Many of us carry on our pastoral and evangelistic work with great zeal and enthusiasm while completely oblivious to community conditions. We have been accused of preaching abstract dogma while ignoring the reality of social evils about us. Our lack of interest in the work of local ministerial associations is often looked upon as evidence that we do not care about bettering local conditions. While many ministers of various denominations lend their influence and prestige to the work of the W. C. T. U. and other temperance groups, we often miss opportunities of leadership in this field by our apparent lethargy.
Surely every pastor and evangelist should be intensely interested in the social problems of his immediate locality. He should be the first to recognize trends that are detrimental to the social structure, and should be aggressively militant in fighting them.
Beverage alcohol in all its forms has in recent months caused many suppurating community sores. The increasing consumption of alcohol among the teen-aged, the attendant upswing of delinquency and venereal disease, and the youth crime wave constitute a challenge to every thinking minister of the gospel. Should we not expose the sin that is largely responsible for these evils ? In so doing we would identify ourselves with the moral forces for good in our city and soon be recognized as leaders in exposing evil. Every worker true to his calling cannot escape the challenge to "let the danger from the liquor traffic be made plain."—Ministry of Healing, p. 346.
J. Edgar Hoover's recent statistical report reveals some startling facts. Drinking among teen-age girls increased 39.9 per cent, and among boys, 30.3 per cent. It is a well-known fact that increased drinking among any group results in an increase of venereal disease. Hoover states that "commercialized vice and prostitution among minor girls increased 64.8 per cent, while those arrested for other sex offenses increased 104.7 per cent." (AP statement in the Nashville Banner, Feb. 19, 1943.) Albert Deutsh wrote in the magazine P. M., ( July 12, 1943, page II) :
"Cases of primary and secondary syphilis among the I5-to-19-year-old age group in New York City increased 126.7 per cent in 1942 as compared with /941. Preliminary syphilis statistics for the first six months of 1943 indicate that the increase will be even larger for this age group."
Alcohol is responsible for a large share of these increases. Should not the part played by the liquor traffic in the downfall of American youth be "made plain"? Who is better qualified to do this than the ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church ? The facts, figures, stories, and statistics sent out regularly by the American Temperance Society should be kept on file and used as occasion demands. Let us have a great temperance rally in every evangelistic series, and invite ministers, teachers, and social and temperance workers to the platform. Let us educate, agitate, and propagate by this means, and by spreading temperance literature. Let us train ourselves to be temperance speakers of ability. The following is a suggestive list of titles for temperance sermons; and following that is an outline which might be used as sermon material.
America's Fifth Column
Shadow Over America
Lads, Lassies, and Liquor
Liquor Traffic Termites
The Battle of the Bottle
Bottles Versus Battles
Doughboys and Drink
Rum Versus Religion
The Bottle Versus the Bible
Whisky and War
The Distiller's Deluge
America's Greatest Menace
Liquor, Ladies, and License
The Blackout of Booze
The Soldier and the Saloon
Washington Whisky Wave
Bombs and Bullets or Brandy and Beer?
The Beer Bottle Offensive
The Beer Bottle Blitz
Venal Distillers and Venereal Diseases
Social Drinking and Social Diseases
Booze Blackout Brewing—Brewers Beware!
Grain or Grog?
Down With Distillers for the Duration
Beer Bottle Barrage
Powder Kegs Versus Beer Kegs