My New View on Alcohol

Understanding the Tension of Modern Biblical Decision Making

The consumption of alcohol continues to be a controversial topic. I shared my personal thought process a while back (3 Reasons Why I Don’t Drink Alcohol). After a discussion with my wife about the topic and potential interpretations, I’ve come to realize it sounded more narrow-minded than I ever intended. I was hoping it would help readers come to their own conclusion.

So, since this blog is about our spiritual journey, let me apologize for my lack of clarity and let me share with you my new view on drinking alcohol.

Lessons learned…

No matter what your view may be, this topic is personal enough that not all will agree. Sometimes we can argue facts, but the reality is, much of this conversation is based on personal experience.

For example, a family impacted by an alcoholic family member, will almost certainly view this subject differently than a family who has created a culture of responsible consumption. And, if we were honest, there’s about thousand different situations in-between.  We have to respect each and every one of these situations.

I also wanted to give Christians (especially believers who abstain from alcohol) the ability to see an example of “thinking it through.” Growing up, I really wasn’t given the opportunity or space to ask questions to define my own answer to whether or not I would consume alcohol. Did my original post successfully help people think? Probably not the way I would have liked.

My 3 Reasons Why I Don’t Drink Alcohol were never meant to be prescriptive to every Christian, nor do I judge any Christian who responsibly consumes alcohol. I have many Christian family members and friends who choose to consume – and do so in front of me. I certainly have no problem with that.

In fact, the reasons I give for not drinking, can easily become the reasons why a Christian could drink responsibly.  It’s a healthy tension that each believer must weigh out as they make their decision.

So in light of that new understanding, I’ll give you three tensions a Christian must weigh out. Remember these are personal tensions – one that each believer must work through.

1. “No alcohol” versus “conservative alcohol.”

We don’t know for sure, but it’s safe to say that Jesus and his disciples consumed wine.  It was part of their culture and it was never mentioned as being an issue.

Like I mention in my previous post, the only time the Greek word for “new wine” (gleukos, meaning “sweet unfermented wine”) is used, is in Acts 2.  When the disciples were filled with the spirit, several witnesses were making fun of them as if they could get drunk off of weak wine.1  Why? Because they weren’t known to be drunk.  Their view of alcohol was clearly on the conservative side.

THINK: How conservative do I need to be to gain the kind of reputation the disciples had?

2. “Sin” versus “Boundary.”

The only sin we see in scripture is drunkenness (Galatians 5:19-25).  Unfortunately, drinking too much alcohol leads to drunkenness.  So the natural tension becomes one of sin versus boundary.  Because of his stomach and sickness, Paul told Timothy to have a little wine (1 Timothy 5:23).  Obviously, the journey wasn’t towards sin but towards a healthy boundary.

THINK: What boundaries do I have to put in place in order to stay away from drunkenness?

3. “Culture” versus “Witness.”

There’s a vast discussion here alone.  The tensions of particular situations, local cultures, and ethnic traditions, all impact how we understand alcohol.  That, paired with our potential witness to others, could dramatically impact our view.

Paul said, “All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful” (1 Corinthians 10:23).  Likewise, “Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24-25).  No matter the situation, we need to be willing to put our own desires aside for the sake of the Kingdom and live in that tension.

THINK: How does my culture and witness impact my view of alcohol?

Your turn…

How do you reflect on these tensions regarding alcohol consumption?


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Milestone: Thank You (03.2017)

Over 2000 Page Views in a Single Month


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I’d like to say thank you to everyone who takes the time to read the blog posts I publish each week!  The success of any blog is only achievable if people take the time to read, share and join in the conversation!  So, thank you!

In the month of March, The Journey Holm hit a new milestone!  We’ve come close a couple of times, but we have finally had over 2000 page views in a single month!  That means during March, posts were viewed over 2000 times.  That might seem low (at least compared to some blogs), but this is only year two of consistent blogging, for The Journey Holm, and with an average of 1000 monthly views last year, it’s such an honor to hit 2000 in one month!

I’d like give a special thanks to Kathy Stock for writing a guest post during March as well! Since we are all on a journey, her honest response to Faith and Doubt is a must read!  See below for a link and preview!

Visit: http://andrewholm.com - #Christian responses to current events & our Christian #journey! Click To Tweet

Again, thank you for reading, sharing and engaging in conversation!  The blog can’t grow without your help!  If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the weekly update and never miss a post, by clicking here: SUBSCRIBE!

If you missed either of the posts that were published this past March, here they are:

March 3 – “My New View On Alcohol”

March 10 – (GUEST POST) “Faith and Doubt”

March 17 – “The Problem with Tithing”

March 24 – “What’s The Biggest Threat to Christianity?”

March 31 – “Difficult Days…”

 

“Give Us a Strategy” – An Open Letter to Premier Ball

In light of the negativity towards the past and present provincial governments and our economic state, I, a proud Newfoundlander, wrote an open letter to our Premier: “Give Us a Strategy”.  It’s a follow-up to my previous post: “Taxes: Step Up and Help Those In Need

SUBJECT: NL Budget 2016, Strategy

Dear Premier Ball,

Thank you for your willingness to lead Newfoundland and Labrador. The mantle of leadership is heavy and the role you play is very important. I was born and raised in this province and take much pride in saying, “I’m a Newfoundlander.”  Give us a strategy that will allow us to stand for this province, stay in this province and actually strive towards “a stronger tomorrow.”

As a Christian, I want you to know that I pray for you and your Cabinet.1 While our views may not always coincide, I humbly pray for and respect your leadership.

As a Newfoundlander, I also want to apologize. The economic mess you are trying to fix is not solely the mess of a past political party, a past leader, or a particular situation. The mess was created by me, a Newfoundlander.

I guess, to be fair, I should say it was created by all of us. No one protested when services were increased and taxes were decreased on account of oil revenues. I don’t remember anyone asking, “Are we saving for the future?”  Personally, I know I didn’t complain, when our family received extras like the “baby bonus.” But now, no one wants to take the blame of over spending, when in fact, part of the blame is on all of us.  It’s time we all take some ownership of this great place we call home!

With that said, repayment is upon us. Thank you for realizing we can’t keep borrowing our problems away, and that it’s irresponsible to allow debt servicing to become a major expenditure.  That means we have to work together to make this province a great one again!

The strategy you, and Finance Minister Cathy Bennett, have developed looks profitable in theory and certainly includes everyone. The HST increase and income tax increases are not only helpful, but are also in line with the other Atlantic Provinces.  However, we can’t afford for the weight of this process to fall on lower-income households.2 We need to ensure that those working hard to break-even, with the basic necessities of life, are not further displaced with painful taxes. This won’t help our province. It will hurt it. We need to protect this vulnerable group and represent what Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are best known for – being a loving and caring community.

Give us a strategy that protects the services for those in need and allows for a true income-based repayment schedule.  We need to protect services like dental coverage for low-income households.  We also have to remember that the debt reduction levy must be proportionately added to tax payers.  Likewise, an extra $9.90 (an additional 16.5 cents/L on a 60L tank) at the gas pumps will affect every household differently.  That’s nearly an hour’s wage for someone making $25,000.  The impact on the lower-income household can be overwhelming.

Not to mention, if you want Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to buy into paying more taxes, we need to ensure the increase is actually used to reduce our debt, not increase spending elsewhere.

Give us a strategy that increases education. We can’t afford to tax books.  Books aren’t old technology, they are timeless.  Reading has the potential to spark creative minds and a bright future.  We would be better served to increase taxes on electronics than discouraging one another to read.

Give us a strategy that decreases the costs of health care. We can’t afford to decrease services, so we are better to increase taxes on the well-known causes of health problems.  Continue to increase the tax on things like tobacco and alcohol, or enact a “sugar” tax.  Perhaps further tax on these items can positively impact both our revenues and future health-related expenditures.

Give us a strategy we can buy into.  Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are a team.  We rise and fall together!  Give us a strategy that protects, and yet includes, the lower-income households, while expecting those of us who make more, to pull our weight.  Give us a vision, be transparent, and we will follow. Why?  Because we’re proud of our province!

Premier, you haven’t “dropped the ball,” but the ball is certainly in your court. You have the reins and we are following your lead.

Give us a strategy worth standing for; staying for; and, striving for!  Prove to us “a stronger tomorrow” is possible.

A fellow Newfoundlander,

Andrew Holm
Husband, father, pastor, and resident of Bay Roberts, NL.

cc. Cathy Bennett, Finance Minister
cc. Pam Parsons, MHA Harbour Grace – Port de Grave
cc. Fellow Newfoundlanders

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