Church denominations differ in their views on drinking alcohol from somewhat tolerant to completely restrictive. All of them view drunkenness as sinful and therefore clearly out of bounds. Reformed churches generally allow their members to follow their conscience and state that to block drinking goes beyond the bounds of Scripture. In contrast, churches in the Baptist and Holiness traditions see the effects so damaging and risks so great that they don’t allow drinking at all. The list below captures a list of position statements split into those allowing alcohol consumption in moderation and those prohibiting it from their members.
Alcohol allowed in moderation
- Christian Reformed Church position on alcohol (CRC): Abstinence from alcohol may be an appropriate moral response in particular situations, but it is not demanded by Scripture and therefore should not be demanded by the church
- Presbyterian Church in America (PCA): Scripture neither makes total abstinence a mark of holiness nor a universal requirement….Our churches and presbyteries must not make total abstinence a requirement for membership or office as a matter of principle; this would be to go beyond Scripture
- Orthodox Presbyterian Church: Moderate drinking is permitted in Scripture but drunkenness is sin (Gal. 5:19-21)….Since God is Lord of the conscience, the church may not declare something to be sin which has not been so declared by God. Christians may (not “must”) drink in moderation but may not drink immoderately (Phil. 4:5)
- Lutheran Church Missouri Synod: The Bible nowhere condemns the proper and responsible use (consumption) of alcoholic beverages, Church. Scripture does warn strongly and repeatedly against the abuse, misuse or excessive use of alcoholic beverages, and the Missouri Synod has also repeatedly warned against such dangers
Alcohol discouraged or prohibited
- Church of the Nazarene: Holy Scripture teaches that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. With loving regard for ourselves and others, we call our people to total abstinence from all intoxicants
- United Methodist position on alcohol: We affirm our long-standing support of abstinence from alcohol as a faithful witness to God’s liberating and redeeming love for persons
- Salvation Army: …members of The Salvation Army voluntarily refrain from the use of alcohol, standing in solidarity with those who suffer from its harm
- Southern Baptist: …(we) express our total opposition to the manufacturing, advertising, distributing, and consuming of alcoholic beverages
- Brethren: The Church of the Brethren has consistently and repeatedly stated its opposition to the manufacture, sale, distribution, and use of alcoholic beverages. We therefore recommend and urge Brethren to abstain from the manufacture, sale or use of alcoholic beverages
- Assemblies of God: …we urge all believers to avoid the Satanic tool of alcohol which destroys lives, damns souls, and blights society
If you’d like to see the issues summarized well, Piper lays they out clearly in his message on abstinence from alcohol and concludes that abstaining is recommended, but not required for membership.
Interesting to see the groups attempts to recognize the dangers of Alcohol while not going beyond the absolute requirements of the word.