Saturday, June 11, 2011
Wine to gladden your hearts
Let's deal with an old argument. The one that says that the wine mentioned in the Bible is little more than grape juice. The short answer to this is, Nonsense! But let's take a closer look at this grape juice myth.
First the grape. It is the most clever of creations, natural yeast on the outside and sugar on the inside. As R.F. Capon wrote, "All one need do is crush a grape and the juice goes on it's God given course to become wine. Indeed something underhanded must be done to the grape to prevent it from going to fulfillment as God intended."
Next, we know that grape fermentation was very common in biblical times, and I will admit that some of it was pretty green. However, almost all scholars that have studied the ancient wine making process agree that the wine of the time ranged between 5 and 20% alcohol. Modern wine is controlled between 9 - 11%. So, most ancient wine was plenty powerful enough to intoxicate. That being said, many verses in the Bible would make absolutely no sense if they referred to grape juice. Why would the good Samaritin pour grape juice on a mans wounds? (Luke 10:34) How would drinking a little grape juice help with stomach problems? (1 Tim 5:23) Why would deacons be warned not to drink to much grape juice? ( 1 Tim 3:8) Or one of my favorites, The meaning of Song of Songs 1:2 just isn't the same if the Shulamite women is singing about grape juice! The list goes on, but I'm sure you catch my drift. Now to be sure the Bible warns about consumption of wine, to much wine. But even that goes against the argument that the wine was little more than grape juice. I don't think grape juice was ever a hindrance to someone's faith.
Oh, and while we are here, the "Bible refers to two different kinds of wine, with alcohol and without" argument is more nonsense. Just another attempt by those arguing a defeated myth to distract from the facts. Nothing in the text would lead anyone to think of two different types of drink. This argument is so off in woo-woo land that I'm not going to waste more time on it.
Back to something underhanded. The popular anti-wine Christian sentiment reached it's fevered pitch in America during the early days of prohibition. When a Methodist Bishop made consumption of a wine spiritual no no and a firm doctrine of the church. His name? Welch, yup, one in the same, his family's company developed an efficient way to pasteurize grape juice to prevent it from fermenting and marketed it to churches to celebrate communion during prohibition. Sounds kind of hinky to me.
To wrap this up, please do not misrepresent what my point is. I'm not saying go out and drink yourself silly on wine. What I am saying is that wine is given to us as a gift. As Benjamin Franklin said, "Wine is sure proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Wine is to gladden our hearts, I suppose we could get along without it, but why would you want to? The Creator is loving beyond all sense of reason. So wine becomes a symbol of His creativity and love, And in the end it is our oldest and best medicine!
Stay Hungry, and Thirsty.