Question from a Site Viewer
First of all you are doing just what Jesus said people with little faith do! They don’t realize the freedom they have as long as they don’t bring a brother down. A Christian doesn’t need someone like you running them down because of your personal beliefs and saying Christians can’t drink. Did Jesus drink wine? Was he said to hang around with winebibbers? The first miracle he performed was changing water into wine. Do you think Jesus would say that Christians can’t drink? Thousands of churches have alter calls–tell me once in Scripture where Jesus had an alter call? Just bringing up a few points about the grace in Jesus. I used to go to a Pentecostal church that had people so confused about what was allowed and what wasn’t. At one time we were not allowed to have television sets so when the pastor was comin’ over into the closet that T.V. went . . .
Thanks for taking the time to write. I am not sure whether you read our article on drinking alcohol or not. We do not say that Christians can’t drink. And we certainly have sought to avoid judging those who drink. I know many great Christians who drink occasionally. The Christian life is not about eating or drinking, but is about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). It is not what goes into our mouths that defile us, but what comes out (Matthew 15:11). We have never said Christians can’t drink.
But Scripture also is clear that we are not to be controlled by alcohol (Ephesians 5: 18;1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7; 2:3) and that if alcohol causes our brother or sister to stumble, we should willingly give it up for the sake of our brother or sister (Romans 14:21). I have seen so much evil in this world that is sourced in alcohol and its devastating impact on life, families, marriages, children, and churches. As a servant of Christ, I choose not to drink, not because it is a rule, but because I want people to know that life can be lived well without drinking. For those who struggle with addiction, I want to stand with them in sobriety. I want to be their brother.
But you are very right in that what happens too often is we take something that we believe and we make it a rule that we then try to enforce on others. If you read through our site, you will see that we have made a great effort not to do this. Christianity is not about rules, but about a relationship with Jesus Christ. The great rule is to love God with all of our hearts and the second is to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Nevertheless, personal rules by which each of us live are not a bad thing. Just as in a married relationship we may set boundaries to protect the relationship, so in our relationship with Christ. It is very appropriate for each of us to set those boundaries to protect that relationship. We want to do nothing to hinder that relationship and everything to strengthen that relationship. Thus, in marriage, it is a good idea not to date other people once you are married. There is no rule that says you cannot, but I suspect that in most marriages one’s marriage would suffer greatly if one did. Likewise, with Christ, I have set certain boundaries to protect my relationship with Him. My boundaries and rules may not be your rules. But for both of us, the goal should be to weed out of our lives those matters that detract from Jesus and to build into our lives those matters that strengthen our relationship with Jesus.
May Christ become more and more the love of your heart,