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Thursday, January 18, 2018

The New "Christian" Alcohol

Fermented cranberry sauce
Ginger “ale”
Lacto-fermented ketchup, fruit, etc.

All are considered good for your health.  The idea is to ingest live, good bacteria, which “boost your gut microbiome”1 and make you feel marvellous. Do they really help? Studies show an improvement in digestion. Studies also caution against using these for people with immune system deficiencies and children.

Just so we understand exactly what we’re talking about:
  • Kombucha is fermented tea.
  • Kefir is fermented milk (dairy or otherwise).
  • Kimchi and sourkraut are different ways to ferment cabbage.

Fermented food and drinks are all the rage. “Fermentation is the process by which yeast or bacteria convert sugar to alcohol, and it occurs when bread leavens or beer and wine are made.”2

And, Christian women everywhere are brewing in their kitchens.

I was curious to know if there’s a significant alcohol content in them. According to my research, this is what I found:
  • Kombucha’s alcohol content can be from .5% to 2.5%.1
  • Kefir’s alcohol content after 24-hours’ fermentation is from .08% to .1%.
  • Of course, fermented cabbage is much less.
If you compare kombucha to beer, it has about half the alcohol content or less. Kefir’s is less than half of kombucha’s.

So, is this problematic?

I really don’t know, although they say that drinking enough kombucha can give people a buzz. My sources didn’t specify an amount, but I would guess one would have to drink a lot.

The question for Christians is about consistency. If a Christian refuses to drink anything alcoholic, is brewing and drinking kombucha or ginger ale consistent with a non-alcohol stance? Could it possibly lead to developing a taste for beer and other alcoholic drinks?

I have no idea. I'm only asking questions.

Here are a couple of the Bible’s warnings:
  • Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise (Proverbs 20:1).
  • Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright (Proverbs 23:31).

One of the qualifications for pastors, deacons, and Christian women leaders is:
  • Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous (1 Timothy 3:3).
  • Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre (1 Timothy 3:8).
  • For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre (Titus 1:7)
  • The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things (Titus 2:3).

Here’s permission to use alcohol medicinally:
  • Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts (Proverbs 31:6).
  • Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities (1 Timothy 5:23).

We know that biblical wines were “home brews” and not processed the same way beer, wines, and liquors are made today. Would leading Christians in Bible times have used naturally fermented drinks and foods? Would they have made kombucha, kefir, or ginger ale? (I think they would probably have enjoyed kimchi, if they lived in Korea, or sourkraut in Germany.)

I’d like to hear your thoughts on the subject of fermented foods and drinks. What do you think? Are they okay for Christians? I would love to have your input.

(Please keep the discussion kind. I respect your opinion, either way. Thank you.)



Saturday, January 13, 2018

You Aren't "God" to Anyone (and Eight Things You Can Be)

I know what they mean by “Be God to someone today.” But, you can’t. You aren’t. You can’t even dream what that means.

There’s only one Person who’s ever been God to anyone, and that’s Jesus, because He actually is God. Do you remember this Bible conversation? And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God (Luke 18:18-19).

How about the phrase, “Be God’s hands”? Can we be God’s hands to someone? When we reach out to help someone, are we God’s hands? Not exactly, and here’s why: God’s hands are infinite.
  • God hands created everything. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land (Psalm 95:5).
  • God’s hands are connected with truth and judgment. The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure (Psalm 111:7).
  • God’s hands are so big that He measures the skies with a handbreadth. Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? (Isaiah 40:12)
  • God’s hands heal. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people (Matthew 4:23).
  • God’s hands hold His own people tightly, forever. Jesus said, And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand (John 10:28).

It's true that God uses people in His work. It’s also true that when we do something kind for another person, it's just like we're doing it for Jesus Himself. But this talks about Christian service, not “being God” to anyone. It’s about doing good for the Lord’s sake.

I love this passage. Jesus used this story to teach his disciples. For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me (Matthew 25:35-40).

When Jesus gave his parting commands, He didn’t say, “Be my hands” or “Be God to others.” He said, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28:18b-20). Because of Jesus’ power and presence, we are enabled to go, teach, spread the gospel, baptize, and disciple. It’s all because of God’s power. We’re nothing without Him! All the energy--the Greek word for "power" is the root for dynamite--comes from God.

I know it’s about word choice, but when people say “Be God” they’re actually misrepresenting our role as Christians. We are absolutely nothing without salvation through Christ. We can’t do anything without His empowerment. All our best works are nasty when compared with His holiness. We dare not even think of ourselves in God's terms. No human can presume to be God or be His hands. It’s impossible!

So, what can we do?
  1. Be saved. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12).
  2. Be a witness in all the world, starting at home. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8).
  3. Be separate from the world's system. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:1-2).
  4. Be glorifying to God in everything. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
  5. Be a servant to others. For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another (Galatians 5:13).
  6. Be a servant to the Lord. Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:24).
  7. Be thankful. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
  8. Be holy. But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (lifestyle); Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).

Let God be God. We need to recognize our total dependence on Him, and serve Him with all our might. And, let’s be more careful that our Christian terminology lines up with biblical theology.