Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 26, 1968
NUMBER 21, PAGE 11b-12a

Should We Drink A Little?

Leslie Diestelkamp

In this article we shall not consider medicinal uses of alcoholic beverages, such as were suggested by Paul and Timothy's stomach trouble. I Tim. 5:23. But, aside from this use, and if we practice temperance, should the Christian engage in social drinking? I list the following reasons why the Christian should not drink intoxicants at all:

1. Each of us is a custodian of a powerful influence — for good or bad (Matt. 5:14-16). Consider: (1) If I drink with a weak and tempted brother will I thus influence him for good or for bad? (2) If I drink, even only a little, and this is known by a clean, pure and untempted youth, will he be strengthened or weakened by my action? (3) If I drink publicly will this be a good example to the world? (4) If I drink secretly will my conscience accuse me of hypocrisy? (Rom. 14:23)

2. The Holy Spirit warns of the dangers of intoxicants: "Look not upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth its color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At last it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder" — (Prov. 23:31,32). The context had previously warned of the results of drinking much, but this text warns of the danger of looking upon it — that is, of favorably contemplating it.

3. All Christians agree that drinking much and the consequent drunkenness is indeed sinful (Gal. 5:21). But drinking much is always preceded by drinking little. Every drunkard began with "just a little nip." No drunkard ever intended to be one! and we should not deliberately subject our bodies to unnecessary temptation. This cannot be compared to over-eating for there is nothing about food that enslaves man — that attacks his nervous system so that he may be unable to resist. But intoxicants attack man and upon some men the drink fastens itself so forcefully that he can hardly resist taking more and more. It imposes a bondage upon him which is not true of food even in the person who sinfully over-eats.

4. The Christian has no more right to take a little drink than he does to dance with his neighbor's wife. It is only because the dancing will probably result in lasciviousness that it is sin. And it is because a little drink will probably result in addiction that is wrong, though there are other reasons, also, as we have already noticed.

5. The Christian should not drink even a little because he often then becomes a hazard to the lives of many innocent people — in driving, etc.

6. And the Christian should not drink even socially and in small quantity because by so doing he thus weakens his natural or acquired inhibitions and therefore makes himself more susceptible to many other various temptations.

Intoxicating drink — even a little — never did make a man more manly or handsome or strong, or kind, or happy. It never did feed his hungry child, pay for his home, make his wife happier or drive away real trouble. Think of the murder and adultery that would not have been committed if that first drink had been avoided. Think of the jails that would be unused and the graves that would not yet be dug except for the evil influence of drink and except for the consequences after that first small indulgence.

The only safe way, and therefore the only right way for the Christian, is not, "just a little drink," but "no drink at all."

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