The Chris­tian per­spec­tive on cannabis

Truro Daily News - - FAITH - Ken Banks Ken Banks is the lead pas­tor at Con­nec­tion Wes­leyan Church in Truro.

The fol­low­ing was writ­ten by my col­league, Joel Gorveatte, pas­tor at Monc­ton Wes­leyan Church, and is used with his per­mis­sion. - Ken

Re­cently, Cana­di­ans en­tered the rst day of a new era in our coun­try: le­gal­ized recre­ational cannabis. is brings a new and press­ing ques­tion for ev­ery Chris­tian in our coun­try: Now that it is le­gal, is it okay for a Chris­tian to smoke (or con­sume) cannabis?

At the o set, let me be clear about four things. First, this is not a state­ment of judg­ment against oth­ers. is is sim­ply a Chris­tian try­ing to make his own per­sonal choice on the mat­ter from a bib­li­cal frame­work.

Se­condly, the recre­ational use of cannabis is not men­tioned in the Bible. But the Bible does speak a great deal about al­co­hol. While al­co­hol and cannabis are not the same thing, I do think the Bible’s pas­sages about al­co­hol are help­ful for fram­ing our think­ing. While moder­ate con­sump­tion of al­co­hol is not gen­er­ally for­bid­den in Scrip­ture, the Bible does ex­plic­itly for­bid drunk­en­ness for any­one who fol­lows af­ter Je­sus (Eph­e­sians 5:15-18).

ird, this con­ver­sa­tion is not about med­i­cal use, it is solely about the recre­ational use of cannabis for the pur­pose of get­ting high.

Fourth, just be­cause some­thing is le­gal or per­mis­si­ble, that does not mean it is wise or ad­vis­able (1 Corinthi­ans 10:23).

So as a Chris­tian, here are the three con­sid­er­a­tions that led to my per­sonal choice on the mat­ter:

1. When mak­ing de­ci­sions, I often take into con­sid­er­a­tion the old Proverb: “Play with re and you may get burned.” e dan­ger of mak­ing a bad choice, while a sub­stance clouds my mind, has led me to gen­er­ally avoid con­sum­ing sub­stances that would cloud my judg­ment (1 Peter 5:68). As di cult as it is to make wise choices in this com­pli­cated world in which we live, I don’t feel great about the idea of un­nec­es­sar­ily con­sum­ing any­thing that will min­i­mize my abil­ity to think op­ti­mally and with a sound mind.

Also, I would en­cour­age ev­ery­one to do se­ri­ous re­search on the detri­men­tal e ects cannabis can have on the de­vel­op­ment of the brains of any­one un­der the age of

25. We need young peo­ple to be at their best to face the chal­lenges of to­mor­row.

2. For a Chris­tian, there may be some par­al­lels to the an­cient New Tes­ta­ment is­sue of meat which had been sac­ri­ficed to idols. Paul didn’t feel any per­sonal con­vic- tion against con­sum­ing such meat. But some Chris­tians in that day re­ally strug­gled with whether the meat was ap­pro­pri­ate to eat or not (1 Corinthi­ans 8:9-13).

For me, this has to do with the is­sue of in­flu­ence. My pri­mary pur­pose in life is to hon­our God and share the love of Christ with ev­ery­one. I don’t want to will­ingly en­gage in any­thing that could cause my spir­i­tual in­flu­ence to be di­min­ished or that might cause some­one else to stum­ble. Ev­ery Chris­tian car­ries that same man­tle. We rep­re­sent the name of Je­sus to this world. Even if a Chris­tian feels no per­sonal con­vic­tion against the le­gal moder­ate use of cannabis, we still should prayer­fully con­sider how it may or may not im­pact our wit­ness for Christ.

3. is last point is both hugely signi cant (in a bib­li­cal sense) and also pro­foundly un­clear to me. As a stu­dent of the Bible, this ques­tion is prob­a­bly the big- gest ques­tion with which I am wrestling: at what point does one be­come “high”? And if I’m not tak­ing cannabis for med­i­cal rea­sons, then for what other rea­son would I con­sume cannabis recre­ation­ally, if not to get high? So, if a Chris­tian is called to not cross the line into drunk­en­ness, which is a clear vi­o­la­tion (Eph­e­sians 5:18), how do I avoid cross­ing that same line with recre­ational cannabis? So far I have not found an an­swer to this ques­tion.

I don’t know what choice other Chris­tians will make, but I do hope they se­ri­ously pray and med­i­tate on such things. Hon­estly, I am not judg­ing. is is a whole new ques­tion in this new age.

But for now, these are the three per­sonal rea­sons this Cana­dian is not go­ing to be stand­ing in line at the cannabis store.

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