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Location: Greensboro, NC, United States

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Leftist Consumerism #2

Our local Barnes and Noble stores have Starbucks Coffee shops in them, and as a coffee addict, I’ve been known to get a cup of coffee or two while perusing the shelves. It has increasingly been a struggle, however, as I’ve become aware of Starbucks’ involvement in some less than honorable social practices. Starbucks, I've learned, is notoriously sympathetic to the extreme Left. The newspapers they sell are leftist in their ideology. Starbucks has been known to support gay pride parades and other aspects of the homosexual agenda. And chances are slim that, among the CD’s they sell in their stores, you’ll find Handel’s Messiah or contemporary Christian artists like Third Day. Artists known for their anti-Christian lyrics, like Dave Matthews, however, are there in abundance.

But, knowing all of this, I was still surprised to discover the messages they’ve been printing on their cups and the ideas they were promoting through them. How, as a reader, I have never read what’s on the cup of coffee they give you, I don’t know.

My co-worker had stopped by Starbucks on the way to work the other morning, and she had bought latte’s for both of us. And so the day was starting well until I read this:

The Way I See It # 247

Why in moments of crisis do we ask God for strength and help? As cognitive beings, why would we ask something that may well be a figment of our imaginations for guidance? Why not search inside ourselves for the power to overcome? After all, we are strong enough to cause most of the catastrophes we need to endure.

- Bill Scheel, Starbucks customer from London, Ontario. He describes himself as a “modern day nobody.”

I was surprised. I couldn’t believe that Starbucks would be so brazen in publishing an attack on Christianity like this. And if I were Mr. Scheel, I personally wouldn’t want my ignorance spread throughout the world like this. To assume that faith in God is contrary to being consistently cognitive is to reveal a lack of knowledge of the Scriptures and the entire Christian tradition. Many have come to faith in Christ simply because of the historical evidence and Christianity’s logical coherence. In fact, Christianity is a religion built on the verity of historical claims. And to assume that we have the ability to inside ourselves apart from God to overcome difficulties is to assert quite a bit of over self-confidence, which many a dead humanist could testify against, could they communicate with us.

My co-worker was as shocked as I was, so we were intrigued to find the quote on her cup:

The Way I See It # 250

In reality, hell is not such an intention of God as it is an invention of man. God is love and people are precious. Authentic truth is not so much taught or learned as it is remembered. Somewhere in your pre-incarnate consciousness you were loved absolutely because you were. Loved absolutely, and in reality, you still are! Remember who you are!

- Bishop Carlton Pearson
Author, speaker, spiritual leader and recording artist

I’ve heard of Pearson before, but knew nothing about him. According to his website, he is promoting a “gospel of inclusion”, which is just a modern way of saying that all those passages in the Scripture that teach a literal Hell to which all the unrepentant will be sent when they die are simply untrue. Historically this has been called Universalism, and historic Christianity has, for the most part, rejected it as heresy. In fact, Pearson’s website notes that his viewpoint on Hell has been deemed by his Pentecostal colleagues to be heretical.

Pearson seems to have other errors besides this one, as indicated by this quote from his website:

" Since we came from God, we are made of the same substance as Divinity. "

Yet Scripture says Adam was a created being, made of the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7). And while God gave Adam life, to say that we, who are descended from Adam, are made of the same substance as Divinity, is to claim something contradicted by Scripture. God repeatedly sets himself apart from man throughout Scripture as a unique being and reminds us that we aren’t Him, but are rather created by Him. This statement instead sounds like the sort of statement one finds in Eastern philosophy, the kind that Pearson seems so intent on merging with Christianity, as he understands (or misunderstands) it.

I have a hard time understanding how one can say hell is “an invention of man” when God clearly teaches us this through His word. And if truth isn’t taught, then why does Pearson bother to teach? And what “pre-incarnate consciousness” is he talking about? This is something that is nowhere found in Scripture. There is no “pre-incarnate consciousness”. Eastern philosophy teaches this; Christianity does not.

But this is clever on the part of Starbucks. Find a guy wearing a clerical shirt who calls himself a Bishop and masquerades as a Christian minister and put a quote by him that clearly contradicts Christian teaching on your cups.

So am I suggesting, as Evangelicals often do, that we should boycott Starbucks or Barnes and Noble? No, not exactly. History has proven that boycotts accomplish little. Evangelical Christians from the ‘80’s through today have tried to power corporations into submission through boycotts, and it has proven largely ineffective. I’m not saying that you as an individual might not want to take your business elsewhere. As I said, it’s a struggle for me. I do regard the two companies as different, however. With Barnes and Noble, the increase of purchases of books and magazines that promote a more Biblical worldview might cause B & N to increase the prominence of better books on displays and on shelves. Ron Paul’s book might just make it onto the “In the Media” display, for instance. With Starbucks, however, it’s different. There’s no such thing as Christian coffee. They don’t provide a better choice when it comes to newspapers, and I doubt they’ll be sponsoring majoring Christian events any time soon. And while I like a lot of the music they sell, and wouldn’t have a problem buying it (somewhere else, that is), they are promoting a worldview that is the problem. You the consumer have to make your own decision on these things.

There is a bigger issue here, though. How do we as Christians change society? It isn’t through boycotts. As Paul spoke of the Jews, “For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” (Romans 2:24). And the same is true today. If those who aren’t God’s people speak ill of God, it is because of a failure on the part of God’s people. If we fail to worship God properly, if we fail to give him the glory and praise He is due, if we fail to show love and mercy as he does, and if we fail to live holy lives, then we will continue to fail to influence society for the better. If, however, we begin to do these things, God will honor our deeds, and blogs like this one won’t need to be written any more.

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