On Tuesday night, I attended a Bible study. A topic presented for discussion was if Christians could drink alcohol. If you were to ask the counsel of the whole Scriptures if it is permissible, and not to say at all times and places in all quantities, but at times if it is permissible, then it absolutely is.
The stipulations on that is that we should exercise caution, in this case for the reason that it has been demonstrated throughout human history that it is an item which is vulnerable to abuse and could incrementally take over a person's life and become his master, whereas Paul says to make nothing (aside from God of course) your master (1 Corinthians 6:12).
One of the things that is understood among those who have delighted themselves in this imbibing is there is a progressive loss of functioning relative to the amount ingested. A person may have trouble enunciating their syllables clearly and distinctly (slurring) at first, followed by problems in balance and coordination. If drinking continues then anything from loss of consciousness to falling into a coma would follow and finally death. That is the physiological result.
On the relational/social level, other things might follow the abuse of alcohol. Several questions should be asked? Is my drinking making me a worse father? Am I not loving my kids as well, raising and disciplining them as well, bonding with them as a father should bond with his kids? Am I a better or worse worker? How would my boss describe my productivity? Am I more productive or has my productivity taken a hit because I'm failing to keep it together? Do I have a quicker temper, less patience, less understanding for the people around me, a more careless attitude, bitterness and dissatisfaction with parts of my life or finding myself more often in a depressed mood than a positive and upbeat mood?
Alcohol can effect the way you handle all of these things: Family, work, friends, even the young woman taking your order over the phone at Pizza Hut.
But Christians create a very similar dilemma for themselves when they condemn consumption of alcohol but go home and wake up on Saturday morning to eat a breakfast of eggs, bacon, and sausage. It should be obvious that the Old Testament is known to have prohibited eating pork but Christians mysteriously suffer the hermeneutic lapse and say the New Testament overturns that.
The question that should be on the minds of ethicists or someone who is concerned with moral questions is, "Was there anything intrinsically immoral about it during Old Testament times, and if so, what now allows it to satisfy morality in the New Testament period?" And even that is not as accurate as saying, "If it was banned in Old Testament times, and something God was passionate about then, then could it be mistaken when Christians determine that the New Testament overturns it, that is, that our understanding of the relevant New Testament passages is incorrect?"
The Bible cannot disprove the Bible, nor can it testify against itself. It is one of the sounder principles of biblical hermeneutics, and it sits unquestioningly and firmly beside the idea of inerrancy and verbal plenary inspiration. If the God who "breathed" into life His words in the Old Testament, who was pssionate about eating pork, also was the same God who "breathed" the text of the New Testament, doesn't it undoubtably follow from this that He is also passionate for His people to not eat pork in our present day?
Let me save myself time, my readers time, and jump to a similarly weighty issue because I have elaborated on this issue before and it would be redundant to explain again for the nth time why the standard interpretation of Peter's vision in Acts 11 and Yeshua's teaching in Mark 7 are not applicable to the question of unclean meats. And if you really think a guy named Yeshua would try to get you to eat bacon then there's something not right with you. Maybe someone with a Greek name like Jesus, but a Jewish rabbi? Come on.
But the better question to address here is the question of tradition. To frame the problem: Many Christians condemn any drinking of alcohol, even in negligible amounts. They condemn those people to damnation and to burn in Hell for all of eternity. Yet many of them it can be certain have some sort of pork in their refrigerators at home.
Yeshua had several major themes during His ministry but one issue He was as passionate about as almost all of the rest was how the Jewish people of His day had become more concerned with the traditions of the scribes, the traditions of men, and if it were necessary, would diminish the importance of God's law so that they could salvage their own traditions! In other words, it was more important that man's traditions were observed than it was to observe God's law.
It isn't something I pause to reflect on or take any caution in stating: If you, a Christian person, teach that drinking alcohol will lead to death in Hell, yet you yourself have bacon at home, then you are committing one of the great errors, and such a great error, that Yeshua made great effort in fighting against any and all who taught it. He devoted probably more time to this one issue than perhaps any other: Will you choose to follow after man, or will you choose to follow God?
How is it that bacon ws wrong to eat in the OT, it's okay to in the NT? It's said we're not subkect to laws anymore. Then why do they try to add additional laws (man's law) onto us with regard to alcohol? The two are mutually exclusive propositions. These are legalists and they are advocating for tradition, and biblically they are to be held in no greater esteem than the Pharisees with whom the idea originated.