January 27, 2021

Riffs: 11:03:07: Missouri Baptists and The Battle of the Booze

bestofyamsearlsept013.jpgUPDATE II: Daniel Whitfield’s comprehensive survey of the Biblical teaching on Alcohol use is a must have resource. Top notch. Distribute widely please. My own journey through the hypocrisy of Southern Baptists on this issue was written in One Big Happy Lie.

UPDATE: Please read the comments on this post. Sad, sad, sad. The traditions of men doing exactly what Jesus said they would do.

Missouri Southern Baptists- 600,000 of them- are being torn apart by a battle indicative of what the current Southern Baptist Convention faces.

Alcohol- specifically what position regarding moderate, temperate use of alcoholic beverages churches are obligated to endorse- was the big issue at the recent Missouri Baptist convention meeting. Alcohol fundamentalists are well aware that the Bible is not on the side of their teetotal position, but that isn’t stopping them from insisting that Missouri Baptists must be united on this issue.

In other words, Biblical authority takes a back seat to the authority of culture and opinion. These are the same people that wanted any SBC professor fired who didn’t say he/she believed the Bible was without error in all that it affirms.

This issue, if not resolved, will cost Southern Baptists a bunch of future church affiliations and the already precarious interest of thousands of younger pastors. This issue needs to be shelved and soon. This will strangle cooperation at a time it is most needed.

Neither the SBC’s Cooperative Program mechanism for funding mission work or the Baptist Faith and Message doctrinal statement require the position of the alcohol fundamentalists. Everyone is aware that this isn’t about the abuse of alcohol, and a fair number of the people getting red-faced over the issue show evidence that if the bar in question were a buffet, they’ve been frequenting it more than once a year.

Unite around the Gospel essentials that will support cooperative missions. The path of wisdom is obvious. Ramming this non-Biblical binding of conscience down the throats of Southern Baptists is going to be a disaster for the SBC’s connection with future generations.

Your comments welcome, especially if you are a Southern Baptist.


  1. Found an interesting article on the origin of using grape juice during Holy Communion rather than wine:


    Corroborated on this site:

    Isn’t that great…changing the practice of what to use in the Lord’s Supper because of the efforts of an enterprising young guy named Welch? 🙂

  2. Nicholas Anton says

    To totally argue the contemporary use of wine from the basis of Biblical usage is folly, in that the designation of the term and composition of wine used as a beverage in both the Old and New Testament is at best unclear. Contemporary opinion on the matter is varied and divided. Furthermore, we have little knowledge as to the alcohol content of the beverage called wine. They did not have liquor control commissions to determine the content and control the substance as we do today. It can be clearly determined that the use of the term, wine, can refer to both fresh and fermented grape juice, as well as to the juice of other plants. History informs us that grape juice, called wine, could be kept in an unfermented state for up to a year even in New Testament times. History also informs us that in Bible times fermented wines were also boiled down into a syrup for preservation and purification, in which state they would have very limited alcohol content. History also tells us that wines were usually mixed with water when used as a beverage. Furthermore, many references to the use of wine in the Bible are made without moral judgment, similar to the references of King David taking wives and concubines. These references in themselves neither affirm nor deny the practices listed.

    We must therefore base contemporary use of wine and other alcohol beverages on the principles as taught in Scripture, especially in the New Testament. We must also take into consideration the increased contemporary knowledge on the substance. We must not only make our judgments on the basis of similarities, but also in which ways the contemporary substance and its use are different from Bible times. Likewise, we must adjust the Old Testament ethic to fit the strengthened ethic as taught by Jesus, “e.g.; “…It has been said…”, versus “…but I say unto you…”.

    Because of Biblical principles, and contemporary evidence against contemporary use of contemporary alcohol, the only wise thing for a contemporary Christian is to abstain from habitual social drinking. The practice of social drinking becomes sin when I put at risk the physical and spiritual welfare of my own person plus anyone that may be influenced by me in the liberties I take. If Christian use of the substance contributes to the massive, well documented social problem, than it is sin.

  3. Nicholas Anton says

    re; the discussion on communion wine;

    Note, the following instructions to Israel regarding the Passover;
    Exo 12:19-20;
    SEVEN DAYS SHALL THERE BE NO LEAVEN FOUND IN YOUR HOUSES: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land. Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.
    The word, “eat”, can also be interpreted “consume, devour”.

    Note the following add on the net; “Lavin Premium Wine Yeast”

    The Question?

    1) In that the Bible states, “There shall no leaven be found in your houses:, and in that leaven/yeast is used to ferment wine, is fermented wine therefore also on the “excluded” list for the Passover? (I am not referring to tradition, but to God’s literal command)

    2) In that in the symbolism of the Bread and Cup which represents the Crushed, Broken Body and Spilled Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the fermenting process has nothing to do with the symbolism, why make issue about fermentation or alcohol?

    3) In that the Bible NEVER refers to “wine” at The Lord’s Table, but to “The Cup”, why insist on alcoholic wine?

    Now do your own mathematics.

  4. Regarding alcohol content of wine in biblical times


    You’re grasping at straws. Truly, knowing whether wine was 4%, 12%, 20%, more or somewhere in the middle back then is irrelevant. We know from numerous accounts of drunkenness as well as the admonitions not to be “drunk with wine” that whatever the actual percentage was, it was of a high enough percentage that one could get drunk. I think it’s a reasonable assumption that one didn’t have to chug 4 gallons of it in 20 minutes to achieve the drunken state.

    Second, grapes themselves, in and on the skins, contain yeast. More yeast is added to create wine and convert the sugars into alcohol, but naturally occurring yeast within the grape itself remains even in regular grape juice. So unless the Lord provided the Hebrews with something magical to remove all traces of yeast from the non-alcoholic grape juice you insinuate they would need to follow the Lord’s literal command, I think it’s safe to say your interpretation of what is being referred to in the Exodus passage is not correct.

  5. Nicholas Anton,
    Following your reasoning regarding wine in Biblical times, those who choose to drink now need only dilute their wine to more closely match that in the Bible…but I don’t understand how responsible, moderate, and discreet consumption of alcohol contributes to the social problems created by alcohol abuse. Even full abstinence from alcohol still doesn’t solve the deeper problem of sinful addiction. I think those who don’t deal with the addiction would just find another substance of choice.

    Also, I don’t believe anyone is ‘insisting’ on alcoholic wine for all people in all situations. Why do you keep ‘insisting’ on no alcoholic wine, ever, for anyone?

  6. Even full abstinence from alcohol still doesn’t solve the deeper problem of sinful addiction. I think those who don’t deal with the addiction would just find another substance of choice.

    Like in-your-face Temperance and Prohibition?
    (Proven from SCRIPTURE! of course…)

  7. Whenever I hear an assertion that The Last Supper had no wine I make a point:

    The refrigerator did not exist as yet. You _couldn’t_ have only grape-juice at the time. Barring a miracle, that is; and I don’t recall that one being documented, it would certainly have been noteworthy.

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