Should Christians Drink?

Dr Peter Masters

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What are the biblical arguments which have convinced the majority of Bible believers during the last two centuries that the Lord wants His people to abstain? Are alcoholic drinks right or wrong for a Christian? Why should something ‘right’ for Old Testament Israelites be ‘wrong’ for Christ’s church? What are the differences between the wines of Bible times and those of today? All who seek to honour Christ and be blessed in His service will want to consider the case set out in this booklet for abstinence. 


For well over 150 years the majority of Bible-believing Christians world-wide have been committed to the practice of abstention from alcohol. Only a small proportion of believers have taken a different view, reserving the right to drink in moderation. Now, however, the scene is changing, and the long-held view is being abandoned by many.

Books have appeared defending the ‘right’ of believers to drink in moderation, and dismissing the old temperance position.

This booklet presents some of the reasons why Christians should choose to turn away from alcoholic drinks. The arguments in favour of temperance will be divided into two groups. There is one set of arguments showing that total abstention began in New Testament times. Although these arguments are extremely powerful, it must be acknowledged that there is basis for debate, and they will therefore be presented in the second part of the booklet.

However, there is another set of arguments which are even more important because they stand above all dispute and doubt. They are used in support of the following case: Regardless of whether abstention was required in New Testament times, it became the biblical duty of all Christians with the passing of time, as the size and character of the alcohol industry underwent dramatic change in terms of the quantity, potency and human costliness of its products. The biblical arguments in favour of this view are extremely powerful. For this reason we begin with this group of arguments, contending that, whatever may have been the case in Bible times, the present-day Christian is required by the principles taught in God’s Word to stand entirely clear from the drinking of alcohol.

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