Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 10, 1967
NUMBER 14, PAGE 7b-8a

The Man — His Social Drink

Olin D. Kern

Periodically in the life of all Christians the question of "Social Drinking," is one that is discussed with vigor. And most of the time there will be those present who see nothing wrong with the drinking of alcoholic beverages on the social level. Most reasoning that can be given on this matter will fall on ears that are "dull of hearing. Oftentimes the people are informed of the problems that drinking causes; the broken homes, the poverty stricken and the bodies lie on beds of affliction and suffer thy after day. Yet in view of all the facts some are still willing to say, "You can not show me in the Bible where it is a sin to take one alcoholic drink." In this lesson we want to center our interest on the fourth chapter of 1st Peter.

On drunkenness there can be no question whatever. We are told in the word of God about this matter in terms that none can misunderstand. "Envyings, murders, DRUNKENNESS, revelings, 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 5:21.) I should think that none of us would covet the reward that is waiting the drunkard, eternal punishment. The pains of an eternal Hell should be reason enough for all of us to have no desire whatever to spend eternity here in this terrible place prepared for the drunkard and all wicked. Galatians 5:21, clear as it is, still is questioned by some. How many people do you know that will admit to the fact that he or she is a drunkard. Here in Fort Smith we have our "skid Row," with its drunkards and other undesirable persons. On Saturday night (or any other night for that matter) you can ask any number of these men if they are drunk and they will say no. They may be unable to walk or see clearly, but drunk-they are not. But regardless of the condition they dream of themselves - God says that a drunkard shall not inherit the kingdom of God. And there are very, very few people that are social drinkers that have not been drunk, or light headed sometime or the other in their life.

Then we have the "Medicine Men," who have to have a shot before bed time so that they can sleep. Also there is the man who feels a cold coming on about every other day so he has to have a drink to ward off the "cold" that he is going to have. However, lest some misunderstand, we question social drinking, but we do not, nor do I know of many who do, oppose one taking a drink for medicinal reasons. Several years ago I had an MD tell me that in his opinion we have many good drugs on the market and that man no longer needs to take a drink to cure sickness. Even though I believe this statement to be true, there might arise a time when it was the only thing available to sustain life and I believe under these conditions it would be in perfect harmony with the will of God to take the drink. This statement is made in view of sickness only, and does not touch top, side or bottom of the social drinking problem. Let me illustrate my point. In 1960 I was living in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. During my stay there I became acquainted with an elder who thought it was wrong to take a drink for any reason, even sickness. One day during the year it became necessary for him to make a trip to the shopping area and while on this journey he suffered a rather severe heart-attack and was near death. The nearest store was a tavern. Someone went into this store, bought an alcoholic drink. He refused because he believed it to be wrong. After the people around him explained the seriousness of his case he took the drink. The doctor in the hospital later made the statement that it was his opinion that this saved the man's life. No one really knows what might have happened had he not taken the drink but at least this was an educated guess. To me this is an example of man who had no other choice than to take a drink and this he did because he was sick. I have said this to bring up the following point. When we speak of social drinking we do not have in mind the man who is in a position to do nothing else. The man in the case mentioned was in danger of dying.

The man who has a cold most likely will live until he gets to the doctor or a drug store. Therefore there is no need for this man to drink and he would have to be classified as a social drinker. Other social drinkers are those who drink because others do and the ones who just enjoy a drink with the boys or girls now and then.

Having completely digressed from the original intent of this lesson we now want to consider I Peter the fourth chapter and third verse. If we can determine in this verse that Peter condemns social drinking then faithful Christians all over the world will have to condemn social drinking or they will no longer be sound in the faith. "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, revelings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:" (I Peter 4:3. )In this part of our article it is our intention to define the term BANQUETING and see if it will not apply to the general problem that we are discussing. The following is from The Amplified New Testament"...drunkenness, reveling, drinking bouts (this is banqueting in the KJV)..." Word Studies in the New Testament by Vincent, Volume 1, page 661; "Banqueting, literal drinking bouts; carousings. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, page 384, on I Peter 4:3; "We walked in excess of wine, banquetings, or from the Greek origin, drinking." Barnes on the New Testament, section on James to Jude, page 188, "There is nothing in this word referring to eating, or to banqueting, as the term is now commonly employed. The idea in the passage is, that it is improper for Christians to meet together for the purpose of drinking - as wine or as toasts (this would include the cocktail party and the such like, odk.) It would forbid, therefore, an attendance on all those celebrations in which drinking toasts is understood to be an essential part of the festivities, and all those where hilarity and joyfulness are sought to be produced by the intoxicating bowl." Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible, page 70, "Banqueting (Greek Potos) a drinking." The New English Bible, "Then you lived in license, and debauchery, drunkenness, riot, tippling, and the forbidden worship of idols" (I Peter 4:3.) T. S. Green author, Greek English Lexicon, page 153, "Potos - A drinking; a drinking together, drink-bout, Compotation." This word is used in 1st Peter 4:3.) Webster's New World Dictionary, page 33, "Compotator, a person who drinks with another; fellow tippler." Other sources will reveal a touching of the wine or drink to the lips. Therefore this idea plus toasting and tippling would be parallel to our social drinking. Some of the sources that we gave were more general than others, but after viewing the whole picture there is little doubt that Peter is placing a condemnation on all of social drinking. Therefore it is sin and man need not argue the point.

With all this and other valid reasoning that we have available to us, our influence, the problems that brought about by social drinking and drunkenness and various other problems that can be directly attributed to drinking, it is a wonder that some Christian would even want to drink. When the apostle Peter says that we should have nothing to do with it (even social drinking)-it then becomes a sin and transgression of God's law. Thus it is sinful for us to drink to fit our social need or so that we can say we are a part of the "IN" crowd of the day.

We trust that you will desire to do the will of God and follow the New Testament as you try to order your Christian life. This is the way that is right and can not be wrong. It is the way that is right and no man can question. At least I know of no one that would classify you a sinner just because you will not drink alcoholic beverages. This is the way that is safe and sure and we should be willing always to follow the way that is safe. By doing this we know that heaven will be ours some day. Brethren, think on these things!