|Credit: Creative Commons (Daniel Veley)|
A topic that I’ve noticed has come up more and more frequently in conversations with teenagers and in messages I teach on drugs and alcohol is the morality of smoking pot. (Honestly, if you’re reaching the teenagers you should be reaching, at least a few of them smoke pot and have already asked you about this.) This issue will become more prevalent, I believe, as states continue to pass laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use, as Washington and Colorado recently have done.
Mark Driscoll has recently released a free ebook titled, Puff or Pass: Should Christians Smoke Pot or Not? I highly recommend it as a great resource for youth workers who want to thoughtfully and biblically work through this issue that is not going away anytime soon. Even if you don’t end up agreeing with Driscoll’s conclusion (I’ll let you read the book for that), he provides a solid framework for thinking through all the options available to followers of Jesus on the topic. It’s a great tool whether you’re just hanging out with teenagers in a coffee shop or doing a series on addiction. You can download the free ebook here, but here’s a quick excerpt from the Resurgence blog:
Today, my home state of Washington legalizes the recreational use of marijuana. This decision, of course, leads to a host of pastoral questions and issues.
I have been asked these questions for years, as Mars Hill Church has always reached out to a high (pun intended) percentage of single young guys living typical, irresponsible urban lives. These guys are generally not very theological, but curiously they tend to know at least two Bible verses:
- Genesis 1:29 (NIV): “Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth.’”
- Luke 6:37, the catch-all, in-case-of-guilty-emergency-break-glass verse, (paraphrased): “Thou shall not judge.”
Over the years, my default answer has been Romans 13:1–7, which basically says that believers must submit to the laws of government as long as there is no conflict with the higher laws of God in Scripture. This was a simple way to say “no” to recreational pot smoking. But now that recreational marijuana use is no longer illegal (according to my state laws, at least), the guiding question is now twofold:
Is using marijuana sinful, or is it wise?
All that said, I hope this ebook helps Christians think through the matter of marijuana in an informed way. It is by no means meant to serve as a definitive word on the subject, but as I say in the conclusion, these thoughts are not meant to be comprehensive, or even unchangeable. I have a lot to learn and consider on these issues, and along with many fellow Christian leaders am seeking to develop thoughtful and helpful answers to these questions. I want to thank in advance those who will contribute to the conversation so that we can all become more informed and better counselors by God’s grace, for God’s glory, and for the good of God’s people.