Evangelicals and the issue of Legalized Marijuana

Many believe once you left the genie out of the proverbial bottle you can never put back what has been let out. Nine states have legalized the use of marijuana for individuals over the age of 21 with two more states bringing the issue before its voters in this year’s mid-term elections.

The Evangelical worldview understands everything that was made was considered good by its Creator. This good would include marijuana along with other drugs like cocaine. It is without dispute there are medicinal utilities for the consumption of these products. No rationale Evangelical would argue in absolute terms concerning the use of marijuana and other drugs.

It is important to note the use of narcotics is different from the use of alcohol, in that, one is revealed as acceptable in its consumption by God as opposed to the biblical injunction against coming under the influence of a drug that alters our mental or emotional state. It is clear from this author’s theological understanding the consumption of alcohol drink falls within proper Christian Orthopraxy as long as it is done in moderation though other sincere and committed Evangelicals come to different resting points concerning the consumption of strong drink and wine.

No such relief is afforded the use of drugs unless it is accompanies a clear medicinal issue and is prescribed by a licensed physician.

The reason I write about this topic today is two-fold. The first being this is an issue that should have a near Evangelical consensus, if not unanimous consensus. Outside the most radical, liberal. professing Evangelical I cannot imagine any rational, orthodox Evangelical affirming the legitimacy of the recreational use of marijuana.

Yet, I know the use of marijuana is practiced by countless professing Evangelicals. As an example, a recent polling of NFL players revealed their usage is well over 50%. I am sure many of the readers of this blog will know personally of others who regularly use marijuana.  Many of my friends while in college used marijuana and it was considered no big thing. I shudder to think how prevalent it is within my own sphere of influence.

I do not wish to appear to “cherry pick” the sins I conveniently do not struggle with. Drug use is not one of the easily besetting sins that have taken root in my life but I must confess other issues for me are not so easily conquered so I am attempting to live in a glass house and throwing rocks at others.

Instead of claiming moral superiority I raise this issue because it is one of the pressing issues that confronts us as a society.  I will just mention in passing the use of marijuana is readily acknowledged as a gateway drug.  It is the often the precursor to the use of other stronger drugs like cocaine, heroin and meth, etc, etc.

Moral courage is predicated on fighting the issues that are present before oneself. Our battle is never theoretical or hypothetical, it is actual. As a result, in the recent past I have blogged about topics like Halloween, the gender issue and Judge Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.  Confront the issue now or later but inevitably Evangelicals will have to weigh in on the matter.

Our level of involvement can range from the consent we give to those in our sphere of influence via our action or in some cases inaction.  Or it will be manifested in the political candidates we support or choose to not support.  We can run but we will not be able to hide for much longer.  So we might as well must the courage (enabled by the Spirit) and engage the culture.

The other reason I am writing is an interesting tidbit I heard this morning concerning former Speaker of the House, John Boehner while listening to The Briefing, a daily podcast by Dr. Albert Mohler.  While Boehner was Speaker of the House he was an ardent opponent of attempts to legalize the use of marijuana.  Yet, surprising or not surprisingly, based on your level of cynicism, Former Speaker Boehner now works as a lobbyist for Acreage Holdings, a multi-state cannabis business that aims to “make cannabis available to any patient who can benefit from safe and reliable access.

Sounds quite similar to the lunacy of logic pro-choice proponents makes about abortions being safe, legal and rare. Speaker Boehner reminds me of a Pastor who was adamantly against homosexuality until his son came home one day and announced he was gay.  In a moment the Pastor’s worldview changed.  Family was the Pastor’s motivator and it would appear filthy lucre, to use a biblical phrase, is Former Speaker Boehner’s motivation to change his worldview concerning marijuana.

Regardless to the motivation or rationale they are both tragic and a question that will confront every Evangelical in some shape, form or fashion.  As much as my heart breaks for the Pastor’s dilemma the bottom line is he still capitulated to the culture.  I will leave it to Christ to pronounce ultimate judgments about the Pastor but Evangelicals must prepare ourselves now for the onslaught that is sure to come.

In one sense I am glad issues like the legalization of marijuana is rearing its head.  It forces believers to ultimately have to take a position.  While I would dread the day would ever come where one of the children would come home and announce they are embracing homosexuality as a lifestyle I am resolved in my commitment to the Evangelical worldview to not waver ONE IOTA in my condemnation against actions that the Holy Scriptures expressly forbade.

I do so only because I surrender to the sovereign right of Almighty God to govern HIS world as He has decided it should operate.  That is what it means to be sovereign.  The question before us is not our collective and otherwise puny wisdom.  It is what is the mind of God in a particular matter.

The question I have for the the John Boehners of the world is, “what is your conviction?  What can change your conviction?  Both Boehner and former President Obama used the language of “evolving” to ground their switch in worldview.  My worldview is based on the objective revelation of  God.  I would be the first to grant there are some areas where are not “black and white” revelation but many of the moral issues of our day are crystal clear if we would only yield to God’s revelation.

I am against the consumption of marijuana simply because I do not find it compatible or consistent with the Evangelical worldview as revealed in the Holy Writ.

I would love to hear from you, whether you agree or disagree.  Until then keep your hand to the plow!

With much fear and trembling,

Ricky Kyles

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