"…Let us watch and BE SOBER. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day BE SOBER…" (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8) Sober – Nepho: "to be free from the influence of intoxicants." (Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)
Mrs. Susanna Madora Salter was the first woman to serve as a mayor in the USA. Oddly, she had not even intended to run for office – though she was politically active for the prohibition of alcohol. Certain anti-prohibition men who opposed her put forward her name, but merely to mock the women of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.
Yet to their surprise, she was elected! In 1887 she became the first woman in USA history to serve a term as mayor. (She did not seek a second term as mayor of Argonia.)
Argonia, Kansas was a town of Quaker background. The Quakers had long supported women preaching Biblically – like the prophetess Huldah who preached to males (2 Kings 22:8-20) and the prophetess Deborah who judged Israel (Judges 4-5). “My son, keep your father’s command, And do not forsake the law of your mother.” (Proverbs 6:20)
Susana Salter of Woman’s Christian Temperance Union : first woman to serve as mayor in USA history
‘Women may be abstainers for a variety of reasons. Christianity is frequently a reason proffered by Aboriginal women to explain their non-drinking status, and they form the core of participants in the variety of Christian churches and movements across Aboriginal Australia. At Yalata in South Australia, for example, a new Aboriginal-controlled Christian movement provoked many drinkers to stop their alcohol use and gave encouragement to women non-drinkers in their efforts to curb the importation of alcohol into the community (Brady & Palmer 1988). The adoption of the perceived ‘Christian life’ is a way in which Aboriginal people may legitimise their abandonment of drinking (cf. Neich & Park 1988).
Other women say that they cannot drink because they have to care for their families, or even for their drinking husbands. Evidence given to the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1988 suggested that whereas Aboriginal men had ‘learned’ their drinking habits from the hard, binge-drinking white stockmen, Aboriginal women encountered, or worked for, white women who were mainly missionaries’ or pastoralists’ wives, who tended not to drink alcohol (Alice Springs hearings, 7 October 1988, Dr C. Watson).
Women (and men) may give up drinking because of repeated encounters with gaol and the police (cf. Laurie & McGrath 1985)’
Who should know better the effects of liquor than this brilliant woman, from her experience in the redemptive work of the Salvation Army? Says she:
Drink has drained more blood,
Hung more crepe,
Sold more homes,
Plunged more people into bankruptcy,
Armed more villians,
Slain more children,
Snapped more wedding rings,
Defiled more innocence,
Blinded more eyes,
Twisted more limbs,
Dethroned more reason,
Wrecked more reason,
Wrecked more manhood,
Dishonored more womanhood,
Broken more hearts,
Blasted more lives,
Driven more to suicide,
And dug more graves,
Than any other poisoned scourge that ever swept its death-dealing waves across the world.
Evangeline Cory Booth, quoted by The War Cry, Toronto, 8 July, 1950, p. 3 ‘Exploiters and Drinkers’
“Booth’s only political involvement was to throw the weight of the Salvation Army behind the movement for prohibition and against the later movement for repeal… In 1934 she became the fourth general of the Salvation Army…”
Tertullian strikingly compared the strong penalty of the Levitical priests to ministers in the Church. ‘For abstinence from wine withal has honourable badges of its own… So true is it, that such as shall have ministered in the Church, being not sober, shall “die”’.
(Tertullian, Fasts, Ch. 9, ‘From Fasts Absolute Tertullian Comes to Partial Ones and Xerophagies’, citing Leviticus 10:9)
‘42. Let a bishop, or presbyter, or deacon who indulges himself in dice [i.e. gambling] or drinking, either leave off those practices, or let him be deprived.
43. If a sub-deacon, a reader, or a singer does the like, either let him leave off, or let him be suspended; and so for one of the laity.
44. Let a bishop, or presbyter, or deacon who requires usury of those he lends to, either leave off to do so, or let him be deprived.’
(Ecclesiastical Canons 42-44)
‘42… This and the two following canons should be included in the number of the most ancient so-called apostolic canons. Their origin is unknown.’
“What we’re actually looking at is the destruction of a life, and the law stands for two reasons.
It has an educative role: and it educates the public that the unborn is worthy of protection.
And it also has a protective role: it allows for that woman to stand behind the law and say, ‘You cannot make me do something that is illegal…’
Once we allow anything to be legal – whether it’s gambling, drinking, etc. – it goes higher, it never reduces.”
(Teresa Martin, State President of Cherish Life, regarding abortion in Queensland, Ten Network: The Circle, 16 Nov. 2010)
This evil in the Church and the world is the stumbling-block of iniquity over which thousands of professors are falling away from God, and tens of thousands of the masses are being plunged into endless perdition. …
When a man that was well known as among the most successful in promoting the interests of the Church, in things that appertain to its true glory, was mentioned in your official board to be the successor to your departing minister, and it was whispered, “Do you know that he is a temperance man?” what is the reason that you and your anti-temperance friends turned so quickly away from him? Not because your conscience did not whisper the truth, and tell you that temperance principles promote the interest of souls, but because you preferred the ministrations of those who, “walking in the spirit of falsehood, do lie, saying, I will prophesy to thee of wine and strong drink: he shall even be the prophet of this people” (see Micah ii. 11). Continue reading “Phoebe Palmer: Alcohol ‘This evil in the church’”