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I'm a Christian, married to a wonderful man, Steven, and mother to a wonderful little son. I have many interests and a few noteworthy journeys in life and I enjoy sharing them.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Jesus Didn't Follow the Word of Wisdom

Jesus drank alcohol. No, really. He did.


Some will say that the wine of that time was just grape juice, but that's not precisely true. First, I'm pretty sure they could tell the difference between fermented and non-fermented drink. They did not have refrigeration like we do, so drink would ferment fairly quickly if it was not drank right away. While its likely that they didn't always let it ferment as long as we sometimes do for wine now (e.g. a few years), there still would have often been at least a little fermentation, and therefore a little alcoholic content. We also know from the Bible that people did get drunk off of the wine, obviously an indication of alcoholic content.

Genesis 9:21
And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
 Leviticus 10:9
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:
(Note this is not a prohibition against alcohol at all times, but specifically for going into the tabernacle.)



1 Samuel 1:14
And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.
 Proverbs 20:1
Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
Luke 5:39
No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.
(Older is more fermented and often better, as a connoisseur will tell you.)


 There are also plenty of accounts of Jesus eating and drinking with sinners. In fact, his first miracle was to make good wine for a wedding!

Luke 5:30
But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Luke 7:34
The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!

John 2:10
And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. (After Jesus turned water to wine for his first miracle at a wedding feast.)


Now, the Bible most certainly speaks against drunkenness, and its easy to consider why when you hear of (and probably personally know) people who cheat only when drunk, or who harm themselves or others when drunk, who make stupid decision they wouldn't otherwise make, or who become addicted to it.  None of those things are what a person of God should be doing with themselves.

But drinking not to get drunk? Well, yes, the Bible does allow for that, most certainly...it just said not to have excess, or too much.


Ephesians 5:18
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.
1 Timothy 3:8

In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain.
 Titus 2:3
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.





However, as Christians we must be conscious of when we drink and with whom, as well as how much.


Romans 14:21

It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

Notice this verse does not prohibit drinking wine anymore than it prohibits eating meat or anything else--it just says not to do it if it will make someone else fall. So if you're with someone who is an alcoholic, current or recovered, It is probably not a good idea or good example to drink in front of them or especially to offer them a drink. A person like that should not be drinking because they do so sinfully. Does that mean we have to lie to them about the fact that we might be okay drinking occasionally? No, lying is a sin. But we should not tempt those who shouldn't drink or put a stumbling block in front of those who are uncomfortable with it, even if we explain to them why it is alright for some to drink.


The Word of Wisdom's complete ban on alcohol was a product of Joseph Smith's times, just like his ban on coffee and tea--and it was not even presented as commandment, but as a guideline. Its still phrased as a guideline, in fact, and interestingly it allows for wine for sacrament (communion). As we can see from all of the above, the Mormon idea that drinking is wrong for everyone all the time, period, is not Biblical at all. Jesus is the best example of that.



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