Beer and Bible – My Thoughts!
Posted by Stan Rodda
Two men walk into a bar. One says to the other…
It seems to be the way this story should start. Two guys, in the heart of Mormon country, trying to bring the Bible to people right where they are. Even if that means, going to a bar. If you haven’t seen the video, please watch it here first.
It’s obvious that this will not be a cut and dry issue for some. There are many Christian people who will have a big problem with it. A verse of Scripture, or two, will be used to try to prove their point; either for or against. Some will come right out and say that Christians have no business in a bar, let alone drinking alcohol. Scripture and a Greek word or two will be used to make the case for abstinence from all alcohol. Some will be very excited that the Gospel is being taught to people, even if it is in a bar with a beer in hand.
Chances are, I will not bring total clarity to this topic, nor will every single person who reads this post, agree with what I have to say. Still, I wanted to weigh in on the topic.
It is possible that the biggest obstacle to this topic is that beer is involved. Let’s be honest, the initial reaction for many Christians is to put up a defense when the words beer or bar are used. Anyone caught in a bar or with an alcoholic beverage are automatically wrong and therefore can not be ordained or used by God in any way. My opinion is that Scripture is not black and white on alcohol. There is a lot of gray in that topic in and of itself. The only Scriptural mandate that is a command for us to follow regarding alcohol is Ephesians 5:18 (NLT) which says, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Without a doubt, getting drunk is called sin in Scripture. However, having a drink of alcohol is not called sin.
I guess for me, the heart of the issue is the way we view people. We spend time with the people we love. We spend time with people we care for. We give of ourselves for people that mean something to us. When I hear a Christian say that they can’t be seen in a bar, my first thought is how they view “those” people. Jesus spoke very strongly about that very attitude. Matthew 21:31 (NLT) He warns the religious elite, “Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do.” Or what about this encounter in Luke 5:30-32 (NLT) – “Jesus answered them, ‘Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.'”
The heart of Jesus ached so badly for people who needed Him, that He would be seen in unimaginable places. One of his best friends had a sister that was a prostitute. You see, the root of the issue is not beer, or even a bar. The real issue is, “Do I see people the way Jesus does?” And if I do, shouldn’t I be willing to go to the ends of the earth to share the message of Jesus with them? Could it be that for some Christians, the bar is the “ends of the earth?” Or in the terms of an Old Testament prophet named Jonah, could it be that some Christians Nineveh, is the bar? When I don’t view people through the eyes of Jesus, there are just some places I won’t go. When I don’t care for them the way Jesus does, there are just some places that I can’t go for fear of my own appearance and reputation, taking a shot.
I once heard a Christian talk about going door-to-door, inviting people to church. They went door-to-door in the “nice” neighborhoods, but when they got close to the “not-so-nice” neighborhoods, they just skipped past.
We view people through a lens. That lens is tainted a certain way based on our upbringing, our culture, or what we were always taught was right. God doesn’t see people that way. He sees us all the same. He went through the pain of watching His Son die for “them” as much as He did for you and me. And if that is the truth, and if we really believe it, then the first place Christians should want to go, is to a bar, or wherever else the people are that need the Jesus that died for them.
You don’t have to go to a bar to be a good Christian. You don’t have to stay away from one to be a good Christian. If the Holy Spirit is convicting you to stay away, then please follow His guidance. If the Holy Spirit is guiding you to the bar, then please follow His guidance.