The Gospel According to St. Arnold–Preface

St. Arnold–patron saint of brewersUndoubtedly, it is Providential timing that a press release entitled Christians Consider Drinking Beer Acceptable appears on the website Christiannewswire.com at precisely the moment I am poised to launch a series discussing The Role of Beer in a Christian Life OR The Role of Christianity in a Beery Life. I call it “The Gospel According to St. Arnold,” and it will be a Wednesday feature here at brewvana for the entire month of December.

The press release discusses a poll conducted by ChristiaNet, who asked 5,200 Christians, “Is it wrong for a Christian to consume beer?” ChristiaNet President Bill Cooper offered a non-commital “Christ warns of the results of drunkenness,” a stance with which few reasonable thinkers, Christian or otherwise, might disagree. The responders to the poll tossed out results that give beer lovers hope regarding the thinking of Christians–a group often in opposition to any progressive legislative thinking about alcohol issues.

Of the respondents, 51% asserted that drinking beer is not wrong. Thirty-eight percent of respondents believed drinking to be wrong. Another 11% indicated that they were unsure of their position.

While it appears there is sound thinking in slightly more than half the pews, it is clear that there are others who are misguided or not guided. Here are a couple of comments from respondents:

“I don’t know anyone that only drinks one beer, they usually drink more to get a buzz and that is wrong. Sometimes they even turn into alcoholics.”

I’m not sure who this person is hanging around, but perhaps they should change their company. I often have only one beer, and I never drink with the purpose of getting a buzz. Sometimes a mild buzz is the result of a day of tasting several one-ounce samples at a festival or judging two flights at a competition. However, I wish these folks could hear the number of judges requesting to judge low alcohol beers in the afternoon–simply to keep clear heads and the stamina to get through a very long day of pensive work. While I’d agree that the buzz-seeker’s approach to drinking is certainly worthy of concern, the “sometimes they even turn into alcoholics,” statement makes alcoholism sound as magical (dark magic, I suppose) as kissing a frog and having it turn into a prince.

Others in this group quoted Proverbs 20:1 which states, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”

These folks are using this passage of the Bible to say that drinking is wrong. I think it’s a wonderful passage worthy of taking note. Like the musings of Black Sabbath, it’s really more of a warning. Don’t get deceived; don’t get pulled into overconsumption and the darkness that can tear upon a life. But we might also use this passage to offer other warnings. I’d say that it made good sense to not get deceived by infomercials, fast food and pharmaceutical advertising or those late-night preachers selling prayer handkerchiefs and the like.

“There just isn’t any good reason to drink alcohol, and it is not like it tastes good.”

Everyone has their reasons. I drink beer because I enjoy the flavors. I guess this person never tried a beer that tasted good. It’s a pity that a closed mind might cause them to miss out on something truly delicious, not to mention the culture and history involved, which has always intrigued me.

Some in this group [undecided] were more concerned with the motivation for drinking beer rather than the amount consumed, “If you are drinking because you want to dull some area of your life then it is wrong because you are supposed to turn to God when you are in need.”

I’d agree with these people, and I’m elated that they are thinking for themselves.

All in all, I’d consider this news encouraging. It serves as a wonderful introduction in to my “Gospel,” and we can all hope that some of the more conservative Conservative Christians might take a listen to what their flock has to say. More importantly, I’d like to see those that disagree with my views take a reasonable step back and listen to another person’s views without becoming defensive or belligerent. I admit up front that I believe that drinking beer (in moderation) to be both fine and dandy. I do it with a clear conscience something close to daily.

My purpose for this series is not to crack on Christians for the next few Wednesdays. We are brothers, after all, and besides, they have enough infighting to deal with–sorting out the best denomination and all. I will call out what I consider to be foolish thinking, but I’ll labor to be fair and respectful (I may be smart-alecky at times, but I’ll stop short of sarcasm). I’ll hope that the Christians out there reading (both the drinkers and the abstainers) will do the same. I invite your comments as we proceed.

Coming Wednesday, December 5–Part 1

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7 Responses to The Gospel According to St. Arnold–Preface

  1. brendan says:

    I am often skeptical of groups of Protestants who go around calling themselves Christians, like they have a monopoly on the worship of Christ. So polls like this should really be more sect specific. Certain Lutheran synods and the Catholic church have much different views on drink than some miserablist sects. And you would think it would be easier to be a fundamentalist, since we interpret the bible literally, but there are so many conflicting statements on drink, that I just cite the wedding feast of Cana and am done with it.

  2. [...] If you missed last week’s Preface, you can find it here. [...]

  3. [...] If you missed the Preface, you can find it here. [...]

  4. [...]   Welcome to an essential brewvana series. Discussing The Role of Beer in a Christian Life OR The Role of Christianity in a Beery Life, “The Gospel According to St. Arnold” will be a Wednesday feature here at brewvana for the next few weeks. If you missed the Preface, you can find it here. [...]

  5. [...] The Gospel According to St. Arnold–Part 4 Solving Christians’ Drinking Problems With Sex and Money Welcome to an essential brewvana series. Discussing The Role of Beer in a Christian Life OR The Role of Christianity in a Beery Life, “The Gospel According to St. Arnold” will be a Wednesday feature here at brewvana for the next few weeks. If you missed the Preface, you can find it here. [...]

  6. [...] The Gospel According to St. Arnold–Part 5 Closing Thoughts on Spreading the Gospel Welcome to the conclusion of an essential brewvana series. For the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing The Role of Beer in a Christian Life OR The Role of Christianity in a Beery Life, “The Gospel According to St. Arnold.” If you missed the Preface, you can find it here. [...]

  7. Buster says:

    @Sobriety:

    John 2:1-11 – Wedding feast, Jesus turns water into wine.
    Sirach 31:25-30: And if you have been forced to eat much, arise, go out, and vomit: and it shall refresh you, and you shall not bring sickness upon your body. 26 Hear me, my son, and despise me not: and in the end you shall find my words. In all your works be quick, and no infirmity shall come to you. The lips of many shall bless him that is liberal of his bread, and the testimony of his truth is faithful. Against him that is niggardly of his bread, the city will murmur, and the testimony of his niggardliness is true. Challenge not them that love wine: for wine has destroyed very many.
    Isaiah 25:6 – And the Lord of hosts shall make unto all people in this mountain, a feast of fat things, a feast of wine, of fat things full of marrow, of wine purified from the lees.
    Galatians 5:19-21 – Now the works of the flesh are manifest: which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God.
    Matthew 11:19 – The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say: Behold a man that is a glutton and a wine drinker, a friend of publicans and sinners. And wisdom is justified by her children.

    If Christians wouldn’t hang out with someone that drank alcohol and drinking alcohol is a sin, they’re saying they wouldn’t hang out with Jesus and he sinned. That being said I’m a Christian (Catholic) and I give you two thumbs up, I love monks and their beer and anyone that brings about their story is a friend of mine.

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