(Photo: Mars Hill Church)
Evangelist pastor Greg Laurie tackled the question of whether it's acceptable for Christians to drink in a recent blog post by pointing out that John the Baptist is a good role model – he drank neither wine nor strong drink.
"John gives us a good model for life: he drank neither wine nor strong drink. Personally, I don't drink at all," Laurie states. "That is due, to some degree, to coming from an alcoholic home and seeing the devastation that drinking can bring."
In his blog post, "Some Thoughts on Drinking in This Holiday Season," Laurie describes how John was set apart by God from the time he was in his mother's womb.
"In Luke 1:15, the angel said of John, 'He will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb' (NKJV)."
Among the sobering statistics about alcohol consumption in the U.S.: In 2010, 211 children were killed in drunk-driving crashes. Out of those 211 deaths, 131 (62 percent) were riding with the drunk driver. Also, adults who drank too much and got behind the wheel amounted to 112 million times, two years ago. That is almost 300,000 incidents of drinking and driving each day, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention.
Perhaps one of the most revealing statistics about the harm of alcohol abuse, three out of every four convicted jail inmates were involved in alcohol or drugs at the time of their current offense, according to statistics cited on the faith-based recovery website, MartyAngelo.com.
"I can't think of a single good thing that comes from drinking, but I can think of many bad things that come from it: broken homes, violence, accidents, people killed on the road by drunk drivers, addiction, destroying your health . . . the list goes on," Laurie writes.
"Drinking will never make anything better, only worse. Every illustration of drunkenness in the Bible is a disaster: Noah became drunk, and in his nakedness, he acted shamelessly. Lot became drunk and his daughters committed incest with him. Belshazzar, in Daniel 5, had a drunken feast and worshipped his false gods. He lost his kingdom that night. Many a kingdom, family, career, ministry, and life have been lost through drinking."
Laurie said he would not dispute someone's "liberty to drink," but personally drinks as much as he wants to, which is nothing because he doesn't want to.
"As Paul told the Corinthian believers, 'I have the right to do anything,' you say – but not everything is beneficial. 'I have the right to do anything' – but I will not be mastered by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12 NIV)," he states. "I don't want to be under the power of anyone or anything but Jesus Christ!"
Laurie adds, "Here's a revolutionary thought: If you don't drink, you will never get drunk. If you do drink, you may get drunk. Is it worth the risk?"
Laurie also believes that drinking by a Christian could cause another believer to stumble in their faith. He cites 1 Corinthians 8:9 that states, "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak."
He concluded his post by noting that John never touched alcohol, but was instead "filled with the Spirit."
"The Bible says, 'Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit' (Ephesians 5:18 NLT). It's better to be filled with the Spirit than with the spirits."
On the web: Greg Laurie's blog