The term social drinking suggests that the consumption of alcohol in respectable surroundings is in some way different from drinking in other environments. There was a time when it would have been unthinkable that we would have to speak out against social drinking among Christians. The fact that such a problem has grown to the currently distressing proportions shows what a powerful and insidious influence the present age exerts on the church of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit can deliver from the shackles of social drinking, and we plead with all Christians who have fallen into this bondage to cry out for God’s help immediately.
Many people who experience psychological problems (and some of them unfortunately are Christians) are tempted to seek an easy solution in “a little bit” of alcohol. But what was used as a supposed cure has caused even greater problems. We are set free through Jesus Christ, not through a drug that dissipates and destroys us when we submit to its influence.
Every one of the 13 million problem drinkers in the United States today started on the road to alcoholism with a social drink or an innocent first taste. Half of the fatal automobile accidents in this country are caused by drinking drivers.
According to government estimates, the economic cost of alcoholism-including lost production, automobile accidents, health care, violent crimes, and fire losses- exceeds 100 billion dollars every year.1 Alcohol is consistently linked to a high percentage of reported murders, assaults, and rapes, as well as to suicide. domestic violence, and child abuse. The role of social drinking as the starting point for much of this abuse can only be estimated.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is one of the leading causes of mental retardation as a birth defect in the United States.2 Whatever alcohol the pregnant mother consumes crosses the placenta and enters the bloodstream of the baby. The result too frequently is below-average birth weight and size, deformed and improperly formed joints and limbs, as well as heart defects. We should not be concerned only about the life of the unborn child; the health of the child is important too.
The consumption of alcohol has become a national crisis, tearing at the moral fabric of our nation. Christians cannot meet their moral responsibilities by a posture of neutrality about alcohol. The problem is not merely economic, cultural, or social. In the final analysis, the use of alcohol is a spiritual problem. Alcoholism is sin, not sickness. Its shocking increase is another manifestation of the permissive, lawless spirit produced by the spiritual degeneration so much in evidence today.