Front Page Article
"The Lenses of Reformation Concerning the Morality of Recreational Marijuana"
by Dr. Patti Amsden
The worlds that we build are a test and a testimony of our character. Everything moves from the inside out. Our words, our works, our judgments, our love – these things are found within us and move from our heart outward. Whatever word we have incarnated will be the word we flesh out. There is no dichotomy between our works and our hearts; but rather they are in unity and they will answer to God, either in this life or in that which is to come. Anytime someone fills his or her boundaries with works of lawlessness, the curse is released, the boundary is corrupted, and death rather than life is released.
Reformation lens #1 – The civil policies of a nation reflect the moral values held by the populace.
Morality, which is a set of beliefs about what kind of behavior is good or bad, is defined in every era and in every culture. There is really no such thing as amoral, meaning no morals. Even the most appalling of practices is acknowledged by either an individual or a societal group as good for them or an acceptable ethic. Historically, man’s morality either arises from God and His word or from man and his independent judgments on what is right and what is wrong. Man’s philosophical presuppositions or man in the form of the state are the main two alternative sources of morality when biblical morality has been excluded. Neither of these fountainheads of truth can produce a well-spring of life.
Reformation lens #2 – The question is never morality or no morality; the question is always who is the god of that morality?
It has been said that morality cannot be legislated. Law is, by the nature of it, a moral code. Law determines that which is right and that which is wrong. When questioned by the religious leaders of his day, Jesus made clear the purpose of the law was primarily an expression of man’s love for God and for his fellow man (Mt. 22:36-40, Deut. 6:5, Lev. 19:18). The moral code that is written upon a man’s heart and the moral code that is written upon civil code should serve this purpose. Whereas a civil code cannot change the heart of a man, the civil code can communicate moral realities and place restrains upon immorality that is in a man’s heart.
Reformation lens #3 – Law is codified morality.
As reformers, we must acknowledge that God speaks to every area of personal and civil life. Undergirding His word is the foundation of life. God is life (Deut.30:20). God created life (Gen.2:7). God and His ways stand in direct opposition to death. “The thief comes but to kill, steal, and destroy; I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). Morality, therefore, should issue forth from a respect for life. Public policies, therefore, should embrace a morality that protects life. Whereas the scriptures do not speak directly against the use of marijuana, believers should put on the reformation lenses of love for the life of one’s neighbor and the life of a society when considering the morality of recreational marijuana.
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