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Churches going overboard! Catholic priest says alcohol restriction is not necessary

Published:Saturday | September 19, 2015 | 12:00 AM


Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities. 1 Timothy 5:23

Participate in any communion service in church and more than likely you will be served grape juice.

This is in continuation of a command Jesus gave when he held the Lord's Supper with His 12 disciples before His crucifixion, "this do in remembrance of me".

However, in the scripture, it made reference to Jesus breaking bread and serving wine.

For most churches, alcohol is a no no, with the scripture being quoted, "wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging and whosoever is deceived is not wise". (Proverbs 20 v 1)

During Christmas, some Christians refrain from alcohol in their sorrel or fruit cakes - as they seek to live an exemplary holy life.

But is drinking alcohol a sin? After all, Jesus did turn water into wine at the wedding in Cana, with guests praising it as the best being saved for last. Paul encouraged Timothy to "drink a little wine for thine often infirmities ... why then is it shunned by the Church?

Pastor Robert Ellis of the United Pentecostal Church said 'fermented grape juice' back in those days cannot be compared to the alcohol we are now consuming.

"There are different alcohol at different levels," he said.

According to Ellis, wine in biblical times, in terms of alcoholic content, was "much less" than what we have today.

"The processing that is applied today is far different from what their fermenting undergo - albeit it could still drunk you," he said, adding that whatever affects Christians negatively, should be avoided.

doesn't speak to alcoholic content

Commenting on the scripture where Jesus turned the water into wine, Ellis said the quality being praised by those who drank it doesn't necessarily speak to the alcoholic content.

"It was not necessarily a stronger wine. My issue with alcohol is its ability to become addictive and get persons dependent on it. Anything that we become dependent on is not good," he said.

Father Thomas Dynetius, while acknowledging that the Passover drink is all dependent on what each church thinks, expounded on the Jewish Passover custom for Family and Religion.

"The Jewish Passover was of drink wine and not grape juice. The Passover celebration implies a cultural element of drinking wine," he shared.

According to the father, wine does have a role to play in the human life. "What we need to do in the morality of it is remember that anything that is in excess can be dangerous. Keep a balance of what is appropriate and what is necessary," he cautioned.

With some churches - mostly Pentecostal - refraining from alcohol of any kind and encouraging their members not to consume it, father describes it as "being overzealous of protecting religion, and in the process they go overboard".