Ask Doug, Featured, The Christian Life, Worldview/Culture
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Posted by canonwired on December 27, 2012 8:23 am
Ask Doug: As you know, Washington and Colorado recently voted to legalize Marijuana – what are your thoughts on the legalization of Marijuana ?
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There is a certain contrasting quality between judgments within the world view of the proponents of the war on cannabis and Christian theology.
The “everything is toxic” philosophy embraced by the ONDCP toxicologists and controlling offices such as the FDA and DEA is the exact opposite of sound Christian theology [1,2], and the corollary truths built upon it are not Biblically founded, and can be proven to be Biblically incorrect. -And if it’s not Theologically true, if it’s not true in the Bible, than it isn’t true at all .
No Bible believing Christian can accept any “toxicology” studies or reports from the ONDCP in good conscience, when they consider the axioms that were used to build their studies. Do Christians adhere to “scientific” theories about big bang and evolution? No, and we can also reject the observations of the ONDCP about cannabis on similar grounds when all things are considered in a clear systematic theology. One must “Test The Evidences” that come from outside Scripture.
Scripture, tradition, and reason imply that all things are good, and that substance (such as foods and drinks) only becomes toxic in it’s misuse, that is, in the uses that are not in order with the purposes God created them . The Scripture’s warnings against these philosophies are traditionally viewed as warnings about the Gnostics of the second century. It was a blending of Jewish, Greek, or Eastern philosophy with Christianity. These Gnostic errors are widespread, they appear century after century, and shows itself in many forms of religion, not merely in distorted forms of Christianity. In life application today, we can see that same Gnostic germ resurface in our society in the influence of modernism and postmodernism.
The war against cannabis is a frightening illustration, in that it is successful in stifling Evangelism within the local Church, and not many Leaders recognize what’s going on, despite the fact that it devastates the lives of millions in perdition. This ascetic teaching is unnatural, contrary to the constitution of the world as that has been arranged by a holy and wise Creator, and it is also subversive of Christian liberty. Nothing can be esteemed common or unclean without throwing a reproach upon the Creator.  To further discover the long term consequences of these unnatural teachings, we can observe the characterizations and acts employed in the war on pot have a resemblance to the warnings in Scripture regarding the signs of false teachers (which are directly linked to signs of the coming Rapture of Christ’s church). The war on cannabis shares at least 2 key qualities as the Gnostics. In the presence of the negative implications of statements such as “there is no way to teach this to you in a brief, ” and, “everything is toxic, there is no harmless substances. “, the Christian should be reminded that encouraging formalism and asceticism as the result of false teaching is traditionally known as the activities of demons ; and the acknowledgment of liberty of conscience in a free moral agent is the formation of evangelical theology- for this very reason the Reformers left the Roman Catholic Church! . The binge drinking phenomena we see in the just say no generation, as well as the licentious rebellion in the 60’s, is evidences of the “fleshly indulgence”, or antinomian development that results from these ascetic teachings. [8,9,10]
To summarize; The Christian world view and the ONDCP world view can be sharply contrasted. In the ONDCP world view, the Truth is “everything is toxic” and application is “just say no”. In the Christian world view, the Truth is “God’s creation is good” and application is “be ye sober”. The Scripture provides us a sharper, more accurate understanding and response to the subjects of cannabis use in society than the secular drug use prevention community. And as Biblical passages are weighed and discovered as this more accurate Truth, it should bear witness that the Gospel message of Jesus Christ is Truth. We should lend thought to this greater spiritual Truth for which the Bible is compiled as evidence of; That Christ made atonement covering and salvation for our souls. “For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world, but that he world through him might be saved. God publicly displayed him as the mercy seat accessible through faith, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, but by grace are you saved through faith, and it’s not of yourselves, it is a gift from God. For whosoever believes in Him will not perish. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
 ISBE- Sin Heb: a missing; rebellion; transgression; perversion; evil in disposition; impiety
GK: missing the mark; transgression; unrighteousness; impiety; lawlessness; depravity; evil desire
Sin is to be defined primarily in relation to God. It is disobedience, unbelief, ignorance, the positive assertion of usurped autonomy, and the wicked deviation from, or violation of, God’s Righteous Will and Law. The breach of a right relationship with God carries with it the disruption of a right relationship with others and the disintegration of the self. But this is derivative, for it is because of sin against God that there is sin against others and oneself (Ps. 51:4) [MT 6]
A feature of the Biblical definition is that sin is not just a lack, a failure, or a deficiency. The ignorance that is sin involves not only the lack of True knowledge but also the substitution of falsehood. Sin is commission as well as omission. Yet this must not be pressed too far. Sin has no place in the positive will of God, nor does God allow the existence of another reality alongside and equal to His own creation. In the last analysis sin only has a negative or parasitic reality. It’s positive reality is paradoxical and secondary, as is clearly illustrated by the manner of it’s entry into human life.
Inwardness of the Moral Law- The Biblical narratives, too, show us the passage over from sin conceived of as the violation of external commands to sin conceived of as an unwillingness to keep the commandments in the depths of the inner life. The course of Biblical history is one long protest against conceiving of sin in an external fashion.
 Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem
The Biblical account rules out “dualism”. This is the idea that both God and the material universe have eternally existed side by side. Thus, there are two ultimate forces in the universe, God and matter.
The problem with dualism is that it indicates an eternal conflict between God and the evil aspects of the material universe. Will God ultimately triumph over evil in the universe? We cannot be sure, because both God and evil have apparently always existed side by side. This philosophy would deny both God’s ultimate lordship over creation and also that creation came about because of God’s will, that it is to be used solely for his purposes, and that it is to glorify him. This viewpoint would also deny that all of the universe was created inherently good (Gen.1:31) and would encourage people to view material reality as somewhat evil in itself, in contrast with a genuine biblical account of a creation that God made to be good an that he rules over for his purposes.
One recent example of dualism in modern culture is the series of “Star Wars” movies, which postulate the existence of a universal “force” that has both a good and an evil side. There is no concept of one holy and transcendent God who rules over all and will certainly triumph over all. When non-Christians today begin to be aware of a spiritual aspect to the universe, they often become dualists, merely acknowledging that there are good and evil aspects to the supernatural or spiritual world. Most “New Age” religion is dualistic. Of course, Satan is delighted to have people think that there is an evil force in the universe that is perhaps equal to God himself.
 “The Danger of Sola Scriptura” by Michael Patton
 “The Doctrine of Divine Healing”, Foundations of Pentecostal Theology, Duffield/ Van Cleave, LIFE Bible College. This section was too long to attach here.
 See ISBE- Gnosticism. I have made this section available at http://www.lucashempco.com/cms/node/22
 “The Doctrine of Angels”, Foundations of Pentecostal Theology, Duffield/ Van Cleave, LIFE Bible College. This section was too long to attach here.
 Martin Luther, Protestant Reformer,
“Unless I am refuted and convicted by testimonies of the Scriptures or by clear arguments (since I believe neither the Pope nor the Councils alone; it being evident that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am conquered by the Holy Scriptures quoted by me, and my conscience is bound in the word of God: I can not and will not recant any thing, since it is unsafe and dangerous to do any thing against the conscience.”
(Phillip Schaff, History of the Christian Church). For a more thorough history, read Luther’s Testimony at the Diet of Worms. I have made a section available at http://www.lucashempco.com/cms/node/36
 Colossians 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you with
respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days – these are only the shadow of the things to come, but the reality is Christ! Let no one who delights in humility and the worship of angels pass judgment on you. That person goes on at great lengths about what he has supposedly seen, but he is puffed up with empty notions by his fleshly mind. He has not held fast to the head from whom the whole body, supported and knit together through its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.
If you have died with Christ to the elemental spirits of the world, why do you submit to them as though you lived in the world? “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” These are all destined to perish with use, founded as they are on human commands and teachings. Even though they have the appearance of wisdom with their self-imposed worship and false humility achieved by an unsparing treatment of the body – a wisdom with no true value – they in reality result in fleshly indulgence”
[the characterizations employed in the war on pot are striking resemblance to the warnings in Col.2. “goes on about what he has seen… puffed up by a fleshly mind”. The binge drinking phenomena we see in the just say no generation, as well as the licentious rebellion in the 60’s, is evidences of the “fleshly indulgence”, or antinomian development that springs from these ascetic teachings.]
 Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology
The Sufficiency of the Scripture
#5. With regard to the Christian life, the sufficiency of the Scripture reminds us that nothing is sin that is not forbidden by scripture either explicitly or by implication. To walk in the law of the Lord is to be “blameless” (Ps. 119:1). Therefore we are not to add prohibitions to those already stated in scripture. From time to time there may be situations in which it would be wrong, for example, for an individual Christian to drink Coca-Cola, or to attend movie theaters, or to eat meat offered to idols (see 1 Cor. 8-10), but unless some specific teaching or some general principle of Scripture can be shown to prohibit these (or any other activities) for all believers for all time, we must insist that these activities are not in themselves sinful and they are not in all situations prohibited by God for his people.
This also is an important principle because there is always the tendency among believers to begin to neglect the regular daily searching of Scripture for guidance and to begin to live by a set of written or unwritten rules (or denominational traditions) concerning what one does or does not do in the Christian life.
Furthermore, whenever we add to the list of sins that are prohibited by Scripture itself, there will be harm to the church and to the lives of individual believers. The Holy Spirit will not empower obedience to rules that do not have God’s approval from Scripture, nor will believers generally find delight in obedience to commands that do not accord to the laws of God written in their hearts. In some cases, Christians may earnestly plead with God for “victory” over supposed sins that are in fact no sins at all, yet no “victory” will be given, for the attitude or action in question is in fact not a sin and is not displeasing to God. Great discouragement in prayer and frustration in the Christian life generally may be the outcome.
In other cases, continued or even increasing disobedience to these new “sins” will result, together with a false sense of guilt and a resulting alienation from God. Often there arises an increasingly uncompromising and legalistic insistence on these new rules on the part of those who do follow them, and genuine fellowship among believers in the church will fade away. Evangelism will often be stifled. For the silent proclamation of the gospel that comes from the lives of the believers will at least seem (to outsiders) to include the additional requirement that one must fit this uniform pattern of life in order to become a member of the Body of Christ.
 Chief points of gnosticism from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Chief Points in Gnosticism:
The following may be regarded as the chief points in the characteristics of the Gnostic systems:
(1). A claim on the part of the initiated to a special knowledge of the truth, a tendency to regard knowledge as superior to faith, and as the special possession of the more enlightened, for ordinary Christians did not possess this secret and higher doctrine.
(2) The essential separation of matter and spirit, the former of these being essentially evil, and the source from which all evil has arisen.
(3) An attempt at the solution of the problems of creation and of the origin of evil by the conception of a Demiurge, i.e. a Creator or Artificer of the world as distinct from the Supreme Deity, and also by means of emanations extending between God and the visible universe. It should be observed that this conception merely concealed the difficulties of the problem, and did not solve them.
(4) A denial of the true humanity of Christ, a docetic Christology, (which looked upon the earthly life of Christ and especially on His sufferings on the cross as unreal.
(5) The denial of the personality of the Supreme God, and the denial also of the free will of man.
(6) The teaching, on the one hand, of asceticism as the means of attaining to spiritual communion with God, and, on the other hand, of an indifference which led directly to licentiousness.
(7) A syncretistic tendency which combined certain more or less misunderstood Christian doctrines, various elements from oriental and Jewish and other sources.
(8) The Scriptures of the Old Testament were ascribed to the Demiurge or inferior Creator of the world, who was the God of the Jews, but not the true God.
Some of these characteristic ideas are more obvious in one, and some of them in others of the Gnostic systems.
[The war on cannabis shares at least two of the the same qualities as a Gnosticism. (1 and 2). Statements such as “there is no way to teach this to you in a brief, ” and, “everything is toxic, there is no harmless substances.” etc.
Other points are applicable, especially #6. But from those two statements alone, the Christian will point out that encouraging formalism and asceticism as the result of false teaching is traditionally known as the activities of demons; and the acknowledgment of liberty of conscience in a free moral agent is the formation of evangelical theology- for this very reason the Reformers left the Roman Catholic Church! (see Luther). ]
Have enjoyed your comments since the “Credenda” days. I do not partake, but your argument led me to this question: Why is it acceptable to drink wine with the aim “to gladden the heart” (Ps 104:15) but not some amount of marijuana?
I second William Eberwein’s question. Is it wrong to, while drinking, get any amount of a buzz or any of that “alcohol relaxation” feeling, and/or any amount of tipsiness, assuming that in this situation the person is not driving and has completed his serious work for the day and is putting his feet up? Basically, is drinking alcohol for any reason other than taste or refreshment (like in the video examples), or for any reason in addition to those that people have for drinking, say, juice or a soda, a sin (or even probably a sin?)?
Getting a little “buzz”, a tingle, a relaxation, a temporary wooziness — that’s flirting with addiction? — yes, done too often. But it’s also often healthy, helpful and God-honoring in the right time and place when you’re not addicted. But getting wasted or drunk — not healthy and it’s disrespectful to others.
To be clear, I was not advocating or suggesting that “a little buzz” was to be desired.
It was a question to our scholar, Doug, about the meaning of “Gladden the heart.”
I find the whole idea manipulating our perception or personality a bit troublesome.
Sorry if I misread your question. If I did, well, in that case, I would like to know DW’s response to both our questions.
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