Thursday, March 20, 2008

Drunkeness and Alcoholism

The bible gives us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1). This means that if it has to do with living, we can find something about it in the Bible. Obviously there are times when wisdom comes by finding and applying principles rather than direct quotes, but the point is that we don’t need Freud to tell us how to live in the world. With that in mind the Bible does not treat drunkenness as a disease and neither should we. The problem with alcoholism is not alcohol. It is how a person thinks about and thus treats alcohol. The problem with AA and most other treatment programs is that they focus on alcohol as if it were a disease, but treat it like it is a moral problem and everyone is confused. Thus they do two things: first they cut alcohol off like the right hand that causes us to sin (Mt. 5:30) and second they turn not drinking into a god in the same way that drinking had been a god. So, instead of turning someone who drinks too much to God in repentance, they turn them into dry drunks.

The Biblical answer is to think correctly about alcohol, not to totally stop drinking altogether. Alcohol is not the problem; sin and idolatry are the problem. Help a person overcome their idolatry and they can join in the communion celebration, and ultimately they can even have a drink of wine with dinner on occasion. One thing to keep in mind is that there were certainly people in Jesus’ day who had been drunks before they came to Christ. Without the teaching that they will never get over it, they never thought of that and presumably drank wine responsibly after their conversion.

For those who believe the line that AA and the medical model puts out—those weaker brothers—who would stumble by drinking of wine in communion, we offer them grape juice instead of wine. And we don’t push them to grow into Spiritual maturity in this area; instead we strive to bring everyone to maturity in all areas as we all grow in grace together.

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