It has been posed to me to consider 1 Cor 8:7-12 and Rom’s 14:20; the doctrine of ‘stumbling’ one’s brother….
The distinction between a thing of indifference, i.e. meat, cigars, coffee, etc and things that are *commanded* by God are not one and the same. One would never discard a command of God in light of what the Apostle is saying. God could kill us! We need to consider that God is immutable and has killed people in scripture for exactly this presumption.
Imagine for a minute that the A/Paul is telling us to go against the command of God in serving wine at the Lord’s Supper in fear of ‘stumbling’ someone. Thats preposterous. The A/Paul would never contradict the rest of scripture; however, when we consider things of adiaphora, thats a different thing. Think liberty vs law.We are not free to worship God in any way we prefer. In fact, the Larger Catechism tells us:
Q. 108. What are the duties required in the second commandment?
A. The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath instituted in his word; particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the word; the administration and receiving of the sacraments; church government and discipline; the ministry and maintenance thereof; religious fasting; swearing by the name of God, and vowing unto him: as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing, all false worship; and, according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.
Q. 109. What sins are forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and any wise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever; all worshiping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them; all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretense whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.
The distinction that needs to be made is that of a command of God vs a thing that is essentially part and parcel with the liberty a believer has-items of indifference, not necessarily spiritual in nature. My paper addresses this all. One cannot truly appreciate the point unless one understands the baseline. The Regulative Principle is prescribed of God. It is a command. In these commands are the sacraments. God has specifically prescribed how He is to be worshipped. He does not grade on curves. It is not a point where the creature has the right to addend God’s law so that he might feel good about himself. Worship is totally vertical. Yes, we are blessed, but true worship is vertical. God commands and men respond rightly.
I will only add, before the 19th century, no one orthodox ever considered not using wine in the supper. No one! Yes, there were sects, heretics etc in the first and second century, but never in the orthodox church. During prohibition, the church was allowed by the government to use alcoholic wine in the supper even though it was outlawed. The temperance movement grabbed hold of the shirt tails of the prohibition and here is where we are. But as I have said, wine is commanded, period.
You ask: “how do you address a member of the congregation that is a recovering alcoholic? “
What was it Jesus said?
Matt. 17:17 Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.
Matt. 17:19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
Matt. 17:20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
Are we new creations in Christ Jesus?
2Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Put on the armor of God……pray that ye enter not into temptation….resist the devil and he will do what? Flee? Yes, flee.
This is exactly why I said in that post:
“The Lord’s Supper is based on faith. The Temperance movement is based on a lack of faith. Replacing wine with grape juice is gnostic and a work of the flesh.”
As well, please consider the fact that the opposite comes into play in regard to stumbling one who has the conviction that Christ has commanded wine to be used in the Lords Supper. To not provide wine to this brother goes against what the Apostle is telling us to do so that we do not stumble a brother. Unfortunately, most temperance minded congregations do not consider this fact; most are only minded towards the brother in the faith who has in the past struggled with the abuse of alcohol, not the bruising of the other side of the coin. One is based on sensitivity towards the brother who was once in bondage to a substance and insensitive to the brother who is in bondage to the word of God; most times, this brother is seen as a rebel rouser or trouble maker who is unwilling to get on the same vehicle the rest of the church is on. This is sad, but true.