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Some Christians Fermenting over Use of Christian Hymn in Beer Commercial

Some Christians Fermenting over Use of Christian Hymn in Beer Commercial

The makers of Guinness beer have some Christians fermenting over its latest television commercial. The brewers of the popular Irish suds used a classic Christian hymn as its music bed in a commercial that honors members of the U.S. military.

As “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” plays in the background the bartender places a full glass of Guinness on a table in the corner of the bar until a soldier comes home. Towards the end of the commercial, friends toast the returning soldier as he walks through the door and notices the empty chair and glass of Guinness.

Monica Cole, director of American Family Association's One Million Moms, contends the commercial leaves a bitter taste in her mouth.

“Currently, One Million Moms is contacting Guinness beer asking them to change the music and not use Christian hymns to sell beer,” said Cole. “Guinness beer could have chosen many different songs, many different choices, but they specifically chose 'Leaning on the Everlasting Arms' as the background music in their ad,” she says. “The ad does not have the lyrics of the song, but because of its popularity anyone could recognize the hymn.” 

The commercial has surfaced the long-standing debate whether Christians should drink alcohol. Some point to Jesus turning water into wine and God’s command to Noah to plant a vineyard as a more accurate biblical interpretation.

“The only way to have a ‘problem’ with it is to apply an unbiblical standard--there is no absolute prohibition against drinking a beer, once in a while,” said Bob Allen. “Yes, we are cognizant of the 'weaker brother' as we partake, but the legalism of implementing a blanket rule is unhelpful and wrong. I think this commercial - like many they've done the past few years - is beautiful.”

But therein lays the backstory concerning the creator of the stout, dark brew. 

Arthur Guinness was a devout Christian who used proceeds from the business to sponsor many Christian endeavors in his homeland of Dublin, Ireland. 

According to Relevant Magazine, Guinness was inspired one Sunday while listening to the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, so he “poured himself in founding the first Sunday schools in Ireland. He gave vast amounts of money to the poor, sat on the board of a hospital designed to serve the needy and bravely challenged the material excesses of his own social class. He was nearly a one-man army of reform.”

Publication date: July 31, 2014