Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Wine or Grape Juice?

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine."
"Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come."
His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim. He told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now." (John 2:1-10)


I have heard Christian people over the years, some pastors, some from all walks of life, declare that Jesus changed the water to grape juice. I have read a book that is against Christians drinking in any amount, and it says firmly that this was grape juice. They even did a word study to prove it. I have also seen other word studies that say this was real fermented wine. What do you know/think?

47 Comments:

  • I believe the general consensus of scholarly opinion holds that unfermented wine or grape juice was unknown in the ancient near east.

    The Temperance or Abstinence position is a peculiar cultural idiosyncracy within Evangelicalism/ Fundamentalism that finds little support in Scripture.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/10/2006 12:47 PM  

  • Hi, Ros(i)e; that surely was a "hum-dinger" yesterday (of course, I concur wholeheartedly with the contents of the message; the passion behind its delivery was at least as notable!). Are your readers aware that the link to E.B.C. enables them, inter alia, to listen online to sermons (including the one delivered yesterday?).

    It's my understanding that the wine consumed during the first century was fermented, but quite diluted. Scripture identifies drunkenness as an extant issue; I must guess that such (drunkenness) was resultant from alcoholic beverages of a different sort than the wine which was part-and-parcel of the diet of men, women and children (!) at that time. I say part-and-parcel because the (low) alcohol content was a necessity for sanitary reasons. As to pertinence today, I say AMEN to Matthew's second sentence (above).

    By-the-way, to an non-Calvinist (to an Arminian), a true Calvinist [a "five-pointer" (anything less than five is essentially oxymoronic; a Calvinist IS a "five-pointer")] is a hyper-Calvinist. In reality, a hyper-Calvinist is not a Calvinist at all. Hyper-Calvinism is identified by particular, specific, aberrant, unsupportable (by Scripture) tenets. As a Calvinist, I would much prefer to be stranded on a desert island with an Arminian than with a hyper-Calvinist; Arminianism, as unfortunate as it is, is not heretical.

    The "bottom line": I enjoy fellowship in the Word with ANYONE who genuinely pursues Truth. As Josh McDowell elucidated, Truth is a Person (the concept goes beyond John 14:6); we are to pursue Truth! The multitude of church (NOT Church) members who demonstrate no interest whatsoever to pursuing Truth are as disheartening to me as those who twist Scripture such that it "fits" dog-with-a-bone theological positions (that's one reason I wouldn't want ot be stranded with a hyper-Calvinist). "Come, now, let us reason together" indeed! But first, let us (may our Lord CAUSE us to) pursue Truth with a mind willing to go where Truth will take it!

    By Anonymous Jim McDermott, at 4/10/2006 1:37 PM  

  • Hi Jim,
    I just went to our church's website and went to the end of the sermon to hear it again. I noticed that this must be the second service. He said it differently in the first service. There was a group of sentences that were missing. I am sure you were in your glory during that message (pun intended) :~)

    I don't think you are a hyper-calvinist - that was a jab. I love ya, brother.

    Jim, do you think that non-Calvinists are persuing truth? Are only those who will consider over and over again the "doctrines of grace" (after they have already found them to be disagreeable with the Bible as a whole) open to truth? I hope that is not what you mean.

    God bless you, Jim.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2006 2:18 PM  

  • Hi DF,
    I think you are right about the wine. Even so, I know that I need to abstain, personally. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2006 2:20 PM  

  • Another one "for the record":

    Narrow is the road; on that narrow road is a small (tiny?) minority who may be identified as Calvinists. ALL on the narrow road, however, including you, "sis", pursue Truth unless prevented from doing so (by, for example, intellectual disability). If one is intellectually capable, yet demonstrates no interest in pursuing Truth, that's, at a minimum, not a good sign (which should be "spotted" by one who examines oneself to see whether s/he may be of the faith).

    It's nearly amazing, isn't it, how it all "hangs together"?! Now, I've just "opened up can[s] of worms" labeled Lordship and Perseverance!

    By Anonymous Jim McDermott, at 4/10/2006 2:37 PM  

  • I think Matthew hit the mark and I credit the prohibition movement with having infected the Chruches.

    By Blogger Kc, at 4/10/2006 2:44 PM  

  • umm.. wow, i have no idea....

    By Blogger Nunzia, at 4/10/2006 3:37 PM  

  • I have tasted wine once in my lifetime and did not like it. I have never tasted any other form of alcoholic beverage.

    That's not bragging, it's just the way it is.

    However, I absolutely cannot believe that Jesus turned the water into anything but wine, word study or no.

    I find no Biblical prohibition of wine.

    In our society, I think it is best for Christians to abstain, but I will not make a federal case of it.

    I do know this, without fear of contraditcion: nobody ever became an alchololic who never took the first drink.

    Jesus, in my humble, but correct, opinion, drank wine.

    By Blogger Joe, at 4/10/2006 5:30 PM  

  • As far as word studies go, the word used in John 2 is simply the word "wine" (oinos), which is the same word that Paul used when he said, "Don't be drunk with wine." How could one get drunk on grape juice? Greek does have a word for unfermented wine, and John 2 does not use that word.

    Additionally, note that the guests were drunk at the wedding, so the wine that they started with was definitely alcoholic. When Jesus turned the water into wine, they said it was even better than the previous wine. I doubt they would have thought that about grape juice!

    It is sad that people have to preach against alcohol by misrepresenting the Scriptures in that way. Preaching against the abuse of alcohol is easy. The Bible says, "Don't get drunk" and "self-control" is fruit of the Spirit. But preaching against drinking in totality always necessitates promoting incorrect "word studies" such as saying that it was grape juice.

    There may have been differences in the alcoholic content of their wine vs. our wine, but no amount of "word study" will ever (legitimately) make John 2 talk about specifically non-alcoholic grape juice.

    (Someone once said that because Jesus had just finished making it, it didn't have time to ferment, so it must have been non-alcoholic. To which I responded that when Jesus fed the 5,000, he created dead fish with which to feed them! The fish didn't have time to live and then die, did they?)

    steve :)

    By Blogger Steve Sensenig, at 4/10/2006 6:01 PM  

  • The early American pentecostals gave up wine because they thought that it is was a sin to drink alcoholic beverages. When they traveled to France, they discovered the French pentecostals still drank wine, but the French thought that drinking coffee was a sin.

    Jesus hung out with wine (not grape juice) bibers and so do I.

    By Blogger Larry Who, at 4/10/2006 7:02 PM  

  • Et tu, Ros(i)e. (. NOT ?)
    (I inadvertently omitted that earlier).

    By Anonymous Jim McDermott, at 4/10/2006 7:13 PM  

  • What an interesting subject. I did a little studying on this very thing a few months ago. Given the environmental conditions (hot, generally) in the mideast and lack of refrigeration techniques in biblical times, it was difficult to store grape juice without it fermenting. Hence, the grape juice turned into wine.

    Think about this. Maybe new wine, the sweeter, less fermented kind, was the best because it was rarer back in those days. If that would be the case, could the wine that Jesus produced be grape juice?

    Obviously these are just thoughts without scripture support, but it is fun to ponder!

    By Anonymous Janna, at 4/10/2006 7:28 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I've heard that New Testament wine was closer to grape jiuce than our modern wine, but one could still get drunk with it (Acts 2:13-15; 1 Cor 11:21; Eph 5:18; Rev 17:2-6).

    We might also note that Jesus Himself not only made wine, but drank it (Matt 11:19). Drinking wine is not bad in itself; the error comes through overdoing it (Eph 5:18).

    Modern Americans have a traditional concept of Chrsitians as non-drinkers, but this would be considered very odd in other cultures. Italian Christians (even children) have wine at every meal. German Christians drink their beers together.

    So if you hear someone object, I'd be tempted to tell them to quit their whining (sigh, pun intended, sorry). But the Biblical answer would be that if it makes someone stumble, forbear for their sake. Which I would take to mean, don't drink in front of them.

    By the way, I don't drink at all because I don't like it, but I have no objections to Christians who do so in moderation. I think that's the Biblical viewpoint.

    Loren.

    P.s. Speaking of grapes, I slammed a door on a grape once, and it jammed.

    By Blogger Cleopas, at 4/10/2006 9:19 PM  

  • Actually in the 1st cent. "good" wine was actually just the reduction of grapes to "grape juice" (not alcoholic/fermented). Maybe that's why in Jn 2, the people were drunk, because they had received the "poor" "bad" wine first (which was fermented grape juice and alcoholic). That's why the there was wonderment as to the serving of the "good" wine last--serving the "bad" wine first led to drunkeness, obviously, which would undercut the reason to serve the non-alcoholic good tasting wine--as it was in Jn 2 (this will all have to remain very assertive).

    Bottom line we're not be drunk with wine. And Timothy and Jesus both were given wine medicinally--this is a different category than the current day ethical dilemma surrounding this issue.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/10/2006 10:11 PM  

  • I have no respect for abusers of alcohol, no matter what scripture they may purport to grant them license.

    It is amazing what we will justify when we simply want to indulge our desires.

    Those who simply label drinking as cultural should look at the spiritual bankruptcy of Europe before they go touting them as good examples of Christain freedom.

    Alcohol has done more to destroy mankind than any other drug. Furthermore, people did not distill alcohol like they do today so that we have such high concentrations.

    By Blogger Jim, at 4/10/2006 11:09 PM  

  • What a wonderful gift wine is to us. Though we are not to abuse it, I dare not call any gift of God a curse. I think about the joy that must have been at that wedding and in that culture. Surely it was not a sin to celebrate the occasion with wine and food.

    By Blogger edwardseanist, at 4/10/2006 11:21 PM  

  • Steve has raised great points. Additionally, it would not make much sense for Jesus to be accused of being a "drunkard" if he only drank grape juice (Matt 11:19).

    That said, the real question is ethical:
    Why did Jesus serve the guests wine after they were drunk? Was he not catering to their sinful behavior?

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 4/10/2006 11:33 PM  

  • Hi Jim,
    What do you say "and you too Rosie"? Do you mean about the abstention from alcohol?

    Hi KC,
    I once heard an illustration about a line drawn on the ground. A person says "I can't cross over this line and no one else should because then we will be too close to the road and may get run over." This is what the guidelines for safety are. Thinking again, they say, "matter of fact, I am going to move the line back three feet, no ... four so that I will be really safe." Looking on the others who walk up to the edge of the line, he scolds them for being too close to danger, but that is where the line was drawn for safety. IOW, you can't make stricter than biblical rules for yourself and then compel everybody else to follow them instead of the biblical guidelines. What do you think about that? Does that have a name?

    Hi Nunzia. You're cute! That is such a great answer. Often, that is the best answer. :~)

    Joe,
    Wow! Your brain must be sharp. If I could have back all the brain cells I have killed, I might be able to figure out html. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2006 11:42 PM  

  • Hi Steve.
    Welcome. I really enjoyed your take on Christian blogging over at your blog - how creative. Your comment about the wine: I agree. We have plenty of teaching about avoiding drunkeness that we don't need to twist words. However, I wasn't so sure that it was unscholarly ... that is, the book I read ... so I thought I would throw the question out to see what response I would get. Bobby Grow has a different take than you and he is very smart, so I have to consider what he says. :~) I really like your thoughts about the dead fish. I never thought of that. Thanks for visiting!

    Larry Who,
    Hi! How did you find this blog? I have heard someone say that I shouldn't drink coffee even right here in Ohio. Keep me from my coffee and see what happens!!

    Hi Janna,
    I like your approach, the "fun to ponder" comment. I can relate to that very well. What you say about the "new wine" was one of the points made in the book.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2006 11:52 PM  

  • Cleopas,
    Hi! Good to see you.
    The error comes in overdoing it...
    Yes, I agree. That is interesting what you say about Italians and Germans ... and then, there is the ENGLISH ... they really like their "liquer"! I would say, as long as they don't use it to get wasted, they will not harm. I don't drink either, but for the opposite reason from yours. Oh, John wanted me to tell you this (he read your comment earlier) "I tell Rosie she is like a hinge because she is something to a-door." You both must like silly word games. Is there a name for that ... playing with words?

    Hi Bobby,
    I am so glad you are here - honored, even. What you say about the good wine, I would imagine this has some weight since you are such a history buff. I also read the idea about giving the stronger wine after they had the innocent wine (grape juice) for the explanation in the book too. I THINK YOUR BOTTOM LINE IS RIGHT ON! I think most Christians agree. Although, I once knew of a person who quoted a verse in Psalms that says "Thank God for wine which makes glad the heart of man." (something like that) and he said "how could grape juice make anyone's heart glad?"

    Jim,
    Why don't you tell us how you really feel? ;~)
    (North American colloquialism)
    You make some very good points. I really have come to hate the effect of alcohol in my life, that is why I won't drink a glass. I don't think everybody abuses it, though. Isn't that the real issue?

    Hi Edwardsianist,
    I just went over to your blog. I liked how you categorized UOG. Very innocuous! You probably know of the psalm that I refer to. I can definately understand your point. Thank you for visiting! Come again. :~)

    Hello Jonathan,
    You are right about the drunkard comment. Good contribution.
    I am not surprised that you thought of that question. Another one of your musings that is atypical. ;~) Good question!

    EVERYBODY:
    What do you think about JONATHAN'S QUESTION?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/11/2006 12:11 AM  

  • I don't think there is any ethical question in regards to Jesus' action. Wine is a gift from God, and in this case a gift from God the Son. Is it sin to feast? No it is sin to be a glutton. Is it a sin to drink three or four on special occasions such as this? No it is a sin to be a drunkard.

    When I was in Israel, with Moody Bible Institute, no less, my prof should us how wine was a big part of the culture in Jesus' day. In Bethsaida every home had a sort of wine cellar. Interesting huh?

    By Blogger edwardseanist, at 4/11/2006 12:32 AM  

  • Edwardseanist said:

    ". . . Is it a sin to drink three or four on special occasions such as this? No it is a sin to be a drunkard."

    No it's a sin to be "drunk" with wine . . . seanist (Eph 5:18, my little proof-text). And most usages of alcohol and drunkeness in the OT are associated with God's judgment.

    I went to bible college too, it was great, I went to an after party, after graduation, and many of my fellow graduates drank a few, a bit buzzed if not drunk (buzzed/drunk no difference)--what a wonderful testimony of God's holiness reflected in their lives (sarcasim) :(!

    Why in Leviticus 10:8-9 were the Aaronic and Levitical priests not to partake of alcohol, or the Nazarite in Num. 6? Are we not also Priests unto God, I Pet 2:9, Rom 15:16, etc.? Shouldn't we be above approach culturally I Pet 4, so the world has nothing evil to say of us? What does American culture at large associate with drinking alcohol, I would say the "weekend" and party lifestyle--or "social drinking"--sign of status. Lastly, IMO, drinking is just not prudent, following arguments and principles found in Proverbs (i.e.6:20ff). Given statistics, I've heard 1 in 10 people who take a drink for the first time never stop (become an alcoholic). I'm not sure of that statistic, but even if its 1 in 10,000--drinking still seems unwise. The "Bible College" attitude on this is weak (from the student's perspective).

    Jonathan M. said:

    ". . . it would not make much sense for Jesus to be accused of being a "drunkard" if he only drank grape juice (Matt 11:19)."

    I know you're not meaning to say that Jesus was a drunkard, right Jonathan? Although this is what your statement implies. Maybe He was accused of being a drunkard becuase He hung around with the outcasts and "counter culturals" of the world. I know you're trying to "prove" the fact that there was alcoholic beverage in the 1st cent.--but this in and of itself does not "prove" that Jesus endorsed or contributed to "drinking" alcohol or even supplied alcoholic beverage. In fact this would absolutely contradict His own Word on getting drunk (Eph 5:18); which we know He would not do . . . so there must be another explanation to Jn 2, such as the distinction that I assertively made above (i.e. non-alcoholic wine; I'll have to try to substantiate this at a later time).

    See this quote offered by NT scholar Craig S. Keener on Jn 2:9-10, he says:

    "Soon after the grape vintage, all wine would contain some alcohol (neither refrigeration nor hermetic sealing existed.). But the alcohol level of the wine was not increased artificially (distillation was not in use); rather, the wine was watered down, with two to three parts water to one part wine. Sometimes at Greek parties drunkeness was induced through less dilution or the addition of herbal toxins, but Jewish teachers disapproved of such practices; that drunkenness is part of the celebration at Cana is unlikely. Yet one would normally serve the better wine first because, drunk or not, guests' senses would become more dulled as the seven days of banqueting proceeded. (Craig S. Keener: "The Bible Background Commentary, NT, 268-69)

    If Jesus miraculously made wine, given the standards for wine in the 1st cent. wouldn't it make sense that His wine was so freshly made and new (i.e. made on the spot), that it didn't have time to ferment into alcohol (just operating off of the assumption of Christ's impeccability--and giving Him the benefit of the doubt as to Jonathan's ethical question). And even if it had fermented, given the Jewish nature of the wedding, and the Rabbinic oversight, the "alcoholic" wine would've been diluted.

    One more quick point, its to ask the question why John included this in the text in the first place, contextually, notice again, an interesting correlation Keener provides here:

    "Jn 2:11. God had often manifested his glory by doing signs (Ex 16:7; for glory, . . .). Moses' first sign was turning water into blood (Ex 7:20; cf. Rev 8:8); Jesus' first sign is turning water into wine." (Keener, 269).

    I only include this point so there isn't loss of focus on the context here, by our usage of this passage to clarify "our" 21st cent. ethical dilemmas (i.e. avoiding the problem of taking a text out of context, and using it as a pre-text; a fine line here).

    Bobby

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/11/2006 3:31 AM  

  • Hi Rose,
    all I know is what I have read, and it was wine, Jesus, turned the water in to wine!


    hope you and yours have a great Easter

    By Blogger jel, at 4/11/2006 7:54 AM  

  • "What do you think about JONATHAN'S QUESTION?"

    I think it is an inspired question.

    Now if I could just come up with an inspired answer.

    By Blogger Joe, at 4/11/2006 9:24 AM  

  • No.

    By Anonymous Jim McDermott, at 4/11/2006 10:26 AM  

  • Jim McDermott,
    Is that "no" to my question about the et tu Rosie or is that "no" to Jonathan's question about Jesus? :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/11/2006 10:33 AM  

  • Rose -

    The is a very timely question for me. I moved from a place where Christians did not drink. That was norm and everybody new it. And now we're in a environment where everbody drinks, Christian and non-Christian a like. It's a non-issue here for the most part.

    But I read verses like:

    1 Corinthians 6:12
    All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

    And I think, just because I can doesn't mean I should. And I do think there's the possibility that drinking can be fine for one Christian, but sin for another.

    So for me, I feel it's best for me not to drink. And if I did drink, I believe it would be a sin. But I would hold your thought that I can't force my personal conviction on everyone else. And for the sake of the weaker brother, there are definitely times for others to abstain.

    I think Bobby's point probably gets at the bigger meaning behind this passage (taken from Keener).

    "Jn 2:11. God had often manifested his glory by doing signs (Ex 16:7; for glory, . . .). Moses' first sign was turning water into blood (Ex 7:20; cf. Rev 8:8); Jesus' first sign is turning water into wine." (Keener, 269).

    Whether the wine was fermented or not is a non-issue. It's a red-herring for the more significant purpose of Christ revealing His deity.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 4/11/2006 1:03 PM  

  • Hi jel!

    Hi Ten Cent! I am glad you stopped by and added your ten cents. :~)
    I appreciate all that you have said. I agree with it.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/11/2006 1:27 PM  

  • First, Jonathan's question raises a good ethical point.

    Secondly, Bobby again brings up some solid answers to the practicality of drinking and Biblical usage of wine.


    Like I said earlier, I have no respect for any person (especially a believer) who abuses alcohol. Isn't the world's line, "Just one drink"? Oh come on, just one won't hurt you. If moderation is truly the key, then why not just one toke of a joint, or one puff of a cigar, or one hit of acid? I mean, c'mon we can use all things in moderation and not be affected right? Give me a break!

    I have yet to meet one believer who's practical christianity was not somehow diluted by their affection for the intoxicating beverage.

    Shortly after leaving the church I had spent my life in, I decided to try a glass of wine. However, my shame over someone seeing me drink in public caused me to really consider my motives. What would my unbelieving friends think if I were to socially drink? What would my children think? After all, children tend to over exceed whatever vice their parents are involved in.

    Further, Proverbs warns us to not look on the wine when it is red and has obvious signs of being rather intoxicating. The end of that man is immorality, shame, and great disippation.

    So, do you have the liberty to drink? That is your choice, but if you stumble a brother or child you will live to regret the day you allowed your personal desires to wreak havoc in the life of another.

    By Blogger Jim, at 4/11/2006 2:34 PM  

  • Rose~,

    That was just the start of what I think. :)

    By Blogger Jim, at 4/11/2006 2:35 PM  

  • YOUR question, Ros(i)e; as to Jonathan's identification of the "real question": I couldn't disagree more vehemently {YOU know why [because He's sovereign (and I, of course, am not)]}.

    By Anonymous Jim McDermott, at 4/11/2006 3:23 PM  

  • So what about meats offered to idols? ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at 4/11/2006 6:51 PM  

  • KC:

    Hey I know where I can get some really cheap meat - a guy named Theo sells it out behind the shambles - so what if it was offered to Diana. She is just a piece of marble.

    :-)

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 4/11/2006 7:05 PM  

  • Jim McDermott,
    So you are saying "No, Jesus wasn't catering to their sinful bahavior because He is sovereign and you are not." Do I have that right? I am befuddled.

    Jim, (the other Jim, not McDermott)
    I have some experience with this thing. I have felt the same way as you describe yourself after I was a believer (wondering if someone would see you drinking in public). [I won't even go into the before I was a believer drinking issues]. It is a very weird feeling. I knew I was wrong to do it if I felt that way. I can't say it is wrong for everyone to take a drink if they do not get drunk, though. Bottom line, we are responsible for our own choices and we need to help eachother make good choices.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/11/2006 7:06 PM  

  • Rose -

    Here's a helpful verse.

    Matthew 15:11
    "It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man."

    What you felt and what Jim felt when you were drinking, hoping no one would see you, is the root of the issue. It's a matter of the heart.

    Couldn't we say the same thing about coffee that we say about beer or wine? "Do not be controlled by coffee, but be filled with the Spirit." Or, "Do not be controlled by Pepsi..." Or "Do not be controlled by Chocolate..." Or shopping, or whatever. It's not the drink that is important, what's important is that it doesn't controll you and the that the Spirit does.

    That's not a plug for drinking. I still think it's better to stay away from it. But it helps me keep things in perspective when a brother in Christ is drinking around me. Man judges the outward appearance, but God judges the heart. That judgement is not for me, it is His.

    So I agree with your statement:
    "Bottom line, we are responsible for our own choices and we need to help eachother make good choices."

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 4/11/2006 9:41 PM  

  • Ten cent,

    As far as using coffee, pepsi, or any other addictive food, there is no comparison to alcohol. The issue with drinking is not primarily being controlled but rather the dissipation which results from it.

    You don't hear people being killed by coffee drinkers on the news do you? It is not coffee drinking that destroys marriages and causes fights. Pepsi doesn't make people do stupid things they don't remember and regret when others recount their foolish antics.

    No, alcohol is part and parcel of the riotous lifestyle Peter warns us to be on guard from.

    Can you imagine having a college and career youth group meeting where beer and pizza were served. I can just hear the youth pastor admonishing the young people, "Ok now, let's be responsible here...only two drinks each". You laugh but that is the direction some groups are going.

    The point is, let's be careful what we give license to and what we condone with our words and actions. Jesus gave a very stern warning to those who would stumble a weaker brother.

    God bless,
    Jim

    By Blogger Jim, at 4/11/2006 10:32 PM  

  • Jim, I'm as hard line as you are on this issue!

    Drinking puts the Christian into a whole other "sub-culture" in our society--and plus one glass of wine will buzz almost anyone. Why do it? I don't believe we should.

    Of course following the ethic that I do (Rom 14)--if a Christian can drink before the Lord and not sin--go for it--just remember we all have to answer before the Lord, individually, some day (II Cor 5:10; Rom 14:10; I Cor 3:15; etc.)

    Bobby

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/11/2006 10:41 PM  

  • Bobby, good points!

    By Blogger Jim, at 4/11/2006 11:26 PM  

  • Rose I neglected to address my previous comment to you and I apologize. I have no excuse but only ask your forgiveness. You were kind not to mention it. Perhaps John and I can stop by Theo's and we can all reconcile over a steak if you're willing. ;-)

    The fellowship of believers with God and each other ranks very high on my value system. It seems an imperative if we are to fulfill the Great Commandments to love God and each other.

    To that end I want everyone reading to know I don't drink. I say that now only because I would never want anything to prevent me from being able to fellowship with any of my brethren and some here have made that a contingency. Under any other circumstance, unless you offered me a drink, I would withhold that information as being irrelevant.

    By virtue of the same goal to remain in fellowship I would never impose on my brother to consider anything that my Lord has not commanded as a rule. I might suggest and advise out of my concern but if there is any doubt in my mind concerning the scriptural teachings on the matter then it falls between my Lord and his servant and I cannot usurp my Lord.

    I am confident the scripture teaches against drunkenness but I am equally confident the references in the scripture to wine are to an alcoholic drink. I can then only repeat that as believers we should be moderate in all things and never be found drunken. I intend no disrespect to those who feel strongly against alcohol and I agree there is great potential for abuse but I can only admonish caution. I could never break fellowship.

    By Blogger Kc, at 4/12/2006 6:05 AM  

  • Not at all, Ros(i)e; my point is that I'm not about to "second-guess" what Jesus did (in this, or in any, instance)!

    By-the-way (and, as you know), the fact that the word for the beverage is translated in ENGLISH as "wine" is determinative of NOTHING.

    Finally, "for what it's worth", besides wanting to avoid being a "stumbling block", the primary reason I rarely drink alcoholic beverages {for me, drunkenness is not an issue [since my "college years", I have neither interest in getting drunk nor time to spend doing so (or to be "hung over")]} is that I don't want any of my money going to corporations which promote irresponsible lifestyles.

    By Anonymous Jim McDermott, at 4/12/2006 12:56 PM  

  • Just for clarification, in light of KC's last comment on fellowship, I have no problem fellowshipping with Christians who have different perspectives than my own--on the issue of drinking. Whether one does or doesn't drink as a Christian carries no contingency for me, as to whether I will "fellowship" with them. A couple of my best friends drink--and we still fellowship around the cross--I just vociferously disagree with them (no holier than thou here) on this issue. Like I said, it seems unwise to me though.

    Bobby

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/13/2006 1:02 AM  

  • Bobby,
    I think it would be fun to be your frined.

    Thanks you ALL for your comemnts and gracious discussion. I really appreciate it.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/13/2006 7:59 AM  

  • Jim,

    One last comment from me, then I'll let it rest.

    You said:
    "As far as using coffee, pepsi, or any other addictive food, there is no comparison to alcohol. The issue with drinking is not primarily being controlled but rather the dissipation which results from it."

    I would say you're missing the point. The dissipation is the not the primary issue. It is a symptom of a much deeper issue -- our sinful lust. Our desire to please ourselves.

    Drinking alcoholic beverages can be a bad a thing. And result in very bad situations. But so can being controlled by an other substance, or desire really. It's the root. That's why I say it's about motivation. It's about the heart. So I wouldn't be as quick to preach against drinking as I would be to preach about finding your delight and satisfaction in Christ alone.

    So, yes, you are correct. Drinking coffee or whatever else doesn't result in the rampant violence and destruction that is apparent with alcohol. But addiction to it or anything comes from the same root -- love of self more than God.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 4/13/2006 8:52 AM  

  • I guess I will chime in.

    jim: Seems like you have an axe to grind on the issue...

    I personally think it is just as bad to "demonize" something as it is to partake in that "something".

    Bottom line is...drinking alcohol is not a sin in and of itself, though I have met a few who were as bold as to make such a claim (thus calling our Lord a sinner).

    The grape juice story is just that...a story...and has no validity to it. Our Lord was not accused of being a winebibber for drinking grape juice.

    There is absolutely no scriptural evidence to backup the statement that consuming alcohol is a sin.

    Inventing non-biblical theology to enforce "rules" (even to protect) is bad news. Blaming (and demonizing) substances for destruction caused by man's sinful nature is incorrect as well.

    I will take a stand against the naysayers with scripture that says my Lord created wine to make His people feel good (Psalms 104). In addition, I will say that we have been told to give wine to those that are dying and whose lives are bitter (Proverbs 31:6).

    Now I must say that I have no problem with a brother that abstains...he is free to do so. I have no problem with a brother who partakes...he is free to do so. I do have a problem with a brother that teaches that the one who partakes is sinning and/or that all should abstain, that is false doctrine.

    It is hard to hear such words in America but you have to stand up for the scripture...not for the current tide or culture.

    Keep in mind, I am in no way saying that drunkeness is OK. We know that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God. However, I put forth that to be a drunkard requires a lot more than getting drunk a few times or even now and then. All you have to do is browse through the scripture a bit and you will find plenty of examples with great men of God getting drunk. If we use scripture to interpret scripture we must assume that they were not drunkards.

    Again, I really don't think we as Christians should be demonizing something our Lord created (and consumed) because abuse of such a substance causes destruction.

    Sin is sin. We don't demonize the weapon in murder (or at least we shouldn't)....why demonize alcohol? Is it because people get killed by drunk drivers? People get killed by all kinds of things. Do we demonize the wind and the rain because people die from "nature"? Should we stop manufacturing knives because people get killed with them?

    I know it is an emotional subject but we should always go to the scripture for answers and not our emotions.

    AMDG

    By Blogger Brian, at 4/16/2006 1:03 AM  

  • Rose - I know you'll see this comment and that it is much after the fact but my favourites list kept taking me to March 30 instead of most recent post so I didn't even see you had new posts!
    Can I weigh in with a story. We don't drink - both my husband and I have a ruined marriage behind us because of drinking, so of course it's touchy.
    I don't think A drink is 'sin', but I do know it 'loosens' the sin in us.
    A friend recently attended a 'cast party' for the Easter production at the church we just left. (a good evangelical brand!)
    The drinks flowed, both pastors were there, but the conversation and music quickly became the same as any non-Christian event.
    I wondered if the pastor witnessed to the store owner when he bought the case of beer!
    Then they all got up a few hours later and put on an Easter production 'praying' that God's Holy Spirit would move and convict lives.
    Drinking 'relaxes' our self-control and the sin in us shows. I think it is a terrible witness to others. How can the pastor be of any help to the men in his church that are struggling with alcohol abuse?
    I don't think a glass of wine is sin - because sin is what comes out of our heart - but I find that Christians who most fight for the right to drink, have other 'heart issues' and my experience has been they also push it on others. They often are uncomfortable around Christians who won't drink and I think sometimes it is because it is an area they don't want to surrender to the Lord.
    In cultures where it is as common as drinking coffee is here, those 'heart issues' often don't even exist.
    At least when I drink coffee I don't become rude, agressive, laugh with a high pitched laugh, tell crude jokes or act like an idiot - or end up destroying marriage, children or jobs.
    Proverbs likens strong drink to an asp that rises up and bites.
    I guess I personally don't need to use a mind altering drug to have a good time.
    If you drink A glass I really don't care - it's not what goes in to a man that defiles him - but a couple of drinks makes what is in a man come out.
    "All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient."
    And what about the children in the Christian's home where the party was? Drinking is okay with mom and dad and the pastors so you can bet they will not stop at one glass of wine as teens.
    Sorry this is so long, but I'm dealing with a real life issue here on this subject - not just theory - or translating Bible verses.
    Thanks for letting me vent! I have had to spend time on my knees confessing my sin of resentment over this issue.

    Eunice

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/23/2006 10:11 AM  

  • Hi Brian! I hadn't known it was you who left that comment. Thanks for joining in (I don't know if you will ever see this or not, but thanks). I have also thought of Psalm 104 and scratched my head over the attitude toward alcohol. Abuse of alcohol is one thing - moderate use is another.

    Eunice,
    I cannot use it moderately ... or with a clear conscience because of this, therefore for me, I repented of drinking any of it. It is a snare for me, very much. It sounds like you can relate. On this issue, I think it is very personal. We must judge ourselves and only offer advice to others when it is obvious that they are abusing it. I like what you said about alcohol letting out what is inside the man - I think this is what happens when it is abused - actually - he becomes a fool - not ony does it reveal his problems, but it can create problems (not alcohol itself, but the abuse of it)

    Thanks for commenting Eunice! I am glad you figured out that I had more than one post - LOL!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/23/2006 3:18 PM  

  • I Believe: That the first batch of "liquid smashed grapes" had been made weeks in advance, in prep. of a very big wedding, thus making it strong and bitter(maybe?) to the taste. ETOH level was certainly high.
    I Believe: That the batch of "liquid smashed grapes" Christ offered were "fresh" and perhaps not quite as fermented.
    Needless to say, any wine, grapejuice,ect. offered to me, prepared by MySavior must have been awesome, to say the least.
    I Believe: Fine gray lines exist.
    I Believe: That a little "wine" between husband and wife, at night, when the kids are in bed is a must have!
    But then, that's just me. Everyone has a choice.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/29/2006 3:04 PM  

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