January 17th, 2020: 100th Anniversary of the 18th Amendment, aka Prohibition.

Billy Sunday

Today is the 100th Anniversary of the 18th Amendment, the culmination of efforts by Billy Sunday, William Jennings Bryan, and more, to fight back against the destruction left by alcohol in America.

Proverbs 20:1 warns, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”

Billy Sunday echoed that when he said, “No drunkard ever intended to be a drunkard. Every drunkard intended to be a moderate drinker.”

Today many people claim Prohibition was a failure, but the New York Times published a historian’s perspective on Prohibition:

Alcohol consumption declined dramatically during Prohibition. Cirrhosis death rates for men were 29.5 per 100,000 in 1911 and 10.7 in 1929. Admissions to state mental hospitals for alcoholic psychosis declined from 10.1 per 100,000 in 1919 to 4.7 in 1928.

Arrests for public drunkennness and disorderly conduct declined 50 percent between 1916 and 1922. For the population as a whole, the best estimates are that consumption of alcohol declined by 30 percent to 50 percent….

Prohibition did not end alcohol use. What is remarkable, however, is that a relatively narrow political movement, relying on a relatively weak set of statutes, succeeded in reducing, by one-third, the consumption of a drug that had wide historical and popular sanction.”


Today, we see the continued effects of alcohol, as Peter warned in 1 Peter 4:3 “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:”

One out of three adults who have ever drank alcohol in their life admit to having been drunk in the last month. (National Institutes of Health)

An estimated 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually. (National Institutes of Health)

Now more than ever, Christians need to heed Paul’s call: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” (Ephesians 5:18).

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