Some words about alcohol from my friend, Bob Vincent, an EPC pastor in Louisiana.

“It may surprise you, but according to some historians, the first person to distill whiskey from corn mash and age it in charred oak casks (what we call Bourbon) was eighteenth century Baptist pastor, Elijah Craig, of Kentucky . The Reverend Craig was an ardent, Bible-believing Baptist and committed to education; he founded what later became Georgetown College . Early Baptists understood that drunkenness is a serious sin but had no trouble with a wee dram of whiskey. While some Christians were critical of the Reverend Craig’s invention, virtually no Christians believed in total abstinence from alcohol as a beverage until relatively modern times.

However, Christianity underwent significant modifications in the nineteenth century with the introduction of a measure of theological liberalism that denied the radical impact of Original Sin and preached that if we could outlaw certain things, we could bring in the Millennium. The fruit of these movements helped to outlaw of slavery and introduce prison reform, female suffrage and prohibition. By the early twentieth century, this earlier form of theological liberalism had taken major control of most Protestant denominations, except for Lutherans and Episcopalians, and on January 16, 1919, the Eighteen Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed, which along with the Volstead Act, brought in Prohibition and took a small band of Sicilian war lords and gave them significant wealth and political control in America. It was these Sicilian patriots who put John F. Kennedy in the White House and also, probably, they who removed him from office — but I’m going to far down a rabbit trail.

The bottom line is that until the mid-nineteenth century, virtually no Bible-believing Christians would have said that having a small amount of alcohol is a sin. Furthermore, classical Greek had a word for unfermented alcohol, TRUX, pronounced like “trucks.” That is not the Greek word that the Holy Sprit had the human writers use in such passages as John 2, where the Lord Jesus turned the water into wine. That word is OINOS, “a beverage made from fermented juice of the grape” [Frederick William Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, Third Edition, based on Walter Bauer’s Griechisch-deutsches Wörterbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments und der frühchristlichen Literatur, sixth edition, ed. Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, with Viktor Reichmann and on previous English editions by W.F.Arndt, F.W.Gingrich, and F.W.Danker, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), p. 701].
From my perspective that settles the question, our Lord Jesus Christ made and drank alcoholic wine. That doesn’t mean that we should consume alcohol, but it does mean that we sin if we sit in judgment of those who do, if they are drinking in moderation. As for the people who believe it is a sin to drink alcohol, we sin if we press them to go against their conscience because “everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23, See that whole 14th chapter and 1 Corinthians 8-9)…”

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