Below is an e-mail sent out by a good brother here in Missouri. Recently there has been some very good discussion on this issue, and I appreciate this man posting this. For that reason, I am going to post it here for others to enjoy.
I recently wrote the ARBCA (Association of Reformed Baptist Churches in America) and asked what their position on alcohol is.
Here's their reply:
Dear Jim, ARBCA has no stand on the use of alcohol except to condemn the sin of drunkenness. We are a confessional association and we believe all three paragraphs of chapter 21 in the London Baptist Confession of 1689 to be a good summary of Bible doctrine on the matter. We see fermented wine, for example, as a food and nothing more, with no moral aspects whatsoever. It would be the immoderate use of this food that Holy Scripture condemns. We are careful to not make sin what the Scripture does not make sin, and end up perverting the very doctrine of sanctification in generating standards for holiness when the Scripture has not sanctioned such rules. I do hope this helps. This is a confusing issue for many. May the Lord bless you.
All three paragraphs of chapter 21 of the LBC of 1689
21. Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience
The liberty which Christ has purchased for believers under the Gospel, lies in their freedom from the guilt of sin and the condemning wrath of God, from the rigours and curse of the law, and in their deliverance from this present evil world, from bondage to Satan, from dominion of sin, from the harm of afflictions, from the fear and sting of death, from the victory of the grave, and from everlasting damnation. - This liberty is also seen in their free access to God, and their ability to yield obedience to Him not out of slavish fear, but with childlike love and willing minds. All these freedoms were also experienced in substance by true believers under the Old Testament law, but for New Testament Christians this liberty is further enlarged, for they have freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law to which the Jewish church was subjected. They also have greater boldness of access to the throne of grace and fuller communications of the free Spirit of God than believers under the law normally experienced.
God alone is Lord of the conscience, and has left it free from all doctrines and commandments of men which are in any respect contrary to His Word, or not contained in it. Thus to believe such doctrines or to obey such commands out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience. The requiring of an implicit faith, an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience and reason also.
They who on pretence of Christian liberty practice any sin, or cherish any sinful lust, pervert the main purpose of the grace of the Gospel to their own destruction. They completely destroy the object of Christian liberty, which is that we, being delivered out of the hands of all our enemies, might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our lives.