I attended a fundraiser last week for an area elected official. During the event an individual I know to be a sincere Christ follower made the following public comment to the legislator:
“Thank you for keeping pot shops out of Jamul.”
Her comment saddened me.
While I applaud the activism of my fellow brothers and sisters, I find it inconsistent. In my opinion the role of the Christ follower should be one that brings “salt & light.” Properly speaking, the ethical view of a Christ follower should have the impact of increasing his neighbor’s freedom, peace and prosperity.
Sound theology does so. Unsound theology does not.
I don’t believe my sister’s position reconciles legally or theologically with the historic Christian faith nor the principles constituted in our founding documents. It is not conservative, as it doesn’t conserve Biblical or legal principle.
Perhaps my theology and political understanding are incorrect so I invite the reader to question me.
In order to refer to myself as a “conservative” I must conserve something. Am I conserving the status quo or the principles constituted in Scripture and in our founding?
What are these principles?
- Private Property (8th Commandment)
- Free Markets (Natural right for free people to trade)
- Limited Government (Limited to defense. So defensive, not positive.)
Christians glorify Christ and influence their neighbor via love, prayer and the Holy Spirit, not the sword. Since Christianity must reflect the nature of Christ, the use of the sword (law, coercion and force) should be defensive. See Negative vs. Positive law.
When Christians attempt to use law to coerce and control their neighbor’s inalienable right to freely trade their property, they are not “salt & light” in the civil sphere but reflective of darkness and Christian tyranny.
Have we forgotten the lessons of Prohibition? Did Prohibition address consumer demand or conceal it?
What happened to the quality of the product in Prohibition when we disconnected producer from consumer? (See Bathtub Gin).
Did Prohibition create Al Capone or deter him?
I’m sorry. Our law and theology must answer these questions. If we want our neighbor to respect our gospel, we need to demonstrate our wisdom in the town square. Let’s stop controlling our neighbor via law and begin the harder task of leading by example.
“One of the greatest injustices we do to our young people is to ask them to be conservative. Christianity is not conservative but revolutionary.” – Francis Schaeffer.
This article is a first. I have been a believer in Christ and studied the Bible for over 50 years. This is the first time I have seen somebody try to argue that Jesus is a libertarian and the Bible is ok with marijuana. Obviously, marijuana is not mentioned in the Bible but being drunk is mentioned often, and unfavorably. Furthermore the message of the Bible is salvation through Christ, not free trade and property rights. The author also goes on a false tangent when he defines conservatism as simply conserving. Conservatism has many uses and simplistic word parsing does not define it. I do not think the author should be critical of his sincere Christ following friend who does not want pot shops in Jamul. She is as free to express her desire to have no such businesses as he is free to want them.
Thank you for interacting with me Stanwood.
Happy to hear you share why you think the way you do.
If you believe a Christ follower should deny his neighbor the right to free trade please make your case.
If you feel the Bible is only about salvation and not about ‘How then shall we live?’ then I need help understanding what you see as the purpose of the law.
If you feel Christ gives the sword to the church to enforce moral law please make your case? Just the moral or the civil and sacrificial too? Do you address the 5th Commandment and the 8th or just the 8th? What is the jurisdiction of the Church in your opinion?
This article is nowhere near a first, nor do I think Eric’s point is about marijuana being OK. The real question is, where does the Bible give the state the authority to dictate what anyone can or cannot consume? Where does Scripture give such authority to the state, or for that matter, to any man to lord it over any other man?
Are you being critical of Eric for being critical of his friend? Need I point out the pot and the kettle?
If “conservatism” is merely conserving 20th century progressivism, should we expect conservatives to conserve the neo-Trotskyism that has taken hold of the contemporary GOP?
Again, it appears that you both are arguing for libertarianism. That is fine but you will have a hard time saying that the Bible is anti-government. Romans 13:1-7, Titus 3:1, and 1 Peter 2:13-17 all show that there is legitimacy in civil authority. These verses are broad statements. However, this authority is not unlimited since it derives from God. Another quote of Francis Shaeffer states “Any government that commands what contradicts God’s Law abrogates its authority. It is no longer our proper legal government and at that point, we have the right and the duty to disobey it. (Christian Manifesto page 124) Basically, civil laws are valid so long as they do not contradict God’s law.
Having said that, I do not think you can make the case that restrictions on the free trade of marijuana contradict God’s law. Similarly, it does not contradict God’s law when the civil authorities tell a minor he cannot consume alcohol or tell all people they cannot drink to excess and still drive.
On another matter: Yes, the message of the Bible is primarily salvation through Christ. How we live is evidence of salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Thank you Stanwood.
We want to glorify Christ so I think it’s important in this dialogue we share more than our opinion. My opinion isn’t more valid than my neighbor’s until I attach it (conserve) to a Biblical precept.
From what I read it appears you are uncomfortable with the ideas of our founding with regard to freedom, pursuit of happiness and liberty. (Statue of; Liberty Bell).
“All men created equal” originates from the Biblical teaching that you and I are created in the imago dei. We are equals. Both depraved (Rom 3:23) with but breadth in our nostrils (Isa 2:22).
If we take a look at the passage you referred, Rom 13:1, we see Paul’s reference to “Let every person …” > citizen … and magistrate. It is immoral for me to initiate aggression against you unless in self defense. See nature of Christ.
It appears you have taken a Divine Right of Kings position that places the magistrate above the law (and his neighbor) in a progressive posture. This would be anti-Biblical as Christ’s nature is defensive nor is the church given the sword to address the eating, drinking and smoking habits of their neighbor.
Although it appears you may hold a theonomic belief that Christ governs the temporal (our neighbor) via force and sword.
Claiming I am anti-government would be incorrect as I acknowledge just law. And here I agree with your reference to Romans 13:1-7.
What separates my theology from yours is I bring the magistrate down from Divine Right and give him a jurisdiction (see principle of Limited Government). I limit the magistrate to the consent of the governed. Defense not progressive offense.
Biblically speaking all governments have jurisdiction (self, family, church, state). The head only has authority in their jurisdiction when submitted to Christ. I think both of us would agree our Pastors only have authority when teaching sound doctrine. I think both of us would agree a father only has authority in his home when submitted to God’s law. What appears to separate you and I is I don’t acknowledge the authority of the magistrate outside his jurisdiction.
Eric: I think you have stretched things too far when you have tried to restate my beliefs. My stated position has been that one cannot use the Bible to be critical of a Christian who is happy a pot shop is not in Jamul. I have also stated that Biblical principles cannot be conflated with libertarianism. They are different tenets. You have tried to restate my comments as advocating the divine right of kings, the direct rule of Christ over this world (presumably pre-Second Coming) and you seem to think I am uncomfortable with the principles of the founding fathers. Those are not my beliefs.
Think we’re talking past each other. We’re in agreement on the legitimacy of civil authority.
You’ve mentioned being drunk and driving but that is not the subject of this post. Drunk driving encroaches on the 6th and 8th Commandments.
Subject was a Christian using the sword to keep a dispensary out of the market place without a basis for such.
If you have a biblical reason to oppose please share.
This is a great article with which I agree. I am a committed, bible-believing Christian. I am also a Medical Marijuana patient. Not only does it provide pain relief for my spondylolisthesis but it also mellows the emotions. I fully support its legalization. I am an MRI, cat scan and x-ray tech for 2.5 decades, the last 5 years in a pain management clinic. Even though I’ve loved and excelled in my career, I have been an eye-witness at how our medical system is broken and how it has been reduced to treating symptoms with pharmaceuticals instead of addressing the root cause. Medicine is a scam and I choose not to participate in the “system” to the greatest extent I am able. I personally despise alcohol and hard drugs but marijuana has increased the quality of my life. I most certainly do not need nor would appreciate some fool spouting off their hypocritical, religious morality to me. My spirit cries forth that I refuse to be defiled by sin! I constantly miss the mark -daily. Hourly. Heck, every second I miss the mark but I am committed to purging all known sin out of my life and to one day hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I wonder if the self-righteous with their pet morality will hear the same?