Monday, August 1, 2016

An acceptable activity for Christians?


In recent years it has become increasingly fashionable for Christians to drink alcohol. In some “emerging” churches (cool, hip, “evangelical”) men’s Bible study groups meet at bars. The mere suggestion that tee-totaling is a valid lifestyle is mocked. Along with piercings, tattoos, yoga, off-color language, and ego-centric worship lyrics, the idea is that reaching millennials requires avoiding making them feel uncomfortable. And imbibing booze is one more way to let the bros know it’s cool to be a Christian with Bud Lite.

New research suggests that approach may have deadly physical consequences. According to a recent study published in the scientific journal “Addiction,” nearly six percent of cancer deaths worldwide are linked to alcohol. This includes people who drink in moderate amounts, which some suds-soaked Christians might like to think is their kind of drinking. The stats in “Addiction” suggest that even slight social drinking leads annually to half a million deaths from cancer alone, to say nothing of automobile accidents and other health risks. The carcinogenic compound acetaldehyde found in alcohol can cause cancer in the liver, colon, esophagus, the prostate, throat, mouth, pancreas, skin, and female breasts. AND GET THIS: all drinkers of any amount have the same risk of cancer of the mouth, esophagus, breast, and pharynx! An author of the report, Jennie Connor, professor of epidemiology at the University of Otago in New Zealand, writes, “Promotion of health benefits from drinking at moderate levels is seen increasingly as disingenuous or irrelevant in comparison to the increase in risk of a range of cancers.”

Our entire family has always been abstainers. My wife’s father died of alcoholism. My grandfather on my dad’s side died of alcoholism. How foolish would it be with those genetics to drink even casually? Spare me any lectures on the wedding feast at Cana and a “little wine for thy stomach’s sake.” (Get real, they didn’t have the purified water standards we do today.) Be as avant-garde as you wish. Have that social sip of wine or that cold beer on a hot summer’s afternoon. As for me and my household, I remember the words of the ER doctor the night I was rushed to the hospital after knee surgery three years ago. I lay there dying of pulmonary embolisms, my lungs filled with blood clots. As they rushed me into surgery, the doctor asked, “Do you drink?” When I replied in the negative, he said, “Good, you have a chance to survive.” That and the findings of “Addiction” are good enough for me to avoid “heading to the mountains” for what made “Milwaukee famous.” “This Bud’s” not for me or my family. And neither is an unacceptable risk of cancer, alcoholism, and premature death.

In Psalm 26:6 David declares something remarkable: “I will wash my hands in innocence.” He was declaring himself “not guilty” of his enemies’ accusations. He didn’t say this because he had never sinned. All Bible readers know of King David’s transgressions. But he found forgiveness and moved beyond his shame. How unlike Pilate who declared of Christ, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.” He wasn’t, of course. David’s witness is an example to which we all can aspire, innocence before God because of His grace and our honest confession of sin.

Bob Larson has trained healing and deliverance teams all over the world to set the captives free and Do What Jesus Did® (Luke 4:18).  You can partner with Bob and support this vision to demonstrate God’s power in action by calling 303-980-1511 or clicking here to donate online