Matthew Fitzsimmons

Deceitful Spirits

I have recently been involved in more discussions on the subject of alcohol. They seem to hunt me down and find me. I think the reason I still get sucked into these discussions is that it really bothers me how loose those who try to say Christian's shouldn't drink alcohol play with the Scripture.

1 Timothy 4:1-5 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

I've discussed this before, but what I've run into recently is a little different than what I've dealt with in the past.

The most recent article in the list basically says “you have the liberty to drink alcohol, but you're stupid if you do.” “Stupid” is actually the word they use. They constantly say “you can, but you shouldn't” over and over. No matter what biblical texts or other arguments are given, they are ignored. The clear teaching of Scripture on the subject is made subservient to their idea of “for the sake of the weaker brother, and because drunk drivers kill people, you shouldn't drink.” What bothers me about this is not that they say “I won't drink because of the weaker brother,” but that they say, “because I won't drink because of the weaker brother, no Christian should.” This is precisely what is being dealt with in 1 Timothy.

If I feel that I am ever in danger of causing a weaker brother to stumble by my drinking, or by my defense of drinking, I will abstain, at least for that instance. But when believers who I have never even met (and as far as I can tell live nowhere near me) tell me that they know weaker brothers and therefore demand that I don't drink, that is legalism. As I have shown before, God created wine to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. Those who require otherwise have devoted themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.

On another note, the gentleman who wrote the article I was commenting on recently claims to have many former alcoholics in his church. He claims these people would be caused to stumble if they saw someone else partaking. The problem I have with this is that, if these people remain in this condition (and the attitude expressed on the site seems to encourage this), then they are not growing as they should as Christians. If I knew people such as this, I would abstain from alcohol so as not to cause them to stumble while trying to bring them spiritually to a point where seeing someone else partaking (or even partaking themselves) would not cause them to fall back into alcoholism or drunkenness. They need to realize that addictions are overcome by the power of Christ, not by filling the hole with something else, or trying to keep yourself away from the object of the addiction.

March 21, 2006