By Kevin Campbell
erhaps you’ve seen the television commercials that use the above slogan in sponsoring a particular brand of beer. There are several different commercials that run using the same slogan and each asks the viewer the same question. The ads show several different sports being combined and played as one. For example, one shows “Full-Contact Golf,” where football players leap out and “block” the drive of a golfer on the tee box. Another features a combination of wiener dogs and drag racing, while another combines hockey with a beauty pageant. The beer-drinking observers in the commercial look at their bottle of beer and reply, “Wow! This is great beer.” At the end, the announcer asks the question, “Can your beer do this?”
If it wasn’t for the serious nature of the matter, the commercials would be amusing. The sight of two wiener dogs drag-racing or a golfer getting sacked on the putting green can be entertaining but there is also an impression being left that beer-drinking is an amusing and harmless activity. I’ve never seen beer enable wiener dogs to drag race or help beauty contestants to play hockey but there are some things that beer drinking will do. If you drink beer (or any other type of alcoholic, intoxicating drink), here are some things that your beer can do:
1. Kill and maim. How many times have you recently read about a drunk driver who was out to “have a good time” but who ended up taking the life of a young mother or child while driving home under the influence? Ask a police officer how many times he has had to go to a bar or home to quell a disturbance that was caused by some-one consuming alcohol. Ask him how easy it is to go to a home in the middle of the night to inform unsuspecting parents that their teen-age son or daughter has been killed as a result of the reckless activities of a drunk driver. Many have thought that they could have “just a couple of beers” and it not hurt them. However, the Bible says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Prov. 20:1).
2. Lead to poor decisions. In Isaiah 28, God pronounces his judgment upon the “drunkards of Ephraim” and announces that he will send another nation upon them because of their pride and drunkenness. The reason for this judgment is further explained when the Lord says, “But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment” (Isaiah 28:7).
The consumption of intoxicating drink will lead one to make decisions and judgments that will cause pain and sorrow for many years to come. In addition to those who think that a “few drinks” won’t harm their judgment while driving, there are many others who lose jobs, money and even family and friends because of their attraction to alcohol. The names and numbers of wives and families who have been scarred by the sin of drunkenness are legion. The problem of alcohol helped lead to God’s judgment against Israel and their destruction by another nation (Isaiah 28:7).
3. Cause general misery and sorrow. Proverbs 23:29-35 says: “Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath babbling? Who hath wounds with-out cause? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.” Many seem to think that the consumption of alcohol and the resulting drunkenness is a comical matter. A store in our local mall here has a shirt in the window that has a road sign in the shape of a crossing sign (like those you see for school children) on the front of it. On the sign is the outline of a drunken man crawling across the street and the caption says “Student Crossing.” No wonder we have such a great problem in our society with alcohol when the behavior of those who practice drinking is laughed at.
The truth of the matter is, the result of alcohol consumption as identified in Proverbs 23 is a real problem. How many times do the revellers wake up after a night of drinking without the slightest idea of how they got where they are at? Some will find themselves with “strange women” (or men) or will have injuries that they cannot account for, all due to the effects of their pursuit of alcohol. The landscape of our nation is littered with broken families and lives as a testimony to the truthfulness of this passage.
Sadly, there are some even in the church who want to defend the “right” of a Christian to use alcohol in a “social” fashion. One of the most popular means of defending the practice of social drinking is to refer to John 2 where Jesus turned water into wine. This overlooks the fact that the term “wine” was often used to refer to the pure, fresh and unfermented juice of the grape (Isa.65:8; Prov. 3:10; Joel 1:10). A careful study of the text of John 2 will establish that the wine that Jesus made was of this nature and thus not intoxicating. In addition, if Jesus did make intoxicating drink, then he would have been in violation of Habakkuk 2:15 which says, “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!” (KJV) Those who contend that Jesus made intoxicating drink and then gave it to those who were already intoxicated have established the right of Christians to not only drink alcohol, but also to share it with their friends, even those who are already drunk. They have also established their right to own a liquor store and to sell it. Who can believe such!?
Furthermore, Peter condemned the “sipping of the wine,” or social drinking, in 1 Peter 4:3. The term “banquetings” is the word potos in Greek, which simply means “to drink” without reference to the amount. R.C. Trench says of the word that it is “not of necessity excessive” (Synonyms of the N.T., p. 211). The three terms “excess of wine,” “revellings,” and “banquetings” all denote different levels of drinking. The term “excess of wine” is defined by Strong as “an overflow (or surplus) of wine.” This is the concept of the down and out drunk. The next word “revellings” is defined as “a revel, carousal, the concomitant and consequence of drunkenness” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary). The person defined by this term is the “live wire” or “life of the party.” He’s not the down and out drunk, but has consumed enough to where it adversely affects his behavior. The third word banquetings, as we have already seen, does not necessarily address the “excessive” use of alcoholic drink. One can be guilty of banqueting simply by “sipping the wine” or participating in social drinking.
The Bible says, “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matt. 7:20). The fruits of intoxicating drink are easily seen by the honest of heart. The beer companies like to portray those who use their products as young, energetic and filled with happiness. What they don’t show you is the broken homes, broken bodies and broken minds of those who have used their products to their own ruin. Don’t be fooled. Be not deceived. Beer and wine as well as other intoxicating drink can wreck your physical life and destroy your spiritual life. You need to seriously ask yourself the question, “Can my beer do this?”
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 13, p. 1
July 7, 1994