as a "recovering alcoholic and addict" i am always interested in discussions about a biblical viewpoint regarding drinking alcoholic beverages. i'm also always leary of using the "recovering ... " tag to identify myself. i'd rather identify myself as a sinner saved by grace or more simply a follower of Jesus Christ.
i personally do not believe that one can make a blanket case for abstention from the bible. Steve rightly states, "It's abuse that is the problem, not the alcohol content." i believe we have a responsiblity to be sure that any exercise of our liberty in Christ does not offend or cause a brother/sister to stumble.
my wife, who does not share my problem with over-consumption enjoys a glass of wine with a meal every now and then. but she never does so in my company. i have told her many times that it does not bother me but she does not wish to be an occasion of offense.
i have been very candid with my sons about my history of substance abuse and have advised them they are probably better off never picking up a drink but i don't try to make it seem like the bible tells us to abstain completely.
Steve later states, "And if we are working out our salvation through being redeemed and redeeming, then our response to cultural abuses is not to abstain but to redeem. That not only pushes us to maturity by teaching us how to eat, drink, and have sex to the glory of God (though it won't come easy), but it is also a witness to the world that God redeems. The pervert throws away the pornography (abuse) and learns to love sex with his wife (redemption). The glutton refuses to order a 5 piece fried chicken and fries meal (abuse) and learns to order a salad with light dressing instead (redemption). The alcohol abuser stops drinking until drunk (abuse) and learns to stop after a beer or two (redemption).
As long as we make the issue "abstaining," we will miss expressing and embodying redemption. And I'm afraid the message we will send is that good things can be perverted beyond redemption."
i understand what he is getting at but personally would not be comfortable telling someone with a history of alcohol abuse that they could learn to stop after a beer or two. i'm sure there are folks who have been redeemed who are able to do this but i know for myself that it would not be a profitable endeavor.
in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things love