Can I Smoke Pot? — Marijuana in Light of Scripture, by Tom Breeden and Mark L. Ward, Jr.
God made pot. It’s natural.
And it’s legal in more and more places.
And Christians are allowed to drink alcohol, right?
So really…what’s the issue?
Can Christians Smoke Weed?
Is it a sin to smoke marijuana? Is it permissible to use recreationally? How about medicinally? Questions like these are a hot topic today, and increasingly relevant. In fact, chances are that you or someone you know is asking them. Christians believe the Bible is our highest authority for faith and life, including on subjects like marijuana use. So how does the Bible help us answer questions about marijuana?
By looking at the biblical teaching on creation, government, medicine, and alcohol, this book sets out to help people make wise and God-honoring decisions about marijuana use. Rather than just providing a list of proof texts, Can I Smoke Pot?: Marijuana in Light of Scripture looks at what the Bible teaches as a unified whole, from Genesis to Revelation, so we can more confidently answer the question: “What does the Bible say?”
Tom Breeden is a graduate of the University of Virginia, received an M.Div. from Reformed Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., and is licensed by the Blue Ridge Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). He serves as Assistant Pastor at Grace Community Church in Charlottesville, VA.
Mark L. Ward, Jr. received his PhD in New Testament Interpretation from Bob Jones University in 2012 and serves as Academic Editor at Lexham Press, a division of Faithlife. He is the author of multiple high school Bible textbooks, including The Story of the Old Testament and Biblical Worldview: Creation, Fall, Redemption.
“Breeden and Ward offer a biblical, witty, and persuasive reply to a pressing question. Can I Smoke Pot? is a must read for young people and their pastors. I’ve already started reading selections to my own teens.”
—Chad Van Dixhoorn, Chancellor’s Professor of Historical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary – Washington DC
“This book deals with the important questions, using Scripture as its basis for ethical decision-making. With a good summary of biblical teaching on a number of relevant principles, it shows the possibility of medicinal use but rejects recreational use of marijuana. It is clear and engaging; it has sound arguments and sensitivity to our human condition.
—Vern Poythress, Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Westminster Theological Seminary
“The authors answer the question, “Can I smoke pot?” with a wide view of the issues. Their answers are sound and persuasive, because they make a case from the whole Bible, beginning with the good creation. Without shallow appeals to unpersuasive texts, they consider a Christian worldview. Especially helpful is thinking about pot-smoking in relation to one’s responsibility to the community. This is a fine, biblical presentation.”
—Howard Griffith, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Academic Dean, Reformed Theological Seminary – Washington DC
“Can I Smoke Pot? is a good summary of the biblical teaching relevant to the use of marijuana. Authors Ward and Breeden have written it in language easily understood by young people. It makes a strong case against the recreational use of pot while recognizing the possible medical benefits of it.”
—Dr. John Frame, Professor of Systematic Theology & Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary
Jonathan Roberts –
In light of the election earlier this month (Nov. 2016) this question is one that is either on the horizon for all Christians or is already here. What is a Christian to do? Seems pretty obvious right? Don’t smoke. But what is the rational for this? Do we base it on what the government says? Whether pot has medical value? What are we to do with this? What am I to say when one of my students admits to smoking pot? Is it really that bad? Is it really bad?
Well the answer to these questions comes through this short little book (another gym from Cruciform Press). Written by two men from two very different backgrounds that brings the best balance to this difficult question. One of the authors believes that drinking is a sin and the other does not believe it is, when done in moderation. What better guides through this difficult discussion (that many times gets lumped into the alcohol discussion)? This little book is a must read, it is it a complete examination of the topic? No. But it is by no means a weak book for it. I highly recommend it, this is a must read for all Christians.
Michael Philliber –
Here in Oklahoma, marijuana/cannabis was approved for medical use. It’s been over six months since it was legalized for the therapeutic, with dispensaries sprouting up, sometimes two or three within half a mile from each other. In fact, the business side is becoming such a burgeoning industry it gives the impression that more than analeptic utilization is being tapped into. So I was delighted when the 112 page manuscript “Can I Smoke Pot?: Marijuana in Light of Scripture” arrived in the mail yesterday. This document is written by Tom Breeden, a pastor at Grace Community Church in Charlottesville, VA, and Mark Ward, Jr., an Academic Editor at Lexham Press, who have teamed up to give the reader an easy, enjoyable entrance into a difficult subject. The book’s size, pace and lucidity will comfortably connect with teens and adults.
“Can I Smoke Pot?” has four comprehensible chapters, an afterword, and an appendix. It moves from the goodness of creation (Genesis 1-2), to the Fall (Genesis 3), through the role of governments, into the main subject of the book. There are surprises here and there, thoughtful explanations around many corners, and imperturbable illations at the end of each chapter. As to the authors’ answer to the posed question, the inquisitive, investigative and interested reader will need to snatch up a copy and dive in on their own. Though I’m not sure that I agreed with the finishing observations of the book, I did appreciate the thoughtfulness with which the authors pursued their subject, and especially in the area of medical uses of marijuana. The only real downside was that the book’s brevity restrained the authors from delving into the medical and scientific material, and left them to make broad generalities in crucial places.
“Can I Smoke Pot?” is highly accessible, taking me all of three hours of interrupted reading the make it through. This little booklet would be ideal for church book tables, and for handing out as homework in counseling situations. Even though I haven’t come to a solid decision from Scripture on every aspect of the issue, nevertheless this is a useful, and helpful volume. I highly recommend it.
I was so excited when I stumbled across this book, and was even more elated when I asked the authors for a copy to review and they said “yes”! There were no requirements, stipulations or demands made of me. This review and these observations are all mine, freely made and freely given.
Tom Perkins –
Coming to faith at 23, the euphoria and joy of new life in Christ was beyond measure. Coming home from work one day, my roommate asked if I wanted to smoke a joint. I had been a believer for six weeks. I thought about it and decided that I was free in Christ and as long as it (and alcohol) were not abused, why not? So, I did. I went to lay down and within minutes I felt a dread of a Stephen King novel. I was terrified. It was like the Holy Spirit, which I did not understand at that time, left me. I begged God to take this away and promised to NEVER smoke again. That was 49 years ago. Remember, this was my experience and, obviously, I can’t say that happens to every Believer.
Secondly, in graduate school a decade ago, I did an absolutely non-biased and secular thesis on marijuana. In a nutshell (this is documented studies from nonreligious sources – and VERY hard to find), these were just a few conclusions: 1. In refuting what the media et. al, calls “junk science” regarding the dangers of MJ, is ironically junk science! 2. MJ really IS a gateway drug. 3. The marijuana smoked today is 7x stronger than what I smoked in my Woodstock days. 4. It is addictive. 5. Legalizing MJ will NOT reduce crime. 6. And, for me, most damning of all, it creates lethargy that impacts employment, work ethic, creativity, responsibility, and community. 7. Finally, God (literally) help us! In 10-20 years (one generation) we will learn that we have a large segment of a generation who will demand to live off the work of others. The universities and media will wring their hands saying, “If we only knew!”