Methodius of Olympus (311 AD) Christian against tasting alcohol

Methodius of Olympus (311 AD)

‘…he who has devoted and offered himself to the Lord shall not take of the fruits of the plant of evil, because of its natural tendency to produce intoxication and distraction of mind. For we perceive from the Scriptures two kinds of vines which were separate from each other, and were unlike. For the one is productive of immortality and righteousness; but the other of madness and insanity. The sober and joy-producing vine, from whose instructions, as from branches, there joyfully hang down clusters of graces, distilling love, is our Lord Jesus, who says expressly to the apostles, “I am the true vine, ye are the branches; and my Father is the husbandman.” [John 15:1,5] But the wild and death-bearing vine is the devil, who drops down fury and poison and wrath, as Moses relates, writing concerning him, “For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.” [Deuteronomy 32:32] The inhabitants of Sodom having gathered grapes from this, were goaded on to an unnatural and fruitless desire for males. Continue reading “Methodius of Olympus (311 AD) Christian against tasting alcohol”

Early church rules against drinking alcohol

Tertullian (c. 160-220 AD)

Tertullian strikingly compared the strong penalty of the Levitical priests to ministers in the Church. ‘For abstinence from wine withal has honourable badges of its own… So true is it, that such as shall have ministered in the Church, being not sober, shall “die”’.

(Tertullian, Fasts, Ch. 9, ‘From Fasts Absolute Tertullian Comes to Partial Ones and Xerophagies’, citing Leviticus 10:9)

Ecclesiastical Canons

‘42. Let a bishop, or presbyter, or deacon who indulges himself in dice [i.e. gambling] or drinking, either leave off those practices, or let him be deprived.
43. If a sub-deacon, a reader, or a singer does the like, either let him leave off, or let him be suspended; and so for one of the laity.
44. Let a bishop, or presbyter, or deacon who requires usury of those he lends to, either leave off to do so, or let him be deprived.’

(Ecclesiastical Canons 42-44)

‘42… This and the two following canons should be included in the number of the most ancient so-called apostolic canons. Their origin is unknown.’

(‘A History of the Christian Councils, From the Original Documents, To the Close of the Council of Nicæa, A.D. 325’, 1871 By Karl Joseph von Hefele, translated from German by William R. Clark) Continue reading “Early church rules against drinking alcohol”

Catholic Church vs Alcohol

Bernard Tolomeo (1272-1348)

Tolomeo founded the Olivetan order of Benedictine monks. A late critic asserts: ‘They were also fanatical total abstainers … vineyards were rooted up and the wine-presses and vessels destroyed.’

Olivetans, Catholic Encyclopedia.

Benedict himself (480-543) had noted that in earlier times it was ‘not at all proper’ for monks to drink. Still he said abstainers ‘will have their special reward’.

Rule of St. Benedict, Ch. 40.

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The advantages of unfermented grape juice for the Lord’s Supper

Caution with the vague term ‘wine’ in communion service

A minister today needs caution when using unfermented grape juice and simply calling it ‘wine’ during a communion service. Participants may become confused, unless it is specifically stated that it is not the fermented type. They may know the term ‘wine’ is variously understood by different Christians (more so than other terms). Whatever the meanings of ‘wine’ – the Holy Bible itself does not use this particular term ‘wine’ (oinos) in reference to the Lord’s Supper. In every case, the Gospels only say ‘the fruit of the vine’ or ‘the cup’ (Matt. 26:27-29; Mark 14:23-24; Luke 22:17-18,20). Continue reading “The advantages of unfermented grape juice for the Lord’s Supper”