Christian views on alcohol
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Some Christians (by their understanding of the Bible or of Christian tradition) consider alcohol to be a gift from God that makes life more joyous, but over-indulgence leading to drunkenness is sinful or at least a vice.
Other Christian groups believe that it is wrong to consume any alcohol. For example, British Methodists, in particular the Primitive Methodists, took a leading role in the temperance movement of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Methodists saw alcoholic beverages, and alcoholism, as the root of many social ills and tried to persuade people to abstain from these. Temperance appealed strongly to the Methodist doctrines of sanctification and perfection. To this day, alcohol remains banned in Methodist premises, however, the choice to consume alcohol is now a personal decision for any member.
- 1 Alcohol in the Bible
- 2 Winemaking in biblical times
- 3 Alcohol in Christian history and tradition
- 4 Current views
- 5 See also
- 6 References
Alcohol in the Bible
Alcoholic beverages appear in the Bible, both in usage and in poetic expression. The Bible is ambivalent toward alcohol, considering it both a blessing from God that brings merriment and a potential danger that can be unwisely and sinfully abused. Christian views on alcohol come from what the Bible says about it, along with Jewish and Christian traditions. The biblical languages have several words for alcoholic beverages, and though prohibitionists and some abstentionists dissent, there is a broad consensus that the words did ordinarily refer to intoxicating drinks.
The commonness and centrality of wine in daily life in biblical times is apparent from its many positive and negative metaphorical uses throughout the Bible. Positively, wine is used as a symbol of abundance and physical blessing, for example. Negatively, wine is personified as a mocker and beer a brawler, and drinking a cup of strong wine to the dregs and getting drunk are sometimes presented as a symbol of God's judgment and wrath.
The Bible also speaks of wine in general terms as a bringer and concomitant of joy, particularly in the context of nourishment and feasting. Wine was commonly drunk at meals, and the Old Testament prescribed it for use in sacrificial rituals and festal celebrations. The Gospel of John recorded the first miracle of Jesus: making copious amounts of wine at the wedding feast at Cana. Jesus instituted the ritual of the Eucharist at the Last Supper during a Passover celebration, he says that the "fruit of the vine" is a "New Covenant in [his] blood," though Christians have differed on the implications of this statement (see Eucharistic theologies contrasted). Alcohol was also used for medicinal purposes in biblical times, and it appears in that context in several passages—as an oral anesthetic, a topical cleanser and soother, and a digestive aid.
Kings and priests in the Old Testament were forbidden to partake of wine at various times. John the Baptist was a Nazarite from birth. Nazarite vows excluded not only wine, but also vinegar, grapes, and raisins. (Jesus evidently did not take such a vow during the three years of ministry depicted in the gospels, but still strongly rejected the allegation of being a winebibber by Pharisees). St. Paul further instructs Christians regarding their duty toward immature Christians: "It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall."
"Even today, [Jewish] priests may not bless the congregation after having even a single glass of wine." 
Virtually all Christian traditions hold that the Bible condemns ordinary drunkenness in many passages, and Easton's Bible Dictionary says, "The sin of drunkenness ... must have been not uncommon in the olden times, for it is mentioned either metaphorically or literally more than seventy times in the Bible." Additionally, the consequences of the drunkenness of Noah and Lot "were intended to serve as examples of the dangers and repulsiveness of intemperance." St. Paul later chides the Corinthians for becoming drunk on wine served at their attempted celebrations of the Eucharist.
Winemaking in biblical times
Both the climate and land of Palestine, where most of the Bible takes place, were well-suited to growing grapes, and the wine that the vineyards produced was a valued commodity in ancient times, both for local consumption and for its value in trade. Trade with Egypt was quite extensive. Jews were a wine-drinking culture well before the foundation of Rome. Vintage wines were found in the tomb of King Scorpion in Hierakonpolis. Archaeological evidence suggests that Semitic predecessors were thought to be responsible for the vintages that were found in the tomb. Vineyards were protected from robbers and animals by walls, hedges, and manned watchtowers.
The harvest time brought much joy and play, as "[m]en, women and children took to the vineyard, often accompanied by the sound of music and song, from late August to September to bring in the grapes." Some grapes were eaten immediately, while others were turned into raisins. Most of them, however, were put into the wine press where the men and boys trampled them, often to music.
The fermentation process started within six to twelve hours after pressing, and the must was usually left in the collection vat for a few days to allow the initial, "tumultuous" stage of fermentation to pass. The wine makers soon transferred it either into large earthenware jars, which were then sealed, or, if the wine were to be transported elsewhere, into wineskins (that is, partially tanned goat-skins, sewn up where the legs and tail had protruded but leaving the opening at the neck). After six weeks, fermentation was complete, and the wine was filtered into larger containers and either sold for consumption or stored in a cellar or cistern, lasting for three to four years. Even after a year of aging, the vintage was still called "new wine," and more aged wines were preferred.
Spices and scents were often added to wine in order to hide "defects" that arose from storage that was often not sufficient to prevent all spoiling. One might expect about 10% of any given cellar of wine to have been ruined completely, but vinegar was also created intentionally for dipping bread among other uses.
Alcohol in Christian history and tradition
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Lord's Supper • Communion
|Ritual and liturgy|
|Practice and Customs|
It is disputed whether the regular use of wine in the celebration of the Eucharist and in daily life were the virtually universal and undisputed practice in Christianity for over 1,800 years. During the 19th and early 20th century, as a general sense of prohibitionism arose, many Christians, particularly some Protestants in the United States, came to believe that the Bible prohibited alcohol or that the wisest choice in modern circumstances was for the Christian to abstain from alcohol willingly.
The Hebraic opinion of wine in the time before Christ was decidedly positive: wine is part of the world God created and is thus "necessarily inherently good," though excessive use is soundly condemned. The Jews emphasized joy in the goodness of creation rather than the virtue of temperance, which the Greek philosophers advocated.
As the Jews returned from the Babylonian exile (starting in 537 BC) and the events of the Old Testament drew to a close, wine was "a common beverage for all classes and ages, including the very young; an important source of nourishment; a prominent part in the festivities of the people; a widely appreciated medicine; an essential provision for any fortress; and an important commodity," and it served as "a necessary element in the life of the Hebrews." Wine was also used ritualistically to close the Sabbath and to celebrate weddings, circumcisions, and Passover.
Although some abstentionists argue that wine in the Bible was almost always cut with water greatly decreasing its potency for inebriation, there is general agreement that, while Old Testament wine was sometimes mixed with various spices to enhance its flavor and stimulating properties, it was not usually diluted with water, and wine mixed with water is used as an Old Testament metaphor for corruption. Among the Greeks, however, the cutting of wine with water was a common practice used to reduce potency and improve taste. By the time of the writing of 2 Maccabees (2nd or 1st century BC), the Greeks had conquered Palestine under Alexander the Great, and the Hellenistic custom had apparently found acceptance with the Jews and was carried into Jewish rituals in New Testament times.
Under the rule of Rome, which had conquered Palestine under Pompey (see Iudaea Province), the average adult male who was a citizen drank an estimated liter (about a quarter of a gallon, or a modern-day bottle and a third) of wine per day, though beer was more common in some parts of the world.
The Apostolic Fathers make very little reference to wine. Clement of Rome (died 100) said: "Seeing, therefore, that we are the portion of the Holy One, let us do all those things which pertain to holiness, avoiding all evil-speaking, all abominable and impure embraces, together with all drunkenness, seeking after change, all abominable lusts, detestable adultery, and execrable pride." The earliest references from the Church Fathers make it clear that the early church used in the Eucharist wine - which was customarily mixed with water. The Didache, an early Christian treatise which is generally accepted to be from the late 1st century, instructs Christians to give a portion of their wine in support of a true prophet or, if they have no prophet resident with them, to the poor.
Clement of Alexandria (died c. 215) wrote in a chapter about drinking that he admires those who adopt an austere life and "flee as far as possible from wine, shunning it as they would the danger of fire", and he suggests the young abstain from wine so as not to inflame their "wild impulses." He says Christ did not teach affected by it. "...the soul itself is wisest and best when dry." But he says taking a little wine as medicine or for pleasure after the day's work is acceptable for those who are "moored by reason and time" such that they aren't tempted by drunkenness, and nevertheless he encourages mixing "as much water as possible" in with the wine to inhibit inebriation. He also says wine is an appropriate symbol of Jesus' blood.
Tertullian (died 220) forbade ministers drinking in church, citing the Scriptural precedent: “the Lord said to Aaron: ‘Wine and spirituous liquor shall ye not drink, thou and thy son after thee, whenever ye shall enter the tabernacle, or ascend unto the sacrificial altar; and ye shall not die.’ [Lev. 10:9] So true is it, that such as shall have ministered in the Church, being not sober, shall ‘die.’ Thus, too, in recent times He upbraids Israel: ‘And ye used to give my sanctified ones wine to drink.’ [Amos 2:12]”
Cyprian (died 258) rejected undiluted wine in the Eucharist. He explained the meaning: water, being the people of Christ, was mingled with the blood of Christ. Also, it would be better to prevent them who drank it from getting drunk. (But Cyprian suspected some of the people who used water on its own in the Eucharist did so from a disbelief in the expressed blood of Christ.)
Methodius (died 312) said: "For we perceive from the Scriptures two kinds of vines which were separate from each other, and were unlike...
- The sober and joy-producing vine...
- the poison of dragons ... it is ordered that a virgin shall not taste of this vine, so that she may be sober and watchful...
"Moreover, it is not only forbidden to virgins in any way to touch those things which are made from that vine, but even such things as resemble them and are akin to them... all that produces drunkenness and distraction of mind, besides wine." Jerome (died 420) said similar things against drinking.
Church rules against drinking entertainments are found in The Synod of Laodicea (363):
- Rule XXIV: "No one of the priesthood, from presbyters to deacons, and so on in the ecclesiastical order to subdeacons, readers, singers, exorcists, door-keepers, or any of the class of the Ascetics, ought to enter a tavern."
- Rule LV: "NEITHER members of the priesthood nor of the clergy, nor yet laymen, may club together for drinking entertainments."
Equivalent non-drinking rules are also found in the oldest of the "Apostolic Canons" and in the African churches. (See Monica's bishop.) Again, the Quinisext Council in Trullo (692 AD) restated the rule: "Let no cleric be permitted to keep a 'public house.' For if it be not permitted to enter a tavern, much more is it forbidden to serve others in it and to carry on a trade which is unlawful for him. But if he shall have done any such thing, either let him desist or be deposed."
Basil the Great (died 379) repudiated the views of some dualistic heretics who abhorred marriage, rejected wine, and called God's creation "polluted" and who substituted water for wine in the Eucharist.
Monica of Hippo (died 387) eagerly kept the strict rule of total abstinence, which her bishop required. She had never let herself drink much at all, not even "more than one little cup of wine, diluted according to her own temperate palate, which, out of courtesy, she would taste." But now she willingly drank none at all. Augustine cited a reason for her bishop's rule: "even to those who would use it with moderation, lest thereby an occasion of excess might be given to such as were drunken."
John of Lycopolis (died 395) said: "...if there is any sharp wine I excommunicate it, but I drink the good."  Gregory of Nyssa (died 395) made the same distinction between types of wine (intoxicating and non-intoxicating). "not that wine which produces drunkenness, plots against the senses, and destroys the body, but such as gladdens the heart, the wine which the Prophet recommends"
John Chrysostom (died 407) said: "they who do not drink take no thought of the drunken." A homily on 1 Timothy 5:23 stresses moderation and adds that the biblical passage in question is useful for refuting heretics and immature Christians who say there should be no wine. He emphasizes the goodness of God's creation and adjures: "Let there be no drunkenness; for wine is the work of God, but drunkenness is the work of the devil. Wine makes not drunkenness; but intemperance produces it. Do not accuse that which is the workmanship of God, but accuse the madness of a fellow mortal."
The virtue of temperance passed from Greek philosophy into Christian ethics and became one of the four cardinal virtues under St. Ambrose and St. Augustine.  Drunkenness, on the other hand, is considered a manifestation of gluttony, one of the seven deadly sins as compiled by Gregory the Great in the 6th century.
The decline of the Roman Empire brought with it a significant drop in the production and consumption of wine in western and central Europe, but the Eastern and Western Church (particularly the Byzantines) preserved the practices of viticulture and winemaking.
The medieval monks, renowned as the finest creators of beer and wine, were allotted about five liters of beer per day, and were allowed to drink beer (but not wine) during fasts. This was justified by the church. Bread and water that made up ale's ingredients was considered to not be a sin like that of wine. Brewing in monasteries increased and a number of modern breweries can trace their origins back to medieval monasteries. Benedict of Nursia (died c. 547), who formulated the monastic rules governing the Benedictines, seems to prefer that monks should do without wine as a daily staple, but he indicates that the monks of his day found the old regulation too burdensome. Thus he offers the concession of a quarter liter (or perhaps, a half liter) of wine per day as sufficient for nourishment, with allowance for more in special circumstances and for none as a punishment for repeated tardiness. Even so, he believes that abstinence is the best path for those who have a gift from God allowing them to restrain their bodily appetites.
Thomas Aquinas (died 1274), a Dominican friar and the "Doctor Angelicus" of the Catholic Church, says that moderation in wine is sufficient for salvation but that for certain persons perfection requires abstinence, and this was dependent upon their circumstance. With regard to the Eucharist, he says that grape wine should be used and that "must", unlike juice from unripe grapes, qualifies as wine because its sweetness will naturally turn it into wine. So freshly pressed must is indeed usable (preferably after filtering any impurities).
Drinking among monks was not universal, however, and in 1319 Bernardo Tolomei founded the Olivetan Order, initially following a much more ascetic Rule than Benedict's. The Olivetans uprooted all their vineyards, destroyed their wine-presses, and were "fanatical total abstainers," but the rule was soon relaxed.
Because the Catholic Church requires properly fermented wine in the Eucharist—with a modern exception for alcoholic or allergic priests—wherever Catholicism spread, the missionaries also brought grapevines so they could make wine and celebrate the Mass. The Catholic Church continues to celebrate a number of early and medieval saints related to alcohol—for instance, St. Adrian, patron saint of beer; St. Amand, patron saint of brewers, barkeepers, and wine merchants; St. Martin, the so-called patron saint of wine; St. Vincent, patron saint of vintners.
Wine has a place in the divine services of the Orthodox Church, not only in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist), but also at the artoklassia (blessing of bread, wine, wheat and oil during the All Night Vigil) and in the "common cup" of wine which is shared by the bride and groom during an Orthodox wedding service. A small amount of warm wine (zapivka) is taken by the faithful together with a piece of antidoron after receiving Holy Communion. In the Serbian Orthodox Church wine is used in the celebration of a service known as the Slava on feast days. The fasting rules of the Orthodox Church forbid the consumption of wine (and by extension, all alcoholic beverages) on most fast days throughout the year. The Orthodox celebrate St. Tryphon as the patron saint of vines and vineyard workers.
As the Protestant Reformation began, the Reformers from Luther and Calvin to Zwingli and Knox strongly supported the enjoyment of wine as a biblical blessing, and Calvin's annual salary in Geneva included seven barrels of wine. With Calvin at Geneva, "Low taverns and drinking shops were abolished, and intemperance diminished." The Lutheran Formula of Concord (1576) and the Reformed Christian confessions of faith also make explicit mention of and assume the use of wine, as does the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith and the Methodist Articles of Religion (1784). In the Dordrecht Confession of Faith (1632), even the radical Anabaptists, who sought to expunge every trace of Roman Catholicism and to rely only on the Bible, also assumed wine was to be used, and despite their reputation as killjoys, the English Puritans were temperate partakers of "God's good gifts," including wine and ale.
As the Pilgrim Fathers set out for America, they brought a considerable amount of alcohol with them for the voyage (more than 28,617 liters = 7,560 gallons, or 4 litres/person/day), and once settled, they served alcohol at "virtually all functions, including ordinations, funerals, and regular Sabbath meals." M. E. Lender summarizes the "colonists had assimilated alcohol use, based on Old World patterns, into their community lifestyles" and that "[l]ocal brewing began almost as soon as the colonists were safely ashore." Increase Mather, a prominent colonial clergyman and president of Harvard, expressed the common view in a sermon against drunkenness: "Drink is in itself a good creature of God, and to be received with thankfulness, but the abuse of drink is from Satan; the wine is from God, but the drunkard is from the Devil." This Old World attitude is likewise found among the early Methodists (Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, Adam Clarke, Thomas Coke) and Baptists (John Gill and John Bunyan).
Wesley likewise deplored distilled beverages such as brandy and whisky when they were used non-medicinally, and he said the many distillers who sold indiscriminately to anyone were nothing more than poisoners and murderers accursed by God. In 1744, the directions the Wesleys gave to the Methodist band societies (small groups of Methodists intended to support living a Christian life) required them "to taste no spirituous [i.e., distilled] liquor ... unless prescribed by a physician." At the 1780 Methodist Conference in Baltimore, the churchmen opposed distilled liquors and determined to "disown those who would not renounce the practice" of producing it. In opposing liquors, the American Methodists anticipated the first wave of the temperance movement that would follow. They expanded their membership rule regarding alcohol to include other alcoholic beverages over the next century. Despite pressure from interested parties to relax rules of all kinds, the American Methodists afterwards reverted to Wesley's—namely, to avoid "[d]runkenness, buying or selling spirituous [i.e., distilled] liquors, or drinking them, unless in cases of extreme necessity".
Wesley's Articles of Religion, adopted by the Methodist Episcopal Church (a precursor of the United Methodist Church) in 1784, assume in Articles XVIII that wine is to be used in the Lord's supper and in Article XIX that it should given to all the people, not ministers only as in the Catholic practice of the time. Coke and Asbury comment on the latter article saying, "St. Paul does not complain of [the lay Corinthians'] drinking the wine at the Lord's supper ... but of their both eating and drinking most intemperately" (emphasis in original). Likewise, the listed duties for Methodist preachers indicate that they should choose water as their common drink and use wine only in medicinal or sacramental contexts, with Coke and Asbury commenting that frequent fasting and abstinence are "highly necessary for the divine life."
"I have had one thought about our citizens in general. I wish they would lay aside the use of wine and strong drink in general. God would suddenly and certainly work. I am determined not to go out of my way on that matter for five hundred presidents and all the bishops in the world." - Francis Asbury 
In the midst of the social upheaval accompanying the American Revolution and urbanization induced by the Industrial Revolution, drunkenness was on the rise and was blamed as a major contributor to the increasing poverty, unemployment, and crime. Yet the temperate sentiments of the Methodists were shared only by a few others, until the publication of a tract by eminent physician and patriot Benjamin Rush, who argued against the use of "ardent spirits" (i.e., distilled alcohol), introduced the notion of addiction, and prescribed abstinence as the only cure. Some prominent preachers like Lyman Beecher picked up on Rush's theme and galvanized the temperance movement to action. Though losing influence during the American Civil War, afterward the movement experienced its second wave, spearheaded by the Women's Christian Temperance Union, and it was so successful in achieving its goals that Catherine Booth, co-founder of the Salvation Army, could observe in 1879 that in America "almost every [Protestant] Christian minister has become an abstainer." The movement saw the passage of anti-drinking laws in several states and peaked in its political power in 1919 with the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which established prohibition as the law of the entire country but which was repealed in 1933 by the Twenty-first Amendment.
Initially the vast majority of the temperance movement had opposed only distilled alcohol, which they saw as making drunkenness inexpensive and easy, and espoused moderation and temperance in the use of other alcoholic beverages. Fueled in part by the Second Great Awakening, which emphasized personal holiness and sometimes perfectionism, the temperance message changed to the outright elimination of alcohol.
Consequently alcohol itself became an evil in the eyes of many (but not all) abstainers and so had to be expunged from Christian practice—especially from the holy rite of the Lord's Supper. The use of a grape-based drink other than wine for the Lord's Supper took a strong hold in many churches, including American Protestantism, though some churches had detractors who thought wine was to be given strong preference in the rite. Some denominational statements required "unfermented wine" for the Lord's Supper. For example, the Wesleyan Methodists (since founded 1843, some fifty years after Wesley's death) required "unfermented wine".
Since grape juice begins naturally fermenting upon pressing, opponents of wine utilized alternate methods of creating their ritual drink such as reconstituting concentrated grape juice, boiling raisins, or adding preservatives to delay fermenting and souring. In 1869, Thomas Bramwell Welch, an ordained Wesleyan Methodist minister, discovered a way to pasteurize grape juice, and he used his particular preservation method to prepare juice for the Lord's Supper at a Methodist Episcopal church.
From 1838 to 1845, Father Mathew, the Irish apostle of temperance, administered an abstinence pledge to some three to four million of his countrymen, though his efforts had little permanent effect there, and then starting in 1849 to more than 500,000 Americans, chiefly his fellow Irish Catholics, who formed local temperance societies but whose influence was limited. In 1872 the Catholic Total Abstinence Union of America united these societies and by 1913 reached some 90,000 members including the juvenile, women's, and priestly contingents. The Union pursued a platform of "moral suasion" rather than legislative prohibition and received two papal commendations. In 1878 Pope Leo XIII praised the Union's determination to abolish drunkenness and "all incentive to it," and in 1906 Pope Pius X lauded its efforts in "persuading men to practise one of the principal Christian virtues — temperance." By the time the 18th Amendment was up for consideration, however, Archbishop Messmer of Milwaukee denounced the prohibition movement as being founded on an "absolutely false principle" and as trying to undermine the Church's "most sacred mystery," the Eucharist, and he forbade pastors in his archdiocese from assisting the movement but suggested they preach on moderation. In the end, Catholicism was largely unaffected in doctrine and practice by the movements to eliminate alcohol from church life, and it retained its emphasis on the virtue of temperance in all things.
Similarly, while the Lutheran and Anglican churches felt some pressure, they did not alter their moderationist position. Even the English denominational temperance societies refused to make abstention a requirement for membership, and their position remained moderationist in character. It was non-Lutheran Protestantism from which the Temperance movement drew its greatest strength. Many Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and other Protestants signed on to the prohibitionist platform.
"Despite the Scottish heritage of whisky drinking, Presbyterians were strong supporters of temperance and prohibition. They believed (with some justification) that ‘the demon drink’ was destructive of family life. The church was a stronghold of the temperance organisation the Band of Hope... which encouraged youth... to sign a pledge to abstain from alcohol. Teetotallers also succeeded in persuading the church to use grape juice rather than fortified wine in the sacrament of communion."
The 1881 assembly of the United Presbyterian Church of North America said "the common traffic in, and the moderate use of intoxicants as a beverage are the source of all these evils." In 1843, the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America's general assembly (generally considered part of the conservative Old School) considered and narrowly rejected making the selling of alcoholic beverages grounds for excommunication from the church.
The legislative and social effects resulting from the temperance movement peaked in the early 20th century and began to decline afterward. The effects on church practice were primarily a phenomenon in American Protestantism and to a lesser extent in the British Isles, the Nordic countries, and a few other places. The practice of the Protestant churches were slower to revert, and some bodies, though now rejecting their formerly prohibitionist platform, still retain vestiges of it such as using grape juice alone or beside wine in the Lord's supper.
Today, the views on alcohol in Christianity can be divided into moderationism, abstentionism, and prohibitionism. Abstentionists and prohibitionists are sometimes lumped together as "teetotalers" (compare list of teetotalers), sharing some similar arguments. However, prohibitionists abstain from alcohol as a matter of law (that is, they believe God requires abstinence in all ordinary circumstances), while abstentionists abstain as a matter of prudence (that is, they believe total abstinence is the wisest and most loving way to live in the present circumstances).
Some groups of Christians fall entirely or virtually entirely into one of these categories, while others are divided between them. Fifty-two percent of Evangelical leaders around the world say drinking alcohol is incompatible with being a good Evangelical. Even now nominally "Christian" countries still have 42% who say it is incompatible. Evangelicals in Asia, Africa, and also in Muslim-majority countries are decidedly against drinking.
The moderationist position is held by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglicans, and within Protestantism, it is accepted by Lutherans and Reformed churches. Moderationism is also accepted by Jehovah's Witnesses.
Moderationism argues that, according to the biblical and traditional witness, (1) alcohol is a good gift of God that is rightly used in the Eucharist and for making the heart merry, and (2) while its dangers are real, it may be used wisely and moderately rather than being shunned or prohibited because of potential abuse. Moderationism holds that temperance (that is, moderation or self-control) in all of one's behavior, not abstinence, is the biblical norm.
On the first point, moderationists reflect the Hebrew mindset that all creation is good. The ancient Canons of the Apostles, which became part of Canon Law in the eastern and western churches, likewise allows church leaders and laity to abstain from wine for mortification of the flesh but requires that they not "abominate" or detest it, which attitude "blasphemously abuses" the good creation. Going further, John Calvin says that "it is lawful to use wine not only in cases of necessity, but also thereby to make us merry," and in his Genevan Catechism, he answers that wine is appropriate in the Lord's Supper because "by wine the hearts of men are gladdened, their strength recruited, and the whole man strengthened, so by the blood of our Lord the same benefits are received by our souls."
On the second point, Martin Luther employs a reductio ad absurdum to counter the idea that abuse should be met with disuse: "[W]e must not ... reject [or] condemn anything because it is abused ... [W]ine and women bring many a man to misery and make a fool of him (Ecclus. 19:2; 31:30); so [we would need to] kill all the women and pour out all the wine." In dealing with drunkenness at the love feast in Corinth, St. Paul does not require total abstinence from drink but love for one another that would express itself in moderate, selfless behavior. However, moderationists approve of voluntary abstinence in several cases, such as for a person who finds it too difficult to drink in moderation and for the benefit of the "weaker brother," who would err because of a stronger Christian exercising his or her liberty to drink.
While all moderationists approve of using (fermented) wine in the Eucharist in principle (Catholics, the Orthodox, and Anglicans require it), because of prohibitionist heritage and a sensitivity to those who wish to abstain from alcohol, many offer either grape juice or both wine and juice at their celebrations of the Lord's Supper. Some Christians mix some water with the wine following ancient tradition, and some attach a mystical significance to this practice.
In addition to lexical and historical differences, moderationism holds that prohibitionism errs by confusing the Christian virtues of temperance and moderation with abstinence and prohibition and by locating the evil in the object that is abused rather in the heart and deeds of the abuser. Moreover, moderationists suggest that the prohibitionist and abstentionist positions denigrate God's creation and his good gifts and deny that it is not what goes into a man that makes him evil but what comes out (that is, what he says and does). The Bible never uses the word 'wine' of communion. Yet moderationists hold that in banishing wine from communion and dinner tables, prohibitionists and abstentionists go against the 'witness of the Bible' and the church throughout the ages and implicitly adopt a Pharisaical moralism that is at odds with the what moderationists consider the right approach to biblical ethics and the doctrines of sin and sanctification.
The abstentionist position is held by many Baptists, Pentecostals, Methodists, and other evangelical and Protestant groups including the Salvation Army. Prominent proponents of abstentionism include Billy Graham, John F. MacArthur, R. Albert Mohler, Jr., and John Piper.
Abstentionists believe that although alcohol consumption is not inherently sinful or necessarily to be avoided in all circumstances, it is generally not the wisest or most prudent choice. While most abstentionists do not require abstinence from alcohol for membership in their churches, they do often require it for leadership positions.
Some reasons commonly given for voluntary abstention are:
- The Bible warns that alcohol can hinder moral discretion. As discussed above, Proverbs 31:4-5 warns kings and rulers that they might "forget what is decreed, and pervert the rights of all the afflicted." Some abstentionists speak of alcohol as "corrupt[ing]" the body and as a substance that can "impair my judgment and further distract me from God’s will for my life."
- Christians must be sensitive to the "weaker brother", that is, the Christian who believes imbibing to be a sin. On this point MacArthur says, "[T]he primary reason I don't do a lot of things I could do, including drinking wine or any alcoholic beverage, [is] because I know some believers would be offended by it ... [M]any Christians will drink their beer and wine and flaunt their liberty no matter what anyone thinks. Consequently, there is a rift in the fellowship."
- Christians should make a public statement against drunkenness because of the negative consequences it can have on individuals, families, and society as a whole. Some abstentionists believe that their witness as persons of moral character is also enhanced by this choice.
Additionally, abstentionists argue that while drinking may have been more acceptable in ancient times (for instance, using wine to purify polluted drinking water), modern circumstances have changed the nature of a Christian's responsibility in this area. First, some abstentionists argue that wine in biblical times was weaker and diluted with water such that drunkenness was less common, though few non-abstentionists accept this claim as wholly accurate or conclusive. Also, the invention of more efficient distillation techniques has led to more potent and cheaper alcohol, which in turn has lessened the economic barrier to drinking to excess compared to biblical times.
On historical and lexical grounds, many abstentionists reject the argument of prohibitionists that wine in the Bible was not alcoholic and that imbibing is nearly always a sin. Piper summarizes the abstentionist position on this point:
- The consumption of food and drink is in itself no basis for judging a person's standing with God ... [The Apostle Paul's] approach to these abuses [of food and drink] was never to forbid food or drink. It was always to forbid what destroyed God's temple and injured faith. He taught the principle of love, but did not determine its application with regulations in matters of food and drink.
Abstentionists also reject the position of moderationists that in many circumstances Christians should feel free to drink for pleasure because abstentionists see alcohol as inherently too dangerous and not "a necessity for life or good living," with some even going so far as to say, "Moderation is the cause of the liquor problem."
The prohibitionist position has experienced a general reduction of support since the days of prohibitionism as a movement, with many of its advocates becoming abstentionists instead. Groups adopting prohibitionist positions include the Southern Baptist Convention and Seventh-day Adventists. The former group resolved that their "churches be urged to give their full moral support to the prohibition cause, and to give a more liberal financial support to dry organizations which stand for the united action of our people against the liquor traffic." Charles Spurgeon: "I wish the man who made the law to open them had to keep all the families that they have brought to ruin. Beer shops are the enemies of the home; therefore, the sooner their licenses are taken away, the better."   The founder of the Salvation Army William Booth was a prohibitionist, and saw alcohol as evil in itself and not safe for anyone to drink in moderation. In 1990, the Salvation Army re-affirms: "It would be inconsistent for any Salvationist to drink while at the same time seeking to help others to give it up." The Assembly of God: "a little alcohol is too much since drinking in moderation provides Satan an opening to cruel deception." David Wilkerson founder of Teen Challenge said similar things. Billy Sunday: "After all is said that can be said on the liquor traffic, its influence is degrading on the individual, the family, politics and business and upon everything that you touch in this old world."
Prohibitionists such as Stephen Reynolds and Jack Van Impe hold that the Bible forbids partaking of alcohol altogether, with some arguing that the alleged medicinal use of wine in 1 Timothy 5:23 is a reference to unfermented grape juice. They argue that the words for alcoholic beverages in the Bible can also refer to non-alcoholic versions such as unfermented grape juice, and for this reason the context must determine which meaning is required. In passages where the beverages are viewed negatively, prohibitionists understand them to mean the alcoholic drinks, and where they are viewed positively, they understand them to mean non-alcoholic drinks. Prohibitionists also accuse most Bible translators of exhibiting a bias in favor of alcohol that obscures the meaning of the original texts.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest body of the Latter Day Saint movement, also teaches that "God has spoken against the use of ... [a]lcohol." They base this teaching on the Word of Wisdom, a section in Doctrine and Covenants which is part of the Mormon canon, that recommends against the ordinary use of alcohol, though it makes an exception for the use of wine in the sacrament, a similar rite to the Eucharist. However, the church now uses water instead of wine in the sacrament, and since 1851, the Word of Wisdom's advice for wise living has been considered "a binding commandment on all Church members."
- Jesus Christ. "Matthew 26:29;Mark 14:25;Luke 22:18".
I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
- R. V. Pierard (1984). "Alcohol, Drinking of". In Walter A. Elwell. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House. pp. 28f. ISBN 0-8010-3413-2.
- F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone, ed. (2005). "Wine". The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. ed.). Oxford University Press, USA. p. 1767. ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3.
[W]ine has traditionally been held to be one of the essential materials for a valid Eucharist, though some have argued that unfermented grape-juice fulfils the Dominical [that is, Jesus'] command.
- Raymond, p. 90.
- "Wine". Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897. Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- Phil Carradice. "The temperance movement in Wales". BBC. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
- "Alcohol". Views of the Church. The Methodist Church in Britain. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
- Bruce Waltke (2005). "Commentary on 20:1". The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 15-31. Wm. B. Eerdmans. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-8028-2776-0.
• F. S. Fitzsimmonds (1982). "Wine and Strong Drink". In J. D. Douglas. New Bible Dictionary (2nd ed. ed.). Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press. p. 1255. ISBN 0-8308-1441-8.
These two aspects of wine, its use and its abuse, its benefits and its curse, its acceptance in God's sight and its abhorrence, are interwoven into the fabric of the [Old Testament] so that it may gladden the heart of man (Ps. 104:15) or cause his mind to err (Is. 28:7), it can be associated with merriment (Ec. 10:19) or with anger (Is. 5:11), it can be used to uncover the shame of Noah (Gn. 9:21) or in the hands of Melchizedek to honor Abraham (Gn. 14:18) ... The references [to alcohol] in the [New Testament] are very much fewer in number, but once more the good and the bad aspects are equally apparent ...
• D. Miall Edwards (1915b). "Drunkenness". In James Orr. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2007-03-09.
[Wine's] value is recognized as a cheering beverage (Jdg 9:13; Ps 104:15; Prov 31:7), which enables the sick to forget their pains (Prov 31:6). Moderation, however, is strongly inculcated and there are frequent warnings against the temptation and perils of the cup.
• John McClintock and James Strong (eds.) (1891). "Wine". Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature X. New York: Harper and Brothers. p. 1016.
But while liberty to use wine, as well as every other earthly blessing, is conceded and maintained in the Bible, yet all abuse of it is solemnly condemned.
- I. W. Raymond (1970) . The Teaching of the Early Church on the Use of Wine and Strong Drink. AMS Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-404-51286-6.
This favorable view [of wine in the Bible], however, is balanced by an unfavorable estimate ... The reason for the presence of these two conflicting opinions on the nature of wine [is that the] consequences of wine drinking follow its use and not its nature. Happy results ensue when it is drunk in its proper measure and evil results when it is drunk to excess. The nature of wine is indifferent.
- Ethical Investment Advisory Group (January 2005). "Alcohol: An inappropriate investment for the Church of England" (PDF). Church of England. Retrieved 2007-02-08.
Christians who are committed to total abstinence have sometimes interpreted biblical references to wine as meaning unfermented grape juice, but this is surely inconsistent with the recognition of both good and evil in the biblical attitude to wine. It is self-evident that human choice plays a crucial role in the use or abuse of alcohol.
- Fitzsimmonds, pp. 1254f.
- Stephen M. Reynolds (1989). The Biblical Approach to Alcohol. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
[W]herever oinos [Greek for 'wine'] appears in the New Testament, we may understand it as unfermented grape juice unless the passage clearly indicates that the inspired writer was speaking of an intoxicating drink.
• "Stuart, Moses". Encyclopedia of Temperance and Prohibition. New York: Funk and Wagnalls. 1891. p. 621.
Wherever the Scriptures speak of wine as a comfort, a blessing or a libation to God, and rank it with such articles as corn and oil, they mean—they can mean only—such wine as contained no alcohol that could have a mischievous tendency; that wherever they denounce it, prohibit it and connect it with drunkenness and reveling, they can mean only alcoholic or intoxicating wines.Quoted in Reynolds, The Biblical Approach to Alcohol.
- Ralph Earle (1986). "1 Timothy 5:13". Word Meanings in the New Testament. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press. ISBN 0-8341-1176-4.
Oinos is used in the Septuagint for both fermented and unfermented grape juice. Since it can mean either one, it is valid to insist that in some cases it may simply mean grape juice and not fermented wine.
• Dave Miller (2003). "Elders, Deacons, Timothy, and Wine". Apologetics Press. Retrieved 2008-03-25.
The term oinos was used by the Greeks to refer to unfermented grape juice every bit as much as fermented juice. Consequently, the interpreter must examine the biblical context in order to determine whether fermented or unfermented liquid is intended.
• Frederic Richard Lees; Dawson Burns (1870). "Appendix C-D". The Temperance Bible-Commentary. New York: National Temperance Society and Publication House. pp. 431–446.
• William Patton (1871). "Christ Eating and Drinking". Laws of Fermentation and the Wines of the Ancients. New York: National Temperance Society and Publication House. p. 79.
Oinos is a generic word, and, as such, includes all kinds of wine and all stages of the juice of the grape, and sometimes the clusters and even the vine ...
• G. A. McLauchlin (1973) . Commentary on Saint John. Salem, Ohio: Convention Book Store H. E. Schmul. p. 32.
There were ... two kinds of wine. We have no reason to believe that Jesus used the fermented wine unless we can prove it ... God is making unfermented wine and putting in skin cases and hanging it upon the vines in clusters every year.
- Samuele Bacchiocchi. "A Preview of Wine in the Bible". Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- John MacArthur. "Living in the Spirit: Be Not Drunk with Wine--Part 2". Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- W. Ewing (1913). "Wine". In James Hastings. Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels 2. Edinburgh: T & T Clark. p. 824. Retrieved 2007-03-14.
There is nothing known in the East of anything called 'wine' which is unfermented ... [The Palestinian Jews'] attitude towards the drinker of unfermented grape juice may be gathered from the saying in Pirke Aboth (iv. 28), 'He who learns from the young, to what is he like? to one who eats unripe grapes and drinks wine from his vat [that is, unfermented juice].'(Emphasis in original.)
• Charles Hodge (1940) . "The Lord’s Supper". Systematic Theology. Wm. B. Eerdmans. pp. 3:616. Retrieved 2007-01-22.
That [oinos] in the Bible, when unqualified by such terms as new, or sweet, means the fermented juice of the grape, is hardly an open question. It has never been questioned in the Church, if we except a few Christians of the present day. And it may safely be said that there is not a scholar on the continent of Europe, who has the least doubt on the subject.
• A. A. Hodge. Evangelical Theology. p. 347f.
'Wine,' according to the absolutely unanimous, unexceptional testimony of every scholar and missionary, is in its essence 'fermented grape juice.' Nothing else is wine ... There has been absolutely universal consent on this subject in the Christian Church until modern times, when the practice has been opposed, not upon change of evidence, but solely on prudential considerations.Quoted in Keith Mathison (January 8 to January 14, 2001). "Protestant Transubstantiation - Part 3: Historic Reformed & Baptist Testimony". IIIM Magazine Online 3 (2). Retrieved 2007-01-22. Check date values in:
- W. J. Beecher. "Total abstinence". The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. p. 472. Retrieved 2007-01-22.
The Scriptures, rightly understood, are thus the strongest bulwark of a true doctrine of total abstinence, so false exegesis of the Scriptures by temperance advocates, including false theories of unfermented wine, have done more than almost anything else to discredit the good cause. The full abandonment of these bad premises would strengthen the cause immeasurably.
- William Kaiser and Duane Garrett, ed. (2006). "Wine and Alcoholic Beverages in the Ancient World". Archaeological Study Bible. Zondervan. ISBN 978-0-310-92605-4.
[T]here is no basis for suggesting that either the Greek or the Hebrew terms for wine refer to unfermented grape juice.
- John F. MacArthur. "GC 70-11: "Bible Questions and Answers"". Retrieved 2007-01-22.
• Pierard, p. 28: "No evidence whatsoever exists to support the notion that the wine mentioned in the Bible was unfermented grape juice. When juice is referred to, it is not called wine (Gen. 40:11). Nor can 'new wine' ... mean unfermented juice, because the process of chemical change begins almost immediately after pressing."
- W. Dommershausen (1990). "Yayin". In G. Johannes Botterweck and Helmer Ringgren. Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament VI. trans. David E. Green. Wm. B. Eerdmans. p. 64. ISBN 0-8028-2330-0.
- Raymond, p. 24: "The numerous allusions to the vine and wine in the Old Testament furnish an admirable basis for the study of its estimation among the people at large."
- Ge 27:28; 49:9-12; Dt 7:13; 11:14; 15:14; compare 33:28; Pr 3:9f; Jr 31:10-12; Ho 2:21-22; Jl 2:19,24; 3:18; Am 9:13f; compare 2Ki 18:31-32; 2Ch 32:28; Ne 5:11; 13:12; etc.
- Pr 20:1
- Ps 60:3; 75:8; Is 51:17-23; 63:6; Jr 13:12-14; 25:15-29; 49:12; 51:7; La 4:21f; Ezk 23:28-33; Na 1:9f; Hab 2:15f; Zc 12:2; Mt 20:22; 26:39, 42; Lk 22:42; Jn 18:11; Re 14:10; 16:19; compare Ps Sol 8:14
- Jg 9:13; Ps 4:7; 104:15; Ec 9:7; 10:19; Zc 9:17; 10:7
- "Drunkenness". Illustrated Dictionary of Bible Life & Times. Pleasantville, New York: The Reader's Digest Association. 1997. pp. 374–376.
- Six pots of thirty-nine liters each = 234 liters = 61.8 gallons, according to Heinrich Seesemann (1967). "οινος". In Gerhard Kittel and Ronald E. Pitkin. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament V. trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley. Wm. B. Eerdmans. p. 163. ISBN 0-8028-2247-9.
- Jn 2:1-11; 4:46
- Mt 26:17-19; Mk 14:12-16; Lk 22:7-13. The Gospel of John offers some difficulties when compared with the Synoptists' accounts on whether the meal was part of the Passover proper. In any case, it seems that the Last Supper was most likely somehow associated with Passover, even if it was not the paschal feast itself. See the discussion in Leon Morris (1995). "Additional Note H: The Last Supper and the Passover". The Gospel According to John. New International Commentary on the New Testament (revised ed.). Wm. B. Eerdmans. pp. 684–695. ISBN 978-0-8028-2504-9.
- Seesemann, p. 162: "Wine is specifically mentioned as an integral part of the passover meal no earlier than Jub. 49:6 ['... all Israel was eating the flesh of the paschal lamb, and drinking the wine ...'], but there can be no doubt that it was in use long before." P. 164: "In the accounts of the Last Supper the term [wine] occurs neither in the Synoptists nor Paul. It is obvious, however, that according to custom Jesus was proffering wine in the cup over which He pronounced the blessing; this may be seen especially from the solemn [fruit of the vine] (Mark 14:25 and par.) which was borrowed from Judaism." Compare "fruit of the vine" as a formula in the Mishnah, "Tractate Berakoth 6.1". Retrieved 2007-03-15.
- Raymond, p. 80: "All the wines used in basic religious services in Palestine were fermented."
- Mt 26:26-29; Mk 14:22-25; Lk 22:17-20; 1 Co 10:16; 11:23-25
- Bruce Lincoln (2005). "Beverages". In Lindsay Jones. Encyclopedia of Religion 2 (2nd ed. ed.). MacMillan Reference Books. p. 848. ISBN 978-0-02-865733-2.
- Pr 31:4-7; Mt 27:34,48; Mk 15:23,36; Lk 23:36; Jn 19:28–30
- Lk 10:34
- 1 Ti 5:23
- Pr 31:4f; Lv 10:9; compare Ez 44:21
- Compare Lk 1:15.
- Nu 6:2-4 (compare Jg 13:4-5; Am 2:11f); Jr 35
- Mt 11:18f; Lk 7:33f; compare Mk 14:25; Lk 22:17f
- I. W. Raymond p. 81: "Not only did Jesus Christ Himself use and sanction the use of wine but also ... He saw nothing intrinsically evil in wine.[footnote citing Mt 15:11 ]"
- Ro 14:21. Raymond understands this to mean that "if an individual by drinking wine either causes others to err through his example or abets a social evil which causes others to succumb to its temptations, then in the interests of Christian love he ought to forego the temporary pleasures of drinking in the interests of heavenly treasures" (p. 87).
- Rabbi Menachem Posner. "What is Judaism's take on alcohol consumption? - Questions & Answers".
- For instance, Pr 20:1; Is 5:11f; Ho 5:2,5; Ro 13:13; Ep 5:18; 1 Ti 3:2-3.
- Ge 9:20-27
- Ge 19:31-38
- Magen Broshi (1984). "Wine in Ancient Palestine — Introductory Notes". Israel Museum Journal III: 33.
- 1Co 11:20-22
- Ewing, p. 824.
- See Broshi, passim (for instance, p. 29: Palestine was "a country known for its good wines").
- Compare 2Ch 2:3,10
- Gately, Iain (2008). Drink : a Cultural History of Alcohol (1st ed.). New York: Gotham Books. p. 41. ISBN 978-1-592-40464-3.
- Ps 80:8-15; Is 5:1f; Mk 12:1; compare SS 2:15
- Compare Is 16:10; Jr 48:33
- "Wine Making". Illustrated Dictionary of Bible Life & Times. pp. 374f.
- Broshi, p. 24.
- Broshi, p. 26.
- Lk 5:39; compare Is 25:6
- Dommershausen, pp. 60-62.
- Broshi, p. 27.
- Ru 2:14
- Broshi, p. 36.
- Dt 16:13-15
- Bingham, Joseph (1720). Origines Ecclesiasticæ: Or, The Antiquities of the Christian Church. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
‘The Canons had also a great Respect to the external and publick Behaviour of the Clergy; obliging them to walk circumspectly, and abstain from things of ill Fame, though otherwise innocent and indifferent in themselves; that they might cut off all Occasions of Obloquy, by avoiding all suspicious Actions and All Appearances of Evil. In regard to which they not only censured them for Rioting and Drunkenness (which were vices not to be tolerated even in laymen) but forbad them to so much as eat or appear in a publick Inn or Tavern, except they were upon a Journey, or some such necessary Occasion required them to do it under Pain of ecclesiastical censure. The Council of Laodecia [b] and the third council of Carthage [c] forbid it universally to all Orders of the Clergy; and the Apostolic Canons [d] more expressly, with a Denunciation of Censure...’
- Keith Mathison (December 4–10, 2000). "Protestant Transubstantiation - Part 1: Thesis; Biblical Witness". IIIM Magazine Online 2 (49). Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- Raymond, p. 48.
- Raymond, p. 49.
- David J. Hanson (1995). Preventing Alcohol Abuse: Alcohol, Culture and Control. Westport, CT: Praeger. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-275-94926-6.
• Magen Broshi (1986). "The Diet of Palestine in the Roman Period — Introductory Notes". Israel Museum Journal V: 46.
In the biblical description of the agricultural products of the Land, the triad 'cereal, wine, and oil' recurs repeatedly (Deut. 28:51 and elsewhere). These were the main products of ancient Palestine, in order of importance. The fruit of the vine was consumed both fresh and dried (raisins), but it was primarily consumed as wine. Wine was, in antiquity, an important food and not just an embellishment to a feast ... Wine was essentially a man's drink in antiquity, when it became a significant dietary component. Even slaves were given a generous wine ration. Scholars estimate that in ancient Rome an adult consumed a liter of wine daily. Even a minimal estimate of 700g. per day means that wine constituted about one quarter of the caloric intake (600 out of 2,500 cal.) and about one third of the minimum required intake of iron.
• Raymond, p. 23: "[Wine] was a common beverage for all classes and ages, even for the very young. Wine might be part of the simpelest meal as well as a necessary article in the households of the rich.
• Geoffrey Wigoder et al., eds. (2002). "Wine". The New Encyclopedia of Judaism. New York University Press. pp. 798f. ISBN 978-0-8147-9388-6.
As a beverage, it regularly accompanied the main meal of the day. Wherever the Bible mentions 'cup' — for example, 'my cup brims over' (Ps. 23:5)—the reference is to a cup of wine ... In the talmudic epoch ... [i]t was customary to dilute wine before drinking by adding one-third water. The main meal of the day, taken in the evening (only breakfast and supper were eaten in talmudic times), consisted of two courses, with each of which a cup of wine was drunk.
- Wigoder, p. 799.
- Gentry, God Gave Wine, pp. 143-146: "[R]ecognized biblical scholars of every stripe are in virtual agreement on the nondiluted nature of wine in the Old Testament."
- Burton Scott Easton (1915). "Wine; Wine Press". In James Orr. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2007-03-09.
In Old Testament times wine was drunk undiluted, and wine mixed with water was thought to be ruined (Isa 1:22) ... At a later period, however, the Greek use of diluted wines had attained such sway that the writer of 2 Maccabees speaks (15:39) of undiluted wine as 'distasteful' (polemion). This dilution is so normal in the following centuries that the Mishna can take it for granted and, indeed, R. Eliezer even forbade saying the table-blessing over undiluted wine (Berakhoth 7 5). The proportion of water was large, only one-third or one-fourth of the total mixture being wine (Niddah 2 7; Pesachim 108b).
- Clarke, commentary on Is 1:22: "It is remarkable that whereas the Greeks and Latins by mixed wine always understood wine diluted and lowered with water, the Hebrews on the contrary generally mean by it wine made stronger and more inebriating by the addition of higher and more powerful ingredients, such as honey, spices, defrutum, (or wine inspissated by boiling it down to two-thirds or one- half of the quantity,) myrrh, mandragora, opiates, and other strong drugs."
- Is 1:22
- Robert S. Rayburn (2001-01-28). "Revising the Practice of the Lord's Supper at Faith Presbyterian Church No. 2, Wine, No. 1". Retrieved 2012-04-03.
- Dommershausen, p. 61: "The custom of drinking wine mixed with water—probably in the ratio of two or three to one—seems to have made its first appearance in the Hellenistic era."
• Archaeological Study Bible.
Wine diluted with water was obviously considered to be of inferior quality (Isa.1:22), although the Greeks, considering the drinking of pure wine to be an excess, routinely diluted their wine.
• Raymond, p.47: "The regulations of the Jewish banquets in Hellenistic times follow the rules of Greek etiquette and custom."
• Compare 2 Mac 15:39 (Vulgate numbering: 2 Mac 15:40)
- Compare the later Jewish views described in "Wine". Jewish Encyclopedia.
- Merrill F. Unger (1981) . "Wine". Unger's Bible Dictionary (3rd ed. ed.). Chicago: Moody Press. p. 1169.
The use of wine at the paschal feast [that is, Passover] was not enjoined by the law, but had become an established custom, at all events in the post-Babylonian period. The wine was mixed with warm water on these occasions.... Hence the in the early Christian Church it was usual to mix the sacramental wine with water.
- Broshi, p. 33.
- Broshi, p. 22.
- Raymond, p. 88.
- Clement of Rome. "Letter to the Corinthians".
- Justin Martyr, First Apology, "Chapter LXV. Administration of the sacraments" and "Chapter LXVII. Weekly worship of the Christians".
- Hippolytus of Rome (died 235) says, "By thanksgiving the bishop shall make the bread into an image of the body of Christ, and the cup of wine mingled with water according to the likeness of the blood." Quoted in Keith Mathison (January 1 to January 7, 2001). "Protestant Transubstantiation - Part 2: Historical Testimony". IIIM Magazine Online 3 (1). Retrieved 2007-01-22. Check date values in:
- "Didache, chapter 13". Archived from the original on May 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-16.
- Clement of Alexandria. "On Drinking". The Instructor, book 2, chapter 2. Retrieved 2007-03-15.
- Compare the summary in Raymond, pp. 97-104.
- Tertullian. "On Fasting, Ch. 9., From Fasts Absolute Tertullian Comes to Partial Ones And Xerophagies".
- Eusebius Pamphilius. "Church History".
- Cyprian. ""Epistle LXII: To Caecilius, on the Sacrament of the Cup of the Lord", §11". Retrieved 2007-03-15.
- Methodius. ""Banquet of the Ten Virgins", Ch. 5". Retrieved 2013-09-13.
- Methodius. ""Banquet of the Ten Virgins", Ch. 6". Retrieved 2014-08-20.
- Jerome. "Letter LII. To Nepotian". Retrieved 2014-08-20.
Jerome also preferred a view against alcohol (something like what Methodius had said): ‘Let your breath never smell of wine...’ ‘Whatever intoxicates and disturbs the balance of the mind avoid as you would wine.’ ‘I will readily forego the cup in which I cannot but suspect poison.’
- "Synod of Laodicea".
- Karl Joseph von Hefele. A History of the Councils of the Church: To the close of the Council of Nicea, A.D. 325.
This and the two following canons should be included in the number of the most ancient so-called apostolic canons. Their origin is unknown.
- Benedict. "Holy Rule of St. Benedict, Ch. XL".
‘...we read that wine is not at all proper for monks’
- "Quinisext Council in Trullo".
- Basil the Great (1895). "Letter CXCIX: To Amphilochius, concerning the Canons". Basil: Letters and Select Works. Philip Schaff (ed.). Retrieved 2008-04-16.
- Craig D. Allert (1999). "The State of the New Testament Canon in the Second Century: Putting Tatian's Diatessaron in Perspective" (PDF). Bulletin for Biblical Research (9): 5. Retrieved 2008-04-16.
Also among the beliefs of the [heretical] Encratites is the rejection of the drinking of wine. In fact, the Encratites even went so far as to substitute water for wine in the Eucharist service.
- Augustine. ""Confessions", Book VI, Ch. 2".
- Palladius. ""Life of the Holy Fathers", Ch. XXXV".
- Gregory of Nyssa. "Funeral Oration on Meletius".
- John Chrysostom. "Homilies on the Gospel of St. Matthew". pp. Homily LVII.
- Chrysostom. "Homilies on Ephesians, Homily XIX, Ephesians v. 15, 16, 17".
Like his contemporaries, Chrysostom distinguisted between types of wine, saying ‘it cannot be that one and the same thing should work opposite effects.’
- John Chrysostom. "First Homily on the Statues". pp. paras 11f. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
- Ambrose. "Book I, chapter XLIII". On the Duties of the Clergy. Retrieved 2007-03-15.
- Augustine. "Augustine: The Writings Against the Manichaeans and Against the Donatists, Book XXII, Ch. 44".
‘... for the drunkard is not always drunk, and a man may be drunk on one occasion without being a drunkard. However, in the case of a righteous man, we require to account for even one instance of drunkenness.’
- Augustine of Hippo. "Chapter 19". On the Morals of the Catholic Church. Retrieved 2007-03-15.
- Raymond, p. 78.
- Gregory the Great. Moralia in Job, book 31, chapter 45.
- "Wine History". Macedonian Heritage. 2003. Retrieved 2007-02-22.
- Jim West (2003). Drinking with Calvin and Luther!. Oakdown Books. p. 22ff. ISBN 0-9700326-0-9.
- Kevin Lynch (September 20 – October 3, 2006). "Sin & Tonic: Making beer, wine, and spirits is not the Devil’s work". The Wave Magazine 6 (19). Archived from the original on November 12, 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- Will Durant describes the customs of England in the late Middle Ages: "a gallon of beer per day was the usual allowance per person, even for nuns" (Will Durant (1957). The Reformation. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 113.)
- Gately, Iain (2008). A Cultural History of Alcohol. New York, New York: Penguine Group Inc. p. 79. ISBN 978-1-592-40464-3.
- That is, either about half a pint or a full pint. See Ancient Roman units of measurement - Liquid_measures and Theodore Maynard (1945). "Saint Benedict". Pillars of the Church. Ayer Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 0-8369-1940-8.
- Benedict of Nursia. "Chapter XL - Of the Quantity of Drink". Holy Rule of St. Benedict.
'Every one hath his proper gift from God, one after this manner and another after that' (1 Cor 7:7). It is with some hesitation, therefore, that we determine the measure of nourishment for others. However, making allowance for the weakness of the infirm, we think one hemina of wine a day is sufficient for each one. But to whom God granteth the endurance of abstinence, let them know that they will have their special reward. If the circumstances of the place, or the work, or the summer's heat should require more, let that depend on the judgment of the Superior, who must above all things see to it, that excess or drunkenness do not creep in.
- Benedict of Nursia. "Chapter XLIII - Of Those Who Are Tardy in Coming to the Work of God or to Table". Holy Rule of St. Benedict. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
If [a monk] doth not amend after [being twice tardy], let him not be permitted to eat at the common table; but separated from the company of all, let him eat alone, his portion of wine being taken from him, until he hath made satisfaction and hath amended.
- Holy Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter XL.
- Thomas Aquinas. "Second Part of the Second Part, Question 149, Article 3 - Whether the use of wine is altogether unlawful?". Summa Theologica. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
A man may have wisdom in two ways. First, in a general way, according as it is sufficient for salvation: and in this way it is required, in order to have wisdom, not that a man abstain altogether from wine, but that he abstain from its immoderate use. Secondly, a man may have wisdom in some degree of perfection: and in this way, in order to receive wisdom perfectly, it is requisite for certain persons that they abstain altogether from wine, and this depends on circumstances of certain persons and places.
- Thomas Aquinas. "Third Part, Question 74, Article 5 - Whether wine of the grape is the proper matter of this sacrament?". Summa Theologica. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
This sacrament can only be performed with wine from the grape.... Now that is properly called wine, which is drawn from the grape, whereas other liquors are called wine from resemblance to the wine of the grape.... Must, however, has already the species of wine, for its sweetness indicates fermentation which is 'the result of its natural heat' (Meteor. iv); consequently this sacrament can be made from must.... It is furthermore forbidden to offer must in the chalice, as soon as it has been squeezed from the grape, since this is unbecoming owing to the impurity of the must. But in case of necessity it may be done.
- J. C. Almond (1913). "Olivetans". Catholic Encyclopedia.
St. Bernard Ptolomei's idea of monastic reform was that which had inspired every founder of an order or congregation since the days of St. Benedict—a return to the primitive life of solitude and austerity. Severe corporal mortifications were ordained by rule and inflicted in public. The usual ecclesiastical and conventual fasts were largely increased and the daily food was bread and water ... They were also fanatical total abstainers; not only was St. Benedict's kindly concession of a hemina of wine rejected, but the vineyards were rooted up and the wine-presses and vessels destroyed ... Truly, relaxation was inevitable. It was never reasonable that the heroic austerities of St. Bernard and his companions should be made the rule, then and always, for every monk of the order ... It was always the custom for each one to dilute the wine given him.
- "Altar Wine" in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia.
- "Ask the Wise Man: Eucharistic Wine and an Alcoholic Priest; Hosts for the Gluten-allergic". St. Anthony Messenger. May 1996. Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- "Wine, Religion and Culture". Macedonian Heritage. 2003. Retrieved 2007-02-22.
- See West, Drinking and Mathison, "Protestant Transubstantiation" parts 2 and 3 for many examples.
- Jim West (March–April 2000). "A Sober Assessment of Reformational Drinking". Modern Reformation 9 (2). Viewed 2007-01-22.
- Philip Schaff. History of the Christian Church, Volume VIII: Modern Christianity. The Swiss Reformation.
- Article 7
- Belgic Confession (1561), article 35
- Heidelberg Catechism (1563), questions 78-80
- Thirty-Nine Articles (1571), article 28
- Westminster Confession of Faith (1647), chapter 29, paragraph 3
- Chapter 30, paragraph 3
- Article 18
- Article 10
- Bruce C. Daniels (1996). Puritans at Play. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 3ff. ISBN 0-312-16124-7.
- West, Drinking, pp. 68ff.
- West, Drinking, pp. 79ff.
- West, Drinking, p. 86.
- M. E. Lender (1987). Drinking In America. New York: Free Press. ISBN 0-02-918570-X.
- Increase Mather (1673)."Wo to Drunkards."
- Adam Clarke (1832). "Commentary on Psalm 104:15". The Adam Clarke Commentary. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
Wine, in moderate quantity, has a wondrous tendency to revive and invigorate the human being. Ardent spirits exhilarate, but they exhaust the strength; and every dose leaves man the worse. Unadulterated wine, on the contrary, exhilarates and invigorates: it makes him cheerful, and provides for the continuance of that cheerfulness by strengthening the muscles, and bracing the nerves. This is its use. Those who continue drinking till wine inflames them, abase this mercy of God.
- Wesley, John. "Sermon 140, On Public Diversions". Sermons of John Wesley. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
- John Wesley (1999) . "On the Use of Money". In Thomas Jackson (ed.). The Sermons of John Wesley. Wesley Center for Applied Theology at Northwest Nazarene University. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
- Methodist Episcopal Church (1798). "Directions given to the Band-Societies. December 25th, 1744.". Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church. with explanatory notes by Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury (10th ed.). p. 150.
- Nathan Bangs (1838). A History of the Methodist Episcopal Church 1. New York: T. Mason and G. Lane for the Methodist Episcopal Church. p. 134f.
- Henry J. Fox and William B. Hoyt (1852). "Rule Respecting Intoxicating Liquors". Quadrennial Register of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Connecticut: Case, Tiffany & Co. p. 200f.
- Coke and Asbury, notes on Article XIX, p. 24.
- Methodist Episcopal Church, "Section XIII: Of the Duty of Preachers", p. 91.
- Coke and Asbury, Note 6 on Section XIII, p. 93.
- Asbury, Francis (30 December 1802). "To George Roberts, Pastor of Light Street Church in Baltimore" (Letter to George Roberts).
- G. I. Williamson (1976). Wine in the Bible and the Church (PDF). Pilgrim Publishing. p. 6. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
- "Historical Overview". Wisconsin Clearinghouse for Prevention Resources. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
- Catherine Booth (1879). "Strong Drink Versus Christianity". Papers on Practical Religion. London: S.W. Partridge and Co. p. 29. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- John McClintock and James Strong (eds.) (1891). "Temperance Reform". Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature X. New York: Harper and Brothers. p. 245f.
In January, 1826, Rev. Calvin Chapin published in the Connecticut Observer a series of articles in which he took the ground that the only real antidote for the evils deprecated is total abstinence, not only from distilled spirits, but from all intoxicating beverages. His position, however, was generally regarded as extreme, and he had few immediate converts to his opinions.
- See Temperance movement#United States.
- Keith Mathison (January 22–28, 2001). "Protestant Transubstantiation - Part 4: Origins of and Reasons for the Rejection of Wine". IIIM Magazine Online 3 (4). Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- Ra McLaughlin. "Protestant Transubstantiation (History of)". Third Millennium Ministries. Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- Pierard, p. 28.
- M. D. Coogan (1993). "Wine". In Bruce Metzger and M. D. Coogan. The Oxford Companion to the Bible. Oxford University Press, USA. pp. 799f. ISBN 978-0-19-504645-8.
- Tucker, Karen B. Westerfield (2001). "The Lord's Supper". American Methodist Worship. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 151. ISBN 0-19-512698-X.
- Bacchiocchi, Samuele (1989). "The Preservation of Grape Juice". Wine in the Bible. Signal Press & Biblical Perspectives. ISBN 1-930987-07-2.
- Hallett, Anthony; Diane Hallett (1997). "Thomas B. Welch, Charles E. Welch". Entrepreneur Magazine Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurs. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 481–483. ISBN 0-471-17536-6.
- W. Liese, J. Keating, and W. Shanley (1912). "Temperance Movements". The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
- "Prelate Assails Dry Law. Archbishop Messmer Forbids Catholic Help to Amendment" (PDF). The New York Times. June 25, 1918. p. 13. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
- McClintock and Strong, "Temperance Reform", p. 248: "[T]he [temperance] cause received a new impulse from the presence and labors of father Mathew, the Irish apostle of temperance, who came to America in June and spent sixteen months of hard work chiefly among the Irish Catholics. Crowds greeted him everywhere, and large numbers took the pledge at his hands. It is not surprising that a reaction followed this swift success. Many pledged themselves by a sudden impulse, moved thereto by the enthusiasm of assembled multitudes, with little, clear, intelligent, fixed conviction of the evils inseparable from the habits which they were renouncing. The pope, their infallible teacher both in regard to faith and morals, had never pronounced moderate drinking a sin, either mortal or venial; and even occasional drunkenness had been treated in the confessional as a trivial offence.... [T]he Catholic clergy, as a body, seem to have made no vigorous effort to hold the ground which the venerable father Matthew won; and the laity, of course, have felt no obligation be wiser than their teachers."
- Ruth C. Engs. "Protestants and Catholics: Drunken Barbarians and Mellow Romans?".
Wide scale temperance movements and anti-alcohol sentiments have not been, and are not, found in southern European Roman Catholic countries.... In hard-drinking eastern European Catholic countries, such as Russia and Poland, sporadic anti-drunk campaigns have been launched but have only been short lived. This has also been found in Ireland (Levine, 1992).Adapted from Ruth C. Engs (2001). "What Should We Be Researching? - Past Influences, Future Ventures". In Elini Houghton and Ann M. Roche (eds.). Learning about Drinking. International Center for Alcohol Policies. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
- "Paragraph 2290". Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 1993. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
- Lilian Lewis Shiman (1988). Crusade Against Drink in Victorian England. St. Martin's Press. p. 5. ISBN 0-312-17777-1.
- John Kobler (1993). Ardent Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. Da Capo Press. p. 53. ISBN 0-306-80512-X.
- Engs: "Levine has noted that 'in Western societies, only Nordic and English-speaking cultures developed large, ongoing, extremely popular temperance movements in the nineteenth century and the first third or so of the twentieth century.' He also observed that temperance – anti alcohol – cultures have been, and still are, Protestant societies."
- Schrader, Ben (15 November 2012). Presbyterian Church - Church and society. Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
- Quoted in Williamson, p. 9.
- Wallace, Peter (2004). "Wine, Women, and the Limits of Conscience". The Bond of Union: The Old School Presbyterian Church and the American Nation, 1837-1861 (Thesis). University of Notre Dame. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- Ken Camp (2007-01-05). "Drink to That? Have Baptists watered down their objections to alcohol?". The Baptist Standard. Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- McClintock and Strong, p. 249, lists Sweden, Australia, Madagascar, India, and China.
- Kenneth Gentry (2001). God Gave Wine. Oakdown. pp. 3ff. ISBN 0-9700326-6-8.
- "Global Survey of Evangelical Protestant Leaders". Pew Forum. 2011. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
[E]vangelical leaders are divided over the consumption of alcohol. About four-in-ten (42%) say it is compatible with being a good evangelical, while 52% say it is incompatible. Leaders from sub-Saharan Africa are especially likely to oppose alcohol use; 78% of them say it is incompatible with being a good evangelical, as do 78% of evangelical leaders who live in Muslim-majority countries.
- Patrick Madrid (March 1992). "Wrath of Grapes". This Rock 3 (3). Retrieved 2007-03-16.
The [Catholic] Church teaches ... that wine, like food, sex, laughter, and dancing, is a good thing when enjoyed in its proper time and context. To abuse any good thing is a sin, but the thing abused does not itself become sinful.
- Paul O'Callaghan (March 1992). "The Spirit of True Christianity". Word Magazine (Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America): 8–9. Retrieved 2007-03-16.
So alcohol, sex, the body, money, television, and music are all good things. It is only the abuse of these things that is bad—drunkenness, pornography, compulsive gambling, etc. Even drugs marijuana, cocaine, heroin—all have good uses for medical and other reasons. It’s only the abuse of them for pleasure that is wrong.
- "Responding to Opportunities for 'Interim Eucharistic Sharing'" (PDF). Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Retrieved 2007-02-24.
While many Lutheran congregations also provide grape juice or unfermented wine as an alternative, Lutherans have more emphasized the historical and ecumenical continuities which wine provides, as well as the richness and multivalences of its symbolic associations.
- "Theology and Practice of The Lord's Supper - Part I" (PDF). Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. May 1983. Retrieved 2007-02-24.
- "Alcohol". Presbyterian 101. Presbyterian Church (USA). Retrieved 2007-02-24.
- "Introduction to Worship in the United Church of Christ" (PDF). Book of Worship. United Church of Christ. 1986. pp. Footnote 27. Retrieved 2007-02-24.
- "Alcohol". Christian Reformed Church in North America. 1996–2007. Retrieved 2007-02-24.
- "Alcohol, Beverage use of". Presbyterian Church in America, 8th General Assembly. 1980. Retrieved 2007-02-24.
- "Alcoholic Beverages". Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Retrieved 2007-02-24.
- "Maintain a Balanced View Of Alcohol". Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. 2004. Retrieved 2012-11-24.
- Jeffrey J. Meyers (November 1996). "Concerning Wine and Beer, Part 1". Rite Reasons, Studies in Worship (48). Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- Jeffrey J. Meyers (January 1997). "Concerning Wine and Beer, Part 2". Rite Reasons, Studies in Worship (49). Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- Pierard, p. 29.
- Robert R. Gonzales, Jr. "The Son of Man Came Drinking". RBS Tabletalk. Reformed Baptist Seminary. Retrieved 2010-02-15.
[E]ven if the wine Jesus drank had a lower alcohol context than today's wine, the issue is still moderation not abstinence. The believer may not be able to drink as many glasses of modern wine compared to ancient wine and remain within the bounds of moderation. Instead of drinking 20 glasses of ancient wine, we'd have to limit ourselves to 2 glasses of modern wine. But still, the issue is moderation, not abstinence.
- Raymond, passim, especially pp. 48f. He adds on p. 85, "St. Paul regards wine as intrinsically good, 'for every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it be received with thanksgiving' [ 1Ti 4:3f ]."
- Schaff, Philip (ed.). "The Ecclesiastical Canons of the Same Holy Apostles". Ante-Nicean Fathers VII. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
51. If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, or indeed any one of the sacerdotal catalogue, abstains from marriage, flesh, and wine, not for his own exercise, but because he abominates these things, forgetting that 'all things were very good,' and that 'God made man male and female,' and blasphemously abuses the creation, either let him reform, or let him be deprived [of his office], and be cast out of the Church; and the same for one of the laity.
- John Calvin. "On Ps 104:15". Commentary on the Psalms. Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- John Calvin (1545). "Catechism of the Church of Geneva". Retrieved 2007-03-15.
- Martin Luther. "Fourth Invocavit sermon from 1522". Works, American Edition, vol. 51, p. 85. Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- Compare 1Co 11:33f
- Raymond, p. 86.
- Raymond, pp. 83f.
- "Wine or grape juice". Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Retrieved 2007-02-24.
- Cross and Livingstone, p. 1767.
- M. R. P. McGuire and T. D. Terry, ed. (2002). New Catholic Encyclopedia 14 (2nd ed. ed.). Thomson Gale. p. 772. ISBN 978-0-7876-4004-0.
- See the thorough discussion of lexical differences in Gentry, God Gave Wine, pp. 33-104.
- Compare Mt 15:11,18; Mk 7:20,23.
- Robert S. Rayburn (2001-02-11). "Revising the Practice of the Lord's Supper at Faith Presbyterian Church No. 4, Wine, No. 3". Retrieved 2012-04-03.
- Gentry, God Gave Wine, pp. 105-130.
- "The Bible Speaks on Alcohol". The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
- "Position paper: Abstinence from Alcohol" (PDF). Assemblies of God. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
- "Alcohol and Other Drugs". The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church. The United Methodist Publishing House. 2004. Retrieved 2007-01-22..
- "Salvation Army's Position Statements: Alcohol and Drugs". 1982. Retrieved 2012-04-03.
The Salvation Army ... has historically required total abstinence of its soldiers and officers. While not condemning those outside its ranks who choose to indulge, it nevertheless believes total abstinence to be the only certain guarantee against overindulgence and the evils attendant on addiction.
- Graham, Billy. "My Answer". Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- John F. MacArthur. "Living in the Spirit: Be Not Drunk with Wine--Part 3". Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- R. Albert Mohler and Russell Moore (2005-09-14). Alcohol and Ministry (MP3 audio). Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
- John Piper (1981-10-04). "Total Abstinence and Church Membership". Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- For example, Stephen Arterburn and Jim Burns (2007). "Myths and Facts about Alcohol Consumption". Retrieved 2007-11-19.
For the general population, no specific Scriptures forbid wine consumption in small amounts ... In our society, with so much damage being done by drinking, many who think it is okay to drink need to reexamine the practice ... And for us parents who have to be concerned about the behaviors we are modeling, abstinence is the best choice.
- Daniel L. Akin (2006-06-30). "FIRST-PERSON: The case for alcohol abstinence". Baptist Press. Retrieved 2013-04-17.
- Richard Land (2006-07-24). "FIRST-PERSON: The great alcohol debate". Baptist Press. Retrieved 2013-04-17.
- John MacArthur. "Unity in Action: Building Up One Another Without Offending--Part 2". Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- David Guzik. "Commentary on 1 Ti 5:23". Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- Kenneth L. Barker and John R. Kohlenberger III (1999). "Commentary on 1 Ti 5:23". Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House. ISBN 978-0-310-57840-6.
- D. Miall Edwards (1915). "Drunkenness". In James Orr. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2007-03-09.
- Norman Geisler (January–March 1982). "A Christian Perspective on Wine-Drinking". Bibliotheca Sacra 139 (553): 41–55.
- W. J. Beecher. "Total abstinence". The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. p. 468.
- John Piper (1982-01-17). "Flesh Tank and Peashooter Regulations". Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- "SBC Resolutions Alcohol".
- "Resolution On The Liquor Situation". Southern Baptist Convention. 1938.
We declare afresh our unalterable opposition to the whole liquor traffic, whisky, beer, and wine, and to the license system by which this most blighting and corrupting traffic fastened upon our body social and body politic.... We stand unalterable for total abstinence on the part of the individual and for prohibition by the government, local, State, and National, and that we declare relentless war upon the liquor traffic, both legal and illegal, until it shall be banished.... [T]his Convention earnestly recommends to our Baptist people, both pastors and churches, that the churches take a firm and consistent stand against all indulgence in the use of intoxicating liquors, including wine and beer, and against all participation in their sale by members of the churches, and that we seek as rapidly as possible to educate our people against the folly and sin of such use and sale, and that as rapidly as possible our churches shall be relieved of the open shame and burden of church members in any way connected with the unholy traffic
- "On alcohol use in America". Southern Baptist Convention. 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-22.
RESOLVED ... total opposition to the manufacturing, advertising, distributing, and consuming of alcoholic beverages.
- "Historic Stand for Temperance Principles and Acceptance of Donations Statement Impacts Social Change". General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. 1992. Archived from the original on December 6, 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-28.
- "Chemical Use, Abuse, and Dependency". General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. 1990. Archived from the original on December 6, 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-28.
- Spurgeon, Charles (1884). "Alcohol & Charles H. Spurgeon". Retrieved 2013-06-27.
‘Those beer shops are the curse of this country—no good ever can come of them, and the evil they do no tongue can tell; the publics were bad enough, but the beer-shops are a pest; I wish the man who made the law to open them had to keep all the families that they have brought to ruin. Beer shops are the enemies of the home; therefore, the sooner their licenses are taken away, the better. Poor men don’t need such places, nor rich men either; they are all worse and no better, like Tom Norton’s wife. Anything that hurts the home is a curse and ought to be hunted down, as gamekeepers do to the vermin in the copses.’
- Wax, Trevin (2006-12-06). "Spurgeon the Drinker: The Rest of the Story". The Gospel Coalition. Retrieved 2013-06-27.
... as alcoholism destroyed families and neighborhoods in England during the late 1800′s, Spurgeon decided that total abstinence was the wisest practice for the cultural context in which he found himself.
- William Booth (1888). "27. Strong Drink". The Training of Children: How to Make the Children into Saints and Soldiers of Jesus Christ (2nd ed.).
Make the children understand that the thing is an evil in itself. Show them that it is manufactured by man - that God never made a drop of alcohol. To say that alcohol is a good creature of God is one of the devil's own lies fathered on foolish and ignorant people. It is a man-manufactured article. The earth nowhere produces a drop of it. The good creatures of God have to be tortured and perverted before any of it can be obtained. There is not a drop in all creation made by God or that owes its existence to purely natural causes.... Make your children understand that it is not safe for them or anybody else to take strong drink in what is called moderation, and that even if it were, their example would be sure to induce others to take it, some of whom would be almost certain to go to excess.... Therefore, the only way of safety for your children as regards themselves and the answer of a good conscience with respect to others, is total abstinence from the evil.
- "Salvation Army, Positional Statement on Social Drinking". 1990.
- "General Presbytery of the Assemblies of God. A biblical perspective on abstinence.". 1985.
- "Sipping Saints: An outcry against the alarming spread of drinking among Christians".
- Billy Sunday. "Famous 'Booze' Sermon As preached by Billy Sunday in Boston, MA".
- Reynolds, The Biblical Approach to Alcohol.
- Stephen M. Reynolds (1983). Alcohol and the Bible. Challenge Press. ISBN 978-0-86645-094-2.
- Stephen M. Reynolds (May–June 1991). "Issue and Interchange - Scripture Prohibits the Drinking of Alhocolic Beverages". Antithesis 2 (2). Retrieved 2007-01-22. See also the other installments in the debate between Reynolds and Kenneth Gentry in the same issue of the magazine.
- Jack Van Impe (1980). Alcohol: The Beloved Enemy. Jack Van Impe Ministries. ISBN 978-0-934803-07-6.
- Hermano Cisco. "Christians and Alcohol".
- "The Commandments: Obey the Word of Wisdom". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 2007-06-29.
- Ezra Taft Benson (May 1983). "A Principle with a Promise". Ensign: 53–55. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
- The Doctrine and Covenants, section 89: "That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him. And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make [compare D&C 27:2-4]. And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies."
- "Guide to the Scriptures: Sacrament". Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-29.