Mark Driscoll’s “Puff or Pass?” On Recreational Marijuana

Mark Driscoll, controversial pastor of Seattle-based Mars Hill Megachurch marks the legalization of recreational use of marijuana in Washington with the publication of a brochure that asks the question “Should Christians smoke pot or not?”

Previously labeled by some as the “cussing” pastor due to the strong language used in some sermons and for showing unedited R-rated movies in his congregation, Driscoll now tosses up the equivalent of “Should Christians get high or not?” or “Should Christians dip into the habits of this world or not?”

He states that up until now his answer was always NO to marijuana based on Romans 13, explaining that it was an illegal drug.

But now… recreational marijuana is legal in Seattle!

Apparently that changes everything! 🙂

His 38 page brochure introduces the issue of smoking pot by making the following comparison:

“Some things are neither illegal (forbidden by government in laws) nor sinful (forbidden by God in Scripture), but they are unwise. For example, eating a cereal box instead of the food it contains is not illegal or sinful—it’s just foolish. This explains why the Bible speaks not only of sin, but also folly, particularly in places such as the book of Proverbs. There are innumerable things that won’t get you arrested or brought under church discipline, but they are just foolish and unwise…”

At the end of the brochure he endorses a position where he advocates against the use of recreational marijuana and is open for its medicinal uses (without questioning the motives for such medicinal use because he is not a medical doctor).

My main concern is not with his position.  It is with the fact that he does not label “getting high” as a sin, unlike pastor Douglas Wilson who labels it sin (quoted extensively in the brochure).  By implying that marijuana use is unwise, but not necessarily sinful, he leaves the door open for someone to think that getting high on pot may be OK.  This is especially problematic given the population of troubled kids that he ministers to.

He states he would strongly urge his 5 children not to use pot.  But I would have loved to see him make a strong statement forbidding his kids from getting high because it is sinful behavior, based on biblical principles:

“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

The word sorcery in verse 20 is translated from the greek word pharmakeia.  It refers specifically to the use and administration of mind altering drugs for the purpose of getting high or inducing trance.

Also, we cannot engage in sinful behavior as the world does:  “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2) NLT.

Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, propofol, etc are inanimate objects that do not constitute sin in themselves… but the motives, cravings, effects and behavioral changes associated with their recreational use constitute sin.

Given the mind altering properties of marijuana, the sinful behavior associated with it, the main motives for its use, and the sinful situations used in, the godly answer to Driscoll’s question “Puff or Pass?” is definitely “Pass.”