Carl-Gustav Severin has written an excellent book called “It’s never wrong to be totally sober”. It’s all about our attitude to alcohol. It’s been receiving some attention – which it really deserves. A very important and good book. Everybody ought to read it. It’s a matter-of-fact, easy book to read – no moralistic undertones, but very revealing and written with a love for people whose lives have become tragedies on account of alcohol. The book challenges and urges us to have a responsible attitude in these matters. It’s a while since it was released, and I think all Christians ought to read it and ask themselves where they stand, and why, when it comes to alcohol.
I had the opportunity of doing this last Sunday, when I was in Filadelfia (a Pentecostal Church) in Stockholm preaching about the challenge going out to Christians, urging us to make a commitment for Teetotalism. The event was hosted by LP-stiftelsen (an organisation founded by Lewi Petrus) as part of an anniversary celebration. Sverre Larsson gave the collection speech. He is travelling across the whole of Sweden with the aim of collecting 30 million SEK for LP-stiftelsen, an organisation which is providing rehabilitation for drug and alcohol addicts, helping them to a better life. This is a fantastic effort for an 84 year-old! Talk about being a doer of the Word, and not just its hearer – or speaker.
Today it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find alcohol-free zones for people, even in Christian churches. This is a big problem. It’s also a problem that young people from the churches are being dragged along to places where the alcohol is flowing, without understanding what this can lead to, and that there are spiritual leaders who are not seeing the danger – or who keep silent because they themselves don’t want to refrain from alcohol.
Just hearing that 400,000 children and teenagers today live in environments where there is alcohol abuse, and are therefore in great danger, ought to make anybody realise that we ought to be liberating examples of a different lifestyle. A lifestyle that is wonderful, free and every bit as satisfying.
Self-sacrifice, taking up my cross daily, and practising moderation is an important part of the Christian life. It’s not, first and foremost, about what I myself believe I can manage or what I claim to have a right to enjoy. Life and peace come as a result of the Cross. To deny myself, which our entire cultural sphere considers totally unnecessary, is the way to true deliverance and inner peace. When Christians have the courage to walk that path we don’t become boring, self-righteous moralists, but shoulder other people’s troubles and walk into the mire of alcohol and drugs in order to help people out of it, not for the purpose of condemning or rejecting them.
I would like to say the following especially to pastors and Christian leaders: Dare to be a little different! It can save and lift many! The steak tastes just as good with mineral water as with red wine!
Pastor Ulf Ekman