“Pastor some of my friends and I will be watching the playoff game on Sunday. I was calling to get your permission to get drunk.
I know where you stand on alcohol, but I will have a designated driver and we are not going to a public bar, so no one is going to get hurt or get offended.
I just wanted you to know from me; in case someone else found out contacted you. I wanted to get an ‘OK’ from you ahead of time.
So do I… have an OK from you?”
“Jim, first of all, it is not my responsibility to give you an ‘OK’ on the use of alcohol. That is a personal responsibility to you and God alone.
You have to get your answer from the Holy Spirit and your conscience.
If Holy Spirit gives you a clear “OK’ that’s your answer. But remember, Holy Spirit will never violate or contradict the Word of God.
But I have a deeper question for you.
Why, as a man of God, do you even want to do such a thing?
What makes that attractive to you?
Have you considered what will be the emotional impact upon your children when they see their godly daddy coming home having difficulty walking and out of control emotionally and physically?
How will that affect their perception of you as a godly father and the spiritual leader in the home?
One more question.
Do you think this is the kind of activity becoming of a godly man and a man of influence in the community and in the church?”
Please, let me explain this is a totally fictitious story, but reflective of a growing issue in the western church culture.
There are Evangelical and Pentecostal churches that openly provide alcohol at their Super Bowl events.
Many serve wine or beer at meal functions for the Elders and Deacons.
The art and skill of “tasting” is becoming popular in the Christian community.
Many believers and spiritual leaders would see the appropriate response to this fictitious story should be that Scripture clearly teaches against getting drunk.
If the intent was to have a couple beers or a couple glasses of wine, there would be no Scriptural problem. The intent of getting drunk is clearly a problem.
Conflicting views arise over the question, “Does Scripture teach total abstinence in the use of alcohol?”
While it has been the historical position in most Evangelical and Pentecostal churches that Scripture does indeed teach total abstinence, many – maybe even most in modern church era – teach that it does not.
Is that an accurate reflection of the Holy Scripture or a contemporary rewrite of the scriptural position?
“Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying: “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations,that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean, and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them by the hand of Moses” (Leviticus 10:8-11 KNJV).
“It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes intoxicating drink; lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert the justice for all the afflicted” (Proverbs 31:4-5 NKJV).
“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: “When either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a Nazarite, to separate himself to the Lord, he shall separate himself from wine and similar drink; he shall drink neither vinegar made from wine nor vinegar made from similar drink; neither shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins. All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, from seed to skin”’” (Numbers 6:1-4 NKJV).
It is interesting to note that priests, kings and a man or women with a Nazarite vow were called to total abstinence from wine and sekar (the Hebrew word for any intoxicating substance whether beer or spirits).
Two primary objections will arise from those wishing to justify the use of alcohol at this point in the Scriptural study.
1. These are all Old Testament Scriptures and we are now under the New Covenant.
It seems they have forgotten the injunction by the Apostle Paul. “Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some them were; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.'” (emphasis is in the NKJV).
The Old Testament moral laws are just as relevant today as in the time of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and the prophets.
Notice God said to the Children of Israel, “It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations,that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean…” (Leviticus 10:9-10).
Spiritual leaders in this generation must be able to distinguish between holy and unholy, clean and unclean.
Maybe there is a correlation between the rising use of alcohol among the believers and spiritual leaders and the church’s inability to accurately apply the Scriptural position on morally acceptable behavior and same-sex relationships.
God is deeply concerned, “Lest they forget the law and pervert the justice for the afflicted” (Proverbs 31:5).
He does not want national, state and local leaders to forget or to ignore the law. He is deeply offended when judges and courts pervert justice.
All of this, God says, will happen when they give themselves to the use wine and strong drink.
We must not be naive to the contemporary scene and how the courts and laws are being manipulated by men and women who are lobbied at parties and dinners.
We must not forget this is a forever statute.
2. The second point often spoken in justification of the casual use of alcohol is twofold:
a) The priest could use wine and strong drink as long as they were not serving in the holy place that day. We are not Old Testament priests.
b) The use of wine and strong drink was prohibited to men and women who were under the Nazarite vow. We do not have the Nazarite commitment in the New Testament.
From their perspective these points validate the believer’s use of alcohol as long as they do not become intoxicated.
Let’s take a deeper look at these points.
The Apostle John said, “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:5-6 NKJV).
Every born again child of God has been made a king and priest to God and the Father.
The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit consecrates the human body of every believer as the temple of God.
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you are bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV).
Therefore, every born again child of God is a priest to God and the Father, serving in the “Holy Place” twenty-four seven.
Not only are we priests serving in the tabernacle of the Living God, we are kings, seated with Christ in Heavenly places, serving in His Kingdom (Ephesians 2:6) and we live by a covenant and a vow greater than a Nazarite.
“I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).
The New Testament believer lives by the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1-4).
The New Testament is not a removal of the Old Testament moral standard but a higher standard of application because we have been born again, adopted into the royal family, and sealed with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 5:17-20; Ephesians 1:4-14).
Our bodies are the temple of the Living God, to be maintained holy and pleasing to Him.
Our service is a twenty-four hour three hundred and sixty-five day ministry of bringing a sacrifice of praise in sweet aroma to Him.
It is for these reasons, we choose to not defile the temple and weaken our service to Him by participating in that which would mock our true identity and deceive us into behaving in a manner that is not wise (Proverbs 20:1).
We are after all royalty, serving in the court of the King of Kings.