Responding to the May 2010 Evangelical Leaders Survey question, “Do you socially drink alcohol?”, 60 percent said “no” while 40 percent said “yes.”

“Alcohol and its effects have been a major challenge in American society,” said Leith Anderson, President of the National Association of Evangelicals. “Just as society has dealt with it, as evidenced in the 18th and 21st amendments, so have evangelicals looked at how to appropriately interact with alcohol.”

Although no explanations were requested by the survey, most provided additional information. Of those who indicated abstinence, a common response was similar to that of Gary Benedict, President of The Christian and Missionary Alliance. “Even though there is no prohibition on the moderate alcohol consumption in Scripture, due to the many implications as an example to family and those I serve, I like Paul’s words ‘it is better not to’ (Romans 14:21),” he said.

Some noted that abstention from alcohol was the position of their denomination for their leaders and/or church members. Jeff Farmer of Open Bible Churches said that “while we understand one cannot defend [abstinence from alcohol] biblically, we have chosen to raise the standard for leadership in our movement.”

Others mentioned alcoholism in their family, desire to be an example to younger generations, and the affect alcohol addiction has on society as reasons they do not drink.

Many of the 40 percent who drink alcohol socially added “in moderation,” “never in excess,” “on special occasions,” “occasionally,” “rarely,” and “infrequently.” Some specifically noted that out of sensitivity to those who might be offended, they only drink with those who share similar views on alcohol consumption.

The Evangelical Leaders Survey is a monthly poll of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals. They include the CEOs of denominations and representatives of a broad array of evangelical organizations including missions, universities, publishers and churches.