Can a Pastor work for an alcohol company? It’s ok with me.

I found an interesting debate on a popular Nigerian forum called nairaland. There was a pastor who was struggling to make ends meet. He got offered a job in a beer company and was torn between taking the job (so he could feed his family) and compromising on his faith.

When it comes to the issue of wine or alcohol in the bible, most people reference Ephesians 5:18, which talks about not being drunk on wine and of course there is the popular story in John 2:1 of Jesus turning water to wine in the early parts of the Gospels as His first miracle. I’d like to paint a different picture from the scriptures that will hopefully help us draw some alternative conclusions on what this pastor should do.

Let’s start with the prophet Isaiah. In Isaiah 65:17–21 God gives the prophet a vision for God’s people, at a time when they were in exile and all was lost. God gives the prophet a vision of a “new heaven” and a “new earth”. In this vision, the prophet Isaiah tells the people what they will be doing when God delivers and restores them in this “new heaven” and “new earth”. In verse 17, they will weep and cry no more. In verse 21 they will build houses … and plant vineyards …

What do we find in vineyards? Wine.

God tells them when God restores them, which is a good thing, they will plant wine vineyards.

The prophet Joel had a similar vision. In Joel 3:17–18 the prophet speaks of God’s blessings for God’s people. In verse 17 he tells the people their enemies will never invade them again. In verse 18 he says the mountains will “drip with new wine.”

The prophet Amos, when speaking about hope and the restoration of Israel in Amos 9:11–14 concludes by talking about how “new wine” will drip from the mountains and the people will “plant their vineyards and drink their wine”.

“New wine” as a blessing from God?

Could a “new job” in an alcohol company for a man who has been struggling to feed his family be a “blessing from God”?

I think so.

Wine as a sign of God’s blessing shows up in the bible over and over again. Wine seems to be similar to bread and oil in the bible in the sense that it was a sign of God’s blessing.

Why am I convinced of this? In the same bible there are passages that talk about God’s favor not being present. There are passages that talk about God’s judgment and what happens.

The wine dries up.

I find Isaiah 5:1–10 quite interesting. Verse 7 describes us as the “vineyard of the Lord Almighty”. Verses 8–10 talk about God’s judgment, and verse 10 talks about how “a 10 acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine…”

When God is present the “mountains drip with new wine” but when God passes judgment the wine dries up.

Sounds to me like wine is not the problem but people and their actions are the problem.

I’m aware wine is not being used today as it was intended in the bible. I’m aware alcohol companies are driven by profits and motivate people to drink in excess, which in itself is a problem. This does not honor the precious gift wine is. But that seems to me to be a people problem, not a “wine problem”.

So in my humble opinion, should this pastor choose to take this job with the alcohol company so he can feed his family, I wish him all the best. I pray he remains true to his faith and his calling in the process. I pray his “mountains drip with new wine”.

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