October 28, 2007 Q & A

Alcoholic Beverages


What is the Orthodox Presbyterian Church's position regarding the casual usage of alcoholic beverages? For example, having a beer with your pizza?


The OPC's position is set forth in the Confession of Faith, Chapter XX.

II. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in anything, contrary to his Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship. So that, to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands, out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience: and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.

The church may not forbid what is not forbidden in the Word of God. To do so is to bind the conscience of men by man-made rules. This is the essence of legalism.

Moderate drinking is permitted in Scripture but drunkenness is sin (Gal. 5:19-21). Our Lord Jesus was accused of being a drunkard (Matt. 11:9, NASB), which suggests that he did in fact use alcoholic beverages, though since he was sinless, the charge was false; he was not a drunkard.

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).



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