Why do some Protestants use grape juice instead of wine?

I don’t understand this…Even if they don’t believe in a real existance of Jesus in the bread and wine, why use grape juice? It’s clearly not wine and that is clearly what Jesus used.

While we Lutherans use wine, I think the use of grape juice may have its roots in the prohibition of drinking alcohol in some communions.


I think the above person is right in the prohibition part of it, also the fact that many protestants see it as a ‘symbol.’ If it’s symbolic, then there really is no reason to be using wine when you can use grape juice etc.

Some churches forbid the drinking of alcohol (as was mentioned). Also, I’ve seen some use grape juice for the sake of “inclusion” (so those under 21 can take it).

On another note, I one asked a Baptist pastor about this. He said that the wine from back then was so weak that it was basically grape juice (yeah, right…). So, according to some churches, Jesus didn’t drink wine as we know it.

Wine back then was cut with water. Depending on how cut the wine was, [more water = cheaper wine] it could very well have been “basically grape juice.” Though I doubt the wine Christ created would have been watered down wine.

It was explained to me, when I questioned it, as a Protestant (I was a child when I asked) that in the Bible they drank “new wine”, which was unferminted wine, thus - grape juice. Seemed kind of odd, but I was a kid and it didn’t seem to matter at the time.

As someone who was previously Methodist, I can tell you that the Methodist Book of Worship says that while they do recognize that the historical and eccumenical Christian practice of communion used wine, the church has used “unfermented grape juice” since the late 19th century because of pastoral concerns for recovering alcoholics, inclusion of children and youth, and support for the church’s witness of abstinence. I’m sure prohibition played a hand in this, as was mentioned by previous posters, but here is some interesting history about how this came to pass in the Methodist faith.


This practice was the start of Welch’s. We only served Welch’s grapejuice at the communion in my Methodist church. I’m sure it’s a coincidence, but interesting none the less…:smiley:

The internet conspiracy theory concerning a secret plot by Methodists to take over our youth through grape juice is born.:smiley:

LOL :rotfl:

Ya think? :smiley:

Let’s see . . . grape harvest in is the fall . . . Passover is in the spring . . . grape juice is going to stay unfermented, with no refrigeration, for six months? I’d like to hear a Protestant try to explain that.

To extend this point out even further…Drinking water was often not safe in many of these communities and wine was a good alternative precisely because it was fermented and much of the dangerous bacteria was destroyed through that process. Perhaps I am wrong about that (I know this to be true in many other eras of human history, especially early American history and European history, which is precisely why we drink beer today by the way).

I think the idea that churches wanted to prohibit alcohol may very well have been the most important factor, and one I hadn’t considered. Very interesting.

I think the symbol thing is probably correct also to some extent, but still, even symbolically, using actual wine makes more sense because it is MORE symbolic, not less.

I think it was entirely a result of teetotalism. It was not possible until pasteurization and Mr. Welch. Along with this desire came some convenient explanations like that the Last Supper was with this ‘new wine’ which is grape juice. Or my favorite, that it is out of concern for the alcoholic. This explanation I find disturbing. Jesus could have come at any point in time, such as after pasteurization, and He instead chose to come before and institute communion with wine. That would make the ‘reformers’ more compassionate than Jesus. I always wonder how it was determined that the grape was the most essential element of the cup. Could it not have been the alcohol that was most essential? Or maybe just the water?

Forgive me, but I have to make a quip here - if the master of ceremonies at the Wedding at Cana in Galilee belonged to a Protestant denomination that used grape juice, he would never have been able to taste the wine our Lord transformed from the water in the six stone jars . . . :slight_smile:

It’s a good thing the MC was Jewish!


Thats what my pastor said as well. It’s because they’re anti-alchohol, which I completely understand. Alchohol has destroyed my dad’s whole life and took everything away from him, even his own children. I’m completely prejudiced against it myself, I came to look at it almost the same way I look at illegal drugs, only worse. Sometimes I wish Jesus never used wine in the Blessed Sacrament. :rolleyes:

The symbol is subjective. If our culture developed in such a way that coke and popcorn came to evoke blood and flesh, then these would be just as good symbols as wine and bread.

I prefer bread and wine, but in most Protestant communities use grape juice. Since it is an effective symbol for them, it is an effective symbol, period.

The Anglican and Lutheran churches use wine, not grape juice. Some Presbyterin/Reformed churches use wine as well. It is ONLY in the conservative/evangelical churches that grape juice replaced wine in the 1800s. They also used wine before that. It is a result of the man-made doctrine of total abstinence. So evangelicals have their own “man-made traditions”, don’t they?

Yes, we do. Quite a few of them. :slight_smile:

In our church we use grape juice because we have recovering alcoholics on the congregation, and we want them to feel comfortable and able to fully participate. When we celebrate Communion in homegroup, we know everyone’s background, so we sometimes use wine then. Personally, I prefer wine, because it’s closer to what Jesus did, but we consider either valid for the celebration.

Sounds quite sensible.

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