if one considers the midicinal qualities to be found in wine or grape juice from the standpoint of molecular micro-biology you will find that both contain the exact same midicinal qualities. Simply put fresh grape juice and fermented wine produce the same midicinal effects.
I have no particular interest in defending the reasonable consumption of alcohol but I am interested to see that the truth is upheld and not shouted down by ignorance.
Firstly may I say I also have no desire to promote imbibing of alcoholic beverages in those who are for one reason or another opposed to the consumption of alcohol.
Abstinence or participation is a matter of personal choice and should not be imposed or forbidden by anyone, except in cases of drunkenness and excess, for which there has long been laws to control it’s sale and excessive use, to preserve the common good and punish antisocial behaviour.
Scripture contains no absolutely clear mandate for the complete prohibition of alcohol. That is a fact.
Wine contains alcohol, grape juice does not. Wine has antiseptic qualities which grape juice has less. The Good Samaritan poured oil and wine on the wounded travellers wounds and may also have eased his pain by offering it to drink. Old Testament scripture can be found to support the use of alcohol for medicinal purposes. None are found for grape juice.
When “new wine” was stored in old wineskins, the “new wine” became fermented because of a bacteria that formes in old containers that have not been refrigerated or thourghly disinfected.
Wineskins were always used to produce wine, not to store grapejuice. Old wineskins were dry and inflexible, they could not be used to produce New wine, (everybody knew that), only new, flexible wineskins could contain new wine, without bursting and loosing the precious contents. Hence the allusion by Jesus to the impossibility of his teachings being able to enter and abide in ‘inflexible, law bound, rule keepers’ Such a situation would result in irreconcilable contradictions within the ‘believers’ psyche, which would destroy both the individual, (madness) and the Gospel message, (new words of grace from and old, law based and judgemental mentality). Impossible contradiction = ‘nutter preachers’ like David Coresh and ilk – we’ve all seen them, haven’t we?
Grapes were used to make wine. That is what vineyards were for, not for the production of grapes or grape juice. The market for wine far outstripped the market for fresh fruit or grape juice.
Compare how often wine and ‘grape juice’ are mentioned in scripture.
New fresh grape juice, already contained the natural yeasts required to complete the fermentation process. Yeasts are naturally in residence on the skins of the grapes when they go into the winepress. Nowadays yeast is also artificially added to speed up the process but perfectly good wine can be made without adding it. It just takes a little longer. Cider, incidentally is still entirely made using the natural yeasts which occur on the skins of apples when left to mature.
Fermentation is entirely a natural process, the devil is not involved in any way. All natural processes are by God’s decree and all are beneficial when responsibly received and treated with respect or properly controlled. It is only when God’s good gifts, (including alcohol), are abused that the devil gets his laughs.
I see no reason for us to be at loggerheads over this Doc. You have your view and I have mine. Whatever scripture you can dredge up to support your view, I can dredge up one which will support mine. So let’s not argue the toss.
If I were invited to dinner with your family I would not expect wine at the table, (even though Jesus had wine at his), I would not be offended or feel deprived. As your guest I would give thanks for whatever I received. If you came to dinner with me, you would not be compelled to drink wine and in all probability I and my other guests would abstain out of respect for your weaker conscience. Rom. 14: 2-3
As to what happens as a general rule in my house, we will enjoy a glass or two of wine with our meal, and give thanks to God not only for it but also for the sacrifice of our Lord that it represents to us, which we remember ‘as often as we drink it’