Scripture teaches that beverages containing alcohol can be a blessing or a source of evil. Those who drink alcohol must consider its effects on themselves and on others. Abstinence from alcohol may be an appropriate moral response in particular situations, but it is not demanded by Scripture and therefore should not be demanded by the church.
According to Scripture, all Christians must avoid drunkenness. Though abstinence from alcohol is a morally creditable choice, those who, in their freedom in Christ, choose to use alcohol moderately are not to be condemned. The church should provide pastoral care and guidance for alcoholic church members and their families, including intervention and discipline when necessary. In light of what has been learned about the risks involved in the use of beverages containing alcohol, congregations were asked to examine the traditional practice of using wine in the sacrament of holy communion (Lord's Supper). Many churches choose to use grape juice out of deference to worshipers who may struggle with alcohol.
Synod 1984 appointed a study committee to provide pastoral guidelines regarding the use and abuse of and addiction to alcohol and other drugs in response to three overtures from Classes Grand Rapids North, Red Mesa, and Rocky Mountain. Its report was adopted by Synod 1986 and recommended to the churches. Included in the report are guidelines for the responsible use of alcohol, intervention with alcoholics, prevention of alcohol abuse, and discipline of clergy and church employees who struggle with alcohol use. An appendix titled "Similarities and Differences Between Alcoholism and Addiction to Other Drugs" was approved in 1987.
Acts of Synod 1861, p. 186
Acts of Synod 1865, p. 53
Acts of Synod 1866, p. 74
Acts of Synod 1902, p. 58
Acts of Synod 1916, p. 49
Acts of Synod 1934, pp. 77-78
Acts of Synod 1942, p. 87
Acts of Synod 1962, pp. 107, 494-95
Acts of Synod 1963, pp. 87-88, 446-47
Acts of Synod 1984, pp. 425-27, 651-52
Acts of Synod 1985, pp. 462, 805, 826
Acts of Synod 1986, pp. 371-421, 668-71
Acts of Synod 1987, pp. 371-84, 580-81