New Article in JW.ORG "Should Christians Drink Tea?"

by EdenOne 39 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • EdenOne

    Should Christians Drink Tea?

    “Would you like a cup of tea?”

    This seemingly innocent question has been asked countless times, and is regarded as a gesture of courtesy and hospitability in many parts of the world, in both eastern and western culture. Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. It has originated in China as a medicinal drink, its origins long lost in the sands of time. Portuguese priests and merchants introduced this beverage to Europeans during the 16 th century, and one century later it would become widely popular in England. It has been said that tea is the most widely consumed drink in the world, after water.

    All genuine Christians who take interest in God’s Word, the Bible, won’t fail to notice that, unlike other beverages, such as water, wine or even beer, there’s no mention in the Bible of a drink produced from boiling leaves in water. Certainly, the consumption of a tea-like beverage isn’t mentioned as a habit of the faithful patriarchs, the Israelites, nor among the early Christian congregation. The fact that this beverage originated from a culture that is rife with superstition and idolatry has raised some concern among genuine Christians who care deeply about ‘presenting their bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God’. (Romans 12:1) Today, genuine Christians refuse to condone with any behavior just because it may be popular with their local culture. Instead, they’re very interested in learning Jehovah’s point of view. Indeed, Paul advised us to “make sure of all things” – and “all things” encompass the seemingly big things, but also the seemingly small things. After all, Jesus taught that “the person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:21; Luke 16:10

    The shady origins of tea

    In 1905, Wenceslau de Moraes, a Portuguese diplomat in Asia, wrote in his book “The Cult of Tea”: “According to tradition … Darumá, the great Indian apostle of Buddhism, came to China on the 6 th century AD and preached …” He gave up earthly comforts and spent his life on his knees over rocky soil, absorbed into mystical meditations, without even the simple luxury of sleep. “One night, his eyelids closed with fatigue, and he only woke up in the morning. Exasperated for his weakness, [Darumá] asked for a blade and cut off his own eyelids and threw them into the ground … by miracle, the eyelids grew roots, and a gracious shrub, never seen before, that quickly thrived, and whose leafs, when treated and infused in boiling water became a most precious medicine against somnolence and a suitable remedy for the fatigue of vigils. Thus the tea was created.”

    In the 16 th century, tea became the centerpiece of an obscure cult in Japan, known as Teaism. The philosophy behind this cult has been described as “the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence. [teaism] inculcates purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order. It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect …” Tea was likely the beverage of choice for the fellowship of teaists, possibly with hallucinogenic properties. Teaism later evolved into modern-day Taoism.

    Implications for Christians

    As noted above, the appearance of the beverage is intimately connected with false religion and mysticism. “But that was in a distant past”, someone may argue. “Why should it disturb my conscience in this day and time? I don’t drink that beverage with a religious or mystic intention behind it.”

    While at first glance that may seem like a sensible reasoning, we must remember that Satan is a master of deception. He enjoys deceiving humans, especially God’s chosen ones, so that he can mock Jehovah God and his sovereignty. (Proverbs 27:11; Revelation 12:10) Satan would certainly take delight that we should ‘deceive ourselves with false reasoning’. (James 1:22) One such false reasoning is that it doesn’t matter what the origins of a given habit are, as long as the contemporary use doesn’t involve a religious or mystic intention. True, many people may not consciously view drinking tea as a religious or superstitious gesture. Yet Paul gave this stern warning: “Whether you are eating or drinking or doing anything else,” wrote Paul, “do all things for God’s glory.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) What ‘glory’ would there be for the holy God if we would drink something made unholy – indeed filthy – for its pagan and spiritualistic roots? Wouldn’t we be bringing reproach to Jehovah’s holy name? Jehovah is perfect in a superlative degree; the cult of the “Imperfect” amounts to worship of the creature that is the exact opposite of God: Satan, the devil.

    Genuine Christians must remember that Jehovah is the “ancient of days”. (Daniel 7:9, 13) He was present and watching when the first tea was produced. And He knows exactly what was involved in its origin, and unquestionably He felt offended by it, just as He felt offended when the apostate Israelites worshipped phallus-shaped images right under his nose. (Ezekiel 8:17) Likewise, the vapor stemming from each teapot, instead of being a “pleasing aroma” of pure worship to Jehovah, undoubtly becomes like an offensive smell of excrement, because of its connections with idolatry. – Numbers 28:2; Deuteronomy 29:17 [see note]

    Christians should consider with prayer the implications of drinking tea in their personal relationship with Jehovah. Some in the congregation of Corinth seemed to think that there was nothing wrong in eating meat that was sacrificed in a pagan altar, reasoning that, since idols were a non-reality, therefore, the meat offered to them had no religious meaning, and therefore, was innocuous. However, Paul condemned that reasoning in no uncertain terms: “Are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers with the altar? What, then, am I saying? That what is sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No; but I say that what the nations sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers with the demons. You cannot be drinking the cup of Jehovah and the cup of demons; you cannot be partaking of “the table of Jehovah” and the table of demons.” (1 Corinthians 10:18-21) Indeed, if a beverage has idolatry and spiritism in its inception, then indeed such drink is “the cup of demons”! Do we want to become ‘sharers with demons’ by drinking tea? Any baptized Jehovah’s Witness who deliberately and unrepentantly choose to be a ‘sharer of demons’, is taking the side of God’s enemies and becomes himself a spiritual adulterer, an enemy of God, and must be disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation. - James 4:4

    This is certainly not a matter for personal decision based on a trained Christian conscience. There is much more involved than simply considering if a certain habit may become a cause for stumbling of others. There are clear Bible principles involved, and they involve our perspective of eternal life in the future! Every devout Christian should ‘make sure of all things’, and this includes apparently minor things as drinking an infusion of herbs in boling water. (1 Thessalonians 5:21) Is it pleasing to God to fuse His pure worship with practices that are, at their origin, tainted with false, satanic religion? Certainly not!

    What if some Christians have been accostumed to drink tea as part of their upbringging or cultural influence and find it difficult to give up such a filthy, self-abusive habit? They must ponder on the words of Jesus, who said: “If your eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it away from you. It is better for you to enter one-eyed into life than to be thrown with two eyes into the fiery Gehenna.” (Matthew 18:8, 9) If something as precious as an eye should be done away with if it would hinder a disciple’s path of righteousness, what more can be said of a filthy habit of consuming a tea beverage! “Let no man deprive you from the prize”, warned the apostle Paul. (Colossians 2:18) Those who have been addicted to the consumption of tea can find suitable replacements in other beverages that the Bible speaks of in a favorable light, such as wine. – Psalm 104:15

    If we want to keep ourselves in God’s love, we must “touch nothing unclean”. (Isaiah 52:11) It may take considerable effort to abandon past wrong conduct and overcome a guilty conscience, but the effort will pay off. Paul wrote: “Or do you not know that unrighteous people will not inherit God’s Kingdom? Do not be misled. Those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who submit to homosexual acts, men who practice homosexuality … will not inherit God’s Kingdom. And yet that is what some of you were. But you have been washed clean; you have been sanctified” (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10) Those who have sinned in the past by drinking tea should take comfort, because even great sins such as male homosexuality and idolatry may be overcome and washed clean. The same principle is valid for tea drinking. Jehovah and his Son Christ take interest in our spiritual well-being and they will generously provide Holy Spirit to strengthen those genuine disciples who seek to acquire the “new personality”. May we be determined to reject evil, and ‘keep abstaining from’ tea. - Acts 15:29

  • Freedom77

    I'm tempted to say this is such a crock.

    However, I well recall back around 1970-72, a directive came down from Brooklyn that the bulletin board was no longer to be called such - the word bulletin being derived ultimately from Papal bulls (decrees), waaaaaay back in the Middle Ages. So they said. And promptly, to avert Jehovah's displeasure, the thing was renamed the information board, which I suppose it is still called today.

    So now they have their panties in a twist over freakin' tea?? I wouldn't put it past them. But it sure will upset the friends in Britain, or ought to.

  • A.proclaimer

    This is too long to be an article on, or any JW magazine



  • Magnum


    Yeah, it is. The org's writing is really bad in many ways, but I see lots in this piece that wouldn't have passed its proofreaders, as bad as they are.

    "genuine Christians refuse to condone with any behavior"

    "Some in the congregation of Corinth seemed to think that there was nothing wrong in eating meat"

    many others

  • EdenOne

    I wonder how many devout JW's have by now already trashed their teas after due prayer ...

    I'm surprised you even considered for a moment it was genuine... lol ... it's a parody.

    Now, more seriously. The little exercise above took me less than one hour to write; it goes to show that the Bible can be used to justify even the most absurd doctrine / practice, even deeming someone worthy of 'spiritual stoning' if not compliant with the "new light". Scary, when you think of it. It has been done.


  • HeyThere
  • blondie

    *** w90 2/15 p. 29 Questions From Readers ***

    ▪ Should a Christian avoid coffee and tea because they contain the addictive drug caffeine?

    The Bible does not mention coffee or tea. But what it does say can help a Christian to decide whether he will drink coffee or tea.

    The drug caffeine can affect mind and body. Millions of cups of coffee and tea are consumed daily, leading Dr. Melvin Konner to say: “[Caffeine] may, in fact, be the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world.” It can increase alertness, raise one’s adrenaline level, and speed up circulation and metabolism. That it is a drug does not of itself establish whether a Christian should shun caffeine-containing beverages (coffee, tea, cola drinks, maté) or foods (such as chocolate).

    Alcohol is also a drug that can affect mind and body, yet what do the Scriptures say about it? The Bible acknowledges that wine (or other alcoholic drinks) can make “the heart of mortal man rejoice” or alter the mood of a distressed soul. (Psalm 104:15; Proverbs 31:6, 7) God’s Word does not, though, indicate that true worshipers must avoid all beverages containing alcohol. What the Bible condemns is immoderate use of alcohol—drunkenness.—Deuteronomy 21:18-21; Proverbs 20:1; Hosea 4:11; 1 Corinthians 5:11-13; 1 Peter 4:3.

    What, however, of the claim that a person may become addicted to caffeine? Many who habitually drink coffee, tea, or maté develop some degree of dependence, though it is debated whether this is a true clinical addiction. At least they feel withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches or nausea, if deprived of their normal dose of caffeine. Here again, call to mind the Biblical view of alcoholic drinks. Though many persons have been addicted to alcohol, it is not forbidden to Christians if taken in moderation. Jesus drank wine; he even miraculously made wine at a wedding feast.—Matthew 26:29; John 2:3-11.

    Still, a Christian might feel that he would prefer not to risk becoming dependent on caffeine. If being deprived of his regular intake of caffeine makes him irritable (“coffee nerves”), he might consider abstaining from caffeine as a demonstration of “self-control.” (Galatians 5:22, 23) Since the Bible does not mention abstinence from beverages containing caffeine, the decision about coffee or tea must be made individually. Moderation is appropriate if a Christian consumes either.—Compare Titus 2:2.

    Moderation is also central to the question of possible health risks. There are many claimed hazards of regularly taking in large doses of caffeine (whether from coffee, tea, cola drinks, or other drinks or foods). Yet, for each study linking a particular health risk to caffeine, another seems to point to the contrary.

    The logic of moderation is underscored by what the Bible says about honey. It is a natural substance, and the act of eating it as a stimulating energy food is natural (in contrast to breathing smoke into the lungs). (1 Samuel 14:26, 27; Matthew 3:4) However, you can get sick from eating too much of it. The Bible warns: “Is it honey that you have found? Eat what is sufficient for you, that you may not take too much of it and have to vomit it up.”—Proverbs 25:16, 27.

    Some people cannot consume any honey at all. Similarly, for health reasons some may need to avoid alcohol, caffeine, dairy products, or other foods and beverages. Others may avoid such things by personal choice or because of widespread local sensitivity, not wanting to offend anyone. This reminds us of the apostle Paul’s comment: “If food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat flesh at all, that I may not make my brother stumble.”—1 Corinthians 8:13.

    Consequently, let each individual act in accord with his own resolve without feeling that his decision needs to be imposed on others. Paul wrote: “Let the one eating not look down on the one not eating, and let the one not eating not judge the one eating, for God has welcomed that one. Who are you to judge the house servant of another?”—Romans 14:3, 4.

    *** w72 10/1 p. 596 par. 27 Your Conscience and Your Employment ***

    Some may object that even such things as tea, coffee and, more particularly, alcoholic drinks, are also accused of being harmful to health. Yet, with regard to alcoholic beverages the Bible clearly and specifically allows for their use in moderation. (Deut. 14:26; John 2:1-10; Prov. 23:29-31; 1 Tim. 3:3, 8; 5:23) But no such approval can be found in favor of tobacco, betel nut, coca leaves, or, for that matter, marijuana, opium and similar products.

  • DesirousOfChange

    Eden, you're young. Go get a life.


  • UBM101

    Thou shall not drink tea

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