Two Wine Theory

grapes from sun-maid raisin trade paperA few large denominations in the US are tee-totallers.  This often puzzles others, who read that Jesus turned water into wine in the New Testament story of the Wedding at Cana and thus, not illogically, conclude that Jesus was not offended by wine-drinking.  This is what the world of Christendom at large believed, up until the temperance movement created and propulgated the Two Wine theory.  The idea is that there are two different kinds of wine in the Bible, one for wine that is what most of us understand by wine, and one for what is essentially grape juice, or unfermented ‘wine.’

There is an interesting history behind the Two Wine theory.

In the mid 1800s an American temperance movement organization offered a prize of one hundred sovereigns “for the best Essay on the Benefits of Total Abstinence from All Intoxicating Drinks.” Two articles, called Bachus and Anti-bachus, won the prize. Bacchus was written by Ralph Barnes Grindrod, and Anti-Bacchus was written by Rev. B. Parsons.  They were the original proponents of the 2 wine theory.

In the 1920s William Patton wrote a book called Bible Wines, which was largely based on those two essays.  It gained huge popularity with the teetotalling churches, and countless articles, sermons, essays, Bible classes, even workbooks have been produced from Patton’s work or derivatives of it. His book is still in print.

What Patton and his disciples either did not know or did not care about is that in 1841, Dr. John MacLean, Professor of Ancient Languages at the College of New Jersey published a devastating criticism of those two essays.  His article was published in two parts by The Princeton Review, Volumes 13 and 14
Bacchus and Anti-Bacchus, Part 1
Part II

He demonstrated that authors of both the temperance essays  had misquoted ancient writers, taken things out of context, poorly understand the science of wine-making, and just plain gotten it wrong on almost all counts.

Patton presents quotes that Parsons and Grindrod took from authors such as Pliny, Columella, Aristotle, and others who lived contemporarily with the Apostles or earlier. McLean shows that some of these quotes were taken out of context, and that these ancient authors actually provide ample proof that the Two Wine Theory is false.

One example is the claim that grape juice was frequently boiled into a syrup, in order to prevent fermentation. The truth (as shown by McLean from documents written during or before the time of Christ) is that the must was boiled into a syrup prior to fermentation in order to improve, not prevent, fermentation. It had the effect of producing a concentrated wine (similar to our concentrated orange juice) that was both extremely sweet and extremely alcoholic. This is the wine we read about that was “always diluted with water” (i.e., reconstituted).

[it was still alcoholic when diluted, just not as powerfully so as the concentrate]

Another example is the claim that Pliny describes a process for preventing fermentation by allowing the must to settle. McLean shows that Parsons mistranslated the word “deferbuit” and that it really referred to the cessation of fermentation (i.e., not “when it has settled” but “when it has ceased to ferment”).

McLean also shows that during the first century, and well before, the words we associate with wine and strong drink were not used unmodified to refer to unfermented beverages. Any time an unfermented beverage was mentioned, it was always by some other term. He also shows from ancient documents that there was no concept of “two wines”, but only one that was always fermented. ”

Maclean, according to his own explanation, was motivated by his zeal for accurately understanding the Bible. From his article:
“But when they invade the sanctuary of God, and teach for doctrine the commandments of men; when they wrest the scriptures, and make them speak a language at variance with the truth when they assume positions opposed to the precepts of Christ, and to the peace of his church; when, in reference to wine, which the Saviour made the symbol of his shed blood, in the most sacred rite of his holy religion, they assert that it is a thing condemned of God and injurious to men, and use the language of the Judaizing teachers in the ancient church, “touch not, taste not, handle not,”* when Christ has commanded all his disciples to drink of it in remembrance of him, we cannot consent to let such sentiments pass with¬out somewhat of the rebuke which they so richly deserve. “

His work had fallen into obscurity when in the midst of the 1920s era Prohibition fervor in America, William Patton relied heavily on the previously debunked Bacchus and AntiBachus articles and revived the false 2 wine theory in his book Bible Wines or the Laws of Fermentation and Wines of the Ancients, which is still being published and misleading people today. I do not know if he was ignorant of the fact that those two articles had been debunked, or if he was dishonest. At any rate, his ideas influenced the religious world, including authors of commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and other materials, and so this false information was disseminated throughout American denominations, and often from here, elsewhere.

One interesting thing to me is that when I have shared this background information with people who still believe in the two-wine theory, they always  hasten to assure me that they reached their two-wine theory conclusion entirely independently, studying out the issue for themselves without relying on any outside study, just the Bible.  The reason they believe that wine in the Bible is mostly nonalcoholic is entirely uninfluenced by Patton or the Temperance Movement.  This is, frankly, impossible. They sincerely believe in the independence of their research.  They may well be ignorant of America’s temperance movement and have never heard of Patton or the articles he relied on, and so they think this proves that their conclusions were clear of such outside influences.

However,  if we are able to have a civil conversation about what they believe and why, I always learn this is not accurate. They will make an extra-biblical historical claim (which is not correct, and the error will be the same as Patton’s), explain the process of fermentation in a way that is both scientifically false and also clearly traceable to the errors in the Temperance essays, or they define a word in a way that could only have come from one of the links in the two wine theory arguments started in the Bachus and Anti-Bachus essays and widely spread by William Patton.  Again, these are honest errors, but the influence is clear to those who have read both Patton and McClean.

But, it is not even necessary to search archives of nineteenth century literature to expose the false statements in Patton’s book. All you have to do is use your favorite internet search engine and look for things like “anaerobic fermentation” or look up “fermentation” in an encyclopedia. For example, Patton says that one method of preventing fermentation was to bury containers of grape juice in order to exclude air. He says excluding air will prevent fermentation. That’s demonstrably false. Vinous fermentation is an anaerobic process that works better when air is excluded. In addition, excluding the air prevents acetous fermentation, which is what turns wine into vinegar. Another benefit to burying a container of must, is that it would stay nicely in the middle of the 50-75 degree range necessary for optimum vinous fermentation (which Patton says would be impossible in Palestine two thousand years ago). Patton also says that adding sulfur to the must was for the purpose of preventing fermentation. However, sulfur was (and sometimes still is) added to prevent the acetous fermentation of wine into vinegar. The purpose is to ensure that the finished product will be an alcoholic beverage.”

Another interesting point for those who, like me, find these historical details fascinating- Welch’s Grape Juice was first introduced to the public as non-alcoholic wine, and was marketed specifically to churches as a replacement for communion wines.

welch's grape juice

From “Principles of marketing; a textbook for colleges and schools of business administration” published in 1921

All churches, including those groups who are now known for their staunch opposition to all alcohol use,  used real wine in communion because there really wasn’t a readily available alternative until Dr. Welch, a staunch Methodist and strong supporter of the temperance movement, patented his process for pasteurizing grape juice and marketed it to churches. Some of the grape juice only for communion groups didn’t even make the switch until Prohibition.

From the 1925 The Story of a Pantry Shelf: An Outline History of Grocery Specialities: “Thus the Methodist Church in the little village of Vineland was the first church to use unfermented wine for communion. It was called “Dr. Welch’s Unfermented Wine.” The home kitchen continued for several years to be the only factory.”

 

Welch's grape juice ad 1921

 

To be continued.

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11 Comments

  1. Larry
    Posted March 3, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Headmistress,

    While the history behind the so called temperance movement in the U.S. is interesting, I don’t think it serves as any authoritative measure as to whether the Bible sanctions such usage or not. I find it inconceivable that Jesus would have served the kind of wine described in Proverbs 20:1 and 23:29-35 at the wedding feast in John 2. This alone should lead any thinking person to conclude there is more than one kind of wine in the Bible.

    This is the fundamental question that needs to be asked: is the beverage intoxicating in nature or not? Whether one considers it fermented or not doesn’t address the real issue. A reasonable person can see the difference in giving a pregnant woman or a child a couple of glasses of grape juice versus an equal quantity of our modern wines (http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm).

    Modern wines contain high contents of alcohol — which are equivalent to drugs. So when people advocate drinking alcohol in moderation, what they’re really saying is it’s okay to use drugs in moderation. Of course, drugs (including alcohol) have their proper place in medicine (1 Tim. 5:23); but I don’t see the Bible giving authority to use mind-altering substances socially or casually. If not, then I don’t see how one can be consistent in forbidding the “moderate” use of other mind altering drugs either (marijuana, cocaine, PCP, LSD, etc.).

    What do you think?

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted March 3, 2015 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your comments. I’m going to assume that when you asked what I thought, that was a sincere, open minded question, not bait, so I’m going to answer. I hope you don’t take offense at that.

      While the history behind the so called temperance movement in the U.S. is interesting, I don’t think it serves as any authoritative measure as to whether the Bible sanctions such usage or not.

      Of course, nobody said it was. However, the history does show pretty conclusively that the modern American church historically created the two wine theory out of a series of misundertandings, misquotes, and factual misrepresentations entirely because of a modern political movement. In other words, the conclusion came first, then the message massaging to confirm what had been decided without reference to scripture, and only then was scripture dragged in, willy nilly.

      I find it inconceivable that Jesus would have served the kind of wine described in Proverbs 20:1 and 23:29-35 at the wedding feast in John 2. This alone should lead any thinking person to conclude there is more than one kind of wine in the Bible.

      Why do you find it inconceivable? You’re basically starting with your conclusions and using them to prove your conclusions. This is not logical. Nor is your conclusion the most logical or reasonable one. The passages you cite seem clearly to speak of abuse, not moderate use. Proverbs 23 makes this particularly clear. When I read the whole chapter (context is so important), I also see that if wine is wrong, no matter how little, so is meat. See verse 20:
      “Do not join those who drink too much wine
      or gorge themselves on meat”

      The issues in these passages are obviously issues of overuse, abuse- not moderation. A glass of wine or beer never makes anybody a brawler.

      This is the fundamental question that needs to be asked: is the beverage intoxicating in nature or not? Whether one considers it fermented or not doesn’t address the real issue. A reasonable person can see the difference in giving a pregnant woman or a child a couple of glasses of grape juice versus an equal quantity of our modern wines (http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm).

      The CDC is not a good authority, especially on wine and pregnancy. They cite no studies, no statistics, no research, not evidence. They just rely on a blanket statement and— well, I was going to say, an absence of evidence which they treat as actual evidence. But there is actually plenty of sound research showing the CDC is out of sync with reality here, as well as the entire rest of the world on the issue of wine and pregnancy. Studies have shown it’s safe to have a glass of wine, even daily, when you’re pregnant, which is a relief, since pregnant women in many other countries have been doing just that for centuries. A study in Denmark (a pretty large one) found a daily glass of wine was fine: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-daily-glass-of-wine-is-okay-durin/
      A study in the UK found it was fine: http://www.livescience.com/10807-pregnant-women-1-2-drinks-week.html
      in 1991, Drs. Joel Alpert and Barry Zuckerman of the Boston University School of Medicine wrote an analysis of studies for the journal Pediatrics in Review that stated, “Our conclusion is that there is no measurable or documented risk from this level [two or fewer drinks per day] of drinking during pregnancy.

      I could go on, but the fact is there is no medical evidence I know of supporting strict abstinence from alcohol during pregnancy. Note again that the CDC’s statement is just that- just a statement made by a political agency with a pretty spotty track record- not even they claim to have any evidence supporting their claim, they simply cite absence of evidence as though that is itself evidence, but it’s not.

      Also, your style of argument relies heavily on accusing those who disagree with you of being unreasonable and unthinking. You do it as politely as one can insult others, but it is neither logical nor convincing. REasonable and thinking people actually do reach very different conclusions from yours, and they do so thoughtfully.

      Modern wines contain high contents of alcohol — which are equivalent to drugs. So when people advocate drinking alcohol in moderation, what they’re really saying is it’s okay to use drugs in moderation. Of course, drugs (including alcohol) have their proper place in medicine (1 Tim. 5:23); but I don’t see the Bible giving authority to use mind-altering substances socially or casually. If not, then I don’t see how one can be consistent in forbidding the “moderate” use of other mind altering drugs either (marijuana, cocaine, PCP, LSD, etc.).

      What is your source for claiming wines of today are very high in alcohol? I have a response to this, but first I’d like to know why you think this is true.

      • Larry
        Posted March 4, 2015 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        Headmistress,

        I appreciate your reply. I take no offense at anything you have said or may give in response to this, but desire to only analyze objectively so I might have a better understanding. I’ll attempt to give an answer to some of the points you’ve raised, so please assist by pointing out anything that doesn’t seem logical.

        First, I don’t argue that all “wine is wrong”; that argument would exclude the legitimate use of drugs for a medical purpose. I agree that abuse of wine is being described in the Proverb passages – but the question is what does abuse mean in reference to the wine under consideration?

        I don’t find it credible that Jesus could have served intoxicating drink in John 2, not because I’m starting with a preconceived conclusion, but because of what the texts of Prov. 20:1 and 23:29-35 say about the wine. The Proverb passages point to the wine itself as the problem, not the person using it, which leads to the conclusion there is something about the wine (or more specifically, what’s in the wine) that makes it dangerous when used improperly.

        Some questions that flow from this: can it be said that grape juice is a “mocker”? Does grape juice cause “redness of eyes” or cause one to “utter perverse things”? Is it unreasonable to conclude the Son of God would not have served an intoxicant like this at a wedding party? What specifically is fallacious or illogical by reasoning a different kind of wine was used in John 2 than in Proverbs? In addition, could it be possible for one to start with the conclusion that only one kind of wine is in the scriptures, and then try to prove everything from that standpoint? Even if churches or people conclude something by illogical means, does that alone necessarily render the conclusion false?

        I would agree that the CDC is not a good authority – on moral issues. Neither is any other organization conducting such studies. Studies don’t prove any moral issues, in part, because I can find just about any study that suits a desire to justify a behavior or activity that the Bible condemns. There is probably a study somewhere that “proves” it is less harmful to smoke marijuana recreationally than the same use of alcohol. There was a study years ago that says grape juice has the same benefits as wine http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/23/health/23real.html?_r=0 . But these studies don’t prove anything right or wrong, in and of themselves. They only show the current scientific opinion on a particular subject, which could change tomorrow. I’m sure you would agree that moral truth is not contingent on wavering scientific opinion.

        I referenced the CDC link, not for a primary source to show an alleged sinfulness of drinking while pregnant, but to show alcohol percentages for certain intoxicating beverages. The unspoken implication in the CDC link, and in the two links you provided, is that all the beverages under consideration are of a different nature than juice, soda, water, etc. Hence, this provides the answer to your last question: If the beverage contains enough alcohol to be intoxicating in nature, then it is too high in alcoholic content and should not be used except for medicinal purposes (1 Tim. 5:23). If alcohol content doesn’t matter, then the application of the principle and the consistent end of the reasoning leads to a justifying of any drug for recreational use – as long as it’s used in “moderation”. I don’t see anything circular or unreasonable about this.

        I’ve been using this last point for some time now – even among non-Christians minus the Bible verses – and have not really heard an effective rebuttal to it as of yet. I generally get three kinds or responses to this reasoning – silence, red herrings or ad hominem attacks. It doesn’t bother me too much…if there are any new points made that I haven’t heard before, I think about them, see if they are consistent with the truth and use them to adjust my thinking on the subject.

        I’d appreciate any thoughtful critiques you might have about this.

        • Headmistress, zookeeper
          Posted March 4, 2015 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

          If the CDC is not a good source for the issue, it’s curious that you’re the one who brought it up. You chose to make a medical claim and used the CDC as a source. Now that I’ve presented just a few of multiple studies that show you were mistaken, suddenly you don’t want those medical studies used in the discussion any longer. That’s moving the goal posts a bit.

          “I don’t find it credible that Jesus could have served intoxicating drink in John 2, not because I’m starting with a preconceived conclusion, but because of what the texts of Prov. 20:1 and 23:29-35 say about the wine. The Proverb passages point to the wine itself as the problem, not the person using it, which leads to the conclusion there is something about the wine (or more specifically, what’s in the wine) that makes it dangerous when used improperly.”

          When used improperly. It’s not the wine itself that is the problem, it is its improper use. There’s no reason to assume that drinking wine at a wedding necessarily leads to improper use or abuse.

          Is it unreasonable to conclude the Son of God would not have served an intoxicant like this at a wedding party?

          Yes, I think it is. This is the type of wine he serve:
          “and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”” I think it’s very obvious this is wine and not grape juice.

          Wine is a gift from God. He says it’s a gift that makes the heart glad. You might take a look at some of the verses I shared here. You might also look at the follow up post, because I think I responded to most of your objections before you commented- that post is here.

          I disagree that the only biblical use for wine is medicinal, because that isn’t what the Bible says. Here are some of them:
          Deut. 14:26 “Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice.”

          Melchizadek served wine to Abram.

          Psalm 104:14,15: He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, And vegetation for the labor of man, So that he may bring forth food from the earth, And wine which makes man’s heart glad, So that he may make his face glisten with oil, And food which sustains man’s heart.

          communion is another.

          There’s more I could say, but you are not arguing in good faith here, and you are attemping to control the discussion and avoid questions you yourself raised. In your first comment I responded to all of your points in good faith but one, and I reserved my answer to that one until after you clarified. You made some sweeping claims, some personal attacks and logical fallacies of your own, and then you asked what I thought. After I answered all but one of your points, I asked you to please give some evidence of just one of your sweeping claims. Here’s a reminder:
          You said:

          Modern wines contain high contents of alcohol — which are equivalent to drugs. So when people advocate drinking alcohol in moderation, what they’re really saying is it’s okay to use drugs in moderation. Of course, drugs (including alcohol) have their proper place in medicine (1 Tim. 5:23); but I don’t see the Bible giving authority to use mind-altering substances socially or casually. If not, then I don’t see how one can be consistent in forbidding the “moderate” use of other mind altering drugs either (marijuana, cocaine, PCP, LSD, etc.).

          I asked What is your source for claiming wines of today are very high in alcohol? I have a response to this, but first I’d like to know why you think this is true.

          I’m puzzled as to why you ignored that question? I have responses for the rest of the above comment as well, they really aren’t complicated or difficult to rebut. But I think it’s only fair to insist that we not follow your scattergun approach, but will instead take the issues you raise in the order that you raised them. Why do you think that modern wines are higher in alcohol? That really wasn’t a hard question- unless you don’t actually have a source, you’ve just taken a temperance argument for granted and never checked it out. So please, share with us where you got the idea that modern wines are so high in alcohol?

  2. Larry
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 4:54 am | Permalink

    Headmistress:

    You asked: What is your source for claiming wines of today are very high in alcohol?

    Here was my response to that question:

    I referenced the CDC link, not for a primary source to show an alleged sinfulness of drinking while pregnant, but to show alcohol percentages for certain intoxicating beverages. The unspoken implication in the CDC link, and in the two links you provided, is that all the beverages under consideration are of a different nature than juice, soda, water, etc. Hence, this provides the answer to your last question: If the beverage contains enough alcohol to be intoxicating in nature, then it is too high in alcoholic content and should not be used except for medicinal purposes (1 Tim. 5:23)

    If you disagree this answers your question, please explain why.

    When the referenced medical studies mention the word wine, you surely don’t believe they meant to include grape juice — do you?

    Admittedly, some of the difficulty here may be in the definition of words. The word “wine”, as it is understood today, does not generally mean grape juice (even Welch’s used to call grape juice “wine”, but doesn’t anymore). Some words in the Bible must be defined by context (Matt. 8:22). I believe the same thing concerning the use of the word “wine” in the scriptures. Context determines its meaning.

    Also, could you specifically point out any personal attacks? I am unaware of them, and I don’t want to be guilty of that, if it’s true.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted March 5, 2015 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      There’s nothing in the CDC statement at all that would indicate any evidence of your claim that “wines today are very high in alcohol.” So I still don’t know why you think that ‘wines today are very high in alcohol.”

      I know of no place in scripture where the word wine can only be interpreted to mean grape juice.

      Welches didn’t call their juice wine, they called it ‘unfermented wine.’ It was a marketing term Dr. Welch made up for the brand new product he created to replace the wine all churches used in communion at the time (the Mormon church might have used water, I can’t recall) because until pasteurization made bottling grape juice possible, that’s all there was to use.

      1 Timothy 5:23 does not at all preclude the use of wine for purposes other than medicinal. It can only be said to include medicinal use of wine, not exclude any other use, particularly since many other verses indicate it is a gift of God and is to be used to ‘make the heart glad.’ Deacons are not to be given to much wine, not told to abstain altogether, for another example.

      The statement ‘wine today is very high in alcohol’ indicates that you think there is a difference between alcohol content in wine today and wine in some other period. There’s nothing in the single CDC statement you cited or any of the studies I shared that says anything at all about the alcohol content of wine today compared to any other time period. You must have a reason for including the qualifier ‘today.’ I think you know what I am asking, and I am puzzled as to why you are being so coy about answering.

      Why do you believe that wines today are different from wines in any other period?

      • larry
        Posted March 5, 2015 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        Headmistress:

        You wrote: There’s nothing in the CDC statement at all that would indicate any evidence of your claim that “wines today are very high in alcohol.” and “The statement ‘wine today is very high in alcohol’ indicates that you think there is a difference between alcohol content in wine today and wine in some other period.”

        My response to these statements is: The wine, ***as the word is understood today***, means any grape beverage that is intoxicating in nature.

        Again, my response to this was: The unspoken implication in the CDC link, and in the two links you provided, is that all the beverages under consideration are of a different nature than juice, soda, water, etc. Hence, this provides the answer to your last question: ***If the beverage contains enough alcohol to be intoxicating in nature, then it is too high in alcoholic content*** and should not be used except for medicinal purposes (1 Tim. 5:23).

        I am defining a wine than contains “high contents of alcohol” as one that is intoxicating in nature. A wine that has zero or low alcoholic content would not be intoxicating in nature. The wine of 1 Tim 5:23 is intoxicating in nature, or a drug. Other wines, or grape beverages, in scripture are not (SoS 8:2; Amos 3:18, Matt. 26:29.). The word wine as it is understood today, means all grape beverages that are intoxicating in nature. But, in older times, the word wine was not always understood in that way (Isa. 65:8; Deut. 32:14). Of course, if one starts with the conclusion that all wines in the Bible are intoxicating in nature, it won’t be possible to see the difference.

        You wrote: I know of no place in scripture where the word wine can only be interpreted to mean grape juice.

        My response to this is: Neither do I. But neither do I know of any place in Scripture where the word wine must only be interpreted to mean a grape beverage that is intoxicating in nature (Isa. 65:8; Deut. 32:14). Context must determine its meaning (and sometimes, Hebrew definitions). It has nothing to do with the temperance movement.

        Hopefully, this clarifies a little.

        • Headmistress, zookeeper
          Posted March 6, 2015 at 12:05 am | Permalink

          First an apology- I don’t have the time or mental energy to devote to this which I thought I would. My youngest is scheduled for a medical test that I’m rather anxious about- we only found out about it this week, and I thought it was going to be a few weeks away, only today we found out it is scheduled for tomorrow. I can come back to this later, but meanwhile:

          “Wines of today” are not necessarily high in alcoholic content, certainly not any more so than wines of any other day.
          Most wines are between 7 and 10 %, wine coolers can be as low as 4% (a piece of fruit you leave out on your counter all day won’t be much less).  Only a handful reach 20% and then about three types (out of 20 or so) might get up to 23%.  Those  are dessert wines, which are typically consumed in much smaller amounts anyway, Zinfandel, vermouth and something I never heard of (which doesn’t mean much, I’m not a drinker).  I didn’t even know vermouth was a wine. I’ve heard of it, but I thought it was a grain alcohol.

          Virtually every non temperance movement influenced scholar agrees that the alcohol content of wine during Biblical times was usually between 5-20%, so claiming wines of today are stronger is a strange claim.

          If wine was basically grape juice, then Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 8 are really strange. Why would anyone’s weak faith be shaken by the consumption of grape juice?

          What’s the difference between wine and LSD? The Bible specifically and tacitly endorses wine (it’s a gift from God, it makes the heart glad, your kisses are better than wine, drink wine for the stomach’s sake, and then there are all the verses were the lack of wine is a curse, the abundance of it a blessing). The Bible never endorses the pharmaceuticals you listed as being the same as wine, so clearly, they are not in the same category as wine.

          Drunkeness is a sin.  That is crystal clear.  I would extrapolate from this that any substance which causes a similar loss of cognitive function would also be a sin- including LSD, gorging oneself on food at Thanksgiving (or anytime), or being so addicted to sweets that one hides them like a guilty sin. (updated to correct- what I mean is indulging in any substance to the point it causes a similar loss of cognitive function- LSD has no other purpose *but* that loss of function. Drinking a glass of wine because one appreciates the flavour is not in the same category at all).

          1 Tim 3:8 and Titus 2:3 are verses instructing deacons and aged women not to drink too much wine. Why doesn’t it say not to drink wine at all? If it’s not wine, but grape juice, then why are they commanded not to drink too much grape juice? What’s the problem there? Is it only grape juice they should guard against, but apple juice is fine? Drink all the pomegranate juice you want, but oh, no, you’d better not drink too much grape juice? Insisting that this passage is a reference to grape juice rather than wine makes nonsense of it.

          Incidentally, I was brought up on the two wine theory. I believed it absolutely- until I started reading every Bible verse that mentioned wine (in context) and asking myself, “If I’d never heard the two wine theory, what sort of beverage would fit this passage best? If I substitute any other juice here, does it still make sense?” I could not longer believe in the two wine theory once I did that.

          • Larry
            Posted March 6, 2015 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

            No apology needed — I understand. I’m sorry to hear about your child. I’ll leave this topic alone for now so you can have time to devote to your family. I appreciate your comments, and pray that the test results go well.

          • Headmistress, zookeeper
            Posted March 11, 2015 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for your patience. He’s not so much a child- he’s a teen, but the test was rather sudden and for a potentially serious issue- so serious they got us in 24 hours after the referral, and the results are already back- Thankfully, all is well.

  3. Raymond Carter
    Posted July 13, 2015 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Very good information. I find it funny that the Jewish people who have kept their worship and practices as perfect as the can still use wine in their worship. If it wasn’t wine in the bible what was it?

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