Alcohol and the boundaries of Christian freedom

This article is a “lead up” to the kickoff of our “Cringe” series at Gleason. The series starts August 28 with a message about the Christian and alcohol. We hope you will read this and join us that Sunday!

Why this article?

 I am writing this article in preparation for an upcoming sermon in our “Cringe” series. Why? First, because there is so much to say about this subject that a 35 minute sermon will not even begin to scratch the surface. Second, I hope you will scan this article and ask related questions (online or face to face!).

Why the topic?

As a Pastor, I have found that Christians tend to fall into two distinct camps on this issue. First there is the loop-holer: a person who sees biblical teaching through the desire to do what they want to do in the first place. Second, there is the legalist: a person who sees biblical teaching through their desire to have others conform to their own personal convictions. Both of these are unhealthy. Churches have become so afraid of the latter that the topic is left untreated, and believers fall comfortably into one of the unjustifiable categories.

Another reason this topic is important is because it is so deadly. It is estimated that alcohol is responsible for 75,000-100,000 deaths each year in the US. The AIDS epidemic takes only 18,000 a year in the US. Among college students (18-24 years old), 1,400 will die this year in alcohol-related incidents; 600,000 will be assaulted by another student; 500,000 will be injured; 400,000 will have unprotected sex; 110,000 will be arrested for alcohol-related violations; and 70,000 will be assaulted sexually.[1] The problem is massive. How can the church not address this kind of issue?

The Bottom Line.

Honestly, I know what most people want to know when they read something like this (for those who will!): “Is Pastor Gary going to tell me I shouldn’t drink?” Let me fast forward…no. But don’t fail to read the rest, because that is not actually the end of the story.

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[1] Task Force on College Drinking, the National Advisory Council of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism