NCW 9, April 1994
Q. What is the Church's position on caffeinated drinks like Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola? Some members drink it, some don't. What should I do as my children are confused about the issue?
We are often asked to give lists of "do's" and "don't's" in issues not specifically covered by the Bible, but this is not something we like to do as it takes away the responsibility of searching out what is right and wrong for one's self based on common sense and personal revelation.
Firstly, the drinking or not drinking of coke is not a matter of salvation for the spirit. There is no doubt that coke is not healthy, though, for it contains stimulants like caffeine and other harmful chemicals. On the other hand, it is quite potent medicinal affects and many claim it is of benefit, when flat, when a person has an upset stomach. This may be true.
Spiritually-speaking, our physical body belongs to Christ, for He purchased all of us on the cross -- not just out spirits. We have been told that the physical body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and we further know that the Spirit of God does not dwell in unclean bodies.
There are, on the market, alot of harmful drinks and chemicals and it is the duty of the saints to be informed about what they eat and drink. It is impossible for the Church to make an updated list on all these things. The apostolate has determined, however, after some research and following revelation, that caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee should be discouraged because of their harmful effects. Though members are not forbidden from drinking these, officers of the Church are expected to abstain in order to set a good example. Though no official pronouncement has been made, it would probably see coke in the same light. All are addictive. It should also be remembered that in small quantities these substances are unlikely to be harmful.
One area where the Church does speak forcefully is in the use of alcohol which is almost universally condemned in the Bible. Inasmuch as the Priesthood of ancient Israel was forbidden to drink alcohol, and inasmuch as the New Covenant is a "priesthood of all believers", the apostolate has determined that total abstention from alcohol be required of the saints as a whole. A similar ruling has been pronounced on the use of tobacco which is without question harmful and anti-social.
There is no doubt that cola drinks are harmful and it should be the duty of parents to appropriately inform their children and lay down sensible rules as they are moved by the Spirit. Beyond this the Church has said nothing further.
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Last updated on 18 April 1998
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