I felt compelled to respond to Rev. Spronk’s article “A moral turning point: Marijuana” because he suggests it might be wise for the church to forbid all cannabis use but also invites consideration of the question, “What do we think of marijuana’s medicinal use, and how is it different from other painkilling drugs?”
It is understandable that the terms “marijuana,” and “pot” conjure up lifestyle and attitude that have no place at all in the Christian life. Legalizing the free use of this plant to get high does seem like a moral down turning. Sexuality, food, and wine are also good gifts of God which have suffered stigmas due to horrible abuses. But a stigma is not grounds for banning such things from Christians. The CBD oil extracted from this plant can be isolated from the compounds that affect the mind and make people “high.”
There is no doubt that CBD oil extracted from cannabis plants provides pain relief, often very effectively where other painkillers do not work well. All the current FDA approved painkilling drugs come with warnings of side effects and the dangers of misuse and abuse. The current epidemic of addictions to opioid-based painkillers in this country is a loud and clear warning. CBD oil appears to have minimal side effects. In fact, many turn to this oil to avoid the bad side effects of other painkillers.
The stigma of marijuana abuse is very real, and I understand the abhorrence of anything related to this plant. The stigma of meat offered to idols was also very real to Christians in the early church. Paul was even willing to refrain from publicly eating perfectly good food offered to idols if he knew it would offend the weaker brother. If the believer can see through the godless abuse of this plant and find pain relief from the CBD oil as a good gift of God, then I see no reason to forbid its use. If using CBD oil offends a brother in the Lord, then some patient explanations and perhaps refraining from public use would be wise.
The purpose of my article was to highlight new questions that we face due to the increased legalization and use of marijuana (what is going on all around us) and to encourage members of the church to think spiritually as we wrestle with these questions. I welcome your letter as evidence of such spiritual thinking. Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my article.
Cordially in Christ,
Rev. C. Spronk