What should a Christian’s view on marijuana use be? With Canadian law coming into effect that would allow the use of marijuana, what should we hold as guidelines as we are followers of Christ? Previously we have held to the “don’t do it because it’s illegal” standard, but as it’s soon to be legal, what should our view be? Is it a similar to other potential addictictives (coffee, alcahol, smoking) in our lives, in which it is permissable, but not to be abused, or to be addicted too it? Is it a strict, “don’t use it”? Any biblical counsel on the issue? I’m also wondering about the positive effects of marijuana on the body, how it prevents cancer and relives cronic pain. Does this justify using it? Thanks in advance! God’s blessings to you in your work!
Based on multifaceted questions regarding marijuana use I recognized that a couple paragraphs were not going to fully answer your questions. I recently was privileged to share our concerns at our Combined Consistory Meeting West regarding the concern our churches should have about the legalization of marijuana. I was greatly assisted by my elder Rob Neumann, who is a pharmacist working in the psychiatric facility in Alberta and has witnessed the painful reality of the effects of marijuana use. Therefore, please read the long answer in the document especially regarding some of the complexities regarding the medicinal use of marijuana, but I would like to say this in way of a short answer.
It is good to understand the heart of the argument that most people will use: “Many Christians drink alcohol or Christians do not condemn the use of cigarettes as consistency as we ought to, therefore how can we say anything about marijuana use now that it is legal.” I agree that we do need to be consistent regarding the biblical principles concerning drug use! At the same time, we need to recognize that although alcohol is a psychoactive drug it can be used in only in moderation as set forth in Scripture. Consider the impairment effects of alcohol and marijuana: significant impairment is reached after about four standardized alcohol drinks for an average person (obviously depending on many factors like how far they were spaced apart and the size and gender of the person). However, significant impairment is reached after about four puffs on a marijuana cigarette or ingesting more than 200 mg of marijuana leaves. We should note clearly that drunkenness by any means is never acceptable in a Christian’s life and the over indulgence of alcohol can be very dangerous and harmful to our bodies.
“…we simply need to get back to the biblical principles considering the facts that medical data has indicated that marijuana use has negative psychoactive effects, mind altering effects, and physiological effects.”
This is why we simply need to get back to the biblical principles considering the facts that medical data has indicated that marijuana use has negative psychoactive effects, mind altering effects, and physiological effects. Based on these effects, we know there will also be very damaging effects on relationships. Therefore, there are several biblical principles that clearly address the recreational use of marijuana.
- Sobriety: Since the recreational reason cannabis is smoked or ingested is for the high and it only takes a very small amount of THC to achieve that goal, we need to clearly show this contrary to Scripture emphasis to remain sober and the warnings regarding intoxication: See Eph. 5:18, 1 Peter 5:8, Prov. 23:20-21, 29-35, Is 5:11, Hosea 4:11
- Harmful to our self and relationships: Since data reveals that our bodies and minds are greatly impacted by the use of marijuana, we need to heed the principles that we ought not to be mastered by any substance (1 Cor 6:12), that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and we are created in the image of God for His glory (1 Cor. 6:19-20). We also need to remember that although we are not to judge one another we must also consider the welfare of our brothers and sisters and even the world around us by how we conduct ourselves as not to be an offense to others. (Romans 14)
- Christian Witness: Since we know that marijuana use leads to lack of motivation and has a ‘stoner’ stigma for a reason; what kind of witness does that leave the world, our friends, family, or church family. How does that fit with communicating as being filled with the Spirit in Eph. 5 and 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
- God’s requirement for Discipline: Since drunkenness is a sin that leads to brokenness in families, churches, and society; God requires discipline for our good and His peoples’ good. (1Corinthinas 5:11-13)
- God promises Judgement if there is no repentance: (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
Based on these five clear biblical exhortations and guidelines we must conclude that recreational marijuana use is inconsistent with being a Christian. However, if you have succumbed to the temptation to experiment with this drug or are seeking to encourage someone who is, remember that it is a forgivable sin and God calls us to repent, put our faith in Christ, be sober and filled with the Holy Spirit as we seek to live to His honor and glory.
Click here to read the paper submitted to FRC Combined Consistories West. Written by Rev. Scott Dibbet and Rob Neumann.