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Ask a Pastor: Is Wine Necessary for Celebrating the Lord's Supper?


When it comes to the Lord's Supper, must wine always be used? There are many that struggle with alcohol and it would be forcing someone into a struggle that they deal with. Like would it be OK for the church to have the option (not necessarily a full out switch) of having grape juice or something of sorts.


Alcohol abuse has been around since at least the days of Noah (Genesis 9:20-21). We know it was present in the New Testament because, at the wedding at Cana in John 2:1-11, Jesus turned water into wine. Proverbs 31:6-7 says, "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more." In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul writes to Timothy, "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities." When Jesus gave His disciples the Cup of the Lord's Supper, the wine of the Pascal meal was in that cup (Matthew 26:27-28; Mark 14:23-24; Luke 22:17-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-2).

So, the Bible does not condemn wine but condemns the abuse of wine. Proverbs 23:31-32 "Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” That’s drunkenness. So, it is the abuse, not the use we need to be aware of. I also know many long term recovering alcoholics who take the cup at the Lord's Table, where wine is used. They have for years. No wine for them at dinner. But wine at the Lord’s Supper. For the child of God, there is no possible way the LORD would ever use His means of Grace to cause one of His little ones to stumble. He's far more loving and watchful than that. Not in Jesus' day, the days of the Early Church, or Reformation, all the way to the arrival of Welch's 100% Grape Juice™ on the heals of Prohibition in the 1920s. Before Welch's, the Church of God only had wine in the cup. And people abused alcohol at every point in history.

Some churches have Welch's as an alternative to wine. Is it still the Lord's Supper? Yes. Grape juice is still the blood of the grape or fruit of the vine. Yet when a wine is pasteurized, it takes the fermentation properties out of the grape. It must be done so quite scientifically. I doubt that the Lord intended the liquid that represents His blood to be divested of natural quality.



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