Comparing Recreational Marijuana with Alcohol
We recently had a conversation with Portland-based pastor, Jeff Lacine, on the topic of recreational marijuana. Click here to listen to the entire conversation.
We asked Jeff about the similarity between recreational marijuana and recreational alcohol, since this is most likely a comparison that people will make.
This was Jeff’s answer:
Obviously that’s something that people bring up right away, because everyone knows that alcohol can be a reality distorting substance too. Yet, at the same time, there’s clearly in Scripture – if we’re being honest and just looking at the Bible – a permissive use of alcohol within a Christian context, within a Christian framework. There’s an obedient way to consume alcohol as a believer.
In fact, alcohol has a place in redemptive history. In that consummating wedding feast when Jesus returns for His bride at the marriage supper of the Lamb, there will be wine there, as Jesus tells us. It has a role to play in that big picture. Even in the Scripture, in the Old Testament, the Bible says that God gave wine – in two places it says this – to make glad the heart of man. Some of those lubricating effects of wine are not necessarily sinful.
Now, on the other hand, there are commands against drunkenness. There’s a place where those lubricating effects actually distort reality to a degree where it’s clearly sinful. I like to couch this in – and I think we should – what is the purpose of wine, and how would it perhaps, in that framework that we talked about earlier, enhance or clarify reality and how might it distort reality?
Consider drinking wine at a wedding feast. Every wedding is a parable of that final full consummation, the return of Christ. It’s Him capturing His bride for Himself, capturing the Church for Himself. When we have wine at that feast, we are looking forward to that. We are playing out a mini parable in our joy, in our celebration, and in the marriage union that is taking place. That is a representative. A picture of a bigger marriage. A more important marriage. A marriage between Christ and the Church.
As we celebrate in that wedding context with wine playing a role in our enjoyment, we’re pointing to that greater reality. In fact, it’s clarifying. Even the socially lubricating effects of that wine is a clarifying agent to that end and playing out that parable.
Now, even at a wedding feast you can drink too much wine, where it’s no longer in keeping with the character of the Christian witness and the fruits of the Spirit that are laid out for us in Scripture.
But when someone pulls out a flask of whiskey at a funeral, does it have that same clarifying effect? Does it speak to that same reality? I don’t think so. I don’t think it plays that same role. Instead, someone’s using alcohol at that point to numb or lower the pain of the reality that is before them, that someone has died. This is an awful thing. It points us to the curse that is presently existence of, and that should push us towards our need for Christ and the gospel.
I think there is a godly, reality clarifying use of alcohol and there’s an ungodly, distorting use of alcohol. But I don’t see that same use of marijuana as with alcohol. First of all, marijuana’s not even mentioned in Scripture, so we want to be careful to say, well, “Marijuana could be a picture of this or a picture of that,” when Scripture doesn’t tell us that, whereas wine does really, clearly in the Bible, have a place in that grander picture of redemptive history.
 This is a portion of a transcript of an audio interview that has been edited for reading purposes.