Monday, March 5, 2012

Dr. R. L. Sumner on "Ancient Wine and the Bible"

ANCIENT WINE AND THE BIBLE: The Case for Abstinence by David R. Brumbelow; Free Church Press, Carrollton, GA; 10 Chapters, 306 Pages; $21.00, Paper

The author obviously hates booze, and for good reason. He never knew his grandmother, who died when his dad was only six. She had been stricken with a severe case of appendicitis and her husband rushed her to the nearby Sugar Land (TX) hospital. The doctor could not be found and after failed attempts to locate him, his grandfather went looking for him. He eventually found him hopelessly intoxicated at an area beer joint. By the time the husband got back to the hospital, his wife was dead. If that wouldn’t make you hate booze, I don’t know what would. And that story is only one in millions that could be told.

As Brumbelow said in his Introduction: “Some claim those who are educated cannot and do not oppose alcohol.” He explodes that myth by giving quotes from many highly educated individuals, both dead and living, who fought it.

We fear the average Christian – and even some of the church leaders who speak and write on the subject – simply conclude that every reference of ‘wine’ in the Bible is alcoholic and intended by God for our pleasure (in moderation, of course). They do so at their peril and the welfare of their hearers/readers. These supports for alcohol are grossly unfair and patently untrue, as the author documents (there are well over 400 notes). Brumbelow proves the ancient words for wine in the Bible referred to “grapes still on the vine, fresh expressed grape juice, fermented wine, preserved unfermented wine, wine greatly watered down, and vinegar.” Yes, all of the above!

This book has everything you always wanted to know about wine (and grape juice) – and some you probably didn’t! There are ten hard-hitting chapters and five helpful Appendices. At least two sections deal with problem passages. He quotes a wide range of authors.

In short, Brumbelow’s research is amazing – and thorough! If someone today tells you all wine is intoxicating, or that the ancients didn’t know how to preserve fresh grape juice to keep it from becoming alcoholic, just smile and hand him this book! When referring to nonalcoholic wine the ancients often called it ‘wine that doesn’t hurt the head.’ In short, no hangover!

Ancient Wine is also the kind of book preachers and teachers need to have handy on a shelf for quick reference in time of debate or discussion – and in counseling! As Brumbelow notes, “Many pastors, youth ministers, and parents who see the danger of beverage alcohol do not have the information and resources to speak up about the issue.” This book solves that problem. It will especially convince honest people that neither Jesus nor the Bible promoted the use of anything alcoholic.

As Billy Sunday would sum it up, “Get on the water wagon!”

In addition to the hundreds of notes (documentation) there are five Appendices. A small portion of this book was previously printed in our magazine, The Biblical Evangelist. Dr. Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary wrote the Foreword.

We urge you to get Ancient Wine & the Bible, the Case for Abstinence. It is worth every penny it will cost you – and then some!

-Dr. R. L. Sumner, Editor, The Biblical Evangelist

The above article can be found at Book Reviews, Biblical Evangelist.  Reprinted here by permission.
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, March 5, AD 2012.

For ways to purchase "Ancient Wine and the Bible: The Case for Abstinence," click the book cover in the right margin.

Other Articles:
Ancient Wine and the Bible - the book
Preserving Unfermented Wine in Bible Times
2006 SBC Resolution on Alcohol Use in America
Book Review of "Alcohol Today" by R. L. Sumner
Other articles in lower right margin. 


  1. David, Dr. Sumner is right: your book is excellent! I hope it gets a wide reading. As he said, "We urge you to get Ancient Wine & the Bible, the Case for Abstinence. It is worth every penny it will cost you – and then some!"

  2. David,

    Dr. Sumner's analysis of your book is spot on. Thanks for the privilege of having read the book prior to publication and being able to write an endorsement for it. I found your arguments compelling and Scripture-centered. Every Bible-believing pastor and layman needs to read it and heed it.

  3. Bruce and Gary,
    Thanks for your encouraging comments. Thanks for getting the word out about Ancient Wine and the Bible.

    And, of course, thanks especially to Dr. R. L. Sumner for his gracious review of my book.

    The book is selling well. Some have pointed out it is just the information they've been looking for. Thank the Lord.
    David R. Brumbelow

  4. David, today a 94-year old lady from our church bought me lunch at the senior center. I'm 58, but qualified to eat anyway. During the visit with some persons at the table, one of them brought up the the subject of alcholic beverages. So, I told them of your book and said it explains how the anicents preserved non-alcoholic fruit juices. They were quite interestd in the subject, so I wrote down your blog spot. Maybe they will order the book. My point is, it is good to be able to tell others about your book.

  5. Thanks, Bruce. I really, really appreciate it. I pray others are doing the same. And if any of you are, I'd love to hear from you.
    David R. Brumbelow

  6. David, a big “Amen” to Dr. Sumner's review. I encourage others to do what my Dad did, donate their copy of this informative book to their Church Library. Even better, donate SEVERAL "Ancient Wine and the Bible" books!

  7. Brenda,
    Thanks very much. I really appreciate your Dad donating a copy to the Church Library. Hope others will do the same.

    Sorry I'm so slow responding. There's been a lot going on lately.

    Hope you and your family are doing well. Just heard from one of your uncles last week.
    David R. Brumbelow

  8. Thank you so much for this book. I am writing a paper on individual soul liberty and the use of alcohol. The reason for this paper is in response to the anti-legalistic post-modern christian world I live in. This has been such a great source. God bless

  9. Lucas Fennell,
    Thanks very much for your comment. I'm glad the book is being used as a resource. I've prayed that it will be used in such ways.
    David R. Brumbelow


What do you think?