Wine or Grape Juice in the Sacrament

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by N. Eshelman, Jun 17, 2008.

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  1. N. Eshelman

    N. Eshelman Puritan Board Senior


    I am wondering if anyone has any quotes from Church history (especially Reformers and Puritans) which are for or against the use of alcoholic wine in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

    There are many references to 'wine', but how about the fact (or not) that it is alcoholic/fermented wine?



  2. Dewalt

    Dewalt Puritan Board Freshman

    Presbyterian's or Baptist? ha-ha!
  3. N. Eshelman

    N. Eshelman Puritan Board Senior

    Well, Dewalt... Christian is fine. I just want the facts, not the Presbyterian or Baptist agendas.

    Which is this guy?
  4. Dewalt

    Dewalt Puritan Board Freshman

    be that there is Natural Light in the back, I am guessing an alcoholic.
  5. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Charles Spurgeon's book review of The Wines of the Bible: an Examination and Refutation of the Unfermented Wine Theory by the Rev. A. M. Wilson.

    (reviewed 1877, The Sword and the Trowel, p. 437)

  6. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    One can try the quickie logical trick of substitution to test the theory. Switch wine for grape juice in passages where in mentions wine and you get some pretty strange quotes like "Do not be drunk with grape juice" or the blessing "His eyes will be red with grape juice".

    But speaking of quotes, when Knox was dying, two friends, Archibald Steward and John Durie, who was a Pastor came to visit, and the last time Knox sat as his table it was with them. He ordered a hog's head of wine opened, and said they wouldn't stop drinking it until it was all gone. I read about that account years ago in one of Otto Scott's books, but I just looked up the amount of a hog's head, and it was over 63 gallons, so I doubt that they finished it. But the point is the same...
  7. Reformingstudent

    Reformingstudent Puritan Board Junior


    If Wine is supposed to be used in the Lord's supper (and I am one who believes that it is) than are churches like mine that substitute grape juice sinning against the Lord's direct command by doing so?
  8. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I like Tim's point. The bible knows nothing of non-alcoholic wine.

    Also, wine and the merriment which it brings are used in the Old Testament to foreshadow the arrival of the New Covenant. The arrival of...grape juice, and the "merriment" it brings the heart would be anticlimactic, indeed.
  9. Galatians220

    Galatians220 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I don't know, Tom, whether they're sinning; I suspect not... I've wondered about some legalism in this area. I'm providentially prohibited from taking (1) wine, because of illness from a past, life-saving blood transfusion and (2) the common cup, because my immune system is shot from various illnesses and my doctors say, "no more courses of antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. Let that common cup go." Most "fermented wine only" advocates have little empathy for those with infirmities or afflictions that prohibit them from receiving that element, and I understand that: they're standing for God and properly placing men and their afflictions in second place. That's perfectly okay; it's under God's sovereignty, and it is what it is.

    Your church is providing for people who have a problem with alcohol... I would like to know where in 1 Corinthians 11, where Paul is referring to "the cup," that cup must specifically have fermented wine in it. On the cross, was the "vinegar" that Jesus did partake of fermented? (John 19:29-30, KJB.)

    All of these discussions have, for me, though, curiously started to take on the color of chasubles, albs, cinctures, incense, 15-decade vs. 5-decade rosaries, the color of scapulars and the material they're to be made of, the Nine First Fridays, the Ten First Saturdays, etc., etc.

    I've made my peace with the fact that a particular element of the Lord's Supper is providentially unavailable to me. It's a symbol only; it isn't the real blood of Christ. It hurts to let that cup pass, and no one who isn't similarly afflicted understands how much it hurts, but I'm comforted by the fact this won't be forever; it will only be until I go home. Then I'll be able to partake fully in the marriage supper of the Lamb and I won't be bound my afflictions.

    What is the Lord thinking as He watches me let that cup pass? I perceive that at that moment, He's holding me close - and He is letting me know that whether I can partake of that element or not, according to the dizzyingly different requirements, beliefs, doctrines, etc. of myriad denominations, His blood was shed for the remission of my sins. I am His, whether I can partake in that element of communion in a particular congregation of the Body of Christ or not. For that, I praise Him every minute of every day. :)

    It's a symbol; it's not The Real Thing. "For as often as ye do this..." - yes, I know the RPW. My choice is not a savory one: it's between what men state that the RPW requires, and the Sixth Commandment (as to myself). I choose the middle ground: to let the wine vs. grape juice argument go, and to follow doctors' orders as to the preservation of my health.

    The day of no longer being bound here on earth, and seeing Him as He is, will be SUCH a happy one! :)

    Last edited: Jun 17, 2008
  10. DavidinKnoxville

    DavidinKnoxville Puritan Board Freshman

    I believe Luther was stictly against replacing the wine with anything else. I cannot find a quote at the moment but will provide it when I see it.
  11. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    Even as a Baptist, I will admit that the NT knew no such thing as non-alcoholic wine. The issue of alcohol arose in America amid frontier abuses when Methodists (joined by Baptists) made common cause with the liberal unitarians in the city to launch a temperance movement beginning in the 1830s. By the 1860s the intolerance of alcohol had reached critical mass among some conservatives. It was the 1869 discovery, attributed to Mr. Welch, of a method to stop fermentation of grape juice that served this community of tea-tottlers.

    Raised in a typical Baptist church, I must admit that receiving communion with wine is very difficult for me. On the first 2 or 3 instances, I had to stifle my gag reflex to get it down (even the tiny amount in a communion cup). After the fourth or fifth instance, I can accomplish it by tossing it down quickly before my taste buds sense the alcohol. Still, while my mind agrees that communion should be with real wine, my scambled cognitive programming has a difficult time dealing with it.
  12. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    I've seen this quote ascribed to Luther from his Table Talk (although I don't have the precise citation):

    Margaret -- Just so you know, my heart breaks for you over this particular issue. My wife and I abstain whenever grape juice has been served in the Lord's Supper in the past (our current church uses wine only) and I know what it is like to go without the Sacrament. May the Lord bless you, sister.
  13. R Harris

    R Harris Puritan Board Sophomore

    Wow, great quote from Spurgeon. Did Ken Gentry reference the A.M. Wilson book mentioned above in his God Gave Wine book? (I have seen Gentry's book, but have not read it.)
  14. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    I believe this is what you were looking to find.

  15. Reformingstudent

    Reformingstudent Puritan Board Junior

    That's a good point Margaret. One I had never really thought of before. I did not mean to come across as legalistic by my earlier comment. As someone who has never had wine before in a communion service I was wondering if maybe it was wrong to substitute grape juice but I can see where your coming from and have a different prospective on the issue. Thank You.
  16. N. Eshelman

    N. Eshelman Puritan Board Senior

    I must admit that the Reformed Presbyterian Church also fought for the cause of abstinence.
  17. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    I would imagine there must be some defense of their abstentionist views available.
  18. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    :up: No, he didn't reference Wilson's book in God Gave Wine or the precursor, The Christian and Alcoholic Beverages: A Biblical Perspective.
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