Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #49: “Wine Is a Mocker”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next-to-last installment, the Catholic apologist continues his section on “Catholic Life and Practice” as he responds to the criticism of (some) Protestants that the Roman Catholic church permits the drinking of alcoholic beverages when the Bible says “Wine Is a Mocker.”

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Protestants who believe in complete abstinence from alcoholic beverages cite Proverbs 20:1 among other passages:

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”

Broussard responds with three arguments:

(1) Broussard argues that the consumption of alcoholic beverages is not forbidden by the Bible in an absolute sense because the following verses and others seem to allow it: Deuteronomy 14:22-26, Genesis 14:18, Ecclesiastes 10:19, Psalm 104:15, 1 Timothy 5:23. Some evangelicals claim that the Israelites’/Jews’ standard table wine was diluted with so much water that it was nonintoxicating, but if that were the case, Broussard argues, there would not be so many admonitions against drunkenness in the Bible.

(2) Broussard then argues that Jesus was not absolutely opposed to fermented wine in His earthly ministry and presents the following proof texts: “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking…,” Luke 7:34, and “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now…,” John 2:1-11. Broussard forgets to include Jesus’s analogy of the wine skins and fermented wine in Mark 2:22.

(3) Broussard offers Isaiah 5:11 to argue that the Bible doesn’t forbid drinking alcoholic beverages, but only warns against overindulgence.

Let’s now respond to Broussard.

I’m one of those evangelicals who believes that the Bible doesn’t teach absolute abstinence when it comes to the consumption of alcoholic beverages, but that it warns against overindulgence and drunkenness. I wrote a post on this controversial topic way back in 2016 with supporting references (see here). Suffice to say that each believer must follow his/her own understanding and convictions regarding this matter and also must strive to not be a stumbling block to believers who hold to a different conviction.

Let’s not get sidetracked. The permissibility of consuming alcoholic beverages is a tertiary issue. The primary issue is Roman Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Next up: “No Graven Images”

21 thoughts on “Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #49: “Wine Is a Mocker”

  1. Hi Tom. I’m with you on the teaching on drinking alcohol. The Bible does not forbid it, it forbids getting drunk. Though I don’t drink, and never have, I know plenty of evangelicals who like to have a sip of wine, and even a can of beer every now and then. And they are very strong believers.

    Thanks for bringing up the subject.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, David. I once belonged to a independent fundamental Baptist church in which drinking alcohol was one of the ULTIMATE sins. People would walk 100 miles barefoot before they would allow a drop of alcohol to pass their lips, yet other behaviors that the Bible strictly forbade were just fine. I’m sensitive to the fact that drug and alcohol addiction has been a big problem for individuals and families. Some people just should not touch booze. But enjoying one cold beer on a hot Saturday after mowing the grass is not a sin in my view.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am careful about drinking alcohol. Both sides of my family have had alcoholics. I have wine sometimes when my family and I make a pasta. I only have beer once a month sometimes twice a month. I feel no conviction to stay away from alcohol completely. But I am careful with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I appreciate all your comments. My attitude toward alcohol is similar. I have a Christian friend who was raised in an alcoholic family and has a propensity to drink to great excess and get drunk in public. It’s a bad testimony. The person has “shared the gospel” while drunk multiple times.

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  3. Reading this I was wondering what your review of alcohol might be especially given your background. I see our view is the same! Some IFB pastor probably is flipping reading this. Practically I am not a drinker and it is strange to me; maybe it’s seeing how the men abuse alcohol in the Marines where the loneliness either made men either a drunk, a hunk or a monk

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: loneliness either made men a drunk, a hunk or a monk

      Thanks for the saying! Did you make that one up or is that a popular Marine saying?

      I know all kinds of studies have been done on addiction and such factors as upbringing, environment, personality, genetics, etc. My mom barely drank and my dad always stopped at one drink at get-togethers so I was raised in an environment where to be drunk and out of control was shameful. In reading Broussard’s arguments on this topic, I thought about how Irish-Catholics were once noted for a high-rate of alcoholism. Poverty and cultural acceptance were no doubt factors. I’ve also read articles on how many Catholic priests abuse alcohol because of loneliness. It’s interesting how Broussard totally ignores the negatives re: alcohol abuse within Catholic culture in his arguments.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That was a Marine saying in the desert base at 29 Palms in California where I spent quite some time training.
        Good point that Broussard didn’t note alcohol problem in Catholic culture

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Crissy. Yes, at the first church we attended after we were saved, drinking alcohol was viewed as one of the primo sins and the pastor preached against it quite often.

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  4. This is an argument that Protestants get wrong for sure. I agree with Broussard that Paul encouraged Timothy to drink a bit of wine for his stomach. Jesus turning water into wine stands to reason that Jesus was not totally anti-alcohol. Also, wine and alcohol was NOT as strong as it is today. In the Greco-Roman (G-R) world it was common for wine to be watered down. While I am not a drinker, personal conviction, I am not anti-alcohol so long as it does not become one’s hero as my friend says. Glad this was an easy chapter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for all of the comments, Mandy. Yeah, I think most Christians paint themselves into a corner with a Scripturally-untenable, absolutely prohibitory view on alcohol. That said, I also understand that alcohol is abused by many including Christians.

      Liked by 1 person

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