Prevailing national strongholds
The UK has had a a binge drinking culture for hundreds of years. In the 1730’s there was a ‘gin craze’ when consumption levels rocketed. In Victorian times it was possible to get drunk for a penny and dead drunk for tuppence.
Thinking about all of this I remembered something I read a while back in Taking our Cities for God by John Dawson.
“The early days of the Salvation Army are a graphic example of the power of the gospel transforming the life of the city. General Booth and his followers had clearly identified the prevailing satanic bondages of their day (alcoholism and prostitution) and they employed city wide strategies which result in city wide victories.”
My thoughts ran on a bit to think about the idea that if he is right and there is such a thing as prevailing satanic bondages over nations and the Salvation Army correctly identified them in Victorian times as alcohol and prostitution, what are they today?
Well I have first of all to say that I do think there Satan does use culture to keep nations in his grip. Whilst excessive alcohol consumption by the masses may have started out as a means of escapism from grinding poverty it could become, under Satan’s influence a stronghold which gripped a nations psyche.
I think I do agree with John Dawson’s statement that the Salvation Army in its early days recognised that their fight against alcohol abuse, prostitution and probably gambling as well was a spiritual battle that they were raised up to fight. Their strategy was not just to rant against the evils but to free those who were in bondage to their evils. It was not a kill joy spirit that motivated them but compassion.
The question for me is whether this nation is still under those same prevailing satanic bondages? If we are then the Salvation Army which had an original mandate from God to fight them head on, still has a purpose to fulfil and a mission to complete.
Is their any doubt that these three things are still the prevailing satanic bondages on our nation? I don’t think so. I haven’t done the research on the other two but the following statistics from the internet about alcohol abuse tell their own story.
In the UK more than 7m people drink more than the recommended daily amounts of alcohol.
One in three men and one in five women fail to drink sensibly.
There has been a 40% jump in female drinking in recent years and this morning the news contains the information that there has been an increase in crime among young women, some of which has been attributed to the increase in drunkenness among them.
7 million working days are lost to hangovers and drink-related illness each year
They found that there are 1.2 million incidents of alcohol-related violence a year.
The UK’s binge-drinking culture is said to cost £20bn a year
Alcohol-related problems are responsible for 22,000 premature deaths each year
Around 40% of A&E admissions are alcohol-related. Between midnight and 5am that figure rises to 70%.
Alcohol-related accidents and illnesses land around 150,000 people in hospital each year.
Up to 1.3 million children are affected by parents with drink problems
Young people are starting to binge-drink at an earlier age.
Last week a British couple allegedly got so drunk while on holiday in Portugal that their three children had to be taken into temporary care.
How will such strongholds be brought down?
Well my feeling is that the Salvation Army in recent years has simply used schemes and programmes and had limited success. Perhaps we need to get back to seeing the alcohol problem as a spiritual issue and use spiritual means to tackle it!
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2 Cor 10:4-5)