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By President Randall A. Bach

While I was growing up, alcohol was close to the top of the “Do Not” list. As I grew into adulthood, I continued to abstain from alcohol because of my own personal conviction. In addition to the impact that the modeling and instruction from my parents and church made on me, I observed firsthand the effects of alcohol on neighboring families. While that decision does not make me holier than other people, it remains my personal consecration before the Lord. You can be sure that no one has ever nor ever will be able to pressure me to do anything contrary to what I believe is right for me. As you would expect, there were times when friends taunted me, asking me why I did not do as they did. My response, usually with a teasing smile, was “You mean what is wrong with me because I can make my own decisions without allowing other people to do that for me? Thank you for the compliment!”

While many Christians hold to my view of abstinence, some do not. Whatever your perspective, you can find research that supports your position regarding consumption of alcohol. Even Bible scholars have offered contrasting scriptural cases for both abstaining from and imbibing alcohol. Again, choose your Bible scholar! I will make no attempt to cover those unending arguments here. Yet we have to be honest with ourselves about what the Bible does and does not say.

What the Word of God States

The Word makes absolutely clear there is no room in heaven for drunkards (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Drunkenness is sin. There are many biblical warnings about the dangers of wine, particularly too much, and that it can be a mocker which leads people astray. In other words, there is definite potential for sin with alcohol. There are also verses that refer to wine without condemning its consumption. There are also many biblical principles that must be interpreted regarding the consumption of alcohol, such as whether it becomes a stumbling block to the spiritual development of another believer. Romans 14:13-23 provides a clear standard about both passing judgment on and doing anything that is a hindrance to another Christian. Food and drink are used only as examples. Possible hindrances are not limited to those or focused on alcohol. Rather, Romans 14 provides a significant and life-defining scriptural principle that every believer must prayerfully apply to the entirety of his or her life. It is vital for every follower of Jesus to prayerfully weigh how he or she applies that scriptural admonition. Too much is at stake in terms of our testimony to ignore it.

What Open Bible Asserts

Open Bible Churches has interpreted Romans 14, other Scripture passages, and alarming national statistics about the human toll of alcohol as sound and wise bases for advocating that Christians abstain from alcohol, as noted in our Official Satement approved by ministers and church delegates. Alcohol is devastating individuals and families. Although we advocate for abstinence, all people are ultimately accountable before God for the choices they make. Ministers have a higher level of accountability (Luke 12:48), both to the Lord and to the body that licenses them (Open Bible), for choices that damage their relationships, leadership, testimony, and conduct.

A Weighty Personal Responsibility

Space does not allow me to cite here the growing body of research that indicates alcohol is becoming an immense problem in our nation. You undoubtedly know of alcohol-related pain suffered by friends or family members. However, I also have friends who are apparently able to drink alcohol in moderation without ill effect. What I do know is that people who do not consume alcohol will never have a problem with it or cause problems for other people because of it. I am confident that if I drink a glass of wine I will not be barred from heaven. Neither will you. I choose, however, to stay clear of what could impair my judgment, possibly trap me with dependency, negatively influence my relationships, possibly tar the testimony I am called to live for Christ, or potentially cause any other person to become ensnared by the possible addictive effects of alcohol because of my exhibited freedom to consume it. Your convictions do not have to be the same as mine. You are accountable for your own interpretation and application of Romans 14 and other scriptures regarding the consumption of alcohol. However, I encourage you to prayerfully consider whether what alcohol adds to your life is worth its possible effects. Those effects extend beyond you.

About The Author

Randall Bach
President of Open Bible Churches

Randall Bach delights in opportunities to serve the Lord, including his current assignment as president of Open Bible Churches. He and Barbara, his wife, have been in ministry for over 46 years and call it “Our adventure together.” Randall loves the church, pastors, and church leaders and is convinced that God loves to work through them to make disciples, develop leaders, and plant churches.