Arguments against necessity of using wine for Lord's Supper

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InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
"The main thing is that the liquid be red, for it symbolizes the blood (which is red) of Christ."

"And if the shedding of blood was still required, we would drink blood at the Lord's Supper. For it symbolizes Christ's blood even better!"
 

Fly Caster

Puritan Board Sophomore
That's no preacher. That's an Emotion-Manipulating-Showman.

:ditto: Not one Scriptural reference in the 7 minutes that I could tolerate. Just an emotion laden P.S.A. against drunk driving. He said one thing that was correct, "Drunkenness is not a disease, it is a sin against God." Then foolishly equated all imbibing with drunkenness.

I hope that it's obvious that I posted that as a joke.

I am humbly grateful every day, though, for what God has brought me from. This is what I thought Christianity was for the first half of my life. The guy is a regular at the church of my teenage years.

Good thread. Don't mean to hijack.
 

fishingpipe

Puritan Board Freshman
One I heard a few years ago: "How do we know that it meant grapes when it says 'fruit of the vine?'" :um: :duh:

I once spoke about the elements of communion with a gentleman who was against wine being used and he told me that wine was watered down in NT times. I asked him if we could just do that, then, and ditch the grape juice. He thought on it a bit and realized there would still be alcohol in the cup and said, "No!" I don't think he used that argument anymore.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
Is alcohol essential or circumstantial? If it is essential, what percentage alcohol is required?

This is my question as well. The Lord's Table is a sign of communion and fellowship---if having alcohol as part of the cup is causing a brother to stumble, then it is no longer serving this function but is instead dividing the brethren. If there are those in the body who have conscience issues concerning this, then I think it is likely better to avoid offense if at all possible. At the very least the option should be available for those with health issues and conscience reasons.
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Is alcohol essential or circumstantial? If it is essential, what percentage alcohol is required?

This is my question as well. The Lord's Table is a sign of communion and fellowship---if having alcohol as part of the cup is causing a brother to stumble, then it is no longer serving this function but is instead dividing the brethren. If there are those in the body who have conscience issues concerning this, then I think it is likely better to avoid offense if at all possible. At the very least the option should be available for those with health issues and conscience reasons.

I've thought about this a lot. Here are my thoughts so far: First, alcohol is definitely part of the symbolism. The warmth and "gladening" effect is part of the reason it was chosen. Second, there was plenty of alcoholism in Christ's day and God knew there would be today. Some of the Corinthians were listed to be former drunkards, and some of them were getting drunk on communion wine! For some reason he still chose to institute wine. I won't question his wisdom or providence.

To answer the question of how we go about deciding what is essential, I'd make the case that all that is essential is "wine," i.e. fruit of the vine (grapes) that has passed through the fermentation process. Scripture does not get any more specific than "wine" so neither need we.
 
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nicnap

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I hope that it's obvious that I posted that as a joke.

Oh, yes, I knew you did. I was just commenting on the video ... and I actually watched all 10 + minutes; there was not one single Scriptural reference.[COLOR="Silver"
 
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Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
I've thought about this a lot. Here are my thoughts so far: First, alcohol is definitely part of the symbolism. The warmth and "gladening" effect is part of the reason it was chosen. Second, there was plenty of alcoholism in Christ's day and God knew there would be today. Some of the Corinthians were listed to be former drunkards, and some of them were getting drunk on communion wine! For some reason he still chose to institute wine. I won't question his wisdom or providence.

To answer the question of how we go about deciding what is essential, I'd make the case that all that is essential is "wine," i.e. fruit of the vine (grapes) that has passed through the fermentation process. Scripture does not get any more specific than "wine" so neither need we.

So, if I pick some grapes on the way to church and squeezed out the juice from those grapes into a cup, then that juice could not be used immediately in the Lord's Supper that morning because I had not allowed the grape juice to ferment?
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
To answer the question of how we go about deciding what is essential, I'd make the case that all that is essential is "wine," i.e. fruit of the vine (grapes) that has passed through the fermentation process.

So the "non-alcoholic wine" that is approved for use in certain CofE churches I've attended would be acceptable, since it has gone through this process and then had the alcohol removed?
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
To answer the question of how we go about deciding what is essential, I'd make the case that all that is essential is "wine," i.e. fruit of the vine (grapes) that has passed through the fermentation process.

So the "non-alcoholic wine" that is approved for use in certain CofE churches I've attended would be acceptable, since it has gone through this process and then had the alcohol removed?

I wouldn't be likely to complain if it were given to an allergic person or someone who struggled with alcohol addiction. I don't think it should be given to the whole congregation because the alcohol, as a by-product of the fermentation process, is also an important part of the symbolism of Christ's blood, in my opinion.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
Is alcohol essential or circumstantial? If it is essential, what percentage alcohol is required?

One could make an argument that the alcohol symbolizes purification, but it is more likely that the wine is used to symbolize the blood of Christ simply because it is red, in which case the alcohol would be circumstantial and thus not neccesary.
 

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
the alcohol, as a by-product of the fermentation process, is also an important part of the symbolism of Christ's blood, in my opinion.

I would be interested in hearing the theology behind that. I tend to think the imagery of vine and the fruit thereof (John 15) is more important than the accidental of alcohol.

---------- Post added at 12:08 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:03 PM ----------

One could make an argument that the alcohol symbolizes purification

One could if one could show in scripture where wine (alcohol) and purification are shown to be connected
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
I would be interested in hearing the theology behind that. I tend to think the imagery of vine and the fruit thereof (John 15) is more important than the accidental of alcohol.

In the miracle of turning the water into wine, the significance is purification. If you read carefully, you will notice that the water that Jesus used to turn into wine was the same water that the guests were using to wash their hands and feet as they entered the wedding. Essentially it was very dirty water, and yet Jesus turned it into the best wine. The symbolism is that Jesus purifies even the filthiest sinner, just as alcohol can purify the dirtiest water.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
the alcohol, as a by-product of the fermentation process, is also an important part of the symbolism of Christ's blood, in my opinion.

I would be interested in hearing the theology behind that. I tend to think the imagery of vine and the fruit thereof (John 15) is more important than the accidental of alcohol.

---------- Post added at 12:08 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:03 PM ----------

One could make an argument that the alcohol symbolizes purification

One could if one could show in scripture where wine (alcohol) and purification are shown to be connected

You can find these things debated many times through the 'search' function.

http://www.puritanboard.com/f15/how-deal-reformed-alcoholics-communion-52346/
http://www.puritanboard.com/f15/liquid-use-communion-52215/
http://www.puritanboard.com/f15/should-we-use-wine-during-lords-supper-if-15-members-recovery-52028/
 

fishingpipe

Puritan Board Freshman
This is my question as well. The Lord's Table is a sign of communion and fellowship---if having alcohol as part of the cup is causing a brother to stumble, then it is no longer serving this function but is instead dividing the brethren. If there are those in the body who have conscience issues concerning this, then I think it is likely better to avoid offense if at all possible. At the very least the option should be available for those with health issues and conscience reasons.

I believe wine is essential. It is what Christ instituted. We should not change that. The person struggling with alcoholism should work with the elders and seek to overcome this. Perhaps he should abstain and take the bread only until he has overcome this. God's grace is sufficient to cover this sin and overcome it.

Those with conscience issues should be taught the proper biblical perspective of wine and alcohol and communion by the elders.

Those who cannot partake due to health or medical reasons should take the bread only. On a side note, the only two I have known had the following symptoms: 1.) a little gas; 2.) a mild headache (but only if consuming a full glass or two, rarely with the thimble sized amount).

How far do we make allowances for sin? i.e. the sin of alcoholism. Or, the sinful/corrupt nature of our bodies/flesh (result of sin) that makes us have these medical issues, allergies, etc.?

I believe scripture teaches wine is the proper element. I also believe the Westminster Confession is clear on it, as well, especially in terms of describing the sign and the thing signified. (WCF Chapter 27, Section II; WCF Chapter 29, Section V., etc.) Pasteurized (dead) grape juice is a poor substitute to fermenting (living) wine.

The matter of conscience goes both ways. I particularly dislike the fact that grape juice is served and often struggle with the fact it is there when my church offers both in the tray. I have asked my session to repent of serving it along with the wine.

I've also wondered how offering two versions of the element should be viewed in light of the RPW?

:2cents: from a simple layman.
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I tend to think the imagery of vine and the fruit thereof (John 15) is more important than the accidental of alcohol.

This is an assumption on your part. Throughout the Bible wine is mentioned in a festive context. It is used for celebration because it is said to "gladen the heart of man." Have you ever taken communion with real wine? The difference in the symbolism is immediately obvious.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
I also believe the Westminster Confession is clear on it, as well, especially in terms of describing the sign and the thing signified.

Given that pasteurization is a modern technique in relation to the 17th Century . . .

I think I agree with Lance here that the alcohol content is a circumstance, not an element.

Have you ever taken communion with real wine? The difference in the symbolism is immediately obvious.

Austin, I'm as sympathetic to the aesthetic argument as you are. But the fact is that for many, the association is not with joy, but sorrow. I remember one friend telling me (after he had accidentally picked up the wrong cup at communion) "all I could think of was the lives ruined in my family." And quite frankly, some of the most joyous times that I've celebrated communion have involved grape juice.

Another reason: the church meets in a school which prohibits alcohol on its grounds. Many churches (including my home church) do not have property of their own and have to meet elsewhere, usually in a public school, which in all cases would prohibit the presence of alcohol.
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
And quite frankly, some of the most joyous times that I've celebrated communion have involved grape juice.

Some of the most joyous times I've praised God have involved rock bands at youth conferences. I look back and am thankful that God allowed me to receive benefit from imperfect circumstances. That doesn't mean I can't grow and learn. Now I am appalled at the idea of using rock bands in corporate worship, but God blessed me and I benefited anyway. He does that.

Another reason: the church meets in a school which prohibits alcohol on its grounds. Many churches (including my home church) do not have property of their own and have to meet elsewhere, usually in a public school, which in all cases would prohibit the presence of alcohol.

My church is in the same situation. This is purely a pragmatic argument. It's equivalent to the Amazon tribe argument I mentioned earlier.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
There's no excuse for not using alcoholic wine.

But those who are ex-alcoholics can be offered something else.
 

fishingpipe

Puritan Board Freshman
Another reason: the church meets in a school which prohibits alcohol on its grounds. Many churches (including my home church) do not have property of their own and have to meet elsewhere, usually in a public school, which in all cases would prohibit the presence of alcohol.


We meet in a public school gym. Has the school specifically forbidden the church from using wine? It shouldn't be a problem in any public school in the US in light of the first amendment and religious practice. Especially seeing there are no school kids there on Sundays.
 

nwink

Puritan Board Sophomore
Ok, so a dumb question. By God's grace, I've never been an alcoholic, so I do not know what it's like to experience Christian life after a sin like this. When Christians talk about alcohol (such as in communion), they usually assume that just a little sip of alcohol to an alcoholic would be the "straw that breaks the camel's back". (I mean, there's also the case of previous alcoholics not drinking alcohol for conscience's sake, but that's not my question) I can see how someone who smokes would have a hard time smoking a little after they've quit, but is it the same way with alcoholics? (Maybe they get that taste they used to love so much?) Is alcohol an addictive substance in-and-of-itself, or does being an alcoholic moreso involve depression and drinking too much to drown out life and sorrows or to party-it-up? I mean, in terms of the amount of alcohol, communion is a little sip...not having a few beers with some non-Christian buddies.
 

Gage Browning

Puritan Board Freshman
I've heard several good ones...
1. Just because "oinos" always means fermented wine in the new testament...we should not be conformed to this world.
2. Wine leads to drinking other things like hard liquor, which is obviously a sin.
3. Welch's is better because the guy who started Welch's was a Christian, and Non-Christians own liquor stores, so we shouldn't support them.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
Is alcohol an addictive substance in-and-of-itself, or does being an alcoholic moreso involve depression and drinking too much to drown out life and sorrows or to party-it-up?

Alcoholism is usually classified as an addiction.
 

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
the alcohol, as a by-product of the fermentation process, is also an important part of the symbolism of Christ's blood, in my opinion.

I would be interested in hearing the theology behind that. I tend to think the imagery of vine and the fruit thereof (John 15) is more important than the accidental of alcohol.

---------- Post added at 12:08 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:03 PM ----------

One could make an argument that the alcohol symbolizes purification

One could if one could show in scripture where wine (alcohol) and purification are shown to be connected

You can find these things debated many times through the 'search' function.

http://www.puritanboard.com/f15/how-deal-reformed-alcoholics-communion-52346/
http://www.puritanboard.com/f15/liquid-use-communion-52215/
http://www.puritanboard.com/f15/should-we-use-wine-during-lords-supper-if-15-members-recovery-52028/

This is true. Seems we keep returning to the same subjects. I'll keep using grape juice and others can use wine, and we'll all get together and discuss it later in heaven. :)
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
Please keep women out of the worship service. I have a lust issue.

Sincerely,
Average Christian Male
 
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