How are we to think regarding recreational cannabis usage in the church? Increasing numbers of Christians now feel that recreational cannabis usage is biblically sanctioned. Are they accurate? Let’s see the relationship between cannabis and Jesus.
Weed Versus Alcohol
Frequently, simplistic responses to the subject of cannabis usage for recreational purposes are counterproductive. Long-term, responses devoid of complexity will not best serve the church. It is unacceptable to suggest that alcohol is okay but cannabis is not because “Christians consume beer and wine for the flavor, while people merely smoke weed to get high.” A simplification of this nature distorts the facts.
First, Christians do not consume beer and wine for their flavor alone. Even biblically allowed moderate drinking has lubricating psychoactive effects. This lubricating effect may be appropriate from a biblical standpoint. While intoxication is expressly forbidden (Ephesians 5:18-19; Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:19–21; Peter 4:3), God has provided wine to cheer the human heart (Psalm 104:14–15).
However, evangelical churches have occasionally forbidden the consumption of alcohol by members because the Bible opposes intoxication. This is an error. Such extrabiblical restrictions are discouraged by the Bible (Timothy 4:3; Colossians 2:16–23). Even though alcohol has psychotropic effects, the Bible authorizes its moderate consumption when it may be enjoyed in faith.
Then, does God also approve cannabis usage for recreational purposes? Should churches treat cannabis similarly as alcohol? Is it OK to smoke over a campfire just as it may be acceptable to consume alcohol during a wedding?
Cannabis and Jesus: Similarities and Differences
Examining this typical contrast between alcohol and marijuana. The similarities and differences between cannabis and alcohol are listed here.
Similarities between cannabis and alcohol:
- Similar to alcohol, cannabis is an organic drug.
- Similar to alcohol, cannabis has the ability to induce intoxication and alter perception.
- Similar to alcohol, cannabis has varied affects on those who use it frequently vs those who use it sometimes. (In other words, tolerances may be built up similarly to how tolerances can be built up with frequent alcohol consumption.)
- Similar to alcohol, cannabis may be habit-forming (see 1 Timothy 3:8).
Differences between cannabis and alcohol:
- Cannabis overdoses do not result in unconsciousness or death, unlike alcohol.
- Contrary to alcohol, there are several strains of cannabis. Even though two cannabis plants have the exact same quantity of THC, the effects of the same amount of cannabis smoked or consumed from two distinct cannabis plants may vary (the primary psychoactive chemical in cannabis).
- Unlike alcohol, marijuana’s complex chemical composition produces a variety of affects on the user. The cannabis plant contains at least 113 distinct chemical compounds (cannabinoids) that, when smoked or consumed, produce a range of effects on the user.
- In contrast to alcohol, cannabis has not been a mainstay in many civilizations for usage in festivals and rites (like John 2:9).
- In contrast to alcohol, cannabis usage is highly associated with mental problems such as schizoaffective disorder. In addition to extreme drinking (alcohol abuse), moderate drinking has not been associated to mental health concerns.
- In contrast to alcohol, cannabis has been a cultural icon of defiance for the majority of the twentieth century.
- Jesus did not use cannabis during the Last Supper, which is to be routinely honored by the church (Mark 14:23–25).
- And probably most crucially, cannabis is not expressly addressed in the Bible, unlike alcohol.
It is counterproductive to draw direct parallels between cannabis and alcohol, as though the entirety of the Bible’s teaching on alcohol applies to cannabis. Not only are cannabis and alcohol very distinct chemical substances with drastically different effects, but the Bible permits the reasonable use of alcohol while never specifically mentioning other psychoactive drugs such as marijuana.
The Overall Picture
Even though cannabis is never referenced directly in the Bible, we do have principles given by God to help and orient our thinking on its recreational use. When we keep the larger picture in mind, we are frequently assisted with specific questions. What is the purpose of a Christian’s life? What should we strive towards in everything?
As Christians, our objective is to know and experience the entire, undistorted truth of God’s grandeur in our resurrected bodies (1 Corinthians 15:12–49; Philippians 3:20–21; 1 Corinthians 13:12). This is our Christian trajectory. This is our purpose.
God is immeasurably magnificent, and Christians desire to experience the truth of his splendor for its own sake. Sin has warped our perception and tainted our environment. Since the introduction of sin into the world, we have all been born spiritually dead, unable to perceive the genuine grandeur of God (Ephesians 2:1–5; Colossians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 4:4). When we encounter Christ’s redeeming work via the Holy Spirit, we become aware of God’s actuality and splendor (2 Corinthians 4:6). However, until we encounter him face-to-face, we can only perceive his majesty through a glass darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12). As redeemed believers, we are on a path toward unobstructed knowledge of him. Therefore, we do not wish to corrupt reality; rather, we seek to understand him in his true form. We want to view the world as it truly is.
The Christian usage of any psychoactive drug should always be consistent with this gospel objective of gaining more clarity. We do not wish for our perception of reality to be warped.
Christian Coffee Break?
Before we go to cannabis and Jesus subject. Let’s learn about the relationship between Jesus followers people and coffee.
Consider this notion in terms of coffee, a psychoactive chemical that the majority of American adults consume daily. Why do individuals consume coffee in the morning? To assist people in seeing things as they truly are, as opposed to through the haze of grogginess. Using this God-given material correctly enables us to perceive things as they truly are.
However, how does this rule relate to alcohol? Occasionally, modest lubrication in Godward festivities is consistent with reality. Wine is not consumed during funerals because it is a reminder of the curse and penalties of sin. If anybody drank wine during a funeral, I would question whether they have a problem with alcohol.
People do, however, drink wine during weddings, where we celebrate the deep allegory taking place before our eyes: the glorious Bridegroom is arriving for his bride, the church (Revelation 19:7). And (explicitly) wine will play a part in the ultimate consummating celebration (Mark 14:23–25). In this approach, the appropriate and limited consumption of alcohol can be a clarifier rather than a distorter. It indicates the excitement, fellowship, and celebration of the next grand feast.
What About Cannabis?
Exists a correct and limited use of cannabis that, like alcohol in some circumstances, may explain and illuminate biblical truths? Or, does marijuana usage for recreational purposes always distort?
When it come to cannabis and Jesus, from perspective of Jesus lover who based his knowledge on study and personal experience, for his opinion, recreational cannabis distorts reality and renders individuals incapable of seeing life as it is. Even a modest quantity of THC can induce a fog among infrequent users. A bigger quantity has the potential to induce paranoia.
What about more frequent, high-functioning cannabis users who have developed tolerance & experience a less strong high when smoking or ingesting the drug? Despite the fact that regular cannabis users will not experience hallucinations or the same powerful high, there are still a number of concerning risks associated with chronic usage.
There is a reason why marijuana has been long connected with the sofa, a bag of chips, and a remote control. In other words, cannabis has never been related with active parenting. Regular marijuana usage induces disengagement and a long-lasting, gradual, and mild numbness. Almost everybody who once smoked cannabis on a regular basis will discuss this issue if asked. Studies have demonstrated a strong association between regular cannabis usage and the clinical diagnosis of Amotivational Syndrome, confirming this evidence.
It does not surprise me when a frequent marijuana user attempts to deny cannabis’ reality-numbing impact. Though one is in the numbing fog of chronic cannabis usage, it is difficult to recognize that one is in such a cloud, even when it is clear to close friends and family. Regular cannabis use may affect reality more subtly than infrequent use, but this subtlety makes the negative consequences all the more insidious and pervasive.
Cannabis and Jesus: Advice and Hope
Although the Bible does not prohibit the use of all mind-altering substances, the recreational use of cannabis appears to contravene the Christian ethic of sobriety (1 Thessalonians 5:6–8; Titus 2:2, 6; 1 Peter 4:7). As our society celebrates the informal use of cannabis now and will continue to do so in the future, the church must be cautious not to be fooled. We should not passively observe brothers and sisters who profess faith in Christ entering a cloud of cannabis that dulls the intellect and distorts reality. As the day approaches, we should encourage one another to peek through the hazy window and distinguish the glory of God with all our strength (Hebrews 10:25).
It is important to note, however, that we should avoid repeating the errors committed by earlier generations of churches in respect to alcohol by adding further prohibitions to God’s revealed word. Due to the numerous factors associated with marijuana use (such as its therapeutic use), I believe we ought to be cautious about establishing a strict ban policy for church members that would result in automatic church discipline for unrepentant usage. However, it should be aware that marijuana usage without repentance might easily result in church censure.
We should be quick to interact with members who use marijuana, asking them questions and striving to understand them, and be prepared to admonish and condemn them if it becomes evident that they are breaching biblical norms of sobriety and honesty.
The particulars and nuances we’ll face will be intricate, but Jesus’ church, clinging to his word and headed by a team of sage pastors, will be up to the challenge. As we walk together by trust in the era of legalized marijuana, God will have fresh mercies for us.
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