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Wine or Welch's? Let's do this one more time
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I looked up 'not given to wine'-- which I took as a reference to liking it too much, not to not taking it at all. Some scholars believe it has to do with outburts of anger, others with anger related to alcohol (mean drunk?), and others with being too fond of wine.
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12/29/18 2:12 pm


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Post Re: I Totally Endorse the Biblical View Link
spartanfan wrote:
FG Minister wrote:
Drinking OK, drunkenness not OK -- and I am a teetotaler! Why? Because the Bible says elders should not have any wine, or is that grape juice, or is that a heavenly fruity beverage.


That must mean you are not a Church of God minister because if someone joins the Church of God they must agree that they will to the best of their ability live in accordance to the bylaws of the General Assembly.


He wrote he was a teetotaler.

If that's how one takes the 'not given to wine' verse, then does everyone partake of wine or grape juice at communion except for the elders? Traditionally, priests (elders) presided over the ceremony.
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Post 8 Pages of Posts - WOW! :-) Tom Sterbens
Having been engaged in a number of these debates on this topic I won't waste your time going into what has already been stated (on either side).

But something came to mind today that I had not looked into before so...
I contacted Dr. Dale M. Coulter, due to his background in church and Christian history. I asked him for an "off the top of your head" answer. Accordingly, in his response he gave no citations and/or extended reference, which is otherwise typical of him.
(Here is a link to his background for those who may be concerned: https://www.regent.edu/school-of-divinity/faculty/d-phil-dale-m-coulter/)

Here was my question to him:
"Off the top of your head… Are there many (any) writers commentators who advocated abstinence prior to Wesley and/or the Temperance movement?"

His reply:
"You can find some groups that required total abstinence but these were fringe and mainly seen as heretical because they combined it with a negative view of the body and sexuality. Generally, they were more Gnostic. The common view was sobriety, not abstinence.

However, in the 1800s drinking alcohol became such a problem that it led to a strong move toward abstinence among Christians within more revivalist parts of the movement. I’m thinking in particular of Methodists here but not exclusively so."


FWIW - He is very much Church of God. An Ordained Bishop.

Next: Dr French Arrington has been referenced in this thread. There are few for whom I have greater respect than Arrington. What a blessing he has been to me on so many levels - personally, educationally, spiritually, etc. A great man of God, a passionate worshiper, childlike in the cultivated simplicity of his love for God, he remains humbly approachable to everyone...especially those like me who have no formal education and who no doubt waste his time with my questions so far beneath his pay grade!! Smile

Having said that - While I do share his view on the general wisdom of abstinence - I do not share his view on biblical wine being non-alcoholic in constitution, nor do I think scripture mandates abstinence.

Another quote from Dr Coulter:
"I preach sobriety for the most part although I tell people that abstinence may be the only way to maintain sobriety [for some]."

Thanks...
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12/31/18 3:40 pm


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Post In 2019 ... Mat
In 2019, if you believe wine should be used in communion instead of grape juice, take ownership and lead your church into this spiritual freedom.

Stand in front of your church and teach them what you believe and how you disagree with the denomination.

As the old saying goes, "anyone can curse the darkness, but who will turn on the light?"

You never know what will happen, and while you may say "that's not the hill I want to die on," just look at what happen when Jesus died on a hill.

Courage to act is always better than being paralyzed in complaint.

Mat
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Post Quiet Wyatt
If I were to make fresh, new wine from fresh-squeezed grapes (the same day we drink it together), I wonder would that satisfy everyone? Acts-perienced Poster
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12/31/18 7:20 pm


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Post Tom Sterbens
Quiet Wyatt wrote:
If I were to make fresh, new wine from fresh-squeezed grapes (the same day we drink it together), I wonder would that satisfy everyone?


OK...for the fun of it! Smile

Is your intimation that since Jesus made the water into wine and they drank it the same day that it would have been grape juice since it did not have time to ferment?

Thanks Smile
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1/1/19 2:09 pm


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Post Quiet Wyatt
Tom Sterbens wrote:
Quiet Wyatt wrote:
If I were to make fresh, new wine from fresh-squeezed grapes (the same day we drink it together), I wonder would that satisfy everyone?


OK...for the fun of it! :-)

Is your intimation that since Jesus made the water into wine and they drank it the same day that it would have been grape juice since it did not have time to ferment?

Thanks :-)


I can honestly conceive of no good reason to assume that Jesus made multiple gallons of fully fermented, alcoholic wine to keep an already intoxicated party going.

In any case, the miracle of Cana is meant to show that Christ gives the new wine of the Spirit, not to somehow justify drunkenness.
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1/1/19 2:36 pm


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Post Tom Sterbens
Quiet Wyatt wrote:
Tom Sterbens wrote:
Quiet Wyatt wrote:
If I were to make fresh, new wine from fresh-squeezed grapes (the same day we drink it together), I wonder would that satisfy everyone?


OK...for the fun of it! Smile

Is your intimation that since Jesus made the water into wine and they drank it the same day that it would have been grape juice since it did not have time to ferment?

Thanks Smile


I can honestly conceive of no good reason to assume that Jesus made multiple gallons of fully fermented, alcoholic wine to keep an already intoxicated party going.

In any case, the miracle of Cana is meant to show that Christ gives the new wine of the Spirit, not to somehow justify drunkenness.

I get that...as I have read your position many times through the years.
My question was 'not" about that>

It seemed your analogy suggested that wine made and drunk the same day would have otherwise been nothing more than grape juice, therefore what Jesus made was simply grape juice because it did not have time to ferment.

So...once again - is that what you are suggesting? Smile
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Post It does seem ... Mat
It does seem the "new" wine was preferred over the "old," kind of like beer, after the first six PBR, any old beer taste good. At least that's what I've been told. I think that's what they said at the wedding feast - good wine was used first and then the other wine after they were will "drunk."

As I said above, if a pastor believes drinking wine is acceptable and it should be used in the communion service, do it. Tell you church, make a stand, and don't blame your having to use grape juice as a substitute as a "whipping boy" for why you are so much more insightful (spiritual) than the denomination.

Mat
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1/1/19 6:36 pm


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Post Re: It does seem ... Tom Sterbens
Mat wrote:

As I said above, if a pastor believes drinking wine is acceptable and it should be used in the communion service, do it. Tell you church, make a stand, and don't blame your having to use grape juice as a substitute as a "whipping boy" for why you are so much more insightful (spiritual) than the denomination.

Mat

Because one does not believe that scripture mandates abstinence or believes that the wine referenced in the Bible was indeed alcoholic - does not equate to "having" to drink wine privately, publicly or using wine for communion.
Using fermented wine at communion proves nothing.
Using grape juice at communion proves nothing.

I am very clear to our church about what I believe scripture to say concerning the consumption of alcohol.
I am also very clear about why I teach abstinence - but it has nothing to do with scripture saying one should not drink alcohol. Scripture does not say that.

Hope that helps. Thanks.
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1/2/19 12:47 am


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Post Nature Boy Florida
Tom , Thanks for sharing Coulter's position. I find he said what I believe so much better.

Quote:
However, in the 1800s drinking alcohol became such a problem that it led to a strong move toward abstinence among Christians within more revivalist parts of the movement. I’m thinking in particular of Methodists here but not exclusively so."


The fact is: A great revival coincided with the abstinence movement.
And again - for numerous reasons - alcohol is a scourge on the world today.
It would seem the church would lead the way on abstinence to rid the world of one more problem.
We are swiftly heading back to the dark ages willy-nilly.
Dilly-dilly.
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Post Re: It does seem ... Mat
Tom Sterbens wrote:
Mat wrote:

As I said above, if a pastor believes drinking wine is acceptable and it should be used in the communion service, do it. Tell you church, make a stand, and don't blame your having to use grape juice as a substitute as a "whipping boy" for why you are so much more insightful (spiritual) than the denomination.

Mat

Because one does not believe that scripture mandates abstinence or believes that the wine referenced in the Bible was indeed alcoholic - does not equate to "having" to drink wine privately, publicly or using wine for communion.
Using fermented wine at communion proves nothing.
Using grape juice at communion proves nothing.

I am very clear to our church about what I believe scripture to say concerning the consumption of alcohol.
I am also very clear about why I teach abstinence - but it has nothing to do with scripture saying one should not drink alcohol. Scripture does not say that.

Hope that helps. Thanks.


The "abstinence" for the common good position (in my opinion) results in the "do what you think is best" position - drink, don't drink - its up to the individual. It seems the "moderation" stand on drinking would be clearer.

We tend to point to the excess some who were raised in the "abstinence" tradition fall to when they indulge. However, I don't think all those binge drinkers on Spring Break, or at the frat house, are backsliden Church of God kids, nor do I think DUI's are caused by those raised in the "holiness" tradition who can't handle drinking.

As a matter of fact, many of our early COG founders were raising corn to distill into alcohol up there in the hills of NC before the holiness message came their way (some were good Baptist and Methodist). It was those early converts, who had experienced the destruction and poverty sown by alcohol. So they were the ones who in-braised the abstinence stand.

With all that said, if someone feels they have greater insight on the consumption of alcohol than their traditional denominational teachings, they should make a choice. Support the denomination's teaching, move out of the denomination and practice their liberty, or make a stand and try to bring about change in the teaching. There is something disingenuous about disagreeing publicly with the denomination's teachings while continuing in the "fellowship," and in the case of drinking, doing it out of the view of the denomination (which I know you are not doing - this is a generalization).

So again I say, if you feel that communion should be celebrated with wine, be bold and do so. I know my Anglican friends are committed to this position. Now they do say, if you are an alcoholic you can just take the bread of the communion and fulfill the "spirit" of the communion. They also say that if you are glutton intolerant you can just take the wine. If you're a glutton intolerant alcoholic, you're just out of communion.

Mat
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Post Re: It does seem ... Da Sheik
Quote:
There is something disingenuous about disagreeing publicly with the denomination's teachings while continuing in the "fellowship," and in the case of drinking, doing it out of the view of the denomination (which I know you are not doing - this is a generalization).


My initial post is about cultural bias and its effect on exegesis of scripture. Some cannot conceive in their mind that Jesus would turn water into wine. One might wonder why Christ was there in the first place if the occasion was as scandalous as some assert. Jesus was not there in a preaching capacity, he was simply accepting an invitation to a social gathering. Furthermore, if (as some posit) the scene were so raucous, why would Mary see the need for more wine, let alone enlisting her Son to help.

I wonder if some of you apply the same standard when you preach from Paul's epistles. For example, when Paul speaks of slaves and masters, do you feel the need to sanitize the text? Do you say Paul was really talking about the employee and employer relationship? I don't think anyone in 2019 (we started this thread last year LOL) thinks slavery is a good idea. So should the bible be changed to reflect our modern concept of slavery? Likewise, we can see the dangers of alcohol abuse. But does that give us license to change the scripture because of the abuses of others?
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Post Re: It does seem ... spartanfan
Da Sheik wrote:
Quote:
There is something disingenuous about disagreeing publicly with the denomination's teachings while continuing in the "fellowship," and in the case of drinking, doing it out of the view of the denomination (which I know you are not doing - this is a generalization).


My initial post is about cultural bias and its effect on exegesis of scripture. Some cannot conceive in their mind that Jesus would turn water into wine. One might wonder why Christ was there in the first place if the occasion was as scandalous as some assert. Jesus was not there in a preaching capacity, he was simply accepting an invitation to a social gathering. Furthermore, if (as some posit) the scene were so raucous, why would Mary see the need for more wine, let alone enlisting her Son to help.

I wonder if some of you apply the same standard when you preach from Paul's epistles. For example, when Paul speaks of slaves and masters, do you feel the need to sanitize the text? Do you say Paul was really talking about the employee and employer relationship? I don't think anyone in 2019 (we started this thread last year LOL) thinks slavery is a good idea. So should the bible be changed to reflect our modern concept of slavery? Likewise, we can see the dangers of alcohol abuse. But does that give us license to change the scripture because of the abuses of others?


The people who "change the scripture" to fit their theology are those who claim that oinos can only refer to wine with alcohol in it. Those who say "we can't know for sure" are those trying to be true to the text according to all of the great Greek scholars like Vine, Thayer, Arrington and others who stated as such (reference my last post above). Your case has been destroyed and you look silly claiming to know more than French!
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Post Spartanfan.... SHINTEX
I am not going to argue with you about the wine Jesus made.
But, please answer these questions for me.

Did the Corinthians communion wine have alcohol in it?

Why didn't Paul use that situation to teach abstinance?

Why did God in the OT tell the priests to use their tithe money to buy anything that they wanted including alcohol? Has God changed?

These are simple questions and only need a simple answer.

For the record again...I believe abstinence is the best way. But we cannot make a law where God has not.
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Post Tom Sterbens
Mat wrote:
There is something disingenuous about disagreeing publicly with the denomination's teachings while continuing in the "fellowship," and in the case of drinking, doing it out of the view of the denomination (which I know you are not doing - this is a generalization).


Mat,

How far would you take that logic?
Should I also leave the COG because I believe differently about the status of women in ministry than is currently accepted/defined by the COG?
If that is the case, then there are members of the COG Executive Committee that need to leave the fellowship.

Is it true that when an agenda item is presented at the GA that challenges the current posture on a matter is considered - that those who presented it should leave the denomination?

By way of example - Please review the historical position on divorce and remarriage in the COG and how that was changed.

I think dialog on these matters is a healthy thing.

Thanks...
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1/3/19 11:18 am


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Post Re: It does seem ... Tom Sterbens
spartanfan wrote:

The people who "change the scripture" to fit their theology are those who claim that oinos can only refer to wine with alcohol in it. Those who say "we can't know for sure" are those trying to be true to the text according to all of the great Greek scholars like Vine, Thayer, Arrington and others who stated as such (reference my last post above). Your case has been destroyed and you look silly claiming to know more than French!


What follows is a repost from something I posted here several years ago - I did not edit the text to specifically fit the nuance of the present conversation - so please read past that...

Tom Sterbens Repost wrote:

John 2:9-10 (NASB95)
9When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom,
10and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.”

One individual involved in the discussion asserted confidently that the wine Jesus had created was more like grape juice and even further went on to say that the phrase, “drunk freely” didn’t mean that they were inebriated in the least. Those on the other side rejected those assertions and argued for drinking from a place of Christian liberty.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of this experience for me was not the topic itself but the extreme positions that had been taken by either side. One side advocated that drinking (not drunkenness) was a sin and held the possibility of separating you from God for eternity. While the other side seemed to represent that those who exercised any such ideas were enemies of grace and liberty…not to mention that they were the cause for people not coming to Christ and the church. Each were equally convinced and as a result held a very condemning and at times, even condescending view of the other.

First - I am a non-drinker...period. Always have been. Further I believe that we presently live in one of the most self-entitled, addicted (and addictive) and excessive cultures ever. Further – the church where I am the pastor actively supports a residential substance recovery ministry and requires that we be sensitive to their reality. Second – I have no sense whatsoever that drinking alcohol will send you to hell or that it is prohibited in scripture.

But let’s use the talking point and current scripture reference at hand as sort of the jumping off point from:
John 2:10 (NASB95)
10and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.”
Initially I would like to note that the primary point of this segment of scripture is NOT to establish a Biblical position on the use of alcoholic beverages…and it’s a shame that we might get so caught up in debating the lesser point that we would miss the greater value and purpose of this wonderful event recorded here. Oh well…………

Disclaimer: I am no scholar...I just offer the following as a student.

At any rate...probably 95% of the commentaries I've read and the linguistics studies I have examined all support that this was wine as wine was understood to be wine. And that linguistically each of the 5 or 6 times that "methuo" ("drunk freely") is used it is very clear that drunkenness is understood. (Notwithstanding, some have made efforts to redirect that understanding by a couple of extraneous poetic uses of the term in the Septuagint).

The following is not intended to be seen as definitive "research" in any way...but just a quick listing of some sources that are pretty reliable and I have made a notation about the writer’s opinion of the text and language...I have probably 20 more that could be cited.

• Pulpit Commentary (it was wine/and drunk means drunk)
• Word Studies in the New Testament (Vincent) (wine/drunk)
• Robertson’s Word Pictures (disagrees perhaps with drunk – but confirms real wine)
• Matthew Henry (agrees/drunk-confused/wine was real)
• A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to St John, Volumes 1 & 2 – (senses dulled by drinking of the wine – which was wine)
• A Translator’s Handbook on the Gospel of John (drunk/it was wine)
• Preacher’s Commentary – (“Have well drunk” so that they were unable to differentiate in the quality of wine)
• Preaching the Word: Gospel of John (Hughes) It was wine and they were drunk
• Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains – 3499 – to get drunk, be drunk, be intoxicated
• Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Kittel) – drunk or drunkenness

Personally, I have never felt that I can build an airtight case for abstinence from John 2...or really support it at all. But admittedly I don't think one can build an airtight case for abstinence from the larger consideration of the entire Bible.


Spartanfan - In response to the assertion that holding a position other than the position Dr Arrington wrote would imply some sort of arrogance on my part of would leave me looking silly:

What I have posted is based on what other scholars have said, including that of a young and upcoming COG scholar who, in his lifetime, will probably hold a similar place of revere within the COG as is held by Dr Arrington (I am referring to Dr Dale Coulter). Further, there are other COG scholars who do not hold the position that Dr Arrington holds.

As stated, I teach abstinence - but I do not teach that scripture says abstinence is a mandate - but wisdom. (I can repost that defense as well if needed...)

Thanks,

tom


Last edited by Tom Sterbens on 1/3/19 12:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post I think (in the case of the COG) the ... Mat
Tom Sterbens wrote:
Mat wrote:
There is something disingenuous about disagreeing publicly with the denomination's teachings while continuing in the "fellowship," and in the case of drinking, doing it out of the view of the denomination (which I know you are not doing - this is a generalization).


Mat,

How far would you take that logic?
Should I also leave the COG because I believe differently about the status of women in ministry than is currently accepted/defined by the COG?
If that is the case, then there are members of the COG Executive Committee that need to leave the fellowship.

Is it true that when an agenda item is presented at the GA that challenges the current posture on a matter is considered - that those who presented it should leave the denomination?

By way of example - Please review the historical position on divorce and remarriage in the COG and how that was changed.

I think dialog on these matters is a healthy thing.

Thanks...


I think (in the case of the COG) those who have diverse views on the subject should submit position papers to the assembly. Why not "own it" if there is a deviation from scripture that should be corrected?

It is the lack of action over the years which keeps any issue (wine or women) from being more than a topic of debate. Whether its Sanctification or Initial Evidence, at some point the weight of discussion and "disbelieve" must compel sincere seekers of Divine truths to move beyond the "same-old same-old" discussions.

Mat
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Post Re: I think (in the case of the COG) the ... Tom Sterbens
Mat wrote:

I think (in the case of the COG) those who have diverse views on the subject should submit position papers to the assembly. Why not "own it" if there is a deviation from scripture that should be corrected?

It is the lack of action over the years which keeps any issue (wine or women) from being more than a topic of debate. Whether its Sanctification or Initial Evidence, at some point the weight of discussion and "disbelieve" must compel sincere seekers of Divine truths to move beyond the "same-old same-old" discussions.

Mat

Good words...
Good counsel...
Nothing but agreement here!
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1/3/19 12:12 pm


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Post Quiet Wyatt
I should also make it clear that I have never said that drinking alcohol is a sin. However, it still seems a big fat unfounded assumption that Jesus turned water into fully fermented wine. I see no good reason at all to believe the sinless Son of God would ever essentially sponsor what would quite likely become a drunken party such as that. It seems far more reasonable to my mind to imagine that the water He miraculously transsubstantiated into wine was of the spotless, uncorrupted, fresh kind. Are we to assume that people might someday get drunk in Heaven, at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb? (I’m not talking about getting drunk on the Spirit of God, mind you). Acts-perienced Poster
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