Social Drinking

by Dudley Ross Spears

We live in a world where social drinking is accepted by over two-thirds of our entire population.  That segment also accepts just about any other kind of drinking.  But social drinking has been elevated a few steps above ordinary honkey-tonk or bar room drinking.  No matter what name it is known by, drinking ethyl alcoholic beverages is a potential danger.  When it is given the prestigious moniker "social" drinking it becomes more acceptable and as it becomes more acceptable it becomes more dangerous. But just what is social drinking?  Social Drinking is described by Charles R. Carroll as follows:

"By definition, drinking is the consumption of beverages containing ethyl alcohol.  From a sociological viewpoint, drinking is described as a particular group's customary way of using beverage alcohol.  Such a custom is learned by other members of that group and is continued by the group because drinking serves to promote interpersonal relations and to enhance feelings of camaraderie and solidarity.  The pleasure derived from drinking is primarily reciprocal, that is, drinking by one of the group brings satisfaction to the other drinkers.  Alcohol is seen as the 'social lubricant' in which the conscience is dissolved and rigid inhibitions are lowered. For Americans, this social drinking is the common way of using alcoholic beverages." Carroll, Charles R., Drugs in Modern Society, 2nd Edition, William C. Brown Publisher, Dubuque, Iowa, 1989, page 106."

Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash

There are enough factors involved in the use and abuse of alcoholic consumption to warrant intelligent people to strongly favor complete prohibition again. (See the Eighteenth Amendment at the end. drs).

The apostle Paul wrote, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21)

The words here should register deeply in the heart of those who fear God -- for those who do not fear God, may God give you more time to reflect on where you are headed.  The expression "shall not inherit the kingdom of God" means primarily the loss of one's immortal soul in an eternal hell.  The expression may also very well mean that those blessings awarded to those in Christ can never be enjoyed by one whose life is filled with the works of the flesh.  In other words, there is no place for the individual who engages in these works of the flesh either in the church now or heaven after a while.

But someone is probably going to think, "That condemns drunkeness -- not drinking."  But read it again.  Peter wrote, "For the time past of [our] life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries" (I Peter 4:3).  Look carefully at the wording.

First, note the expression "excess of wine."  That means very clearly that a danger exists in the very act of drinking wine.  But it is not only the excess of wine that is condemned, notice also "revellings."  Revellings are boisterous parties in which drinking of alcoholic beverages, or other mind altering substances are ingested causing drunkenness.  Then there is the word "banquetings."  Another word for it is drinking parties.

The late G.W. Blenkin, a "Fellow" of Trinity College in England, wrote on the term potois, "carousings, drinking-parties," and noted that this is the single instance of the use of this word in the entire New Testament.  When people get together to do what is called "partying" hardly anyone is interested unless either drugs or alcohol is available.  This is clearly and forthrightly condemned in this passage.

But again, let me give a very simply test relative to any consumption of alcohol at all.  Is there any doubt that those who engage in drunkenness, wine swillings, drug abuse, and the other works of the flesh are endangering their immortal souls?  Since that is a very real and serious danger, what is the single best way to avoid ever being drunk or inebriated?  The answer I have is very simple -- never drink alcohol, never use drugs of any kind for recreational purposes, and never encourage others to do so.  That is the best and sure fire way to avoid any disasterous fall out from a sinful life.

Should one take the first drink of liquor? Jesus told of a householder who employed a steward to look after his affairs (Luke 12:42ff). The steward was unfaithful and mean. Verse 45 reads, "But if that servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken." Notice that the term for "drunken" is from the Greek methuo, which is defined as inebriation or drunkenness. Question: When did the evil steward begin beating the servants? Answer: with the first blow. When did he begin eating? With the first bite. When did he begin to be inebriated or drunk? Answer: With the first drink.

If this sounds like someone wanting to return to the "Prohibition Era," that cannot be helped.  One of the strangest inconsistencies any society has ever generated is the one where we legalize the sale and consumption of ethly alcohol but make other drugs illegal.  Prohibition is a bad word in society, for it harks back to a so-called "Puritanical Past."  But have we improved things?  Consider some rather startling facts.

Alcoholic Consumption in America Supports a Huge Financial Industry.  Americans, today, spend an average of 31 billion dollars annually on alcoholic beverages.  That brings in around 13 billion dollars in revenue and taxes.  This makes it possible for our nation to have better schools, roads, and public facilities -- among other things.  But the facts show clearly that this is the worst kind of business procedure.  The very same statistics show that between 117 and 120 billion dollars are required because of problems directly related to alcohol consumption.  These problems include deaths, loss of work productivity, rehabilitation programs, the bureaucracy involved to administrate it, the cost in property damage (including a huge amount of automotive insurance costs in both premium increases, repair and/or replacement of wrecked automobiles), law enforcement administration, and prisons (already well overcrowded).  No business could remain in operation with such figures on their books.

Look at those figures again.  We have a homeless problem that is escalating rapidly.  If you subtract 13 billion dollars from 117 billion (the conservative cost figure alcohol-related problems cause) you come up with 104 billion dollars.  That might be appreciated by some homeless people.  And if alcoholic beverages were completely eliminated, banned, prohibited, and made unavailable would that not reduce some of the homeless problem by eliminating at least some of the "winos" and street drunks?

It is argued that if liquor is made illegal and unavailable someone will find a way to illegally produce it.  In some instances, there may be some merit to that argument.  But, in the case of alcoholic consumption, with its related problems and expense, will someone just show how legalizing it, making it available, and taxing it has helped our nation as a whole?  That would be interesting.


(Proposed 18 December 1917; Declared ratified 29 January 1919).

After one year from the ratification of this article, the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.  The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
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