IFB Memories #6: Thou shalt not drink!

My wife and I attended an independent fundamental Baptist (IFB) church from 1983 to 1991. TheVIN pastor of our church, like all fundamental Baptist pastors, was completely against drinking any alcoholic beverages. I’m not 100% positive but he may have spoken about the “sin” of consuming alcohol more than any other “sin.”

I’ve read through the Bible many times and I’m very aware of the many verses that warn against abusing alcohol and drunkenness. But I’m also aware of the many passages that seem to permit moderate consumption of alcohol. The Jews grew grapes and made wine. Wine was a big part of ancient Jewish culture. Well water was often unsafe to drink and Jews used wine as a beverage. Our pastor claimed good Jews only drank unfermented grape juice but there are many Bible passages that contradict that claim. Even Jesus spoke of the danger of fermenting new wine in old wineskins.

Complete abstention from alcohol was the absolute standard at our church and it was a litmus test of spirituality. If you drank ANY beer, wine, or liquor, you were deemed to be an immature believer. I enjoyed the taste of a cold beer on a hot summer day so I asked an older brother in the Lord if it was okay to drink non-alcoholic beer (0.5% alcohol). He said drinking NA beer gave the appearance of sin and to abstain from that as well. Hmmm.

I knew Christians who would walk fifty miles barefoot before they would allow a drop of beer or wine to touch their lips but I saw some hypocrisy in that. What about coffee? That’s right, no one ever got drunk on coffee but caffeine is addictive and it alters behavior. Is drinking coffee a sin? Also, a Christian might forsake a bottle of beer but enthusiastically chow down a half-dozen cream-filled donuts. Wouldn’t addiction to sugar also be a sin? Many of the congregants at our IFB church who shouted out hearty “Amens” when the pastor preached on alcohol were seriously overweight. They proudly never touched a glass of wine but they were addicted to food. The pastor himself was obese. Which is worse, “defiling” your body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, with a single glass of wine or with a greasy Big Mac and fries?

I totally agree; Christians should never be drunk or allow themselves to become addicted to alcohol. But moderation in all things. Too often churches get side railed on the standard “pet” sins and behaviors and avoid others. Yes, I’m very aware of the damage alcohol abuse has done in the lives of many people and their families. Some individuals can’t stop at one drink. They should obviously avoid alcohol altogether.

I realize many Christians will disagree with me on this issue. It’s up to each believer to do what is right according to their own beliefs on this topic. But for me, enjoying a single cold beer after mowing the lawn on a hot summer day is not a sin.


What does the Bible say about drinking alcohol / wine? Is it a sin for a Christian to drink alcohol / wine?
http://www.gotquestions.org/sin-alcohol.html

Is it okay for Christians to drink alcohol?
http://carm.org/okay-for-christians-to-drink-alcohol

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15 thoughts on “IFB Memories #6: Thou shalt not drink!

  1. I’ve wondered too. I stopped drinking a few years back , not because of church or the word. I stopped before I even started attending church. It just wasn’t for me anymore, I needed change. Anyway, it talks about abusing alcohol, I don’t think abuse is drinking a glass or two of wine per week. But then there are those who drink one and can’t stop after that. I’m guessing it depends on the person too. But you’re absolutely right about the overweight people who are addicted to food, which contains plenty of sugar. What about them? I guess the whole don’t try to judge someone else before u look at urself applies to this.
    Good post Tom!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Andi! Maybe there’s some pent up frustration in that post having to do with sitting under a pastor who had his “pet” sins. Alcohol addiction obviously has damaged many peoples’ lives and I don’t mean to minimize it, but what’s sin for another person may not be sin for me. But this isn’t all about me either because God’s Word also says were not to flaunt our freedom in the Lord in front of a brother or sister who struggles with a temptation like alcohol or who thinks drinking is sinful for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ” It’s up to each believer to do what is right according to their own beliefs on this topic.”

    Ok…wow. I love wine, and I love a cold beer.

    I don’t drink either anymore.

    I don’t have an issue if anybody else does, because you said that in the above.

    We do, however at my church, covenant with one another to not consume alcohol. If I stop agreeing with that, I can move on. But I am ok with it, so I stay.

    And given my past history , it’s probably best I avoid the situation.

    Well considered and reasonable, Tom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Wally. Yes, I believe this is an individual issue that must be decided by each person and not mandated from the pulpit. People have certainly done great harm to themselves and their families by abusing alcohol and becoming addicted to it. I don’t mean to underemphasize that. I know some Christians myself who have a real hard time stopping after one drink. They should leave it alone. For whatever reason, I’m able to order one alcoholic drink and stop. If I were a pastor and I saw the ravages caused by addiction on a family or families I would certainly advise the congregation periodically to handle alcohol with care and contemplation but I don’t believe abstention should be mandated from the pulpit like it was at our old church.

      Liked by 1 person

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