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Question 80

Q: Our church is struggling with some issues in our constitution.

Our pastor has been speaking on “gray areas” in the Bible, and this has sparked a huge interest and brought much divisiveness among the congregation.

One of the issues being discussed, and one the board is divided over, is that our church covenant takes a stand against anyone joining the church that uses alcohol. Our pastor says alcohol in moderation is not condemned in the Bible, however he doesn’t drink alcohol himself. We have some who won’t become members because they don’t want to sign the covenant with that stipulation in the document.

Asked by: Beverly, Illinois

A: Well Beverly, thank you so much for writing, and of course you know that you’ve brought up an issue that has often been debated in Christian circles.

My preference would be that no one touch alcohol. That’s my personal preference, and that’s the way in which I live. But we have to face the reality that in our society, sometimes even among Christians, drinking has become more pervasive.

Strictly speaking, the Bible does not forbid wine. Now I might assume that the wine that is spoken of is quite different than the stronger drink that we have today. However, the Bible does strongly condemn drunkenness.

You know, I think that we have to have the maturity to realize that Christians can differ on this point. We’ve been to Europe many times and virtually all of Christians there drink wine or beer without a twinge of conscience. They don’t even think about it being wrong. I don’t stand in condemnation of them, for many of them are filled with the spirit, they walk with God, and they are godly, but they do view this matter differently.

I pray that this will not divide your church. Your church covenant should be worded with a strong warning against alcohol, but also, I think, give some latitude as members of the congregation may have a different conscience about it. Simply put, don’t split over this issue.

Scripture references

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