Calvinistic pastor John Piper, ever the Christian fundamentalist, opposes the use of marijuana. Here are the reasons Piper gives for abstaining from marijuana…
Marijuana is different from caffeine (of course it is since almost all Christians use caffeine on a daily basis):
Marijuana is ordinarily used as a mood-altering, mind-altering drug. The aim is to create a kind of euphoria. The effects vary widely from person to person. All you have to do is Google, “What does Marijuana feel like?” People don’t smoke it to get unhappy. It produces a temporary state that is felt to be better than ordinary life. That’s why it’s called a “high” and not a low.
So the first comparison one might be inclined to make is with caffeine. Most people drink coffee because caffeine has a pleasant effect. But there is a difference. Marijuana temporarily impairs the reliable processing of surrounding reality. Caffeine ordinarily sharpens that processing.
Most coffee drinkers hope to stay awake, do their jobs more reliably, and drive more safely. It is certainly possible to abuse caffeine, but, as a natural stimulant, it is most commonly used not as an escape from reality, but as an effort to interact responsibly with reality…
…Thus, unlike caffeine, marijuana is not generally thought of as an empowering drug that enables you to be a more alert dad, or a more aware mother, or a more competent employee. Rather, for most users, it is a recreational escape, which produces diminished accuracy of observation, memory, and reasoning. And it may have lasting negative effects on the mind’s ability to do what God created it to do.
Your body doesn’t belong to you but it belongs to God (then why did he create marijuana and give us the intellect necessary to use it to get high):
In view of this, there are at least two biblical truths that would lead us away from the recreational use of marijuana. The first is that, for the Christian, the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. That simple teaching, in context, should have a huge effect.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)
When my mother told me not to smoke, for example, or not to have sex before marriage, because my body was the temple of the Holy Spirit, it clicked. That made sense. It was an immovable barrier between me and self-destruction. My body belonged to God. It was not for my recreational use in just any way I pleased. It was for his glory.
If I were raising kids again today, I would say, “Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. You are not your own. You were bought with Jesus’s blood. Ask, Is this making Jesus look like the treasure he is?” I would ask this about smoking, about drunkenness, about recreational marijuana, about sedentary indolence, about overeating, about banal TV watching, and lots of other things.
And I would add: “The body is meant for the Lord, and the Lord for the body” (1 Corinthians 6:13). Keep it clean and ready for his use. Don’t dull your God-given powers of seeing clearly, and observing accurately, and thinking soundly, and remembering helpfully. I would ask, “Can you commend Christ authentically to your friends during a marijuana high?”
You shouldn’t be an experienced sinner, a follower of the herd, besides getting high is just like getting drunk:
The second biblical truth that would incline us away from the recreational use of marijuana is that God gave us minds and hearts to know him and love him and discern his will. “Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature” (1 Corinthians 14:20). Don’t become an experienced sinner to learn the folly of sin. Be willing to be an inexperienced baby when it comes to sharing in mind-clouding drugs. Be ruthlessly clear-headed. Let the herd stampede over the cliff without you. Use your mind to warn them, not join them.
In regard to drunkenness — and a marijuana high is a kind of drunkenness — the Bible says, “In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things” (Proverbs 23:32–33). In other words, it leads away from the kind of sober-mindedness and self-control that is essential in using the mind for the glory of God.
As always, Piper takes the fun out of fundamentalist. He confuses his opinion with God speaking and then he goes to the Bible to “prove” that his opinion is God speaking. This is a great illustration of the one true Evangelical hermeneutic; you can use the Bible to prove most anything. No verse is beyond being stretched to prove a point.
I am surprised that Piper didn’t mention Galatians 5:19-21:
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
The Greek word for witchcraft in Galatians 5 is pharmakeia (medication, pharmacy). It seems that the good, old inerrant Bible says that using drugs of ANY kind means you will NOT inherit the kingdom of God.
I am sure some will object and say…this means ILLEGAL drugs. Wait a minute, are you saying man’s law is superior to God’s law? So, if certain illegal drugs are made legal does this mean that their use is no longer a sin? Shouldn’t Christians take this verse literally and not use ANY drugs? Using Piper’s logic about marijuana, no Christian should take pain medications. They do make a person “high” and impair their cognitive function.
While Piper makes an exception for the medical use of marijuana, such an exception completely undoes the argument he makes about NOT using marijuana. Is Piper saying that marijuana use stops being sinful as soon as a doctor writes the user a script? This means that my doctor is the final arbiter of what is sinful, right?
As I have easily shown, Piper makes an incoherent argument about why Christians should not use marijuana. Piper doesn’t use Mary Jane and he doesn’t want anyone else to use it either. If he doesn’t want to use it, fine, but he should not judge or condemn others who do. (and I don’t because it is illegal in Ohio. The very day it is legal I plan to start toking. Until then, I am thinking about taking a vacation in Colorado)