Lunch on the Lord's Day

Based on the scenario given, would you eat the fried chicken?

  • Yes

    Votes: 28 62.2%
  • No

    Votes: 11 24.4%
  • Depends...

    Votes: 6 13.3%

  • Total voters
    45
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Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
I would like to hear some thoughts on this scenario:

Every third Lord's Day of the month, our church has a fellowship meal after morning worship. All are invited to attend, including visitors, non-members, etc. The majority of the regular members all bring a dish to share. Many people make something before and some even bring dishes and heat them up while we are in worship. However, there are also some who have brought dishes that they have purchased from restaurants, i.e. fried chicken from Popeyes.

Now, personally, I believe, as do most of us on this board, that in honor of the 4th commandment, Christians should not patronize businesses on the Lord's Day, so I would not go eat at Popeyes on the Lord's Day. In light of this line of thinking, does this mean that we should also abstain from eating anything purchased from businesses on the Lord's Day, even if purchased by another?

Would you eat the fried chicken at the fellowship meal or would you refrain and eat something else? (And please don't say, "well i don't like fried chicken." because everyone likes fried chicken)
 

JML

Puritan Board Junior
There was a Reformed church that I was a part of where the same thing took place. I did not eat the food that I knew had been purchased on the Lord's Day.
 

Unoriginalname

Puritan Board Junior
I don't eat fried chicken. Now, I generally would not ask when it was bought because it is not my place as a punk kid in their twenties to go be the Westminster police. If I knew for certain it was bought that day and I had other options I would go with the other options.
 

Rich Koster

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Yes, I would eat the fried chicken. However, I would also work up a conversation with the person who brought this dish. I would express that I appreciate them bringing something, even though they don't know how to cook. I would also suggest that next time, they save themselves some money, and honor the Lord"s day, by bringing some frozen stuff, and letting one of us help them heat it up in the kitchen. A few of the single guys I know purchase prepared foods every day, because of their lack of cooking skills. They could also buy some KFC or Popeye's the day before, if they want to spend that much, and we reheat it, or eat it cold. I've eaten plenty of cold fried chicken, and haven't gotten sick from it yet.
 

matt01

Puritan Board Senior
I don't know what I would do now; we have both eaten purchased food and refrained in the past...my wife reminded me that we once purchased a salad on the way to the fellowship meal... Members of the RB church where we now attend regularly go out to eat after the first service. We thought it odd when we first noticed, but figure it is a cultural thing for the area, as it seems to be very common. We have only gone out to eat once, and that was due to being invited by the pastor... I would prefer to refrain, as well as encouraging the brethren to remember the day, but have to admit that it would depend on a number of factors.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
I would prefer to refrain, as well as encouraging the brethren to remember the day, but have to admit that it would depend on a number of factors.

Do you care to elaborate on some of the factors you reference?
 

sevenzedek

Puritan Board Junior
I would not eat the food; not because the food is somehow tainted or that it is inherently sinful for me to do so, but for the sake of the person who bought it, I would not eat it.

1 Corinthians 10:28-31
But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols [or, bought on the Lord's Day],” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness.” 29 “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man's conscience? 30 But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks?
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Eating in tacit approval of food sinfully purchased on the Lord's Day is not eating to the glory of God. Of course, the approval of sin is the problem; not the eating of the food.

After all this, then I would wonder about my responsibility in light of Leviticus 19:17, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him." If I didn't come to a satisfactory conclusion, then I might start another thread on the Puritan Board to ask my fellow Puritan peeps to help me figure it out.
 

Caroline

Puritan Board Sophomore
I think one has to ask why they would do that. These days, I would be shocked if someone brought a steaming container of Popeye's chicken for Fellowship Meal (and I am assuming that it is obviously fresh, as theoretically, it is possible they bought it the day before, refrigerated, and reheated it.

But I do remember when my husband and I first attended our current church that we brought Dunkin Donuts coffee to sip while we were in the new member's class. I guess the pastor decided to choose his battles wisely, because he never mentioned it. In the natural course of the class, however, he taught about the Sabbath, and it suddenly dawned on us that Dunkin Donuts coffee sitting on the table while we discussed membership was probably a little offensive.

I think this is one of those cases where wisdom is important. Sometimes people really don't know. Maybe they are trying to be helpful, and this is a big step for them, and they are proud of themselves for contributing something for their brothers and sisters at church. If so, I'd caution restraint. It may be mentioned to the pastor, who, knowing the situation, may tactfully bring it up in private, or may decide to use the round-about approach of saying nothing immediately, but adding some instruction about the Sabbath into his teaching.

But I'd say that in the case you mention, I'm 99% sure the people involved don't know better (who would care enough to want to help with fellowship meals, but intentionally decide to offend everyone by what they served?), and that should be taken into account in handling it. Sure, something ought to be said at some point if it goes on long enough, but with care taken not to discourage people who are excited to serve others and just haven't come to a good understanding yet. I'd probably eat it. Think how crushed a new believer would be about enthusiastically buying a big platter of fried chicken and thinking, "They will all LOVE this!" and then having no one eat any of it. And so I would eat to show approval for their intention, which was to serve me. If it isn't a new believer, and someone who has been talked to and should know better, I'd be less likely to eat it, as it would seem then to be some sort of weird act of rebellion.

If the fried chicken were, as Perg suggested, offered to idols, then I'd mostly have questions like, "Are you serious? An idol? How did THAT happen? Does Popeye's routinely sacrifice chickens? Or do they buy the chicken after it has already been sacrificed? Is it just chickens, or are the biscuits part of the ritual? Is there a documentary on this?"
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
Brothers:

If someone contributes food in this manner to one of our fellowship meals, I think that it is misguided, if not close to churlish, to refuse to eat it. Someone spiritual might speak gently to the brother (Galatians 6:1). But think about it: this brother has bought and brought the food to contribute to the joy and to do his part in the fellowship meal. We should suppose that the brother is well-meaning, though misguided: he is either ignorant about what he is doing or he is as yet unpersuaded that such is not what he should be doing. The way to handle it, however, is not to refuse to eat the good brother's contribution.

Peace,
Alan
 

baron

Puritan Board Graduate
Well I have nevered heard of Popeyes chicken. If it is good chicken I would eat my share plus my wifes share. My wife will not eat chicken so I can eat her share. Unless she told me that would not be proper.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
Just a note, I think it's completely possible to abstain from the restaurant bought food without making a scene or being offensive. It's simply a matter of choosing from the other dishes and passing over the chicken. Nothing has to be said at all. I doubt anyone even pays attention to every single item each member chooses to eat.

To be completely transparent, I'm more struggling with my own conscience in this situation, rather than focusing on the person who brought the food.
 

jogri17

Puritan Board Junior
I would give thanks eat it and strike up a conversation over time telling them how to cook a proper Italian Lasagna which more Reformed Churches just can't seem to get right. Than again, there are seldom many with an Italian heritage so I can't blame them too hard. :) But it would be kind of pompous to refuse the food and quote the Westminster Confession. I make it a rule to try to avoid going to restaurants on Sunday, but there are a few situations in which I can be bended.
 

Gforce9

Puritan Board Junior
Brothers:

If someone contributes food in this manner to one of our fellowship meals, I think that it is misguided, if not close to churlish, to refuse to eat it. Someone spiritual might speak gently to the brother (Galatians 6:1). But think about it: this brother has bought and brought the food to contribute to the joy and to do his part in the fellowship meal. We should suppose that the brother is well-meaning, though misguided: he is either ignorant about what he is doing or he is as yet unpersuaded that such is not what he should be doing. The way to handle it, however, is not to refuse to eat the good brother's contribution.

Peace,
Alan

Good words, Pastor. I hope you can join us for a meal some day....we usually bring some type of crockpot meal prepared beforehand. Westminster eats good ;)

Well I have never heard of Popeyes chicken. If it is good chicken I would eat my share plus my wifes share. My wife will not eat chicken so I can eat her share. Unless she told me that would not be proper.

Hmmm...no Popeye's, eh....all four food groups are there....fat, oil, cholesterol, and salt!

Just a note, I think it's completely possible to abstain from the restaurant bought food without making a scene or being offensive. It's simply a matter of choosing from the other dishes and passing over the chicken. Nothing has to be said at all. I doubt anyone even pays attention to every single item each member chooses to eat.

To be completely transparent, I'm more struggling with my own conscience in this situation, rather than focusing on the person who brought the food.

As am I, Andrew. Retraining my mind from pop-evangelicalism is really hard sometimes. May God grant both of us the increase of wisdom.....
 

Caroline

Puritan Board Sophomore
Well, I suppose that makes it open for a variety of reactions (it being possible to abstain without making a scene). However, generally speaking, I still follow the rule of 'I will do what I would do if everyone else did the same thing'. In other words, I don't think the likelihood of something being noticed should play heavily into a decision. For example (and not at all saying you would do this, but just to throw out some examples to make my meaning )... I may be annoyed by a certain sermon. I could get up and leave the sanctuary, and most likely, everyone would just think I had taken ill or something (if they noticed at all). But I think that is only proper if I would be okay with EVERYONE getting up and leaving, thus leaving the pastor preaching to a bunch of empty pews. If I would not, then it is not serious enough to get up and leave, and I should stay in my seat (unless I really do take ill).

The way that I see it is that nothing is gained by covert resistance. The purchase was not my doing (or the ill-advised sermon topic, or whatever), and if I am not making a point by refraining by participating, then what am I doing exactly? And why should I be excused when I'm depending on others not to do exactly what I am doing?

However, that is just my view, and in this case, I can see how someone might take an opposite view: They might say, "I can hardly swallow chicken, knowing it was bought on the Sabbath, and I am not hurting my brother or sister by refraining," and in that case, I think they'd be free not to eat it. I could also understand someone saying, "I am becoming so upset by this sermon that I need to go out to calm down and remember how much I love my dear brother even if today isn't his best preaching day." And I think there might be something to be said for that.

I don't think there are absolutes on this, except to show love to our brothers and sisters.
 

Kim G

Puritan Board Junior
Our former church had lunch together every week. Our pastor, in addition to bringing two or three home-cooked dishes, would bring a couple of take-out pizzas to help stretch the food in case we had visitors. You wouldn't have known it since the pizzas were still in their boxes, but they were purchased on Saturday night and reheated in an oven.
 

matt01

Puritan Board Senior
I would prefer to refrain, as well as encouraging the brethren to remember the day, but have to admit that it would depend on a number of factors.

Do you care to elaborate on some of the factors you reference?

Dr. Strange's post is a good summary of my reasons. We should be aware that not everyone is in the same spot we are, as well as remembering that we may have done the same thing previously.
 

Tim

Puritan Board Graduate
Nothing has to be said at all.

But I think the most important thing would be to say something, tactfully, gently, appropriately (rather than your own conscience/actions, although I would struggle just like you with this situation). This scenario can then be used as an encouragement to everyone, so that the culture of the entire congregation can move to be more in line with the standards that your church professes. This aspect would need the guidance of the elders, of course.

...and I see that you are an elder, Andrew! So you are in a perfect position to address this! See how everything works out?
 

GulfCoast Presbyterian

Puritan Board Junior
I would not abstain, and prayerfully consider a way to create a friendly teaching opportunity, while being ever so mindful of the massive planks in my own eyes.

This thread makes me seriously wonder if Popeye's are run better or with higher quality ingredients in Texas and Louisiana than in my native Mississippi. :)
 

JohnGill

Puritan Board Senior
Just a note, I think it's completely possible to abstain from the restaurant bought food without making a scene or being offensive. It's simply a matter of choosing from the other dishes and passing over the chicken. Nothing has to be said at all. I doubt anyone even pays attention to every single item each member chooses to eat.

To be completely transparent, I'm more struggling with my own conscience in this situation, rather than focusing on the person who brought the food.

This is my thinking. I think it would be churlish, borrowing from Adam, to make a point of it right then. I doubt they bought it to profane the Sabbath, but instead bought it to bring something to the potluck. On a personal note, I don't care for Popeye's but prefer KFC.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
You are to be commended for seeking to obey God in relation to the sabbath.

In a culture that has little consciousness of the God of the sabbath, this is important.

After thinking through this again, you must for conscience sake,
communicate with the person.

While not entirely applicable, the principles of Matthew 18:15 (offended brother, go first privately to him) may apply.

We don't know why they brought this- it's possible they are ignorant of God's command, or it's possible they have some sort of mercy exception (such as illness or car emergency, not likely, but possible), or they are deliberate. It's possible they bought it the night before, or even that someone else gave it to them. It might be a simple word might be used to bring forth fruit (Proverbs 25:11).

(I remember a person once who seem opposed to many of the clear moral imperatives of the Christian life and would argue against them. One day, they said they had come to a conviction that the sabbath applies and they agreed with Westminster. Wow. Praise God!)

As important as preventing you and them from sinning by violating the sabbath is,
I think getting the facts of the situation and the grace between believers is priority here. If for no other reason, than conscience sake.

In the meantime, for conscience sake, abstain (Romans 14)- in the scenario you describe it doesn't seem anyone will know or care anyway.

You have done well to first seek godly counsel (Proverbs 11:14 ). Now, communicate this to the person, then assess.
 
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Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
I would urge greater care than some posts suggest.

As has been noted here, the food may have been bought Saturday evening. Imagine this scenario: I'm a single guy and I grab some chicken on Saturday night for my evening meal. Knowing that there's a Sunday fellowship dinner at church, I get extra as my contribution (I've been told as a single guy not to worry about it by the Smith's, who always bring plenty, but I would like to make my own contribution). This means that anybody who wishes to speak to this guy should know what's going on. And who will this be? Who are the ones who should thus investigate? I am not saying that only elders may, but I am saying that this should all be handled carefully in any circumstances.

The original poster has come back and told us that he's really only asking because he wants to know whether he ought to eat the food or not. Well, brother, a poll of PB members is not the way to determine that. Rather, Romans 14:23 is. I could eat without conscience issues, but if you can't, you shouldn't.

Peace,
Alan
 

Tim

Puritan Board Graduate
As has been noted here, the food may have been bought Saturday evening. Imagine this scenario: I'm a single guy and I grab some chicken on Saturday night for my evening meal. Knowing that there's a Sunday fellowship dinner at church, I get extra as my contribution (I've been told as a single guy not to worry about it by the Smith's, who always bring plenty, but I would like to make my own contribution). This means that anybody who wishes to speak to this guy should know what's going on. And who will this be? Who are the ones who should thus investigate? I am not saying that only elders may, but I am saying that this should all be handled carefully in any circumstances.

Certainly. We must not assume we know the facts (think 9th Commandment).

Another scenario that I sometimes see is people who arrive at church with a coffee contained in a Starbucks or similar cup. I find myself quick to assume it was indeed bought that Lord's Day morning, but I sometimes re-use commercial cups for a drink I have prepared myself and use that Lord's Day morning. Perhaps they did as well. We should assume there was no infraction until we know otherwise.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Alan is correct to note the variety of circumstances to consider before condemning the chicken as ill-gotten. I still am persuaded until one knows for sure that abstaining is best. Even if it was clear the food was piping hot from the retailer, I cannot fathom a circumstance under which one would be perceived to be slighting the chicken bringer for merely passing it up. Most of these events are buffet style and folks choose what they want. That leaves the issue to be handled as appropriate to one’s place and station depending on what is actually going on. If resolution has been appropriately tried and folks still insist on this (at which point the chicken would seem to be the least concern), I would definitely abstain, as otherwise that would help confirm the continuance in the practice.:2cents:
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
What I'm most concerned about in situations of this sort is that I avoid being the guy whose pattern is to suspect, question and correct those I deem to be less spiritual than myself. It destroys peace among brothers and, more importantly, it feeds an attitude in my heart that I need to not be feeding. So personally, I need to take on such concerns only with utmost care. It isn't easy. I'm quick to assume the worst and I like to show off my superiority.

In the case of the chicken... even if I were certain that the particulars of the chicken buying made it wrong, I would probably eat it out of kindness to the brother who brought it, assuming I had every reason to believe he did so in good conscience and my eating wasn't helping him violate his conscience.

Oh... and Bojangles' > Popeye's
 

reformedminister

Puritan Board Sophomore
If you want to take it to the next level, then maybe all meals should be prepared on Saturday? Cooking is work. This is how the Wesleyan church does it, or at least used to. Just a thought! I smell a wee bit of Phariseeism. I try to abstain from going to businesses as much as I can on the Lord's Day. However, where do you draw the line? That should be left up to the individual person or family, not even the local church itself. To go further than that is going beyond the Scriptures. Last night on my way to the evening service, I noticed I was on empty and my van started dying because I was almost out of gas. I coasted on fumes into the nearest gas station. I filled my tank up. Maybe I could have left the van there and called a cab? Oh no! that would be employing the cabby on the Lord's Day. Legalism quenches the Spirit! :soapbox:
 
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