Archive for August, 2016

Aug 1

Is It Morally Permissible for a Christian to Smoke Pot?

2016 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Elders Q&A

At the very tail end of last year’s Elders Q&A we were asked about the morality of smoking pot should it become legal here in New Mexico.

As elders we might handle a question like this a number of ways. We handle it on the spot when we’re ready to be thoughtful enough on the question. We were all agreed as to our answer, but given that it was the last question of the night and given that it requires some careful handling, we said we’d follow-up with a post on the blog. We didn’t expect it would take us this long, but it’s been a full and fruitful year.

We’re glad now to give some attention to this important question.

First, I’ll mention some of the more helpful reads on the topic. For example, at The Gospel Coalition, Joe Carter answers the question, “Is Recreational Marijuana Use a Sin?” Then, at Desiring God, John Piper addresses the issue in his article, “Don’t Let Your Mind Go to Pot.” Ed Welch has a nice piece written from the concern of a biblical counselor. Then, there’s a very important piece at The Heritage Foundation, “Legalizing Marijuana: Why Citizens Should Just Say No.” That piece addresses a slightly different question than the one raised at the Q&A, but one we should consider, and the piece is built on a body of substantial research which shows what Marijuana does to the human body, to a human life, and to society, including especially the urban poor. Then, there are articles like, “Marijuana Is Harmful: Debunking 7 Myths Arguing It’s Fine,” based on a book by a similar title by Kevin Sabet, a former Senior Advisor in President Obama’s drug policy office. All of this is worthy reading for the person who wants a grasp on the matter from several angles.

In the course of all this research it seemed helpful to actually write something on the subject. So, over at Desiring God, you’ll find a piece titled, “Five Questions to Ask Before You Consume Cannabis.” Don’t think of this like a position paper from the elders, or an official statement like the “Statement on Gender, Marriage, and Sexuality“ we released about a year ago. Do think of it as the Scriptural counsel we would provide to you in answer to the question, “Is it morally permissible for me to smoke pot?” Do think of it like the kind of reasoning and exhortation you might hear in a sermon where the topic is raised.

Here’s from the beginning and the end of the article.

Recent trends in the direction of the full-scale legalization of marijuana suggest that pot is undergoing a dramatic marketing makeover.

One cannabis branding firm put it this way: “There is a huge untapped market here. It’s about reaching nonconsumers: women, young people, business professionals, grandmothers and soccer moms.” Get ready: if it hasn’t already, your favorite show will probably feature marijuana in a way that makes it feel cool — whether in a joint, a pot-tart, a keefcat, or a pot-brownie.

This means that Christians will need to think more carefully about marijuana than most of us have until now. Not everyone will consume pot, but most everyone will be in a position to advise someone who is considering it.


So, brothers and sisters, don’t be intoxicated with popular culture’s messaging on this issue, and don’t seek the intoxicating artificial peace promised by chemicals like THC. But while life is hard and escapes are tempting, they are not the answer. Thankfully, Christ is our answer, and not only does he fill our hearts with himself but he forgives us for seeking life in the broken cisterns of chemically induced euphoric escapes.

Don’t get drunk with wine, and don’t intoxicate yourself with a plant. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, be sober minded, and stay alert for the coming of Christ — a euphoric experience in deed (Ephesians 5:18; 1 Peter 1:13).

Read the whole thing here.