One Of America’s Greatest Problems

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According to a recent CDC (Center For Disease Control) report more than 38 million U. S. adults are binge drinkers on average four times a month.  The agency defines binge drinking as women having four or more drinks in a sitting and men having five or more drinks in a single sitting. Others define binge drinking differently.  The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as the same amount of alcohol consumed in two hours or less or an amount of alcohol that would put a person’s blood alcohol level above the legal driving limit.  Consider the following facts:
1.  Binge drinking is more common among young adults ages 18 to 34.
2.  It is more common among wealthier Americans–those with an annual income of $75,000.00 or more.
3.  But, binge drinkers age 65 and older reported drinking more in one sitting and people with an annual income of less than $25,000.00 per household drank the largest number of drinks per sitting–about eight or nine at a time.
4.  Binge drinking is also a major problem among children under 18.
5.  Drinking too much alcohol results in 80,000 deaths each year in the U.S.  By comparison, less than 4,500 soldiers were killed in the war in Iraq. Where is the public outcry against alcohol?
6.  Too much drinking of alcohol costs the U.S. $223.5 billion dollars in 2006.  Again, where is the public outcry?
7.  The government has made obesity a public health problem and actively seeks to inform the public about this problem.  Most people do not realize that binge drinking is a health problem!
8.  Too much alcohol leads to:  car accidents, violence, unwanted pregnancies, poverty, and sexually transmitted diseases among other things.  Where is the public outcry?
9.  Why do we tolerate such an evil in our society?
(Many of the above facts are taken from an ABC News Blog on Yahoo News:  CDC: Millions of American Are Binge Drinkers)
Many Christians are also negatively affected by the use of alcohol.  Consider the following passages of scripture that address this topic.
1.  Eph. 5:18, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”  This passage contains a prohibition in the form of an imperative command and a positive injunction also in the form of an imperative command.  The phrase, “be not drunk with wine” is stated in the negative and the verb is an inceptive verb (methusko) which means, “to make drunk, or to grow drunk (an inceptive verb, marking the process of the state expressed in No. 1 (reference to methuo) (W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, I, 341).  The force of this verb, stated with the negative, is that the entire process (from the first drink onward) of becoming intoxicated is denounced and forbidden.  Christians are commanded to abstain from the use of intoxicating beverages!  Instead of coming under the influence of intoxicants, a Christian is to be “filled with the Spirit.”  This command means that a Christian is to be controlled by the moral and spiritual influences of the Holy Spirit as He leads through the Word of God and works in the life of a Christian.  This moral and spiritual filling takes place when a Christian is involved in true worship to God (Eph. 5:19).  Alcohol will never become a direct problem in a Christian’s life if he/she abstains completely from drinking it.
2.  I Peter 4:3.  “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.”  In this passage, Peter uses the word oinophlugiais (excess of wine) a drunkeness that marks the steps of methe–drunkenness (R. C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament, p.239).  The “steps of methe” refers to the process of getting drunk.  This word denounces the entire process of becoming intoxicated.  He also uses the word komois (revellings) which refers to behavior that is the consequence of drunkenness.  Finally, he uses the word potois (banquetings or carousings) which refers to “a drinking bout, the banquet, the symposium, not of necessity excessive… but giving opportunity for excess” (R. C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament, p. 239).  This word includes drinking parties and drinking bouts.
Both of these passages forbid the use of alcohol by Christians.  They forbid what is commonly called “social drinking.”  A Christian should abstain from the use of alcoholic beverages which manifest an indulgence of the lust of the flesh and instead should be “filled with the Spirit.”  Consider the following poem:
The name of each saloon’s a bar,
The fittest of its names by far.
A bar to heaven, a door to hell,
Whoever named it, named it well.
A bar to manliness and wealth,
A door to want and broken health;
A bar to honor, pride, and fame,
A door to sin and grief and shame,
A bar to hope, a bar to prayer,
A door to darkness and despair.
A bar to honored, useful life,
A door to brawling, senseless strife;
A bar to all that’s true and brave,
A door to every drunkard’s grave,
A bar to joys that home imparts,
A door to tears and aching hearts;
A bar to heaven, a door to hell,
Whoever named it, named it well.   (Wayne Jackson, Does the New Testament Justify Social Drinking?).