AIM: To explore the issue of abstinence from alcohol
OBJECTIVES: By the end of this unit participants will have
studied aspects of Bible teaching on drinking alcohol;
discussed other moral considerations on the issue
discussed other similar matters of conscience.
Introduction and recap of Christian Mind (page 4) 10 min
Bible Basis (page 10) discuss in small groups 10 – 15 min
then report back 10 – 20 min
Other Considerations (page 10 – suggestions below) 5 – 10 min
then Weaker Brother and Freedom of Conscience (page 11) 5 – 10 min
“Also to think about” (page 11) – discuss: 5 – 10 min
Conclusions and intro unit 7 (hand out page 12) 5 min
Obviously there is plenty to talk about! Choose which parts of the topic you want to concentrate on and vary timings to suit your group.
The Bible does not list drinking alcoholic drinks as a sin, but it does strongly condemn drunkenness. There is NOT a water-tight biblical case for total abstinence, but there are plenty of grounds for the obligation to moderation at all times and abstinence in many situations (e.g. when driving, or in the presence of others who might be adversely affected by your example) and for certain individuals at all times. Other medical and moral considerations reinforce such a position. Tobacco and illicit drugs may also be controversial!
Opinions on these issues often derive as much from church tradition and social background as considered Biblical thinking. Personal experience is often significant too (e.g. if your group knows alcoholics, or those who have suffered as a result of drunken driving). Much humility and understanding will be needed on every side with these (as with all) matters of conscience.
POSSIBLE ANSWERS TO SUGGESTED QUESTIONS:
Other moral considerations might include the dangers of drink and driving, the risks of immorality, the expense of alcohol / smoking, the medical effects of these, the temptation to crime (especially with illicit drugs) and the social effects on family, job and community.
As an additional area to explore, discuss WHY people (begin and continue to) drink or smoke – social/peer-group pressures, advertising, stress, boredom medical dependency, etc.