Dear WE:
A question was brought up in my Theology class about the use of grape juice in the place of wine. Is it actually incorrect, and if so, is there anywhere in Scripture I can use to defend it?
Thanks, H.

communion-wineDear H:

The historical roots of using grape juice in the place of wine are actually not rooted in theology but rooted in a man named Thomas Welch. Permit me to explain by sharing an excerpt from Craig Parton’s book, “The Defense Never Rests:”

“The development of pasteurized grape juice by Thomas Welch as a substitute for Communion wine is well documented. Welch, a pietistic, temperance-minded nineteenth-century Methodist, pioneered what is today a $650 million-a-year grape juice business, a business that benefited directly from Protestant churches in the nineteenth century caught up in the burgeoning temperance movement. Welch’s motivation in pasteurizing grape juice was utterly clear–he sought the end of the “scandal” of serving alcohol in the church. Perhaps just as fascinating, at the same time there began the first theological attempts at claiming that wine was not used in Communion in the New Testament and that Jesus was actually a teetotaler.” [Craig Parton “The Defense Never Rests,” (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2003), 142.]


For More Information On This Subject See:

Hope that helps,

Pastor Matt Richard
Zion Lutheran Church
Gwinner, ND