My Conversation About Drinking with a Lutheran

If You're a Lutheran, Then It's Ok for You to Drink..

It was that awkward moment when you’ve been around someone long enough to know that they are different than most, but you’re not quite sure why. So, since I felt fairly comfortable and connected to this person, and they knew I was a follower of Christ, I just came right down to it and asked: “Are you a Christian?”

My Conversation About Drinking with a Lutheran. If You're a Lutheran It's Ok for You to Drink.

“No, I’m a Lutheran.”

I thought it was an odd response. So, I simply let it be what it was: “Alright… Cool.”

“Why? Do you have a problem with drinking?” He instantly asked next.

This was the beginning of a somewhat in-depth conversation. I asked the initial question; he gave the responses and then steered the conversation. I found it curious: Why did this person move directly to a question and discussion about alcohol?

Team Unity of Jesus Followers

If we worship Jesus Christ, we are on the same team. Depending on the position you play on a sports team, your personal strategy may be a little different than your teammate’s. Take soccer for instance: Defenders have different strengths, objectives, and focus points than offensive players. Nonetheless, the entire team moves towards the same goal.

So, while we are all on the same team, we may have some individual Christian lifestyle differences. As long as a few basic core beliefs are in place, then the Jesus follower is moving in the same direction as the rest of the team. Unity in essentials and grace in non-essentials has become a popular phrase to communicate this idea.

In the book of Acts, there’s an account about church leaders needing to decide what the new Jesus followers must live like in order to be considered a true Jesus follower. After some debate, and after a mention that everyone who trusts in Jesus is saved by His undeserved grace, the church leaders come to a conclusion:

“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements: You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell.”

Acts 15:28-29

While these requirements had cultural reasons attached, and while these requirements may be different today in our culture, the point is this: when it came to a Christian lifestyle, there are few things that must be observed, but many things that may be observed.

When someone asks about Christianity, the next response shouldn’t be centered on drinking or any other sort of social activity. I don’t know why this person reverted to this follow-up question in our conversation. Maybe they had been judged one too many times by people who adamantly shout that drinking is a sin. I’m not sure….

The Bottom Line: Care for Others More Than Ourselves

In our conversation, this person realized that drinking in moderation is permissible, but getting drunk is a sin. Turns out, this person enjoys a couple beers once or twice a month. This individual had a sibling who is a raging drunk. This has left a sour taste in this person’s mouth; my acquaintance wholeheartedly disapproves of that type of drunken lifestyle. If everyone consumed beers or alcohol as this individual does: a couple at a time, once or twice a month, the problem of alcoholism in our culture would start to diminish.

Nonetheless, do not allow your permissible freedoms to lead someone else into breaking their own conscience. While something is permissible, it does not necessarily make it beneficial.

You say, “I am allowed to do anything” – but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything” – but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.

1 Corinthians 10:23-24

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3 thoughts on “My Conversation About Drinking with a Lutheran

  1. I think scripture is very clear that drunkenness is a sin. The problem is, I see many people who, after a half a glass of wine say inappropriate things, and become total jerks. So the question is – how much do you want to FLIRT with sin? If someone has a problem with pornography, looking at a Victoria Secret catalog might not be sin, but it certainly would be foolishness.

    So you can say the same thing about alcohol. I know very few authentic Christians who do drink. If you have ever been to Israel, you know how dry it is there and how scarce water WAS in those days. Today we don’t have to ferment to keep liquids available. We also operate many kinds of machinery today. Being intoxicated centuries ago would not result in the tragedies we see today.

    If you listen to John MacArthur’s 8 part series he did on drinking, you will get a better understanding of what words in scripture were referring to. Many cases where it indicates wine – it is actually diluted paste and would not even be considered an alcoholic beverage by our standards.

    This is a complex issue, but it really was a necessity in those days, and it is not today. Not by a long shot. It is much higher in alcoholic content today, and strong drink was considered something barbarians did.

    There are many non-Christians who do not drink. I think most people love their alcohol so much that they will not want to learn the truth. They don’t care about the effect on others, on children, on ex-alcoholics.

    So whether you struggle with pornography, fornication, or any other sin – it is not wise to flirt with it. And after your fist flirtation – alcohol changes your self control (a fruit of the Spirit), and you will have even less ability to stop yourself from continuing to sin.

    So honour His Spirit, and your self-control by not flirting with any sin.

    If you flirt with the sin of drunkenness then you cannot tell others not to flirt with another kind of sin.

    • Good points Enrico. Thanks for sharing them.
      You’re right, this is a complex topic with multiple view-points, angles, and opinions. Even man various questions…

    • Enrico, good points but here is a question that might open your eyes.
      What is the first miracle that Jesus performed in the Bible? Hint: he turned water into wine. Hard to believe he disapproves of alcohol.