Filipino Christians and Drinking

Christians are not restricted in drinking liquor as we are not under the law. However, everything that we do must always be based on faith and how we interpret the Scripture so as to please the Lord in our lives. There must be a good explanation why we do the things that we do not based on our opinions but as we are convinced by the Scriptures.

What will a Filipino say if he observes his pastor conducting a Bible study with a beer or other alcoholic beverage present? I’m sure there are some adult believers who justify such behavior, but it’s not the norm in the Philippines. How about instructing your children about the Bible while carrying a beer or glass of wine in your hand? What about hosting a church family potluck complete with bottles of beer and wine? If you cannot even include these items then something is amiss. A Christian Filipino must consider why he should drink wine or beer. Is this as a result of medical advice or socialization? We are all aware that drinking wine or beer is not truly considered acceptable in our country, as the Philippines is located in a humid tropical region with constant high temperatures.

Additionally, drinking water has been freely provided in our country ever since. Rivers, lakes, river basins, and groundwater reservoirs are the Philippines’ primary sources of water. Unlike in the ancient Near East during the time of Jesus Christ, where water was scarce. They needed to fight for water to survive. Indeed, their water is not treated during the time period during which germs can exist. Paul’s advice to Timothy to drink a little wine indicates that they occasionally utilize it as a medical remedy. Additionally, because the wine they consume is unfermented, they must be cautious about intoxication due to excess. There is no incentive to consume wine or other alcoholic beverages in our country because it is not as chilly as other European countries. Although certain studies indicate that this is not always the case. The disadvantage is their proclivity for alcohol consumption, which can develop into addiction and be detrimental to their health. It’s no surprise that they can fall into the same drunken trap as the ancient Near East people.

The Philippines is not even located in a water-scarce region of the Middle East. I can conceive of no other rationale for a Christian to defend their consumption of these kind of beverages. Either they want to satisfy themselves or the people around them more than they want to please God. I don’t want to sound like a legalist but I hope a Filipino believer can go back to the Scripture to justify his behaviour.

I remember a dear Christian friend who shared the gospel to me several years ago. He has no idea that I am observing his way of life if he will compromise by drinking these alcoholic beverages or not. And because of his testimony, this motivated me to join a Bible study leading me to accept the Lord Jesus Christ in my life. Since then, I utilize this occasion as a way to engage with my friends who consume beer and wine. If they question me why I don’t drink these types of beverages, then I explain that I cease doing these things ever since I accepted Jesus Christ in my life. It’s my way of sowing the seed of the gospel in their hearts.

I am aware of one case in which a Filipino missionary assigned to minister in a subzero climate in Europe was provided alcohol by some local Christians. He was unable to consume it, however, due to his biblical interpretation and faith towards alcoholic beverages. He did not condemn the local believers for their behaviour, as one might expect; rather, he chose to honor the Lord out of personal conviction.

Please note that it is not the consumption of wine or beer that leads us to sin but the act of doing things without being convinced by the Scripture through faith. After all, the Scriptures says “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23). Obviously, we draw our faith from reading the Scriptures.

(No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.) – 1 Timothy 5:23

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