Keith Hunt - Christians and Wine? #4 - Page Four   Restitution of All Things

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Christians and Wine? #4

What the Bible says



INSTRUCTIONS FOR CHOOSING SERVANTS

The letters Paul wrote to Timothy have become known as Pastoral
Epistles, because they contain information for Pastors that, 
"....you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house
of God, which is the church of the living God.." (1 Tim. 3:15 ).

Among the many instructions these letters contain is the
qualifications for DEACONS or those that will be appointed to
serve in an official way within the church. Notice 1 Tim.3:8 
"Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given
to MUCH wine..." The NIV translates, "....not indulging in
much wine..." The Fenton translation is "...nor addicted
to much wine..." The Modern Language also renders it the same
as Fenton. The Living Bible says,"They must not be heavy
drinkers..." The Amplified Bible is as the KJV. The literal Greek
reads, "not to much wine."

For the Greek word 'much' the ENGLISHMAN'S GREEK CONCORDANCE
gives among other words these: abundant, great, long, much,
plenteous, great deal.
The ANALYTICAL GREEK LEXICON gives: great in magnitude or
quantity, much, large, the many, the mass, greatly, vehemently.

This Greek word is used dozens of times in the NT - some of the
passages where it is found are:
Mt.6:30; 13:5; Mk.12:41; Lk.7:11; 12:19,48; John 3:23; 6:10; Acts
10:2; 15:7; Rom.16:6; James 5:16; Rev.19:1.
It is obvious the word means - plenteous, great deal, mass, much
or great in quantity.
Now are we to suppose that what Paul was laying down to Timothy
for the qualifications to deaconship was that a man must not
drink much grape juice? What if he did drink a great deal of
unfermented grape juice - would that disqualify him from becoming
a deacon? What if he drank very little grape juice but drank
prodigious amounts of orange juice - would that be okay and so
qualify for deaconship?  I will say with Paul "I speak as a 
fool." Surely no person is going to say that Paul was here
teaching Timothy that a deacon could not drink much unfermented
grape juice!!

It should be plain to see that Paul was referring to alcoholic
wine. He was telling Timothy that a man who is being considered
for the office of deacon can not be someone who is given to
drinking much, plenteous, a great quantity of wine as a
practicing way of life. Paul is not saying that he can not drink
fermented wine PERIOD! The very structure and use of the Greek
word 'much' should make that truth plain to the unbiased mind.
If Paul had wanted to teach Timothy that no servant of the Lord
should ever drink alcoholic wine, he could have easily said and
used the greek words "not to wine" or "shall not drink wine" or
some other emphatic phrase. The truth is Paul was being inspired
by the Holy Spirit to write these words "not given to much 
wine."
There is no way around it - neither the OT or the NT, neither
Moses or Jesus or Paul or any other inspired writer of the Bible
ever condemned anyone for drinking fermented beverages. What they
did condemn was lusting after such drinks, being deceived by such
drinks and getting drunk or tarrying long at them and becoming an
alcoholic.

VARIOUS QUESTIONS ANSWERED
ALCOHOLISM

It is often pointed out by such individuals as Mr.Saunders (which
he does in his booklet) that NO ONE is immune to alcoholism. I
would answer that with the ungenerated heart no one is immune to,
lying, stealing, profanity, hate, covetousness, sexual lust and
immorality and under the right (or should I say wrong)
circumstances, even murder. All of these are SINS just as
alcoholism is. Should we not talk because we may lie? Should
we not look at a man or woman because we are not immune to lust?
Shall we not pick up and use a knife because some have become
murderers with such a tool? Should we not get married because no
one is immune (without God's grace and help) to divorce?
There are many things in life that the Lord gives us to use 
(i.e. our sex drive) either for good or for evil. The thing
itself is not always evil, but yes the Lord knows that in giving
it to us - allowing us to use it - even saying at times we are to
use it(such as marriage and reproduction) - He knows it may be
used wrongly, to hurt ourselves and others. That's why He gives
us MUCH instruction on the right use of the things He says we are
allowed to do and handle in life. He knows that the ungenerated
heart of man is prone to evil, that what the Lord intended to be
a BLESSING for us, man would abuse, twist and pervert into EVIL .
Does the Eternal come along and take away our mouth, eyes, sexual
organs, marriage, childrearing, talents and inventive abilities
because we often do not use them the correct way as He intended ?
No, He does not. He cries out to us to come to Him, learn HOW to
use the things He has given us to use CORRECTLY and for our
BLESSING and right enjoyment.

The Lord cries out to mankind to come and partake of His very
divine NATURE - His POWER and LIFE so that man can have the
STRENGTH and the self-control to be able to properly CONTROL all
that He gives and allows us to use. One of the things the Lord
allows us to use is alcoholic beverages!
For individuals like Mr.E.L.Saunders to write and talk about
having more of the Spirit of God and then in essence by what they
say about this subject and those "sipping Christians" deny
that the very Holy Spirit of Power can keep you from ever
becoming an alcoholic, is to me, a denial of the Spirit they so
earnestly want to preach. Let me say again, I have known and
still know dozens of Spirit filled Christians who for many many
years have been drinking fermented wine and other strong drink
and are no nearer becoming alcoholics than this PC I'm using - I
happen to be one of them. The POWER of the Holy Spirit is
POWERFUL - it does give you the power and self-control to be
temperate in all things. I have never been drunk in my entire
life - no not once, and that credit goes to the Lord not me and
His Spirit that He has so freely given me.

To those who may be alcoholics let me say this. You can, with
the wonderful help from the Spirit of God, and good organizations
like the AA, OVERCOME!!  It is also true that in many cases many
such individuals may have to stay away from alcohol completely,
although I have know some who were able to be moderate drinkers.
The Lord does not command you to drink alcohol - it is not a sin
to be a teetotaller.

MODERATION

In the booklet "Should Christians Drink Fermented Wine?" by
Pastor Saunders he says on page 27, ".. Mr.Rowe says,'The
Key to Christian drinking is moderation.' Of course he dare not
tell us what 'moderation' means...But let me ask this question,  

How is one to make known to all men what 'moderation' is in
consuming alcoholic wine? Who 'draws the line' and where? As a
Pastor and Shepherd of the flock of God, am I to tell the people
that one glass of wine is 'moderation' or is it two glasses, or
perhaps more?"

Now Mr.Rowe in his article did not legislate what 'moderation'
is. Neither do I legislate moderation. Why? Very simple - the
Lord does not legislate moderation! This is what the Lord God
legislates:
"..be not addicted to wine ..." (Barclay) or be not "one who
sits long at his wine" (Earle - Word Meanings in the NT) 
1 Tim.3:3. ".....not given to much wine......" 1 Tim.3:8, "Be not
drunk with wine...." Eph.5:18.

The Eternal teaches us we can eat clean meat if we desire - He
does not legislate how much! The Lord taught that a Christian
would pray - He did not legislate how many minutes a day.
Jesus said a Christian would fast - He did not legislate how many
times a year!
Our heavenly Father says His children can wear Jewelry and
Make-up (though some will argue that also) if they desire (if you
have never had that proved to you then study my studies on this
Website) but He does not legislate how much! I could go on with
other examples, but I hope you see the point. Within the bounds
of what God has said is lawful for us a Christian is to use the
Spirit of God, which is the very nature of God (2 Pet.1:4 the
divine power (chap. 1:3), to let the mind of Christ be in them so
they are growing up in Him unto a mature and perfect man
(Eph.4:13-15 ).

This is the development of RIGHTEOUS GODLY CHARACTER The Lord
does not have hundreds of do's and don'ts that He has legislated
for us on keeping the Sabbath - He has given us a few broad
principles only, and then expects us to use His Spirit of
sound-mindedness and wisdom to handle all the many circumstances
and questions that may arise on Sabbath keeping. Ministers should
be on the whole more spiritually mature than those they are
serving, but to think that they must legislate things to their
congregations that not even the Lord has legislated is not only
becoming as the Pharisees of Jesus' day, but worse still it is
setting oneself up as God Himself. Woe unto those ministers who
want to dictate what color of tie, shoes, blouse, suit etc. their
people should wear to services or how long the men's side-burns
should be or the ladies dresses. Woe unto those ministers who
want to dictate how many pieces of jewelry the women should or
should not wear. Woe unto those ministers who want to legislate
how many hours of T.V. a week their members are to watch. Such
ministers are no longer "a help of your joy" but have become
religious legislating dictators.

Some seem to want God or their minister to legislate every act of
their lives - some ministers seem to want to legislate every act
of those they pastor, when to come in, when to go out, how many
glasses of apple juice to drink, what time to go to bed etc. They
perhaps feel some kind of safety in this - no decisions to make,
no personal responsibility, no having to go to the Lord for His
help and guidance under different and specific situations. This
may seem the neat and clean way to do things, "Oh if only the
Lord would legislate for me what moderate drinking is, then I
would not have to make all these mental judgments" is what some
desire, but God's way is not to have us as robots. Sure He gives
us some rules that are cut and dry, such as "You shall not steal"
but often it is the broad outline He gives and we are to use His
spirit and wisdom to stay within the bounds - and that develops
CHARACTER!     
As for alcoholic beverages, the one boundary line is, you MAY or
you MAY NOT drink such beverages, and the other boundary line is,
do not sit long, get ADDICTED or get DRUNK on wine. The Christian
is to stay within that boundary, and that is moderation!

IS DRINKING ALCOHOL HABIT FORMING?

Mr.Saunders writes on page 17 of his booklet,"Consuming
alcoholic beverages whether it's wine, liquor, or just 'coke'
is habit forming..."
This statement is totally incorrect!
To say "Consuming alcoholic drinks MAY be habit forming" is one
thing, but saying "Consuming alcoholic beverages IS habit
forming" is altogether another. How do I know that Mr.Saunders'
statement is wrong? I know from the experience of a person 
as close to me as you can get - myself. I at times, such as when
observing the seven day Feast of Tabernacles, may consume
anywhere from one to four alcoholic drinks per day, some weekly
Sabbath days I may enjoy 1 or 3 glasses of wine, BUT THEN a
number of weeks may go by without drinking any fermented
beverage. Drinking wine or any alcoholic beverage is only habit
forming if you let it be!


DON'T LOOK ON WINE?

In answer to my statement that there is no direct command of the
Lord that we should not drink alcoholic beverages, some will say
yes there is, and turn quickly to Prov.23:31 "Look not thou
upon the wine when it is red, when it gives its color in the cup.
..." and declare, "There you are, if we are not even to look
upon wine how much more are we not to drink it." Some say this
statement is very EMPHATIC and emphasize the word emphatic. The
comment in the WYCLIFFE BIBLE COMMENTARY is an example of this
teaching.

If we are to be EMPHATIC with the first part of this clause
should we not be as willing to be just as emphatic with the last
part? " Look not thou upon wine WHEN IT IS RED..." So it is only
RED wine that we are emphatically told not to look at - WHITE
wine and STRONG DRINK (shekar) are excluded!! Oh the silly
reasonings of men that desire to uphold their personal emotional
whims and are not willing to let the word of God correct them so
they maybe, "not unwise but understanding what the will
of the LORD is" (Eph.5:17).

Look at the CONTEXT of Prov.23:31. Verse 30 says, "They that
tarry long at wine ..." Verse 32,  At the last it bites like
a serpent..." ADAM CLARKE was being honest with this verse
when he wrote in his commentary:
"Let neither the color, the odour, the sparkling, etc., of the
wine, when poured out, induce you to drink it. However good and
pure it may be, it will be to THEE a snare, because THOU ART
addicted to it, and hast NO SELF-COMMAND." (emphasis mine).
The context shows: clearly that this proverbial advice was given
to those "that tarry long at wine" to those who are addicted to
it. They should not be tempted to drink it when its poured out -
they had better stay away from it altogether because they will
get drunk, and when awake will seek it yet again (verses 33-35). 

This is instruction is for those who are addicted to
alcoholic beverages.

STRONG DRINK - HARD LIQUOR 

It is very important to note that when you relate the words 
"strong drink" (Heb. is 'shekar') as used in the Bible, you
do not think of this as meaning what we today call 'hard liquor.'
It may refer to a type of 'beer' that the ancients used, but it
should not be acquainted with our hard drinks like 'gin' or
'brandy.' As for the health benefits of our hard liquors, see my
next comments.

ALCOHOL AND ITS EFFECTS ON HEALTH

In trying to drive the nail home for the case of 'total
abstinence' Mr.Saunders quotes a Doctor Haven Emerson as
saying, "Alcohol is a ... protoplasmic poison ... causes
disease .... causes death from acute and chronic poisoning
... decreases expectancy of life ..."
 Here is my answer to this argument.

FIRST. The word 'alcohol' is a very broad term, applied to all
fermented intoxicating beverages from mild wines to beer to hard
liquor. There is enough data available to show that a prolonged
and regular use of our modern HARD LIQUORS is detrimental to ones
health. Their usefulness may be seen in the famous stories of
the snowy Alpines, where the St.Bernard dogs were sent out to
rescue lost or trapped people in the snow. They would carry a
little bottle of brandy around their necks which would often make
the difference between life or death for the stranded  But on the
whole, hard drinks should be used very sparingly and not in any
way as a regular diet or your health could be adversely effected.

SECONDLY. As shocking as this may sound to many, Doctors and
Researchers are often to say the least, very BIASED and to say
the worst - plain LIARS! They will often twist the facts or give
you half truths to comply with what they want you to believe
because of their personal views on that particular subject. You
don't believe me? You want proof of this statement of mine? I
will give it to you from the pen of a well known and respected
doctor - DR. ROBERT S. MENDELSOHN, Chairman of the Medical
Licensing Committee of the State of Illinois (who is now dead as
I put this study up to my Website. I wrote this study in 1985).

"Doctors have been shown not to be above fudging and even
fabricating research results when the stakes were high enough.
Dr.Leroy Wolins, a psychologist at Iowa State University, had a
student write to thirty-seven authors of scientific reports
asking for the raw data on which they based their conclusions. Of
the thirty-two who replied, twenty-one said their data either had
been lost or accidentally destroyed. Dr.Wolins analyzed seven
sets of the data that did come in and found errors in three
significant enough to invalidate what had been passed off as
scientific fact." (Confessions of a Medical Heretic, pages 205
and 206).

It should also be remembered that Doctors disagree among
themselves on various subjects as much as the Theologians do on
what the word of God teaches. You should handle the statements of
Doctors as you should Theologians - get ALL the facts from 
various sources, PROVE all things as Paul wrote and then hold
fast to that which is good! 

THIRDLY. Whatever case can be brought against the use of HARD
LIQUOR on a prolonged basis, such can not be brought against
WINE. It has now been proved beyond a reasonable doubt that wine
is GOOD FOR YOU!!

FOURTHLY. As the LORD has instructed in His word that we can if
we desire, partake of fermented wine and Biblical 'strong drink'
I know that it must be under normal conditions, HEALTHY for you!
The Eternal God would not give us positive instructions
relating to anything if it was "that alcohol(or something else
I will add)in any form should never be introduced into the
human body" as E.L.Saunders writes (page 46 of his booklet).  
The Lord God was the creator of man, He knows what is good
for man to take into his body to promote health - He is the one
who gave the clean and unclean food laws, not some doctor in his
clinic or research lab. Why I have read articles by doctors who
claim pork, horse meat or crabs are good for you, listing the
amount of protein, vitamins and minerals in each. The Eternal
says such is not good for you - they should not be consumed, but
some learned doctors think otherwise. The Eternal says wine and
strong drink you may consume, but some educated doctors say it is
'poison.' Such have rejected the revealed revelation of God and
have as Paul wrote, "Professing themselves to be wise, they
became fools" (Rom. 1:22). We are admonished to AVOID science
when it is in direct contradiction to the revelation of God,
"...avoiding profane and vain babblings and opposition of science
falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning
the faith..." (1 Tim.6:20,21).

THE PRESERVATION OF GRAPE JUICE?

I have not chosen to enter this area of contention, as to whether
the ancients knew how to preserve grape juice unfermented,
because it has no bearing on proving or not whether it is
Christian to drink alcoholic beverages.

WINE IS GOOD FOR YOU !

For more information you may want to
purchase the book: GATEWAY TO WINE AND HEALTH by Herbert M.Baus.
Obtainable from Cole's Book Stores or from Deborah Bond, 4
Ireland Court, Islington, Ont. M9A2C9. Phone (416) 233-9407. 
(I'm not sure if that book is still in print in this year of 2003
- Keith Hunt).

                              ..............

TO BE CONTINUED


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