Social Drinking

Peter Ramsay

C’mon, get with it. Break out of your cocoon. I can’t believe there are still people who think having an innocent little drink is wrong! You’re living in a Christian straightjacket. I don’t see anything wrong with having a glass of alcohol or a beer at a work function or going with my friends to a Friday afternoon "happy hour." And when I come home in the evening, I kick off my shoes, go to the cabinet, pour myself a drink, put my feet up and watch the news. It’s a healthy way to unwind. I guess you might call me a "liberated" Christian.

No, that’s not what I’d call you and that’s not what the Bible would call you. Never smear the beautiful truth of Christian liberty with the stains of alcohol. Some say social drinking is okay as long as you don’t get drunk. Don’t be fooled. Social drinking is not safe. It’s playing with fire. But you say: "They drank wine in the Bible."

Apples and Tomatoes

Wine and drinking are mentioned over 600 times in the Bible. Thirteen different words are translated "wine" in most English Bibles. The range of meaning extends from grape juice to intoxicating wine. But even the intoxicating wine of the Bible is not the wine on store shelves today. Forbidden strong drinks referred to in the Bible and unmixed wines were 3% to 11% alcohol. (Remember that distillation wasn’t discovered until 1500AD.) Chemical experts estimate that a person in Bible times would have to drink 22 glasses of wine in order to consume the same alcohol that’s in just two martinis today. To justify social drinking based on a few Bible references is a stretch, even a distortion. You’re comparing apples to tomatoes.

"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: And whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise" (Prov 20:1). "Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast. ‘They struck me,’ you will say, ‘but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink’" (Prov 23:29-35 ESV).

Is Anything Right About Drinking?

Alcohol has wreaked havoc on personal lives and homes. It is involved in 40% of accidental fatalities and 50% of criminal activity. Two thirds of domestic violence involves alcohol; 25% of divorces; and 25% of people in mental institutions. Yes - alcohol is to be blamed for all of that and much more.

You cannot lift a glass of wine or beer to your lips for social enjoyment without endorsing an activity that has caused unimaginable grief, haunting regrets, wrecked lives, and lost potential for many millions of people. You cannot sip or guzzle a drink in the privacy of your home or in public without lending your support to a multi-billion dollar enterprise that is destroying human lives and families every day of the year. Even if you made your own wine at home for your personal enjoyment, you are still supporting the industry at some level - even if it is only supplies for home breweries. Rather than inching our way toward it, we should be repulsed by it - even its symbols and marketing strategies. There’s nothing funny, innocent, or appealing about it.

If you think alcohol or beer is okay in moderation, do some door to door visiting in a lower income area with a bundle of gospel tracts in your hand. By the end of the afternoon, you will return to your car and weep over the devastating effects of alcohol in wrecking homes and families. Not one of those dear people ever intended to become an addict. It all started with a first drink, then drinking moderately, and then drinking out of control. One in 10 alcoholics started off with just social drinking. How do you know you might not be the one? Are you invincible?

Some adults say: "Well, I just like to have a glass when I come home from the hustle and bustle of the day at work. It helps me relax." Others say: "It just enhances the flavor of the dinner. It adds to the fine dining experience." One survey says that one of the top five reasons teenagers drink is because they’ve seen their parents lift a glass or bottle to their lips. Parents, we need to remember that whatever we allow into our lives in moderation, our child will be more likely to do in excess.

Does Social Drinking Help You As A Believer in Your Walk With The Lord?

Have you ever known a Christian who has been made better by social drinking? No! But you may be able to name some who have lost their spiritual desire and influence in heavenly things because of alcohol. Christians who do not drink, never have to apologize for doing so. And yes, you can be in the corporate world and attend receptions without having to drink! To use that as an excuse is a cop-out. Do you feel obligated to fit in with the other behaviors exhibited in the corporate world?

I have never met a person who regretted NOT using alcohol but I have met many who hated and cursed the day when they took their first drink.

Is it your body or the Lord’s? Is it your brain or does it belong to the Lord?

Alcohol affects your brain - not to mention your body. Impaired judgment leads to poor choices, weakened resolve, more irresponsible behaviour and potentially disastrous outcomes.

"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s" (1Cor 6:19-20 KJV).

Dear child of God, social drinking might help you to be more accepted in the world but it will do nothing to forward the cause of Christ. It will NOT help you to glorify God. Someone else put it this way: "Social drinking is simply a means which the devil uses to blunt our testimony for Christ and squeeze us into his mold."

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