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Grounds for debate: Social media post stirs discussion over coffee in church

Cups of coffee have become as common as digital Bibles in the modern church. Minnesota Pastor John Piper recently stirred up a debate about the beverage on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Can we reassess whether Sunday coffee-sipping in the sanctuary fits?” he asked. Piper, a Baptist, is a theologian, pastor and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis.

Piper’s post has garnered more than 1,000 responses, with some users appearing shocked at the very idea of bringing coffee into solemn church services, while others didn’t seem fazed in the least.  “I think we have bigger fish to fry, John. Personally, I’m in awe God puts up with me at all, Sunday through Saturday,” wrote Twitter user @Kellys_ex.

“There is a valid principle to consider here, whether or not you agree w/this particular application,” noted another user, @NathanielJolly. “Those w/ a heart & concern for reverential worship & holiness should take some time to consider the principle.”

In Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic and certain Protestant denominations, adherents are required to fast from food and beverages before receiving the Eucharist. Each tradition has its own rules regarding how long adherents should fast, as their various websites noted. The Rev. Hans Fiene, pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Crestwood, Mo., is not in favor of church attendees drinking coffee during religious services.

“While the vast majority of Lutherans I know are coffee lovers,” he said, “I’ve known very few who would ever think of bringing a cup of it into the sanctuary during the divine service. Holy worship is far more than a theological lecture. It’s gathering to receive Christ’s forgiveness, life and salvation. When God pours out these gifts upon us through his word and sacraments, that makes our sanctuary the holiest place on earth. Let’s not turn our father’s house into a house of fair trade dark roast.”

However, Father Chris Steele of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church said that “coffee seems to be the 8th sacrament.”

The debate over coffee in church is a complete non-starter for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormons.  Coffee is strictly forbidden at all times.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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