Last week the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention replaced the bylaw that required all SBTC employees and elected officials to abstain from drunkenness (a biblical command) to a demand that all SBTC employees and elected officals abstain from “the use of alcohol as a beverage.” The only reason for such a bylaw change is the belief held by SBTC leadership that drinking an alcoholic beverage is a sin - for everybody. A year ago, when I first heard about the SBTC bylaw proposal, I spent a few minutes and wrote a post declaring my deeply held belief that drinking tea was a sin - for everybody. Having served in leadership of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma for the past twenty years, I am inclined to offer my own bylaw amendment next year at the BGCO, demanding that all BGCO employees and elected officials abstain from tea drinking. If you find the following post absurd, then you best ask yourself what you are going to do to ensure that Southern Baptists, either at the state level or the national level, stop codifying sin for others by exceeding the clear standards of the sufficient Word of God.
Reasons Why Tea Totalers Should Be Excluded from Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Leadership by a Bylaw Change That Calls for Everyone to Abstain from Drinking Tea
(1). Drinking tea leads a person to addiction to caffeine.
There might be some who allege that drinking just one or two glasses of tea does not lead to caffeine addiction. This is technically true, but unfortunately, not all Christians who partake in moderate tea drinking can stop with just a couple of glasses. It is not uncommon for Christian men and women to progress from tea, to coffee, to 64 ounce Colas or Mountain Dews. Where does it stop? How does one know when the line of addiction has been crossed? If caffeine is addictive, then why play with fire? We must conclude that Drinking tea is a sin (Counsels on Diet and Drink: Part II, Tea and Coffee, page 434).
(2). Tea and coffee are destructive to the Christian's body, which is the temple of God.
As pointed out above, caffeine is highly addictive. Quitting coffee can cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, sleepiness and irritability. The acidic nature of coffee can lead to stomach ulcers. When the excess acid enters the bloodstream, it also increases calcium loss in urine. Both coffee and tea have no nutritional value. Tannin, the substance that makes tea cups brown and coats tea pots, is used for tanning leather. Imagine the stomach after twenty years of tea drinking.
Caffeine is able to penetrate deep into vital tissue. Evidence shows that it may be linked to male infertility and also birth defects by passing through the placenta. Drinking coffee during breast feeding will cause caffeine to be present in mothers' milk.
Caffeine has a powerful effect on coronary arteries and the pulmonary and systemic vessels, causing a greater flow of blood to the heart muscle, but decreasing the flow of blood to the brain by constricting cerebral blood vessels. Caffeine can cause abnormally fast, abnormally slow and irregular heart beats. It also wreaks havoc on blood pressure, commonly producing hypertension. Coffee has been linked to heart disease, pancreas and bladder cancer, and hypoglycemia.
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, providing that familiar kick on which we have come to depend. But as with all stimulants, there is a price to be paid. If you run the body on overdrive for an extended period of time by artificially stimulating the adrenals, expect breakdown to occur.
(3). Though the Bible does not expressly forbid the drinking of tea, there is an overwhelming preponderence of Biblical evidence that tea drinking is a sin.
"Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to those who send him" (Proverbs 10:36). The same acidic quality of vinegar, tea and coffee is as damaging to the Christian as smoke is to the eyes.
“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand” (Phil. 4:5), “…every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things” (I Cor. 9:25).
Though some might argue that these verses do not explicitly 'forid' the drinking of tea, it is clear that the Christian who desires to be holy in all things will not even begin to cross the line of introducing tea or coffee into his system.
(4). Though some have the gall to say Jesus drank tea on the cross, it was clearly not the same kind of tea or substance that tea drinkers consume today.
Some try to be cute in their arguments for moderate tea drinking by pointing out that Jesus drank 'vinegar' on the cross, which contains the same acidic and caffeneited quality as today's tea.
The Bible states, "And one ran and filled a sponge full of vinegar and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink...." (Mk. 15:36).
Biblical scholars have long pointed out that the acidic and caffeinated content of the vinegar drink offered to Jesus was less than 5% of the acid and caffeine found in today's most popular teas. To compare the actions of Jesus at Calvary with today's tea drinking should be considered a sin in and of itself.
To justify your own desire to drink tea by pointing to the conduct of Jesus is shameful.
(5). The argument that drinking tea is not illegal in the United States, and therefore, lawful for the Christian, is an argument straight from hell.
Homosexuality is not illegal in the states. Adultery is not illegal in America. Dressing inappropriately with boxers showing, and breasts peeking out of tight tops is not illegal in my hometown, but does that make it right?
Just to say drinking tea is not illegal is in reality no argument at all. "In everything we do, whether we eat or drink, we do for the glory of God" (I Corinthians 10:31).
(6). Some cultures drink tea as a normal part of daily life, but that is no excuse for Christians to drink it, since we are to be 'a cut above' the world.
Some missionaries might argue that drinking tea in China is a cultural event, and to identify with the Chinese one must drink tea. As it is said, "When in Rome do as the Romans."
Hogwash. We are not to let culture affect us, we are to be a shining example to culture of how Christ can transform people. The person who drinks tea on a regular basis simply has no idea what Christ can do for his life, and if you drink tea with him, while introducing him to Christ, then you may give him the impression he can continue drinking tea as a Christian.
When in Rome do as Christ would do. Christ would not sit and drink tea with the Chinese. How could He defile His holy body in such a manner?
(7). When a Christian purchases tea he is supporting an entire industry that has made a fortune by leading people to the mind altering, destructive, and nearly impossible to break addiction to caffeine.
This industry must not be supported by Christians. Every dollar you spend on green tea is like purchasing a death warrant for the person who will later die from an acidic stomach from the tea produced by the company to whom you gave profits.
It is time for Christians to shut down the entire, godless industry of tea making and associated tea products.
(8). It has been scandalously reported that some young, Southern Baptist pastors are actually having Bible studies in the local Starbucks in an effort to lead people to Christ.
The pastors who have begun this new outreach program seem to have no understanding of what it means to be 'in the world, but not of the world.'
No matter how many people have come to Christ through these creative efforts, it is unconscionable for SBC pastors to actually meet in a location where people are introducing into their bodies an agent that alters the mind, changes the disposition, and eventually destroys the body.
No matter how slick the environment, there is no excuse for the compromise of the gospel.
(9). A great concern for the loosening of the standard of total abstinence from tea drinking is the belief that those Southern Baptist moderates and liberals who drink tea will eventually cause the Southern Baptist Convention to turn back from a firm belief in the inerrancy of the Bible.
It is being reported that there are actually some pastors who are either not using the Bible in their ministries, or trusting in very loose translations of the holy and inerrant KJV.
For example, one loose knit association of SBC pastors have actually quoted Psalm 23 as:
The Lord is my barista; I shall not want.
He maketh me to recline on green sofas: he leadeth me beside the clean tables.
He repoureth my latte: he maketh me a ristretto of righteousness for goodness sake.
Yea, though I walk through the aisles of instant coffee, I will fear no nescafe: for thou art with me; thy cafe and it's staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest an espresso for me in the presence of mine tea drinking colleagues: thou anointest my ears with friendly banter; my latte hath art on it.
Surely warmth and bonhomie shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the cafe of the Lord for ever
(10). Drinking caffeinated tea for recreational purposes physiologically acts as a 'mind altering drug, "
Once a Christian says it is all right to alter his mind by introducing outside agents to change his perspective, where will he stop? Why not marijuana? Why not cocaine? The libertinism of the modern Southern Baptist Convention must be checked. The line in the sand must be drawn with tea and coffee.
There will be a recommendation for a bylaw change introduced at the 20008 Baptist General Convetion of Oklahoma in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, November 15, 2008, which will forbid any BGCO employee or elected offical from participating in the recreational use of tea or coffee.
May God keep our the Baptist General Covention of Oklahoma pure.
May God bless the Southern Baptist Convention.