Beer and the Believer

The content of this page was originally posted at That website seems to be no more. But I wrote up a blog entry about the logic used in this kind of argumentation, so I wanted to preserve the page. So I have. Here.

Some Christians drink beer and some don’t. Entire denominations preach against the evils of alcohol. They say the wine Jesus made at the wedding feast was actually grape juice even though the scriptures don’t support that theology. Wine and strong drink aside, let’s look at the issue of Christians drinking beer and see if it is right or wrong.

You can make alcohol out of almost anything from rice to raisins, from grain to grapes, from pumpkin to potatoes. If you add yeast to virtually any organic ingredient, it will ferment. In fact, many things will ferment on their own. Beer is made from barley and hops. I never understood what hops was, but it doesn’t matter. Beer is beer and people seem to like it for one reason or another. Beer, more than wine carries a social stigma. Beer drinkers are in a social class all their own. They stereotypically like football games, race cars, cigarettes and dancing. They rev their engines at stop lights and whistle at girls. The more beer you add to a person, the louder they talk. Beer makes people do thinks you normally won’t find in a church service.

Did you see what I just did? I verbalized the social stereotype of a beer drinker. This is how society views them whether it is accurate or not, and personally, I think it is fairly accurate. We could jump right in and quote the scripture about not eating meat offered to idols if it causes your brother to stumble, but this issue reaches farther than that. We need to determine if it is acceptable for a Christian to drink beer whether it causes someone to stumble or not. We’ll not simply quote one scripture, rather a passage surrounding the scripture that people love to quote when they don’t agree with something. It’s easy to say, “It offends me” and hope that others stop out of courtesy.

1 Corinthians 10:23-33

10:23 “Everything is lawful,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is lawful,” but not everything builds others up. 10:24 Do not seek your own good, but the good of the other person. 10:25 Eat anything that is sold in the marketplace without questions of conscience, 10:26 for the earth and its abundance are the Lord’s. 10:27 If an unbeliever invites you to dinner and you want to go, eat whatever is served without asking questions of conscience. 10:28 But if someone says to you, “This is from a sacrifice,” do not eat, because of the one who told you and because of conscience– 10:29 I do not mean yours but the other person’s. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 10:30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I blamed for the food that I give thanks for? 10:31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. 10:32 Do not give offense to Jews or Greeks or to the church of God, 10:33 just as I also try to please everyone in all things. I do not seek my own benefit, but the benefit of many, so that they may be saved.

Okay, so we all know that we shouldn’t do things that offend others. If that simple fact is not enough, let’s look and see if drinking beer is inherently right or wrong. To determine that, we’ll just ask a few questions.


Do you think it would be appropriate to sit down and crack open a few cold ones with the Lord? Would it be appropriate to share a few beers with your friends at a church picnic? What do you think the surrounding neighborhood would think if they drove by and saw a group of Christians, standing in front of a church, laughing loudly with beer in their hands? How successful would your testimony be if you were preaching on a street corner while sucking down some suds. We all know the answers to these questions. The issue is beyond the possibilities of offending a Christian brother or sister. The world doesn’t think Christians should drink beer because the world knows the effects of beer and holds Christians to a higher standard.

Christians are to live in a manner as to not offend the consciences of those who are watching whether they are Christians or not. In fact, it is worse to offend an unbeliever because you represent the Lord in all that you do. Offending an unbeliever could possibly keep them from coming to the Lord.

So how about the possibilities of drinking beer in the privacy of your own home? Say you are watching a football game and slamming down a few brewskies when there is a knock at the door. You open the door to find your neighbor standing there and you stink. Yes, beer stinks and people know it. If you drink beer, it’s on your breath. If you drink enough, the smell will ooze through the pores of your skin. Your neighbor steps back a little when he smells the beer on your breath. Do you think now is a good time to invite him in and witness to him about the love of Jesus? It probably wouldn’t be a good time for that, would it?

We instinctively know if a Christian should drink beer or not, but many people want to find a way to justify their actions. If you are one of them, deep in your heart you know what’s right and wrong.

So the answer to the question if a Christian should drink beer or not is “no”. It will trash your testimony. Besides the church, the world thinks it is out of place for a Christian to be standing around, drinking beer with their friends because the world knows what the atmosphere is like in those groups.

1Corinthians 10:31

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.

If you honestly think you can pray and give thanks to God before sitting down to an afternoon of beer drinking, you might want to check again. God might bless the beer, but not the “WHOOOOooooooOOOOO!!! YEAH!!! GO TEAM!!!! KICK THE %&#%$ out of them!!!” which will surely follow. Even the world knows this is what usually happens when a person gets enough beer in their belly. They know it is not conducive to a healthy Christian life of prayer, thanksgiving and praise to God.

Before anyone asks, non-alcoholic beer is nothing more than a minor technicality. It looks like beer and smells like beer. The world sees it as beer. Beer is more than a drink. It is a complete social tradition, one that doesn’t fit the sanctified Christian life. It is not akin to eating meat offered to idols. It is akin to partying with unbelievers in the manner to which they are accustomed.

Here are some statistics to prove that beer drinking is more than a casual pastime.

12 ounce beers consumed annually per capita:
Czech Republic 454
Ireland 354
Germany 348
U.S.A. 244
France 102

Imagine, in the United States, 244-12 ounce beers are consumed for every man, woman and child every year. Now, if neither my wife nor I drink beer, that means someone out there is doubling up. I hope it isn’t you.

May the breath of God be in your testimony.

– Rod

Copyright © Rod Ellis