Christians can’t drink or smoke? By John Piper

 I think this has to be one the most frequently asked questions out there for Christians and who better to answer it then John Piper? His answer is clear and concise, but I believe it brings clarity to anyone longing for an answer to this question.  He posted this as a guest columnist for the Christian Post website. Check it out:

I don’t encourage smoking or drinking, but some friends actually think doing those things means someone is not a Christian. What do you say?

Well, you can’t draw a straight line from smoking and drinking to not being a Christian, because we’re not saved by not smoking or by not drinking. We’re saved by trusting in Jesus Christ.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be concerned for peoples’ lives. There are dangers in drinking and there are dangers in smoking. They’re not exactly the same, but there are some. And if you love people you care about whether they are vulnerable to those dangers or not, and you may talk about them.

So it’s not just simply “Let them do what they want to do, that’s not how their saved” antinomianism. Rather, gospel fruit changes people. It’s going to change the way they handle alcohol and it’s going to change the way they handle nicotine. It would be a strange situation in which a person made a case for nicotine as a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

But I want to give people space to conquer a habit, especially at the front end of conversion, if a person needs some space to work through and recognize for themselves what is hurtful.

“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful.” And an immature Christian can’t always see what is helpful and what is hurtful and what is going to have longer term effects.

But the short answer and the necessary answer is that you shouldn’t ever draw a straight line or an immediate conclusion that if you drink or smoke you’re a non-Christian.


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2 thoughts on “Christians can’t drink or smoke? By John Piper

  1. Hmmm. Hope you know I love Pastor Piper. But I think his answer seriously misses some major points that Paul talks about in Romans 14 about disputable matters.

    And – his logic if applied to everything we do, seriously breaks down.

    There are some serious dangers to sugar and caffeine too. Should “mature” Christians grow out of eating cake and drinking coffee? I’m only saying he seems to be implying that.

    And connecting the use of nicotine to a non fruit of the Spirit? Sounds stretchy to me. Was Spurgeon filled with the spirit and exuding His fruits? He smoked a cigar every night before he went to sleep.

    not a horrible answer, just incomplete, in my opinion.

    • Mike says:

      Good observations Paul, I appreciate your thoughts on this. I love Piper as well, but I do see your point and its difficult to argue with your thoughts. Again, good observations.

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