Monday, July 5, 2010

The Shame of a Drunk Culture

The BBC report the findings of a worrying recent study here. This is deeply worrying. We need no-one to tell us that drunkenness is a serious problem in our cities - at least, those of us who live in cities don't. Stoke on Trent police report that, while there has been an overall drop in crime, there has been an increase in drink-related violent crime.

Contrary to the traditional beliefs of some Protestants, the Bible does not forbid the drinking of alcohol - Jesus turned water into wine, not unfermented grape juice. There is nothing at all wrong with drinking alcohol. But what the Bible clearly forbids is drunkenness. "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whoever is deceived thereby is not wise" (Prov. 20.1). Drunkenness makes a man beastly, it takes away rational thought and leads people to behave foolishly, violently and shamefully. Secondly, while "a little wine" (1 Timothy 5.23) may do some good, drunkenness leads to damaged health: "Who has woe? Who has sorrows? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine" (Prov. 23.29,30). It is these folk who are to be found in the Accident and Emergency unit of your local hospital at the week-end, and these who are going to require serious treatment for their livers in the future. And all because we are trying to escape from the emptiness of our lives. We ought to be reading Ecclesiastes and facing it, not getting drunk and trying to hide from reality. "Do not be drunk with wine, which leads to debauchery, but be filled with the Holy Spirit." A man filled with wine is the opposite of a man filled with the Spirit.

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