Archives for 7.27.09

does temperance = moderation?

The debate over the use of alcohol continues to rage over at Sharper Iron, being the most talked about topic in recent days involving a number of threads. I would refer you to my recent post on drunkenness for a biblical argument for abstinence.

One recent comment on SI included this paragraph:

To your initial question, I would respond that self control is a fruit of the Spirit and those who do not yield to Him can find themselves where you and your family found yourselves [a reference to a previous commenter’s personal testimony]. Nevertheless, it is clear from Church history and Christian circles where moderation is practiced today that this isn’t as mysterious as we sometimes pretend it is. Those who imbibe in moderation don’t drink wine as though it were Gatorade after a long run. They have it in small quantities with dinner or a beer after work. I’ve often wondered at the large wine glasses and small quantities that they pour. This is apparently not just to enhance the wine’s bouquet but the practice of moderation.

This comment sparked some thinking. Notice the first line: “self control is a fruit of the Spirit”. This appears to be a reference to Gal 5.23 where ‘egkrateia’ is translated by the NAS and ESV as “self-control” (KJV = “temperance”).

Notice that later in the paragraph the idea of self-control is equated with ‘moderation’. “Those who imbibe in moderation…” and “… the practice of moderation.”

Now, we wonders, does temperance = moderation?

A look at the words involved seems to indicate something quite the contrary.

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