July 26, 2017 Q & A

Alcohol at Church Dinners


Is it typical for OPC churches to serve alcohol in the church building, such as at potluck meals or other gatherings?


Dear brother,

May grace be yours and peace in Christ Jesus.

The brothers at opc.org have sent me your question and asked me to offer an answer. Well, I cannot speak for the whole of the OPC, but, having been a member in good standing for some 65 years or so, I have never seen alcoholic beverages served in an OP church building apart from the Lord´s Supper(notwithstanding the accusations of my late brother Carl McIntire). Having said that, I think it is a little strange that my brothers sent me your question, since I do not, and never have, drunk alcoholic beverages, in part because of my beloved pastor´s example (that is, Henry Coray).

At the same time, I can see no principial objection to what you outline. It used to be our general custom to serve grape juice in the Lord´s Supper, but more and more it has become our practice to serve wine (although not here in my church). Our Savior both drank and made wine, as is clear from the Scriptures (cf. Matt. 11:19, John 2:1–11). At the same time, there are many scriptural injunctions against drunkenness, as we see in passages such as Ephesians 5:18. I admit that wine affects me badly, which causes me to avoid it, and I also frankly think that as a minister of the gospel I should set a good example, and with the rampant drug and alcohol abuse in our country, and the many attendant evils, that it is best for me to abstain. But, I also understand what the apostle says in Romans 14:10, “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” If I abstain, I do so to the Lord, and if my brother drinks, he does so to the Lord, and we shall have to render accounts for our actions, as faithful servants.

Brother, I’m not sure I’ve completely answered your questions, but, perhaps it’s a start. There is, of course, much more that can be said. If you would like to continue this discussion, or have any other questions, you may contact me directly, or through opc.org.

May the Lord bless you in his grace, now and forever.



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