Concerning Alcoholic Beverages

July 21, 2016

Dr. Paige Patterson | President
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

**This article was originally posted HERE and is used by permission.

References to wine are frequent in both the Old and New Testaments. The Masoretic text of the Old Testament employs the Hebrew word “yayin” in the vast majority of cases—141 times to be exact. A handful of other words are translated “wine” but not with enough frequency to matter. The Greek term “oinos” is used predominantly in the New Testament, and coming through Latin is transliterated into English as “wine.” The Greek term “gleukos” (literally, “sweet wine”) is sometimes used.

The wines varied in kind and strength. However, four basic varieties may be distinguished, all of which are described indiscriminately by “oinos”:

(1) Freshly pressed grape juice, which had been stomped out by the, hopefully, clean feet of a local family in their private wine vats, or else crushed in grape presses of stone. In the climate of Palestine, fermentation began within 24 hours, so pure unfermented grape juice was available only for a brief time.

(2) The initial, violent, foaming fermentation process lasted about one week. The wine was then transferred to new wineskins for 40 days of further fermentation. The heavier matter, “lees” or “dregs,” would settle to the bottom, and then the wine would be drawn off, providing the daily drink.

(3) Sometimes the wine would be left on the lees to ferment still further. This provided a real knock-out punch, one evidently imbibed by only a few since it often turned insipid and unbearable (Jeremiah 48:11).

(4) Wine frequently was diluted with water or herbs or both. On the cross, Jesus was offered such a concoction of cheap, low-grade wine, which He refused.

The attitude of Scripture

In strict fairness, one must acknowledge that the ancients, however noble, imbibed without reluctance. Evidently the prophets and the apostles did not view this as wrong, so long as it was a small glass of wine (see varieties Nos. 1, 2 or 4 mentioned above) taken with the noon or evening meal. These wines, of course, were locally produced.

At this point, however, a significant difference exists between what is permissible and what is best for the child of God. In addition to the constant clear identification of drunkenness as a highly disreputable and debilitating sort of sin, please note the following:

— The Nazarite (one who was especially separated unto God) was prohibited from the use of wine altogether (see Numbers 6:3; Judges 13:4-7, 13-14).

— In Jeremiah 35:1-10, the Rechabites are highly commended by God and by Jeremiah for their total abstinence.

— John the Baptist, touted by Jesus as “the greatest born among men,” was a total abstainer. He was evidently patterning his lifestyle after that of the Nazarite Law and thereby expressing God’s prescription for what is best for a godly man. In fact, the angelic announcement to Zacharias prohibited John the Baptist from using any wine (Luke 1:15). Here also is noted the first specific contrast between the fullness of the Spirit and the use of wine. This contrast occurs again at Pentecost in Acts 2 and again in Ephesians 5:18.

In the three instances outlined above, the very significant question “why?” must be broached. Apparently, of the three categories given—prohibition, acceptability and God’s ideal—the above situations fall under the ideal of complete abstinence and hence appear to be most acceptable to God.

To this evidence must be added Scripture’s numerous warnings against strong drink. Here are a few:

— Strong drink is deceitful.

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whosoever is led astray by it is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1).

— Strong drink is prohibited for those in leadership.

“It is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes intoxicating drink” (Proverbs 31:4-5).

— Strong drink has a side-effect: weakness in judgment.

“But they also have erred through wine, and through intoxicating drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through intoxicating drink, they are swallowed up by wine, they are out of the way through intoxicating drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment” (Isaiah 28:7).

— Strong drink may dull the senses so that embarrassment comes—even indecent exposure.

“Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, pressing him to your bottle, even to make him drunk, that you may look on his nakedness! You are filled with shame instead of glory, you also drink! And be exposed as uncircumcised! The cup of the Lord’s right hand will be turned against you, and utter shame will be on your glory” (Habakkuk 2:15-16).

— Another result of strong drink is overindulgence.

“Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may follow intoxicating drink; who continue until night, till wine inflames them!” (Isaiah 5:11).

Some texts to be explained by abstainers

In Jesus’ miracle at Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11), one can neither affirm with certainty that Jesus turned the water into a non-intoxicating wine nor that He drank no wine Himself. But the following evidences cannot be easily bypassed:

— The text nowhere indicates that Jesus participated. Either way, the argument is from silence.

— The governor of the feast obviously was able to identify “good wine” by tasting it, indicating that there was no intoxication on his part. On the other hand, by the governor’s own testimony, by the last stages of such a feast, participants generally had their senses sufficiently dulled so that they could not differentiate between good and bad wine. Was this feast different? Is this why Jesus agreed to attend?

— From a standpoint of logic, the “oinos” that Jesus produced was more likely pure, rather than fermented, grape juice, since that which comes from the Creator’s hand is inevitably pure. Also, there was no time for fermentation to take place subsequent to the miracle. Furthermore, the ancients always acknowledged that the best “oinos” was the unfermented “oinos,” i.e., that which came from the initial mixing of the grapes.

— The accusation that Jesus, in contrast to John, was a socialite, a glutton, and a winebibber is manifestly void of foundation (Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:34). Because Jesus enjoyed social contacts and openly mingled with the people, some assumed that He had a propensity for food and drink. If Jesus had been a winebibber, He must have also been guilty of gluttony, which is clearly identified as a sin. In fact, Jesus was neither, and again there is no evidence that He drank “oinos” or anything other than the fresh, natural fruit of the vine.

Paul advised Timothy to imbibe a little wine for his stomach’s sake (1 Timothy 5:23). But note the following:

— The purpose here clearly is medicinal. Timothy was obviously not in full health. In the absence of more advanced medications, this command is certainly understandable. Furthermore, in the case of no superior medication, wine might be justified as medication, but only if taken as “a little wine.”

— Furthermore, the clear case of religious abstinence from wine, i.e., total abstinence, is often overlooked. Timothy is drinking only water. Then Paul says he needs the wine for medical purposes. What is to be said of the reason for Timothy’s abstinence to this point?

Some added observations

— In the accounts of the Lord’s Supper in the Gospels and in 1 Corinthians, the word “wine” (oinos) is mysteriously absent. The disciples took “the cup” and drank the “fruit of the vine.” The absence of the term “oinos” is curious, to say the least.

— Wine has one, unqualified, good use in Scripture, and that is as a metaphor for the wrath of God. This metaphor is utilized in both Old and New Testaments (see Revelation 19:15). The “oinos” of God’s wrath is unmixed or undiluted, fresh from the wine press, unhindered by fermentation of any kind. Hence, purity of judgment is emphasized.

— The bishop (pastor) is to be free from wine (1 Timothy 3:3). One would presume that this admonition, at least in part, is for an example. If so, here again the ideal would be total abstinence for all who make up the body of Christ, i.e., the church.

— For the believer to say, “Let me get as close to sin as I can without being guilty,” indicates a strange mentality indeed! The object should rather be to stay as far away as one can from even the appearance of evil, and as close to Christ as possible (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

The following conclusions may be safely drawn:

(1) Many of the most excruciating and debilitating events of history are associated with wine. The Bible has almost no good word about it and, in fact, usually associates tragedy and sin with the use of wine. For example, after a life of exemplary behavior, Noah became a stumbling block to his own children, necessitating a curse on his grandson, as a result of wine. This first mention of wine in Scripture is bad.

(2) To whatever extent wine was used by Jesus, clearly it was in small quantities and either at meals or for medicinal purposes. Certainly no tragic industry was supported by the selling and buying of wine. This latter point is crucial for the believer. A believer in no way can justify drinking if thereby he is contributing to the sustenance of an industry responsible for two-thirds of the violent deaths, two-fifths of all divorces, one-third of all crime, and untold millions of dollars in damage to private property. Such would violate all laws in the Bible and especially the Corinthian principles outlined below:

(a) The effect of your choices and actions on others.

“Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble” (1 Corinthians 8:13).

(b) The effect of your choices and actions on you.

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful: all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify” (1 Corinthians 10:23).

(c) The effect of your choices and actions on the Kingdom of God.

“Therefore, whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Let us return to the three categories—the prohibited, the acceptable and God’s ideal. God originally intended monogamy. For a while, He tolerated polygamy, even working mightily through such men as Solomon and Abraham despite their polygamous marriages. But with the final revelation of God in Christ, polygamy was once again clearly prohibited. The noticeable absence of any mention of wine prior to Noah might indicate that men, in their pristine state, were not drawn to wine. In any case, the fuller revelation in Christ, plus the development of superior medications and purer drinking substances, render the whole subject passé for the believer.

Even if a Christian wished to demur from the idea that to take a drink is sin, strict biblical evidence establishes that imbibing strong drink is not God’s ideal for the believer. The question then becomes: Can it be anything less than sin for a believer who is genuinely grateful for the atoning power of Christ in his life to pursue anything other than the highest—God’s ideal—the best that he can be for Christ?

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Rick Patrick

What a stellar biblical and practical case for abstentionism! Having been raised in a childhood home in which the ugly consequences of alcoholism destroyed relationships and ruined lives, I am of the firm conviction that Christians should never play with this fire.

The acceptance of moderationism by some Southern Baptists today is troubling and shortsighted. No one having walked in my mocassins would ever imbibe or encourage others to exercise such a so-called freedom.

Perhaps moderationists can engage in arguments bending the Scriptures in such a way as to allow or even encourage the use of beverage alcohol, but why in the world would they want to do that? To ruin more lives? To weaken more relationships? To harm more children? To destroy more livers? To promote more domestic abuse? To increase drunk driving fatalities?

Southern Baptists should leave the social drinking to the Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Catholics. This is yet another area in which we would be wise to return to a Southern Baptist tradition rooted in biblical wisdom. I’d rather fried chicken kill us at 85 than alcohol at 17.

doug sayers

Thank you Dr. Patterson.

The prohibited. The acceptable. The ideal. 3 important categories indeed.

I just saw a young man wearing a T-shirt that said “Bad decisions make awesome stories.” In a nation that bears such strong resemblance to Sodom, the American Church needs to be constantly reminded of the dangers associated with alcohol. It’s much harder to commit life changing sins when sober.

If we follow the trail leading to many egregious acts we find that substance abuse is very often the appetizer.

Jim Poulos

This interpretation by Dr. Patterson is driven more by cultural preferences than by moral, ethical, or even Biblical perspectives.

This understanding with drive a wedge with people coming to the Lord or into SBC Churches.

It is fine as a individual choice but to blanket this choice on to a community of believers with disturb most people’s conscience.



    Did you read the same article that I did? it was very much a Scriptural perspective. Dr. Patterson was clearly laying out a Biblical reason to be an abstainer. It was extremely Biblical, reasonable, and full of wisdom. I just can’t see how in the world you just read what Dr. Patterson wrote, and think any other way about it….unless you are a drinker, and didn’t like it?


    PS. To the SBC Today administrators, can yall please make the capcha thing at the bottom give us more time. Every single time, it says that I’ve timed out, and have to hit another equation. Sometimes, it makes me nervous, so I find myself hurrying so much that I don’t even add it right!!! lol Well, after writing this, I’ll have to hit the refresh, or do another one button.

      Jim P

      Volfan, If I thought you’re just a silly little child I’d might answer your insulting reply. But your not. So you just enjoy talking to yourself.

        Andrew Barker

        Getting a little tetchy aren’t we? I think you need a drink …… kool-aid of course! ;-)

        Jim Poulos

        Out of the Barker’s keyboard shows the abundance of his heart.

          Andrew Barker

          Definitely …. as does yours QED ;-)

      Rick Patrick

      We’re trying. We know it’s a pain and a problem. In fact, we have a redesign in the works to make all of this faster and approve comment streams while still kicking out spam. Our time frame for getting the new site design up is within the next few months. Please hang in there and we promise we will work hard to make things better. Our people are on it even as we speak. Thanks for the suggestion.

Tim Barnette

Great article, Dr. Patterson! I have never seen any good come from beverage alcohol, at all, ever.

David R. Brumbelow

Great message, as usual, from Dr. Paige Patterson.

Strange why some say those against alcohol usage are following cultural preferences.
The last I noticed, our cultural preference seems to be in favor of using this recreational, mind-altering drug.

To abstain from beverage alcohol is counter-cultural, wise, and biblical.
We need to hear this view more often in our churches and our SBC.

David R. Brumbelow


I truly appreciate Dr. Patterson’s point in this blog post. I abstain from all forms of alcohol and have done so for nearly 45 years. I see no point in changing that now.

My concern with Dr. Patterson’s post lies with his logic that a person’s concurrence with anything less than God’s ideal is sinful in itself. Let’s consider a couple of examples: food and sleep. Food is a gift from God. Gen. 9:3, Matt 6:26, Acts 14:17. Certainly some foods are better for a person than other foods. A nice kale and spinach salad with some radishes, cucumbers, carrots, some grilled chicken, and a oil and vinaigrette dressing is very healthy meal. You could certainly argue that it is an ideal meal. Well, maybe not from a taste standpoint, but perhaps from a health standpoint. Nonetheless, it is much healthier than the bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg and a mix of onion rings and curly fries on the side and a desert of battered and deep-fried Oreos. The burger meal is permissible. The salad meal is ideal. Is it sinful to eat the burger meal? If your answer is yes, what if you ate just one bite of the burger, one french fry, one onion ring, and licked the powder sugar off the Oreo? What if you only ate one such meal a month and the rest of the month you ate healthy meals? What about a burger meal every two weeks; every week? What if a person put fried chicken on their salad instead of grilled chicken? Is that something for which they need to repent and seek forgiveness?

Consider sleep in this regard. The scriptures have many references to the blessings of getting enough rest. Most research says that minimum rest for most people is around 7 to 8 hours per night. Let’s assume that God’s ideal is for us to get enough sleep to be able to function properly in our day-to-day responsibilities and interactions. If someone gets less than that ideal, are they sinning? Is someone who gets to little sleep in a night not being genuinely grateful for the atoning power of Christ in his life?

Finally, I have one other concern with Dr. Patterson’s permissible/ideal comparison. Let me preface my concern by stating emphatically that I do not believe that Dr. Patterson holds this position. I only point out that there is the potential for a bit of Phariseeism. If we believe that something is permissible then how can it be sinful? If we believe it to be sinful, how can it be permissible? If it is sinful to work on the Lord’s Day, what is ideal: to sit in a house and rest, or to walk in a field and pick something to eat? Someone could easily make the argument that the ideal is to sit in a house and rest and that therefore it is sinful to walk in a field and pick something to eat. Indeed, some have made such an argument. See Luke 6:1-5.


Sam Eggartt

How much does Dr. Patterson weigh?

For some reason, in the SBC, alcohol seems to be a bigger issue than gluttony. More people are killed ever year from obesity related issues than alcohol issues.

It is fine to abstain from alcohol. No dispute there. It just seems a little hypocritical for many churches to preach a sermon on abstinence, and then go into the fellowship hall for the fried chicken potluck.

    Rick Patrick

    This argument has always frustrated me, for the difference between drug abuse and eating too much (or too little) should be obvious to all. First, everyone HAS to eat. You abstain, you die. Everyone does NOT have to drink alcohol. Second, eat too much and you may get tired and have a little indigestion. Drink too much alcohol, and you may rage, drive drunk, rot your liver and eventually kill yourself or someone else.

    Yes, when we eat too much, we put on a few pounds. As we age, our metabolism changes. For some people, this is more of a battle than for others. And granted, extreme obesity is associated with heart disease, diabetes and a number of other illnesses. We should all seek to eat healthy meals and get proper exercise.

    Now that you’ve gotten personal about Dr. Patterson, let me suggest that Dr. Patterson weighs far less than Charles Haddon Spurgeon did. Furthermore, Dr. Patterson does not smoke the cigars that Spurgeon smoked.

    There is nothing hypocritical about warning against drug abuse before eating an occasional 1,000 calorie meal. I really think this argument fails on many levels. Yes, gluttony is a sin, but I think the comparison here between food and alcohol abuse is an enormous stretch.



      To make clear, in my comment I was not arguing that a person should not eat or could even choose not to eat. I was picking up on Dr. Patterson’s permissible/ideal position. In my comment there is an ideal food and there is a permissible food. Yes, a person has to eat. However, my question is whether the less-healthy option is either permissible or sinful. Using Dr. Patterson’s categories, I am not clear that it can be both. If a person chooses the less-healthy meal – and thus the non-ideal option – is the person being ungrateful grateful for the atoning power of Christ in his life by pursuing anything other than the highest/best?

      Yes, a person has to eat just as they have to drink. A person must choose what they eat. A person must choose what they drink. According to Dr. Patterson, if a person chooses to imbibe in alcohol they are not choosing God’s ideal and therefore sinning. Similarly, if a person chooses to imbibe in the fried egg bacon cheeseburger with fries and rings and the deep-fried Oreos, they are not choosing God’s ideal and therefore sinning. Do we really want to go that far?


      Kyle Gulledge

      Thanks Rick, you took the frustrated words right out of my mouth. To use the logic that Sam Eggart is employing, Dr. Patterson cannot preach on any other topic–just the sins that he is guilty of (and Sam is basically implying, therefore, no other pastor can either). I learned that Greek word at SWBTS and growing up in the south–bologna.

      Sam Eggartt


      I think the argument is frustrating because weight is a bigger struggle than drunkenness for most people.

      You are failing to recognize the nuances of the argument. In both alcohol – of any type – and in food, man as received a gift from God. Food keeps us alive, for sure, but food is so much more than that. That is why we season are food with spices. That is why we don’t cook spaghetti with a side of french fries. There is a real enjoyment that occurs in eating good food.

      The same is true for alcohol. No, personally, I do not like the taste of alcohol. However, there are people that enjoy beer. (I bet these people also enjoy black coffee. Freaks.)

      So, in principle, they are the same thing. We have two things that are gifts of God, that within themselves are not sinful, but through overindulgence, can become sin.

      Charles Spurgeon was overweight (much of it medically related, but I digress). That should be mentioned in evaluating him. He also believed that you could smoke a cigar to God’s glory. I would pay to see he and Dr. Patterson debate.

      All that to say, I think your argument is pragmatic. Nothing wrong with that, but it fails to adequately grasp the nuance of the argument.

      And it isn’t personal to Dr. Patterson. I have met him personally. I admire him and the conservative resurgence (we wouldn’t be SBC without him!) I just think that for every Perry Noble who is removed from ministry due to alcohol, I can think of 100 pastors who desecrate their bodies through obesity – something rarely mentioned from SBC pulpits.

David R. Brumbelow

“Glutton – a person who is debased and excessive in his eating habits.
Gluttony is more than overeating.
In its association with drunkenness (Proverbs 23:21; Deuteronomy 21:20), it describes a life given to excess.
When Jesus was called a ‘gluttonous man” (Matthew 11:19), His critics were accusing Him of being loose and excessive by associating with tax collectors and sinners.”
-Herbert Lockyer, Sr., with F. F. Bruce and R. K. Harrison, Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville; 1986.

David R. Brumbelow

Jim Poulos

Romans 2:16 tells exactly where the problem of people originates and says nothing about having a glass of wine or a fried chicken leg.

The problem is what goes on in the ‘secrets of men’s,’ hearts. It is what goes on in their thinking. Wrong thinking results in wrong behavior. Change the thinking and the outward man will follow.

Enforcing on anyone is not the Bible’s way or for that matter the Baptist’s respect from the ‘free will of a person.’

And yes, God respects that freedom while also eventually bringing judgment for the ‘deeds’ men do.


Abstainer here…

I think the language we use in areas like this is very important. Similar language came up recently in a gun debate on “that other sbc blog”.

Like Steven, I think Dr. Patterson’s article fails to be clear enough in this regard, especially with his use of “ideal”.

I am comfortable with advising Christians to abstain. I am comfortable warning about the dangers of alcohol, and using scripture to do it. I am comfortable with institutions having alcohol policies for certain reasons.

I am not comfortable with telling my godly friends that their occasional imbibing is sinful. I would feel that I was adding to scripture if I were to do that.


Further, I think Dr. Patterson’s statement here is dangerous:

“John the Baptist, touted by Jesus as “the greatest born among men,” was a total abstainer. He was evidently patterning his lifestyle after that of the Nazarite Law and thereby expressing God’s prescription for what is best for a godly man.”

Using the Nazarite to say what is “best for a godly man” is reminiscent of the medieval belief that monks were the most spiritual people, due to their extreme self denial. Neither Nazaritism, not monism, is “God’s best for a godly man.”

Paul said he thought a single man could serve God in a unique way, but did not go so far as to say that singlhood was God’s best for a godly man. Nor did he condemn those who married…in fact he went out of his way to say those who married were not sinning.

Ronny Cooksey

During our 10 years in Japan, I was preaching on alcohol one day, when an American (who understood Japanese) approached me afterwards and said, “Well, that was a pretty Baptist sermon.” He was thinking that the statement would be a zinger, but as an IMB missionary, I would have been disappointed to hear otherwise. He asked for the one verse in Scripture that settles the case. Really? It’s a whole host of Scriptures as Dr. Patterson has plainly laid out for us. There is the weaker brother issue, the many Proverbs indicators warning us to get away form it and leave it for the poor soul whose life is shipwrecked, and more. And then, if drunkenness is a sin (yes), then why would the Bible warn us to flee every other sin and yet encourage us to get close to this one?

Jim Poulos

But Pastor Cooksey,

The article is not about drunkenness.
It is about complete abstinence. It is borderline saying ‘a sip of wine’ is a sin. This is a cultural and personal preference not a Biblical argument.
That should be acknowledged just for honest discussion sake because it touches on ‘what does the Bible Say?’.

    Ronny Cooksey


    Fine question. How about this: for me, to sip alcohol would be a sin for many reasons, but if for nothing else because I would be rejecting the Scripture’s clear warnings to get as far away from sin as possible (in this case, drunkenness). For others, of course their is liberty though I cannot fathom how a believer could come to a different conclusion in light of the effect on their weaker brother, their association with the wreckage that coms from the alcohol industry, the weakening of judgement that is risked and so on.

    That’s about all I can say. God bless you.


    Jim Poulos


    We are discussing. Trying to understand. To draw a line in the sand ends discussions. That line of complete ‘abstinence’ is not a line the Bible draws.

    This present time we live in is called ‘the present evil age.’ It’s not just the alcohol industry, it’s the media, advertisement, internet, marketing, politics and on and on and on. It’s like Paul the Apostle said, ‘to disassociate with this world would mean to leave the world.”

    You may not be able personally to fathom another’s choice but that does not make it the Bible’s teaching. Jewish Christians could not fathom anyone eating pork. That didn’t make their thinking the Bible’s teaching.

    Yes, Baptists are strong on being Biblical. That just might sometimes go against their culture. They need to respect the Bible more than their culture at times. That should be true for all believers.



While I can respect the complete abstinence position (I am very familiar with the problems caused by alcohol). I do not believe it is the most biblical position. My understanding of scripture and the cultural context in which these scriptures appear is that what is always condemned is drunkenness (excessive consumption of alcohol).

When Paul writes about issues of Christian liberty where believers have differing convictions he seems to say that while some believers have the right to consume alcohol, for the sake of others, in order not to stumble them if their convictions are different we should refrain from it for the sake of others.

Patterson provides some facts that must be considered and yet at one point he makes a glaring error:

“Wine has one, unqualified, good use in Scripture, and that is as a metaphor for the wrath of God. This metaphor is utilized in both Old and New Testaments (see Revelation 19:15). The “oinos” of God’s wrath is unmixed or undiluted, fresh from the wine press, unhindered by fermentation of any kind. Hence, purity of judgment is emphasized.”

He follows this up with by saying in one of his conclusion statements:

“(1) Many of the most excruciating and debilitating events of history are associated with wine. The Bible has almost no good word about it and, in fact, usually associates tragedy and sin with the use of wine.”

These statement are false. The Bible does speak positively about wine in some instances. In the OT primarily, and there are a few references in the NT as well, wine is also used as a metaphor for a very positive thing/the eschatological celebration that will occur in the eternal state. So the claim by Patterson that wine has only one unqualified good use is false. It is also used as a reference to the celebratory nature of the eternal state. In scripture wine is used as a symbol for celebration and joy (hence the comments about wine in reference to the eternal state) Do I really believe we will have actual wine in the eternal state? No. It is however a symbol of joy and celebration at that time.

Taking the statements of scripture and applying them to our own day. It seems to me, that while a believer may have the right to very limited alcohol use. That right must be balanced with the cultural realities of today. Many people have major problems with alcohol. Many people come from households where alcohol led to abusive behavior and suffering. Alcohol is much more available to today than it was in Bible times. So a Christian leader while knowing that he has the right to alcohol (it is not completely prohibited by scripture) nevertheless in consideration of where the society is and where many of his people are will rarely ever consume alcohol.

I will use myself as an example of how this works out. I come from a European background where my parents and family regularly use beer and wine (it is part of their celebrations, literally part of their culture). I believe my cultural background is closer to that of the biblical writers (where wine is a symbol of celebration and joy). At a wedding celebration I will have a single glass of champagne, not to get drunk but as part of the celebration. I have no alcohol stored in my home. I don’t like beer and never got into wine (I actually prefer sodas, I know they are not healthy but that is the only vice I really have ?). I like the taste of Margaritas and will occasionally have one at a Mexican restaurant. I am not a complete abstainer nor am I regular drinker. Because I know the problems that many have had with alcohol I rarely, rarely have a drink (only in the context of weddings and sometimes at a Mexican restaurant). If I went to lunch with a church group say at a Mexican restaurant I would intentionally abstain from having any alcohol and would never have even a Margarita. No one who knows me and watches me would say I have any problem with alcohol nor would they say I advocate complete abstinence. I know I have the right to alcohol, and yet I will rarely have any. I do not believe I cause other believers to stumble. I do not think that I come across as judgmental or worldly.

Justin W.

Paul admonishes the Ephesians in chapter 5 of his letter to “be careful how you walk,” and to “make the most of your time.” He then admonishes them to “not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation.” Paul’s uses the Greek term methysko, meaning to “cause to become intoxicated.” In short, Paul is alluding to intoxication as dissipation or recklessness. The rest of the sentence states, “but be filled with the Spirit.” The filling on the Spirit is contrasted with the reckless practice of becoming intoxicated. It seems that Paul did not want the church to lose focus on the task at hand and not waste time by impairing themselves. When a person has as little as one glass of wine, one beer, or one shot they will immediately begin to feel the effects of the alcohol in their system. And though a person may still be in “their right mind” with one drink, they will certainly be impaired by a second. Merriam-Webster defines intoxication as when a person is “unable to think and behave normally.” Likewise, the definition of “Drunk” is listed as “having drunk so much alcohol that normal actions (such as talking, thinking, and moving) become difficult to do.” The words drunk and intoxicated are synonymous and both describe impairment. Essentially, consuming any amount of alcohol by which a person no longer is able to function normally, or their cognitive ability is hindered, can be labeled as drunk or intoxicated. These definitions do not preclude the different levels of intoxication, nor do they imply that a person must be a certain level of intoxicated in order to be categorized as drunk or intoxicated. The problem however, is not whether or not they will or will not be intoxicated. Rather, it is the fact that if there is a chance that they could be considered drunk/intoxicated by even a small amount, and thereby filled with something other than the Spirit, then it makes perfect sense for Paul to point out the recklessness of intoxication. Christians are supposed to give up anything in order for their relationship with Christ to thrive and the work of the Spirit in their lives to not be quenched.

    Justin W.

    Other Christians may argue that they have freedom in Christ, and that the Bible doesn’t explicitly say “Thou shalt not drink.” However, one must consider wisdom and not just the exceptions. When Jesus spoke on divorce, there was an exception given, and yet Jesus said that from the beginning “it was not so.” The point is that wisdom should trump every exception that a person can think of. There are numerous passages that deal with the ethical quandaries, however, there isn’t always a “thou shalt” to guide us. How is a Christian supposed to know how to live, if the Bible doesn’t provide a path for every predicament? The answer is simple. A Christian must pray, be observant, and lean on the wisdom passages in Scripture which always suggest temperance, restraint, and cautiousness and never indulgence, gluttony, and overconfidence.
    So perhaps answering the question of whether or not a Christian should or shouldn’t drink is as simple as asking whether or not one can live without it? If one can live without alcohol, then why not take the extra time and money you gain from living without and put it towards the work and mission Christ gave to all believers.

    Jim Poulos

    May I ask Justin,

    Who ultimately has that right to decide to or decide not to, about wine? AND, does scripture teach to respect the right of each individual to decide?

    That is the question being addressed in this article.

Dennis Lee Dabney

Priest in the Old Testament were forbidden to drink wine or strong drink “before” they went before the Lord in the Tabernacle.

Is it now acceptable by the Lord to drink wine or strong drink in the Temple of the Holy Spirit, the Tabernacle of God the Father and God the Son here on earth ?


    Jim Poulos

    Dennis, Can you reference what you are stating?

    Jim Poulos

    Dennis, You don’t need to reference it. I found it, Lev.10:9.

    Still, you are taking a verse attempting push it to conclusions of your own personal preference much as I feel this article is doing.


      Dennis Lee Dabney


      Christ was in the Tabernacle in the wilderness from time to time. However now He can never leave the tabernacle of Priesthood of believers.

      So called happy hour would be a good time to leave among others.

      My initial response is in moderation.


Dennis Lee Dabney


Leviticus 10:8-9

And the Lord spake unto Aaron saying,

Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:

John 14:23
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

1 Corinthians 12:13

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

1Corinthians 3:16-20

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.


Dennis Lee Dabney


Why isn’t social drinking in our houses of Worship Scriptural? What’s so Holy about the sanctuary over the temple of the Holy Ghost in which we are?

By the way, we may not be in corporate worship 24/7 but there is never an occasion when the true believer isn’t in The Church of the Living God, the House of God, the Ground and Pillar of the Truth.

Whenever we are out of fellowship with our Father and His Son, we are presently in Sin.

We are the Priesthood of believers in worship or in service.


Jim Poulos


With respect, your over the top about this as the article is. This is such a Baptist culture thing without any acknowledgement that it is a personal preference. Bottomline, it is a control thing employing the written Word for that control.

You want to communicate yourself to ‘handle the word of God accurately’ I believe. In this you are blatantly not as is the article is not.

This will only isolate more and more anyone whether Baptist or not who practice like that.

Personal Preference is just that. God is peoples’ judge about the right or wrong about such things as this.
Making anyone else the judge is a control thing. It’s time to grow up and let the really only capable Judge judge.


    Dennis Lee Dabney


    I supplied the Biblical text as you requested.

    Your problem is not with Dr. Patterson or the rest of us.

    No my friend, your commentary, complaint and criticism is with the One who created the fruit of the vine, along with the corn, rye and wheat etc.

    Dr Adrian Rogers used to say “when God says yes, He’s saying “Help” yourself my child and when He says No, He’s saying don’t “Hurt” yourself my child.

    We have given you the Word of God. Take it up with Him. Tell Him what you think about His Holy Word.


      Dennis Lee Dabney


      Unless I missed something, you didn’t respond to a single verse of Scripture. It seems you prefer to take issue with the messenger rather than the message and Originator, The Sender.

      We all shall be judged by the Words that have already gone out of the precious mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ in which both you and I have in our possession.

      We shall be judged if we are unwilling to judge ourselves by those same Words.

      Have the last word on the matter but know this Friend He will have the Final Word, I can assure you of that.

      He’s not named the WORD by accident. He is the WORD OF GOD.


        Jim Poulos

        Responding to a verse of Scripture you supply is just stepping into your trap of interpreting it according to your preference.

        You’re intelligent enough to avoid saying yes, it is sin to take a sip of wind. That’s why you choose to go in circles.

        In the end it is not being honest and will only hurt you and the Church.


          Dennis Lee Dabney


          A good fundamental, conservative Baptist preacher will close his message sometimes more than once or

          Take it from a former WRETCH who before Christ, sipped, sopped, and slopped the stuff like water going out of style.

          Avoid the stuff like the plague, a good run is better than a bad stand.

          The Body is for the Lord, like meat is for the belly. Don’t get it twisted, the Scriptures are STRAIGHT.

          Have a good day Jim,


            Jim Poulos


            I sympathize with your own decisions but your pushing decisions for your own life onto others and using Scripture to support that push. It doesn’t work like that.



Jim Poulos


So according to your interpretation along with Dr. Patterson’s interpretation of scripture anyone who took a sip of wine is committing a sin.

That’s over the top and miss handing the Word.


Justin W.

No where does the article say taking a “sip of wine is committing a sin.” This is the closest: “Even if a Christian wished to demur from the idea that to take a drink is sin, strict biblical evidence establishes that imbibing strong drink is not God’s ideal for the believer. The question then becomes: Can it be anything less than sin for a believer who is genuinely grateful for the atoning power of Christ in his life to pursue anything other than the highest—God’s ideal—the best that he can be for Christ?”

The article is not trying to make the point that drinking is sin (something the Bible does not say), but rather drinking often leads to sin (the Bible says this often). Additionally, the article is not about who has the right to decide what is right (strictly speaking we do not have rights because we are slaves) or what the Bible teaches about respecting others choices. The Bible provides two sources of ethical guidelines for us: 1) commands to be followed, and 2) wisdom to be employed. I believe this article falls into the second category. It’s essentially saying that fire can burn you, so don’t put your hand in it, and even better, stay away from it altogether.


    That’s just the problem, the language used is imprecise, and seems to imply that ” God’s best” for a nazarite = God’s best for all Christians, which is a dangerous principle for interpretation.

    I have no problem with an article urging Christians in America today to abstain from alcohol based on wisdom, but this article goes a bit further, using questionable links with old covenant levies and nazarines to do so.



    I agree with Jim. My problem with the article is with the logic that anything less than God’s ideal is sinful. If something is permissible it cannot be sinful. If something is sinful, it cannot be permissible. However, that is the dichotomy that Dr. Patterson sets up in this blog post. We all agree that drunkenness is sinful. The question remains whether a taste in moderation is either sinful or permissible.


    Jim Poulos


    I don’t think the article is simply arguing that ‘drinking often leads to sin.’ I think is is arguing, any drinking of wine or whatever is unethical.
    And therefore ‘abstinence’ is the only ‘right’ way.

    That’s saying more than is taught in scripture. Again it if fine for individuals to choose or even groups to, but it is not a all encompassing principle taught in the ‘word’. This is the source of the contention here.

Dennis Lee Dabney


If nothing is wrong with social drinking, then the “Sippers” and the “Sloppers” should drink it up in the sanctuary. Bring their “Smokes”, “Stogie’s”, “Chew” and fire it off up in there like it is nobody’s business.

There is a reason Jim we pick cigarette butts outside the sanctuary and pick beer cans, wine whiskey bottles from the ditch along the side of the property. Why, because those same “tossers”, “lobbers” and “throwers” know it is wrong to drink and smoke inside the 4 walls of the place of meeting.

So what’s Biblical about drinking? Because someone did it in the Bible? Wrong!



    Many Christians drink within the sanctuary…it’s called communion. Many use real wine.

    Those who smoke outside are being considerate of others, and probably obeying the law.

    If someone thinks something is a sin in a church building, but not outside, they are misunderstanding some things.

      Dennis Lee Dabney

      I said “Social” drinking.

      Are we now considering communion to be social drinking now?


        Dennis Lee Dabney

        Not on my watch!


        Jim Poulos

        But Dennis,

        That is the confusion. In the end you disagree with the conclusion presented in the article. But you don’t stand up an own up to that disagreement.

        If Unity means anything to the Church it must be around being right with each other.




        Communion: A communal remembrance/observance of the Lord’s death THAT DOES NOT REQUIRE ALCOHOL. It is social (with others), and it is drinking.

        More too the overall point, there were many requirements given to the levites before entering the temple…we don’t apply the to modern believers just because we are now the temple.

          Dennis Lee Dabney

          Do you really think we are discussing Sipping wine with our minds “stayed” on the Lord Jesus Christ?


            Dennis Lee Dabney

            Is it sin for the true believer to “snort” a little . . . .

            Is it sin for the true believer to “shoot” a little. . . .


              Dennis Lee Dabney

              Drinking in a little liquid “influence”, a little liquid “control” in the form of “liquid “rot” is only good for the profiteer.

              Whether it is wine, beer or liquor, when induced brings its Own “influence” (calming, numbing,) depending on the amount consumed, dulling the senses, resulting in sheer “control”.

              It just like sin, a little sin affects the whole true believer’s life.

              A little self induced social “rot” described in the Holy Scriptures leavens the whole person.

              The child of God is to be lead of the Spirit, to be under the influence of the Spirit, guided by the Holy Scriptures, walking in the light as He is in the light, walking by faith and not by sight in Christ Jesus blessed and Holy name as we see the Day approaching.


          Dennis Lee Dabney

          No!!! It’s not Holy communion Sipping wine at your favorite spot. Call it what you like. It is what it is.

          By the way I don’t believe those who do so have Holy Communion on their mind at all.


        Jim Poulos


        You continue to assume about what is taking place for everyone else in their ‘inner man.’
        That ‘inner man’ is place where God as given freedom.
        Doing that disrespects that liberty for others and yourself.
        You are their judge in these matters. But you are acting like you are in both motives and actions.

        God is the One Who ‘judges the secrets of man.’

        Rom. 2:16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

        Get it right if you’re going to preach.

          Dennis Lee Dabney


          We finally agree and a great place for me to break off.



      Dennis Lee Dabney

      Those who smoke outside are being considerate of others, and probably obeying the law.

      True believers who smoke or drink would consider it wrong to do so in the place of Worship because of the presence of the Lord, worshipers and visitors. I insist they would testify, stand up and tell the truth, “It’s just wrong”! Even the optics are bad.

      Our point is clear, the Father and our Lord dwells both With the true believer and IN the child of God who is sealed by His Spirit. His presence is both with the members of the Body of Christ and IN them.

      Never is the place of meeting called a temple by God in His Church but He sure does call the True Believers Body The Temple Of The Holy Ghost.

      The Lord Jesus Christ explained to the woman at the well when she said, The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.
      Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

      Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

      Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

      But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

      God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.


Jim Poulos

Rom. 14:4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

That is the attitude Paul is arguing for, an attitude that is for the the good of all. An attitude that respects people for who they are and for the work of God in their lives.

    Dennis Lee Dabney


    Don’t fool yourself, He did not have the “good” you defend in mind.

    Now, who is attempting to use the Holy Scriptures for license for as you say, “for the so-called good of all”. All of who?

    Utter nonsense, the World makes the same presentation, arguement and defense for all they do along these lines including adultery, fornication etc. They passionatel argue and defend, “My God wants me happy”. Really Baby!!!!

    They also say, “Listen here preacher”, (with what they would call Authority in their voices and on the subject of course) ” Jesus made wine”. I respond ,”He sure did, but not as you suppose”. He started with Water, and they drank wine made by the Son of Man from just Water. When wine makers and others start making the stuff from just Pure H2O, old fashioned Water, count me in again.

    Water Wine, made by guess who? The One the Holy Scriptures says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is Good”. Water Wine made by, the One who it is written, “He is sweeter than the honey in the honeycomb”.

    I look forward to the Good of All, when we drink it New with Him.

    A New Heaven and New Earth, our New Creations, New bodies included, and with our Lord Jesus Christ and New Wine.

    Old things passed away including fermented things, dead and dieing things.

    We already are new creatures in Him why not behave like it for the good of all?

    I believe my new creation can wait until then, for what truly will be, the good of all.



This is another of those matters where we cannot search the scriptures and absolutely conclude that “thou shalt not consume alcoholic beverages, period.” Yet SBCers have historically promoted abstinence in the matter. For instance, At the 2006 SBC meeting, the following Resolution 5 was passed:

WHEREAS, years of research confirm biblical warnings that alcohol use leads to physical, mental, and emotional damage (e.g., Proverbs 23:29-35); and

WHEREAS, Alcohol use has led to countless injuries and deaths on our nation’s highways; and

WHEREAS, The breakup of families and homes can be directly and indirectly attributed to alcohol use by one or more members of a family; and

WHEREAS, The use of alcohol as a recreational beverage has been shown to lead individuals down a path of addiction to alcohol and toward the use of other kinds of drugs, both legal and illegal; and

WHEREAS, There are some religious leaders who are now advocating the consumption of alcoholic beverages based on a misinterpretation of the doctrine of “our freedom in Christ”; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, June 13-14, 2006, express our total opposition to the manufacturing, advertising, distributing, and consuming of alcoholic beverages; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge that no one be elected to serve as a trustee or member of any entity or committee of the Southern Baptist Convention that is a user of alcoholic beverages.

RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists to take an active role in supporting legislation that is intended to curb alcohol use in our communities and nation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists to be actively involved in educating students and adults concerning the destructive nature of alcoholic beverages; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we commend organizations and ministries that treat alcohol-related problems from a biblical perspective and promote abstinence and encourage local churches to begin and/or support such biblically-based ministries.

I have been a member of two Baptist churches in my 66 years as a Christian and both included in their Church Covenants such words as “I hereby covenant to abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage.”

I have also been keenly aware of proverbs 20:1, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Now, from the time I became a Christian I rationalized that since Webster states that an unwise person is a foolish person, and since “fool” is probably the worst thing Jesus ever called a person, outside of “unsaved,” it would be foolish to engage in the practice.

So, it is safe to assume that any member of a SBC church would be wise – not required, just wise – to refrain from any use of alcoholic beverages. In the case of the two churches to which I have belonged, to consume alcohol would have been and would be a matter of a broken pledge to the congregation, as well as to God.

I have never imbibed any alcohol in my nearly 85 years of life. That is because I saw first hand the effects of alcohol on my family. My father was an alcoholic and abandoned his wife and six children when I was about two years of age. And, since it was in the early 1930’s, at the height of the great depression, my family experienced untold horrors for most of our youth. It convinced me to vow that I would never touch a drop of the devil’s brew. Praise God I have been able to remain true to that vow.

I’m not trying to say that consuming alcohol in moderation is a sin; just that it is a stupid thing to do as is well stressed by Resolution 5, 2006.

Dennis Lee Dabney

Our political leadership in this great land of ours need to abstain, even our Church leaders need to quit the stuff because it is apparent looking at the conditions of both, neither know how to sip.

What great nation in the pass didn’t sink into irrelevance, a has been, a used to be, a was, without the bottle or bag along with their national sins still on them from leadership to the “led”?

Our country is not in the current state its in without the influence and control of the social drink.

Wrong is now right and what was right is now unacceptable from the top down.

Either we as leaders are sleeping on the job or we must be. . . .


Dennis Lee Dabney

We are commanded by the Holy Spirit Himself to abstain from the very presence of evil.

Strong drink is not called spirits for a lack of a better description.


Dennis Lee Dabney

Correction, we are commanded by God to abstain from the very “appearance” of evil as it is written.

Strong drink is not called spirits for lack of a better description.



Alcohol is a wonderful good gift from God to be enjoyed in moderation. Abstain if you like for whatever reason your conscience lead you, but do not condemn others for their proper use of God’s gift . The most loving congregation I have ever been around used wine in the Lord’s table and most of the congregation were moderate drinkers including the entire pastoral staff. They were burdened for the lost in their community and shared the Gospel with great compassion and the Lord produced much fruit in their area.

Dennis Lee Dabney

The problem for me when I was in the world wasn’t so much the alcohol but the moderation of the alcohol. My “moderator” wasn’t apparently up to the job.

The Lord Jesus Christ saved my old black, ashy soul in 1990, calling me into the gospel ministry.

12 years of abstinence until my wedding night. I convinced my beautiful bride to let’s celebrate our vows with a bottle of wine. Now this lady wasn’t a drinker at all.

We left the reception and I waited until I found a store where I wouldn’t be made out if you know what I mean.

So we moderated that bottle until both of us came down with the worse splitting headache ever. I discovered that night apparently Sister Dabney moderator wasn’t up for the job either. Because her moderation was no better than mine and I put it away just like I did when I was on my way to Hell.

We fell on our knees before the One who we all have to do, asking Him for forgiveness and washing us from the “laver” of His Word.

I figured this much, if moderation was up to The Lord that’s one thing but it is not. There are many variances when comes to saying how much is enough and also telling oneself no. When was the last time you told yourself enough already. How long did that discussion last? How far pass the goal line had you treaded?

I have found moderation is usually at the mercy of the event or feeling of the Host. He or she can move the marker when they are good and ready.

However none of the above changes the Biblical Truth regarding the deception of wine and liquor nor the influence and control of liquor.

It might cease from fermentation when induced but get ready, its only just begun to work.



    If one is unable to control their use of God’s gift of alcohol, they probably should not partake. Thankfully the committed Christian I know who are thankful for and use God’s good gifts have no problems with responsible use.

      Dennis Lee Dabney

      So you see no problem with leaven, the symbol of sin, used in administering Holy Communion? When Christ our Lord removed Judas and Satan and had no leaven present in any form at the first Holy Communion.



        I see Christ using wine in the first Eucharistic meal and believe that gift is for us today. I do not believe the discussion of Judas is germane to our topic.

          Dennis Lee Dabney

          He also used bread, special bread. The unleavened bread spoke of the putting away of sin. It also pointed to the One who would come whom Pilate said, “I find no fault in Him”. The Bread of Life, The Bread of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

          Now since there could be no symbols of sin or evil, consequently the wine used was new, not old. He said, “This cup is the “New” Testament in my blood, this do ye as often as you drink it, in rememberance of Me.

          Judas is germane to this discussion. Christ said, “Have not I chosen all of you and one of you are a devil. He was present for the supper and foot washing before Christ told him after the sop to GO QUICKLY!

          Satan was in Judas and he went out into THE NIGHT!

          My point again, there was nothing present whether metaphorically speaking or in reality representing sin, evil including both Judas and Satan.

          For Heaven sake, this is Holy Communion.

            Dennis Lee Dabney

            My main response is in moderation

            He said, “This cup is the New Testament in My blood.

            Now do you really believe He used old wine, fermented grapes to symbolize HIS ATONING BLOOD , HIS CLEANSING BLOOD, HIS, LIBERATING BLOOD FROM SIN?



              Yes I absolutely believe he used fermented wine and has given all food and drink as a good gift to us to be used in moderation. My original comment was about God’s good gift of alcohol to his people to be used in moderation for our good and his glory. All the types and shadows have been fulfilled in Christ and I am thankful for the liberty which his blood affords me. Blessings to you Mr. Dabney.

                Dennis Lee Dabney


                Blessings to you also.

                Thank you kindly,


      Rick Patrick

      But how do they drink it without looking at it? Doesn’t it spill all over the place? :-)

      “Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder.” (Proverbs 23:31-32)

      The problem with moderationism is that Christians don’t always have a good moderator. I mean, if the Pastor of the largest Southern Baptist Church in America teaches us anything at all by his example, it is that once a person embraces the concept of moderationism, and chooses to drink alcohol rather than to abstain, one is then susceptible to the overuse of alcohol in ways that will bring hardship, reproach and suffering to oneself, one’s family and one’s friends. Certainly EVERY moderationist will not become an alcoholic. But NO abstentionist can ever possibly become one.

        Dennis Lee Dabney

        Dr Patrick,

        Excellent observation as always. Salvation never warrant a business as usual attitude approach to life in Christ by regarding even the man made, human enhanced elements, as gifts from God.

        This mentality would also assert strychnine along with every other poison as a gifts from God and consumption by the Church the will of God.

        At some point the ridiculousness is intoxicating all by itself when modernist justify sin as coming in this context from our gracious Heavenly Father as a gift from God.

        The next line of reasoning and excuse making will be, because it looks good while it sits in the cup looking innocent, free of any Deception of the soul of the children of men.

        Never mind the cited “warnings” to abstain from alcohol beverages, as truly being the Gifts from God.

        In this instance, modernist actually drink the poison, while they reject the Gift of the warnings from the Word of God to abstain.


          Dennis Lee Dabney

          The Lord Jesus Christ said this to those who justified themselves before men, “God knows your hearts”. The things highly esteemed among men are an abomination before God.


        Jim Poulos

        Dr. Patrick,

        You’re arguments are too sophisticated.
        Does the Bible command abstinence or does it give liberty to the individual in respect to wine?
        That is the bottomline of the article.

        And if it does teach liberty given to individuals then that demands believers not to be judging one another for how one uses their God-given liberty. That’s Biblical and also very American.



        My view which I believe to be biblical is that the apostle Paul includes the use of wine in his discussions of Christian liberty (I will not cite these passages as I assume you know them already). Paul discusses issues with which Christians have differing convictions in these Christian liberty passages (i.e. that means that for one person what you call moderationism is acceptable and for another what you call abstentionist is acceptable). This also means that a believer who is a moderationist should be content with another believer who is an abstentionist (and vice versa) and neither should look down upon the other. There is room for respectful disagreement on this issue (as with all issues that fall within Christian liberty).

        The problems usually arise when one group tries to persuade persons of the other group to take their position rather than the position they hold. This is really not an area where we ought to be arguing or trying to persuade others to hold the view that we hold. If we try to argue against one view as if that view is completely acceptable, we are in fact violating what the apostle Paul said about issues of Christian liberty. Now if you want to give your reasons for your convictions and why you are persuaded of your own view that is fine. But blanket arguments against other views again ignores what Paul was presenting.

        “The problem with moderationism is that Christians don’t always have a good moderator.”

        This appears to be a blanket argument against the moderationist view.

        You buttress this with further anecdotal evidence:

        “I mean, if the Pastor of the largest Southern Baptist Church in America teaches us anything at all by his example, it is that once a person embraces the concept of moderationism, and chooses to drink alcohol rather than to abstain, one is then susceptible to the overuse of alcohol in ways that will bring hardship, reproach and suffering to oneself, one’s family and one’s friends.”

        I do not know this person or their experience, but assuming that he had the problems you refer to, it does not follow that the moderationist view is to rejected, it only follows that for this particular individual had problems with alcohol.

        “Certainly EVERY moderationist will not become an alcoholic. But NO abstentionist can ever possibly become one.”

        You are correct that no abstentionist will become an alcoholic, but again hopefully you are not presenting this as some sort of **blanket** argument against the moderationist view.

        In my experience and observation, at times people arguing for the superiority of their view leads to all sorts of unnecessary problems. One of Paul’s points in the Christian liberty passages is that these are situations where neither view is superior or inferior, rather, believers hold differing views and each is acceptable.

        If an abstentionist argues that everyone ought to be an abstentionist a red light goes on for me as that is contrary to the principles that Paul gave.

        Likewise if a moderationist acts as if or presents his view as superior, that is also a red light going on indicating that the principles Paul shared are being ignored.

        The critical issue is whether we are dealing with an issue that falls within the domain of Christian liberty. If we are, then we are in an area where good and bible believing people can have differing convictions and be fully persuaded of their convictions and both are right and neither is superior or inferior in their convictions.

Dennis Lee Dabney

The Lord Jesus Christ wouldn’t even permit Judas, whom Satan had entered, to take part in the first Holy Communion. There also wasn’t any leaven to be found, the metaphor for sin, due to the Passover feast.

Now we are using leaven at Holy Communion, I know.


    Jim Poulos


    You said, he was not permitted to take part in the first Holy Communion.

    He was.

      Dennis Lee Dabney


      Search the Scriptures my friend!


      Jim Poulos

      I did.

      He was there.

Jim Poulos


Judas was there.

    Dennis Lee Dabney


    He was there until Christ sent him away.


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