“I have written my letters as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.” 2 Peter 3:1
We know from this simple statement that Peter was all about stimulating wholesome thinking. It is some of the best evidence in the Bible that Peter certainly was actively participating in coffee culture. Recent excavations have shown a small coffee roastery outside of an ancient church in Galatia (modern Turkey) dating back to the late 80s AD. Other excavations show primitive mortar and pestle grinders containing small leftover granules of coffee and cardamom suggesting that the 1st century church may have originated what we now know as Turkish coffee.
In the Pauline letter to the Galatians, other biblical evidence indicates that the real issue at stake was that the Gentile believers were included in drinking from the roastery even though they drank only decaffeinated coffee. There became a bit of a division when certain early church believers thought that only caffeinated coffee drinkers could have a true spiritual connection to the Divine.
As we know, Paul the Apostle was a strong believer in the natural state of the coffee bean itself and opposed Peter when he was being persuaded by the false decaffeination teachers. The apostles knew there was no point to drinking coffee without its natural stimulating properties. As they knew from the Sermon on the Mount, the eye is the lamp of the body. When the eye is stimulated and open, light enters and your body is full of light. However, when it is closed, it is shut out to the light and the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
Paul himself dealt with the nearly fatal effects of decaffeination in Acts 20. During a discussion of deep theological truth, the young Eutychus (who was decaffeinated at the time) fell into a slumber. This caused him to miss truths very likely important to his eternal soul, while also causing him to fall from a great height, plunging into death. Thankfully, God was able to work through Paul—who fortunately was on his third cup of Joe and was awake to see the fateful event—and revive the boy.
It was at this time when people began to see the great benefits of the caffeinated coffee drink in relation to the soul. This began a great movement of house church meetings. With the addition of coffee to their meetings, early believers began to see prayer meeting attendance go up, the copying and proliferation of early New Testament parchments being distributed throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia and exponential spiritual growth in their members. The early church began to find that serving coffee from house to house was tool for true fellowship and hospitality in the home. Believers would linger much longer in fellowship and share their coffee beans with each other as they were leaving. As more persecution came to the church, the coffee beans were arranged in the sand in front of one another in the form of a fish so they knew that not only were they believers but that they were warmly inviting them to their home for fellowship.
How shall we follow the example of these faithful early Christians? This biblical evidence suggest drinking good coffee is a place to start. Jesus tells us in the gospel of Luke to “keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (21:36) We must stay alert, diligent, and stimulated to pray as we ought. Had the disciples taken a thermos of their favorite roast, they may have had the strength to pray through the night as Jesus asked them.
In summary, we see that the spiritual benefits of drinking coffee have strong historical, archaeological, and theological support. The benefits of coffee drinking among believers are numerous: extended times of fervent prayer, attentiveness during the sermon, vigilance through fasting, increased bible study attendance where coffee is served, improved efficiency for kingdom work, deep times of communion with God and fellow coffee drinking Christians, and a general joy and fulfillment that you are doing the Lord’s work. As has been said of old, “A stimulated Christian is an alert Christian, and an alert Christian is an effective Christian.” (2 Colossians 2:21) Let this be true of us this very morning. Amen.
Your friendly, coffee-loving pastor who is curious about the readership of these articles