Please Pass The Wine

November 29, 2011

I have a feeling that this post might generate some interesting conversation down the road. Frist, here’s a link to a Tim Challies post about the use of alcohol. What he has to say is helpful. Here are a couple of paragraphs that sum up the general direction of what he has to say:

I am convinced that the consumption of alcohol is a Romans 14 kind of issue that falls within the bounds of Christian liberty. This necessarily means that one abstains because he believes that this is what the Lord requires while another partakes because he believes that the Lord has given him this kind of freedom. Both do it based on their understanding of Scripture and both do it to heed conscience. Even though one has a better understanding of what the Lord demands of us, neither one is sinning and both are required to obey conscience.

This then calls all of us to tread very, very carefully. Thankfully, the Lord has given us clear instruction on what to do in just this kind of circumstance. What we cannot allow ourselves to do is to be seen as despising or condemning the other. The one will be prone to see the other as bound by legalism or immaturity and will, in turn, find anger or hatred welling up within his heart. The other will be prone to see the other as going far beyond what the Lord allows and he will then condemn this freedom as lawlessness. These are the particular temptations laid out in Romans 14. If alcohol truly is this kind of an issue, we do well to think about which sin we will struggle with.

Amen.

Second, here’s a link to a Doug Wilson post advocating the use of real wine at the Lord’s Table. Here’s the paragraph that best sums up what he is expressing:

Some might feel that including alcoholic drink in a sacramental meal is somehow disrespectful. But this is actually a modern version of letting the traditions of men (which can exert a powerful influence) set aside the Word of God—which Jesus said not to do (Mark 7:9). In the Old Testament, tithe money was to be used to buy shekar or strong drink (Deut. 14:22-26). In the New, the word for wine is oinos, and is clearly alcoholic as multiple contexts make clear.

I’ve heard others say that real wine should be used because it symbolizes the crushed body of our Lord and the joy the gospel brings in a way that grape juice doesn’t. Somehow I think we better keep the Welch’s handy at Bowman. I do think it is interesting to see that while some believers think it is wrong to use alcohol, other believers think it is wrong not to use it in one of our most precious observances.

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4 Responses to “Please Pass The Wine”

  1. Terri J Says:

    If you went to real wine, someone would think the Welch’s had gone bad. I appreciate Challies’ thoughts and agree.

  2. Mark Says:

    You are exactly right, Teri. They’d never know what hit them.


  3. We need to stick with the Welch’s. Having the privilege of being one to serve our Saints communion, I see things others don’t. One observation that sticks with me is one visitor we had that hesitated to partake of the cup due to a fear that it was wine. You see, they were an recovering alcoholic, and one sip of alcohol has the potential of causing a major backslide. It would be sad for me to think a person couldn’t partake of that portion of the supper due to their addiction. Besides, to require one or the other seems a bit legalistic to me.


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