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Cannabis and the Christian Author Q&A

Andy Whisenant | Apr 30th

Why did you write this book? What inspired you to write it?

I wrote Cannabis and the Christian because in my pastoral and teaching ministries I found that the church has been largely unready for the moral questions raised by the legalization of both recreational and medical marijuana. For too long we had relied upon the illegality of marijuana as the basis for our determination as to whether or not to use the drug. In our current context, where marijuana is legal in many states, I wanted to provide the Christian with the tools and information to make faithful and wise decisions regarding marijuana use.

For whom did you write this book?

Cannabis and the Christian is aimed at pastors, parents and any Christian who wants to make informed decisions about marijuana use. All of the arguments and information are applicable to everybody, but I don’t expect that non-Christians are going to be interested in honoring Jesus Christ.

Why do you think there have been so few resources published on this topic from a Christian perspective?

The combination of recreational and medical marijuana being illegal at both the state and federal levels, coupled with the fact that marijuana is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, is probably the cause of the lack of intentional Christian thinking on the issue.

If the Bible does not explicitly mention "marijuana" or any other name for the Cannabis or hemp plant, how can one write a book subtitled “What the Bible Says about Marijuana?”

Very carefully, because I do not want to bind the consciences of Christians with rules that are not made by God. But I do think that the Bible is sufficient; that is, we have all the divine words that we need to live and think faithfully before God. So I want to employ the biblical teaching in areas that are germane to the topic and carefully apply that wisdom to the issue of marijuana. 

Can Christians think theologically about these ethical topics like marijuana that aren’t explicitly mentioned in the Bible?

Absolutely! Not only can we do so, but we must do so. The Bible does not explicitly mention every issue or topic that the Christian will bump up against. Nor should we think that if it is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible then the Lord does not care. There is sufficient wisdom in the Scriptures to navigate everything we will encounter in life and it is up to us, by the enablement of the Holy Spirit and the help of the church community, to take every thought captive in obedience to Christ (2 Cor. 10:4-5).   

What about Christians living in states where marijuana is not legalized? Why should they care about this issue?

Even in states where recreational and medical marijuana is not yet legal, the members of the church and the people they encounter are wrestling with the issue of marijuana use. It would be hopelessly naive of a pastor to think that because he lives in a state where marijuana use is illegal that he does not have to think about it, much less address it. Besides, unless something dramatic happens in this country, it is just a matter of time before it is legal everywhere. It is best to get ahead of the issue and equip yourself and your congregation to make good decisions instead of waiting until a crisis hits.

What role does the church play in equipping people to think like Christians on the issue of marijuana?

The mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ, teaching them to observe everything commanded by Jesus (Matt. 28:19). I take those commands to include everything explicitly commanded by Jesus and his apostles (rightly interpreted of course) and everything that is a legitimate inference from what was said. So much of growing in Christlikeness is growing in wisdom, the ability to make faithful decisions at the right time for the right reasons and to do so with a disposition and character that mirrors that of Jesus. It is the task of the church to encourage such growth by giving the appropriate truth at the appropriate time and creating, as we are able, an atmosphere that is conducive to such growth. 

What do you hope readers will do or take away from reading this book?

I pray that those who read Cannabis and the Christian will be able to make decisions regarding cannabis use that will honor the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that those who read the book will be able to encourage others toward maturity in Christ. I also pray that readers will be better equipped in how to think biblically about issues that are not specifically in the Bible.