Introduction: The Old Testament contains some warnings concerning the drinking of wine. (Proverbs 20:1, 23:29-35). The New Testament plainly teaches against drunkenness. (Gal. 5:21). Although the New Testament does not say in so many words, “Thou shalt not drink for social
purposes,” it does present information from which we can draw the necessary inference, or unavoidable conclusion, that
social drinking is sinful.
I. THE DEFINITION
OF SOCIAL DRINKING, ALCOHOLISM, AND INTOXICATION.
drinking. Social drinking is the drinking of alcoholic beverages for social purposes rather than for medicinal purposes.
B. Alcoholism. Alcoholism
is the losing of the control of one’s drinking.
He may seem unable to avoid becoming intoxicated even when he knows
that he should remain sober and when he does not have a great desire to get drunk. (Walter C. Alvarez, M. D., “Who is
an Alcoholic? Somebody Losing Control of Drinking,” The Birmingham News, Sept. 10, 1961,p. A-5.)
C. Intoxicate: 1. Poison. 2. To excite or stupefy by alcohol or a
narcotic esp. to the point where physical and mental control is markedly diminished. Webster
II. WHO DRINKS?
to the Gallup Poll, the number of drinkers is increasing in the United States.
PRINCETON, N.J. ——The proportion
of U. S. adults who use alcoholic beverages has increased substantially over the last five years.
The latest Gallup Poll audit of the nation’s
adults finds 63 % saying they drink alcoholic beverages—liquor, wine, or beer. Five years ago, the proportion who have
used alcoholic beverages was 55 %.
Highlights of this
figures translate into approximately 69 million people who say they drink alcoholic beverages.
in previous surveys, a higher proportion of men than women say they drink alcoholic beverages. In the latest audit, seven
out of every 10 men place themselves in this category as opposed to 56 per cent of women.
3. In terms of educational attainment, the proportion of drinkers is greatest among those
persons with college or grammar school backgrounds. Seventy-seven per cent of those persons with college training today say
they drink, compared to 71 % in I960.
Among those with no more than a grammar school education,
an increase of six percentage points in the proportion of those who drink alcoholic beverages is shown since I960, when the
figure was 48 per cent.
“In the first
Gallup Poll audit of drinkers and abstainers in 1945 conducted just after the end of World War II, an all-time high of 67
per cent said they drank alcoholic beverages.” (Alabama Journal, February 5, 1964, p. 3.)
B. Average Alcoholic (In Georgia) Is Church Member on White Collar Job. According to an article published in an Atlanta
newspaper, the average Georgia alcoholic, is a white male, uq years old and
from a city or urban area.
He is married, a church member and is employed as a skilled or white-collar worker, the Georgia Commission
on Alcoholism has discovered.
This average problem drinker is intelligent and possesses a good personality. He has a high school education
The average age for the onset of drinking is 18 1/2 years, but it is alarming to note the number who began
drinking between the ages of 7 and 15, Mrs. Meese pointed out.
About those drinkers who began imbibing at seven years, they found it around the house and got into it, Mrs.
III. SOME POSSIBLE CAUSES OF SOCIAL DRINKING
A. Some who drink might not have received a sufficient amount of biblical instruction on the subject.
B. A lack of faith and trust in God and in his Son might be a cause. (See 1 John 5:4; 1 Pet.
5:7; Rom. 8:28; Phil. 4:6; Psa. 55:22; Prov. 3:5, 6.)
C. A desire to be popular might have influenced some persons to drink.
D. Perhaps some have cultivated a taste for strong drink.
E. Marital and financial difficulties have likely influenced some to drink.
IV. HOW TO AVOID BECOMING A SOCIAL DRINKER
A. Never take the first drink.
B. Obey the gospel that you might become a child of God. Fill your life with good works, (l Cor. 15:58).
C. Study God’s word diligently that you might grow spiritually and become strong enough
to fight off the temptation to drink. (See 1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18; 1 John 5:4; 1 Cor. 10:13.)
D. Select the right kind of associates. (See 1 Cor. 10:33.)
E. Have no desire to please social drinkers by drinking with them.
F. Make an honest living (Eph. 4:28; 2 Thess. 3:10; 1 Tim. 5;8), and seek to avoid difficulties
that might tempt some persons to drink.
V. IS SOCIAL DRINKING SINFUL?
A. Does drinking become sinful short of drunkenness?
1. If a person could drink one bottle of beer without
sinning, why could he not drink two bottles, three bottles, etc., as long as he did not become intoxicated?
2. Can one become almost intoxicated without sinning?
3. If one’s
drinking becomes sinful anywhere short of drunkenness, at what point does it do so?
B. Drinking can affect a person’s ability to drive an automobile.
1. The menace of the drinking driver.
a. Legal proof of being sober in the United States is a concentration of not more than .05 % of alcohol in the
blood. But in most of the states the percentage is three times that much; the percentage required for a driver to be prosecuted
for intoxication is 15. (Don Wharton, “What Two Drinks Will Do to Your Driving,” condensed from The Rotarian
and reprinted in Reader's Digest, October, 1951, p. 132.)
b. A study was made in Toronto of 919 drivers who were involved in personal injury accidents. After the researchers
pinned down the role of mechanical failures, road hazards, and driving errors, they reached the conclusion that alcohol became
a factor in causing accidents when the concentration of alcohol in the blood was as low as .03 per cent an amount or concentration
which can result from one beer or cocktail. (Ibid, p. 133.)
c. According to a report on 17,000 traffic accidents in the state of Michigan, about three times as many accidents
were caused by drivers that “had been drinking” as by drivers actually “under the influence”. (Ibid.)
2. How alcohol can affect a driver.
a. It can slow down reactions. New Zealand’s Road Code says, “The average man after one large whisky
will take about 15 percent longer than usual to depress his brake or swing his wheel in an emergency.” (Ibid, p. 134.)
b. It can create false confidence. According to New Zealand’s Road Code, “A
little alcohol has the double effect of making him drive worse and believe he is driving better”. (Ibid.)
c. Alcohol can impair concentration and dull judgment. It can make
drivers more talkative and cause their attention to be diverted more easily. (Ibid.)
can affect vision. According to laboratory tests conducted by Dr. Goldberg, vision was deteriorated 32 per cent by moderate
3. Some traffic officials agreed that the social drinker
is a bigger traffic hazard than the ordinary drunk.
The traffic officials
from US states and the District of Columbia recently agreed that the social drinker is a bigger traffic hazard than the ordinary
Main reason is that
the slightly intoxicated motorist, though his driving ability is impaired, usually escapes detection until he figures in an
accident. But the motorist who is weaving all over a highway is likely to be arrested before he kills himself or someone else.
most of who could probably have passed an intoximeter test, figured in 39 per cent of rural fatal accidents in
potential murderer label on all drinking drivers runs counter to popular notions, but it is in keeping with the facts. The facts are that alcohol is related chemically to chloroform, ether and ethylene, which
are anesthetic gases. And it is also related to these gases in the effect it has on the body.” (Reprinted in Alabama
Journal, November 6, 1957, p. 4. A.)
4. Highway accidents and alcohol. Startling figures released recently
by the National Foundation for Highway Safety show that we now have 88 million licensed automobiles and 105 million licensed
drivers. In highway accidents in 1966 over 52,500 were killed; more than 1000 per week. This was an 8 per cent increase over
the 48,500 of 1965.
The most significant part of this report states that drinking or drunken drivers
caused 55 % to 80 % of accidents. When we realize that close to 10,000 people will
die in highway accidents during November and December, we must be concerned. The largest concentration of accidents is during
the Christmas season through the New Year celebration.
This is the time for
the greatest promotion and sales of alcoholic
beverages. More than 15 % of all
alcoholic beverage sales for the year occur in December in the Christmas season.
“Much is said
about highway safety but most of it is like hitting a snake on the end of his tail to kill him. This may slow him down but
a blow to the head will be far more effective. Why don't we break the conspiracy of silence and be honest enough to place
the greatest part of the blame for this carnage where it belongs; on beverage alcohol.”
(Dr. R. Elmer Nielsen, Alabama Temperance Alliance, “Morning Mail,” Birmingham Post-Herald, December
20, 1967, p. 14.)
According to the foregoing,
“55 % to 80 % of accidents were caused by drinking or drunken drivers.” As drinking can
cause accidents, no
one should drink.
4. Under the Influence.
The grim count starts at 6 p.m. today. And by the time the Christmas holiday weekend is over, says the National Safety
Council, an estimated 625 to 725 persons will have died in highway crashes. Half of
these accidents, the council estimates, will involve drinking drivers.
A study reveals that
70 per cent of all drivers killed on the highways. In Georgia over a two-year period
had been drinking to some extent. (Editorial, The Birmingham News, December 22, 1967, p. 14.)
6. It can be unsafe for one to attempt to drive an automobile immediately after he has consumed alcoholic beverages.
According to Dr. Leon
A. Greenberg, Director of the Yale University Laboratory of Applied Biodynamic, a person who has drunk two bottles of beer
(24 oz.) should wait one hour before it would be safe for him to drive a car. After drinking four bottles of beer, he should
wait two hours; after he has drunk six bottles of beer, he should wait four hours; after he has consumed eight bottles (3
qts.) of beer, he should wait six hours; and after he has drunk one-half pint of whisky, he should wait eight hours before
it would be safe for him to drive a car. (The Birmingham News, December 22, 1958, p. 18.)
C. Is it not sinful for a person to consume for social purposes anything
that would have a detrimental effect
upon his ability to drive an auto-
mobile? Consider the following syllogism.
Major Premise: The
drinking of anything for social purposes that affects
a person in such a way as to cause him to endanger the life of another
while each is driving an automobile is sinful.
Minor Premises: The
drinking of alcoholic beverages for social purposes affects in such a way a person who is driving an auto-
mobile so as
to cause him to endanger the life of another.
Conclusion: The drinking
of alcoholic beverages for social purposes by the driver of an automobile is sinful.
D. Social drinking causes a Christian to set a bad example. Consider the
Major Premise: Whatever causes a Christian to set a bad example before others is sinful.
Minor Premise: A Christian drinking alcoholic beverages for social
purposes would cause him to set
a bad example before others.
Conclusion: A Christian's drinking alcoholic beverages for social purposes are sinful.
E. From the foregoing we conclude that social drinking is sinful.
SOME OF THE ARGUMSNTS THAT ARE MADE IN FAVOR OP SOCIAL DRINKING.
Jesus changed water to wine at the marriage feast in Cana (John 2:1-11); the wine was
to be drunk for social purposes; Jesus therefore approves social drinking.
Not all the wine in
Palestine was fermented. “Sometimes its “wine”
was preserved in its unfermented state, and drunk as must,
but more generally it was bottled off after fermentation, and, if it were designed
to be kept for some time, a certain
amount of lees was added to give it
body (Isa. 25. 6) ... It is very likely that new wine was preserved in the state of
must by placing it in jars or bottles, and then burying it in the earth.” (William Smith, Ed. A Dictionary of the
Bible, p. 754.)
In view of the fact
that researchers concluded, “that alcohol be-
came a factor in causing accidents when the concentration of alcohol
the blood was as low as .03 % an amount or concentration
which can result from one beer or cocktail”. (Don Wharton, p. 133),
Should a person conclude that Christ offered for social purposes the
wine that, at that time, would affect a person’s brain or
system to the extent that a bottle of beer would today?
Furthermore, if Christ’s
changing water to wine were authority for
a person’s engaging in social drinking today, would Christ’s changing
to wine constitute authority for a person’s working today in a
whisky distillery, a brewery, or a winery?
Even if the wine of
John 2 were fermented, it evidently was not of
the alcoholic content or strength of the fermented wine in this country.
B. Some of the Corinthians became intoxicated when they should have been observing the Lord’s Supper. Paul
said, “for in your eating each one takes before other his own supper; and one is hungry, and another is drunken, what,
have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? Or despise
ye the church of God, and put them to shame that have not.”
(1 Cor. 11:21, 22). Though Paul did not approve of their becoming intoxicated, he said, “What, have ye not houses to
eat and to drink in?” Implying that it was permissible to drink alcoholic beverages moderately for social purposes in
When Paul said, “What,
have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?”
Perhaps he meant simply that common meals should not be eaten in worship
but should be eaten at home, and he was not attempting to prescribe in this verse the nature of the food to be consumed in
the home. (In 1 Cor. 11:34 Paul says, “If any man is hungry, let him eat at
home.) In view of the bad effect that social drinking can have on a person, one should not conclude that Paul was authorizing
social drinking in this passage.
A. The fact that a deacon was not to be “given to much wine” (1 Tim. 3:8)
that he was permitted to drink moderately.
In answer to this
argument, consider the following:
“1 Tim. 3:8;
Tit. 2:3: Not given to much wine one relates to prospective deacons, the other to aged women. As to deacons, this refers to
past record—polus (much) is translated ‘long’ (Acts 27:14, 21) and ‘oft’ (Matt. 9:14),
with no thought of intoxication. Hence, not given to the habit; not addicted. Some did so (1 Pet. 1:3), but ceased (verse 4). Authorities agree this means the same as
‘not given to wine’, in a prospective elder. (1 Tim. 3:3.) Their past habits could and would hinder their work.
Aged women are to be examples (in behavior) and teachers (of young women)—such they could not be and do if addicted
wine, whatever its stage. The statements “not given to much wine”
are prohibitions—they must abstain
there from. (L. 0. Sanderson,
More About Social Drinking, Gospel Advocate,
Nov. 1, 1962, p. 693.)
The Law of Moses forbade
killing, but the prohibition against killing did not imply that a man was permitted to beat another man half to
death. “The law prohibits fornication, but this is no license for
situations that lead
to it.” (Ibid.)
B. Paul instructed Timothy to “use a little
wine for the stomach sake, (1 Tim. 5:23).
Answer: But Paul did not instruct Timothy to “use a little wine” for social purposes, but for his “stomach’s
sake” and “his often infirmities.”
ARE CHRISTIANS PERMITTED TO VOTE TO LEGALIZE THE SALE OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES?
If Christians were
permitted to vote to legalize the sale of alcoholic beverages, why would they not be permitted to vote to legalize gambling,
prostitution, profanity, etc.?
VIII. SOME OF THE ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF THE LEGALIZED SALE OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES.
A. As some will drink anyway, should not the sale of alcoholic beverages be legalized?
Some will tell lies,
use profanity, gamble, commit fornication, etc.,
but their doing so would not justify our legalizing those sins.
The mere fact that
some will drink anyway does not constitute authority for our voting to legalize the sale of alcoholic beverages. To assume as true that which has not been proved is to be guilty of the fallacy of begging the question. Consider the following syllogism, which
illustrates the fallacy of begging the question.
Major Premise: Whatever people will do anyway should be legalized.
Minor Premise: People will drink alcoholic beverages.
Conclusion: Drinking alcoholic beverages should be legalized.
Illustration: Who Destroyed Prohibition?
Prohibition? Two groups, those who were bent on the pleasure of drinking liquor and those who were bent on making money out
of it. Rid us of these two groups and liquor will be no more a problem than sassafras
tea.” (Clovis G. Chappell, Ten Rules for Living, p. 66.)
B. Should not the sale of alcoholic beverages be legalized in order that the government might collect tax from
To legalize the sale
of alcoholic beverages in order to collect tax
there from would not be right anymore than to legalize prostitution,
etc., in order to collect tax on those sins.
But not always does
the tax on the sale of alcoholic beverages
offset the financial harm that is done. Consider the following:
Council on Alcohol Problems declares, ‘For every dollar of beer and liquor taxes received, California spends $5.23 on
direct measurable costs.’ A few years ago the Alcohol Problems Association of
Washington State stated that, for each dollar of liquor revenue collected, we taxpayers were paying out more than I’ll
to take care of the results of the alcoholic beverage traffic.” (Horace E. Chandler, “Let’s Unmask John
Barleycorn,” Christianity Today, April 15, 1966, p. 15.)
A. Not only is social drinking sinful, but it can also lead to alcoholism. Note the following; Dr. T. R. Van Dellen
said, “Dr. R. E. McGill and others report that 70 million Americans consume alcoholic beverage and one in every l6 will
become an alcoholic in 10 to 15 years.” (The Atlanta Constitution, July 23, 1956, p. 12.) If a man never engages
in social drinking, he will never become a drunkard.
1. A Ragged Tramp Who Asked for a Drink.
“A ragged tramp
asked for a drink in a saloon. The request was
granted, and when in the act of
drinking the proffered beverage, one of the young men present said: ‘Make a
speech: It is poor liquor that does not open a man’s tongue”. The tramp
hastily swallowed the drink. As the liquor coursed through his blood, he straightened
and stood before them with a glance and dignity that all of his rags could not obscure.
he said, “I look tonight at myself and it seems to
me I look upon the picture of my blighted manhood. This bloated
face was once as handsome as yours. This figure once walked as proudly as yours, for I was a man in the world of men. I, too,
once had a home and friends and position. I had a wife as beautiful as an artist’s dream, but I dropped the priceless
pearl of her honor and respect into a cup of wine. I had children as sweet and pure as the flowers of spring and saw them
fade and die under the blighting curse of a drunken father. I had a home where love lit the flame upon the altar and ministered
before it, but I put out the holy fire, and darkness and desolation reigned in its stead. I had aspirations and ambitions
that soared as high as the morning star, but I broke and bruised their beautiful forms and strangled them that I might hear
them no more. Today, I am a husband without a wife, a father without a child, a tramp
without a home, and a man in whom every impulse is dead. All have been swallowed up
in the males form of drink.”
“Wine is a mocker,
strong drink a brawler; and whosoever erreth
thereby is not wise.” (Prov. 20:1). Selected.
2. “Fact’s Which Must Be Faced.” The following facts,
taken from authoritative sources, should be presented wherever possible.
seconds a person is injured in an automobile
accident through the misuse of alcohol. Christian Crusader News-
Thomas A. Edison says:
“Putting alcohol in the human brain is
like putting sand in the bearings of an engine.”
“As a brain surgeon I have yet to meet a moderate drinking colleague who would like to have me operate
on his son after I have had a few. No one does his best after drinking. He may think
he does, but his judgment is defective moderation is a terrible fallacy.” Richard
E. Strain, M.D.
“Alcohol is the major cause of insanity and poisoning from it
causes more deaths than from all of
our most infectious diseases.”
Dr. Parran, Surgeon General of the U. S. (Willard Collins, “Facts Which Must
Be Faced,” Gospel Advocate, Feb. 4, 1965, p. 71.)
In going back ward in time
even to the end of world war two to show the results of gallop poles. It is used to
show that each year we have come closer to 2005, the problem of Alcohol and drugs has increased. Owners of stores who sell alcohol inform the press that if church people suddenly stopped the purchase of alcohol:
they would be forced to close their business.
STOP-THINK- TAKE INVENTORY
In regards to your soul this
lesson could be the most important lesson you will ever read. It touches the very core of the soul. Don’t think too lightly in regards to the subject matter. It is
real it touches almost every family in the world. The results of alcohol and drugs
in the past five years has brought death, broken homes, divorce, prostitution, hungry children, sick children without medical
care, lack of clothing, prison, all for the sake of one more drink. Social drinking
leads to public drinking.
Jessie Mills PHD.