Is God Drunk?

By Joel A. Hess

Have you ever made or received a drunk promise? Ridiculous promises you make at 1:00 am, when you’re feeling good, hanging with your buddies, after slamming down your third Manhattan. Promises like, “We’re going fishing at 5:00 am tomorrow!” or “You can have my car; I was gonna sell it anyways.” And of course, the famous, “I love you man!”

Observers of the first day of Pentecost accused the disciples of having enjoyed a little too much new wine. They humorously accused them of being drunk. The disciples were shouting about the wonderful works of God, fluently in the mother tongue of everyone listening. For sure, my fluency in German increases immensely after a couple of beers, and I even can dig out some French. Or more importantly, I feel like I can speak other languages. Perhaps I would have concluded the same thing had I been the recipient of the disciples’ spontaneous sermons.

It’s not really odd that some naysayers would accuse these Christians of being drunk. The world has always accused Christians of being drunk, or at least insane. That’s what the Greeks thought when they heard about this new religion that worshipped a God on a cross. And certainly, the world’s view of Jesus and His followers has not improved.

Yet, who should be calling whom drunk? Every time I turn on NPR in the morning I hear what would have sounded like drunken tales 15 years ago. People doing strange things to and with their bodies. A Muslim mad man killing 7 people in London. Kids being locked in cages while their parents smoke crack in the civilized and prosperous good ol’ US of A.

Surely as we look at our own lives, no matter how “Christian” we claim to be, God must think we are drunk considering the choices we make.

Of course, humanity isn’t drunk on wine. Humanity is drunk on sin which it first tasted in Eden. You gotta be drunk to make the choices we make! We are. Intoxicated with lust, greed, debauchery, hate and violence. We are wasted. We are literally out of our minds. That’s what sin does. It makes you stupid drunk.

But there ain’t no one that makes drunk promises like God. Yeah, I think that might be why some in that Acts 2 audience concluded the disciples were drunk. They were talking nonsense!

They were proclaiming the wonderful works of God, Luke says. What is more wonderful than God’s Son dying on the cross for sinners? That’s borderline crazy! Peter repeats the prophet Joel’s saying that now because of Jesus “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!”

You gotta be drunk to make those kinds of promises! That’s absolutely ridiculous! Everyone? That guy next door who is on the child molester watch list? That fellow who thought he was a woman for a couple of years and now isn’t sure who he is? That woman who had an abortion because she didn’t want a child to interfere with college? If they just call on the name of the Lord, they will be saved? Forgiven? Free ticket to the resurrection? That is truly insane. The Gospel is the ultimate drunk promise!

Yet, Jesus is the only one who can claim to be sober. He drank the cup of wrath meant for us. He died for our sins and rose again! Just as He said.

He now gives us new wine, indeed. For free! Forgiveness for hearts broken and busted by a drunken world and our drunken flesh. Drink up! Its’ no dream. It’s no drunk promise. It is for real.

6 thoughts on “Is God Drunk?

  1. “Is God drunk?” Whatever benefit and however substantive the points the author is making, this remains a very disrespectful title for anything written by a follower of the Lord. If it is to grab our attention, it has accomplished this purpose….but still….this is absolutely irreverent and plainly inappropriate. I know, what happens next in Jagged Word is that criticism of this kind is attacked as being too ignorant to understand the author’s erudite scholarship in presenting his point of view in an unorthodox and controversial way…after all, Jagged Word is not your usual Christian blog. Disrespectful language is part and parcel of the writers here, and that is the “shock and awe” mentality of those impressed with their own brand of theological thinking. First, hit the reader with a title which is disrespectful to the God of glory, than walks it back and arrive at a satisfying conclusion….however…the damage is already done. The title of the article gives the first impression, an impression which is wrong. Just who do you think you are speaking about when such titles are used in an article on a Christian blog? Is God just one of your drinking buddies or merely on your level? I think more care should be taken when choosing a title, since the title reveals the thoughts of the heart, and a heart which disrespects the Lord cannot preach to the rest of us.

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    1. Its a rhetorical question my friend which assumes the answer is no. Truly did not mean this title to be inflammatory. I was quite clearly running with a theme in the story of Pentecost. Some of the bystanders sort of asked the same thing regarding God’s disciples. It is far from hyperbole to suggest that God’s amazing grace is just the amazing – to the point of absurd. Your comment is far more slanderous than my title.

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  2. Quite to the contrary, my comment is neither slanderous nor absurd. “Is God drunk?” This was your chosen title for your article. You own it. It was wrong and demeaning to utter such things. Where is your sense of honor in regards to the name of the Lord of glory? You cannot excuse this irreverence. I have heard few pastors from Baptists to Pentecostals ever title a sermon or message as you, and some of your co-writers on this blog. And furthermore, you must choose which you prefer, the flattery of some of your readers or drinking buddies, or the wounds of a Christian brother? My intent was to remind you to stop being so fanciful and careless in your titles attributed to the Lord. He expects much better and deserves your love and respect, even when you wrongly believe you are making a theological point.

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    1. yeah i truly like the title. It was in no way careless, quite the opposite. It is truthful and engages the reader. It fits in very well with the biblical text I was exploring. There are people in our world who truly wonder if God is drunk as they look at their messed up lives. You are being slanderous by accusing me of looking for flattery from my drinking buddies! For sure there can be times when a title is over the top. I truly agree. This is not one of them.

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  3. In your pride you see nothing amiss in writing an article entitled, “Is God drunk.?” In fact, you believe it is “truthful and engages the reader.” However, it is still nothing more than blatantly disrespectful. If I were with you in person and discussing the merits of your article, I would say the same thing to your face. As you no doubt reject constructive criticism, there can be no more discussion.

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    1. Disagreeing with your criticism does not mean I reject constructive criticism. If people don’t agree with Flanagan than they don’t like constructive criticism. That’s illogical and again insulting. I have demonstrated why I like the title. You just keep saying its disrespectful and accuse me of devious motivations without any evidence. That’s insulting.

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