"…Let us watch and BE SOBER. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day BE SOBER…" (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8) Sober – Nepho: "to be free from the influence of intoxicants." (Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)
The story of the Anglican Aboriginal Churches in the Northern Territory cannot be told without including Gumbuli. He was the first Aboriginal person to be ordained as priest in the NT, and only the 2nd Anglican Aboriginal priest in Australia.
He was respected by many at Ngukurr for standing against alcohol being brought into the community. The community had already experienced what it was like to have alcohol freely available. He was aware of the violence and problems that went with the alcohol and wanted his community spared from the consequences of binge drinking, violence, sleepless nights, and frightened women and children who were unable to sleep because of the noise and fear of the violence.
Gumbuli also played a key role in the use of the local language in church. He preached and taught in Kriol. He was a strong supporter of the Kriol Bible Translation project. He selected the first Aboriginal members of the Kriol team and encouraged the translation work. He strongly advocated for Aboriginal partnership in the translation work and insisted that they needed the whole bible Kriol. In 2007 when the Kriol bible was dedicated and presented to the people he was very proud of what had been achieved and encouraged people to use it. He understood the value of reading the bible and preaching in the language the people spoke.
“Basil Wilberforce was born in Winchester in 1841, the son of Samuel Wilberforce, the famous Church of England bishop and anti-Darwinian. Queen Victoria was one of Basil’s godparents. He trained for a career in the church and in 1871 became rector of St Mary’s Church in Southampton. While in Southampton he campaigned nationally and locally against the evils of alcoholic drink. As an alternative to the public house he founded a Church of England Young Men’s Association (YMA) in the town.“
Albert Basil Orme Wilberforce (b. 1841) was appointed canon residentiary of Westminster in 1894, chaplain of the House of Commons in 1896 and archdeacon of Westminster in 1900; he has published several volumes of sermons.
‘…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”
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)
‘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.’
‘Well look at them and look at us. I’m having a go at what they have got.’
—Arthur Stace “Mr. Eternity”
Alcoholic Arthur Stace repented when he saw how Christians at St. Barnabas Church were NOT like him. The church’s Anglican rector, RBS Hammond, was a total prohibitionist, and Arthur was a drinker of methylated spirits.
Arthur then warned about ‘Eternity’ by writing this word in chalk and in crayon on Sydney’s sidewalks. He wrote it repeatedly for 37 years.
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 14:23-25; Luke 22:17-18,20). Continue reading “The advantages of unfermented grape juice for the Lord’s Supper”