The Christian perspective on cannabis
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.