A Debate on The Fruit of the Vine (two of them, actually)

There exists within the churches of Christ some who believe that alcoholic wine is permissible to use during the Lord’s Supper.  But beyond that, there are those who teach that to use anything other than alcoholic wine in the Lord’s Supper is sinful!

Most of the ones who hold that position are among our brethren who use a single drinking vessel (i.e., one cup).  Obviously, just because some among them hold that view does not mean that all–or even most–of them do.

Recently, I came across two debates which dealt with this subject, and they are today’s additions to the Jimmie Beller Memorial eLibrary!

The Harper-Trail Discussion


This written debate took place in 1933 and was published in H.C. Harper’s paper, The Truth (Later known as Old Paths Advocate).  Brother A.J. Trail takes the position that only alcoholic wine can be used in the Lord’s Supper, while brother Harper argues that only non-alcoholic grape juice is permitted.


  • It is Scriptural to use grape juice as the drink element in the communion.
  • It is Scriptural to use fermented grape wine as the drink element in the communion.

We have corrected several spelling and typographical mistakes (and a couple mistaken Scripture references) in preparing this debate for you.  We hope you will find it to be interesting!  Scroll down for the download link!

The Smith-Bledsoe Debate


The Smith-Bledsoe debate is interesting in that it is only half of what it was meant to be.  M. Lynwood Smith affirmed that grape juice was the only thing allowed under the phrase “the fruit of the vine,” while Jack Bledsoe argued that both alcoholic and non-alcoholic grape juice (or wine) were equally acceptable–though he puts forth the idea that alcoholic would be more in keeping with the Bible.

For some reason, the second part of the debate, with Bledsoe in the affirmative, never took place.  One man claimed that Bledsoe quit because he couldn’t answer the arguments, but one look at his final rebuttal in this work shows that certainly wasn’t Bledoe’s belief or attitude.

We have corrected several typographical errors, spelling problems, and some Scripture references in preparing this work for you.

We hope that you will find these two short debates to be interesting and will help you to better understand the actions of our Lord in taking “the fruit of the vine” which He said was His blood.

Harper-Trail Debate on Alcohol in the Lord’s Supper

Smith-Bledsoe Debate on Wine in the Lords Supper

-Bradley S. Cobb

4 thoughts on “A Debate on The Fruit of the Vine (two of them, actually)”

  1. Thanks for adding these to your downloadable library. I am one of those who believe that the only time the fruit of the vine can be referred to as “cup” is if it is contained in one, such is metonymy. In the descriptions of how the Lord’s supper is to be observed, Jesus took, blessed and gave but one cup (drinking vessel) containing fruit of the vine (grape juice) to them, and they all drank from it (Mark 14:23).
    There are very few congregations who use one cup (and loaf of unleavened bread) who use alcoholic wine.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Glen. I know there aren’t very many congregations that use alcoholic wine, though I did run into a couple of them about 8 years ago.

      I truly appreciate you, brother.

  2. As many of you know my personal conviction is the Bible teaches the Lord instituted the communion with one unleavened bread and one cup containing “fruit of the vine”. There are very few in the one cup brotherhood who use fermented wine to my knowledge. As a brotherhood, we simple do what Jesus said “This do in remembrance of me”.

    Thanks Bradley for sharing these two debates. If anyone has further question Brothrt Glen Osburn, myself, and a host of other qualified men will be glad to answer them.

    Have a blessed day every body.

    Allen Bailey
    214-505-8242 call/text

    1. Thanks for the comment, Allen, my friend. Though we are in disagreement on this point, I always enjoy speaking and discussing things with you. May God continue to bless your work as you serve Him!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *