Moved by the Spirits...

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Living_stone, Apr 22, 2006.

  1. Living_stone

    Living_stone
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    Okay, so on a completely different note, it was mentioned earlier in a thread that some christian's view alcohol as intriniscally wrong. I'd be interested in hearing a defense of that position if any here hold it; I personally think it's an incorrect but understandable position.

    Christ's first miracle was to make the best wine the earth has probably ever seen (which was an interesting forshadowing too, Moses changed water to blood, Christ changed water to wine, and then wine to blood).

    The head server comments that people usually serve the good wine first and then an inferior wine after the guests have had enough that they woudnt notice the switch - guests at a sometimes week-long celebration! The wine was good because it was alcoholic. Alcohol is not evil. It's not good either per se. But alcohol is definitely not to be proscribed from the Christain diet for reasons of morality.

    Now, this is not to say that individuals may not choose to not drink wine, or that there isn't virtue perhaps in that. And some certainly probably shouldn't, like a recovering alcoholic. But alcoholic drinks are not verboten for Christians. Paul even recommends Timothy have some wine for the sake of his stomach.

    Does anyone here belong to a church which teaches that alcohol is sinful inherently? I'd appriciate your take on this.
     
  2. JFox1

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    My church allows alcohol use as long as it is not excessive (Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod). My church won't even use grape juice for Communion because they believe there is no guarantee that God will bless it unless it's wine.
     
  3. Jim1999

    Jim1999
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    In Canada, our liquor stores sell a communion wine. It is sugar-free and non-alcoholic. Sort of kills two birds with one stone..we get to drink wine without fear of getting impaired....

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  4. Claudia_T

    Claudia_T
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    THE WEDDING OF CANA
    Many well-meaning Christians believe that the “good wine” Jesus made at Cana
    (John 2:10) was “good” because of its high alcoholic content. This belief rests on three
    major assumptions. First, it is assumed that the Jews did not know how to prevent the
    fermentation of grape juice; and since the season of the wedding was just before Spring
    Passover (John 2:13), that is, six months after the grape harvest, the wine used at
    Cana had ample time to ferment.

    Second, it is assumed that the description given by the master of the banquet to the
    wine provided by Christ as “the good wine” means a high-quality alcoholic wine. Third, it
    is assumed that the expression “well drunk” (John 2:10) used by the master of the
    banquet indicates that the guests were intoxicated because they had been drinking
    fermented wine. Consequently, the wine Jesus made must also have been fermented.
    In view of the importance these assumptions play in determining the nature of the wine
    provided by Christ, we shall briefly examine each of them.

    The first assumption is discredited by numerous testimonies from the Roman world
    of New Testament times describing various methods for preserving grape juice. The preservation of grape juice unfermented was in some ways a simpler process than the preservation of fermented wine. Thus, the
    possibility existed of supplying unfermented grape juice at the wedding of Cana near the
    Passover season, since such a beverage could be kept unfermented throughout the year.


    “The Good Wine.”
    The second assumption that the wine Jesus provided was
    pronounced “the good wine” (John 2:10) by the master of the banquet because it was
    high in alcoholic content, is based on the taste of twentieth-century drinkers who define
    the goodness of wine largely in proportion to its alcoholic strength. But this was not
    necessarily true in the Roman world of New Testament times where the best wines were
    those whose alcoholic potency had been removed by boiling or filtration.


    Pliny, for example, says that “wines are most beneficial (utilissimum) when all their
    potency has been removed by the strainer.” Similarly, Plutarch points out that wine is
    “much more pleasant to drink” when it “neither inflames the brain nor infests the mind or
    passions” because its strength has been removed through frequent filtering.

    The Talmud indicates that drinking to the accompaniment of musical instruments on
    festive occasions such as a wedding was forbidden. The latter is confirmed by later
    testimonies of rabbis. For example, Rabbi S. M. Isaac, an eminent nineteenth-century
    rabbi and editor of The Jewish Messenger, says: “The Jews do not, in their feasts for
    sacred purposes, including the marriage feast, ever use any kind of fermented drinks. In
    their oblations and libations, both private and public, they employ the fruit of the
    vine—that is, fresh grapes—unfermented grape-juice, and raisins, as the symbol of
    benediction. Fermentation is to them always a symbol of corruption.” Though Rabbi
    Isaac’s statement is not quite accurate, since Jewish sources are not unanimous on the
    kind of wine to be used at sacred festivals, it still does indicate that some Jews used
    unfermented wine at wedding feasts.

    The wine which Christ provided for the feast, and that which He gave to the disciples as a symbol of His own blood, was the pure juice of the grape. To this the prophet Isaiah refers when he speaks of the new wine "in the cluster," and says, "Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it." Isa. 65:8.

    It was Christ who in the Old Testament gave the warning to Israel, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." Prov. 20:1. And He Himself provided no such beverage. Satan tempts men to indulgence that will becloud reason and benumb the spiritual perceptions, but Christ teaches us to bring the lower nature into subjection. His whole life was an example of self-denial. In order to break the power of appetite, He suffered in our behalf the severest test that humanity could endure. It was Christ who directed that John the Baptist should drink neither wine nor strong drink. It was He who enjoined similar abstinence upon the wife of Manoah. And He pronounced a curse upon the man who should put the bottle to his neighbor's lips. Christ did not contradict His own teaching. The unfermented wine which He provided for the wedding guests was a wholesome and refreshing drink. Its effect was to bring the taste into harmony with a healthful appetite.
     
  5. BobRyan

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    Drug abuse is a bad thing - surprise surprise.

    Drugs taken into the system -- go directly after the central nervous system and inhibit it to some degree. Alcohol is both addictive and debilitating.
     
  6. Claudia_T

    Claudia_T
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    Historical Testimonies.
    Jewish and Christian historical testimonies support the
    use of unfermented wine at Passover/Lord's Supper. Louis Ginzberg (1873-1941), a
    distinguished Talmudic scholar who for almost forty years was chairman of the Department of Talmudic and Rabbinic Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America,
    provides what is perhaps the most exhaustive analysis of the Talmudic references
    regarding the use of wine in Jewish religious ceremonies. He concludes his investigation
    by saying: “We have thus proven on the basis of the main passages both of the
    Babylonian Talmud and that of Jerusalem that unfermented wine may be used lekatehillah
    [optionally] for Kiddush [the consecration of a festival by means of a cup of wine] and
    other religious ceremonies outside the temple.”


    Ginzberg’s conclusion is confirmed by The Jewish Encyclopedia. Commenting on
    the time of the Last Supper, it says: “According to the synoptic Gospels, it would
    appear that on the Thursday evening of the last week of his life Jesus with his disciples
    entered Jerusalem in order to eat the Passover meal with them in the sacred city; if so, the
    wafer and the wine of the mass or the communion service then instituted by him as a
    memorial would be the unleavened bread and the unfermented wine of the Seder
    service.”


    The custom of using unfermented wine at Passover has survived through the
    centuries not only among some Jews, but also among certain Christian groups and
    churches. For example, in the apocryphal Acts and Martyrdom of St. Matthew the
    Apostle, which circulated in the third century, a heavenly voice instructs the local Bishop
    Plato, saying: “Read the Gospel and bring as an offering the holy bread; and having
    pressed three clusters from the vine into a cup, communicate with me, as the Lord Jesus
    showed us how to offer up when He rose from the dead on the third day.” This is a clear
    testimony of the use of freshly pressed grape juice in the celebration of the Lord’s
    Supper.


    The practice of pressing preserved grapes directly into the communion cup is
    attested by councils, popes and theologians, including Thomas Aquinas (A. D.1225-
    1274). The use of unfermented wine is well-documented especially among such
    Eastern Churches as the Abyssinian Church, the Nestorian Church of Western Asia, the
    Christians of St. Thomas in India, the Coptic monasteries in Egypt, and the Christians of
    St. John in Persia, all of which celebrated the Lord’s Supper with unfermented wine made
    either with fresh or dried grapes.
     
  7. Living_stone

    Living_stone
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    Cheeseburger abuse is a bad thing - surprise surprise.

    Cheeseburgers taken into the system -- go directly to the heart and fat cells, inhibiting movement and spiking cholesterol and triglicerides. Cheeseburgers are both addictive and debilitating.

    Or, if you prefer...

    Television abuse is a bad thing - surprise surprise.

    Television taken into the system -- goes directly after the central nervous system and inhibit it to some degree. Television is both addictive and debilitating.

    Temperance is the virtue of moderation. It is not the virtue of prohibition.
     
  8. JFox1

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    Regarding the wine at the wedding at Cana, the Greek word for "new wine" is gleukos. This doesn't mean "grace juice" as this is the same Greek word that is used in Acts 2:13 when people accused the Apostles of being drunk.

    Fermentation is also implied in Jesus' discussion about putting new wine into old wineskins (Matthew 9:17). A sheep or goat is killed to make the wine skin. You then tie the bottom of the skin tightly to prevent leaks. The skin is new and pliable. You then put freshly crushed grape juice from the winepress and pour it into the wineskin. The top is then tied and the juice ferments and becomes wine. Because the new skin is pliable, it expands and the pressure builds up inside. It is then hung up in a cool place such as a cellar. Two or three days later, you can drink it. While in storage, the skin hardens.

    Jesus said that you would never take the old wine skin after drinking all the wine and then recycle it with more new wine. The fermentation process will make it burst. Jesus was saying that the New Covenant cannot be contained in the old wineskin of the Mosaic Law system. The Epistle to the Hebrews also provides the same contrast between the old Mosaic Law and its replacement with the Gospel of Grace in Jesus Christ.
     
  9. JFox1

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    Regarding the wine at the wedding at Cana, the Greek word for "new wine" is gleukos. This doesn't mean "grape juice" as this is the same Greek word that is used in Acts 2:13 when people accused the Apostles of being drunk.

    Fermentation is also implied in Jesus' discussion about putting new wine into old wineskins (Matthew 9:17). A sheep or goat is killed to make the wineskin. You then tie the bottom of the skin tightly to prevent leaks. The skin is new and pliable. You then put freshly crushed grape juice from the winepress and pour it into the wineskin. The top is then tied and the juice ferments and becomes wine. Because the new skin is pliable, it expands and the pressure builds up inside. It is then hung up in a cool place such as a cellar. Two or three days later, you can drink it. While in storage, the skin hardens.

    Jesus said that you would never take the old wine skin after drinking all the wine and then recycle it with more new wine. The fermentation process will make it burst. Jesus was saying that the New Covenant cannot be contained in the old wineskin of the Mosaic Law. The Epistle to the Hebrews also provides the same contrast between the old Mosaic Law and its replacement with the Gospel of Grace in Jesus Christ.

    Drinking alcohol in and of itself in not a sin, but getting drunk most definitely is.
     
  10. SpyHunter

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    What truly astounds me is whenever this discussion comes up, everyone immediately dives into their massive library of biblical commentaries and completely ignore what the Bible itself says about this very issue.

    Romans 14:4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
    5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.
    13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
    14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.
    17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
    21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.
    22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.
    23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

    I also recommend 1 Corinthians 8, while it speaks almost exclusively on the topic of meat offered to idols (the reason why we traditionally ask God to bless the food before us, in fact), I do not see a great degree of separation in the eating of "pagan meat" and the drinking of wine, scripturally speaking. The context and principle is plain to see.

    So, let not your liberty be a stumblingblock to another. But, also, don't beat your doctrine over the head of another's liberty. Neither side is going to back down.

    Blessings,
    SpyHunter
     
  11. Living_stone

    Living_stone
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    WHich is to say: Abstaining for personal reasons is laudable, but forcing prohibition or saying the bible orders it is foolisness. Peer pressuring others into drinking, or binge drinking, are also foolishness.

    The bible doesn't condemn drinking - it does condone moderation and sacrifice.
     
  12. SpyHunter

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    Very well put!
     
  13. SpiritualMadMan

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    Ephesians 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

    Sorry, Baptists... But, you've got to be filled with the Spirit to Drink Wine! :D

    Sorry, couldn't resist...

    The argument over whether the wine of Jesus' day was alchoholic or not is interesting...

    If the proper yeasts(?) are on the vine there is no human possibility except sterilzation (not available then) to prevent the wine from fermenting and gaining *some* alchohol content...

    Granted, I doubt it was the 12 percent or so of todays modern wines...

    Not, being a vintner I can't be 100 percent...

    But, I would guess naturally feermented wines could maybe get to 3 to 5 percent...

    One would have to be "Well Drunk" to get tipsy and not notice the wine flavor of a lesser wine...

    Paul also told Timothy...

    1 Timothy 5:23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.

    This coupled with

    1 Timothy 5:23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.

    Modern research has irrefutable proven that a small glass of wine is "good" for the human body...

    I personally won't drink because of the way I was raised (Assemblies of God) and because alchoholism runs in my family...

    But, I can not in good conscience condemn a fellow believer who has a small glass of wine with a sphagetti dinner...

    If they get tipsy or drunk... Then I have no trouble chastising them. [​IMG]

    Let me leave you with this verse...

    Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

    Mike Sr.
     

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