What Would Jesus Drink? A Spirit Filled Study by Joel McDurmon was not the book I expected it would be. As a wine-writer interested in history I was hoping for a investigation into the types of wine and beverages consumed around 2,000 years ago in the Middle-East. We know that Jesus turned water into good wine at the wedding in Cana, but what sort of wine would that have been?
The title is a play on the phrase ‘what would Jesus do’ and the book is a passionately expressed powerful, and at times emotional, argument against those who state that Christians should abhor all forms of alcohol. Particular scorn is reserved for those who allege that when the bible uses the word ‘wine’ it really means unfermented grape juice.
Joel McDurmon demolishes such arguments. At the very start of the book he says “if you are the type of person who can’t wait, here’s my answer: it is perfectly fine, right, Christian, biblical and godly to drink alcohol. Not only is it incorrect, biblically speaking, to forbid others to drink beer, wine and/or strong liquor, it is downright sinful.”
The book uses biblical quotes and references to show that alcohol is a blessing from God to mankind that we are encouraged to enjoy — in moderation.
The answer to the question of what would Jesus drink is therefore that he would have enjoyed the wine at Cana and that not only did he not object to alcohol, but that he gave wine a central and crucial role in his new Covenant at the last supper.
But, the author notes, only once in the entire the Bible is Jesus shown to take any drink. That was of sour wine when upon the cross, an action that fulfils an ancient prophecy.
That the bible does not explicitly show Jesus drinking alcohol is used by some preachers as evidence that his followers should abstain. The author warns that the logic of this argument means that one should drink nothing at all, since Jesus is not reported drinking water, milk or anything liquid (and certainly not tea, coffee, fruit juices or carbonated drinks.)
Another argument against alcohol is that the ill-effects of drunkenness are shown as bad. But tee-totalism is not the answer, says Joel McDurmon. It is not alcohol that is the problem, but over-indulgence. Follow the argument and you will eat no food, as the Bible also condemns gluttony. If the only way to avoid drunkenness is not to drink at all, then the only way to avoid gluttony is to eat nothing. McDurmon pertinently asks when you last heard a sermon against over-eating.
The author delves into the English translation of the Bible, going back to the root sources and showing that if the writers had meant to refer to grape-juice rather than wine they had the necessary words, and the translation of wine, meaning a fermented and alcoholic beverage, is correct.
The author examines two modern prohibitionist preachers, Jack Van Impe and Kent Hovind, taking apart their arguments by showing they are based on partial quotations, miss-translations and sentences used out of context.
If you feel there is merit in the prohibitionist position then you may like to read this book and re-consider, but I suspect this book will not change the minds of the firmly committed who read in the bible what they want to support their views.
Ultimately the book seems part of an ongoing esoteric factional argument, no doubt fascinating to those involved, but of minor interest to those who believe that when the bible says wine it means what is says, no more and no less.
What Would Jesus Drink? A Spirit Filled Study
by Joel McDurmon
Publisher: Tolle Lege Press 2011
Hardback and Kindle
What Would Jesus Drink?
Joel McDurmon takes to task those who interpret the bible as forbidding alcohol. Using bible references he demolishes the arguments of the prohibitionists and shows God wants man to enjoy wine, beer and strong spirits in moderation. This is the hardback version.
What Would Jesus Drink?
Joel McDurmon takes to task those who interpret the bible as forbidding alcohol. Using bible references he demolishes the arguments of the prohibitionists and shows God wants man to enjoy wine, beer and strong spirits in moderation. This is the Kindle version.
Disclosure: I received a review PDF of this book from the publisher free of charge.