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What the Bible Says About Alcohol
For the past 200 years Americans have been told that biblical teaching forbids the drinking of alcoholic beverages. But does it? In this greatly revised and expanded version of his controversial book, (formerly titled)The Christian and Alcoholic Beverages, Kenneth L. Gentry Jr. takes a thorough look at the issue, concluding that Scripture allows wine to be consumed both for health and pleasure—but in moderation. By careful lexical, exegetical and theological examination, God Gave Wine demonstrates from the Bible the error of those who demand either prohibition or abstention. With the backdrop of Psalm 104:14-15, Gentry shows that wine is God’s blessing to man. Written in a pleasing and irenic style, Gentry’s approach avoids the common pitfalls of emotionalism, cultural conditioning and ecclesiastical tradition, while remaining distinctively biblical.
Striking to some upon reflection, God teaches in Psalm 104.13-15 that wine is among the many gifts that He gives His people. Believers do not despise God’s listed gifts of cattle, herbs, oil, and bread. Then why do so many despise His gift of wine? Could it be that they do not get their doctrine from the Bible, but instead from current society?
God states in Judges 9.13 that wine cheers Him, and He considers it so highly that Jesus chose wine as the perfect symbol to represent His precious blood when He instituted the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Clearly it seems more compatible with Christian discipleship to enjoy, rather than to forego, wine. It is risky business to try to be more spiritual than Jesus!
Some people claim that in Bible days, the wine was unfermented. If that were true, how did Noah get drunk from the grapes of his vineyard? (Gen. 9.20-21) There is no such thing as unfermented wine. The yeast exists on each grape berry (the dust you see on each grape), and fermentation starts the moment the berry skin is broken. Unfermented grape juice can exist only if pasteurized. Even refrigerated juice will ferment over time, as will most cold things–just look in the back of your refrigerator at the stuff you have not thrown out for months.
Jude 3 says that we are “to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered” to Christian believers. The Christian faith has been delivered once for all. It is complete and does not need to be modified or brought up to date. It is forever up to date—timeless. It does not need to change to fit contemporary culture. It needs, instead, to be lived! God through His word must define His doctrine. Only He can say what is right and wrong, not our culture. Let the culture change to reflect the glory of God and the faith He so generously gave mankind.
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God Gave Wine, and, Drinking with Calvin And Luther
"An irrefutable study that ought to put an end to the controversy. Only the severely prejudiced reader would reject Gentry's clear presentation of the Bible's teaching. Must reading!"
"Without losing his characteristic irenicism, Gentry does a wonderful job in demolishing the pretensions of abstentionists.... Every American pastor needs this book."
"While I don't want to offend my dear brothers who hold the anti-alcohol position, I sincerely cannot conceive of a credible refutation to Gentry's well-honed, exegetical argument."
"To ask the question, 'What does the Bible say about alcohol?' in today's evangelical church is brave enough. To answer the question just as honestly is walking where angels fear to tread. With God Gave Wine, Gentry shows himself to be fearless!"
Kenneth L. Gentry Jr. is an ordained Presbyterian minister who has served in both the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.