[4] Right Reason

I find a solid explanation of how everything is good, and yet everything can be abused, in Foundations of Pentecostal Theology (Duffield, Van Cleave), in answering objections to the doctrine of divine healing:

“I. If God created herbs and drugs, does He not expect man to use them for healing?

It is true that God created all herbs and plants, but He did not thereby sanction every use to which man would put their extractions. God created the poppy, but He did not sanction every use to which opium would be put. God created the tobacco plant, but He did not intend that man should use the plant for drawing nicotine into his body. Tobacco nicotine does make a splendid insecticide for killing harmful insects, but it should not be used to kill human beings. Now while some herbs were, no doubt, created with a view to the therapeutic use for mankind as a whole, it does not follow that they are the only source of healing, nor that healing by drugs is the best source of healing. God is merciful to all humanity, saved and unsaved, just and unjust. He has provided mercy even for those who do not recognize Him as Lord, but cannot God provide a better and more direct healing for those who are in close fellowship with Him?”

 

It is common sense/ right reasoning that the blessing can be turned into a curse through misuse. This is true with the whole of God’s creation, who when finished, look upon it all and “saw that it was good”. To further reinforce this understanding that Creation is good, and yet the misuse of creation is evil, I will present the traditions of the Christian church as seen through the Church Father Tertullian, also known as the Father of Latin Christianity:

“The substances are themselves as creatures of God without impurity, and in this their native state are free to the use of all; but the ministries to which in their use they are devoted, makes all the difference… I burn the Arabian product myself, but not with the same ceremony, nor in the same dress, nor with the same pomp, with which it is done to idols.”
Tertullian, The Chaplet, part first, chap.10

I can also more specifically point to the issue of cannabis in tradition via Justin, also known as the Father of Christian Literature

“As you interpret it, the thing is incredible. And first I shall not occupy myself with this, though able to say and to hold that every vegetable is food, and fit to be eaten. But although we discriminate between green herbs, not eating all, we refrain from eating some, not because they are common or unclean, but because they are bitter, or deadly, or thorny. But we lay hands on and take of all herbs which are sweet, very nourishing and good, whether they are marine or land plants.”
Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, chap. 20

-It should be noted and reminded at this point, that the cannabis plant is one of the most nutritional corns in the plant kingdom, and one of the first crops cultivated by man.

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[3] What Is Truth?

The Danger of Sola Scriptura, by Michael Patton, DTS

The Reformation principle of sola scriptura (lit. “only Scripture” or “Scripture alone”) has been the cause of great scandal since the sixteenth century. Why? Because it is dangerous.

Hang with me. The Reformers believed that Scripture alone was the only infallible source for revelation and, therefore, the Scripture alone was the primary source available for instruction on all matters of faith and practice. They believed that tradition, while valuable, could be misleading and fallible. In short, they rejected the idea that the Church needed a second infallible source of revelation (Tradition) along with an infallible interpreter (Magisterium) that would tell them what to believe. The Scriptures needed to be in the hands of every man so that every man could wrestle with and build a theology that was truly their own.

Let me give you an illustration that may illuminate this more. In today’s busy world, it is common to outsource projects that we do not have the time or capability to accomplish on our own. We outsource many things including design projects, advertising, network management, and so on. People may do all their photo copying at Kinko’s. This is outsourcing. This is not required of us, but we do it to save money and valuable time, hoping to have our projects done by experts in the particular field. At the time of the Reformation, the institutionalized church had become the Kinko’s of theology. Everyone outsourced their theology to the Church. If they had a theological question, they would simply go to the magisterial authority in the church, “insert their question” and out came the answer that they were to believe. There was no other option. The institutionalized church held a monopoly on theology. No one was allowed to “do” their own theology. People were indoctrinated with the “truth” in order to protect the “truth.” The institutionalized church had seen enough scandal in the early church where people were “doing” theology on their own. There was a heresy on every corner. Which corner was one supposed to go for truth? So, to put the matter simply, the church decided that the only true doctrine comes from within the already established Church. But once this “within” had narrowed to the institutionalized church, there were only a select few within the hierarchical structure who were given permission to interpret doctrine. In the later middle ages, we see the structure develop so much so that no one could contradict a dogmatic decree from the bishop of Rome (the foundation for the infallibility of the Pope that would come in the nineteenth century).

The church’s desire was noble, but the outcome was tragic. The common person may have known what they believed, but they had no idea why. It was sort of drone theology, where everyone had the same confession, but there was no true intellectual conviction about the confession. For most, the commitments to their beliefs became purely emotional, being based on fear and folklore. The common man did not have the right to wrestle with theological issues on their own. There was constant fear of excommunication if rebellion of mind were to occur. Even if one defended their beliefs from Scripture, they had no right to violate the outsourcing paradigm that was in effect. Not only were people not able to defend their faith to others, this type of theological outsourcing made it difficult to defend their faith to themselves. This naturally caused much disillusionment and emotional turmoil. This was the case with Martin Luther, the Augustinian monk, who lived in constant fear of God’s wrath. But Luther did the unthinkable . . . he read the Scriptures for himself. In his reading, he did not seek to confirm the traditions which he was taught (for these had caused him great fear); he sought to understand the Scriptures on their own terms. Thus came the doctrine of sola Scriptura. The Scripture was not there to conform to the traditions, but to create the traditions.

With the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1436, the common person at the time of the Reformation was able to access literature that was, until then, only available to the elite. People now had the ability to learn to read. On September 30, 1452, the Bible became the first book to be published. Desiderius Erasmus published the Greek New Testament in 1516. From this Martin Luther translated the Bible into German, his native tongue. Until this time, the Bible was not readily available in the common language of the people. The institutionalized Church, of course, objected to Luther’s presumption in translating the Bible into the common language. Why? In essence, they said to Luther, “Do you know what will happen if you put a Bible in the hands of the common man? They will interpret it themselves and come up with all kinds of crazy ideas and heresies.” Luther understood the risk of putting a Bible in every man’s hands. He understood the danger. But he believed it was worth the risk, believing that the commoner of his day could interpret the Bible better than many in the “scholars” of the Church in Rome.

Thus began the Reformation. Thus began the time when people took the Scriptures and interpreted them for themselves. Thus began the time when men and women, clergy and layperson, learned and unlearned, all had common access to the Word of God. Thus ended the outsourcing of theology . . . Or did it?

Evangelicals must be on guard of recreating an outsourcing system under the guise of sola Scriptura. Many Protestants since the Reformation have simply created their own catechisms, creeds, and confessions and expect their people to agree with the details contained therein. While there is nothing wrong with having these as a means to communicate dogma, it can and does easily turn into another magisterium (teaching authority), with characteristics not unlike that of the Roman Catholic Church. This will always be the case if people are not intentional about revisiting the doctrine of sola Scriptura. While we should desire our people to respect the beliefs of past generations, understanding that God is a God of history, Evangelicals do not believe that any tradition, creed, or confession is infallible. For example, I believe that the Definition of Chalcedon (451) is true in its representation of the dual natures of Christ to the point that I could accurately be described as a Chalcedonian Christian. But I don’t believe it is infallible. I simply believe it accurately represents infallible Scripture. As well (and read this carefully), even the doctrine of sola Scriptura needs to be understood in such a way since it can become thought of as an infallible paradigm to which people must blindly adhere. But can you defend the doctrine? The doctrine is only infallible to the degree that it represents truth, and is only intellectually persuasive to the degree that it can be defended. We must revisit, with fear, personally and as a community, all the major doctrines of the Christian faith if we are to truly have theological revival. This is truly a fearful thing—it is dangerous. But this is the essence of sola Scriptura.

In short, the doctrine of sola Scriptura means not only that there is a Bible in every man’s hands, but also a struggle in every man’s mind—a struggle to find the truth for themselves. Again, it must be restated, this does not mean that we do not have teachers who are gifted in theology and exegesis. Neither does this mean that we disregard traditions of the past. It means that each person must study and wrestle with theology for themselves, coming to a deeper understanding, and taking ownership of their convictions. It means that we have the right to ask tough questions, search for answers, and come to intellectually defensible conclusions. It means that we do not have to ignorantly accept what someone else teaches without question. Is the doctrine of sola Scriptura dangerous? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely! The alternative is even more dangerous, since it is nothing less than a surrendering of the mind.

Sola Scriptura: the belief that the Scripture alone is the final and only infallible source for matters of faith and practice.

May God be glorified as we reclaim the mind for Christ.

 

 

With counterfeits and false images everywhere, and a society moving paradoxically, towards collectivism, but at the same time asserting that all truth is relative, it is good to be reminded that 2+2=4, whether the world chooses to believe it or not.
The Protestant Christian turns to his Bible when he wants to discover truth. And Catholics, too, as well as Eastern Orthodox. But the Protestant believes that the Bible is the FINAL word. The Bible is Truth, whether the world chooses to believe it or not. Luther would look to the Scripture, the Traditions of Church doctrine, and then reason earnestly. At that point he would stay true to his conscience; that is to say, he stood on what he believed the scriptures were saying to him in his heart, even when the whole world came against him because of it.
I’m getting off point, but that’s where we need to be. Obedient to God from the bottom of our hearts as best as we can understand, doing in life what we believe He would want us to do, even when death is waiting at the end of your steps… follow God from the bottom of your heart, and know the words He has spoken to us through the law and prophets and apostles of Jesus. Follow God, even when the world don’t believe it.
ok back to point-
So when we look at “everything is toxic” in contrast with “God’s creation is good“, and not know which is Truth, and which is counterfeit, we can turn to the Scriptures and study them, and come to know Truth.
If you read Malachi, it talks about a book of remembrance by which the people will know the difference between those who serve God, and those who serve a false image. If we call to mind the Word of God, we can distinguish between the Truth, and the counterfeit.

Christ said all foods are clean. KJV version “Purging all meats“. .. I suppose I could give a list of supporting Scripture at this point to shine light on the counterfeit and the Truth… wait. Just read Colossians 2:16 to the end of the chapter. It spells it out just as plain as can be.. even though touch not, taste not, handle not, have an appearance of wisdom, they in reality result in fleshly indulgence.
Touch not, Taste not, Handle not, is the counterfeit. But the point is, we believe that the Scriptures are the final word on what is true, whether the world believes it or not.

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[2] “Dualism” Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem

Dualism
‘The Biblical account rules out “dualism”. This is the idea that both God and the material universe have eternally existed side by side. Thus, there are two ultimate forces in the universe, God and matter.
The problem with dualism is that it indicates an eternal conflict between God and the evil aspects of the material universe. Will God ultimately triumph over evil in the universe? We cannot be sure, because both God and evil have apparently always existed side by side. This philosophy would deny both God’s ultimate lordship over creation and also that creation came about because of God’s will, that it is to be used solely for his purposes, and that it is to glorify him. This viewpoint would also deny that all of the universe was created inherently good (Gen.1:31) and would encourage people to view material reality as somewhat evil in itself, in contrast with a genuine biblical account of a creation that God made to be good and that he rules over for his purposes.
One recent example of dualism in modern culture is the series of “Star Wars” movies, which postulate the existence of a universal “force” that has both a good and an evil side. There is no concept of one holy and transcendent God who rules over all and will certainly triumph over all. When non-Christians today begin to be aware of a spiritual aspect to the universe, they often become dualists, merely acknowledging that there are good and evil aspects to the supernatural or spiritual world. Most “New Age” religion is dualistic. Of course, Satan is delighted to have people think that there is an evil force in the universe that is perhaps equal to God himself.’ -Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology

 

-in drug war toxicology studies, they build on an axiom that states “everything is toxic, there are no harmless substances. There are only less harmful ways of using substances.”

do you see the “all matter is evil” implications that is expressed through the corollary truths they have built? Satan loves it when we label a plant that can build our houses, power our cars, alleviate the suffering of cancer victims, and nourish and clothe the poor, a “devil weed”.

many of the Gnostics of the second century were Dualists. And they were refuted by faithful men. Those same refutations of the Gnostics are, for the most part, suitable for uprooting those same Gnostic tendencies springing up through the postmodern world view of the proponents of the war on drug users.

There’s a counterfeit here. It looks just like sin looks, a beautiful fake that burns anyone who takes it. An opposite reality, trying to exist alongside the Scriptures as equal to God. A darkness to fill the absence of the Light. A Gnosis… so falsely called.

-I’m going to add this here, because it definitely fits.

Handbook for Spiritual Warfare -archai and exousiai

There is one more area of insight into the work of the powers among men which needs to be considered: the strategy of supernatural evil in manipulating human institutions and social structures to work evil among humanity. Walter Wink is the Champion of this more socio-cultural institutional view of spirit evil. He says that we must see Paul including here in 6:12
‘all the archai and exousiai… not only divine but human, not only personified but structural, not only demons and kings but the world atmosphere and power invested in institutions, laws, traditions and rituals as well, for it is the cumulative, totalizing effect of all these taken together that creates the sense of bondage of a “dominion of darkness” (see Col. 1:13) presided over by higher powers.
Wink holds the kosmokratoras to include all who hold mastery over the world, the spirit of empire, and
“all forms of institutional idolatry, whereby religion, commerce, education, and state make their own well-being and survival the final criteria of morality, and by which they justify the liquidation of prophets, the persecution of deviants, and the ostracism of opponents”
Wink continues saying that it is the “suprahuman dimension of power in the institutions and the cosmos which must be fought, not the mere human agent “ The institution will perpetuate itself no matter who the human agent “because that is what the institution requires for it’s survival” Finally, he says that it is “this suprahuman quality which accounts for the apparent ‘heavenly’ bigger than life, quasi-eternal character of the powers”

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[1] International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE): Sin

SIN
Heb: a missing; rebellion; transgression; perversion; evil in disposition; impiety

GK: missing the mark; transgression; unrighteousness; impiety; lawlessness; depravity; evil desire

Sin is to be defined primarily in relation to God. It is disobedience, unbelief, ignorance, the positive assertion of usurped autonomy, and the wicked deviation from, or violation of, God’s Righteous Will and Law. The breach of a right relationship with God carries with it the disruption of a right relationship with others and the disintegration of the self. But this is derivative, for it is because of sin against God that there is sin against others and oneself (Ps. 51:4) [MT 6]
A feature of the Biblical definition is that sin is not just a lack, a failure, or a deficiency. The ignorance that is sin involves not only the lack of True knowledge but also the substitution of falsehood. Sin is commission as well as omission. Yet this must not be pressed too far. Sin has no place in the positive will of God, nor does God allow the existence of another reality alongside and equal to His own creation. In the last analysis sin only has a negative or parasitic reality. It’s positive reality is paradoxical and secondary, as is clearly illustrated by the manner of it’s entry into human life.
Inwardness of the Moral Law- The Biblical narratives, too, show us the passage over from sin conceived of as the violation of external commands to sin conceived of as an unwillingness to keep the commandments in the depths of the inner life. The course of Biblical history is one long protest against conceiving of sin in an external fashion.

 

did you catch this? “The ignorance that is sin involves not only the lack of True knowledge but also the substitution of falsehood”

Does the devil have horns and a pitchfork? Or does he appear as though he were a minister of light?

Sin is a counterfeit. It is seductive. It is appealing to the eye, and it makes sense to the sinner. And it can accomplish this through a false image in our world view. Satan telling Eve, “you will not die”… a false image in her world view.

I guess what I’m saying here is, sin is not only the absence of truth, but it is also a counterfeit in the place of truth.
-And that’s a good contrast to repentance. Repentance simply means to change your mind. But Christian repentance also carries the implication that one has changed their minds to agree with the Lord. Not just to turn from sin, but to also turn then to God.

and how do we know the counterfeit? What is the truth that we must turn to?

“In the matter of religious Truth the question of reality is in the source of the Truth in the Lord Jesus Christ, guaranteed by His resurrection from the dead, and the authenticity of the revelation which He has given through the Word which conveys all Truth to us. The authority cannot be in man or in a group of men, nor in an organization of men. It cannot, therefore, be in a Church, whatever its nature or pretensions. The authority must be in the Word of Christ’s revelation, and in that alone. It is this that must be believed”
-Mr. Barnhouse

The resurrection of Jesus is a historically attested reality. A man was put to death and then three days later He come out of the grave.
Is that fact real to you? or is it something you just have a hard time believing really happened. It’s ok to challenge your beliefs, it’s ok to search for truth and it’s important to stay true to what you believe.

do you really believe that Gospel message about God coming to visit us in the flesh? Just showed up a human just like you and me, pitched his tent with us for a bit?

Why not Thor? Or some other religion that was around before Jesus telling a counterfeit- or I mean- similar story…

Do you really believe in Jesus, our Lord and Savior?

I tell you now, any other reality, is a counterfeit

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Contrasting Christian Theology With Drug War Philosophy

“we have showed that in the department of medicine, for healing, and sometimes also for moderate recreation, the delight derived from flowers, and the benefit derived from unguents and perfumes, are not to be overlooked. And if some say, What pleasure, then, is there in flowers to those that do not use them? let them know, then, that unguents are prepared from them, and are most useful.”
Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus, Book 2, chap. 8 =======================================================
There is a certain contrasting quality between judgments within the world view of the proponents of the war on cannabis and Christian theology.
The “everything is toxic” philosophy embraced by the ONDCP toxicologists and controlling offices such as the FDA and DEA is the exact opposite of sound Christian theology [1], [2], and the corollary truths built upon it are not Biblically founded, and can be proven to be Biblically incorrect. -And if it’s not Theologically true, if it’s not true in the Bible, than it isn’t true at all [3].
No Bible believing Christian can accept any “toxicology” studies or reports from the ONDCP in good conscience, when they consider the axioms that were used to build their studies. Do Christians adhere to “scientific” theories about big bang and evolution? No, and we can also reject the observations of the ONDCP about cannabis on similar grounds when all things are considered in a clear systematic theology. One must “Test The Evidences” that come from outside Scripture.
Scripture, tradition, and reason imply that all things are good, and that substance (such as foods and drinks) only becomes toxic in it’s misuse, that is, in the uses that are not in order with the purposes God created them [4]. The Scripture’s warnings against these philosophies are traditionally viewed as warnings about the Gnostics of the second century. These Gnostic errors are widespread, they appear century after century, and shows itself in many forms of religion, not merely in distorted forms of Christianity. In life application today, we can see that same Gnostic germ resurface in our society in the influence of modernism and postmodernism.
The war against cannabis is a frightening illustration, in that it is successful in stifling Evangelism within the local Church, and not many Leaders recognize what’s going on, despite the fact that it devastates the lives of millions in perdition. This ascetic teaching is unnatural, contrary to the constitution of the world as that has been arranged by a holy and wise Creator, and it is also subversive of Christian liberty. Nothing can be esteemed common or unclean without throwing a reproach upon the Creator. [5] To further discover the long term consequences of these unnatural teachings, we can observe the characterizations and acts employed in the war on pot have a resemblance to the warnings in Scripture regarding the signs of false teachers (which are directly linked to signs of the coming Rapture of Christ’s church). The war on cannabis shares at least 2 key qualities as the Gnostics. In the presence of the negative implications of statements such as “there is no way to teach this to you in a brief, ” and, “everything is toxic, there is no harmless substances. “, the Christian should be reminded that encouraging formalism and asceticism as the result of false teaching is traditionally known as the activities of demons [6]; and the acknowledgment of liberty of conscience in a free moral agent is the formation of evangelical theology- for this very reason the Reformers left the Roman Catholic Church! [7]. The binge drinking phenomena we see in the just say no generation, as well as the licentious rebellion in the 60’s, is evidences of the “fleshly indulgence”, or antinomian development that results from these ascetic teachings. [8], [9], [10]
To summarize; The Christian world view and the ONDCP world view can be sharply contrasted. In the ONDCP world view, the Truth is “everything is toxic” and application is “just say no”. In the Christian world view, the Truth is “God’s creation is good” and application is “be ye sober”. The Scripture provides us a sharper, more accurate understanding and response to the subjects of cannabis use in society than the secular drug use prevention community. And as Biblical passages are weighed and discovered as this more accurate Truth, it should bear witness that the Gospel message of Jesus Christ is Truth. We should lend thought to this greater spiritual Truth for which the Bible is compiled as evidence of; That Christ made atonement covering and salvation for our souls. “For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world, but that he world through him might be saved. God publicly displayed him as the mercy seat accessible through faith, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, but by grace are you saved through faith, and it’s not of yourselves, it is a gift from God. For whosoever believes in Him will not perish. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
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φαρμακεία

One of the two main arguments used to drum up Christian support for cannabis prohibition is the discussion of the koine Greek word PHARMAKEIA. Paul uses it when describing the lust of the flesh in Galatians chapter 5. I think it’s time to tear that house of cards down…
Exerpt from “Drugs & the Christian”, By Rev. Dale A. Robbins
‘1. Drugs have a Proven Connection with Sorcery and Witchcraft -Revelation 21:8 “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
According to W.E. Vine’s expository dictionary of New Testament Words (page 1074), the word SORCERY comes from a Greek word, PHARMAKIA – used as a noun, it “signifies a sorcerer,” one who uses drugs, potions, spells, enchantments, as in Rev. 21:8.
The English word for drugs, pharmacy, comes from this same root.
Drugs and potions have traditionally been used in witchcraft and satanic rituals to induce deeper subconscious states which enable persons to have fellowship and communication with demons.
Realizing the satanic relationship with drug use helps us to understand why abusers of drugs experience such bondage and depravation.
Nowhere in the Bible or in history have drugs been used to bring people closer to God – they have always been used in relation to bringing people closer to evil powers and demonic influences.’
Here is my response and challenge to Brother Robbins’ position-
φαρμακεία pharmakeia <5331> farmakeia, pharmakeia Pronunciation: far-mak-i’-ah Origin: from 5332
Definition:
1) the use or the administering of drugs
2) poisoning
3) sorcery, magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and fostered by it
4) metaph. the deceptions and seductions of idolatry from 5332; medication (“pharmacy”), i.e. (by extension) magic
(literally or figuratively):-sorcery, witchcraft.
see GREEK for 5332
The Biblical usage of the word φαρμακεία in the New Testament MUST carry with it the appeal to false gods, which is why it is always translated as “sorcery”, and not “medicine” or “drugs”. Paul’s prohibition of φαρμακεία as described in Galatians 5:20, in the description of the lusts of the flesh, is a clear charge against “sorcery”- resting his charge in the First Commandment- “you shall have no other god’s before Me”.
Holding Brother Robbins’ definition consistent: no doctor would be able to prescribe medication without the Wrath of God coming upon him; pharmacists and pharmaceutical researchers would be identified as “sorcerers”; and no Christian would be able to take medication without sinning. One would also wonder how the Apostle Luke, a physician, could have been chosen by Christ, if Brother Robbins’ position is accurate. Suggesting that consuming medicine is “sorcery”, is irrational and inconsistent. The definition Brother Robbins employs will in no way withstand the principles set forward in the Word of God and the traditions of the early church. I think Origen said it well, “no one would act rationally in avoiding medicine because of its heresies”.
Simply put, Vine’s #1 is not the best definition for the Biblical usage of the word; it seeks to imply into (eisegesis) the meaning of the word, a 2000+ years late English understanding, so that prohibition-bent philosophies can be embraced by Christianity; it is a point of compromise and complacency with culture and government policies and politics. -and make note: this compromise didn’t happen overnight. It has taken every bit of four generations for the Church to embrace this position, approximately from the early 1800’s, taking root mainly in American churches, and then spreading globally by the mid 1900’s.
Along with Vine’s definition of pharmakeia- “in “sorcery”, the use of drugs, whether simple or potent, was generally accompanied by incantations and appeals to occult powers, with the provision of various charms, amulets, etc…”
Paul NEVER used the word pharmakeia to describe a drug, or any substance that God has created. He couldn’t have, because, by default, he would also have to embrace Gnostic Dualism, a heretical position that views matter as inherently evil. Paul always used pharmakeia in the context of a “sorcerer” or a “witch”. The principle Biblical meaning, holding to Vine’s stated definitions, is the one which identifies the appeal to a false god; “the fruit of the deceptions and seductions of idolatry”. What Vine’s presents as the #4 definition of the word pharmakeia, would be most accurate.
No doubt that many “diviners” and “wise men” and “astrologers” used psychoactive substances in an appeal to false gods, in an effort to invoke communication; and this is what the Apostle was speaking about. We are the servants of the One True God. It is sin to appeal to another, as we are to have no other gods before Him. This does not mean that consuming an herb is sorcery, but the appeal to or acknowledgment of another is the heart of it, that is the sorcery and witchcraft.
In no way shape or form is the Apostle suggesting that we are to abstain from medicine. His charge is against sorcery, not medicine. This does not mean that medicine is the best method of healing, (nowhere in the Bible does God ever tell Israel to take medicine), it means that we are free to use medicine in the purposes that God designed them to be used, and are to acknowledge him concerning them.
Foods or drink should have no effect on your spiritual life. What we eat and drink are not the standard set by God for us to discern by, after the Cross. The only food or drink that should have any significance to your spirit and soul is the Bread and Wine of the Eucharist, the Holy Communion; and the only reason that is the case, is because Christ sanctioned it.
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Judgment and Tolerance

Donald_G_Barnhouse

I, together with the executive pastor of my home congregation, am responsible to give advice to the session of my own church, to see that each candidate is carefully examined as to personal faith in Christ. If two girls join on the same day and one wears cosmetics and the other does not, that is their business. They are not answerable to the pastors or to the church. They are answerable only to God. The same is the attitudes of either men or women toward the movies, dancing, the use of tobacco, or membership in lodges. Some churches impose rules on the one who is joining, but biblically we can have no such rules. We would take in anyone who confesses the great truths of sin in himself and salvation through Christ. If we feed these new members on the Word and show them the love of Christ, they will gradually be won to a higher walk in Christ, but will always be answerable to Him alone.
Now this command to show love, and the accompanying command against judging and legalism, are directives from God himself. He has accepted the individuals. He has received them from all walks and from all social backgrounds. We do wrong to try and make them into identical robots. A certain school recently showed a movie for the first time – a Walt Disney fantasy. But a sequence of some animals dancing was removed before the students saw the movie. The magazine of another school made mention of a class play. A donor wrote that he would not give money to a school that put out plays. The dean of the school wrote in reply that the presentation was not actually a play but a “skit”. Reassured, the man resumed giving regularly to the support of the school.
Why do I cite these examples about dancing, drinking, lodges, movies, cosmetics, and so on? I am not taking sides, but I am acknowledging that these arguments and differences exist, and that many true Christians hold opposite positions on all such questions. I believe the biblical attitude is to avoid legalism and live so close to the Lord that one could participate in these activities if he so desired. He may choose to abstain lest he cause young believers to stumble. Passages like this present one, however, should enable us to say to those who argue about these things, “God bless you both. Just be sure that you are living according to what you believe is the will of God for you. Love the Lord, and ask him to show you what your attitude should be.”
Here are two believers who hold opposing views on some matter – liberty to eat this or drink that, for example. One believes that he has perfect liberty to enjoy the food or drink, and thanks God for it. The other believes he must abstain from it and tells the Lord that he is giving it up because of love for his son, the Lord Jesus. I believe that the Bible is telling us here that the Lord will say to both: “My good children. You did exactly what you thought would please me. I love you both and am rewarding you equally because it pleased me so much that you wanted to please me.” BE SURE OF THE FACT that there will be no hiding behind subterfuge in that day. Perhaps some Christians claim that they abstain from eating and drinking certain foods and beverages in order to please the Lord, when actually they are seeking to enhance themselves in the eyes of men and to obtain a reputation for superior piety. On the other hand, there are people who are eating and drinking in the name of liberty but who secretly believe that they are doing wrong. All these attitudes will be brought to full light when the Lord comes for his own. In that day His eye will look straight through us. All shadow will be gone. The only thing that will matter will be that we who have been redeemed by Him will face Him and know that we are answerable to Him alone.
-Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse, on Romans 14:1-4
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New study shows drivers with THC in their system no more likely to crash than those who had not used drugs

Patients for Medical Cannabis

Via attn.com

As lawmakers nationwide explore the benefits of legalized marijuana, there are common questions being raised: how will tax structures apply? How will it be regulated? Who can use it, and how can we make it safe?

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Top Ten Reasons Texas Should Legalize Pot

First I would like to thank my friend and attorney Robert Guest for the original blog.

Top Ten Reasons Texas Should Legalize Pot

Eric Holder has given a tentative green light for State recreational marijuana programs to go forward. Given how the last medical marijuana memo has been largely ignored, I’m still a little pessimistic the DOJ will really leave these States alone. Regardless, here are ten reasons Texas should take this opportunity to reform our State’s marijuana laws. As a reminder, possession of any usable amount of marihuana is a 180-days-in-county-jail misdemeanor in Texas. I know, we are insane about weed in the Lone Star State, but it doesn’t have to be this way. On to the list.

1. Willie Nelson. Are we really going to keep arresting Willie? Really? What kind of asshole arrests Willie Nelson for pot. If this was my only reason, it would be enough.

2. It’s safer than booze. Texans drink a lot. Booze kills people. Weed can’t kill you.

3. Limited Government. Freedom. Personal Responsibility. Every GOP candidate runs on these issues. Government isn’t limited if we are trying to arrest every single person for the crime of having some dried up plant material in their pocket. Freedom means the freedom to make adult choices without fear of arrest. And persons can be very responsible while stoned. Especially if you have a Lord of the Rings Trilogy for them to watch.

4. Young Adults. Young adults make terrible criminals; they confess that they have pot in their pocket, they consent to searches, they let their car smell like weed. Typical rookie mistakes. They are a very honest and trusting group, so they tell Officer Friendly about the joint in the console. Sometimes the cool police officers will let them go, but too often we throw college kids in jail with real criminals and then put them on probation.

Could you have handled probation at 19? Drug tests, reporting monthly, thousands in fees and fines? Worse, we give too many young adults a lifetime criminal record, a “drug conviction” that ruins their future. I’ve seen this first hand and it’s an incredibly shitty thing to do.

5. People are going to move to Colorado. I tell a lot of my cannabis clients to move to Colorado because they have legalized recreational and medicinal marijuana. Colorado already has better weather than Texas, beautiful mountains, and no Greg Abbott.

Do we really need to give Texans another reason to bail on the oppressive heat and oppressive political regime here? Guess what, I’ve had a lot of “normal” marijuana clients come through my office. The kind of people you want living, working, and paying taxes here. The fact we threaten every joint owner in the State with 6 months in jail is a strong incentive for them to consider putting Texas in the rearview mirror.

6. Marijuana is medicine. The debate is over. Adults need it, children need it, people need it. Get over it. Fun fact- The Federal Government has a patent on medical pot, and the federal government has sent this guy over 130,000 joints for him to use as medicine.

Would you arrest these parents? In Texas, we would. Which brings me to my next point.

7. CPS is insane about marijuana. CPS goons will kidnap children and throw them into foster care if they find out the parents smoke weed. These people are nuts, and the law gives them near unlimited authority to take your children if you use cannabis.

8. Opportunity Costs- Weed cases are a make work project for the criminal justice system. They provide zero public safety benefit. We waste millions in tax dollars, arresting, trying, and incarcerating pot smokers. At the same time we let real crime, that is, crime with victims, go unsolved. Instead of clogging the system with junk cases, we could free officers to investigate real crime.

9. What do George W., Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton have in common? That’s right, they loved the ganja and they didn’t get caught. We can’t even elect a President who hasn’t gotten high. That’s how you know a crime isn’t a real crime, when Presidential candidates can admit to it with impunity. Think if all 3 had admitted to theft, or assault? See, those are real crimes.

10. It’s inevitable. I’m tired of Texas being bassackwards when it comes to freedom. Why do we have to be last when it comes to legalizing adult behaviors. We still can’t gamble in Texas. Think about it, throwing dice on a table is too much freedom for our pols. We still have dry freaking counties. It’s embarrassing how much government we have in our lives. Cannabis reform would make us look less insane to the rest of the world. This isn’t Saudi Arabia or China, we are supposed to be free here. Why do we have to be last to embrace common sense reforms?

Finally, I’ll leave you with this- Weed is legal in North Korea, but not in Texas. North Fucking Korea.

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THE THEOLOGY PROGRAM, Video 1, Course Introduction

Here is the first video to the Theology Program. If you are interested in going through the lectures with us, I would really encourage you to do it. It will really build your confidence. Through the week, I will add questions and comments pertaining to the week’s video, and would ask you all to contribute to those discussions, and start ones as well. I’m really excited about us going through the Theology Program. Please watch the video and go through the course with us!

http://bible.org/seriespage/session-1-class-introduction

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