The following article was posted on my website for a couple of years, but I felt that it distracted from the subject of eschatology, and so removed it. The subject of alcohol and Christians came up recently on a social media site I am on, and so I thought I would repost it as a blog. I will break it up into segments because it is rather long;
A debate consisting of a series of letters between Dan Knezacek and Fundamentalist Pastor… “Roy”
Though I have not addressed the subject of alcohol in “The Spirit of Prophecy” it is a serious matter. The way you treat any subject in the Word of God will have an effect on the way you interpret prophecy. If you are curious as to the way I do research, or are actually interested in what the bible says about the consumption of alcohol, you will find this article interesting.
Many Christians, while insisting that they follow the literal interpretation method of Scripture, often fall back on their own traditions when confronted with scripture that plainly says something different. I insist on always following the literal interpretation method, unless the passage in Question clearly is speaking in allegory. Sometimes there are deeper meanings than the normal, plain sense meaning of a passage, but the bible never contradicts the plain sense meaning.
The following is a debate consisting of a series of letters written between me and my then Pastor, (Let’s call him “Roy”) in 1999 and 2000. Though the letters are a few years old the subject is timeless. (Note: Name changed to protect the guilty. The aforementioned pastor does not want his name associated with that which he has written. If you really believe that what you are saying is from God why wouldn’t you want your name associated with it?)
The truth is that we have both made some errors. I certainly did in my early letters, and he caught them. These minor errors do not negate my point and I believe I did correct them in the later letters. As you read you will find that the depth of my responses got deeper the more I studied. Conflicts like this can actually be beneficial if it forces us to dig deeper in the Word of God.
Near the end I have inserted my responses between his paragraphs. I have written in Tahoma font and his letters are in Arial Italic. At times I have added comments after the fact, and these comments are in parentheses.
It has been several years since these letters passed between us. I do not know if Pastor “Roy” still holds these beliefs. I hope not. Many Christians get saved but stay babes in Christ their whole lives, living on milk and never progressing to meat.
I am not posting these letters to mock anyone, but to show how some pastors twist scripture to make it fit their preconceived ideas. The truth is that many preachers do the same thing on a wide variety of subjects, and doing so with regard to wine is less serious, in my opinion, than it is with many other subjects, although it certainly indicates a similar mindset. My advice to Pastor “Roy”, and to all Pastors is “Preach only the Word of God, and if you don’t like what’s there, preach it anyway, or go and get another job.”
With this in mind, I suggest you go and get a coffee before going any further. This article is rather long. If you would prefer a beer, or glass of wine, I would suggest you wait until you are done 🙂
Dec. 6, 1999
Dear Pastor Roy,
For many years I didn’t attend Heritage because of your stand on certain subjects and because of what some of my friends said, who had attended at one time or other. Due to the number of churches heading into ecumenism and an abandonment of the bible, we found ourselves at Heritage in March of this year. I was rather surprised that most of the teaching was very biblical. Some people told me that you’ll get a lot of milk there but not much meat, however, I’m afraid they weren’t entirely wrong.
Yesterday morning you launched into a tirade against Molson’s breweries, which I somewhat agreed with because of their blasphemous “I Am” ad campaign. That in itself is a good reason to boycott Molson breweries. But then you went on to condemn all breweries. I wonder which bible verse you use to justify condemnation of an entire industry? I’ve searched the bible and can’t find one.
In the evening service you said “we are commanded not to drink liquor”. I waited and you did not come up with any scripture to substantiate this claim. I looked and the only thing that comes close is:
Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
This verse does not say “do not drink wine”, to make it say that is to change scripture, and abuse the English language.
Revelation 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
You have taken out the word “drunk” and added the word “drink”. My friend this is a very serious thing. Just because the cause may be “good” doesn’t justify butchering God’s Holy Word! So here we have a case of the “good cause syndrome”. You can say anything if you have a good cause. The Catholics and other denominations feel they can also do the same thing in other areas of the bible.
Please note in Ephesians 5:18 it says “wherein is excess”, the Lord put that in for a reason! If he had wanted to say something else he could have. Why the need for the command if Christians didn’t drink as a rule?
In your text for the evening Phil 4:4 I was surprised that you didn’t go to the next verse as it would have fit with your subject: Phillipians 4:5 “Let your MODERATION be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand”. Oh, I guess it doesn’t fit, I thought it said ABSTINENCE. So, we are commanded to MODERATION not ABSTINENCE or extremism. I guess I know why you avoided that verse. ABSTINENCE is a lot easier than moderation, who knows what moderation is? That might require reliance on the Holy Spirit, wisdom or even self control!
Deuteronomy 14:26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
This verse brings to mind some questions which I think are quite relevant:
1) If the Lord told his people to drink “wine or strong drink” why should we think that the Lord Jesus didn’t drink these beverages when he partook of the Jewish religious ceremonies?
2) Why would their soul “lusteth after” strong drink if they never had any exposure to it? If strong drink is such an evil thing why does the Lord tell them to rejoice when they partake of it?
3) Did the Lord tell them it was OK to partake of wine and strong drink and then later change his mind? Could you trust such a fickle God to save your soul?
4) Did the Lord expect the Jewish believers to buy their strong drink from unbelievers or from believers?
David, Jacob and Gideon were polygamists. It is clear from scripture that these were great men of God, yet you’ll not find a verse where God said “ye shall marry as many women as thou wouldest have”. But he did say “And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, …or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth”
Strong drink is today the same as it always has been…alcohol! If God gave permission for one group to use it and then turned around and called it a sin for another group one would never know where one stood with such a God. He might say one day that salvation is by faith, and the next say it’s by works! Who could trust such a fickle God? Please note that the money referred to here is their tithe money!
Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Isn’t the God of the Old Testament the same God who said:
Mark 7:15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
Matthew 15:11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
Nothing means NOTHING! If God wanted to say “something” he could have. No man was ever defiled by drink, it is what comes out of him after he has had too much that defiles him. (The truth is that it is something inside a man that makes him drink to excess that defiles him, and it is there before he ever had his first drink.)
Note the very next verse:
Matthew 15:12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
So the Pharisees were offended by what the Lord said in verse 11. Are you also offended by this saying of Jesus? So we see that the offense mentioned in Romans 14:21 is to cause a brother to stumble or be made weak, NOT to make him angry because he doesn’t like what you say or do.
Luke 7:33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. 34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!
Matthew 11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. 19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.
The Pharisees were evil men but they were not stupid. If Jesus was only drinking non-alcoholic grape juice then they would have had no reason to accuse him of being a winebibber! In both of these passages Jesus plainly admits to drinking alcoholic wine, but not to being drunk! He was not a drunk, drunkenness is sin, but not drinking a little wine. Nor is it a sin to associate with drinkers.
Non alcoholic wine was not invented until after Louis Pasteur in the late 1800’s. Don’t forget alcohol is a preservative. If wine was kept in wine skins or poorly sealed bottles then the alcohol would have dissipated until it got so low that the wine would spoil. This would explain why the apostles were accused of being drunk on “new wine”. Grape juice in the non-alcoholic state would only be available in the fall for a couple of weeks during harvest.
IF YOU SAY THAT DRINKING ALCOHOL IS SIN YOU ARE DENYING THE SINLESSNESS OF CHRIST AND HAVE NO SAVIOR! How could he die for your sins if he was a sinner? You are forced by your philosophy, then, to deny the literal interpretation of the Word of God!
John 2:9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
From the very context of these verses the governor of the feast believed that this was alcoholic wine, if it wasn’t then Jesus would have been a deceiver. It was indistinguishable from regular wine. Wine tasters don’t even swallow their wine, yet they rinse their mouths out with water, and sometimes eat bread so the taste of one wine doesn’t affect their judgment of another!
Genesis 14:18-20 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. (isn’t Jesus a priest after the order of Melchizedek?)
Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. (Drunkenness is sin)
This verse does not say “do not drink wine”, It only says not to be deceived by it If it does then Deuteronomy 14:26, Malachi 3:6 and Hebrews 13:8 are all lies! I’m not deceived, clearly this verse is aimed at those who linger long over their drink. Is one raging who has a glass of wine with their meal and then goes about their business? What about those in France, Italy and Spain who have wine at every meal? They have a lower alcoholism rate than North America! Not only this but they have less obesity and less heart disease! Allowing young people to have wine while under the supervision of their parents means that they are able to develop good drinking habits before they are able to go out on their own and buy drink without supervision.
Proverbs 21:17 He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.
This verse does not say “do not drink wine”, it only says that those who love pleasure shall not be rich. Is pleasure always a sin? We are not to love it, that’s all. We are not to waste our resources on pleasure. Is consuming oil also a sin? If so then why do you serve doughnuts boiled in oil? Since both wine and oil are mentioned in the same context we must conclude that the Lord looks on them both in the same way. This verse is merely speaking of the physical consequences of drunkenness, not the spiritual!
Proverbs 26:9 As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
This verse does not say “do not drink wine”. It only says a drunk man has no feeling. Again it is merely speaking of the physical consequences of drunkenness, not the spiritual!
Proverbs 31:6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. 7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
This verse does not say “do not drink wine”, It says let the poor and dying drink wine and STRONG DRINK! If this verse is not inspired of God then the same also goes for the preceding verses in Prov. 31. It may mean “the poor who are dying”, but a more likely interpretation is that the dying may drink strong drink and the poor may drink wine.
Numbers 6:20-21 And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine. (After a wave offering the Nazarite was permitted to sin? No, he was permitted to drink wine but obviously not to excess)
Proverbs 23:31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
This verse does not say “do not drink wine”, only that we are not to be captivated by wine. We are to treat it as a thing to be used, and not to waste our time thinking about it. This does not say that one can’t have it with a meal, in moderation.
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Romans 14:20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. 21 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. 22 Hast thou faith? HAVE IT TO THYSELF BEFORE GOD. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. 23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
Why is it that men only quote from verse 21 when preaching against wine? Could it be that verses 20, 22 and 23 don’t support their point? Absolutely! If a man believes he has this freedom he should have it to himself and not exercise his freedom in a way that may offend a brother or sister. i.e. perhaps don’t drink in a public place and definitely stop before you are drunk. God hates drunkenness.
Are you willing to forego eating meat when in the presence of vegetarians? Your eating habits may offend them. If you are not willing to forego meat in deference to those who are offended by it then why should others give up wine just because you are offended? These verses were specifically talking about meat, we have just applied the same principles to wine.
1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
1 Timothy 3:3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
1 Timothy 3:8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to MUCH wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
Titus 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to MUCH wine, teachers of good things;
There is a difference here between the pastor or bishop and the rest of the flock. Why that little word “much”? It makes such a huge difference in the meaning. Pastors and Bishops must not be given to wine, period, but deacons and aged women should not be given to much wine. (People below the pastor are permitted a little wine.) So why do you have a higher standard than the apostle Paul? Why a higher standard than the Holy Spirit demands? Are you adding to scripture? When you tell your flock that they shouldn’t have any liquor in their house you are contradicting scripture. Aren’t you afraid the people will read their bibles and find you out?
Acts 2:15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
Why doesn’t the apostle here just say that “these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing that they always abstain from strong drink”? If it was true I have no doubt that he would have said it, if it was important to the Holy Spirit. If the apostles were preaching abstinence, this is a very strange thing to say!
I have heard a (Baptist) pastor say that the water was no good in the Holy land during the time of Christ and so they had to add a little wine to the water for it’s antiseptic qualities, to make it safe to drink. If this was true then why did Jesus ask for a drink of water from the woman at the well? If it was unsafe to drink wouldn’t she have given a different answer? Furthermore, watering down the wine would destroy it’s antiseptic qualities. I think that pastor was trying to explain away scripture.
Habakuk 2:15 Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!
Note that in Habakuk. 2:15 that this is one sentence. It doesn’t end with “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink”, it goes on to say that the condemnation is for those who do it for the purpose “and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!” Don’t forget the “AND” and “THAT”, they are important. Those who give drink FOR THE PURPOSE of looking on another’s nakedness are the ones condemned. Your interpretation would mean that Baptist pastors who served alcoholic wine to their flock, during the Lord’s supper service, before the invention of a preservation method for unfermented juices in the late nineteenth century, were guilty of wanting to see the nakedness of their people!
Obviously some people should not drink, they have no self control. Some people should not drive cars, they have no judgment and are a danger to themselves and everyone else, but this does not mean that everyone should abstain from driving cars. The same applies to drink, only more so: if you think it is sin then TO YOU it is sin. One who believes he has freedom should not flaunt it, “have it to thyself”.
Romans 14:14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. (it may be a sin for you to drink, if you have little faith, but not for other believers.)
1 Corinthians 11:20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.
21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
In this passage it is very clear that the church in Corinth was using alcoholic wine in their communion service. The Apostle chides them for being drunken but says nothing about what they were drinking, in fact his solution is “have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?” (have it to thyself?). This would have been the perfect opportunity to denounce strong drink. Why then doesn’t he? Again there is no condemnation for what they were drinking. Surely if they were drinking the “wrong type of wine” the Apostle, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit would have said “ye are drinking the wrong kind of wine”? This is very strange indeed!
Your preaching against alcohol is an extreme reaction to a very real problem, that of alcohol abuse. I know it would be easier if every Christian would simply renounce wine, but you and I know they won’t, scripture doesn’t demand that they should. The world can see that Jesus drank, it is very clear from scripture. Then they see Christians ban alcohol when it is plain that it is not alcohol but drunkenness that is banned by scripture, it is no wonder that they call us hypocrites. Of course it is easier to ban alcohol than exercise self control. I think this policy is a tool of the devil to keep people out of the churches, and away from the hearing of the gospel message!
I recently read “the Trial and Burning of John Huss”. It is a very moving book, although I can’t agree with everything he believed (ie. transubstantiation) nevertheless I believe he was a true brother in Christ. One interesting thing is that in his last supper he had a glass of wine with his meal, but the next day as he was being tied to the stake he was offered some wine by one of the guards and he refused. He knew it was not the time to drink. The guard was overcome by conviction and promptly resigned on the spot and left town before the execution was carried out. I think that Mr. Hus was exercising the biblical directions regarding wine given in the bible.
As for me I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about these things, but I have been forced by men like you to search the scriptures and find out what I believe. I originally believed as you do, but was forced to change my views to conform with scripture.
I invite you pastor, to prove me wrong with scripture, I’m not interested in opinions unless it is the Lords opinion.
Philippians 4:5 “Let your MODERATION be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand”.
17 Pratt Rd. Barrie ON L4M 2K9
End of Part 1