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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.)




  1. I see no issues with fermented foods, but I’m not a no-alcohol Christian, either. I eat them and have my children eat them to promote their overall health - it’s all about the gut microbiome!

    Fermentation has long been a way to preserve food without refrigeration. I suppose there is a way to abuse anything, but I’ve had kombucha, and never had a hint of a buzz - and I’m a lightweight.

  2. I have suffered with IBS for many years. In many ways it has run my life. I am not one to take meds lightly. I was introduced to raw milk kefir in June. It has helped me so much. I feel like I have had a gut transplant. I know that the gut microbiome also impacts mental health and many other health issues. Although I have been a "no alcohol" Christian, I feel just as strong about avoiding pharmaceuticals. I claim the medicinal verses. I have asked myself the same things you have asked here. I appreciate you and your blog!

    1. Hi, TM, and thank you for your testimony. My post generated an amazing conversation on Facebook, and I believe all of you have shown the desire to please God and be healthy. God bless you!

  3. I think these things are okay in moderation and are good for health. I drink kombucha from time to time and I feel no buzz of any kind.

    1. Thank you. That seems to be the consensus of opinion from all of my friends. No one said they got a "buzz." Probably that would only come with great quantities, and practically no one would do that! Thank you for your comment. God bless.


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