I have good reason to hate alcohol. Three generations of men in my family died of alcohol related diseases and I lost my father to liver failure when I was 11 years old. Many of my extended family members have lost lives, families and wealth due to alcohol abuse. I have seen my fair share of debauchery and these facts alone caused me to stay away from the bottle even before I became a Christian. With that said I have been very uncomfortable with the stern lines we have drawn in our churches, seminaries, conventions and networks demanding abstinence when the scripture only demands moderation. I recently read two articles on opposing sides of the controversy and encourage you to read them HERE and HERE. Our favorite quotable theologian Luther who wrote about his love for beer only behind his love for God said, “Whoever drinks beer, he is quick to sleep; whoever sleeps long, does not sin; whoever does not sin, enters Heaven! Thus, let us drink beer!” Though obviously sarcastic it is safe to say that Luther’s confidence in the authority of the Bible gave him no cause for demanding total abstinence. He did however encourage moderation saying, “God does not forbid you to drink, as do the Turks; he permits you to drink wine and beer: he does not make a law of it. But do not make a pig of yourself; remain a human being.” What if we actually handled the subject the way the scripture handles it by teaching those in our care “not to get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but instead be filled with the Spirit.” (Eph 5:18) Given the slide of our culture and the savage effects of alcohol abuse I think it is wise for us to teach abstinence as prudence but not as law. We should be cautious to impose any rule that would disqualify Jesus and the apostles from attending our seminaries, or leading our churches.