Concerning Red Cups, Coffee Companies, and Pseudo-Christian Things

Dear broadly evangelical friends,

There is a video going around on Facebook of an outraged, Christian man who is proud that he has cleverly “outwitted Starbucks.” The premise of the video is that if you are a real Christian, you are offended that Starbucks doesn’t say, “Merry Christmas,” or have it written on their cups. The video opens with the man making some trite statements about being “open minded” and how Starbucks wants to take Christ & Christmas off their cups—more than that, their employees are *gasp* not allowed to say, “Merry Christmas.”

He then says that instead of boycotting Starbucks, he wants to start a movement of patrons who answer that their name is Merry Christmas. Clever. Wow! What a wonderful way to demonstrate that you are a Christian. Doing this obviously means that you love and serve Jesus more than others. Obviously. (Because lying in order to carry on a holiday that He did not command, is exactly what God wants.)

The trouble with such thinking is that it is wrong. Is saying, “Merry Christmas,” a test of love for Jesus? (Leaving aside the fact that the church’s only holy day is the Lord’s Day and that Christ never partook of any mass,) [I]s having “holiday cheer” and making sure that everyone holds to and celebrates your cultural traditions what Jesus called His church to be about?

Notice what the Westminster Confession of Faith says about good works (because, this man and those who will follow suit and join his campaign believe they are doing “gospel work” and are making an impact): Good works are only such as God has commanded in His holy Wordaand not such as, without the warrant thereof, are devised by men, out of blind zeal, or upon any pretence of good intentionb (WCF 16.1–emphasis added).[1]

So, no matter how, “Christian” this man or those who follow his lead may believe this act to be…it’s nothing more than trumped up, self-righteousness calling itself good works in the name of Jesus.

The fact is, if you are concerned about whether or not someone says, “Merry Christmas,” or if Starbucks has trees or those words written on their cups, you have already missed the point of the gospel and lost any “culture war”. As Dr. Sean Michael Lucas said in a Facebook thread concerning this, “Actually, I love their coffee. Been a gold card member since 2011. I don’t go to a coffee shop for the Gospel or morality. I go to a coffee shop for, um, coffee.”

So friends, please don’t buy into this pseudo-Christian bologna. Perhaps instead of being phony, tell the barista that you hope they have a nice day. Get to know their names. (Your local barista does not make company policy.) Frequent there, and eventually, you might get to do real gospel work–sharing who Jesus is and what He has done for sinners (sinners who have done far worse things than not say, “Merry Christmas”).

[1] The Scripture references are helpful here: a. Micah 6:8; Rom. 12:2; Heb. 13:21. b. Matt. 15:9; Is. 29:13; I Pet. 1:18; Rom. 10:2; John 16:2; I Sam. 15:21-23.


3 thoughts on “Concerning Red Cups, Coffee Companies, and Pseudo-Christian Things

  1. Pingback: Concerning Red Cups, Coffee Companies, and Pseudo-Christian Things

  2. Pingback: Concerning Red Cups, Coffee Companies, and Pseudo-Christian Things | Redeemer OPC

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