Home brewing in Connecticut Discussions - CT Beer Trail

Friday, April 25, 2008

Home Brewing Beer & Christianity: Part 4


Welcome to Part 4 of Home Brewing Beer & Christianity...

In the previous three 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 are 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. Think quality, not quantity.
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.
  • Christians should not cause other Christians to falter... (1 Corinthians 8:9-13) 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.
These last two points are good guidelines for Christians and non-Christians alike, good life advice that we all could benefit from.

In Part 3 we made this point:

  • God made food & drink as a gift for us to enjoy. (Psalms 104:14-15 & Ecclesiastes 9:7) God gave us the ability to make beverages that "gladdens the heart" and the Bible instructs his people to drink "with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do." (Amos 9:14) God willed his people to "plant vineyards and drink their wine," perhaps a case for starting your own hop garden!
In my opinion, the Bible indicates the joy of producing and enjoying your own wine, and I think that logic can easily and soundly be applied to beer as well. The ability to make and enjoy a tasty beverage is a gift from God, one that Jesus himself took part in...


BIBLICAL FACT: Jesus drank and was criticized for it...

"The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." ' But wisdom is proved right by her actions."

Matthew 11:19


We already know that Jesus made wine, but as indicated above, he also drank. Jesus was a man of the people, he ate, drank and fellowshipped with people from all walks of life. How else would he have gotten his message out to the world if he did not dwell within it? Sadly he was wrongly criticized for this, just as some of us that drink and keep the faith are today. If you consider drinking, making alcohol, and hanging out with so called 'unsavory types' sinful, what does your logic say about Jesus? Something we should keep in mind before we condemn people who enjoy "adult beverages" responsibly and who dwell within the greater community.

BIBLICAL FACT: We know Jesus had a farewell drink with his disciples at the last supper…

“Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."

Matthew 26:27-29


Obviously, in this case, the wine was symbolic of Jesus’ sacrifice for all of us, and not just a meaningless toast. But it was, in a manner of speaking, the ultimate toast. Not only did Jesus drink and toast in honor of his sacrifice for us, but he also promised to toast with us again, one day, in heaven. That’s pretty cool, isn’t it? That's one party I'll be damned if I'm going to miss, literally...

BIBLICAL FACT: There's going to be a great party in Heaven, and there will be "adult beverages" available...

"On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. In that day they will say, "Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation."


Isaiah 25:6-9


Good food and drink is the least of the good news in the scriptures above, but it's all good news in my book. A great party, the end of death and suffering and no more sadness. We know there will be the "finest wines" at this feast, hopefully there's some good beer too. Either way, I hope I see you all there for the big party!


Final Thoughts…

To the best of my knowledge, the Bible does not forbid Christians from drinking or making beer, wine, or any other drink. Alcohol, like food, is actually a gift from God, and should be enjoyed responsibly in moderation. The ability to grow the necessary ingredients , and then turn them into fine beverages is also a gift from God. So, from what I can tell, home brewing and then enjoying the fruits of your labor is a good thing! That being said, drunkenness and addiction are sins, and should be avoided, and we must be careful not to corrupt those around us. If you can not handle alcohol responsibly, as God intended, it’s best to avoid it.

I’m open to discussing this topic with anyone. I enjoy making and drinking beer, but my faith is much more important to me. If I have misinterpreted the scriptures, please let me know. I’m open to learning more, and want my ways to be proper. Let me know what you think…

In case you missed them, here are Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3..

Here are some other interesting sites...

Do you have other related links? Please post a comment and I'll add them to the post. I look forward to your feedback, please post a comment, lets discuss!

Cheers and God Bless!

14 comments:

  1. Hey Bro I’ve been struggling on whether or not I should quit brewing with some of my co-workers, since a door has been opened for me to become a leader in the ministry that I’m a part of. Your blog shed some light on something’s that were unknown to me and I thank you but I still got some questions. The guys I brew with smoke pot, and I keep on debating if I’m being a witness of any sort to them or if I would be a bigger witness if I quit. It’s so hard for me, especially since I’m a hop head, and we brew over the top tasty and bold beer. Honestly I do feel it would be better if I quit since my bro is an alcoholic, but I’m torn and I need all the advice I can get.

    Cheers and God Bless

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  2. I guess I should first point out that I'm an atheist.

    After that, you come to different religion's perspectives on alcohol. Southern Baptists are completely against it, in fact they didn't allow anyone to attend the SBC if they consumed any alcohol. They use grape juice during services. There are other "strict" religions, but the SBC is one of the more famous. At the other end (kindof) you have Catholics who use wine in each service. Several of the knights of columbus halls have liquor licenses.

    So it runs the gamut from teetotalers to people who can sell liquor.

    1 Corinthians 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    Drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God. Now, if you watch the Way of the Master series, Ray Comfort will say that if you've ever done something you are that thing. (If you've ever lied, you are a liar; therefore if you've ever been drunk, you are a drunkard). But to me, that isn't the case. In my opinion, it all deals with labels.

    When people talk to you, what is it that you are defined as. Do they say, you are a glutton? Do they say you are a drunkard? Do they say you are a christian?

    If you are a christian, then the first thing people should know about you is that.

    James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

    Appearance is a big thing. Can a man be a christian and enjoy a beer? I think so.

    My final thought is on sin.

    James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

    As a child I was taught that sinning is doing wrong, when you know to do right. But that may not necessarily be correct. It is as simple as not doing the right thing. If you THINK that what you are doing is the wrong thing, then it is. If you don't think what you are doing is wrong, then it isn't.

    So, to sum up.

    1. Christian religions have "branches" that go from teetotaler to nearly drunk.

    2. A lot of it deals with the definition of who you are. What are you labeled as (one can be a person who loves beer and not a drunkard).

    3. Do you think it's wrong.

    V

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  3. Great comments... I'm in the middle of some things today, so no time to give you both the replies your comments deserve. I'm not blowing you off though, I promise. Check bck tomorrow and I'll try to get you both responses by then. Thanks for the feedback, questions and info...

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  4. Jimbo,

    Being a Christian, even one involved in ministry, does not prohibit you from home brewing. I home brew and I’m active in my church. Just ask these guys: RiverBrew

    That being said, I'd keep clear of gatherings that involve illegal substances. Not just because you’re a Christian, but also because it’s the law. If your friends want to do that kind of stuff, that’s their business, but do the really need to do it around you if it bothers you? Have you asked them to stop? Would your buddies refrain from the weed at these gatherings if you asked them to?

    Regarding your alcoholic buddy, you really don't want to enable him with his bad habit. (Just curious, how do you define an alcoholic?) If you buddy has a real problem with alcohol, it would be best not to lead him astray. (Romans 14:21-22) But don't abandon him as a friend. The best thing you could do is be a good example and be a good friend. Try to hang out with him and do stuff not related to beer and see how it goes. Just a thought...

    If you feel that home brewing will hurt others, it maybe a good idea to stop. Or just stop doing it with your alcoholic buddy. Maybe you need new brew buddies. Ever thought about starting your own home brewing ministry? My thought is, brewing beer is a great hobby, but it also comes with a need to be responsible. If you can't appreciate the beer you make, by drinking it responsibly, you shouldn't home brew. That's something your friend should keep in mind, and something you should be mindful of as well. If you know he has a weakness, don’t tempt him, plain and simple. And frankly its good advice for a Christian or a non-Christian.

    Hope that helps, shoot me an e-mail if you want to talk more off line… bryon[at]homebrewbeet.net

    Cheers and God Bless!

    vgrid, I'll get you a response some time tomorrow, thanks!

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  5. JIMBO,

    Just to be clear, I'm not a part of RiverBrew I just found the site online.

    I'd love to hear what you decided to do in regards to your questions... Keep me in the loop, and let me know if you ever need to wrap with someone about this kind of stuff...

    Good luck!

    Bryon

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  6. Vgrid,

    1. You said, "Christian religions have ‘branches’ that go from teetotaler to nearly drunk."

    This is true, but I think many Christians are missing out and really don't need to. Alcohol is a gift from God, meant to be enjoyed responsibly. That being said, some folks should probably just stay clear of alcohol, because they can't handle it. The same could be said for anyone of any faith or lack there of. Good advice for Christians and Atheist alike.

    2. You said, "A lot of it deals with the definition of who you are. What are you labeled as (one can be a person who loves beer and not a drunkard)."

    Agreed, a drunkard, in my book, is someone who has a problem with alcohol, who drinks to get drunk, etc. But even getting drunk once is a sin, so it should be avoided. That being said, I'm not perfect, sometimes I eat too much at the buffet too. And gluttony is also a sin. The issue here is doing your best to avoid a sinful life. If you have a big problem with temptation, then you should avoid it. As a Christian, you should strive to be Christ-like, but all of us will fall short, we all sin.

    3. You said, "Do you think it's wrong," implying an action is a sin, if you think it’s a sin.

    A sin isn't a sin, just because the individual thinks it is, at least not in my book. As a Christian, I think the less added or removed from scripture the better when using the Bible as a guide. So, I take what the Bible says, more or less at face value. Therefore, getting drunk is a sin, according to the Bible. But I think choosing to live a life of regular drunkenness is an even bigger sin. Again, we will ALL fall short when striving to be Christ-like, but we should continue to strive none the less. If you struggle regularly with a particular sin, you should avoid the temptation. For some, that would mean avoid beer.

    Vgrid, I really appreciate your comment and insight. Its refreshing to hear an Atheist comment on my faith without insulting me. You seem like you’re pretty well versed for an Atheist, are you a prior man of faith?

    Thanks agin, and hey, stay in touch!

    Bryon

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  7. 1. Moderation truly is the key. My family is primarily baptist (ranging from southern to american)The southerns are teetotalers (my mom won't even let beer inside her house). She gives alcohol way too much power. Her disdain for it has turned it into an idol. If it's mere presence can make her less of a christian, than that thing is more powerful than god. My father (they are divorced) is much less strict; he may not consume beer (or he just has one every now and then) but he doesn't run from it like it's the plague. He hasn't made it stronger than god.

    2. I'm not sure if getting drunk, is a sin. Getting drunk and staying drunk routinely definitely would/could be. But going to a wedding and having one too many surely isn't. Like in the above #1, the problem is not drunkenness, the problem is idolatry. If alcohol has replaced god in your life, then that is the problem.

    When you suppress something so much that it becomes a negative influence (like saying one should never under any circumstances get drunk)then it's more than a sin, its a problem that will affect your life, even if you aren't a christian.

    3. Striving to be christ-like isn't that hard to do. Modern christianity tries to make it out to be hard, but it isn't. If you know something is wrong, don't do it. Additionally, remember what one of Jesus major themes was, while he was technically for the old law.

    Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

    He wasn't for the strict adherence of the law. His major role (other than the whole dieing for your sins) was to get people to WANT to follow the law (which shows their love for the LORD). When people joylessly followed the law it became an idol.

    Why did Jesus overturn the tables in the church? It didn't really bother him that people were actually buying their sacrifices there, the problem was that it meant nothing to the people. The sacrifice wasn't a SACRIFICE, it was going through the motions. They did it because that's what they do, not because they loved the LORD.

    So the thing is, are you not getting drunk because you believe it to be a sin and want to follow the law? Or are not doing it because you love the lord and want to do his will?

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  8. 1. You said, “Moderation truly is the key.”

    And I agree… And yes, it does sound like your Mom goes a bit too far… Unless she has a problem with addiction, then her actions would be sensible (for herself).

    2. You said, “I'm not sure if getting drunk, is a sin. Getting drunk and staying drunk routinely definitely would/could be. But going to a wedding and having one too many surely isn't. Like in the above #1, the problem is not drunkenness, the problem is idolatry. If alcohol has replaced god in your life, then that is the problem.”

    It really depends on what you consider “getting drunk”. I would imagine different people have different opinions on that. What’s the difference between drinking that “gladdens the heart of man” versus the drinking that makes a man drunk? Perhaps there’s a fine line. I would certainly agree that making drunkenness a regular part of your life would in fact be sinful lifestyle, and if you’re not a person of this faith it’s still unhealthy. But to put it in perspective, having one too many is a far cry from a binge session. So, I think there is some gray area here; which is why I think quantifying how many is too many can often be a matter of personal conscious, not to mention everyone’s metabolism is different

    That being said, we all can tell when someone has had far too many, but one too many can be difficult to determine. This is also where things like drinking and driving accidents often happen. So, the gray area can be dangerous too. Everyone should know their limits, and be safe. Having one too many, would be like over eating at the buffet, not healthy and not the right thing to do, but also not the end of the world. Now if you keep going past that one beer, or if you plow through a whole tray of lasagna, you probably have a real problem. It’s even worse if you do so purposely as a regular part of your life. It’s varying degrees of ‘wrongness’.

    Like the saying goes, “Sow a thought, and you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap a character; Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.” At any rate, I don’t think our views differ too much here, although I think you may be a bit more cavalier than I am with the “one too many” concept. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be judgmental on this. If I was, I’d be a hypocrite as I have on occasion had one to many, and have had a wee bit too much food to eat. I’m not perfect, but I try to keep a healthy and responsible lifestyle. Remember, the slope can be slippery…

    3. You said, “Striving to be christ-like isn't that hard to do. Modern christianity tries to make it out to be hard, but it isn't. If you know something is wrong, don't do it.”

    I would say it’s not hard to try, and most of us can do a pretty good job of being a decent person, but I believe we all would fall short if we were stacked up against Jesus. Bottom line, Jesus was without sin, and none of us are. But that’s OK, none of us are perfect, we just need to do our best. And as you’ve stated, this should be done joyfully, not with misery out of obligation. He wants us to do our best to follow the laws/rules, not out of obligation but out of our own will. We are going to mess up, make mistakes, occasionally fail to do what’s right, but that’s OK. That’s the way of the world. This is something many people of faith forget when they judge others, and fail to see this same imperfection in their own lives.

    You asked, “So the thing is, are you not getting drunk because you believe it to be a sin and want to follow the law? Or are not doing it because you love the lord and want to do his will?” Great question! For me it the latter… Plus, I think making a habit of NOT getting drunk is healthier, regardless of faith. It also allows you to enjoy what you drink more. If you just want to get toasted, then buy a 30 pack of Busch and go to town…

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  9. There is nothing wrong with Christians drinking beer. The bible is a spiritual book with hidden wisdom contained therein. Many do not understand it therefore they believe one must follow certain rules in the flesh in order to be saved. However, we are saved by grace through faith, not of our own works of righteousness in the flesh.

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  10. This is a debate that has been going on for a long time. The Baptist church is definitely against drinking in any form, but most other denominations seem to be more open to alcohol consumption. I always drink in moderation and don't try to get wasted.

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  11. Bryon,

    Thanks for linking to my essay "Alcohol and the Bible" that I wrote in 1996 under a pen name. I'm working on an updated and expanded version to be released on the Kindle and other ereaders.

    I'd love to get your feedback on the 21-page pre-publication draft. If you're interested, drop me an email at: comments [at] fredtexas [dot] com.

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  12. As a pastor and soon to be home brewer, I appreciate this series. I lived six years in Germany and learned to savor a good glass of beer. The key, as you point out, is moderation. To God be the Glory my friend. Thank you for your insightful articles.

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