Salvation Army refrains from Social Drinking (1990 statement)

The reasons for this are two-fold.

  • Alcohol is a mind-altering, mood-changing drug, a central nervous system depressant and intoxicant. Alcohol can produce harmful effects such as impairment of judgment, reason, insight, memory, conscience, speech, hearing, vision, and muscular co-ordination even in small amounts.
  • The ever-increasing problems which result from its consumption. Those related to alcohol have been identified as the fourth most serious health problem in Australia.

Many people who are not alcohol-dependent nevertheless use alcohol inappropriately – to be accepted, to deal with boredom, frustration, loneliness, anxiety, or because they cannot have a good time or be comfortable without alcohol. Alcohol is neither a panacea nor a problem-solver, nor should it be seen to be a social lubricant or hallmark of hospitality. Alcohol is being introduced into homes and included in social functions where before it was not seen as necessary.
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Salvation Army vs. Skeleton Army – History of Teetotalism vs. Alcohol 1851 – 1880

1880s: Early magistrates refused to prosecute mob violence against Salvation Army victims

General William Booth

In many places the publicans stirred up violent opposition against the Salvation Army, ‘who, like the silversmiths of the ancient story [Acts 19:23-41], could not help seeing that the hope of their unholy gains was going, if not already gone.’

The Christian, January 6, 1881.

It was an open secret that the financial backers of these bullies were the owners of the brewing trade.’ Bramwell Booth, Chief of Staff, complained to the Home Secretary in 1881, ‘In nearly every town where there has been any opposition we have been able to trace it more or less, to the direct instigation, and often the leadership of either individual Brewers and Publicans, or their employees. The plan adopted is by treating and otherwise inciting gangs of roughs … to hustle and pelt, and mob the people.’

Cited by Clifton Shaw, 1999, Who are these Salvationists?, ch. 8: Going to the People – Early Outreach, p. 134, Salvation Army National Publications.

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Was alcohol why the Salvation Army quit both sacraments? Not exactly.

Not exactly. It is hardly clear that General Booth supposed even unfermented grape juice would endanger former alcoholics. (But if perchance unfermented wine were not available at times, coloured water would suffice.) Nevertheless, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper were both discontinued, not really due to grape juice being considered dangerous, nor due to alcohol which clearly does endanger them.

But the danger of former alcoholics relapsing would be one of multiple reasons for various church denominations to stipulate the observance the Lord’s Supper with only unfermented wine. The Salvation Army itself had always had clearly made a distinction in which particular type of wine it would use for the Lord’s Supper: “Unfermented wine only to be used” (c. 1870)

Rules of the Christian Mission, History of the Salvation Army: 1865-1878.

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Drinking Alcohol vs Christianity – Catherine Booth, Salvation Army, 1879

Catherine Booth

THE subject upon which I have been requested to write a paper is, “The Value of Temperance in connection with Religious Aggressive Effort.”

Before entering directly on the subject, I want to make two or three preliminary remarks, and,

I. It may be well to explain that we understand religious aggressive effort to be, that interference on the part of Christians with the thoughts and actions of ungodly men which the Bible shows to be necessary, in order to secure their present and eternal well-being.
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Word to a Drunkard & John Wesley on alcohol

Word to a Drunkard by John Wesley

John Wesley

1. Are you a man? God made you a man; but you make yourself a beast. Wherein does a man differ from a beast? Is it not chiefly in reason and understanding? But you throw away what reason you have. You strip yourself of your understanding. You do all you can to make yourself a mere beast; not a fool, not a madman only, but a swine, a poor filthy swine. Go and wallow with them in the mire! Go, drink on, till thy nakedness be uncovered, and shameful spewing be on thy glory! [Hab. 2:16] Continue reading “Word to a Drunkard & John Wesley on alcohol”

Complete alcohol ban: violence out, schools up

The head of WA’s [Western Australia’s] Aboriginal Health Council is calling for alcohol to be made illegal in indigenous communities across the State as the Government considers implementing liquor bans in at least three more townships.

Henry Councillor said the early success of a complete alcohol ban imposed on the remote east Kimberley outpost of Oombulgurri should be held up as a model of what could be achieved in other communities [comment: indigenous or not].

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Drinking Not Safe For Anyone – General William Booth, Salvation Army, 1888

General William Booth

‘the thing is an evil in itself’ ‘Make your children understand that it is not safe for them or anybody else to take strong drink in what is called moderation’
—General William Booth, Salvation Army

1. Ought not children to be instructed in the evils attendant on the use of intoxicating liquors?
Yes. As soon as children can understand anything at all, they should be made to understand the evil consequences which follow the use of strong drinks, and the importance of abstaining from them altogether. No parent can tell how soon his children may be tempted on this subject, and to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Therefore the children should be instructed in this matter very early in life. Parents will not find any difficulty in explaining this evil in a simple fashion to their children, and they will readily and sincerely pledge their little hands and hearts before God not to use that which they see to be the wicked drink. Continue reading “Drinking Not Safe For Anyone – General William Booth, Salvation Army, 1888”