Spurgeon on Wine in the Bible

Note: This article is reprinted with permission from As I See It, a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at dkutilek@juno.com.

“The Wines of the Bible: an Examination and Refutation of the Unfermented Wine Theory. By the Rev. A. M. Wilson. Hamilton, Adams & Co.

936095_grape_vine.jpg‘UNFERMENTED wine’ is a non-existent liquid. Mr. Wilson has so fully proved this that it will require considerable hardihood to attempt a reply. The best of it is that he is a teetotalert of more than thirty years’ standing, and has reluctantly been driven ‘to conclude that, so far as the wines of the ancients are concerned, unfermented wine is a myth.’ While total abstainers are content to make no assault upon the cup used at the Lord’s table, they work harmoniously with all who seek the welfare of their fellow men; but when they commence warfare upon that point they usually become more factious than useful: everything is then made subordinate to their one idea, and the peace of the church is disregarded. It is well, therefore, that one of themselves should protest against carrying a principle to extremes, and best of all that he should do so by showing that the theories which have been advanced are utterly untenable. We wish the utmost success to the abstinence cause, and, therefore, trust that there will be no pressing of the question of unfermented wine at the Communion, for it will not promote the cause, and will create much heartburning, and, worst of all, it will be contrary to the Divine precedent. The question is not necessary to the temperance movement, and we wish it had never been raised. Mr. Wilson has written the thick volume now before us to settle the matter, and we believe that he establishes beyond reasonable debate that the wines of the Bible were intoxicating, and that our Lord did not ordain jelly or syrup, or cherry juice to be the emblem of his sacrifice.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon
The Sword and the Trowel, 1877, p. 437

“Unfermented Communion Wine

A question having been raised, in The Christian Commonwealth, as to the wine used at the communion services at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Mr. Spurgeon wrote to the Editor as follows:—

Dear Sir,

We use Frank Wright’s unfermented wine at the Tabernacle, and have never used any other unfermented wine. I am given to understand that some of the so-called unfermented wine has in it a considerable amount of alcohol; but Mr. Wright’s is the pure juice of the grape. One person advertised his wine as used at the Tabernacle though we had never used it even on one occasion. So far as we are concerned, we use no wine but that produced by Messrs. Frank Wright, Mundy, and Co.

Yours truly,
C. H. Spurgeon”

C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, IV, p. 135
London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1900
(also reprinted in facsimile by Pilgrim Publications)

“Certain neighbours of mine laugh at me for being a teetotaler, and I might well laugh at them for being drunk, only I feel more inclined to cry that they should be such fools.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Writing in the guise of his character “John Ploughman”
John Ploughman’s Pictures, pp. 41-2
Pilgrim Publications (Pasadena, Tex.) reprint, 1974

[For the best account known to me of Spurgeon’s reported ale- and wine-drinking in his younger days and his adoption of total abstinence, see C. H. Spurgeon by Arnold Dallimore (Moody Press, 1984), pp. 181-183. For the best recent article on wine and alcoholic beverages in the Bible, see Norman Geisler, “A Christian Perspective on Wine-Drinking,” Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 139, no. 553, January-March 1982, pp. 46-56. —Doug]

kutilek.jpgDoug Kutilek is editor of www.kjvonly.org, a website dedicated to exposing and refuting the many errors of KJVOism, and has been researching and writing about Bible texts and versions for more than 35 years. He has a B.A. in Bible from Baptist Bible College (Springfield, MO), an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Hebrew Union College (Cincinnati), and a Th.M. in Bible exposition from Central Baptist Theological Seminary (Plymouth, MN). A professor in several Bible institutes, college, graduate schools, and seminaries, he edits a monthly cyber-journal, As I See It. The father of four grown children and four granddaughters, he and his wife, Naomi, live near Wichita, Kansas.
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