by Don L. King
A High School Principal in San Lorenzo, California recently banned the wearing of tee shirts on campus which promote the use of alcohol. Some manufacturers are now selling various beer advertisements on their shirts, etc. The Principal said, "...spending millions of dollars to educate our youth about the use and abuse of alcohol and then allowing students to wear clothing that promotes the use of alcohol is at best hypocritical." We surely agree!
The facts are we are becoming a nation of alcoholics. It is believed there are at least five million alcoholics in America. Frankly, we suspect there are many more than that. Approximately twenty gallons of liquor are consumed by the average American citizen each year. The last time I read of the alcoholism problem, alcoholism was recognized as the fourth ranking disease, after cancer, mental illness, and heart disease. This is no little problem, brethren. Our nation is certainly plagued with this sin.
Moderation and "social" drinking are some times defended and/or practiced by some who are members of the Lords church. I really doubt if this is a widespread practice, but any at all is too much. A few try to defend it as a "liberty" while claiming not to use it at all themselves. I surely will not call their honesty into question, but I really fear for the future if our young are brought into contact with such weak and liberal teaching and such poor examples of Godliness. Allow me to editorialize a bit farther: why is it that brethren raised in the church will fall prey to this fallacy? I have noticed that usually those who have been converted from a life of sin where drinking was a common practice rarely have to be told that they need to leave alcohol alone when they begin living for Christ. They seem to know that is something to leave outside of Christianity. To be blunt, the world knows it is sin, it is brethren who must sometimes be convinced.
IS IT SIN?
Often the argument is made that the Bible condemns drunkenness; but if we have only a little to drink, and don't get drunk it is permissible. I'm afraid of that borderline business, brethren. Any honest hearted Christian who is determined to make heaven his home is going to be as safe as he possibly can. Solomon said, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." (Proverbs 20:1). The Revised Version reads, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler; and whoever is led astray by it is not wise." Some years ago I ran onto a bit of writing on this very passage by Guy N. Woods who put it into syllogistic form. When a syllogism is used a major premise and minor premise are presented if both are correct and true, the conclusion is said to be inescapable. His syllogism was presented in the following way: Major premise-to be 'led astray (deceived KJV) is to sin; Minor premise-Those who ingest alcoholic beverages are led astray. Conclusion- Therefore, those who drink such potions sin." Either the conclusion is correct, or Solomon's inspired affirmation must be disputed. Or so it seems to me.
Peter wrote: "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." (I Peter 2:11). It is possible that we really need to be convinced that alcoholic drinks war against our soul?
A LOOK AT THE FIGURES
Notice the following statistics:
(1) In the United States, there are 98,000 alcohol-related deaths each year. (2) The number one killer of the 15 to 20 year-old age group is alcohol-related highway deaths. (3) Drinking is estimated to be involved in at least 50 percent of spouse abuse cases and 38 percent of child abuse cases. (4) A total of 54 percent of jail inmates convicted of violent crimes were drinking before they committed their crimes. Of those convicted of assault, 62 percent had been drinking, and 49 percent of those convicted of murder or attempted murder had been drinking. (5) In 1983, the economic cost to our nation was $116.7 billion due to the use and abuse of alcohol.
How can anyone see such figures and still deny alcohol wars against the soul? It appears to be a real plague. Can it be possible that those who have loved ones who are slaves to this drug (yes it absolutely is a drug) and who spend their lives often literally in the gutter would agree that it is a practice Christians can indulge in? Would the man whose life and family torn asunder and ruined by alcohol agree it could be a Christian liberty? We suppose not.
Paul wrote, "Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded (or prudent-DLK). In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works:... (Titus 2:6,7). Folks, we are supposed to be providing a "pattern" by which others may mold their lives. You say, "well I take a drink now and then, but no one knows it." What if you are asked? What do you say then? Will you tell the truth? If you do, will your "pattern" be one to be followed? Are you willing for our young to "pattern" their lives and habits after yours? You are supposed to be. Paul told Titus to be that way.
Finally, alcohol not only needs to be left out of our private lives, but taught against both privately and publicly. We have allowed a generation to grow up having heard very little against it from our preaching brethren. Am I suggesting our preachers who are not opposed to the use of alcohol? Not at all. I believe they are definitely opposed to it. However, we have apparently felt such things are not as important as other "issues." At least alcohol and several other moral issues seem to lose out to subjects such as the Holy Spirit, Angels, marriage and divorce, the home, etc., all of which are Bible topics and needed. However, in this writer humble opinion we dare not neglect the many moral issues of the day any longer.