Welcome to Part 3 of my little series on Home Brewing Beer & Christianity...
In the previous two installments, we discussed a number of alcohol related facts straight from the Bible, relating them to home brewing and beer consumption for people of the Christian faith, and even those that do not...
In Part 1 we made these points:
- Jesus made Wine, really good wine! (Proverbs 3:5-6) So, how could making beer be so bad? In my opinion, it's not, as long as you don't use the beer for sinful purposes.
- Getting drunk is a sin and often leads to more sin. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) Drink in moderation for physical and spiritual health. Keep in mind, this also allows for better beer enjoyment.
In Part 2 we made these points:
- Tempting your friends who lack self-control is not a good thing, so don’t do it… (Romans 14:21-22) While the Bible does not forbid alcohol consumption, it does tell us not to tempt those around us that may be easily corrupted. (Ex: Don't bring your bulimic friend to an all you can eat buffet, and don't give your alcoholic buddy a bottle of beer.) This is something we should keep in mind as home brewers, the fruits of our labor could harm others, so discretion should be used when handing out the samples...
- Christians should not cause other Christians to falter... (1 Corinthians 8:9-13) This guideline is closely related to the one above. If a fellow Christian does not approve of your home brewing or beer consumption, don’t rub it in their face, save the beer for later. More importantly, if a fellow Christian has previously struggled with addiction, or believes drinking will lead them to further sin, don’t encourage them to drink.
BIBLICAL FACT: God made food and drink as a gift for us to enjoy, in moderation…
“He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart."
I wonder what, “gladdens the heart of man,” really means. Let’s go back to Webster’s for a basic definition of the word “glad”… “Having a cheerful or happy disposition by nature” or, “experiencing pleasure, joy, or delight” or, “marked by, expressive of, or caused by happiness and joy” and finally, “full of brightness and cheerfulness.”
If we take those basic definitions at face value, it’s a logical jump, in my mind, that the scripture reading means that God allowed us the ability to make alcoholic beverages as a means to find enjoyment. As a home brewer, I take pleasure in crafting a quality beverage from the barley and hops God has provided. Eating and drinking with friends and family creates a social environment that often leads to great fellowship.
The trick is not crossing that line between healthy fellowship and that inappropriate feeling of alcohol induced stupidity previously mentioned in part 1 of this little series. Knowing where that line rests is best left as a personal decision of conscience. If you have doubts, put the glass down.
"Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do."
This verse tells us to take pleasure in food and drink, it’s God’s will and proof that he does in fact love us and wants us to be happy! This verse reminds me of the now infamous misquote (incorrectly attributed to Ben Franklin) "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
The real Ben Franklin quote discusses Jesus' miracle of turning water into wine and equates that to the every day gift of rain and its effect on the growing grapes in vineyards that are destined to become wine.
"We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy."
Ben Franklin's letter to André Morellet, French economist, circa 1779
Franklin clearly enjoyed a good glass of wine, rather than beer, and praised God for it as a gift. I don't think it's a far leap to view barley, hops and ultimately beer as additional gifts from God, do you?
I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit.
In Amos 9:14, the bible discusses drinking wine from your own vineyard as a sign of God’s blessing. Perhaps drinking beer from your own home brewery isn’t so bad either? Maybe I should start my own hop garden after all… These last couple of versus directly relate to making your own wine, but I think these versus could soundly be applied to brewing your own beer as well.
Yes, the Bible does warn about the dangers of alcohol, but it also says a lot of wonderful things about it too. Above are just some of those positive comments the Bible has to offer. In a nutshell, God has given us the ability to plant crops and turn those crops into beverages for our enjoyment. To enjoy a fine beverage, to awe in its complexity, flavor, aroma and appearance can be equated to appreciating a beautiful view in nature. Appreciating what God has given us, responsibly, brings glory to him and enjoyment to us. Crack open a quality bottle of beer this evening and Thank God for it!
Next time, we'll wrap up this series, and discuss Jesus and his own use of alcohol. This may be a bit controversial, but you won't want to miss it. In case you missed them, here are Parts 1 and Parts 2. More to follow, Cheers and God Bless!
- Go to part IV