Tornadoes - April 27, 2011

  • Teddy Survives
    Pictures of the destruction following the April 27, 2011 Tornadoes in Alabama
My Photo

What's Important

  • Hi, my name is Jan Owen. I am a woman following, loving, seeking and worshiping Jesus. These writings are my thoughts as I journey through both the pains and joys of life. After serving as a worship pastor for 15 years, I am now a worship missionary, serving as the President of the Give Worship Project, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3 organization to help equip indigenous church leaders, particularly in the area of worship. You can donate by using the DONATE button below. All your gifts are tax-deductible and very appreciated. Thanks! Check it out!

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Books I'm Reading

    Life's Adventures!

    • Kauai 2008 067
      These are just some of my favorite shots that always speak to me!

    Become a Fan

    « Tackling the ME Monster: Worship Confessional | Main | To Remember I Am Not in Control »

    April 21, 2009


    Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


    While one should never cross the line to being tipsy (which is basically drunk), nothing in the Bible says do not drink. Therefore, how could anyone say Christians or even pastors should never drink? I don't understand that position.


    Looking at 1 Cor 10:23 of being permissible vs edifying or helpful...I take the position that it is certainly not black and white.

    What may be useful for a pastor in one ministry may be totally wrong for a pastor in another.

    Our head pastor has mentioned in church that he doesn't have a problem with alcohol, but if you do, don't use it...simple. He also respects when he's around people who do have a problem with it. I think that's what we should all do. I believe that's what Jesus did.


    Again, it all comes down to the issue that all personal actions are determined by ones supreme motivation and all subordinate choices flow from this supreme motive. This get's down to the issue is alcohol sinful in of itself? No. A material "thing" is never sinful. Sin is a moral choice. Therefore, alcohol in of itself is amoral. What one does with alcohol and their motives in doing so determines if it is a sin or not. For example, I may drink a single glass of red wine everyday because it has tremendous benefits in lowering my cholesterol and promoting heart health, whereas someone may drink that same glass of wine to get intentionally drunk.

    However, as Christians we need to be sensitive to the Spirit of the Law (the Law of Love) and that is we need to be especially sensitive to our neighbors and the influence we as ambassadors of Christ may have upon them. Our actions, although may not be motivated by selfishness, do have an impact on those around us. Therefore, as Christ followers we need to be extra sensitive that our actions may unintentionally cause someone to stumble or fall into sin. For example, you're out at a restaurant having a glass of beer. Your neighbor, who is a new convert, see's you having a beer. As a result, he comes to the immediate conclusion that drinking is OK. As a result he begins to indulge quite frequently and this leads to a problem. He had neither the maturity or the understanding and this was one of the reason for him falling into drunkenness. This is why Paul warns - Don't do anything that may cause your brother to stumble or fall. This same situation could also cause a non-believer to have an excuse to think a Christian is a hypocrite. As a result, I choose not to drink so as to air on the side of benevolence.

    Maybe another good topic similar to this one is: "Is it OK for Christians to gamble?"


    I, too, grew up in a staunch Southern Baptist family where drinking alcohol was definitely a "no no." I was never around people who drank until I was in high school, and then, since drinking was a sin, I avoided as much as possible going to places and events where I knew my classmates would be drinking. Since becoming an adult, my attitudes about alcohol have changed. I no longer see drinking as a sin in and of itself. I have not become a regular partaker (truly very infrequently), mainly due to not wanting to cause anyone to stumble, but also because of the studies that show that parents who do not drink are more likely to have children who do not abuse alcohol. I figure if I don't keep alcohol in the house, that at least cuts down on the access my teenagers have to it. I have discovered in recent years, however, that due to my limited experience in being around alcohol, I find myself feeling very awkward in social settings with people who are drinking, and I'm afraid that my feelings of awkwardness make them feel awkward as well. In these instances, I have felt that it might be better if I did drink to avoid being perceived as being judgmental of them and their drinking. In these instances I have wondered if it might be better to "become all things to all men, so that by all possible means I might save some." If my not drinking is causing people to feel uncomfortable around me, I cannot relate to them on any kind of real level where faith questions might be explored. So who knows, maybe in the future I'll lighten up and join the party.

    As to whether those in ministry should be held to a different standard, I don't necessarily think they should be, but I think it is a fact of our culture here in the Bible Belt as well as in our denomination, that they are. Those in ministry are put on pedestals and expected to be just a little more godly than everyone else, and not wanting to cause people to stumble should be important to them, as it should be to all of us. I guess for me, it would be just a little weird to see my pastor or someone on my church staff drinking in a public setting. It would definitely take some getting used to.

    Sarah Chia

    This is a constant struggle that I go through in my growth as a Christian.

    First of all, I'd like to respectfully disagree with Preston. There are material things that are sinful. Pornographic pictures, for example. There are absolutely pictures that have no true artistic value and are only a perversion of the beauty of the human body and the sexual union that God intended.

    Having said that, I don't believe that alcohol is in itself sinful. But I don't think it's usually wise, either.

    Because the line between sober and drunk is blurry, I don't think that people can always know when they are about to be drinking too much. Drunkenness is contingent on too many variables and can change too much from situation to situation that it's impossible to pinpoint what one can drink without crossing the line.

    There are other arguments as well, such as the cost, the damage it does to the body, etc. I think that those are arguments that the church needs to be consistent on, though. We can't claim the "temple" argument and then gorge on ice cream cake or something. We can't say it's an unwise use of money and then buy on iPhone on credit.

    Still, I think those are valid arguments. I know Billy would disagree with me. :)

    For now, we seem to have landed on the agreement that we drink wine to celebrate certain occasions (his birthday, our anniversary). Those are the only times I drink. Any other time that he drinks, the alcohol is purchased with his own spending money (birthday money, for example) instead of from our budget. And of course, I always make sure to give him a disapproving look as I tell him he smells like beer. It's really a win-win. :)

    Dee Lauderdale

    The only "rules" in scripture concerning alcohol are 1. don't get drunk 2. obey the government, be over 21 etc. So, I have the freedom to choose whether or not I drink. I can choose to forfeit that freedom if I'm around someone who struggles with alcohol so I don't cause him/her undue stress. BUT my freedom is mine to be given away, it is not available for someone to take because of their personal convictions. It's a matter of conscience.

    As far as the argument that Christians shouldn't touch alcohol because some people abuse it, I would say then we also shouldn't touch food or sex because those two have also been abused.

    I've seen far too many pastor get in the pulpit and yell "hands off the beer" and I've wanted to yell at "hands off the donuts, tubby"

    Andy Stanley did a great message back in '03 that said there are times when we have to ask a really important question because the Bible may not speak directly to an issue. The question is "is it wise?" in light of:

    1. My past experiences
    2. My current situation
    3. My future hopes and dreams

    I think this is the filter to run this question through.


    Jan Owen

    Loving the discussion friends! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and how you've chosen to handle this decision. And thank you for discussing in a kind way. That's always so wonderful for me to see - that we can really dig into an issue and love one another as we wrestle with IT, not one another. :)


    I feel it is ok to drink in moderation. I was a member at another church and had an experience with our minister being not just drunk but so smashed she did not remember talking to me. I had called to tell her my father in law, that the church had been praying for, had passed away. That was Friday night, on Sunday, she was nice enough to come up and ask me how he was doing...I knew she sounded tipsy on the phone, and that an old college buddy was in town, I didn't realize that they were getting trashed. I have to say that I was very disappointed and changed churches not long after that. It has been a dozen years since and this still bothers me. If she was going to drink like that, maybe she should have let the answering machine pick up.



    Let me clarify my statement. Any natural existing element that God has created is not sinful in of itself. As for Pornography - again this is man taking something that God has created (ie.the human form) and using it in a unnatural manner for selfish gain/pleasure. How is this any different than wine? If matter is sinful in of itself then God did not make a perfect creation. Granted things exist as a result of the fallen world we live in (disease, germs, bacteria, etc) but grapes, of which wine is made from, is not sinful. To associate sin with matter is a very Gnostic concept of sin. Sin is a moral choice that can only be made by moral beings.

    Dee Lauderdale

    I know I've already posted but I ran across the notes from a Mark Driscoll on this topic. Very well documented.

    Good Wine and Glad Hearts
    Preached March 24, 2002

    Do you suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused? Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women? – Martin Luther. Historically, God’s people have greatly enjoyed alcohol. In the European world one of the most Christian drinks was beer.
    Saint Gall was a missionary to the Celts and renowned brewer.
    After Charlemagne’s reign the church because Europe’s exclusive brewer.
    When a young woman was to marry her church made a special bridal ale for her, from which we derive our word bridal.
    Pastor John Calvin’s annual salary package included upwards of 250 gallons of wine to be enjoyed by he and his guests.
    Martin Luther explained the entire reformation as “…while I sat still and drank beer with Philiip and Amsdorf, God dealt the papacy a mighty blow.”
    Luther’s wife Catherine was a skilled brewer and his love letters to her when they were apart lamented his inability to drink her beer.
    When the Puritan’s landed on Plymouth Rock the first permanent building they erected was the brewery.

    As feminism grew in America during the turn of the 20th century the women’s suffrage and prohibition movements were the practical results of a feminine piety that came to also dominate the church as more women became pastors and the church became more feminine.

    Some denominations began to condemn alcohol as sinful and the Methodist pastor Dr. Thomas Welch created the very “Christian” Welch’s grape juice to replace communion wine in 1869. The marriage of Christianity and feminism helped to create a dry nation that put out of business all but the largest brewers who were able to survive on near beer and root beer which explains why today American beer is largely mass produced, watered down, light on calories, and feminine in comparison to rich and dark European beers. The resurgence of micro-brews is helping to overcome the great loss and resurrect the art of brewing.

    Lastly, some Christians foolishly argue that such terms as new wine and mixed wine in the Bible speak of non-alcoholic wine. But, new wine can still intoxicate according to Scripture (Isa. 24:7; Hosea 4:11; Joel 1:5), and mixed wine refers to special wines where various wines are mixed together and/or mixed with spices and does not refer to wine cut with water (Psalm 75:8, Song of Songs 8:2). God refers to pouring out the wine of His mixed wine on His enemies which does not mean He will dilute justice (Psa. 75:8). The only time such a practice is mentioned in the Bible is in regards to merchants who cut wine with to rob customers (Isa. 1:22).

    The Bible speaks of grape juice (Num. 6:3) and if God meant to speak of non-alcoholic wine he would have used that word to avoid confusion.

    All Bible believing Christians agree that drunkenness is a sin.
    The Bible is abundantly clear that drunkenness is a sin (Deut. 21:20; Eccl. 10:17; Matt. 24:29; Lk. 12:45; 21:34; Rom. 13:13; I Cor. 5:11; Eph. 5:18; I Pet. 4:3).
    The matter is so serious that no priest was to drink alcohol while performing their duties (Lev. 10:9; Ez. 44:21) though they could consume while not working (Num. 18:12, 27, 30),
    no king was to drink while judging law (Pr. 31:4-5),
    an elder/pastor cannot be a drunkard (I Tim. 3:3; Tit. 1:7),
    and that no drunkard will inherit the kingdom of God (I Cor. 6:10; Galatians 5:21).

    Sins associated with drunkenness include:
    incest (Gen. 19:32-35),
    violence (Pr. 4:17);
    adultery (Rev. 17:2);
    mockery and brawling (Prov. 20:1);
    poverty (Prov. 21:17);
    late night and early morning drinking (Isa. 5:11-12);
    hallucinations (Isa. 28:7);
    legendary antics (Isa. 5:22);
    murder (2 Sam. 11:13),
    gluttony and poverty (Prov. 23:20-21);
    vomiting (Jer. 25:27, 48:26; Isa. 19:14);
    staggering (Jer. 25:27; Ps. 107:27; Job 12:25);
    madness (Jer. 51:7),
    loudness combined with laughter and then prolonged sleep (Jer. 51:39);
    nakedness (Hab. 2:15; Lam. 4:21);
    sloth (Joel 1:5);
    escapism (Hosea 4:11);
    depression (Lk. 21:34);
    and staying up all night (I Thess. 5:7).

    Prohibitionists wrongly teach that all drinking is a sin and that alcohol itself is an evil.

    Psalm 104:14-15 He [God] makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate-bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man…
    John 2:1-11 is clear that Jesus first miracle was performing over 100 gallons of wine at a wedding party
    Matthew 11:19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." ' But wisdom is proved right by her actions."

    Abstentionists wrongly teach that drinking is not sinful but that all Christians should avoid drinking out of love for others and a desire to not cause anyone to stumble.

    Hosea 2:8 She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold-which they used for Baal.

    Matthew 11:19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." ' But wisdom is proved right by her actions."

    I Tim. 4:1-5 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

    I Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

    Moderationists rightly teach that drinking is not a sin and that Christian conscience must guide each person.

    Wine is spoken of as both good and bad in the same verses (I Samuel 1:14, 24; 25:18, 37; Joel 1:5,10).

    Apart from good feasting alcohol in Scripture is rightly used for:
    communion (Matt. 26:29; Mk. 14:25; Lk. 22:18),
    medicinal purposes (Prov. 31:6; I Timothy 5:23),
    and OT worship (Num. 28:14).

    Proverbs 3:9-10 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

    Ecclesiastes 9:7 Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart..

    Psalm 104:14-15 He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate-bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.

    Deut. 14:26 Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice.

    Romans 14:1-15:2

    For further reading: God Gave Wine: What the Bible Says About Alcohol by Kenneth

    Steve West

    I find it impossible to support Biblically the idea that drinking is always wrong. One thing missing in the discussion is very basic. Jesus drank wine. Not begrudgingly or in some hidden fashion. His first miracle was water to wine (and fine wine at that), and he drank (and ate) with sinners. According to Jewish Passover tradition, he would have drunk four cups of wine during dinner and it's part of the holy ritual.

    I am a pastor and I do not preach against drinking. I also have something to drink here and there, not a lot but anytime it is nice to with friends. Out of respect for those who might have different ethics, we don't talk do it or talk about it at church though.

    Kgosi Sithole

    My comment is simple,I fully agree with Dee Lauderdale, in fact he has even enlightened me with some other bible verses which I did not even know existed, especialy the one in Numbers 6:3 where there is a clear distinction between wine and grape juice.

    This should rest the argument made by none-drinkers that wine in the bible is actualy juice.

    It is unfortunate that some of us have now left church because we are being ridiculed for drinking wine and beer and paraded as sinners, and many others have been turned off from coming to church and experiencing the love of Christ by this deliberate misrepresentation of the gospel.

    I wonder who can argue against this verse in Colosians 2:16 "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or DRINK.....

    VERSE 17: "These are a shadow of the things that were to come,the reality is, however is Christ."

    The apostle castigates such people strongly in verse 19 saying "He has lost connection with the Head...."

    He says these are earthly rules which have no place in christianity,and is charecterised by verse 21: "Do not handle!Do not taste!Do not touch!?

    Others argue that it is unwise to drink, but Paul foresaw that and said in verse 23: "Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom...with...their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack value...."

    I rest my case.


    I know of pastors who drink, smoke cigars, have tattoos, and frequently use the word "suck". I have trouble with all of them.

    I think in the trend to be "relevant" and hip, some pastors forget they are men and women of God, designed to be shining lights to their congregants and the world. How can an alcoholic come to a pastor's house who has a beer on his study desk? How can I hear scripture preached from a mouth that uses the word suck frequently, with its sexual, albeit forgotten, origins?

    It almost seems like it is cool now for pastors to be the opposite of what ministers of the gospel have been for years - steady, studious, out of worldly things. Why do pastors feel they have to have a tattoo to attract the young and trendy? I'd rather my pastor be old-fashioned, devoted to the study of God and not wordly things. I will respect him more if he doesn't go to the cigar bar than if he does. Just my 2 cents.


    I have an alternative way of looking at it. Going to a bar as a Christian some may think is enabling the sinner or the weak Christian to stumble. What if you were the only sober person with your friends at the bar or the only person of your group that wasn't fall down drunk? Couldn't that be a witness in and of itself? What do you all think?


    I very much appreciate the civility and conviction of both sides participating in this discussion. I grew up in a Methodist home with devout parents who did focus upon the evils of alcohol to the exclusion of other patently forbidden behaviors. We ate with abandon, often sat around the table discussing the faults of others and nursing grudges by revisiting past slights, etc. We were judgmental and self-righteous, too. My parents were absolutely sincere and, as all of us do, had difficulty seeing their shortcomings while focusing so intently on those with which they did not struggle. Ultimately, going to church, donating to the church, and abstaining from alcohol while assuming that those who did not were beyond hope of redemption were the manifestations of my faith. I have come to believe that we all mistook tradition for scriptural truth. We did the grape juice thing, the miniscule amount of alcohol for germ killing purposes only, and, when those gradually fell apart, the don't do it because of our culture, which, I believe, the hard line prohibitionist ideal helped to create by making a gift of God forbidden fruit and, therefore, a great vehicle for juvenile rebellion. All I can say to that is that Jesus is our ultimate example, and he drank wine. If he did not believe himself to be corrupting not only his culture but also all of the other cultures that would embrace Christianity, I don't believe that I am. I do respect the feelings of others and decide whether or not to drink accordingly. As for our cultural shifts, God in His omniscience knew the course the world would take and nonetheless inspired the writers of His word to use wine imagery and, as the Son of Man, partook himself. I think the recent shift toward responsible drinking of wine in moderation can be both wise and healthy if it models proper use of a substance that is currently so widely abused. One thing is for sure: forbidding it absolutely isn't capping the flow.

    Martin Akwasi Okai

    Praise God,am very happy to read your comment about alcohol,a lot of people have being deceived and it is pity, so let us pray for those who in that condition.thank you very much.

    Len Kaanta

    Since i grew up Catholic and have an Episcopalan and am now a Lutheran, I see nothing wrong in either a minister of meber of the Church in drinking alocohol. After all, the Bible call wine (alcohol) one God's goog d gifts to mankind,and one of the Lord's first miracles was changing water into wine.The Bible only speaks against drinking to get drunk, not in moderation.
    Len Kaanta

    The comments to this entry are closed.