The Mocker and the Brawler

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dmicah's picture

This guy's back must be hurting after sweeping so many generalities at one time.

Jim's picture

I found the article helpful because ...

  • Has the strong Biblical warnings about drink: "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler" ... while
  • "not condemn[ing] the enjoyment of wine, [and] warn[ing] of the danger of intoxication"

The easiest and safest position is the total abstinence position. 

Lee's picture

Is wine the only inanimate object and/or substance that is attributed character traits by Scripture (i.e., it is a scorner; it is a brawler)?

Lee

dmicah's picture

Jim wrote:

I found the article helpful because ...

  • Has the strong Biblical warnings about drink: "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler" ... while
  • "not condemn[ing] the enjoyment of wine, [and] warn[ing] of the danger of intoxication"

The easiest and safest position is the total abstinence position. 

C'mon Jim. The Bible not only doesn't prohibit alcohol, it clearly expresses the blessing of using alcohol. It's a gift. Abstinence, therefore, is not in alignment with what the Scriptures actually teach.

Jim's picture

dmicah wrote:

Jim wrote:

I found the article helpful because ...

  • Has the strong Biblical warnings about drink: "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler" ... while
  • "not condemn[ing] the enjoyment of wine, [and] warn[ing] of the danger of intoxication"

The easiest and safest position is the total abstinence position. 

C'mon Jim. The Bible not only doesn't prohibit alcohol, it clearly expresses the blessing of using alcohol. It's a gift. Abstinence, therefore, is not in alignment with what the Scriptures actually teach.

I didn't call the total abstinence position Scriptural. I called it easy and safe. There is tension with wine and strong drink in the Scriptures:

  • "... spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household" (Deuteronomy 14:25-27) with ...
  • "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise." (Proverbs 20:1)

It's easy to take the don't do it at all position... and ignore the other

In defense of total abstinence ... guaranteed never to be drunk AND never to offend a weaker brother. So it is safe in that sense. 

dmicah's picture

Jim,

for every verse warning about the abuse of alcohol, there's about 20 promoting it. so there's little tension. If the Lord gave it as a gift, there is not tension. If Jesus made and consumed wine, there' s not biblical tension.

The only tension comes from those who think Christians shouldn't drink. At the end of the day, it's a matter of conviction. But it's not the "higher ground" or wiser position. It's just a personal conviction. 

BTW, I don't buy the  "offend a brother" portion of your argument. Usually that "offense" is simply bugging someone who doesn't think a Christian should drink. Truly causing a brother to sin is a hypothetical so statistically anomalous it is more straw man than reality.

Do you apply your abstinence is best argument to marital relations??

Larry's picture

Moderator

Abstinence, therefore, is not in alignment with what the Scriptures actually teach.

So you would say that someone is disobedient if they abstain?

Jim's picture

While this question was not directed towards me, I'll provide my view:

Larry asked: "So you would say that someone is disobedient if they abstain?"

My answer: Absolutely not. For many if not most this is a wise decision

josh p's picture

Promoting it? Are we talking proscription or description? I can't think of five verses that promote drinking for every one against its abuse let alone twenty.

David R. Brumbelow's picture

“C'mon Jim. The Bible not only doesn't prohibit alcohol, it clearly expresses the blessing of using alcohol.”

That is an absolutely false statement. 
The Bible never uses the word “alcohol.”  There was no such word for it in Bible times. 

Scripture uses words for “wine” and “shekar.”  They were used of alcoholic drinks; they were also used of nonalcoholic drinks. 
The statement above is an “interpretation,” not “what the Bible says.” 

When the Bible commends wine, the question is whether it is commending alcoholic wine or nonalcoholic wine. 
And the Bible certainly, without a doubt, condemns alcoholic wine, the kind that makes you drunk.  It describes alcoholic wine by the effect it has on you, then says it is a mocker, brawler, and not to even look at it (Proverbs 20:1; 23:29-35). 

Finally, nonalcoholic wine was common in Bible times and easily preserved and available.  They had a choice then, just as we do today.  The right choice is abstinence from beverage alcohol. 
David R. Brumbelow

James K's picture

Micah, if it was so obvious as you claim, why did Paul have to tell Timothy to drink some because of his illness?  Why do you think Timothy wasn't drinking some?

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

SuzanneT's picture

Nothing to disagree with in that article, the man speaks truth. I didn't see it as either promoting (as such) or forbidding adult beverages. I don't see scripture doing this either. I think it does come down to personal conviction. 

Todd Bowditch's picture

James K wrote:

Micah, if it was so obvious as you claim, why did Paul have to tell Timothy to drink some because of his illness?  Why do you think Timothy wasn't drinking some?

James, there is no context for the statement...all that is known was that Timothy had a stomach issue and Paul told him to take some wine. Use something else to support your position. This passage does nothing to support your view.

We don't know that Timothy wasn't taking some wine...
We don't know why Timothy was or was not taking wine...

We don't know the nature of Paul's advice...i.e. "Have you tried taking Nyquil for your cough?" does not imply that the other person has a specific prohibition or predisposition against Nyquil....

We don't know the alcoholic content of the "wine"...though we may presume it to be more alcoholic for it do do any good...

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

James K's picture

Todd, I never gave my position.  I asked a couple of questions.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Todd Bowditch's picture

James K wrote:

Todd, I never gave my position.  I asked a couple of questions.

James, I apologize if I misunderstood....you appeared to be using rhetorical questions to advance your opinion on the matter.

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

John E.'s picture

Jim, although you and I probably ultimately disagree on this issue, I appreciate your tone; and I respect your position on abstinence. You are correct that abstinence is the best way to avoid overindulgence. There are many times that I get the feeling that people are imbibing in ignorance.

I’m never sure why my brothers and sisters who don’t abstain feel a need to convince those who do abstain. I’m often left wondering whom they are actually trying to convince.

David, you wrote “nonalcoholic wine was common in Bible times and easily preserved and available.” I am very familiar with vinification, brewing, and distilling, and am also familiar with the history of alcohol and I am curious what your sources are for that statement.

Grapes contain everything needed for the natural process of fermentation. There is a very active yeast strain in the grape skins (as well as a yeast strain present on the skins that is deposited by bees and other bugs. This yeast strain is very fragile and is killed off once the wine reaches around 7-8% abv.) Along with the yeast, grapes contain sugar that the yeast converts into alcohol. The potential for the abv is determined by many things (soil conditions, climate, and other terroir elements as well as when in the season the grapes were harvested) but the two most important factors are the type(s) of yeast strain and the amount of sugar present. Grapes found in Israel have an unusually high level of sugar and, hence, the wine from that area has a higher than normal abv (this is one of the reasons the Romans disdained Jewish wine). Now, as SOON as the grape skins are crushed (being dropped in the bucket does it), the fermentation process begins. It takes less than 24 hours for the fermentation to reach a high enough level to kill of the fragile, wild yeast ON the skins. It takes between two – six weeks (the more sugar, the longer it takes and the more alcohol) for the wine to reach its max of 15% abv (the yeast strain naturally present in wine skins is killed off at around 15%). Granted, that 15% abv is assuming that all the conditions are favorable; in Israel, it usually is and was.

Fermentation is a natural process and the ancient people groups didn’t understand it enough to control it. They did know cool things like burning sulphur candles inside the storage containers prevented the wine from oxidizing; this preserves the wine and the flavor characteristics of the wine. Vintners today generally use their understanding of fermentation to lower the alcohol content. Fortified wines are an exception, but I guarantee you that if you go by your local grocery store and look at the wine on the shelves, you’ll find that the majority of the wine is below 14.5%. Everything that isn’t, is a fortified wine. The ancients didn’t know how to slow down, much less stop, the natural fermentation of the grapes. So, I’m not sure that I believe your claim. As I stated above, would you mind listing your sources?

One final thing about ancient alcohol that is rarely known or discussed – ancient alcoholic drinks often included ingredients that we now know are hallucinogenic. Before the Greeks and the Romans, most ancient people groups drank alcohol from the time they woke up until the time they passed out. So, not only were God’s chosen people surrounded by societies that were constantly drunk; those societies were also often tripping, too. God’s demand for Holiness in this area takes on a more robust character when understood in context of how “separate” and different from their pagan neighbors that He expected them to be.

David R. Brumbelow's picture

John E.,

Ancients did know how to slow down, and stop, the fermentation of grapes. 

I have extensive sources, both ancient and modern.  People like Aristotle, Pliny, Plutarch, Athenaeus...  They are listed in detail in “Ancient Wine and the Bible” (see ad at this site).  What is more, these same processes can be recreated today. 

Ancient people were much more capable and knowledgeable than most realize.  And very few today, including winemakers, know these ancient methods. 

Actually, unfermented wine was easier for ancients to produce and preserve than alcoholic wine. 
1.  Methods included boiling down fresh wine to a thick consistency that would not spoil or ferment.  When ready to drink, they simply added water.  This thick, strong wine (grape molasses, pekmez, vincotto) was also used for cooking. 
I have some of this thick, strong wine.  I opened it and left it at room temperature ever since.  After over three years it is as good as when I opened it.  It has not fermented or spoiled. 
2.  The grape harvest lasted six months.   Some grapes ripened in early season, some not until after a frost.  Therefore fresh grapes could be picked during a large part of each year and pressed into unfermented wine. 
3.  Certain type grapes would keep fresh for months.  This has been proven from both ancient and modern sources.  These grapes could be pressed into nonalcoholic wine at any time of the year (Genesis 40:11). 
4.  Dried grapes or raisins were re-hydrated and pressed into fresh un-intoxicating wine, a practice used by many Jews right up to modern times.  Ancient warriors were issued cakes of dried grapes to make their own wine as needed. 
5.  Nonalcoholic wine was also preserved with salt and lactic fermentation.  It is actually a nonalcoholic fermentation.  It was not called lactic fermentation in ancient times, but they clearly used it.  They even speak of how most wine was treated with seawater.  They say wine treated with seawater does not produce a headache (hangover). 

People of ancient times had available both alcoholic and nonalcoholic wine.  Nonalcoholic wine was common.  Aristotle said sweet wine would not intoxicate.  Plutarch discussed why some wine would intoxicate, and some would not.  So they had a choice in Bible times, just as we do today.
David R. Brumbelow

John E.'s picture

Thank you for your response, David. I don't see a link. Is it for a book, an article, or a website? If book, I'll put it on my Amazon wish list. Christmas is around the corner, so it won't be on the wish list long.

 

I'm familiar with some of the methods you mention, although, to be honest, I didn't know that it was believed that those methods produced non-alcoholic wine. Those methods were used to keep the wine from turning into vinegar, and for preservation. I acknowledged that the ancients knew more about the process than many people today are aware of. The bit about burning sulpher candles to halt the oxidation.

 

I'm not sure what you mean by "fresh wine." Freshly squeezed/crushed grapes? If so, how would boiling it halt the fermentation process? The must is often produced by boiling, as is the wort for beer. You mentioned that you have some of this wine; what's the name of the company? As a brewer, I'm curious if it was produced the same way it was 2,000 years ago.

 

Why do you believe that freshly picked grapes won't ferment? Did you mean "unripe grapes?" If so, that makes a little more sense. Unripe grapes will have less sugar, and hence produce a wine with a lower abv. The wine from unripe grapes will also be bitter.

 

I'm not sure how to respond to point 4, because I don't know what long-lasting grapes have to do with the fermentation process. Are you claiming that there are grapes that either don't contain yeast or sugar? Every grape strain that I'm aware of contains the necessary "ingredients" to produce alcohol. However, most grapes lack things like the right acid level needed to produce wine with the desired flavor profiles.

 

The dried cakes issued to ancient warriors (beer and wine) were most definitely alcoholic. The ancients learned how to store wine in order to preserve it. For example -depending on the type of grape, some wines had to be stored indoors in cool conditions, others outdoors in dry and warm conditions. Of course, traveling armies didn't have the advantage of being picky with how wine and beer (modern beer, unless bottle conditioned, goes bad after a year.) was stored. The ancients learned to dry the must and wort out and cut it into easily carried cakes. Add water, and presto, wine or beer. If the warriors drank it right away, it wouldn't have had the abv of "old wine."

 

The lack of ph level in salt does counteract the high ph level of yeast which has a negative affect on fermentation. It also has a negative affect on taste. Vintners from the Libya region were known from adding salt-water to their wine (after fermentation), and it was not a wine considered desirable. Wine merchants on Rhode would mix seawater with the wine in order to make it cheaper. Once again, the saltwater was added after the fermentation process was over. Salt was also added for medicinal reasons. If you're basing your argument for the availability of alcohol on the ability of salt to retard fermentation, I'm not sure that it holds. Salty wine was not considered ideal, and most of the evidence is for saltwater being added after the wine was fermented.

A good source is a book title Drink and be Merry: Wine and Beer in Ancient Times published by The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

Aristotle - the quote is most often translated "it is wine in name, but not in effect." He was referring to new wine. What was the effect? New wine would've had a lower abv, but unless they drank it within hours of pressing, new wine still contained alcohol. Did the ancients prefer new wine or old wine? The Bible says "old wine" - Luke 5:39. And, new wine still got ya' drunk - Acts 2:13. Aristotle is also the guy who said that no one under the age of 18 should drink wine. If he believed that non-alcoholic was readily available, don't you think he would have added a disclaimer?

I've read Pliny: Book XIV, and I don't remember him saying anything about non-alcoholic wine. That doesn't mean he didn't, that just means that I don't remember it. I did, after reading your reply, briefly skim the chapters in which I thought he may have said something about non-alcoholic wine. To speed up the process, and in order to save me the hassle of rereading the Book, do you remember which chapter contains information about non-alcoholic wines? (I did re-read the chapter, "Seven Kinds of Salted Wines" - it's a short chapter. According to Pliny, all seven of the wines have the salt added after fermentation.) 

I am aware that Plutarch gave a list of medicinal purposes for different types of wine, but I was unaware that he said anything about wine that doesn't intoxicate. Am I safe in assuming that relevant passages will be referenced in the book/article you mentioned?

Interesting discussion. Please note that nothing I've said is to be construed by itself as an argument for or against a Believer's use of alcohol for recreational purposes. I obviously have my beliefs, but I would never state, for example, that the fact that salt was added after fermentation is a reason why Believer's can drink alcoholic wine. 

 

In the issue of full-disclosure and authority - I'm currently studying to become a certified judge for the Craft Beer Association of America. I'm not a novice when it comes to alcohol, its history, nor its manufacture.

alex o.'s picture

Its hard to believe that anyone today would contend for a non-alcoholic wine reference in the Bible. If there existed such a non-alcoholic wine in Israel surely it would have been mentioned somewhere in extant writings, but no mention is found. Non-alcoholic wine in ancient times is a fantasy and pure speculation.

 

I am embarrassed for Paige Patterson (imagine, this guy is a president of SWBTS) when he gives the foreword to Brumbelow's book: 

The Case for Abstinence, addresses the subject with keen logic, a grasp of history, and thorough exegesis of biblical literature. Acknowledging that the Scriptures do not retain an expressed mandate against drinking alcoholic beverages as "thou shalt not steal,"he, nevertheless, demonstrates that the overwhelming witness of the Bible is like a mighty breaking wave on the north shore of Oahu, demanding abstinence based on case histories of the devastation of "strong drink" added to the "wisdom" literature of the Bible in its repeated call for abstinence.

 

There are a couple of "hooray" reviews for Brumbelow's book at Amazon. However for a review with some substance, check out what L.M. Jordan had to say.

http://www.amazon.com/review/RHFCT2PFP9FIW/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#RHFCT2PF...

"Our faith itself... is not our saviour. We have but one Saviour; and that one Saviour is Jesus Christ our Lord.  B.B. Warfield

http://beliefspeak2.net

Greg Long's picture

Thank you, alexo, for posting the link to that amazon review. As that reviewer points out in his opening few statements, the two-wine theory doesn't make any logical sense, leaving aside the linguistic and historical evidence against it.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

John E.'s picture

Thank you, alex o, for posting the link. I wasn't aware that it was a book, and I definitely (obviously) wasn't aware that the author is the individual that I was/am interacting with in this thread. 

For what it's worth, I'm planning on buying the book, and taking the time to sit down with it and engage the contents.

dmicah's picture

Just awoke from a drunken stupor to see these responses... Biggrin

Larry, I don't believe someone is wrong to abstain. I think they are missing out on a blessing. However, no reverse legalism here. I've got friends who don't drink because of past associations that were so negative before they came to Christ. But abstinence is not the scriptural proscription. It is the exception.

JoshP - search wine, strong drink, and all related words, you'll be surprised at the number of pro-alcohol verses in Scripture. I may have been applying political hyperbole when I said 20 - 1, but the positive verses greatly outweigh the negative. And the negative are prohibitions against drunkenness and excess, not intake.

David, I'm sorry that your life's work is tied up in the non-alcoholic wine theory. But that whole line of reasoning is irrational, eisegetical and full of preconceived notions. It's been debated ad infinitum on SI. So no need to caterwaul about it.

We've beaten this topic a few times, obviously. As I stated originally, the OP article was sweeping in its logic with no substantiating thought. 

David R. Brumbelow's picture

John E., and others,
Boiling down the wine prevented fermentation in this way:  They would boil fresh pressed grape juice, a slow boil, down to a thick consistency.  About the consistency of honey.  This thick, strong wine will not spoil or ferment.  They used it for food, or would add water to use for drinking.  It is called by a number of names.  I have grape molasses, made in Beirut, Lebanon, ordered from Amazon (al wadi al akhdar).  It says to refrigerate after opening.  I opened it, then purposely left it at room temperature to see if it would keep.  It has kept well for about three years.  This process prevents fermentation. 

The point of the good-keeping grapes is:  They prevented fermentation by keeping certain type grapes fresh.  These grapes could be kept fresh for months without fermenting.  Ancient and modern sources confirm this and documentation is given in “Ancient Wine and the Bible.”  When ready to drink un-intoxicating wine they simply pressed the grapes into a cup or bowl (Genesis 40:11).  There are even accounts of squeezing a cluster of grapes for the Lord’s Supper.

The book discusses lactic fermentation and gives ancient and modern documentation of this process. 

Yes, much of what you mention is quoted and documented in the book.  John E., I appreciate you being willing to buy it and read it for yourself.  Most just want to dispute it without reading or seriously considering it.  By the way, while the book is selling well, I’ve spent much more in producing and advertising it than I will ever make back.  Lest anyone thinks I’m getting rich from it. 

If Dr. Paige Patterson, president of SWBTS, and a number of other authorities recommend “Ancient Wine and the Bible, perhaps it should not simply be dismissed by mocking and ridicule. 
http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2012/03/dr-r-l-sumner-on-ancient-win...

David R. Brumbelow

David R. Brumbelow's picture

Some quotes on unfermented wine: 

“Concentrating grape juice down by heating is still used to make the popular shireh of modern Iran and was known to the ancient peoples of Mesopotamia as well as the Greeks and Romans.  It enables fruit to be preserved, and, diluted with water, it produces a refreshing, nonalcoholic beverage.” 
-Ancient Wine:  The Search For The Origins Of Viniculture by Patrick E. McGovern, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 2003; p. 54.  This book is very pro fermented wine.  The quote is noteworthy, however, in that it reveals a common way today and in ancient times to preserve wine in an unfermented condition. 

“IN AS MUCH as the Greek word oinos is the translation in the Septuagint of the Hebrew word yayin when the latter clearly means the freshly pressed juice of the grapes, this is proof that oinos may mean unfermented grape juice. See Isaiah 16:10 "the treaders shall tread out no yayin (Hebrew), oinos (Greek) in their presses." The meaning of both yayin and oinos is obviously unfermented grape juice. In Proverbs 3:10 the freshly pressed juice of the grape is also called oinos in this same Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, a version which the inspired New Testament writers frequently quoted. In this passage, where the King James Version reads "thy presses shall burst out with new wine" (new wine translating Hebrew tirosh) the Septuagint simply uses the word oinos without any adjective new.1 What comes from the presses is not alcoholic!” 
-Dr. Stephen Reynolds.  Reynolds is a Presbyterian scholar, holds a Ph.D from Princeton University, and has worked in biblical and oriental languages.  He contributed to the translation of the NIV, and his written articles in Baker’s Dictionary of Ethics edited by Dr. Carl F. H. Henry.

Tarentine wine is taken as “the pattern for wines of deep southern Italy: they are all ‘simple,’ not intoxicating, not forceful, pleasant, easy on the stomach. Horace, Odes 2.6.19-20; Pliny NH 14.69; Statius, Silvae 2.2.111; Martial 13.125; Juvenal 6.297; Athenaeus E 27c.”
-Andrew Dalby, “Food in the Ancient World From A to Z.”  This is a secular book, Dalby a historian, linguist. 

Nicander, a second century BC Greek poet, states, “And Oineus squeezed it [grapes] out into hollow cups and called it wine [oinos].”

Two Jewish Encyclopedias say tirosh (translated “wine” in English Bibles) was always unfermented.  For example, the Jewish Encyclopedia states, “ ‘Tirosh’ includes all kinds of sweet juices and must, and does not include fermented wine (Tosef., Ned. iv. 3).”

Young’s Analytical Concordance says of yayin, “What is pressed out, grape juice.”  Of oinos, “wine, grape juice.”  Of chemer, “a thick, sticky syrup.”

Jesus referred to both unfermented wine and fermented wine in the same verse, Matthew 9:17, and called them both “wine.”
Proverbs 3:10; Isaiah 16:10 refer to just pressed grapes, which would be unfermented, as wine. 

Isaiah 65:8 even calls a cluster of grapes “wine.”

Of course, Ancient Wine and the Bible” gives much more evidence of this. 
David R. Brumbelow

Mike Harding's picture

David,

 

I have your book.  Thanks for all the work.  I have written a lengthy sermon on the subject available on our church website (fbctroy.org).   Having been a fulltime pastor for over 35 years, with a large congregation and Christian school, I have witnessed the destructive influence of alcohol as a beverage in the lives of people.  Many of my own relatives have ruined their lives, their health, their marriages, and their livelihood because of booze.  Thank you for warning about the destructive influence of alcohol as a beverage.  You are doing the church a good service.

Pastor Mike Harding

alex o.'s picture

of course they did this to produce a jam-like product that stayed wholesome for a long time like any dehydrated product. I believe archeologists have found remnants of this from ancient times. having acknowledged this as a part of their production, how much fuel would it take to dehydrate their whole harvest every year? the amount of fuel would be staggering and impossible to accomplish. remember, fuel sources in Israel consisted of thorns, dry grasses, animal dung, etc. to even suggest Israelites boiled any significant part of their harvest is just not very credible.

the primary method of preservation was fresh skins storage that would swell during fermentation producing an alcoholic wine just like all their neighbors in the fertile crescent and surrounding area. if the Israelites did something unique for a sizable part of their population, wouldn't that have stuck out in the minds of those who transversed this "gateway to the nations" (Ezek.) and be recorded in extant records? it is safe to say Israel produced and drank alcoholic wine and enjoyed it everyday (in measure) since water was and is still a precious commodity which cannot be kept stored without pathogenic contamination.

"Our faith itself... is not our saviour. We have but one Saviour; and that one Saviour is Jesus Christ our Lord.  B.B. Warfield

http://beliefspeak2.net

Jim McLeish's picture

Interesting discussion.  Anyone want to weigh in on wineskins?  Christ taught the little parable in the synoptics, giving me these Qs:

Was it only the liquid, "new" wine that was stored in skins, or was it a "paste"?

Was it liquid expansion, or gases released, that expanded and stretched  the skins?

When it fermented in the skins was any other agent added?

When traveling, could the fermented wine in the skins be poured out to disinfect bad or questionable water?

Wineskins are in both OT and NT...were there any significant differences over time?

Anyone have an image, drawing, or picture of what they might have looked like?

Any good sources or online resources?

Jim McLeish

Jim McLeish
Plymouth MN

alex o.'s picture

Jim wrote:

never to offend a weaker brother. So it is safe in that sense. 

drinking wine in our day can never offend (in the biblical sense) a fellow Christian. yes, in my own family some don't drink alcohol, and I don't in their presence, but it is different to the biblical demand to not cause stumbling blocks.

here is what I mean: it would be the same if a fellow believer said to you to not step on cracks in the sidewalk because it will break your mother's back. it would be silly to you and you would try to disabuse them of their faulty belief (o.k., this is not the best example and different on a few levels, but focus on the point of "faulty beliefs").

when Paul speaks of drinking no wine in Rom. 14 to not cause stumbling, he is speaking of wine offered to Dionysus, the god of the grape harvest. some cities during Paul's day had temples to both the Roman and Greek gods of wine. all the wine produced had to be offered in some sense to these pagan gods.

[when Paul mentioned "abominable drinking parties" elsewhere, he is referring to the symposium, convivium, or other assemblies of Bacchus.]

so the issue is not about the alcohol in wine in Romans, but about things sacrificed to idols. historically and textually I find this exegesis undeniable. 

"Our faith itself... is not our saviour. We have but one Saviour; and that one Saviour is Jesus Christ our Lord.  B.B. Warfield

http://beliefspeak2.net

James K's picture

Alex,

"when Paul speaks of drinking no wine in Rom. 14 to not cause stumbling, he is speaking of wine offered to Dionysus, the god of the grape harvest. some cities during Paul's day had temples to both the Roman and Greek gods of wine. all the wine produced had to be offered in some sense to these pagan gods."

I wonder why Paul didn't just say that.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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