Is Wine from the Devil–or a Gift from God?

Now, I think the taste of wine is vile.  But I did a little research on the origins of grape juice.

The company web site of Welch’s, maker of grape juice, confirms that Dr. Thomas Bramwell Welch first promoted the idea of “unfermented sacramental wine” in communion.  Dr. Welch was a Methodist and part of the newly arising Temperance Movement:

The story of Welch’s began in 1869 in Vineland, New Jersey–when physician and dentist Thomas Bramwell Welch and his son Charles processed the first bottles of ‘unfermented wine’ to use during their church’s communion service.

(I got this quote from here, though for some reason I don’t see an exact quote on this page now.)

Back in 1869, dentist Thomas Welch was elected Communion steward at the First United Methodist Church, Vineland, N.J. He objected to the use of wine for the sacrament and refused to touch it.

Meanwhile he heard of Louis Pasteur’s new method of killing bacteria in milk (‘pasteurization’). He decided to try applying the same principle to preserving the juice of grapes unfermented. –Marian Van Til, Welch’s Innovation

Check out the history of alcohol in Christianity–and note that even Puritans drank it, despising only drunkenness.

Note the section on Winemaking in biblical times.  It describes how quickly grape juice ferments, and the true meaning of “new wine”–not grape juice, as some temperance groups will tell you, but already-fermenting wine.  Even year-old wine was “new.”

Apparently, the idea that alcohol is “evil” in and of itself, and must be eradicated from the Communion, is a feature of much of American Protestantism in the newer denominations, but not of the older churches which have long traditions.

Written probably in 2007

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:
End Times and Christian Zionism 
God’s Purpose/Supremacy of God Doctrine 
Cat and Dog Theology 
Raising One’s Hands in Worship 
Christian Music 
On the “still, small voice” and Charismatic sign gifts
On church buildings 
The Message Bible 
The Purpose-Driven Life 
The Relevance Doctrine, i.e. Marketing Churches to Seekers 
Republican Party 
Abortion Protests 
The idea that God has someone in mind for you 
Literalism in Biblical interpretation

Page 2:
Name it and Claim It Doctrine, Prosperity Doctrine, Faith-Formula Theology, Word-Faith Theology,  Positive Confession Theology, Health and Wealth Gospel, and whatever else they call it
More about Pat Robertson
Dr. Richard Eby and others who claim to have been to Heaven
Women in Marriage/the Church
Spiritual Abuse 
Other Resources 

Page 3:
Why do bad things happen?
Should we criticize our brethren’s artistic or evangelistic attempts?  Or, how should we evangelize, then?
Angels: Is “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti a divine revelation or fiction?
Halloween: Not the Devil’s Holiday!
Hell and the Nature of God 
Is Christmas/Easter a Pagan Holiday? 
Is everybody going to Hell except Christians?
How could a loving God who prohibits murder, command the genocide of the Canaanite peoples? 
What about predestination?
Musings on Sin, Salvation and Discipleship 
An Ancient View which is in the Bible, yet new to the west–Uncreated Energies of God

Page 4:
The Didache 
Technical Virginity–i.e., how far should a Christian single go? 
Are Spiritual Marriages “real”?  (also in “Life” section, where it’s more likely to be updated) 
Does the Pill cause abortions, or is that just another weird Internet or extremist right-wing rumor?
What about Missional Churches, Simple Churches, Fluid Churches, Organic Churches, House Churches or Neighborhood Churches?
Is Wine from the Devil–or a Gift from God?
What is Worship? 
Evangelistic Trips to Already Christianized Countries
Fraternities, Sororities, Masonic Lodge 
Was Cassie Bernall a Martyr?
Some Awesome Things heard in the Lamentations Service (Good Friday evening) during Holy Week

Conversion Story

Phariseeism in the Church