‘Pharmakeia’ in the NT Era: Exposition and Application

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Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
Because you knew some people who did this sort of thing, and liken me to them, by this fallacious logic you would seek to overthrow the force of my argument and evade the conclusion.
But Steve, you are doing exactly the same. Because you did that sort of thing, you assume everyone did, whether they realize it or not. Same fallacy of generalization. I am not evading your conclusion. I've heard the same stretch from pentecostal preachers on this very subject throughout the years, and the premise is simply unsupportable biblically. I don't mean to upset you, Steve, but I do think you find it difficult to accept that not everyone suffers from your particular proclivities because this whole thing is a part of the narrative under which you have been operating for some time and it is hard to lay aside. Were you ever a pentecostal or charismatic? If so, did you come to these conclusions back then? Again, if so, maybe it's time to rethink these matters with the idea that one should accept their own culpability in sin (even occultic sin) rather than strive to lay the blame on 'demonic plants'.

I asked before, but never saw an answer, since magnets were used often by sorcerers, why shouldn't we by your logic conclude they are embued with demonic power, and so avoid them? Or drums? Or pointy hats?

A Christian may use many things the Lord has provided in acceptable ways that unbelievers will often misuse and attach evil meaning to, alcohol and tobacco for instance. Ever seen a voodoo practitioner with a bottle of rum and a cigar in his mouth? That does not mean that rum or cigars are prohibited by scripture, it means that we should not practice voodoo.
 

seajayrice

Puritan Board Sophomore
Are you guy’s giving Steve a rough time or is this some form of “let’s play seminary?” Do you suggest scripture does not forbid the uses of hallucinogens?
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
Are you guy’s giving Steve a rough time or is this some form of “let’s play seminary?” Do you suggest scripture does not forbid the uses of hallucinogens?
Common sense forbids the use of hallucinogens, scripture does not specifically, but it does infer so by the admonition to be sober-minded. Marijuana is not an hallucinogen. It may be that some folks have experienced hallucinations during ingestion of large quantities, but the same is true of alcohol. And there are folks who will hallucinate after ingestion of both small amounts of alcohol or pot. Those folks should avoid those things.

I think the differences are matters of sound exegesis and logical inconsistencies.
 

seajayrice

Puritan Board Sophomore
Are you guy’s giving Steve a rough time or is this some form of “let’s play seminary?” Do you suggest scripture does not forbid the uses of hallucinogens?
Common sense forbids the use of hallucinogens, scripture does not specifically, but it does infer so by the admonition to be sober-minded. Marijuana is not an hallucinogen. It may be that some folks have experienced hallucinations during ingestion of large quantities, but the same is true of alcohol. And there are folks who will hallucinate after ingestion of both small amounts of alcohol or pot. Those folks should avoid those things.

I think the differences are matters of sound exegesis and logical inconsistencies.

Dude, you must have smoked some pretty bogus weed. Interesting comment though, some of the research indicates that certain strains are hallucinogenic, others are not. Anyone that has smoked cheap pot and also sampled the high THC varieties would attest to that point.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
How do you know that? Are you peering into his heart!? or did he just tell you?

Josh you are one of the select few who get my humor. He was riding by on his bike, saw my greenhouse and asked to look at it. I let him in, and when hes saw my Aztekium ritteri he said he ate one in November and talked to god until Christmas. So I took the ID label off.
 

Kim G

Puritan Board Junior
Marijuana is not an hallucinogen. It may be that some folks have experienced hallucinations during ingestion of large quantities, but the same is true of alcohol. And there are folks who will hallucinate after ingestion of both small amounts of alcohol or pot. Those folks should avoid those things.

I'm not qualified to speak about these drugs, and I've only had alcohol in such small amounts that I couldn't even get buzzed, but I do have one comment. I haven't had a solid night's sleep in 13 months because my 13-month-old son hates sleep. I've been so deprived that I live in a constant state of heightened awareness/fight or flight and the nerves of my skin are always burning. When my son was a few months old, I was so so tired one night that I started feeling bugs crawling all over me, but they weren't really there. The lack of sleep messed with my brain. Like too much alcohol can mess with your brain. Or drugs can mess with your brain. It's PHYSICAL, not necessarily spiritual.
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
Are you guy’s giving Steve a rough time or is this some form of “let’s play seminary?” Do you suggest scripture does not forbid the uses of hallucinogens?
Common sense forbids the use of hallucinogens, scripture does not specifically, but it does infer so by the admonition to be sober-minded. Marijuana is not an hallucinogen. It may be that some folks have experienced hallucinations during ingestion of large quantities, but the same is true of alcohol. And there are folks who will hallucinate after ingestion of both small amounts of alcohol or pot. Those folks should avoid those things.

I think the differences are matters of sound exegesis and logical inconsistencies.

Dude, you must have smoked some pretty bogus weed. Interesting comment though, some of the research indicates that certain strains are hallucinogenic, others are not. Anyone that has smoked cheap pot and also sampled the high THC varieties would attest to that point.
What I understood, having grown my own for a long time, is that different strains and different methods of cultivation will produce greater or lesser content of THC and other related cannabinoids that will require greater or lesser amounts to produce the intended effect, and it was necessary to adjust accordingly. I will say, however, that I've smoked to excess most of the more potent strains such as Thai (indica or skunk) and Hawaiian (sativa) sensimillas, and never experienced any hallucinations. Perhaps it affects you in different ways. As I said, most drugs, including alcohol, are capable of producing hallucinatory experiences in some people at varying amounts of ingestion.

All this is moot, however, since it's use is prohibited by law. Obeying that law does not cause us to sin, therefore as Christians we should not use it.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Ruben, regarding the “weight on the chest” when awaking, I have no clue to what this might be. There are all sorts of paranormal phenomena that are in human experience, and these are not my concern here, as they are not relevant to the matter at hand. Your surmisings about the “weight” may well be right.

You said, “I haven't seen any evidence to substantiate that we can be chemically exposed to or protected from demons.” Some points of clarification: Thorazine doesn’t “counter occult substances”, it merely shuts down parts of the brain so that perception and affect are muted. Its action is physiological although it does obviously affect the soul.

Nor would I call hallucinogens “occult substances”; they are chemicals which have a certain action on the brain and nervous system. I think I see what your view is: you simply do not believe they have the effect that is claimed for them.

Let me ask you this then: what do you think the pharmakeia in Scripture refers to? Most of the translators render the word “sorcery” or “sorceries”, and its cognate, pharmakos, “sorcerer”. What do you think Paul in Galatians 5:20 or John in Revelation 9:21, 18:23, and 21:8 were talking about? Do you think there is any such thing as sorcery, that is, the use of drugs in the magic arts, and that it is an aid to some in having intercourse with the demonic world? Or do you think this is all “superstition”? If so, what is the Scripture talking about in these instances?

It is telling when you say, “I have no conscious acquaintance with hallucinogens”. You really are venturing an opinion in an area where you have no experience. Not that having no experience is a bad thing! Multitudes that have had it have perished and are destroyed. An entire world has been profoundly affected by it (Rev 18:23), even if unknowingly.

I would agree with you that one of the devil’s primary weapons is deception. He uses it to incite people – and peoples – to murder, and also to hate Christians. He used the drugs in question to deceive on a vast scale (Rev 18:23). You just don’t believe chemicals can have the effect pointed to by the term pharmakeia.

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Brad,

I hear loud and clear that you never had hallucinations from the marijuana or the other drugs you took, though the primary effect of hallucinogens is – oddly enough – not hallucinations but increased awareness; hallucinations may well be part of the experience, but not necessarily so.

Now what you say about a proclivity peculiar to me indeed influencing the type of experience I had – along with vast multitudes of others in my generation worldwide – is true. That your proclivity influenced your experience is likewise true. You were into pleasure and having a good time. The drugs lured both of us – with our differing proclivities – unwittingly into pharmakeia, though you strenuously deny you were any such thing.

I will repeat what I said above:

That you did not experience explicit occult phenomenon in your 16 years of marijuana use certainly does not remove you from the category of “those who smoke or ingest marijuana and experience the affect of heightened consciousness [and] have entered the state known as pharmakeia”. So you were a hedonistic pharmakos, content to play in the heightened sensuousness of the material realm. I grant you that you were not an “occult practitioner”, but it was pharmakeia nonetheless. According to Revelation 9:21 it will be a widespread phenomena in the close of time, and men will be unwilling to give it up. No doubt many will not be “occultists”, but merely lovers of heightened pleasure through the use of drugs – these also are included in the term pharmakeia. The devil is not always obvious. The jaws of death may often be in the bite of exquisite pleasure. It is of God’s mercies that He called you out of the life you were in, just as He did me.​

I would hope you will not misrepresent what I say by ignoring this.

You say it is “binding the conscience” to term the use of these drugs pharmakeia just because the experiences of yourself and some others were not manifestly occultic. It is the Scripture which binds the conscience. By your saying “Scripture does not specifically . . . forbid the use of hallucinogens”, it seems to me you would have all drugs available for use if they were but legal. Would you care to tell me then what you think Scripture refers to when it uses the term, pharmakeia?

Your comments about the magnets and pointy hats are silly, and do not warrant a response. They have nothing to do with pharmakeia, just old stereotypes like the red devil with a pitchfork.
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
Steve, is it possible that you are on some level idolizing the '60's and the supposed 'enlightenment' that occured during that time by elavating it above other periods of human history? I grew up on the waning edge of that era, and to be honest, thought most of you (the 'we' you refer to over and over again in your OP who apparently had a monolithic experience) took themselves far too seriously in their spoiled first-world arrogance. I read Leary. I read Ginsburg. I thought they were boneheads trying to veil their personal debaucheries with smokescreens of twisted philosophy and amalgamizations of various religions. I was not impressed. It may come as a surprise to many of those who 'experienced' the '60's that the perceived 'cataclysmic' changes that occured then were not so new, nor so peculiar to that time. The lionization of it has more to do with the navel-gazing self-absorption of a generation of spoiled and accomodated children who assumed their experience was somehow weightier than that of generations past, or that of those contemporaries who had to actually (gasp!) labor for their bread and didn't have time to ponder their insignificance. Man is depraved, and has since Adam sought ways to justify or excuse their wicked pursuits. Whether simple or intricate, those constructs are all worthy of derision. Idle sinners with more time on their hands tend to come up with more intricate versions.

Men have, do, and will employ everything they can get their hands on for sinful purposes, whether pot, plutonium, or peanut butter. The sin is not in the material, it is in the man. Inferring that demons occupy material objects is a form of animism. Yes, there are substances that can be used in very deleterious ways. Take plutonium, for example. Eating it would be a very foolish thing. In weapons it is incredibly destructive. But it has been used to produce huge amounts of useful energy. The evil it can be used to produce does not reside in the plutonium, but in the men's hearts who would so employ it. The same is true of what we are discussing. If you were to argue that pot has dangerous physical, mental, or emotional effects over short- or long-term, you may have a valid point. Then we could discuss the level of danger, whether personal or societal, and try to determine the warrant for it's prohibition in terms similar to that of plutonium, a very dangerous substance worthy or strict control. But when you try to argue that there's a demon in that there plant, you are veering off the course of reasonable, and scriptural, debate. The much-hallowed sixties notwithstanding, this is blaming the plutonium for the bomb.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Brad, your critique of the 60s generation has a good bit of truth in it, but where were you at when reading Ginsberg and Leary? Were you a Christian then? What was the music you liked to listen to back then? The singers you loved? Or the poets? I don’t have a sense of the state of mind you had while critiquing that generation. Were you a Christian in the 16 years you were smoking grass?

When you say things like, “Inferring that demons occupy material objects is a form of animism” and “when you try to argue that there's a demon in that there plant, you are veering off the course of reasonable, and scriptural, debate” you seriously misrepresent me. Please don’t do it deliberately for rhetorical effect, for that would be a 9th commandment violation.

I have never said that demons “inhabit” or are “in” the hallucinogens – are you trying to build up a caricature that’s easy to tear down, a straw man? – for these are real chemicals, strictly physical, that produce weird affect in the human system. From your ridicule of the concept of pharmakeia I gather you are a materialist when it comes to sorcery. I asked you above, what then does the sorcery spoken of in the NT refer to? Are drugs involved in it? Just what is it? How do you exegete that word?

It’s true, the sixties counterculture was my generation – my people – and I love them, the souls, many of whom are yet alive. But I do not “idolize” them, for they – the generation – were unwittingly the instrument of a horrific psychic assault on humankind, from which it shall not recover until the Lord returns and cleanses the creation from everything that defiles it. By witness and intercession I seek to salvage souls presently en route to eternal horror.

But the counterculture folks are not my only “people” – so are the Jews – and for that matter so are all humankind, as we are of one blood, and all ensnared and blinded by “the god of this world” (2 Cor 4:4) through wicked unbelief. It is a terrible thing to be lost and about to enter a torment which shall never end. Never.

I am not a materialist when it comes to the devices of Satan. Nor am I a Pentecostal (no, I have never been one, although I have been in their churches, and some are dear friends) to go overboard on the demonic. But I think you downplay the devices of evil, are sort of a materialist as regards them, whistling in the dark, and tossing out little derision-balls to try to neutralize the threat of reality.

And what is reality? We walk with the Lord, we are in Him, and He is in us, as we walk through alien territory (strangers and pilgrims in it). The culture about us is increasingly energized by “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience” (Eph 2:2), and if they can but legalize pharmakeia that will sure be a feather in the cap of the invading forces. Actually, it is already a fait accompli through the Trojan horse of “medicinal marijuana” – the foot’s in the door – and apparently it is the design of Providence to allow evil to sweep though the world at the end of days; already the church is going through fiery trials in the third world at the hands of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Communists, etc., but the flood that shall come upon us in the “civilized” West will be at least as fierce; pharmakeia is a growing wind in the sails of the power of darkness. But what does Luther say?

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,

We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:

The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;

His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,

One little word shall fell him.​
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
From your ridicule of the concept of pharmakeia I gather you are a materialist when it comes to sorcery.

I would call him an anti-materialist.

Steve, I happen to think that you're going to need a bit more empirical evidence on this one in order to prove that pharmakeia actually is a reference to hallucinogenic drugs. I usually have interpreted it as potioneering (ie, substances where humors of the body were supposedly manipulated to produce effects like love or which would give the user abilities). In medieval times it was assumed to be some sort of alchemy. I don't see how your hypothesis is any more or less plausible than these other than the fact that it is more applicable currently.
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
Brad, your critique of the 60s generation has a good bit of truth in it, but where were you at when reading Ginsberg and Leary? Were you a Christian then? What was the music you liked to listen to back then? The singers you loved? Or the poets? I don’t have a sense of the state of mind you had while critiquing that generation. Were you a Christian in the 16 years you were smoking grass?
I was not a Christian when I read Leary and Ginsberg. I listened to rock. I have never 'loved' a singer except when my wife decides to break out in song. I was never much for poetry. I did smoke pot after I was baptized at age 20. Some of those times I considered myself a Christian.

I was a young man very skeptical of the pseudo-spiritual babblings of my immediate elders, of whom my oldest brother was a member. He is typical in my mind of that ilk - never did much of anything productive, found cosmic reasons for his debaucheries that left 4 children with 3 mothers without a father and unsupported their entire childhoods, preached revolution but balked when it came to the concept of actually fighting for his ideals (which is true of all those sixties 'freedom fighters' who ended up becoming stockbrokers and gov't school teachers), and since he found it easier to 'expand his horizons' (read feed his habits and dodge child support) in Europe, has finally recently renounced his US citizenship for that of Germany after 22 years there, and will in January enter an assisted care facility at the age of 57. He was much enamored of poetry, Leary, Ginsberg, Ram Dass, & etc., and is as in awe of the sixties as you appear to be. Hogwash. There was nothing new about that generation. They accomplished nothing but the abandonment of a whole region of the Earth to committed atheist murderers (ask a Cambodian). They were and are sinners scurrying about looking for cloaks of darkness under which to hide their sin. Romanticizing them is asinine. Caring more particularly for them than all the other perishing souls in the world is being a respector of persons. That is sin.

I used drugs to simply enjoy their effects, period. If I didn't enjoy them, I didn't take them anymore. I wasn't seeking spiritual enlightenment through them. You're just going to have to accept that your experience was not monolithic, and that you occultic experience from them was a result of the fact that you were seeking... occultic experiences. You got what you were after. Many folks who have used drugs weren't. I'm worried that if you'd have been seeking occultic experiences with magnets, you'd have the same feelings towards them as you do drugs, but it would be more obviously wacked, so you'd keep it to yourself. This is like wanting to ban cardboard because Ouija boards are made out of it. I am sorry if this bursts your bubble of a narrative that seems so dear to you that you find it needful to interject it ad infinitum whenever a question about pot arises on the forum. As I've stated before, there are sound reasons that can be argued for it's prohibition, although I am not in full agreement with them, but the one you advance is seriously flawed.

Sorcery was the use of various tools to deceive others into fearing false gods or false powers so as to manipulate their actions. Drugs of various kinds were used I'm sure, as were magnets, sleight-of-hand, and anything else a practitioner could employ to accomplish that task. It was not the materials used, but the purpose for which they were employed that was the sin. If someone can use those items for an edifying purpose, then there is no sin attached to it. You used pot to reach some higher spiritual plane, a cancer patient uses it to alleviate the nausea brought on by chemotherapy. Yours was sin due to your intent. Theirs, my brother, is not.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Dear Brad,

I think the “sorcery” and marijuana discussion is secondary to our – you and me – coming to terms as men who are both in the Lord’s service and care. I really won’t accept being trashed along with my generation for coming from whence I did; the sovereign Lord determined my lot in life, and my way, and brought me to repentance. I am not your eldest brother (after the flesh) nor like him, though I am an older brother to you in the presence and family of our God.

To project onto me – and the counterculture generation I was of – the attributes, irresponsibility and style of life of your brother is an invalid generalization. If there is a root of bitterness in you toward him it is not appropriate to direct it at me. Neither I nor my generation lived as he did, though no doubt there were a number of deadbeats, freeloaders, and bums, just like in your generation. Your bitterness is defiling, for it falsely attributes qualities and attitudes peculiar to him onto me, and onto others, which is slanderous. Are your feelings toward him so overwhelming that you cannot stand back and consider the seriousness of what I am saying to you? We were not all like him.

I do thank you for sharing from the heart about your early life. I appreciate knowing more about you, with whom I’m interacting on an in-depth level.

I see you’re quite heartfelt in this your latest response. I’m sorry that your oldest brother was a grief and great disappointment to you. I can see that you identify me with him, partly because we had some similar roots in our experience. I can viscerally feel the anger you have for me – in the things that you have said in this last post – as well as the strong disdain. It is a projecting onto me what is really toward another, for I am not him, nor like him, nor have I had a life like his.

Perhaps if I share a little from the heart about my life you will see that I am not to be identified with your brother. But I will not let you tangle me in the issues you have with him, for it’s a false thing to paint me with the same brush you paint him.

I quit high school in my senior year at 17 when my mom died of cancer so I could join the Marine Corps. I had a wild streak in me that I had restrained for her sake. A close friend of mine was a Marine, and he was an influence in my choice. I passed my high school GED while in ITR (Infantry Training Regiment – a training period after boot camp). I saw no combat during my enlistment, and after I got out went to college for a couple of years. It was in this period a couple of close friends of mine turned me on to mescaline. I had no idea what it was about. But that marked the beginning of a search to find out what was what concerning philosophy, religion, and human consciousness.

The family I’d grown up in was well-to-do, and my dad was the vice president of Central Synagogue in Manhattan. Due to my mom’s illness I went away to boarding schools from around the age of 7 or 8, so these two friends, who lived near our family home in Manhattan, were dear to me, and I would see them whenever I was back in the city. I guess it could be said of me I was “culturally deprived” and they were serious artists (musician and dancer).

The mescaline I’d taken with them changed the course of my life. I had no idea what it was about, but I trusted them and loved them. They were also lovers of the arts, and I learned a lot from them. They weren’t hippies, but artists, and were “experimenting with consciousness” as many artists, and both students and teachers in academia did – not to mention the military intelligence agencies, politicians, psychiatrists and others in the therapeutic community, some of these latter for warfare, and others for healing. There were many who experimented with the drugs of that time, and not all were of the “ilk” you so disdain.

I don’t think it's productive arguing with you as to whether or not the generation that was spiritually ensnared by the drug scene was “monolithic” – a vast block of people – or if your scene of happy little hedonistic potheads were representative of the times. I think the primary issue is, What are the thoughts and feelings you are sending out, and are they appropriate to the discussion at hand?

I have taken an exegetical stand concerning the illicitness of the drugs, and get a very personal attack from you. An attack that is really directed at your brother. Whatever his and his friends “pseudo-spiritual babblings” were, for you to generalize them to all others of that time is bitterness run amok, for there were serious seekers and thinkers trying to understand life, and the possibility of salvation. Bitterness doesn’t care to understand other people and their lives, it wants to crush them, to stand on their necks. In Christ we don’t treat even our enemies this way.

At any rate, by the time I was 26, I was a writer and poet, and deeply involved in studying the Eastern spiritual paths. I was also a student of the Austrian psychiatrist, Wilhelm Reich, whose bio-energetic approach to health seemed right to me. Then, visiting a camp for emotionally disturbed children I had worked at (the camp season was over) to pick up a camera I’d left there from the caretaker’s family, the wife started telling me about Jesus, and during that encounter the Holy Spirit shone in my heart and revealed the risen Lord Jesus to me, and I was converted then and there.

It’s a long story how the Lord delivered me from all the sin and junk I’d been in, and I won’t go into that here, but deliver me He did. I continued in the field of human services, working through the years with the learning disabled, emotionally disturbed, mentally retarded, gifted, and psychiatric disabilities. I loved the work, and I loved the people I served.

I had backslidden for a long period, partly due to a deceived view of fasting, connected with the scourges of Wesleyan second-blessing perfectionism and Finney’s Pelagian will-power approach to sanctification. Part of that time I was in NYC and then to Woodstock to raise my daughter – I was a single parent caring for her from around 3 years old till her teens.

The most notable thing about those years is the patience and care of the Lord, and the remarkable way He got me back to Himself, and established me in Him. It was an experience of grace when I was almost a goner, and then being associated with a couple of Reformed churches, where I learned the doctrines of grace, that stabilized my walk with Him.

I want to say it very loud and clear, that not all of the counterculture / Woodstock generation were of the ilk you have such . . . what? – is hatred too strong a word? – such vehement feeling toward. You say it is a sin to care more for a particular segment of the world’s people than others? But it is normal and right to care for those we know best – know their cultures and ways – as we can relate to them more deeply and effectively. And when there are a people who are particularly despised, I will go out of my way to befriend them, stand in solidarity with and protect them from their adversaries. There are minority ethnic groups who are hated, and I will stand with them, even against those of my own ethnicity if need be. Please, don’t glibly condemn me, when things are far more nuanced than you have owned, and when I have done no wrong. In principle we can rightly say we love all men, but in practice we love those we know and are in contact with.

I have a heart for the Jews, my people after the flesh, to preach to them the riches in their Messiah, and the wonders of the temple of living stones He is building, for they have been led by false teachers the last 2,000 years, and are being decimated as a people – my own family members among them! So I will love the people the Lord puts on my heart to minister to. Here where I am, in the Middle East – Cyprus – there are no counterculture folks and very few Jews, so I care for those the Lord brings my way, from all different nationalities – for a few years being a teaching elder of an Arabic-speaking congregation.

Brad, I know all about the dark side of the 60s counterculture, and I condemn that which is worthy to be condemned. It is a truth, I believe, that to hate a peoples – and the counterculture types are a people-group – this is a sin. To project onto me, and those of my Woodstock generation, the attributes of your brother – his failings, irresponsibility, etc. – is unwarranted and prejudicial. It is a real wrong to assign characteristics to me and to others because of one really bad apple. Okay, we in my generation were all “really bad apples” – even the “best” of us – seeing as we were all of the depraved race of Adam. But we were no worse than you, or other segments of the population. We were just different in our wickedness and sin. Please, bigotry – even toward the despised Woodstock generation – this is sin, for it would withhold the grace of God to His elect yet uncalled in that people. And there are some. Even now I intercede for a dear old friend about to die and go into an eternity of unspeakable horror, asking the Savior to reveal His glory, truth, and saving love to this man’s heart. And there are others there I love.

We can disagree about the exegesis I posit, but to make this a go-for-the-jugular event is not godly.

The moral and intellectual superiority you feel toward your brother – for the pain and suffering he has caused (and you probably haven’t told the half of it) – it seems you would talk to me as if I were him, with scathing contempt. Truth be told, however, you are not morally or intellectually superior to him, for apart from the grace of God you are equally as much of a wretch, only a more responsible one. “God, I thank You that I am not as other men are, acidheads, Woodstockers, or even as this counterculture creep” (with apologies to Luke 18:11).

Though you have sought to paint me in a bad light, you don’t know the half of how wretched a character I am, but the Lord knows. And I go to Him with this horrid heart of mine seeking mercy, and grace to help in time of need, and for reasons I know not, He receives me, loves me, cleanses me, and transforms me into a beloved son, slowly being fitted for Heaven.

Please brother, I seek no war with you. I seek peace with you over “being right” in an exegetical issue. If we are at peace, we could even agree to disagree agreeably.
 

Elizabeth

Puritan Board Sophomore
""Bitterness doesn’t care to understand other people and their lives, it wants to crush them, to stand on their necks. In Christ we don’t treat even our enemies this way.""

Amen and amen. What a wonderful post, and testimony, to read on the Lord's Day!
 

seajayrice

Puritan Board Sophomore
""Bitterness doesn’t care to understand other people and their lives, it wants to crush them, to stand on their necks. In Christ we don’t treat even our enemies this way.""

Amen and amen. What a wonderful post, and testimony, to read on the Lord's Day!

Amen and amen.
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
To project onto me – and the counterculture generation I was of – the attributes, irresponsibility and style of life of your brother is an invalid generalization.
Steve, I was not projecting anything onto you, I was simply explaining the basis for my point of view concerning the much-ballyhooed sixties generation - that it is much less than it was cracked up to be - because you asked. It may surprise you to learn that I am not bitter about my brother - I love him and pray for his conversion - but I am a realist. He would be very happy if I were to join his victim-hood bandwagon and blame his actions on drugs, or licentiousness, or magnets for that matter :D. Sin was the cause of his failings, nothing besides. I have caused great pain and suffering myself by my own sin, so I take no stand of superiority, moral or otherwise, but the fact that I am a sinner does not mean I should not call sin what it is.

My words should have been less hard and more seasoned with grace, and I apologize for that. I do not have disdain for you, brother, but I confess that I do have disdain for the romanticization of any particular group of sinners above others. I spoke out against that, and in turn offended you, and I should have been more conscious of your feelings. I'm sorry.

Steve, there is no need for you to "stand in solidarity with and protect them from their adversaries" the sixties generation against my attacking them. As inspiring as that may sound, it is a pointless pursuit - because I am not their adversary. I simply acknowledge the truth about them, which is true of every movement of sinful man, that they were sinners scurrying about seeking for cloaks for their sin. Ennobling those pursuits is an error.

I was one of those myself. By God's grace I was able to make a clean break philosophically with the excuses for sin that I held so strongly to before conversion - I say philosophically because even though I understood the wickedness of those mindsets, they were embedded very deeply in my thought processes, and manifested themselves in far too many ways, as they still do. I thank God through the Lord Jesus that He has delivered me from this body of death.

I find it disconcerting that you still view your sixties compatriots as-
seekers and thinkers trying to understand life, and the possibility of salvation.
Brother, the only thing an unregenerate man seeks is darkness, because they despise the light, and they never seek salvation until the Lord has mercy upon them and grants them new life. I know you are aware of that.

At any rate, you can relax, Steve, I am not at war with you. I meant only to point out that your experience with pot was not shared by everyone who has ever used it, and that I believe you are projecting your own sinful occultism onto a substance and everyone who has ever used it. My opinion is that is error, and I believe your 'exegesis' is actually eisegesis motivated by a narrative that romanticizes the sixties and your particular experience. Please forgive the offensiveness I interjected into that.

Again, you used it for sinful purposes, the cancer patient does not when used where legal for that purpose.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Ruben, regarding the “weight on the chest” when awaking, I have no clue to what this might be. There are all sorts of paranormal phenomena that are in human experience, and these are not my concern here, as they are not relevant to the matter at hand. Your surmisings about the “weight” may well be right.

I bring it up because it is another instance of people interpreting an unusual experience as due to demonic activity.

You said, “I haven't seen any evidence to substantiate that we can be chemically exposed to or protected from demons.” Some points of clarification: Thorazine doesn’t “counter occult substances”, it merely shuts down parts of the brain so that perception and affect are muted. Its action is physiological although it does obviously affect the soul.
But it returns one from a state of heightened susceptibility to demonic influence, correct?

Nor would I call hallucinogens “occult substances”; they are chemicals which have a certain action on the brain and nervous system. I think I see what your view is: you simply do not believe they have the effect that is claimed for them.
The language of "occult substance" was drawn from your posts on the previous thread. Did I misunderstand? I thought you were explicitly including marijuana in that category.
I believe that drugs can cause intense experiences; no doubt demons can take advantage of those experiences for deceit; but that doesn't mean that the experience involved psychic contact with demons. What I am having trouble grasping is the claim that certain drugs enable you to have social interactions in a spiritual dimension.

Let me ask you this then: what do you think the pharmakeia in Scripture refers to? Most of the translators render the word “sorcery” or “sorceries”, and its cognate, pharmakos, “sorcerer”. What do you think Paul in Galatians 5:20 or John in Revelation 9:21, 18:23, and 21:8 were talking about? Do you think there is any such thing as sorcery, that is, the use of drugs in the magic arts, and that it is an aid to some in having intercourse with the demonic world? Or do you think this is all “superstition”? If so, what is the Scripture talking about in these instances?
Prohibiting necromancy doesn't mean that the dead can, in fact, be contacted. A failed attempt at occult activity is just as sinful as a successful attempt. But I'm not arguing for a position. I'm seeking to understand your view and what it entails.

It is telling when you say, “I have no conscious acquaintance with hallucinogens”. You really are venturing an opinion in an area where you have no experience. Not that having no experience is a bad thing! Multitudes that have had it have perished and are destroyed. An entire world has been profoundly affected by it (Rev 18:23), even if unknowingly.
But any experience has to be understood: I am asking why the demonic interpretation of drug experience is to be preferred, and how this view avoids superstition.

I would agree with you that one of the devil’s primary weapons is deception. He uses it to incite people – and peoples – to murder, and also to hate Christians. He used the drugs in question to deceive on a vast scale (Rev 18:23). You just don’t believe chemicals can have the effect pointed to by the term pharmakeia.
It might be more accurate to say that I'm not convinced that the term points to a particular effect. And I think it possible that part of the deception lies in attributing spiritual significance to the experiences of altered consciousness.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Brad,

Thanks for toning it down a little – I appreciate that. There are a lot of streams feeding into this discussion, and I want to try to isolate some and look at them.

One is the seeking to define the meaning of pharmakeia in relation to the sixties counterculture, that is, to exegete the word by our understanding of drug usage in this time period. I don’t think this is valid. It had a set meaning way before our time.

I don’t believe you have actually given an exegesis of the word, you’ve just been denying mine. What you think of the 60s etc. and their drugs affects your understanding of the word. Because you don’t see the hallucinogens of that time as agents invariably precipitating an enhanced consciousness in a realm normal awareness does not enter, you say their classification depends on the intent of the user and not the drugs themselves, thus denying their use per se is “sorcery” and that the word pharmakeia doesn’t necessarily reflect on the drugs but instead the design of those who take them.

Perhaps you would extend this definition to pharmakeia throughout the ages, including this activity in ancient Chaldean Babylon, where the LXX uses the same Greek word to translate “sorceries”, as in Isaiah 47:9 and 12, and you seem to take this stance on the view that you took hallucinogens and didn’t practice overt occult activities – the forbidden pharmakeia – and therefore the word pertains not to the drugs but the intent and activities. For sure in the 1960s and most likely in ancient Babylon.

Philip Pugh (post #45) thinks it most likely “potioneering”, i.e., the use of “substances where humors of the body were supposedly manipulated to produce effects like love or which would give the user abilities”, which seems to me a somewhat arcane view not much in vogue among commentators of either the OT or NT. Philip, I have given lexical evidence concerning the topic in this thread: http://www.puritanboard.com/f46/we-babylon-61763/. You may not agree with my surmisings re Babylon, but there are a lot of lexical references.

You, Brad, seem loath to admit that the state of mind you were in using marijuana was pharmakeia, because you were not consciously intending that kind of activity, and were not aware participating in it. My assertion is that just because you were not conscious of it didn’t exempt you from the classification. Okay, point of difference.

You say I am guilty of eisegesis because I attribute the quality of my former drug use to reflect on the meaning of pharmakeia, while in fact it was the reverse: lexical evidences presented to me decades ago cast light on my activities, and not the activities casting light on – eisegeting – the lexical meaning.

Claiming to be “victimized” by drugs, you say? Blaming them for our entrance into the occult world instead of taking responsibility for our sin? First of all, we unregenerate who did such things were already condemned (John 3:18) and dead in our sins, alienated from God and consigned to Hell. There’s not much difference between a responsible non-drug-using sinner, and all other kinds of sinners, druggies included. All these things you say about victims, guilt, evading guilt, etc are really pointless given our lost estate.

Does intent make the drug work a certain way? Change its effect on the human body and psyche? Now in your saying that when the intent is occultic, and the experience of this is realized, then you admit the chemicals have the property which afford this action. Are those properties negated if the intent is otherwise? What kind of chemical is this whose properties and effects change with intent? No other pharmaceutical has this characteristic.

People smoke or ingest marijuana to attain a psychological or psychic “high” – an elevated and enhanced state of consciousness – but some, it seems, are bitterly resentful if you call this “high” as much a pharmakeia activity as more spiritual awareness. It is to deny that pharmakeia can involve enhanced physical sensation and pleasure through this psychic “high” – to the exclusion of overt occultism – as well as said occult activity.

To use sorcery to voluptuously indulge in sensory pleasure is as much one of its activities as the seeking of psychic / spiritual experience.

The THC’s intrinsic chemical properties do not vary with the motives of the user. You deceive yourself maintaining otherwise.

Those reading this thread, including pastors and elders who are given to rule the church according to the word of God, may determine for themselves what is sound exegesis of Biblical terminology and what is not. It is an important matter, for it will be a burning issue for the church in the days – years – to come. About medical marijuana, if you haven’t already done so, check out the links on it in the OP, especially, ‘The Medical “Benefits” of Smoking Marijuana (Cannabis): a Review of the Current Scientific Literature’.

Brad, you take great liberties in presuming to describe who I am and how I think! You seem to cling to the idea that I have certain views of the sixties generation, and you won’t take me at my word when I say to the contrary, or at least give it significant nuance. I don’t like a cloud of misinformation to hover about me so that it cannot be seen who I am and how I see. Of course I can’t ward off or fight every false thing said with regard to me, but here at PB, which is a small world, and where I mostly write at this point, I can give it a shot.

I really don’t romanticize the Woodstock generation. You say I do fairly often. Perhaps because I don’t denigrate them above other unregenerate cultures or subcultures, or because I don’t deny there was any good – or anything to love – at all in the people or the culture, you say I “romanticize” them?

Indeed that generation was, as you say, “much less than it was cracked up to be”! Instead of a path to Illumination and world peace (ever see the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine?), it opened the floodgates of spiritual deception – darkness in the guise of light – and was a major demonic campaign of the latter-day assault on humankind, and in particular the war on the saints. All these things are, of course, by the decree of Him who opens the seven seals of the apocalypse (Rev 5).

Romanticize? I’m writing a book, Brad, in the genre “visionary adventure, nonfiction”, about a novice warrior-priest who fell from his Master’s presence – through a hidden snare – into the howling archetypal heartlands of humanity, the psychedelic wastelands, a wilderness of hearts, and sought for the way back, a long and terrible odyssey. A lot of this story takes place in the context of the sixties generation, and in Woodstock. The protagonist is a representative of this generation, one of its poet-seers. It’s in great part a horror story; not so much the horror of creatures and dangers outside oneself, but the horror of what dark and evil identities may materialize within the heart, what monstrosities the human soul may be transformed into (worse than Kafka’s nightmare). It’s a vision of human depravity – the ontologic actuality of it – in a soul apart from the life of God. Nor is this merely a picture of personal madness, but the very human condition. In the setting of the Woodstock generation, and in the person of its poet, is seen the horror that is usually not witnessed till one dies and finds oneself in Hell among depraved fallen angels and eternally raging reprobate humans. The horror is the self-realization and actualization of a spiritual offspring of Satan (John 8:44). The “T” in TULIP plumbed.

So you err in your take on my views. The story, thankfully, doesn’t end in the abyss of the heartlands, but a Savior appears and snatches the wretched, deceived disciple out of the realm of horror and into Himself just as he is about to lose his physical body and go into eternity. For He keeps His word, He who said, “My sheep . . . shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand” (Jn 10:27, 28). The mighty Shepherd of His sheep is honored and sung in this tale of horror and joy.

The story takes place in New York City, and in the village of Woodstock, and it romanticizes nothing, but speaks truly (this poet once said, “Better terrible truth than none at all, or the usual hype and jive”). It really is an adventure, and there are many characters, and there is love, and redemption, and the story is not over, but still being lived, but toward the end, the novice now mature, shows a vision – through the vision afforded in Scripture – of the end of this age, and things that come to pass.

Although written by a poet, the book is prose, with poems embedded in it, as a gold knife hilt studded with jewels.

-------

Ruben,

The Thorazine I mentioned doesn’t exactly “return one from a state of heightened susceptibility to demonic influence”, rather – to be precise – it shuts down awareness, acting on the brain so that perception and affect are muted. This returns one from a state of heightened consciousness to a very minimal consciousness. One may still be susceptible to demonic influence, but awareness of it is gone. Perhaps you are one of those who say that Christians are forever delivered from demonic influence; but I think Scripture shows that if we give them ground through sin they will take it.

The closest usage of the term you mention – occult substance – was in this exchange:

A question was put to me: “Are you suggesting pot has supernatural properties when smoked?” And I answered, “As a sorcerous substance it has the effect of bringing a person’s consciousness into the spiritual realm, completely apart from the agency of the Spirit of Christ. It is an effect unique to this class of drugs. The psychopharmacological effect pertains to the supernatural. The differences between pot and LSD or mescaline are a matter of degree and not of kind.”

I don’t know that Scripture anywhere explicitly states sorcerous drugs “involve psychic contact with demons” or “enable you to have social interactions in a spiritual dimension”. What is certain is that the pharmakeia class of drugs are prohibited in both the Old and New Testaments, those who practice pharmakeia are in the OT liable to the death sentence, and in the NT expulsion from the church, that – according to the lexical definition – pharmakeia involves the use of drugs for the practice of the magic arts, and that it is used in many cultures specifically for the purpose of making “psychic contact with demons” and “social interactions [with them] in a spiritual dimension”.

Now you may say that the Hindus who smoke marijuana and its derivative hashish, and the Native Americans who take peyote and mescal buttons, in order to contact their “deities” and spirit guides are not really doing that, but are only deceived into thinking they are. And that the voodoo practitioners and Satanists who use drugs to enable them to use demonic agency to cast spells, etc are likewise deceived into only thinking they are but not really doing these things. You have the freedom to take that position, but having studied these matters I believe they are actually conscious channelers and agents of these entities.

In the days of our Lord when He walked on the earth it certainly was a fairly common phenomena to see people actually possessed by demons; these latter strongly desire to do this to humans, and I would think they no less today desire to deeply infiltrate the beings of humans, and the drugs of the magic arts afford a great opportunity to do so. One aim of these foul spirits – one might say primary aim – is, as you say, deception. Not only in bogus spirit contacts (though no doubt there are such), but in genuine ones, masquerading as angels of light.

Perhaps all this supernatural stuff is unsavory to you, and you’d rather think it’s but superstition. This will put you at a disadvantage though, for you will discount testimonies as but deception when they may be actual.

One of the approaches the sorcerer teachers – such as Harvard professor Tim Leary – was to tell us that these drugs, LSD, mescaline, marijuana, were sacraments of the ancient and true religion whereby man could experience communion with God. And there were many who experienced spiritual glory and illumination – so they thought – but it was only the effects produced by satan’s “angels of light”. These devils had intimate contact with multitudes through the “sacraments” of Hell, in many varieties of ways. I don’t know if you’ve ever studied this and related phenomena, but these days there is a vast field of literature by all sorts of writers from various disciplines and points of view. Back in the early sixties there was very little; Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell, and Dr. Robert DeRopp’s Drugs and the Mind.

We had no clue of it then, but these drugs introduced us to a real and powerful counterfeit of the Holy Spirit.

There are yogis practicing today – they strongly eschew drugs – who by yogic disciplines develop supernatural powers, which they claim are divine, and some of them have numerous contacts with spirit entities, which they claim are ascended Masters giving them wisdom, light, etc. Their “powers” are the operation of demons for the purpose of deception. These same entities operate through humans in the West as spirit guides, and there are numerous books in the stores by these channelers.

And now, coming into the churches through the Contemplative Prayer movement and Spiritual Formation ministries, are teachings about prayer and communion with God and Christ that hark back to the Roman Catholic mystics, such as Teresa of Avila (one book on this is Castles in the Sand, by Carolyn A. Greene, and published by Lighthouse Trails). These movements are much in sync with the New Age / New Spirituality, as they have a “Jesus” appearing to those meditating in “contemplative prayer” and talking to them and being their guide. This stuff is being taught in Christian schools.

So, to be skeptical about the demonic infiltrating human consciousness in sundry areas and by sundry means – pharmakeia included – will render one less than effective in ministering to souls and inoculating the people of God to be ware of the deceptions and dangers of him who prowls as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, and whom we are to resist steadfast in the faith (1 Pet 5:8, 9).

A really strange thing about our times is the immensely widespread use of pharmakeia-class drugs throughout the world. It was never like this in earlier ages, but restricted only to a very few who operated in the shadows. Now it is everywhere, part of the cultures of the world, and on the way to being made “legal”, that is, part of the legitimate social order. This is a significant new development. I think Scripture addresses it, especially in Revelation.

I really don’t know, Ruben, that I can convince you if you don’t see my view. Ask the Lord what the truth of the matter is.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Perhaps you would extend this definition to pharmakeia throughout the ages, including this activity in ancient Chaldean Babylon, where the LXX uses the same Greek word to translate “sorceries”, as in Isaiah 47:9 and 12, and you seem to take this stance on the view that you took hallucinogens and didn’t practice overt occult activities – the forbidden pharmakeia – and therefore the word pertains not to the drugs but the intent and activities.

I think what you're missing is that drugs are just a part of pharmakeia. Poison Men, Shangomas etc.. use plants of course just like Western doctors uses many of the same plants but in witchcraft the plants are always used as a part of a whole ritual which, depending on the culture involves chanting, prayers, incense, fire from a lighter or stick passed in front of the patient, blowing on the patient, animal sacrifice etc...

So, chanting, fire, incense etc...are just as much a part of the ritual as the plants, and the plants, for the most part, aren't hallucinogenic. In the combined ten years I spent in PNG and SA I never saw or heard of a plant being used as an hallucinogenic except for recreation. As I've said before, I know it's different in South America. But the point should be obvious. Your mistake is taking a few examples and assuming all are the same, and it's just flat false. As I've said earlier in the thread, I sat through a Shangoma's ritual to keep an eye on my worker, but the plants were used to make him empty the contents of his bowls and bladder, not in any other capacity, but it was witchcraft, where as the hundreds of millions of people who have used opium and it's derivatives at the hands of doctors weren't practicing witchcraft.

People smoke or ingest marijuana to attain a psychological or psychic “high” – an elevated and enhanced state of consciousness – but some, it seems, are bitterly resentful if you call this “high” as much a pharmakeia

I threw some Salvia divinorum (legal for those over 18 here in CA) on a fire just to see what it would do. It had a really calming effect; kind of like the opposite of caffeine but totally unlike alcohol. I noticed the color blue on a flower was really prettier than I'd ever thought. So, while I've never done pot or mescaline etc... I've had enough friends who have who've described similar things. Just because you focus on a color, a smell, something tastes better etc...doesn't mean you're conscience is elevated. It's just that drugs have different effects. That's all. Getting more energy in the morning from caffeine isn't spiritual. It's getting more energy in the morning, as mundane as that may sound.

There are yogis practicing today – they strongly eschew drugs – who by yogic disciplines develop supernatural powers

No, there are not. The Indian government just did a scientific study of one for the army. Just some dude who had practice fasting. Turned out he lost weight under the strict controls the army had in place. This was in the news just a few months ago. So far, there's not been a single verified example of what you're claiming. So at least that statement is an example of you reading something and assuming it's true because it supports your theory rather than doing the proper thing and trying to disprove your theory to see if it stands up.
 

Phil D.

Puritan Board Junior
Steve, I may not agree with every specific thing you have said in this thread, but I truly appreciate and wholeheartedly agree with the general thrust of what you are getting at. I think God's people would be well-served to heed your thoughtful counsel in these troubling matters. Thank you for speaking out.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Ruben,

The Thorazine I mentioned doesn’t exactly “return one from a state of heightened susceptibility to demonic influence”, rather – to be precise – it shuts down awareness, acting on the brain so that perception and affect are muted. This returns one from a state of heightened consciousness to a very minimal consciousness. One may still be susceptible to demonic influence, but awareness of it is gone. Perhaps you are one of those who say that Christians are forever delivered from demonic influence; but I think Scripture shows that if we give them ground through sin they will take it.

The closest usage of the term you mention – occult substance – was in this exchange:

A question was put to me: “Are you suggesting pot has supernatural properties when smoked?” And I answered, “As a sorcerous substance it has the effect of bringing a person’s consciousness into the spiritual realm, completely apart from the agency of the Spirit of Christ. It is an effect unique to this class of drugs. The psychopharmacological effect pertains to the supernatural. The differences between pot and LSD or mescaline are a matter of degree and not of kind.”

Mr. Rafalsky, thank you for clarifying. It seems your view is somewhat more nuanced than was at first apparent to me. If I am not mistaken, the core of your contention is twofold: that certain drugs can or do have an influence on the mind that makes us more susceptible to demonic influence in a variety of ways; and that Scripture prohibits the use of such drugs in condeming sorcery (pharmakeia). Is that accurate?
If so, how do we know which drugs or plants fall into that category? Is it merely that those claiming to be sorcerers have used them? Is it the effect they have on most people? If the prohibitions of pharmakeia are prohibitions of substances then there must be some guidance in determining which those are. And I think this is the core point where your views are not convincing everyone, because it seems at least equally plausible that instead of a prohibition of certain undefined substances, what is being forbidden is an activity which often involved the use of drugs for a certain end. If we define the prohibition of sorcery as putting certain chemicals beyond the pale of Christian use, on what grounds do we condemn burning copies of your credit card bills with certain select herbs as a means (along with making punctual payments, according to a manual for urban witches!) of getting out of debt? It makes more sense to me that the prohibition of sorcery rules out all occult practices, whether real or pretended, efficacious or vain shows. But if it is taken in that way, then it cannot be taken as issuing a blanket prohibition on certain substances, regardless of the context or intent or manner of their use. If I'm not mistaken, I think that is what Brad and Tim have also been arguing for.

I understand that the difference here could have quite serious ramifications for one's view of spiritual warfare and the agencies of demonic deception: that's precisely why I have devoted so much time to the discussion. More light on the subject would be very gratifying. But I wonder if it is not similar to idolatry. Paul writes that an idol is nothing in the world, and at the same time recognizes demonic activity behind the idolatry. It is possible to recognize demonic activity and deception behind occult activity, without attributing any power to it beyond that of deceit.

I think that addresses the substance of the difference between us, but please do let me know if there is something I passed over.

I don’t know that Scripture anywhere explicitly states sorcerous drugs “involve psychic contact with demons” or “enable you to have social interactions in a spiritual dimension”. What is certain is that the pharmakeia class of drugs are prohibited in both the Old and New Testaments, those who practice pharmakeia are in the OT liable to the death sentence, and in the NT expulsion from the church, that – according to the lexical definition – pharmakeia involves the use of drugs for the practice of the magic arts, and that it is used in many cultures specifically for the purpose of making “psychic contact with demons” and “social interactions [with them] in a spiritual dimension”.

Now you may say that the Hindus who smoke marijuana and its derivative hashish, and the Native Americans who take peyote and mescal buttons, in order to contact their “deities” and spirit guides are not really doing that, but are only deceived into thinking they are. And that the voodoo practitioners and Satanists who use drugs to enable them to use demonic agency to cast spells, etc are likewise deceived into only thinking they are but not really doing these things. You have the freedom to take that position, but having studied these matters I believe they are actually conscious channelers and agents of these entities.

In the days of our Lord when He walked on the earth it certainly was a fairly common phenomena to see people actually possessed by demons; these latter strongly desire to do this to humans, and I would think they no less today desire to deeply infiltrate the beings of humans, and the drugs of the magic arts afford a great opportunity to do so. One aim of these foul spirits – one might say primary aim – is, as you say, deception. Not only in bogus spirit contacts (though no doubt there are such), but in genuine ones, masquerading as angels of light.

Perhaps all this supernatural stuff is unsavory to you, and you’d rather think it’s but superstition. This will put you at a disadvantage though, for you will discount testimonies as but deception when they may be actual.

One of the approaches the sorcerer teachers – such as Harvard professor Tim Leary – was to tell us that these drugs, LSD, mescaline, marijuana, were sacraments of the ancient and true religion whereby man could experience communion with God. And there were many who experienced spiritual glory and illumination – so they thought – but it was only the effects produced by satan’s “angels of light”. These devils had intimate contact with multitudes through the “sacraments” of Hell, in many varieties of ways. I don’t know if you’ve ever studied this and related phenomena, but these days there is a vast field of literature by all sorts of writers from various disciplines and points of view. Back in the early sixties there was very little; Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell, and Dr. Robert DeRopp’s Drugs and the Mind.

We had no clue of it then, but these drugs introduced us to a real and powerful counterfeit of the Holy Spirit.

There are yogis practicing today – they strongly eschew drugs – who by yogic disciplines develop supernatural powers, which they claim are divine, and some of them have numerous contacts with spirit entities, which they claim are ascended Masters giving them wisdom, light, etc. Their “powers” are the operation of demons for the purpose of deception. These same entities operate through humans in the West as spirit guides, and there are numerous books in the stores by these channelers.

And now, coming into the churches through the Contemplative Prayer movement and Spiritual Formation ministries, are teachings about prayer and communion with God and Christ that hark back to the Roman Catholic mystics, such as Teresa of Avila (one book on this is Castles in the Sand, by Carolyn A. Greene, and published by Lighthouse Trails). These movements are much in sync with the New Age / New Spirituality, as they have a “Jesus” appearing to those meditating in “contemplative prayer” and talking to them and being their guide. This stuff is being taught in Christian schools.

So, to be skeptical about the demonic infiltrating human consciousness in sundry areas and by sundry means – pharmakeia included – will render one less than effective in ministering to souls and inoculating the people of God to be ware of the deceptions and dangers of him who prowls as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, and whom we are to resist steadfast in the faith (1 Pet 5:8, 9).

A really strange thing about our times is the immensely widespread use of pharmakeia-class drugs throughout the world. It was never like this in earlier ages, but restricted only to a very few who operated in the shadows. Now it is everywhere, part of the cultures of the world, and on the way to being made “legal”, that is, part of the legitimate social order. This is a significant new development. I think Scripture addresses it, especially in Revelation.

I really don’t know, Ruben, that I can convince you if you don’t see my view. Ask the Lord what the truth of the matter is.
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
Steve, brother, we are different breeds. I must admit that my own narrative is not remotely as artful and poetic as yours, so we will likely always talk past each other as though we were from different planets, which is probably the reason why I discount the bulk of what you have to say. I don't mean that in a derogatory way, at least not as derogatory as it may sound. Folks that I know that say the things you do I mostly consider hippies who never dropped the facade of the 'peace generation' - and Christians who talk that way I generally think need to repent and get their feet back on the ground. But I digress. I have been wrong enough in the past to realize that I may be very wrong in this as well. It may surprise you to find that some of those are very close friends of mine. I realize I frustrate them by my skepticism when they start talking about 'vibes' and seeing 'little people', but they know that all the Whole-Earth-Catalogue-Be-Here-Now talk in the world will have no effect, so we get along pretty well. They don't seem to be very thin-skinned.

I think Ruben and Tim have made the points that I agree with far better than I can, so I will bow out of this conversation. My attitude towards what I perhaps erroneously perceive as your myopic endearment of that particular movement of men will color everything I say, and my view of what you say. I am an equal opportunity bigot, however. If one's identity was not hippie-christian, but Xgen-christian, or hindu-christian, or Marxist-christian, or gangster-christian, or any other hyphenation, I would be equally dismissive. We are new creations, the old has passed away; behold, the new has come. My intent is to leave all the Lost Planet Airman stuff in the past.

May the Lord bless you, brother, and if it needs be you, me, or both, may He grant us deliverance from error in this.

Happy Trails
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
I personally disagree with Tim. Brad, and Ruben. I have a lot of experience here. P.S. Thorazine is another discussion. It was created to counter. I agree with a lot of Steve. Drugs like Chlorpromazine (ie.Thorazine) didn't really counter the total effects but it does calm them down. At least to the point where they aren't........... The total results of their sin. I feel pain every day. I take aspirin or tylenol. My medical history is not in question here. But I know that marijuana and other things like it totally leave the mind unsober and left in a separate world.

(2Co 4:4) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Just because it isn't labelled occultic in our language, does it make it any less? It is occultic. It always influences. And that is what is missing in this conversation. It does have some kind of influence. You might say occultic, I say demonic.
 
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PuritanCovenanter

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As a side note. I have a very interesting investment in this thread...... I have to deal with this a lot more than most of you. I find some responding too intellectually and not spiritually. I find some not responding to the words of scripture and responding supposedly scientifically. I will stick with the Bible. I think Steve does also. It has nothing to do with our Generations or Woodstock. BTW, I wish I could have been at Woodstock. LOL
 
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PuritanCovenanter

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Let me ask you guys another thing. Sorry, I have been following this. Why wouldn't you smoke POT? I can give you a lot reasons why I wouldn't. But then again..... I have been on both sides. Can I also tell you not to stick your hand in a fire even though it is pretty? I still think it leads to Occultic and demonic practices. Do as thou wilt or shalt.
 

py3ak

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Here's the problem Randy. The argument is made based on experiences that certain drugs bring you into contact with the occult. But it hasn't been explained how we know that some sort of heightened occult contact is the right interpretation of those drug-induced experiences.
The argument is made based on a word-study that Scripture prohibits certain drugs; but unless Scripture prohibits all drugs you have the difficulty of identifying which drugs are in view. Furthermore, the evidence presented so far is not convincing that it is substances rather than activities that are proscribed. And if it is substances, on what basis do we prohibit activities like drawing pentagrams in chicken blood? To me that doesn't at all seem like sticking to Scripture.
And yet further, if this puts people to looking for demons in nutmeg, it might distract them from the non-creepy but real demonic activity in institutionalized injustice, unrighteous corporate cultures, or the durable pleasures of egotism. In other words, my concern is not rationalistic: I am not denying the reality or pervasiveness of demonic activity: I'm concerned that these magical aspects are but decoys from the real work of deceiving men's minds and hardening their consciences, or perhaps also lures to bring us into superstition. If the devil wears Armani, we might far more often find him at a corporate retreat than in a witches' coven. Or, more in keeping with how this discussion started, there could well be as much or more demonic activity behind a trend towards statism as in a chemical high.
I wouldn't smoke pot because deliberately inhaling smoke of any variety is not the way I choose to use my delicate sinuses; because of the likelihood of a sort of inebriation; because it's illegal; because I don't have a known medical need for its particular properties. Yerba Mate, on the other hand, and my multivitamin I find it difficult to do without.
 

PuritanCovenanter

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That is why I brought up influence Josh. It is a factor here.

BTW, My heart has been made merry by alcohol. I can't say that about mary jane.

I still think the tie Steve made is reputable by scripture. And this is something I am having a hard time with in this discussion. I don't think anyone is really dealing with the foundational substance of scripture. Yes, it is my opinion.
 
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