November 10, 2016, 11:21 AM

Christians, Social Drinking and Social Media

This topic is a result of a Facebook post that apparently hit a nerve. I should admit that I was not at all taken by surprise at the reaction received, for it reflects the state of Christianity in our nation today. The subject is Christians posting pictures of social drinking on social media. I do not believe that such actions are wise, God honoring, or contributing to the advancement of the kingdom, for the simple reason that they send the wrong message to the world and could cause a weaker brother to stumble.

Now that I got it out, let me explain to you my background on this. Having grown up in a Russian Baptist church, alcohol consumption was forbidden altogether, except for the Communion. Having been a part of a Bible Church movement, complete with four years at Dallas Theological Seminary, I do not believe the Bible to be completely restrictive, with reference to alcohol. It is drunkenness that is explicitly forbidden in Scriptures. Having lived on this planet for 42 years, I have not seen anything good resulting from Christians engaging in social drinking or the kingdom of God ever being advanced by it. I have seen, however, countless examples of the negative effects that came out of such activities. As such, therefore, I find Paul’s instruction to the Corinthian believers particularly helpful in this situation: “All things are lawful for me”—but not everything is beneficial” (1 Cor. 6:12).

Not everybody shares my conviction on this matter and below is one of the arguments raised in defense of Christians drinking beer and having the freedom to advertise such activity via social media, like Facebook:

Firstly, as we all know, Jesus and his disciples all drank wine. Quite frequently, actually. And Jesus himself made sure all the guests at the Wedding at Cana, who had already had plenty of wine, had even more to drink at the end. Now, I’m not promoting drunkenness by any means. But I think we make way too big of a deal out of the idea of having a drink or two now and then. Jesus certainly wasn’t “private” about it. He was very open. Secondly, going out and “having a beer” has become the standard, non-formal, friendly meeting place in our culture. If Jesus hung around with prostitutes and tax collectors, while still showing them His everlasting love, then we surely have no reason to be ashamed of having a couple of drinks with some friends or coworkers, while still showing them who we are.

Let me show you why such logic is faulty and should be rejected outright.


First, Jesus is sinless and we are not. When He touched that which was unclean, rather than getting defiled, He purified it. Pretty sure none of us can do that. Now I am not saying here that when Jesus touched it, the wine lost its alcoholic content and miraculously turned into grape juice. What I am saying, however, is that we should be careful about using the overly simplistic line of reasoning of “Jesus did it, so can I.” It ignores a whole host of cultural and other factors involved.


Second, there is a difference between wine drinking then and beer drinking now. The former was as normal of a part of one’s diet as is today’s water, Coke, or iced tea in the south, and it would never be something that could cause someone to stumble. Such is not the case with the latter.


Third reason to abstain from public parade of beer drinking is because of Pauline concern of causing a weaker brother to stumble. Paul makes his point clear in a passage like 1 Corinthians 8:13, for example – For this reason, if food causes my brother or sister to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause one of them to sin.”


Fourth, Paul’s instruction to the Corinthian believers, who, of all people, claimed to be too mature to be affected by the things that could entrap “normal” believers, applies well in this case: “But be careful that this liberty of yours does not become a hindrance to the weak” (1 Corinthians 8:9).


Finally, in all my witnessing over the past 35+ years, never did I feel the need to be assisted by the “evangelistic aid” of drinking a few beers with those to whom I was telling about the Lord. Nor have my evangelistic efforts ever been impeded, due to my lack of consuming alcohol with those to whom I was witnessing, rather the opposite. All in all, a biblical worldview does not pit one character in Scripture against another (as in Jesus vs. Paul), but is based on the whole counsel of Scripture. And the whole counsel of Scripture seems to be convincingly against Christians engaging in that which might do more harm than good, which is certainly the case with public consumption of alcohol and its advertising via social media.