CHRISTIANS AND DRINKING - WOW!
By Caswell A. Reeves
Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness! Habakkuk 2:15
Should a Christian drink alcoholic drinks, in particular, fermented wine? You would think that the above verse would be sufficient to say NO to this issue for any real Bible Believer. Yet, liberal scholarship is always trying to wrest the scriptures into saying that it is all right for a Christian to social drink now and then as long as he is moderate in his consumption of the alcohol.
Recently, however, I came across a book published by Bob Jones University Press: The Christian and Drinking by Dr. Randy Jaeggli, a professor of Old Testament at Bob Jones Seminary. In his book, he advocates and defends social and moderate consumption of wine. Although, Dr. Jaeggli believes the Bible teaches that excessive drinking and drunkenness is wrong, he advocates that alcoholic drink, and especially fermented wine, may be received with the blessing of God as long as it is consumed in moderation. Needless to say, I was appalled and taken aback with this open admission from Bob Jones University and Seminary, a respected school in many Baptist circles. After this open admission toward a position, which advocates the moderate drinking of fermented wine, I would think that good, Biblical Baptists would rethink and reevaluate their relationship with Bob Jones. This has got to be a clear embarrassment to supporters of Bob Jones; and if it is not, their conscience has got to be seared with the hot iron of modern rationalistic scholarship.
Dr. Jaeggli, who represents Bob Jones University, states the following:
Regarding Jesus making wine in Cana of Galilee, John 2:1-11:
I am aware that many interpreters insist that the wine Christ created was non-alcoholic. but I maintain that an objective reading of the narrative strongly supports the conclusion that Christ made fermented wine. the logical conclusion is that the wine Jesus made was alcoholic. (p.38)
If you really believe that Jesus made an alcoholic wine and then distributed it to the wedding party, in clear violation of Habakkuk 2:15, then you have made Jesus a Divine Bartender and that is not to overlook the fact that He sinned against the clear will of God in Habakkuk 2:15. I dont think so! The whole tenor of scripture presents Jesus as the sinless Lamb of God, a pure sacrifice offered for our sins and accepted for the remission of our sins by the Father and proven by the resurrection. This view of Jesus making fermented wine is ridiculous, unbiblical, ludicrous, dangerous, and sinful.
Regarding the Lords Table:
It is not surprising that the Lords supper was observed with wine that had been mixed with water. (p.46)
If you think the Bible teaches the use of wine at the Lords Supper, then you are as deceived as Jaeggli, who gets this idea from Cyprian, who was a reprobate Patristic (catholic church father) of the third century. Jaeggli bases his thoughts on the authority of uninspired history, however, one should note what the inspired scripture says:
And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. (Matthew 29:27-29)
There are several things to note in this passage. First, there is no use of the word wine, but rather fruit of the vine, which is a clear association with grape juice. The Bible clearly teaches that grape juice is the element to be used in the Lords Supper. Second, Jesus states he will drink it again, dispelling all notion of an alcoholic drink. Further, note, that in John 15:1, Jesus said, I am the true vine. There is no perversion in Jesus Christ, who is the true vine, and thus, the type or symbolism put forth in the element of the cup cannot be perverted or fermented from its true state, the fruit of the vine, otherwise the symbolism is destroyed of pure, sinless, un-perverted blood.
Regarding wine being a blessing:
Jaeggli states, Wine was a blessing only if consumed moderately (p.28). It is at this point that one should understand that Jaeggli has chosen to consider the Hebrew word for wine yayin and the Greek word for wine oinos as a word that has only one meaning, fermented wine. This of course is not true. These words can mean grape juice, grape syrup, and fermented wine. Therefore it is obvious that only the context where the word wine is used can determine the correct definition. Wine as grape juice or syrup is the only usage that can be considered a blessing. Jaeggli refers to fermented wine as a blessing, while God refers to it as dangerous:
Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. (Proverbs 23:29-32)
Clearly from this Scriptural warning, fermented wine cannot be a blessing!
Regarding wine in social enjoyment:
Disregarding the warnings of the scripture, Jaeggli chooses to reference Martin Luther and John Calvin, two Protestants, to add support to his condoning of moderate or social drinking. Quoting from Calvin, who stated,
It is permissible to use wine not only for necessity, but also to make us merry. Christs provision of an abundance of most excellent wine at the wedding in Cana was proof enough of its goodness. Only two conditions should govern wine-drinking: first that it be moderate; and second, that, in making merry, they feel a livelier gratitude toward God. p.48
Who cares what the Protestant Reformers think (not to mention, they killed Baptists), if it is contrary to sound doctrine you cannot use them as authoritative. Besides that is placing the authority of history above the authority of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Yet, Jaeggli restates Calvin for his own support of moderately drinking fermented wine by saying:
The Reformers did not view drinking alcohol beverages as simply a means of hydration. They insisted that drinking, along with good food, produced social enjoyment and an occasion for redeemed man to praise God for His good gifts. p.48
As far as this preacher is concerned, there is no place for social drinking of any kind alcoholic beverage to the glory of God. Christian friend, beware of your associations, evil communications corrupt good manners (1 Corinthians 15:33), and God is not mocked: whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7). Christian friends, it is blasphemous to think that drinking alcoholic wine, even if it is in moderation, is all right to do. It is neither acceptable nor glorifying to the LORD according to the Scripture, but rather it is an abomination to God, and a stumbling block to fellow men.