The Biblical Evangelist is a bi-monthly journal published by the Independent Baptist Evangelistic Association out of Raleigh, North Carolina. The editor is Robert L. Summer. The paper contains valuable material from time-to-time, e.g., book reviews, religious news matters, etc.
The September/October issue contains a very stout article titled, “The Ravages of Rum.” Appealing both to scripture, and to examples from history, the author discusses “God’s verdict against strong drink.” “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Prov. 20:1, KJV).
Notable characters whose drunken episodes are laid bare by impartial biblical writers are: Noah, Lot, Nabal, Ahasuerus, Belshazzar, and Ben-hadad.
More modern characters are reviewed similarly. Alexander the Great drank heavily, murdered his best friend, and died a “sot” at the age of 33. The poet Lord Byron drank himself to death at the age of 36. Edgar Allan Poe died at 40, deeply addicted to alcohol. Stephen Foster, famous for his songs of the old south (e.g., “My Old Kentucky Home”) died a poor and lonely drunk at the age of 38.
The article cites Upton Sinclair’s famous book, The Cup of Fury (New York: Channel Press, 1956), that chronicles how beverage alcohol destroyed the lives of such notables as Jack London, Dylan Thomas, Sinclair Lewis, O. Henry, Isadora Duncan, and many others.
Now for the “punch” line. The author of this excellent little article was the late Sam Morris of Stamford, Texas, known among the Baptists as a “booze buster par excellent.” But Morris was perhaps most famous (or infamous) for his controversial tract, “Do A Christian’s Sins Damn His Soul?” Here’s a sample of that little composition.
“We take the position that a Christian’s sins do not damn his soul. The way a Christian lives, what he says, his character, his conduct, or his attitude toward other people have nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul.”
Morris waxed bolder still:
“all the sins [the Christian] may commit from idolatry to murder will not make his soul in any more danger.”
Somewhere between “idolatry” and “murder” would be “drunkenness,” one must suppose.
Morris, then, would contend that “rum” might “ravage” a man’s life, but never his soul. He even argued that sins (like drunkenness) would “damn [the Christian’s] fellowship with God,” but the drunkard simply could not be lost!
Why, then, did God warn Christians that those who engaged in drunkenness would not “inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10)?
“Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
I am reminded of the debate that occurred years ago between a Calvinist and a gospel preacher on the theme of whether or not it is possible for a child of God to be lost. The Calvinist argued that the Christian can never so sin as to be lost in hell.
The Christian preacher asked his opponent:
“Since God says that the drunkard shall not enter heaven, what will be the fate of the Christian man who yields to temptation, gets drunk, and dies in that condition? If the Christian man who dies drunk cannot enter heaven, and yet will not go to hell, what must be his destiny?”
At a loss as to how to respond, the Calvinist impulsively replied: “God will not let the brother die in a drunken state.”
The gospel minister promptly responded — with devastating logic: “Well, then, would it not be the case that if a Christian gets drunk, and stays drunk, he can live forever?”
The notion that a Christian can never sin, so as to be lost finally, is a dogma so foreign to the truth that it is bewildering that anyone could endorse it. Yet, many sincere religious people do.
We have addressed this subject more thoroughly in our booklet, Eternal Security — Fact or Fiction? For a postpaid copy, send $3.00 to: Courier Publications, P.O. Box 55265, Stockton, CA 95205.