"I pray that all leaders at every level would pray for the gift of teaching. There's a joke at this church; you want to get something through the elder board or committee? Write a paper. That's not an accident, and its not a joke, merely. It's true! And the reason is this: I have done my best for 24 years to cultivate a leadership atmosphere in which persuasion on the basis of the Bible carries the day. Not personality, and not high lifted voices. Elders can tell when my voice is getting so high because my arguments are weak. We argue with each other. We write papers. We give reasons from the Bible. That's a power issue, to keep personalities and brokers from getting their way in this church, including me! Truth holds sway at the elder council, and if you have good reasons from the Bible for your view, it will pass, God willing. And therefore you are inclined then to assemble them, and that's why they turn up on papers. This is an issue for me, and it's really big, and I hope I never lay it down; that we lead by truth! That we lead by teaching! That we lead by persuasion! And therefore we can be shown wrong on the basis of the Authority."
I admire his thoughtful subjection to the Scriptures in all areas of life, faith, and practice. With this in mind, I want to consider carefully the subject of the consumption of alcohol for believers. I want this post to be so carefully based on Scripture that my reasons for holding my position are obvious. So, does the Bible prohibit the drinking of alcohol?
First, even as early as Genesis 9, abusing alcohol caused people to get drunk. After the flood, Noah planted a vineyard, made wine and drank it, and got drunk. Lot drank wine and got drunk, too, and evil resulted (Gen 19). These are two clear abuses of alcohol. But there are other uses of alcohol in the same book that do not lead to evil. Melchizedek, Priest of God Most High, served Abram bread and wine as he blessed him (Gen 14). Isaac, too, drank wine during his blessing of Jacob (Gen 27). I think it is clear that the Bible does not condemn Melchizedek or Isaac for drinking wine, while clearly Noah and Lot sinned in their drunkenness.
Furthermore, the provision of wine is used in the Scriptures to indicate blessing. In Deuteronomy 29:6, Israel did not drink wine or strong drink during the 40-year period of wandering "so that you may know I am the Lord your God." This was a time of God's punishment upon Israel. By contrast, Deuteronomy 32:14 describes God pouring out his blessings upon his people, blessings that include his people drinking "wine made from the blood of the grape." The promised land is described as "a land of grain and wine" (Deut. 33:28).
Nehemiah commanded the people to "eat the fat and drink sweet wine . . . for this day is holy to our Lord" (Neh. 8:10). David praised God when he wrote, "You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart" (Psalm 104:14-15).
Isaiah 55, a beautiful text about the grace and mercy and compassion of God, tells us to "Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (55:1). Jesus made (good) wine at the wedding in Cana (John 2). Jesus marveled at the Pharisees' rejection of John the Baptist because he did not eat bread and drink wine, and he marveled again at the Pharisees' rejection of himself because they thought he was "a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners" (Luke 7:33-34). Interestingly, in Luke 22:18, Jesus plans on drinking of the "fruit of the vine" at, and not before, the coming of the kingdom.
We all will agree that being drunk with wine is a clear violation of Ephesians 5, and Proverbs warns us not to be led astray by it (Proverbs 20:1). Many other passages of Scripture warn against abusing or longing after wine or strong drink, but I cannot find evidence in Scripture for a strict prohibition against the drinking of alcohol. I am personally convicted and convinced that I will not drink alcohol, but I cannot, in good conscience, demand more from others than does the Bible. I will preach and teach that we must avoid causing brothers to stumble, but I cannot call the simple act of drinking alcohol sin.
Otherwise, Jesus Christ was not without sin.
By the way, I found this article on desiringgod.org helpful.