Thursday, July 30, 2009

Unfermented Wine

Rev. A.M. Wilson, Preface, The Wines of the Bible (1877):

Having been a teetotaller for more than thirty years, his [the author's] personal habits, associations, and sympathies have all been in favour of the unfermented theory; but the facts encountered in the present investigation have constrained him reluctantly to conclude that so far as the wines of the ancients are concerned, unfermented wine is a myth.

Charles Spurgeon, Charles Spurgeon's book review of The Wines of the Bible: an Examination and Refutation of the Unfermented Wine Theory by the Rev. A. M. Wilson. (reviewed 1877, The Sword and the Trowel, p. 437):

'UNFERMENTED wine' is a non-existent liquid. Mr. Wilson has so fully proved this that it will require considerable hardihood to attempt a reply. The best of it is that he is a teetotaler of more than thirty years' standing, and has reluctantly been driven 'to conclude that, so far as the wines of the ancients are concerned, unfermented wine is a myth.' While total abstainers are content to make no assault upon the cup used at the Lord's table, they work harmoniously with all who seek the welfare of their fellow men; but when they commence warfare upon that point they usually become more factious than useful: everything is then made subordinate to their one idea, and the peace of the church is disregarded. It is well, therefore, that one of themselves should protest against carrying a principle to extremes, and best of all that he should do so by showing that the theories which have been advanced are utterly untenable. We wish the utmost success to the abstinence cause, and, therefore, trust that there will be no pressing of the question of unfermented wine at the Communion, for it will not promote the cause, and will create much heartburning, and, worst of all, it will be contrary to the Divine precedent. The question is not necessary to the temperance movement, and we wish it had never been raised. Mr. Wilson has written the thick volume now before us to settle the matter, and we believe that he establishes beyond reasonable debate that the wines of the Bible were intoxicating, and that our Lord did not ordain jelly or syrup, or cherry juice to be the emblem of his sacrifice.

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