Another excellent post by Randy Smith. Yep, Colorado can be proud to be one of the states where churches have to wrestle with this issue.
Q: What is the church’s position on legalization of marijuana?
A: The legalization of marijuana in Colorado has created some interesting issues and debates since being approved by majority vote in 2012. One item of debate is whether a state law, legalizing marijuana, can supersede a federal law that still sees marijuana as an illegal substance. An interesting debate, indeed. If I chose to do so, I could cop out and say that it is still illegal in America under federal law. Therefore, still making marijuana illegal. Then, I could conveniently quote scripture to obey the laws of the land as Peter did in 1 Peter 2:13-17 or Paul did in Romans 13:1. However, that is too easy. I do not feel that is the right and doesn’t address the question, either.
So, let’s just start off from the standpoint that marijuana is completely legal.
What should the church’s position be on the matter of legalized marijuana? Should the churches position be different towards medical marijuana versus recreational marijuana? I mean, some people are utilizing this substance to get relief from real medical conditions such as cancer, AIDS, and other horrible diseases. Meanwhile, others are simply using marijuana to just get high.
So, is there a difference in opinion between these two dichotomies?
The Bible warns of drunkenness or excess. Paul tells us,
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit…” (Ephesians 5:18, NIV).
Paul is not telling us that it is alcohol that is bad, but the abuse of it, leading to drunkenness. It is bad because it clouds the mind and leads to bad judgment that can be a slippery slope.
“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21, NIV).
There is also the question on whether marijuana can be smoked without getting high. You can have a glass of wine or a beer and not become drunk or have any impairment whatsoever. But, other than medical purposes, there does not seem to be any other motive for smoking marijuana but to get high. If this is the case, isn’t smoking marijuana to get high purposely committing the sin of drunkenness that Paul warns of in Galatians 5?
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19, NIV).
We, as Christians, are meant to be the literal vessels that the Holy Spirit is to dwell within. Our bodies belong wholly to God, paid for by the sacrifice Christ made to sanctify His dwelling place within us. Therefore, we can no longer treat our bodies any way we see fit. Our bodies are meant to glorify God. Deliberately sinning and abusing our bodies with impurities does build a good foundation for the house of the Lord.
Medical professionals consider Marijuana to be a gateway drug and highly harmful to all who imbibe it. Wayne Hall, Drug Advisor to the World Health Organization just completed a 20 year study on the effects of marijuana and his results can be found here.
As to the rare case of medical marijuana prescribed for pain relief under a licensed Doctor’s care – that is between the doctor and their patient. But for the overwhelming majority of people considering this issue, we would suggest, in the words of Paul, “everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.”