When Christians Drink
by Dr. Ken Matto
There is a mode of thought which pervades the Christian mind and that is the error of believing that Christian Liberty is the same as the freedom to sin. This happens when supposed Christians buy into the worldly philosophy of egoistic hedonism which teaches that happiness is the goal of all conduct. This is brought about by churches which teach personal euphoria rather than sound obedience to God’s Word. I would also like to include those Christians who smoke. I have already written a monograph on Christian Liberty and we all know the degenerating effects alcohol and tobacco have on our bodies so therefore I am not going to dwell on this aspect. I am going to dwell on the witness aspect of concession with the world. Recently a person e-mailed me and vehemently disagreed with another article I had on my web site concerning drinking alcohol. He was thoroughly convinced he could have a Budweiser in one hand and a Bible in the other, and still proclaim he was a Christian. If this person was standing on the corner with a few friends drinking beer and you saw them, how would you distinguish who was the Christian and who wasn’t? Let me tell you how you would know. The Christian would be the one bowing his head and giving thanks for the beer. (Just Kidding)
Whenever a Christian partakes in any worldly pleasure such as drinking or smoking, it definitely affects their testimony. Now I am not speaking of worldly pleasures such as vacations, enjoying the beach or mountains, or just going to the park. I am thoroughly convinced the Lord has given us those things to allow us to take a break from the fast pace of the world. These things can be enjoyed without them doing any physical harm to our bodies, in fact, they can help rejuvenate us. Here are some facts taken from the Encyclopedia Brittanica about Ethyl Alcohol which is the chief ingredient of all alcoholic drinks. It is anything but good for the body. Poison ingested in any amount or form in the human body does not help it but always has a degenerating effect.
Ethyl Alcohol
Ethyl Alcohol also called Ethanol, Grain Alcohol, or Alcohol, the most important member of a class of organic compounds that are given the general name alcohols; its molecular formula is C2H5OH.
It is the intoxicating ingredient of many beverages produced by fermentation.  Pure ethanol is a colorless, flammable liquid (boiling point 78.5 C [173.3 F]) with an agreeable ethereal odour and a burning taste. Ethanol is toxic, affecting the central nervous system. Moderate amounts stimulate the mind and relax the muscles, but larger amounts impair coordination and judgment, finally producing coma and death. It is an addictive drug leading to alcoholism or drunkenness as the Bible calls it.
We have briefly seen that even the encyclopedias report that Ethyl Alcohol is a toxin and no thinking person is ever going to try and convince themselves that toxins in any amount are good for the body, and this goes for both Christians and non-Christians alike. A person may choose to ignore this information but the fact remains Ethyl Alcohol is a poison to the body and no amount of ignorance can overcome reality. At this time I want to share 5 testimonies that we lose when we take up the mantle of worldly living.
Internal Testimony
Whenever we begin to walk with the world in even the slightest manner we lose the purity of our internal testimony. In other words, whenever we witness to an unbeliever or counsel a Christian we begin to feel like a hypocrite in that we are telling the unbeliever his sins will cast him into hell and we are partaking in the same sin he is.
(Rom 2:21-22 KJV) Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? {22} Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
The Bible warns us about hypocritical witness. How can we counsel a Christian about the dangers of sin which we are partaking in ourselves. Just because we refuse to think of worldly compromise as sin, God deems any compromise with the world system as sin.
(1 John 2:15-16 KJV) Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. {16} For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
This includes the ingestion of alcoholic beverage because it is of the world. Whenever we compromise our internal testimony it confuses us and you will have trouble knowing who you belong to. This is why so many Christians walk around wondering if they are saved or not. If Christians started stripping away their pet sins, their internal testimony will return in full confidence of who they belong to and then they will be able to witness in confidence.
External Testimony
Another testimony we lose is our external testimony in that others see us and we lose our testimony to them. How can we go to others and say we are Christians when we are partaking in a worldly concession. Every Christian has a responsibility to other Christians. Billy Graham has lost his external testimony when he had his picture taken with the Pope. Jimmy Swaggart lost his testimony when he was exposed concerning the prostitute. Jim Baker lost his testimony when his cloaked lifestyle with Jessica was exposed. Jerry Falwell lost his testimony when he courted the Sodomites. Some of these men may not be saved but their testimony to the world was that they are Christians and as a result of compromise they have lost their testimony. The world now sees Christians as a pack of frauds. You see when one Christian is exposed for wrong it affects every single believer because the world lumps us together as one entity. Your testimony to other Christians works in the same way.
(1 Cor 8:9-13 KJV) But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. {10} For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; {11} And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? {12} But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. {13} Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
Here Paul is stating to the Corinthians that just because they are freed from keeping the requirements of the law, they have a solemn responsibility to other believers, especially new Christians who can easily be thrown off course by observing the actions of those who are supposed to know better. The Bible in these passages teach us that if another Christian can stumble in their beliefs because of a wrong or questionable action on my part, then it is best not to partake. Those Christians who like to drink or smoke in front of others are in essence saying they don’t care about others. They just want to have their own pet sins. Their attitude is that it is no one’s business what I do. Your actions are affecting other Christians and you are responsible for your actions especially when they confuse and possibly draw another Christian into your sin. Preachers who drink alcohol and then teach the congregation that it is okay and that they are exercising Christian liberty are nothing more than vipers in the pulpit.
Actually I like to refer to them as Pulpit Prostitutes. Isn’t it interesting that a man or woman can be arrested for selling their body but the church promotes and gives raises and perks to those who sell out their testimony? Your external testimony is a very fragile thing and must be guarded so it is not tainted intentionally. How can a person who is holding on to the very sins which sent Christ to the cross teach the true gospel? He cannot, he must conform it to his own personal prejudices.
(Mat 12:34 KJV) O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
(Rom 14:21 KJV) It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
God-ward Testimony
Another testimony we lose is our God-ward testimony. It gives the idea that God accepts questionable behavior by His children. There are some denominations which believe that their clergy can forgive sins and be like a "Savior by proxy." The denomination I belonged to some years back believed by answering 4 questions at time of communion, the presiding minister could pronounce the remission of your sins. This is the attitude that carries over with some people when they become saved. The problem is that we represent the Lord Jesus Christ on this earth.
(2 Cor 5:20 KJV) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
Whenever we begin to adopt ideas that it is permissible to start drinking alcohol, then the world looks at us and begins to believe that God accepts sinful behavior. I remember many years ago I was walking on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, NJ and I was handed a tract which I started reading. The tract stated that there was nothing wrong with having sex because God is the one who created it. They of course were not speaking of having sex in marriage but outside of marriage. I do not believe they were Christians but some kind of cult, yet that tract made an impression on me, because over 30 years later I remember it. People tend to remember the things that are not right with us rather than the things which are.
This is why it is dangerous to embrace an idea that it is okay to drink alcohol because people will think it is accepted by God. When a person sees a Christian with a beer, they will immediately think that God approves it. The fact is that God commands His children to be holy which means to be separate. This means to be separated from the philosophies of the world which propel and set a person’s behavior.
(Lev 20:7 KJV) Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.
(1 Pet 1:15-16 KJV) But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; {16} Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
The holiness of the Christian is to be set apart from the rest of the world which includes the ideas and the actions which are spawned from those ideas. God saves us with the express intent of bearing spiritual fruit not to become entangled with the world from which were delivered from. Our responsibility as Christians is to please God and not to please the world. There is no way to hold a Bible in one hand and a Budweiser in the other and still be a holy testimony for Christ.
(2 Tim 2:3-4 KJV) Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. {4} No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
Separation Testimony
When a Christian begins to drink alcohol they are showing they are not separated. Many Christians wonder why God does not use them. God does not use a compromised Christian for the furtherance of His Kingdom. God only uses clean vessels.
(Ezek 44:23 KJV) And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.
In the Old Testament God expected His people to know the difference between the holy and profane and the clean and unclean. With the Bible we have that at our fingertips. When we drink, we are showing that we are not separated from the ways of the world and are not discerning the difference between the two. This is because we are hindering our obedience by justifying our pet sins. Where did we ever get the idea that Christ saved us so we can do what we want?
(Prov 23:31 KJV) Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
Many Christians believe there are no Scriptures which prohibit the drinking of alcohol. Here is one which tells us that we should not even look upon the red wine in the cup. Looking comes before drinking. Alcoholic beverage is such a snare that God does not even want His children looking at it because He knows how strong temptation can be and how inadequate the flesh is in handling it. The object that distinguishes the real Christian from the false Christian is our separation from the world. Nowhere in Scripture are we to go back into the sins of the old nature. Alcohol is a sin of the old nature.
(Rom 14:7-8 KJV) For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. {8} For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
(Rom 13:14 KJV) But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Alcohol ministers to the flesh and does not minister to the spirit. Ask yourself the question, while you are drinking beer or whiskey, how much thought do you give to the things of the Lord? NONE, because you are too busy feeling a falsely induced euphoria.
Identification Testimony
The fifth testimony that you lose is your identification testimony. When you drink alcohol, people do not know of what Kingdom you are identified with. It is a shame when you have to tell someone you are a Christian because your actions prove otherwise. When you do this, what do you think goes through people’s minds when you stress you are a Christian and you are drinking alcohol? In their mind, you are one of them and there is no difference. This is why people feel comfortable in their false churches because they see God’s regenerated Christians doing the same thing, so they figure they are on the road to heaven when in reality they are on the way to hell. Losing one’s identification with the Kingdom of God is like losing one’s mental capacities.
Christians who drink alcohol carry ruined testimonies to the outside world and also to those in the church. One group I have not mentioned that is always hurt by poor testimonies are children. They tend to follow the parents in their training. Don’t you think it is confusing to a child to see Daddy or Mommy praying and then have a few beers or smokes? When the children begin to emulate this pattern for themselves, will the parents then beat them for learning their sinful ways? Ask yourself the following question the next time you pop a top or light up, "What spiritual benefit do I gain from this?" Any compromise with the world will always ruin your testimony and keep you from growing in your Christian walk. You may be angry for reading this but the fact remains:
(1 Cor 6:20 KJV) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
Drinking alcohol does not glorify God in your body, instead it actually begins to destroy your body which is the violation of the sixth commandment.
(1 Cor 10:31 KJV) Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
(Col 3:17 KJV) And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
I leave you with this one thought. Do you believe you can sit a six pack of beer in front of you and then say to the Lord, "I drink this beer to your glory?" If you can drink alcohol to the glory of God and in the name of the Lord Jesus, then guzzle. If you can’t, then don’t, it is never too late to regain and repair your testimony for Christ. When a Christian loses their testimony to the world, they lose the most precious aspect of their salvation. When they lose their testimony to the brethren, they lose the trust and respect others had for them and as the Scripture states:
(Luke 16:11 KJV) If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
The verse speaks of handling money but the principle can be carried to every aspect of the Christian walk. If you are walking with the world, who will trust you with the true riches?