Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Can Abstentionists and Moderationists Find Common Ground?

QUOTES AND MORE:

40% of all vehicle fatalities are alcohol related (MADD).

In Texas alone Alcohol-related accidents cost the taxpayers 10.3 BILLION dollars in 1999. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

The speed in which one drinks increases ones BAC. If just 10 ounces of wine is consumed over an extended period of an HOUR it will increase the average (200 lb) man’s BAC from .00 to .02. If it is 15 ounces it becomes .04. 20 ounces an hour = .06 (Michigan State University).
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s study on impairment effects revealed that even at a BAC of .02 “the majority of participants were SIGNIFICANTLY IMPAIRED…on important measures.” (National Highway Safety Administration). IN OTHER WORDS, JUST 10 OUNCES OF WINE CONSUMED IN AN HOUR WILL SIGNIFICANTLY IMPAIR ONE’S DRIVING!

CAN ABSTENTIONIST AND MODERATIONIST FIND COMMON GROUND?

In 1962 Thomas Kuhn wrote a book, which challenged the concept of absolutes (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions). While he reached implications that were erroneous, he nevertheless provided a truth, which is enlightening for our present discussion.

Kuhn, revealed that many who were involved in scientific revolutions spoke past those who held different presuppositions. For example, many of those who believed the world to be flat COULD NOT hear the validity or evidence of it being round; because they knew it was flat.

It is the same conundrum we see in the evolution/creation debate. If one begins with the presupposition that supernatural events cannot occur, then Creation is impossible no matter how much scientific validation it has. It is only when one admits the possibility that creation COULD occur that he is able to search for scientific validity for or against it. Further, it is only when one admits creation could occur that legitimate conversation can take place between Creation scientists and Evolution scientists.

This lack of communication is also evident in the current discussion on alcohol. It centers on the word “oinos.” Until abstentionists admit it could mean intoxicating drink and until moderationists admit it could mean wine diluted with water we will forever be talking past each other. While I am willing to admit that it can mean intoxicating drink, I am UNwilling to admit it can ONLY mean intoxicating drink.

This seems to be the crux. For moderationists to insist that “oinos” can only mean intoxicating drink not only negates its other uses, but it negates its normal use. NT Scholar Robert Stein has shown unambiguously, oinos normally referred to a wine/water mixture. The purpose of such mixture was to purify the water. This mixture was used for survival purposes. They drank this mixture as their normal hydrating substance. It is similar to Sweet Tea in the Old South.

I enjoy working outside in my vegetable garden, but it is work! Usually after two hours in the summer heat I come in and quickly consume two to three large glasses of tea to rehydrate my body. Can you imagine coming in and quickly consuming two to three large glasses of warm wine for rehydration? Talk about a midday drunken stupor.

Inevitably, it will be argued that they drank water. But the water had to either be “living water” (flowing water from springs, which was limited) or purified. Otherwise, it could make one ill, similar to water in third world countries today. The easiest and most inexpensive way to purify water was with alcohol. This mixture was known as "oinos." If wine and strong drink were used to purify water as both Jewish and non-Jewish cultures testify then we must consider it a possibility.

When I go to India I am told, “don’t drink the water.” I do not, but I do brush my teeth with it. On one trip, a student got sick, apparently, from brushing his teeth with it. Some Indians can drink and not get sick; I can have minute amounts without getting sick; while the student could not even place it in his mouth without an effect. I shall assume that germs, genetics and immune systems have not changed significantly in the past 2,000 years and therefore the NT dead water had similar effects. Thus, there were some who were able to survive on the water in Palestine with no problem (John the Baptist), while others would get sick (Timothy).

While many Indians drink the dead water, those who can afford to purchase purified water, do so; this is good hygienic practice, which is testified by science. Should we not assume that biblical cultures understood and desired the same health benefits? Verily, this assumption is confirmed by Stein’s work in ancient cultures.

From my vantage point, it appears that moderationists seem to equate NT culture with 21st Century American Culture. Drawing a comparison between wine-drinking then and wine-drinking now. Thus, there seems to be an assumption that the ancients would drink their tap water for sustenance during the day, and then in the evening sit down with their wife for a relaxing glass of wine in their air-conditioned dining room. In reality, NT culture was much closer to many of our third world cultures, only you could not purchase purified water then, you had to purify it with wine or other strong drink.

Hermeneutics demands that we interpret a word with its common or normal use unless the context demands otherwise.

I concede there are times when the context demands “oinos” be interpreted as intoxicating drink (I Cor. 11), but the abuse of the Lord’s Supper does not imply that oinos must ALWAYS be interpreted as intoxicating drink. Since Justin Martyr makes clear that the oinos served at the Lord’s Supper in the early church was a water/wine mixture we can logically deduce that the Corinthians were getting into the wine before it was mixed. This would explain both the drunkenness as well as the fact they ran out of “oinos.”

I further concede it is possible that the wine at the Wedding at Cana COULD have been intoxicating because of the head-waiters comments. But I believe that this interpretation creates more problems than it solves. Not the least of which is the implication that some were already drunk and Jesus was contributing to their sin. This implication alone renders it unlikely that “oinos” should be understood as something different (intoxicating drink) from its normal use (wine/water mixture).

I am willing to open my mind and consider intoxicating drink a possibility…I am asking moderationists to do the same concerning water/wine mixture, otherwise legitimate discussion cannot take place.

If you think it is POSSIBLE, (not probable, just possible) for oinos to mean a wine/water mixture then read Robert Stein’s work “Wine-Drinking in New Testament Times?” If you are unable to access it, then google “John MacArthur Be not Drunk with Wine.” This is a three part series where he quotes Stein heavily.

Finally, if we both concede it is possible for the opposing side to be correct then we can further consider the consequences if our position is wrong.
If I am wrong, I doubt I will be rebuked for not drinking wine or rebuked for encouraging others to abstain. No reputable scholar has ever alleged the Bible’s condemnation of abstinence. But, my friend, if you are wrong, and the Bible does prohibit intoxicating drink for recreational purposes, then there will be an accounting, especially, if you teach others your error (James 3).

We certainly can praise Jesus that all of our sins are covered, but such a sacrifice is not to be taken lightly. Wisdom demands that if it is possible (as scholars attest) for something to be sin then avoid it. The question seems not to be whether it IS sin, but whether it is possible that it is.

Besides the biblical debate…no industry, with the possible exception of pornography, has broken more homes, brought about more abuse, caused more death, and led to more sin then the alcoholic industry. How in the world we can even contemplate supporting it with God’s resources is beyond me.

Daniel’s example of not defiling himself with the king’s wine is a solid example for all to follow.
BR

47 comments:

Gummby said...

Brad: Didn't Daniel also refuse to eat the kings food? Following your logic, shouldn't we all be eating veggies with our water?

brad reynolds said...

Matt
Good point.

Now we know the OT law given concerning unclean foods but we find no such law for wine. Thus, we understand why Daniel would not eat the meat, but why did he also refuse to drink the wine?

BR

Gummby said...

Perhaps we can both check and meet back here. :)

Also, I've been exploring your belief that Paul is actually telling elders not to drink in 1 Tim 3:3. Do you know of any commentaries that believe this to be the correct interpretation?

brad reynolds said...

Matt
I am not at my office...so I don't have access to my commentaries. Will try to check tomorrow. But I know NT Greek Scholar Gerald Cohen in his book "Who Rules the Church" interprets it as such.
BR

IN HIS NAME said...

BRAD,
I'm beginning to see your HEART, which is GOOD.

I know three things, from reading all 3 Blog's or postings of the following 3 Pastors.

1.If I was a wine drinker in moderation I could be a member of YOUR CHURCH, which is GOOD...

2.If I was a wine drinker in moderation I could be a member of PETER'S CHURCH, which is GOOD...

3.If I was a wine drinker in moderation I couldn't be a member of JEREMY GREEN'S (SPC PASTOR'S) CHURCH, which is not good...

I do know it is a New Church Plant and maybe the Pastor GREEN didn' take part in the drafting of Church By-Laws.

If I'm mistaken, please correct me.

Your Brother in CHRIST

brad reynolds said...

In His name
Thank you...I appreciate your comments and you would be more than welcome at my church.

However, please don't take this the wrong way...I want to be totally transparent.
I would and have addressed alcohol, smoking, and gluttony in my church...I have further said that "whatever area we struggle in, we should ask God's help and guidance. and lest anyone think I am preaching to them please know I have much graver sins."

Further, although the churches I have pastored have not affirmed abstinance as a standard of membership, I do know churches in Romania and Central America that do...I leave such a decision up to the autonomy of the local church.

Just wanted to share more of my heart:)
Thanks again for your words.
BR

Gummby said...

BR: John Gill (which is all I have available at work right now, but he is a good Baptist) seemed to think Daniel's issue was that the food & wine would have been offered to idols (such as Bel), in addition to the possibility that the food itself could have been unclean.

Tim Batchelor said...

Brad,

Here’s are excerpts from interesting study on the Greek word “oinos” found at elpenor's Greek forum. The author has no dog in the abstentionist hunt unlike many of the biblical lexographers who are being quoted on this issue. Note the conclusion he reaches in the last paragraph. The whole article can be found at the following link. http://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/koinonia/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=124&SearchTerms=that+%22oinos%22+does+not+primarily+connote+an+inebriating+beverage

”Greek OINOS = OIN(os), where "os" is the nominative case ending, = vin(um); wine. The sound V or U of vinum is a variant of the sound OI of oinos. The shared etym is OIN or UIN. Before anything else, here a short Greek vocabulary (selected from a lexikon):

oinos = wine.
oinos krithinos = barley wine, which leads to the specification:
oinos ampeelinos = vine wine [grape wine];
oinomeli =(mixture of) wine and honey.
oinopotazO = I drink wine.
oinopoieO = I make (prepare) wine.
oinobareO = I am full of wine; I am drunk.
oinizO = I smell wine.

From these words we can see that "oinos" does not primarily connote an inebriating beverage, but an extracted or squeezed out liquid which has a certain smell, or water flavored by certain (boiled/fermenting) grains. (I noted earlier that wine used to be mellowed by either diluting with water or by making a mulse. In Neolitic times and later times, the barley drink was used in the Eleusinian rites, whereas the grape drink was used in the Dionysian rites. Barley and wheat were associated strictly with Demeter, the grain-vegetation goddess.) There is some evidence that the Sumerians, who originated the culture of wheat and of barley, were adept at preparing beverages, such as wine and the barley drink.

I have researched this subject at a pretty deep level and I continue to watch in wonder that the moderationists accept a hermeneutic that discounts cultural context when discussing the relevant passages on this subject. Those guys still scoff at the idea that the ancients mixed water with "oinos" when the whole weight of secular scholarship affirms that they did. Perhaps our moderationist friends believe the world is flat too?

brad reynolds said...

Matt
I think Gill is right. I think the issue probably was that it was food and drink that had been offered to idols.

I also make this assumption with Colossians 2 "let no one judge you...food or drink"

Thus, I think Paul was dealing with judging food and drink offered to idols also, not judging intoxicating drink.

When I say that about Col...some moderationists say I am imposing things on the text, even though Paul is dealing with Judiasm and Legalism (sabbath days and new moons).
If I am imposing on the text here then they are imposing on the text in Daniel more so. If Paul was condemning the drinking itself then Daniel was abstaining from the drink itself.

Personally, I am content with the idea that both were dealing with food and drinks offered to idols (not necessarily intoxicating drinks).

I am comfortable with the idea that the servants of the King were being given the King's yayin which was water purified with wine but which had been offered to false gods. This would keep them mentally alert during their daily service to the king but would allow for Daniel's abstention. I am further comfortable with the same consistent understanding of Col.

I am uncomfortable with saying Daniel abstained not because it was intoxicating but because it was offered to idols but Paul was telling them to not let others judge because it was intoxicating drink. This type of selective interpretation is inconsistent.

BR

Gummby said...

Perhaps our moderationist friends believe the world is flat too?

Congratulations, Tim. You've re-introduced ad hominem attacks into the argument. I had hoped we were past that.

brad reynolds said...

Tim,

"Those guys still scoff at the idea that the ancients mixed water with "oinos" when the whole weight of secular scholarship affirms that they did."

BINGO.

If the idea, that "oinos" commonly refered to a water/wine mixture, is rejected...then we cannot further discuss the issue. We will talk past each other, for we are not agreed on terms and possibilities. The fact that the ancients testified to this continually, seems to be missed.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Matt
I'm not defending Tim. In fact I don't like ad-hominal approaches, but I think he was quoting another source whose amazement at the continued ignoring of ancient documentation obviously frustrated him to a point where he made a statement, which I agree is absurd.
BR

Gummby said...

BR: I can appreciate that.

What's ironic is that he's using an argument ("the world is flat") that has been used against Christians for years to claim that they are anti-scientific.

This statement didn't originate with Christians, though, but rather someone who was frustrated with Christians in the 19th Century and wanted to discredit them. It has now been repeated so often that it has become "common knowledge."

Jim said...

I admit that it's possible. I'm almost sure "oinos" can refer to mixed wine. But I would not concede that it always must mean that.

There are a few things that just don't make sense to me. First, the qualifications for elders and deacons in 1 Tim. 3.

The Geneva commentary says this refers to "A common drinker and one that will often partake of it."

The New American Commentary says the qualification "forbids the love of alcohol" (p.116).

Doesn't context seem to suggest that this refers to a drink that is intoxicating? And if it does, why not a blanket requirement for abstinence?

What if a man couldn't drink the water at all without getting sick? Would he be disqualified because he had to drink a lot of mixed wine? Wouldn't he be considered a "common drinker?"

Second, what is the best reading and interpretation of Deut. 14:26? Doesn't it seem to indicate drinking for pleasure is sometimes good?

Forgive me if you have addressed these issues already. I am a so-called "moderationist," but closer to the fence than most.

brad reynolds said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
brad reynolds said...

Jim
I have addressed these:)
But will do so again.

In Tim the word translated in the NKJ as "not given to wine" can very well mean that as Thayer makes clear. But it also has a usual use of a drunkard. Five verses down Paul states that one of the requirements for deacons is that they be not given to much wine. A different phrase in the Greek.

I think the NKJ translaters translated paroinon correctly here in the context. While it could mean drunkard, it does not make sense that Paul would say to the pastors "don't be drunkards" but to the deacons "don't drink much wine." It makes better sense that the pastors had a higher standard not lower and so since paroinin can mean given to wine, it is better translated "not given to wine." Thus Paul told Pastors don't be given to wine and deacons don't be given to much wine.

This helps us understand why he would have to tell Timothy to drink wine for medicinal purposes. Timothy was totally abstaining as a pastor even from medicinal use.

Deut. 14:26 must be taken in light of Proverbs 20:1 and 23:29-34 where God speaks of strong intoxicating drink in the context of strong drink. Deut. speaks of strong drink in the context of tithing.

Now we are not told that they did not dilute the drink before drinking it...we are just told that God told them they Could purchase it with their tithe. If it was common practice to dilute strong drink as all ancient documentation makes clear then to assume the Hebrews did not is an unwise assumption.

Hope this helps and thanks for dropping by.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Matt
AGREED :)
BR

Gummby said...

You've gone to great lengths in other posts (& I haven't printed them all out to give them a thorough going over, so I hope you'll forgive if I'm not quoting directly) that oinos is diluted. If the research I'm doing bears this out, how does that dilute (pardon the pun) the moderationist case, in your estimation?

brad reynolds said...

Matt,
You continue to ask the Right questions. Thank you. You help me to make my position more clear.

If oinos were diluted as Stein makes clear, then in his words
"To consume the amount of alcohol that is in two martinis by drinking wine containing three parts water to one part wine [a fairly common ancient ratio], one would have to drink over twenty-two glasses. In other words, it is possible to become intoxicated from wine mixed with three parts water, but one’s drinking would probably affect the bladder long before it affected the mind."

The point being while it is possible for one to get intentionally drunk on the wine/water mixture the normal survival use 8 glasses of 8 ounces a day would have no intoxicating effects. Such a mixture would not even be considered alcohol by todays standards.

Some could get drunk on oinos before it was mixed. But oinos was mixed with water to make "oinos." This mixture was purified water. In the NT we should translate oinos as wine/water mixture that would not be considered an alcoholic beverage by today's standards unless the text demands we translate as unmixed fermented juice...ie - some were getting drunk.
BR

Gummby said...

You continue to ask the Right questions. Thank you. You help me to make my position more clear.

I'm glad to hear you say so. I hope you'll accept that I am trying to understand your position.

You said "In the NT we should translate oinos as wine/water mixture that would not be considered an alcoholic beverage by today's standards unless the text demands we translate as unmixed fermented juice...ie - some were getting drunk."

How would you characterize the 1 Tim 3 passage, then?

brad reynolds said...

Matt

I admit it is not abundantly clear, but I think the normal diluted meaning of oinos would be the best interpretation for oinos in this text, for the intoxicating drink is not required here.

Thus, I would classify the 1 Timothy passage as total abstinence for the pastor from the water/wine mixture would could be intoxicating if one drank huge amounts, but would not be classified as alcohol by today's standards. The deacon was not to be given to much of this.

The high standard for pastors would be similar to the high standard of total abstinence by the Nazirites and leaders (Prov 31:4-5) in the OT.

Perhaps this is why Timothy was totally abstaining and had to be told by Paul to drink some oinos for his ailment.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
You assert that your desire is for Abstentionists and Moderationists to find common ground, and then proceed to re-hash arguments which have been addressed ad-nauseum regarding why you - if you will allow me the liberty - will find no common ground with the moderationists. Methinks you are looking for the common ground to be your ground - i.e. if the Moderationists would just concede, then we'd have common ground. If that is not your intention, then your blog is misleading, dear brother. I cannot speak for all moderationists, but I do believe that it was probably common to dilute wine with water or water with wine. The purpose could have been purification, but the purpose could also have been to 'extend' the wine. Regardless, the 'mixed' wine had the capacity to inebriate - and that, I think, is the crux - not whether or not it was mixed. The 'oinos' of the new testament, whether mixed or not, had the capacity to inebriate, and to read more into the Scripture is an argument from silence. Allow me, if you will, an option for common ground. If the abstentionists will concede that the normal use of the word 'oinos' whether mixed or not, had the capacity to inebriate, I think you'd find common ground with most moderationists.

Looking for common ground,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
If my arguments are ad-nasseum to you there is a simple solution:)

Your accusation of misleading will not be responded to.

Concering the wine/water mixture we agree it had the CAPACITY to inebriate...but as Stein notes it would have taken 22 glasses of oinos to equal 2 martinees. Thus, there is a vast difference in the oinos used for survival purposes, (which had an alcohol content so low that it would not be categorized as an alcoholic drink today) and drinking Chardonnay for recreational purposes.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
First, I was not implying that 'your' arguments are ad-nauseum - my apologies for the confusion. I was simply stating that the arguments you are presenting in your call for common ground have been argued and argued to the point that, by now, I think most are aware of what the abstentionist position is and why they hold it. In fairness, the arguments for moderation have been presented ad-nauseum as well. My point is that we're not convering any new ground there. Second, you may respond or not respond to my statement that, 'if the moderationists would just concede, then we'd have common ground' - it's your blog (you know the saying, it's my party, I'll respond if I want to). :) I was not making an accusation, however. I was making an observation. It appears as though you are calling for the moderationists to move to your ground - not for both to move to 'common' ground. Is that not accurate? If not, then verily your blog is misleading because that is the 'reality' of what I read. Finally, regarding the 'mix' of the wine, we must use logic in our interpretation of how the 'oinos' was mixed. If, in fact, it was mixed with water to the point that 22 'glasses' of this mixture equalled 2 martinis, then we'd have a drink which was roughly equal to the alcoholic content of root beer - that would not qualify as 'oinos' under the normal use of the term. Oinos had the capacity to inebriate and you wouldn't have had to drink 3 gallons to become that way. To say otherwise is to argue against both Scripture and the normal use of the word.

Sincerely,

PTL

Gummby said...

While I wouldn't have phrased it the same was as PTL, I must admit he's arrived at where I was going.

I'm probably willing to stipulate that oinos is diluted. It seems unwise for you not to stipulate that it can be inebriating, particularly since it weakens (in my estimation) your argument for 1 Timothy, and for Paul & Timothy.

Consider this: if it was as common and harmless as you've said, there would have been no reason for Timothy to abstain. And if drunkenness wasn't an issue for elders, then there wouldn't have been the need to make a rule that they either "couldn't drink it" (your interpretation) or "couldn't be slaves to it" (my interpretation).

If we can get this far, we'll be on our way toward addressing the substance of your "Bias or Biblical" post (that is if you're interested).

brad reynolds said...

Matt and PTL
NT studies and oinos is not my specialty. They are Dr. Stein's. Now while we may disagree with the results of his studies. I don't think it does your position justice to say:
"I don't like the results of Dr. Stein's amazing work on the word "oinos" because it does not fit well into what I think Paul was saying in 1 Timothy. I have no data that confirms that Dr. Stein is wrong, I just believe he is."

I know that did not come across in the kind spirit I intended but that is what it sounds like you are saying.
If you have studies which reveal the alcohol level of the normal mixture was higher than Dr. Steins research reveals I will gladly listen...however even if one can show that Dr. Stein was wrong it does not negate the fact they used alcohol for survival not recreational purposes.

I meant what I said...I am very open to studies that show the alcohol content was less than Stein's research reveals...but I am not willing to dismiss the only research I know of on the alcoholic content just because I don't like the implications.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Please do not accuse me of that which I've not done I have a hard enough time responding to accusations of that which I actually have done. I don't think you've ever heard me say, "I don't like the results of Dr. Stein's amazing work on the word "oinos" because it does not fit well into what I think Paul was saying in 1 Timothy. I have no data that confirms that Dr. Stein is wrong, I just believe he is." Not only is your accusation false, but when you employ that technique, you make me sound foolish - that's not edifying, dear brother. I'm not sure about whether Matt has made such a comment, but I've never seen him post a comment like that. At any rate, I'm not addressing Dr. Stein at all, I'm saying that ANYONE who postulates that oinos was a drink that was diluted to the point that it did not have the capacity to inebriate is making a postulation that is inharmonious with Scripture. And to say that this is easily dismissed by 'understanding' that, when 'oinos' was used to get drunk, it was the unmixed version is arguing from silence. It seems likely, if that was the case, Paul would have said, "Don't drink the oinos before it is mixed." He didn't, though. He said, don't be drunk on oinos - there is nothing implied or otherwise that would suggest he was talking about the 'unmixed' version. But again, we've devolved into arguments that have been addressed and addressed.

Sincerely,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Please do not accuse me of that which I've not done I have a hard enough time responding to accusations of that which I actually have done. I don't think you've ever heard me say, "I don't like the results of Dr. Stein's amazing work on the word "oinos" because it does not fit well into what I think Paul was saying in 1 Timothy. I have no data that confirms that Dr. Stein is wrong, I just believe he is." Not only is your accusation false, but when you employ that technique, you make me sound foolish - that's not edifying, dear brother. I'm not sure about whether Matt has made such a comment, but I've never seen him post a comment like that. At any rate, I'm not addressing Dr. Stein at all, I'm saying that ANYONE who postulates that oinos was a drink that was diluted to the point that it did not have the capacity to inebriate is making a postulation that is inharmonious with Scripture. And to say that this is easily dismissed by 'understanding' that, when 'oinos' was used to get drunk, it was the unmixed version is arguing from silence. It seems likely, if that was the case, Paul would have said, "Don't drink the oinos before it is mixed." He didn't, though. He said, don't be drunk on oinos - there is nothing implied or otherwise that would suggest he was talking about the 'unmixed' version. But again, we've devolved into arguments that have been addressed and addressed.

Sincerely,

PTL

Gummby said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gummby said...

Let me suggest that we all take it down a notch.

Here's what I was saying: if there are no inebriating qualities, then Paul's instructions to the elders does not make sense (and frankly, it doesn't matter whether we use your interpretation or mine).

I'm not saying anything about Stein's research, except that if it wasn't able to make them drunk, there isn't a reason to warn them away from it.

FWIW, no matter what modern research says, if it disagrees with the Bible, it must be wrong. It's much the same as Second-Temple Judaism research trying to make the case that Pharisees weren't really hypocrites a legalists, when we know from the Scriptures that they were.

That said, Brad, let's not put the cart before the horse here. I'm laying the foundation to address some of the issues you've raised. One thing I won't be doing is trying to make the case that someone can go down to the local bar and slam down six shots with his buddies. No "moderationist" that I know of is trying to make that case, and it would be be foolish to do.

Gummby said...

Would it help if we substituted a mutually agreed-upon definition for wine/oinos? How about low alcohol beverage?

brad reynolds said...

PTL
We must interpret oinos based on the historical data of the day and I quote:

Mnesitheus of Athens as saying, "The gods have revealed wine to mortals, to be the greatest blessing for those who use it aright, but for those who use it without measure, the reverse. For it gives food to them that take it and strength in mind and body. In medicine it is most beneficial; it can be mixed with liquid and drugs and it brings aid to the wounded. In daily intercourse, to those who mix and drink it moderately, it gives good cheer; but if you overstep the bounds, it brings violence. Mix it half and half, and you get madness; unmixed, bodily collapse."

“Wine stored as a liquid, however, would ferment. Professor Robert Stein, in his "Wine-drinking in New Testament Times" (Christianity Today, 20 June 1975: 9-11), tells us liquid wine was stored in large jugs called amphorae. The pure, unmixed wine would be drawn out of these jugs and poured into large bowls called kraters, where it was mixed with water. From these kraters, it would then be poured into kylix, or cups. Wine would never be served directly from the amphora without first being mixed. And according to other historical data on this period, the mixture could be as high as a 20:1 ratio or lower than 1:1.”

Thus, to argue it was ALWAYS INTOXICATING goes against the clear evidence.

BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Where in those two citations did you read that the oinos was unfermented or diluted to the point that it wasn't alcoholic?

double visioned,

PTL :)

brad reynolds said...

Matt
The assumption that Paul “warned” them away from it is not necessary…although it MAY be correct. It could also be that, as the Nazarites, Paul was asking for total abstinence from the drink known as oinos which was a water/wine mixture used for daily sustenance consumption as an example to veer away from intoxicating substances and deacons were to follow but not total abstinence.


I can agree that the usual use of “oinos” was a wine/water mixture with a lower alcoholic content than today’s alcoholic beverages.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Wait - I saw it - you mean the part where it said the mix could be as high as 20:1 - which in normal connotation would mean that the 20:1 ratio would set the extreme upper bound of mixing ratio, no? And to continue with Dr. Stein's comment, the lower bound would be 1:1, no? So, what would be the 'typical' ratio? 10:1? If we began with a wine that was 13%, and cut it by 10, we'd have a glass of wine with an alcohol content of roughly 0.01%, which is less than root beer and would not, under any circumstances, have the capacity to inebriate. Also, if Dr. Stein is correct in his assertion that oinos would "never be served directly from the amphora without first being mixed", then is would be inaccurate to accuse the Corinthians of such.

Graciously,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
I've never said it was unalcoholic I said it did have alcohol content but two martinees was equivalent to 22 glasses of oinos...this is at a 3-1 ratio (I believe)according to Stein.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
I'm not sure what Dr. Stein is using as his basis for the alcoholic content of a martini, but a 3:1 ratio for diluted wine sounds pretty reasonable. Again, starting with a wine which is 13% (which is pretty typical), a dilution by three would elicit an alcoholic content of roughly 3.25%. At this level, one would easily be able to partake without getting drunk, but it would certainly have the capacity to inebriate if consumed for the purpose of such.

Thanks,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
I think, if I can recall...I'm not at my office. Stein said between 2-3%. So you are close at 3.25% and I will concede it could be that.

MacArthur, I think says in order for a beverage to be considered alcoholic by today's standards it has to be 4%.

Point being, I don't know what level of BAC 22 glasses of oinos would be. But we agree one could purposely get inebriated, but he would also be letting it out of his bladder by this time.

This does not change the fact that it was primarily used for survival and not for recreational purposes. Nor does it change the warnings against stong drink - equivalent to today's alcoholic beverages.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Actually, most of the American "light" lagers and pilsners (Bud Light, Miller Light, Coors Light)are between 3% and 4%, so according to MacArthur, then, these wouldn't be alcoholic? And, based on what I've witnessed - the bladder is often affected in conjuction with the inebriation.

Thanks,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
PS, that last comment may have sounded argumentative - actually, I am pretty much in agreement with you. A 3% to 4% level for diluted wine is probably pretty close. I still see nothing that would warrant saying that they didn't drink it for 'recreation' unless you mean that it wasn't drunk to get drunk. We drink lemonade for recreation, don't we? I'm not sure what you mean by recreation?

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
I don't have my resources in front of me so I don't know...nor can I speak to the content of light Lagers.

We still have the issues of wisdom - causing weaker brother to stumble, is it wise, etc. and recreational vs survival consumption.

Gummby said...

BR: I may be stealing my own thunder here, but isn't the "weaker brother" argument one of conscience as well? In other words, one must make a judgment about this, so it isn't an absolute prohibition, right?

posttinebraelux said...

All,
See - we're quite a bit further down the road to 'common ground' here on Dr. Reynolds' blog than any would have thought. Such gentle and edifying commentary should be an example to all. (sometimes I kind of twist my arm when patting myself on the back - it hurts just a bit right now). :)

PTL

brad reynolds said...

Matt
Let us not forget the negative attitude towards strong drink!

I have never said it is an absolute prohibition (medicinal/survival), I have said today's alcohol is not equivalent to NT oinos but rather to strong drink and I believe the Bible teaches through its principles that partaking of ANY barbiturates (including alcohol) for recreational purposes is wrong, as is slavery, as is suicide...etc

BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL
I have failed many times...but my desire has always been to have an edifying blog which is Christ-like
BR

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
brad reynolds said...

Anonymous
If you would like to restate your comment without such rhetoric I will gladly post it
BR