6 ways to get kicked out of church: Drunkenness

Blues singer Albert Collins has a song, I'm not drunk. I'd hear it almost every week on the local college radio station with the lyrics,
I don't care
What the people are thinkin'
I ain't drunk
I'm just drinkin'

(But you're so high) Who me? I ain't high, man.
(But you're so high) I don't know why y'all are talkin' 'bout me like that
(But you're so high) You better mind your own business, brother
(Stay drunk all the time) You gotta watch yourself, too, you understand what I'm sayin'?

The rest of lyrics are all funny in a sad way. I think he captures perfectly the attitude of the drunk. It takes one to know one. I've been one. I have told some of my story before. I was never disfellowshipped for my drunkenness but perhaps I should have. What are the problems with drunkenness? I'll put all the verses and Bible dictionary information below, but I'll get to the conclusion before all the supporting work. In my personal story I wrote that drunkenness became an idol, something that I served. It no longer served me. It stole my time away. I gave it my study time. I gave it my evenings. It took my best. All of these things belong to God and to his glory alone.

I think alcohol is similar to cash. By themselves, in moderation, no problem, but like money, the love of alcohol is the root of all kinds of evil and brings many griefs, 1 Timothy 6:9-10. Proverbs 23 describes drunkenness very well, written by one with experience.
29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? 30 Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. 31 Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! 32 In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. 33 Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things. 34 You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. 35 "They hit me," you will say, "but I'm not hurt! They beat me, but I don't feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?" (NIV)
It's only when I suffered from drinking induced bed spins that I understood v. 34. I doubt many people believe that drunkenness does not include drug induced highs. But if they did, v.33 seems to include that type of altered state. Drunkenness is incompatible with good judgment. Bad choices can bring a world of hurt in an assembly committed to submission of the flesh to the spirit. In Corinth, they were getting drunk at the church potluck meals, 1 Cor. 11:21. In Ephesus it was a problem as well, Eph. 5:18. Getting drunk was part of pagan worship. In college it was culturally accepted to drink from Thursday afternoon until Sunday night. Not getting drunk can be the distinction of the believer in Christ who does not need to escape reality with chemicals, but can transcend the trials of this world by prayer and worship and fellowship. Drunkenness is earth bound. It keeps the focus here. It's easier than prayer and worship buy comes with ever worsening consequences. God knows we fall for easy so easily, hence, keep the drunk/stoned believers out until they repent.

fail owned pwned pictures

The only way to know who is a drunk is to have friendships with people in church. As we spend time together, we learn each other's faults and weaknesses. We encourage each other to live in repentance of those things. But when those things overcome us, our friends in church can bring in more friends and the leaders to coach us. They all function like lifeguards at the pool. If they see us drowning they can try to rescue us, but if we don't want to be rescued then we won't be allowed in their pool anymore. If we insist on fouling up the pool, then we'll have to go do it somewhere else. Hopefully, we will miss our friends and realize how nice the pool of Christ is compared to all the other pools, and seek reconciliation. That's always the goal of kicking someone out of church, make them miss us so they'll want to straighten out and rejoin us.

Here's more information than you'll know what to do with on drunkenness.

R.A. Torrey lays it out in his topical textbook.

# Forbidden Ephesians 5:18
# Caution against Luke 21:34
# Is a work of the flesh Galatians 5:21
# Is debasing Isaiah 28:8
# Is inflaming Isaiah 5:11
# Overcharges the heart Luke 21:34
# Takes away the heart Hosea 4:11

  • Poverty Proverbs 21:17; 23:21
  • Strife Proverbs 23:29,30
  • Woe and sorrow Proverbs 23:29,30
  • Error Isaiah 28:7
  • Contempt of God’s works Isaiah 5:12
  • Scorning Hosea 7:5
  • Rioting and wantonness Romans 13:13

# The wicked addicted to Daniel 5:1-4
# False teachers often addicted to Isaiah 56:12
# Folly of yielding to Proverbs 20:1
# Avoid those given to Proverbs 23:20; 1 Corinthians 5:11

  • Those given to Isaiah 5:11,12; 28:1-3
  • Those who encourage Habakkuk 2:15

# Excludes from heaven 1 Corinthians 6:10; Galatians 5:21
# Punishment of Deuteronomy 21:20; Joel 1:5,6; Amos 6:6,7; Matthew 24:49-51
# Exemplified
  • Noah Genesis 9:21
  • Nabal 1 Samuel 25:36
  • Uriah 2 Samuel 11:13
  • Elah 1 Kings 16:9,10
  • Benhadad 1 Kings 20:16
  • Belshazzar Daniel 5:4
  • Corinthians 1 Corinthians 11:21

Esth. 1:7, 8; Prov. 23:1-3; Prov. 25:16; Dan. 1:8, 12-16; Rom. 13:14; 1 Cor. 9:25, 27; Phil. 4:5; 1 Thess. 5:6-8; 1 Tim. 3:2, 3 [Tit. 1:7, 8.] 1 Tim. 3:8; Tit. 2:2, 3, 12; 2 Pet. 1:5, 6 Appetite kept in subjection, Dan. 1:8-16; 1 Cor. 9:27.
See: Abstinence; Drunkeess; Wine.
TEMPERANCE; TEMPERATE - tem'-per-ans; tem'-per-at (egkrateia), (egkrates, nephalios, sophron): the American Standard Revised Version departs from the King James Version and the English Revised Version by translating egkrateia "self-control" (Acts 24:25; Gal 5:23; 2 Pet 1:6; 1 Cor 9:25), following the English Revised Version margin in several of these passages. This meaning is in accordance with classical usage, Plato applying it to "mastery" not only of self, but of any object denoted by a genitive following. Septuagint applies it to the possession "of strongholds" (2 Macc 8:30; 10:15), "of a position" (2 Macc 10:17), "of the city" (2 Macc 13:13), "of wisdom" (Sirach 6:27). The reflexive meaning of "self-mastery," "self-restraint," is equally well established in the classics and Septuagint. Thus, in the verbal form, it is found in Gen 43:31, for the self-restraint exercised by Joseph in the presence of his brethren, when they appeared before him as suppliants, and in 1 Sam 13:12, where Saul professes that he "forced" himself to do what was contrary to his desire. For patristic use of the term, see illustrations in Suicer's Thesaurus Ecclesiasticus, I, 1000 ff. Clement of Alexandria: "Not abstaining from all things, but using continently such things as one has judged should be used"; "such things as do not seem beyond right reason." Basil: "To avoid excess on both sides, so as neither by luxury to be confused, nor, by becoming sickly, to be disabled from doing what has been commanded." Chrysostom (on 1 Tim 1:8) applies it to "one mastering passion of tongue, hand and unbridled eyes." Ellicott and Eadie (on Gal 5:23) quote Diogenes Laertius to the effect that the word refers to "control over the stronger passions." In 1 Cor 9:25, Paul illustrates it by the training of an athlete, whose regimen is not only described in the Ars Poetica of Horace (412 ff), and in Epictetus (quoted in Alford on this passage), but can be learned of the many devotees and admirers of similar pursuits today.

The principle involved is that of the concentration of all man's powers and capabilities upon the one end of doing God's will, in and through whatever calling God appoints, and the renunciation of everything either wholly or to whatever degree necessary, however innocent or useful it may be in its proper place, that interferes with one's highest efficiency in this calling (1 Cor 10:31). Not limited to abstinence, it is rather the power and decision to abstain with reference to some fixed end, and the use of the impulses of physical, as servants for the moral, life. It does not refer to any one class of objects that meets us, but to all; to what concerns speech and judgment, as well as to what appeals to sense. It is properly an inner spiritual virtue, working into the outward life, incapable of being counterfeited or replaced by any abstinence limited to that which is external (Augsburg Confession, Articles XXVI, XXVII). When its absence, however, is referred to as sin, the negative is generally more prominent than the positive side of temperance. The reference in Acts 24:25 is to chastity, and in 1 Cor 7:9, as the context shows, to the inner side of chastity. In 1 Tim 3:2,11; Tit 2:2, the word nephalios has its original meaning as the opposite to "drunken" (see SOBRIETY; DRINK, STRONG). See also the treatises on ethics by Luthardt (both the Compendium and the History), Martensen, Koestlin and Haring on temperance, asceticism, continence. H. E. Jacobs

DRUNKENNESS - drunk'-'-n-nes (raweh, shikkaron, shethi; methe):

I. Its Prevalance.

The Bible affords ample proof that excessive drinking of intoxicants was a common vice among the Hebrews, as among other ancient peoples. This is evident not only from individual cases of intoxication, as Noah (Gen 9:21), Lot (Gen 19:33,15), Nabal (1 Sam 25:36), Uriah made drunk by David (2 Sam 11:13), Amnon (2 Sam 13:28), Elah, king of Israel (1 Ki 16:9), Benhadad, king of Syria, and his confederates (1 Ki 20:16), Holofernes (Judith 13:2), etc., but also from frequent references to drunkenness as a great social evil. Thus, Amos proclaims judgment on the voluptuous and dissolute rulers of Samaria "that drink wine in (large) bowls" (Am 6:6), and the wealthy ladies who press their husbands to join them in a carousal (4:1); he also complains that this form of self-indulgence was practiced even at the expense of the poor and under the guise of religion, at the sacrificial meals (2:8; see also Isa 5:11,12,22; 28:1-8; 56:11 f). Its prevalence is also reflected in many passages in the New Testament (e.g. Mt 24:49; Lk 21:34; Acts 2:13,15; Eph 5:18; 1 Thess 5:7). Paul complains that at Corinth even the love-feast of the Christian church which immediately preceded the celebration of the Eucharist, was sometimes the scene of excessive drinking (1 Cor 11:21). It must, however, be noted that it is almost invariably the well-to-do who are charged with this vice in the Bible. There is no evidence to prove that it prevailed to any considerable extent among the common people. Intoxicants were then an expensive luxury, beyond the reach of the poorer classes.


II. Its Symptoms and Effects.

These are most vividly portrayed: (1) some of its physical symptoms (Job 12:25; Ps 107:27; Prov 23:29; Isa 19:14; 28:8; 29:9; Jer 25:16); (2) its mental effects: exhilaration (Gen 43:34), jollity and mirth (1 Esdras 3:20), forgetfulness (1 Esdras 3:20), loss of understanding and balance of judgment (Isa 28:7; Hos 4:11); (3) its effects on man's happiness and prosperity: its immediate effect is to make one oblivious of his misery; but ultimately it "biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder," and leads to woe and sorrow (Prov 23:29-32) and to poverty (Prov 23:21; compare 21:17; Ecclesiasticus 19:1); hence, wine is called a "mocker" deceiving the unwise (Prov 20:1); (4) its moral and spiritual effects: it leads to a maladministration of justice (Prov 31:5; Isa 5:23), provokes anger and a contentious, brawling spirit (Prov 20:1; 23:29; 1 Esdras 3:22; Ecclesiasticus 31:26,29 f), and conduces to a profligate life (Eph 5:18; "riot," literally, profligacy). It is allied with gambling and licentiousness (Joel 3:3), and indecency (Gen 9:21 f). Above all, it deadens the spiritual sensibilities, produces a callous indifference to religious influences and destroys all serious thought (Isa 5:12).

III. Attitude of the Bible to the Drink Question.

Intemperance is condemned in uncompromising terms by the Old Testament and the New Testament, as well as by the semi-canonical writings. While total abstinence is not prescribed as a formal and universal rule, broad principles are laid down, especially in the New Testament, which point in that direction.

1. In the Old Testament:

In the Old Testament, intemperance is most repugnant to the stern ethical rigorism of the prophets, as well as to the more utilitarian sense of propriety of the "wisdom" writers. As might be expected, the national conscience was but gradually quickened to the evil of immoderate drinking. In the narratives of primitive times, excessive indulgence, or at least indulgence to the point of exhilaration, is mentioned without censure as a natural thing, especially on festive occasions (as in Gen 43:34 the Revised Version, margin). But a conscience more sensitive to the sinfulness of overindulgence was gradually developed, and is reflected in the denunciations of the prophets and the warning of the wise men (compare references under I and II, especially Isa 5:11 f,22; 28:1-8; Prov 23:29-33). Nowhere is the principle of total abstinence inculcated as a rule applicable to all. In particular cases it was recognized as a duty. Priests while on duty in the sanctuary were to abstain from wine and strong drink (Lev 10:9; compare Ezek 44:21). Nazirites were to abstain from all intoxicants during the period of their vows (Nu 6:3 f; compare Amos 2:12), yet not on account of the intoxicating qualities of wine, but because they represented the simplicity of the older pastoral life, as against the Canaanite civilization which the vine symbolized (W. R. Smith, Prophets of Israel, 84 f). So also the Rechabites abstained from wine (Jer 35:6,8,14) and social conveniences, because they regarded the nomadic life as more conducive to Yahweh-worship than agricultural and town life, with its temptations to Baal-worship. In Daniel and his comrades we have another instance of voluntary abstinence (Dan 1:8-16). These, however, are isolated instances. Throughout the Old Testament the use of wine appears as practically universal, and its value is recognized as a cheering beverage (Jdg 9:13; Ps 104:15; Prov 31:7), which enables the sick to forget their pains (Prov 31:6). Moderation, however, is strongly inculcated and there are frequent warnings against the temptation and perils of the cup.

2. Deutero-Canonical and Extra-Canonical Writings:

In Apocrypha, we have the attitude of prudence and common sense, but the prophetic note of stern denunciation is wanting. The path of wisdom is the golden mean. "Wine is as good as life to men, if thou drink it in its measure; .... wine drunk in season and to satisfy is joy of heart, and gladness of soul: wine drunk largely is bitterness of soul, with provocation and conflict" (Ecclesiasticus 31:27-30 the Revised Version (British and American)). A vivid picture of the effects of wine-drinking is given in 1 Esdras. 3:18-24. Stronger teaching on the subject is given in the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs. The use of wine is permitted to him who can use it temperately, but abstinence is enjoined as the wiser course (Testament to the Twelve Patriarchs, Jud 1:16:3).

3. In the New Testament:

In the New Testament, intemperance is treated as a grave sin. Only once, indeed, does our Lord explicitly condemn drunkenness (Lk 21:34), though it is implicitly condemned in other passages (Mt 24:49 = Lk 12:45). The meagerness of the references in our Lord's teaching is probably due to the fact already mentioned, that it was chiefly prevalent among the wealthy, and not among the poorer classes to whom our Lord mainly ministered. The references in Paul's writings are very numerous (Gal 5:21; Eph 5:18, et al.). Temperance and sobriety in all things are everywhere insisted on (e.g. Acts 24:25; Gal 5:23; 2 Pet 1:6). A bishop and those holding honorable position in the church should not be addicted to wine (1 Tim 3:2 f; Tit 1:7 f; 2:2 f). Yet Jesus and His apostles were not ascetics, and the New Testament gives no rough-and-ready prohibition of strong drink on principle. In contrast with John the Baptist, who was a Nazirite from birth (Lk 1:15), Jesus was called by His enemies a "wine-bibber" (Mt 11:19). He took part in festivities in which wine was drunk (Jn 2:10). There are indications that He regarded wine as a source of innocent enjoyment (Lk 5:38 f; 17:8). To insist on a distinction between intoxicating and unfermented wine is a case of unjustifiable special pleading. It must be borne in mind that the drink question is far more complex and acute in modern than in Biblical times, and that the conditions of the modern world have given rise to problems which were not within the horizon of New Testament writers. The habit of excessive drinking has spread enormously among the common people, owing largely to the cheapening of alcoholic drinks. The fact that the evil exists today in greater proportions may call for a drastic remedy and a special crusade. But rather than defend total abstinence by a false or forced exegesis, it were better to admit that the principle is not formally laid down in the New Testament, while maintaining that there are broad principles enunciated, which in view of modern conditions should lead to voluntary abstinence from all intoxicants. Such principles may be found, e.g. in our Lord's teaching in Mt 16:24 f; Mk 9:42 f, and in the great Pauline passages--Rom 14:13-21; 1 Cor 8:8-13.

IV. Drunkenness in Metaphor.

Drunkenness very frequently supplies Biblical writers with striking metaphors and similes. Thus, it symbolizes intellectual or spiritual perplexity (Job 12:25; Isa 19:14; Jer 23:9), bewilderment and helplessness under calamity (Jer 13:13; Ezek 23:33). It furnishes a figure for the movements of sailors on board ship in a storm (Ps 107:27), and for the convulsions of the earth on the day of Yahweh (Isa 24:20). Yahweh's "cup of staggering" is a symbol of affliction, the fury of the Lord causing stupor and confusion (Isa 51:17-23; compare Isa 63:6; Jer 25:15 ff; Ezek 23:33; Ps 75:8). The sword and the arrow are said to be sodden with drink like a drunkard with wine (Dt 32:42; Jer 46:10). In the Apocalypse, Babylon (i.e. Rome) is portrayed under the figure of a "great harlot" who makes kings "drunken with the wine of her fornication"; and who is herself "drunken with the blood of the saints, and ... of the martyrs of Jesus" (Rev 17:2,6). D. Miall Edwards


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