Marijuana allowed in the church?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
This thread disappeared briefly today, and later one of the mods told me it was because the OP was too large and it messed up the system, and he suggested I put it in my PB blog and give a link to that article here in a briefer OP – and so I will. Those who read it and want to discuss it can return here to the regular forum.

This is both a newly-written piece on marijuana specifically and the psychedelic drugs generally, although I have used a lot of my previous material. I have been getting an article ready to publish elsewhere, and when I saw a “young Turk” here pressing the point in a thread that if grass were legal it appeared to be alright for Christians to get high from it (that thread linked to in the blog article), and some folks spoke against the idea but it was mostly anecdotal or moral and common sense judgments and not a refutation from Scripture. We all know that if a practice is to be observed among us it cannot be a rule of man but the command of God. The article seeks to establish just that – that Scripture forbids the use of marijuana under the category of sorcery / pharmakeia – a class of drugs that induce a state of consciousness open to and influenced by demonic activity, as well as being used for that specific purpose by other cultures. It discusses the phenomena of those users who partake (or partook – in their earlier years) of this substance merely recreationally and answers their objections that due to their harmless intent it was not to be categorized as sorcerous activity.

The article also discusses the likelihood of it being legalized in the near future due to increasing cultural pressures, although it is partly legal now in those areas where it is allowed to be used “medicinally”. It is also legal in some other countries. The so-called medicinal use of it is examined.

I continue to write about this because it will be a powerful destructive force were it allowed in the church contrary to God’s word. I bring in lexical and exegetical data, as well as ponder certain portions of Revelation that appear to speak to this very development – the increasing use of these drugs in the very end of the last days.

To respond to one person who asked a question in the earlier version of this thread, No, standard medicines are a different class entirely than the pharmakeia-class. Nor are the narcotics / opiates in this class. These do not have the properties (characteristics) of the drugs used in sorcery.

Also, a distinction is repeatedly made between Biblically-defined pharmakeia / sorcery and the common superstitious varieties, which have no part in the Biblical definition of it.

Here is the blog article: Marijuana allowed in the church?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Dear Steve, Thankyou again for the brotherly concern you have for the souls of men, the wellbeing of the church, and the power of its witness in this world. I can't agree with your lexical argument because it seems to be a species of the etymological fallacy, but I certainly agree that mind-altering substances must be warned against with vigilance and care. With you, I am certain it is not a matter of Christian liberty to use mind-altering drugs recreationally, and it must fall under one of the works of the devil as the master of creating illusions and introducing a form of pseudo-reality in order to remove men's capacity for responsibly and rationally acting in the world as God created it. Were such drugs to be legalised the church would be bound to speak against the legislation as destructive of men's lives and liberties, and to witness against the practice of drug-taking as "against nature." Brother, I don't believe we need "Scriptural" arguments in the sense of requiring condemnation of specific practices. Our God is the Creator of all things, and as the Author of nature He determines what is good for us. Anything "contrary to nature" is ipso facto contrary to Scripture. Blessings!
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hello Matthew, thanks for your support, though I would ask you to please expand on this thought: "a species of the etymological fallacy". How so?

I understand the etymological fallacy – but please make clear how you think I fall into that.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Hello Matthew, thanks for your support, though I would ask you to please expand on this thought: "a species of the etymological fallacy". How so?

The etymological fallacy looks at the way the word has developed and takes that as indicative of its meaning in some way. The idea of "drugs," "poisons," or "potions" is a part of the development of the word, but is not a part of the meaning in the contexts in which it is used in Scripture. An examination of your lexical aids will show that the idea of "drugs," etc., is recognised only as a part of the word's "literal" or "original" sense, not its actual meaning in context. I hope that helps. Sorry I don't have more time to dedicate to the subject.
 

JohnGill

Puritan Board Senior
I agree with Matthew that the context of the word in scripture is quite different from it's etymological meaning. I still think the best argument against drug use are the verses which deal with drunkenness. The same reasons drunkenness is condemned are equally valid for drug use. Since continued drug use also destroys your body, makes you stupid, etc., another argument can be made that it is similar to gluttony or it is a sin since you are squandering the gifts God has given you. I've read the pharmacological argument before. The problem with the argument is that one could conclude that the usage of devil (demons in modern versions) are not evil spirits but are intermediaries between God and men. The context of the word in scripture shows that etymological meaning has no bearing on the Biblical meaning. This is the problem I have with the drugs being referred to when magicians, enchanters, witches, etc. are mentioned. The context doesn't support it. It supports amulets, sleight of hand, and even linguistic deception, but no drugs. The Biblical usage would be more of a reference to the likes of Paul Brooks or Derren Brown not Timothy O'Leary.
 

kappazei

Puritan Board Freshman
Isn't it a form of a fallacy to say that, 'Since marijuana use is not specifically condemned in the Bible, it must be ok' ?
That's like a JW who once said to me, 'I won't believe unless I see a bible verse that says Jesus is sovereign.' or someone who says, 'There's no reference in the bible against Playboy magazines.'
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
Insobriety is condemned in scripture. Violating man's law is condemned where it does not require the Christian to sin. The use of an etymological fallacy to embue a plant with demonic powers is incoherent. There are all sorts of plants that possess pharmacological properties that can be abused, but that may also be properly and advantageously used for good. Opiates, many antibiotics, and a host of other substances derive from plants, even alcohol. Marijuana has been saddled with a cultural baggage due to its availability and recent popularity for abuse. That does not mean it has no good and proper use. Perhaps it would be better if the chemicals that produce the most advatageous effects were isolated and produced in a form that is not as subject to abuse or deleterious to health as the leaf form, but it has been proven useful to chemo patients in both relief of nausea and to increase appetite.

Once again, Steve, the fact that you dabbled in the occult while under its influence does not equate with it being 'the Devil's weed'. That's just plain superstition, and foisting your personal subjective experience on everyone else as though your proclivity and susceptibility is monolithic to humanity. This is not sound reason to deny suffering people the use of something that can relieve that suffering. Peanut allergies can do strange things to people who have them, but that is no justification for outlawing peanuts. Sugar can affect diabetics such that they fall into a stupor similar to extreme drunkeness, should we therefore ask that sugar be criminalized? Preposterous.
 
Last edited:

JoannaV

Puritan Board Sophomore
To respond to one person who asked a question in the earlier version of this thread, No, standard medicines are a different class entirely than the pharmakeia-class. Nor are the narcotics / opiates in this class. These do not have the properties (characteristics) of the drugs used in sorcery.

I was thinking of some of the medicines used to treat things such as depression and anxiety. There are various kinds of these, I don't know how they all work. But I know some people who take these kinds of medicines would prefer to use marijuana if it were legal (and have used it in the past). I can't quite work out from people's testimonies the differences in effect of these things.
 

Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
"I agree with Matthew that the context of the word in scripture is quite different from it's etymological meaning. I still think the best argument against drug use are the verses which deal with drunkenness."

As I have argued against the legalization of marijuana on political boards, that has been the foundation of my argument, too. But -

Can an argument be made that one or two puffs of marijuana do not equate to drunkenness, just as one or two beers does not equate to drunkenness?

I have dealt with that argument, but my best response is: people do not take just one or two puffs. Whereas, it is normal and perhaps even the most common thing for people to have one-two beers.

Thoughts?
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
To deal with Rev. Winzer’s response first: Matthew, you say,

“The etymological fallacy looks at the way the word has developed and takes that as indicative of its meaning in some way. The idea of ‘drugs,’ ‘poisons,’ or ‘potions’ is a part of the development of the word, but is not a part of the meaning in the contexts in which it is used in Scripture.”

The meaning of pharmakon and its cognates in the Greek as used in the Greek world when the LXX and the NT Scriptures were written, all refer to medicines, poisons, or magic / sorcerous drugs, these three only. This is the extent of the semantic range at that time. Now has the semantic range been developed so that it has changed in our own day, here in the 21st century? In modern Greek it remains, pharmakeia still has the meaning of “poisoning” and “sorcery”, and pharmakon “medicine” etc (Divry’s Modern English-Greek and Greek-English Desk Dictionary, D.C. Divry Inc., New York, 1976, p. 726). When we were in Cyprus and my wife would be talking with a gardener about spraying insecticide on our citrus trees she would use the Greek word that referred to both medicine and poison. The context determined the meaning. From what I gathered, there was not much use of the word in its meaning for sorcery, but lexically it remains current.

Here is the interesting thing: the translators of the Scriptures into English used the words sorcerers and sorceries in the NT and various words for practitioners of the magic arts in the OT (the Jewish writers of the LXX invariably used pharmakon / drug cognates when translating these words into the Greek OT – this was discussed at length in the article). The English translators were merely being faithful to the historical-grammatical sense of pharmakeia et al when they so rendered it in Galatians and Revelation. But did we in the hundreds of years prior to the mid-20th century understand their true import? Hardly. Biblically defined “sorcery” and “magic arts” in those times were practiced in the dark, away from the view of society, hidden in all its aspects due to its evil nature, widespread condemnation, and severe penalties. What the common person knew of it was what abounds in the realms of superstition. It was not until it became the cultural norm – or sub-cultural norm – in the 1950s and 60s on was its true meaning realized, and its relevance to the church of our day understood. I do not think your objection re “a species of the etymological fallacy” stands up to examination.

Matthew, pray tell then, what is “the meaning in the contexts in which it [pharmakeia] is used in Scripture”? Are you saying that there is one sense (just the three drug-uses listed) in the lexical aids, but a different “actual meaning in context” (I assume you are talking of its context / use in Scripture)? Would you please answer this?

A further problem with your view: you say you are certain it is not a matter of Christian liberty (smoking marijuana and use of other psychedelics), but you don’t need “ ‘Scriptural’ arguments” to forbid its use by disciples of Christ. Instead you say it is “against nature . . . contrary to nature”, as though this would deter someone convinced otherwise. There are loads of folks who think it is licit precisely because it is in accord with nature!

If it is not drug use, what is the sorcery pharmakeia forbidden in the NT upon pain of exclusion from God’s kingdom? (In the OT it was forbidden upon pain of death. Cf. Exodus 22:18 LXX) Can the actual sin not be accurately identified in this day – per your view? That would be a fine state of affairs – a sin warranting eternal condemnation (and listed on a par with adultery and murder) – and we can’t figure out what it is!

With regard to “imbue a plant with demonic powers” – it is difficult to characterize exactly what one could call plants and chemicals that, according to the lexicographers and commentators, “induce magic spells” and “encourage the presence of spirits” by altering the consciousness of those who imbibe them. I suppose it would be safe to say, “they could be put to demonic use”. For hemp is well known to be a very fine source for producing clothing and rope, among other items.

It remains that the lexical and exegetical data brought up in the article is sound, and is why I am willing to respond to legitimate objections and questions concerning it. I will not be responding to (save perhaps to brush off) argumentum ad hominem and personal attacks, or be sucked into the morass of superstitious occultic phenomena. The Biblical data is clear and clean, and avoids all that.

Just yesterday I was looking across the internet at various views on this topic and was surprised at the ignorance out there; but not merely ignorance: people deceived and deceiving, and some of them professing Christians (some of these professing but obviously not).

One site I saw on the Spiritual use of cannabis gave an interesting history of its use in various religions for obviously sorcerous pharmakeia according to Biblical definition. It remains there are “young Turks” who think they can just harmlessly “groove” with it recreationally, and it be only a matter of moderate use.

I am open and forthright about the circumstances under which I partook of these substances, which I maintain was the Lord’s providence in later supplying His church with a cogent and forceful refutation of their use. As seen in the article there is also a review of the current scientific literature on its medicinal use, and a discussion following, lest any say I out-of-hand dismiss it.

-----------

After this thread was closed due to ungodly remarks – some of them from me – the moderator agreed to delete mine for me. I (in a PM) asked the person I sinned against for forgiveness for saying things “unworthy a disciple of Christ”. And I’m sorry for setting a bad example for those looking in. Sin has a way of creeping into our hearts when we least expect it!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
Bruce (A5pointer), Brad gets quite emotional and near-abusive (Cf. the constant argumentum ad hominem and personal slurs), instead of responding to and dealing with the issues at hand. He has demonstrated a history of getting worked up over this discussion due to carrying a lot of baggage with respect to drugs and the sixties. (I could refer onlookers to an extended past discussion between Brad and myself, but it’s sort of boring and really a smokescreen to the civil discussion at hand. His remarks here are a sort of unpleasant déjà vu of a past abusive tirade, unworthy a disciple of Christ.)
Funny thing, Steve, is that everything you infer about me there is precisely the way you come off to me. Blessed fact it is that you are not the arbiter of my position in Christ, nor I yours. I tend to be upfront with my differences, not cloaking them in a false diplomacy - never learned the art of subtlety, don't want to. It is not my intent to offend. You are teaching error, although of no great import, just silly and hurtful to the sick who benefit from the substance. My dying father could have benefited from it, but hysteria of the like you promulgate prevented that. I have presented my refutation. I will leave it at that. One day we will all know with certainty about these matters, but in that day it will be moot; suffering will have ended forever for God's people. You and I will be able to fellowship without reservation then. I look forward to it.

Until then, may the Lord bless you.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
I tend to be upfront with my differences, not cloaking them in a false diplomacy - never learned the art of subtlety, don't want to.

There is such a thing as being gracious Brad. It is something that many would do well in learning. Our speech is to be gracious and edifying. I have seen some use your argument to cloak their abrasiveness when they shouldn't have. I can't judge your heart here. But I have seen this argument used to justify one's attitude when there was no justification for it. I have used it myself.

I do know you to be gracious also.

Just for a small bit of input. I have only known a few people in life who have used marijuana medicinally. I think it is justifiable maybe. I have known way more people who have not and I admit I have inhaled. Now you all know what is wrong with me. LOL. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.

I suspect this rebellion is more behind the situation we have today in regard to this topic.

(1Sa 15:23) For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top