Mark Driscoll, lead pastor of the Seattle-based Mars Hill Church, on Thursday marked the day marijuana possession became legal under Washington state law by publishing an e-book and blog post that asks, "Should Christians smoke pot or not?"
"Today, my home state of Washington legalizes the recreational use of marijuana. This decision, of course, leads to a host of pastoral questions and issues," Driscoll began in his blog that also includes, provocatively, in the headline, "Puff or Pass."
"I have been asked these questions for years, as Mars Hill Church has always reached out to a high (pun intended) percentage of single young guys living typical, irresponsible urban lives," he continued. "These guys are generally not very theological, but curiously they tend to know at least two Bible verses."
Driscoll pointed to Genesis 1:29 (NIV): "Then God said, 'I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth,'" and Luke 6:37, "the catch-all, in-case-of-guilty-emergency-break-glass verse, (paraphrased): 'Thou shall not judge,'" he wrote.
The outspoken pastor, who has appeared on such shows as "The View" to talk about social issues in relation to Christians, told The Christian Post on Thursday afternoon that he expected the post and e-book on marijuana to be popular given the timing of the topic.
"So far, it has received a very positive response, which is exciting because it's a great topic that leads to discussions about maturity, comfort, and identity – discussions that need to be happening, particularly with young men," he said. "We know that not everyone will agree on these issues, but we hope that many find this resource useful."
In Driscoll's post he asks readers, "Is using marijuana sinful, or is it wise?"
He answered by stating that some things are neither illegal nor sinful, 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," he wrote. "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 – the kinds of things people often refer to by saying, 'That's just stupid.'"
Driscoll gave "full disclosure" by stating that he has never smoked pot, but grew up in an area of Seattle where he saw drugs used in front of him "numerous times."
"I grew up in a home where my then-Catholic parents warned my four siblings and me about drug use. I had many friends who ranged from recreational drug users to addicts. I saw drugs used in front of me numerous times. I even buried one friend who overdosed as a teen," he wrote. "However, by God's grace, I have never touched any drug of any kind, including marijuana. I have never even taken a puff of a cigarette, though I did try one Cuban cigar over a decade ago while in the Bahamas. That's the sum total of my entire life's smoking experience."
Driscoll makes the argument that smoking marijuana is part of an epidemic of immaturity among young men. He said that he is concerned about the fact that "young men are the most likely to smoke weed and, by seemingly all measurable variables, are immature, irresponsible, and getting worse."
"Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 13:11 are timely, 'When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways,'" Driscoll wrote. "There is nothing wrong with being a boy, so long as you are a boy. But when a man acts like a boy, that's a real problem. A recent article even noted that young men are now less likely than ever to own a car, as taking public transportation allows them to use their smartphone more hours every day playing video games and downloading porn.
"The last thing these guys need is to get high, be less motivated, and less productive; instead, they need to 'act like men, [and] be strong' (1 Cor. 16:13)."
Mars Hill Church communications director, Justin Dean, told CP that the e-book, Puff or Pass: Should Christians Smoke Pot or Not, is available for free at TheResurgence.com.
"The e-book consists of 36 easy to read pages of research and Pastor Mark's personal thoughts and convictions on the use of marijuana as a Christian. It was developed with help from Dr. Justin Holcomb, and Docent Research Group," Dean said.
He adds, "You can easily download the free e-book in PDF format from our website, and view it on your smartphone, in your web browser or in Adobe PDF reader. If you have an iPhone you can open it in iBooks, or in your Kindle app on iPhone or Android for easier reading, highlighting and notes. We hope you will find this free book insightful and helpful."