Silena Moore Holman (1850-1915) was a remarkable women in the early history of Churches of Christ. Her father was killed in the Civil War and she began teaching at the age of 14. She married Dr. T. P. Holman in 1875 and mothered eight children.
She exchanged multiple articles on multiple occasions with David Lipscomb in the pages of the Gospel Advocate as she argued for a wider role for women in the church. Many of their exchanges are available at Hans Rollmann’s website.
She also served in the Tennessee Woman’s Christian Temperance Movement for 35 years, 15 years as President. In this capacity she argued for the exclusion of wine from the Lord’s table.
She articulated her argument in the Gospel Advocate (5 March 1903) 146-147. “We who plead for the use of unfermented, nonalcoholic wine at the Lord’s Supper should be read to give a reason for the faith that is in us”–and she does in thirteen points.
1. “The Lord’s Supper was instituted on the night of the feast of the passover, with the same elements as those used at that feast. We think that unleavened bread and unfermented wine were used at this feast.”
2. “Nowhere in the Bible is the drink used at the Lord’s Supper called ‘wine’.”
3. ”‘The consistency and beauty of the sacramental symbols demand the absence of all fermented drinks’.”
4. “Our Savior spent his life in doing good.”
5. “We are warned repeatedly int he Bible against the use of wine.”
6. “It is a temptation to reformed drunkards.”
7. “Sometimes people who have been trained to habits of total abstinence seem to have an hereditary longing for alcoholic liquors.”
8. “It encourages the liquor traffic and the saloon.”
9. “It gives encouragement to the moderate drinker.”
10. Paul does not speak of drunks at the Lord’s table in 1 Corinthians 11, but it refers to excess as with gluttony.
11. ”In the literature of the early centuries there are numerous references which show that unfermented wine was used at the Lord’s Supper in those day.”
12. “Some have thought it would have been impossible for the early Christians to secure the unfermented wine out of the vintage season, but this is a mistake. I have in my possession four recipes–used before, during, and after our Savior’s time–by which wine was preserved in an unfermented state.”
13. “‘Where are we to get the unfermented wine?’ asks a half-converted church member. It can be preserved, like any other canned fruit, in an ordinary fruit jar, by heating it and making it air tight, as other fruit is kept.”
She concludes: “I believe that when church members unite to drive this agent of evil from the inmost sanctuary of the churches the day will have arrived for ridding our country forever of the legalized liquor traffic; but as long as we foster its use in one of the most sacred institutions of religion, just so long will the evil remain to blight our land and ruin the lives of our people.”
Interestingly, the extended argument was needed and pushed by the Temperance Movement because churches generally, until very recently, had all used wine in the Lord’s Supper.