to the conclusion about 20 years ago that the Bible does not require total abstinence.

Abstinence may be the best choice for the majority of Christians but it is an individual choice not a doctrine of the faith.

Obviously drunkenness is sin! No debate about that. Obviously we should not do something that would hinder our own relationship with Christ or cause someone else to stumble!

Terry @ Breathing Grace said...

Good subject to contemplate, BikeBubba. I never thought about the perils of a 20 oz. Coke compared to a small glass of wine. And I do agree that there is no Biblical support for the idea that one glass of wine being a sin.

I linked to this one today so you might get a few new voices chiming in. Or not. Either way, it's a good post.

Jim Peet said...

Choking debt and financial mismanagement is a greater risk to an individual Christian and to a church than a Christian who has a glass of wine or beer with dinner.

Gino said...

i define sinful drunkeness (condemed in the Bible) as a state of life, where the drink controls you instead of the other way around.
and it could be interchangable with any type of substance abuse that limits your ability to function in a healthy christian lifestyle.

having a lot beers, or more, on a sunday while watching cutler get sacked 7 times is not sinful, but it can be a prerequisite to get through the game with one's sanity intact. even if you do get drunk from it.

Bike Bubba said...

Thanks, Terry & Jim.

Gino; if you know Cutler is going to drive you to drink, is it sin to watch Da Bears? :^)

Seriously, one thing I've noticed is that not too many people get drunk on good liquor. Taste thing again, I least for those who aren't rooting for Da Bears. :^)

(does that fit into Proverbs' dictum to give wine to those who are perishing, that they may forget their troubles?)

OK, better stop there....

Gino said...

" if you know Cutler is going to drive you to drink, is it sin to watch Da Bears? :^)"

i'd say that rooting for the bears is probably one of the commandments that Moses lost when he dropped the tablets.

so, no, rooting for them could never be wrong because it was part of God' plan for a rightous life.

Jesus even spoke of it: blessed are the humbled, or something like that...

Bike Bubba said...

Which would mean it's even better to be a Cubs fan according to Gino's commentary on the Scriptures.....after all, they've suffered far more than those who merely cheer on Da Bears.

tobin said...

Thanks for the thoughts, Bert. I've come to the same conclusion over the past several years. But having been brought up in similar fundamentalist circles, I've wondered if I was the only one who thought that way.

Bike Bubba said...

Well, you're not--and I'd suggest to you, dear brother, that as we get it through our heads that "yayin" and "oinos" really do mean "wine," we are MORE, not less, fundamentalistic in our doctrine.

Pilgrim said...

I RSS your blog, but haven't been keeping up. Now I'm catching up.

I was pondering this last week: why are there are no prohibitions of drunkenness in the Law?

The Decalogue makes no mention of drunkenness or alcohol whatsoever, and the only mention of it in Leviticus or Deuteronomy is Deu 21, where the real sin is rebellion against parents. Drunkenness is laid alongside gluttony there.

I assert that the "fundamentalist" impulse to ban alcohol, tobacco, dancing, and theater-going actually make it HARDER to love and obey God, by denying to Christians creature comforts designed by God to renew our strength (Psa 103). Ditto the Papists' celibacy rules.