Doing anything to excess is bad for you. If you eat too much it’s bad for you, because you’re going to get fat. Obviously gluttony could be a sin.
But we don’t say eating is a sin. We don’t say, “Hey, you can’t eat.” So why do churches say you can’t drink?
There’s a rule among the churches that if you’re on the church staff, drinking alcohol is not allowed. I don’t personally agree with that. You’re saying that if I’m a pastor, or a youth pastor, or somehow on staff, then I’m not allowed to sit at the dinner table and have a glass of wine with my wife. Why not? Why do you think anyone should be reprimanded for that? Because of what it represents?
I’m not misrepresenting the church. Are you saying Jesus misrepresented God when He drank wine? No!
People talk a lot about avoiding the appearance of evil. But why is it evil to have a glass of wine at dinner with my wife? There’s no “appearance of evil” in that. The “appearance of evil” is if I’m drinking wine and standing on the table acting like a hoodlum. There it is. There’s your sin.
But enjoying an alcoholic beverage with my wife? You’re going to tell me that that’s an appearance of evil? No, that’s your judgment. And that is not appropriate, because I’m doing nothing wrong.
This is just my personal opinion, but I think that when the churches make this rule against drinking, they are living because of fear of man.
I feel like the churches are too afraid of their reputations. They’re afraid people are going to think badly of them. They’re afraid if someone on staff has a glass of wine, people won’t think they’re good. Why? Why aren’t they going to think you’re good? You’re not doing anything wrong.
Well, they say, the nonbeliever will think that you’re sinning. Why? Why would a nonbeliever try to hold judgment over me on something they don’t even believe in? Suppose a nonbeliever sees me having a beer and asks, “Aren’t you sinning?” I would ask, “Well, do you think it’s a sin to drink?” And when they answer “No,” I would say, “Then why do you think I’m sinning?”
There’s no reason! That’s a judgment. If you’re doing nothing wrong, if you’re not living in sin at the time of your alcoholic beverage, then you’re not giving any kind of appearance of evil.
Of course if there’s a pastor out there just slurring like crazy, and rambling, and falling over, then his church is going to take some flak. And as James says, he’ll to be held to a higher standard. But the standard is not drinking. The standard is Jesus. Jesus, who drank wine. He is the highest standard there is, the King of Kings, God in human flesh!
His appearance is the appearance we should reflect.
Next I want to tell you a bit about an exciting idea CNN has about fighting human trafficking. See you Tuesday.