One of the loudest arguments in some circles of evangelical Christianity is over the use of or abstinence from alcohol — from wine to beer to harder stuff. I am a lifelong teetotaler by conviction. I do not make a huge deal of it with people outside of my family unless I’m operating in my role as a spiritual leader (father, pastor, seminary professor, etc….). My sweet wife can tell you horror stories of what it was like to grow up in the home of an alcoholic. I can tell you of stories too countless to number where people had their lives DESTROYED by alcohol — from losing children to a drunk driver, being made orphans by drunk drivers, to having their health destroyed, to committing unspeakable acts of mayhem, immorality or careless while under the influence of alcohol.
Everyday, my family personally has to deal with the horrific consequences that alcohol can have on someone totally innocent and without choice in the matter in a situation that is too personal for the internet.
Simply put — while I can’t make an air-tight theological case against ever taking a drink, I say it is unnecessary and dangerous to do so — for Christians and non-Christians alike. If that makes me a narrow-minded, legalistic, fundamentalist — then I can live with that and you won’t be the first person to have called me that anyway. (A liberal is often someone who has lower standards of behavior than you and a legalist/fundamentalist is often someone who has higher standards of behavior/conduct than you in today’s twisted label-slinging theological world.)
Southern Baptist Convention President, Danny Akin has a strong essay on the topic on his blog right now. He makes a strong and personal case for the “alcohol abstinence” position. I’d urge you to read it HERE.
I’m not going to get all embroiled in huge debates about the topic. It’s not a test of “fellowship” with me. I just find it foolish (even childish) for mature believers to be crossing this line as if it is some sort of exercise in “Christian Liberty” without assuming the responsibility for the consequences that come with this decision has on one’s self and others.