Posts Tagged ‘drugs’

Christian University Graduate Agrees—Celebration of Discipline/Richard Foster Bypass the Cross—As CoD Soon Celebrates 40-Year Anniversary!

40th Anniversary edition of Celebration of Discipline to be released in 2018, which is the 40th anniversary of CoD.

Just as Lighthouse Trails was about to issue a post this week about Celebration of Discipline’s (by Richard Foster) 40-year anniversary announcement (that we received by e-mail this month), we received the following e-mail from a Christian university graduate:

Three years ago this past September, I began my studies at Tyndale University in Toronto, Ontario. Right away, for one class, we were asked to study one author in particular whom I had never heard of, Richard Foster and his book Celebration of Discipline. I went online to do research and came across your website, and found your analysis of Foster to be spot on. As I read Foster, I realized he had completely bypassed the role of the Cross in bringing man into relationship with God, and instead substituted what he calls the “spiritual disciplines.” This is of course heresy.

For nearly sixteen years, Lighthouse Trails has tirelessly tried to warn the church about contemplative spirituality and how it entered the church in the first place largely through Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline.

The following is a repost of a prior article we wrote about Celebration of Discipline. It would be a good idea to ask your own pastor if he has ever read Celebration of Discipline and if he has, what does he think. And if he has not read the refutation A Time of Departing and is willing to do so, Lighthouse Trails will gladly send him a complimentary copy of it.

First published in 1978, Celebration of Discipline has had a massive influence on today’s Christianity. Unfortunately, the influence has helped to saturate the church with mystical contemplative prayer and the New Age. Most likely, your pastor has a copy of this book sitting on his library shelves. He may even have it sitting on his desk for easy reach and reference. Richard Foster, a Quaker and the founder of an organization called Renovare (meaning renewal), wrote the book, and even he may have had no idea the impact this book would have. But decades later, it is still being read, and in fact, Christian leaders and organizations continue promoting the book.

Foster said in the book, that we “should all without shame enroll as apprentices in the school of contemplative prayer” (p. 13, 1978 ed.). In other books and writings of Foster’s, he makes it very clear that this “contemplative prayer” is the eastern-style mantra meditation to which mystic monk Thomas Merton adhered. In fact, Richard Foster once told Ray Yungen (author of A Time of Departing) that “Thomas Merton tried to awaken God’s people” (at a conference in Salem, OR in the 90s).

Thomas Merton, who said he was “impregnated with Sufism” (Merton and Sufism, p. 69) and wanted to “become as good a Buddhist” as he could be (David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West”), believed that “God’s people” lacked one thing—mysticism, and this is to what they needed “awakening.” Of Merton, Foster says: “Thomas Merton has perhaps done more than any other twentieth-century figure to make the life of prayer widely known and understood.” (Spiritual Classics, p. 17) And yet, Thomas Merton once told New Age Episcopal priest Matthew Fox that he felt sorry for the hippies in the 60s who were dropping LSD because all they had to do was practice the mystical (contemplative) stream to achieve the same results. (Interview) We couldn’t agree with him more. Both altered states are the same, but we differ from Merton and Foster in conclusions outcome—we know neither leads to God.

Listed under “excellent books on spirituality,” in some editions of Celebration of Discipline, Foster says of panentheist Tilden Edwards’ book Spiritual Friend that it helps “clear away the confusion and invites us to see that we do not have to live the spiritual life in isolation.” And yet, Tilden Edwards, founder of the “Christian”/Buddhist Shalem Institute in Washington, DC, said that contemplative spirituality was the “Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality”(Spiritual Friend, p. 18). On the Shalem Institute website you can find numerous quotes, references, articles, and recommendations to panentheism, universalism, interspirituality, New Age, and Eastern thought.

In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster tells us “we must be willing to go down into the recreating silences, into the inner world of contemplation” (COD, p.13.) He goes on to say that the “masters of meditation beckon us.” Just prior to that remark, he quotes Carl Jung and Thomas Merton.

Celebration of Discipline has helped to pave the way for Thomas Merton’s panentheistic belief system. It has opened the door for other Christian authors, speakers, and pastors to bring contemplative spirituality into the lives of millions of people. The late Henri Nouwen, a popular contemplative who also followed the teachings of Thomas Merton, made a telling statement towards the end of his life:

I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God (emphasis added – Sabbatical Journey, p. 51).

Essentially, the fruit of years of practicing mysticism by Nouwen was a departure from believing the Cross was the only way to salvation. This is the fruit of contemplative spirituality.

Today, countless ministers and ministries are promoting and endorsing Celebration of Discipline. If they really knew what Foster’s “celebration” was all about, we think many of them would race away from the teachings of Thomas Merton and Richard Foster and back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Note: If your pastor or someone you know has a copy of Celebration of Discipline or quotes Richard Foster, be sure and give him a copy of Ray Yungen’s new booklet A Serious Look at Richard Foster’s “School” of Contemplative Prayer. Also, want to know what Spiritual Formation is (and its dangers), read this: Is Your Church Doing Spiritual Formation? (Important Reasons Why They Shouldn’t

Quotes by Richard Foster:

“Spend some time this week listening to contemplative music designed to quiet you, settle you, deepen you. (Compact discs and tapes from the Taize community, John Michael Talbot, and the Monks of Weston Priory are especially helpful).” Renovare’s Perspective Newsletter

“We now come to the ultimate stage of Christian experience. Divine Union…. Contemplatives sometimes speak of their union with God by the analogy of a log in a fire: the glowing log is so united with the fire that it is fire.” (Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, p. 159)

“Christians . . .  have developed two fundamental expressions of Unceasing Prayer. The first . . .  is usually called aspiratory prayer or breath prayer. The most famous of the breath prayers is the Jesus Prayer. It is also possible to discover your own individual breath prayer. . . . Begin praying your breath prayer as often as possible.” (Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, p. 122) [LT Note: Remember, Rick Warren promoted breath prayers in The Purpose Driven Life.]

NEW BOOKLET: The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf

NEW BOOKLET: The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf  by Linda Nathan is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet. The Booklet is 18 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf, click here.

The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf

By Linda Nathan

Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug worldwide, with 5 million daily users worldwide.1

Should Christians use pot? Should they condone the use of it in our society? What would Jesus do? The author’s extensive experience, biblical approach, and current research provide clear guidelines for those struggling with today’s exploding drug culture.

INTRODUCTION

WHAT’S HAPPENING?
For the first time in U.S. history, Christians in America are facing the challenge of a majority approval of marijuana. A recent Gallup Poll revealed that 58% of Americans now favor its legalization, and 67% of ages 18 to 29 back legalization. Yet when Gallup first asked the question in 1969, only 12% favored legalization.2

By September 2017, there was some form of marijuana legalization in 29 states and the District of Columbia.3

This massive change has occurred in less than fifty years, and it is a major sign of the seismic shift occurring in our culture—a shift that should concern Christians deeply.

But some Christians are uncertain how to view this shift, for the Bible doesn’t mention marijuana directly—or does it?

What do we know about marijuana? Is it good for our health? Or can it be harmful and even lead to psychosis? But, most important, how does the Bible deal with it?

Before we continue, let me tell you a little about myself and why I’m writing this booklet. I think it’s fair to say my involvement with marijuana stretches over half a century, through experience, observation, and research. My husband Richard and I met in San Francisco in 1962 and spent fourteen years in the Bay Area counterculture. By the grace of God, we survived the ’60s meltdown for thousands of young people into corruption, crime, and madness. And we personally experienced and saw with our own eyes the destructive effects not only of marijuana but also of some of the other drugs to which it opened the door. And the pot we smoked then was much milder than what is available today.

I thought I knew all about marijuana from my experiences during the ’60s and ’70s. But as I researched what is happening today, I saw that it’s now an entirely different ballgame. Today’s marijuana has a much, much stronger psychoactive (THC) content. Billionaires now power its promotion. And radical changes are occurring in our society as a result.

Besides our personal experience, Richard, who has a B.S. in Biology and a Master’s in Christian History, has spent the last 24 years working in psychiatric and drug treatment centers where he has continually observed the devastating effects of marijuana and other drugs.

So, let’s look at what’s happening.

TWO MOVEMENTS IN ONE: MEDICAL AND RECREATIONAL
Although there are around 400 derivatives of the marijuana plant, the battle for legalization focuses mainly on two: medical marijuana (cannabidiol or CBD) and recreational marijuana (tetrahydrocannabinol or THC).

“Recreational” marijuana (THC). Currently (2017) eight states (Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and Colorado) plus the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, but the movement is growing rapidly as other states are moving toward legalization.4 More on recreational marijuana later.

Medical marijuana (CBD). By September 2017, twenty-nine states and Washington DC had medical marijuana laws, and another eighteen had passed CBD laws.5 CBD has minimal THC content. Therefore, many states have legalized it for specialized cases, primarily with childhood epilepsy or seizures. Some believe that legalizing CBD isn’t the same as legalizing medical marijuana because it’s not using the entire plant.6 A common assumption is because the CBD extract has some healing benefit, then the entire plant does too. But there are many dangers with using the entire plant.

Later, I will discuss the use of marijuana for medicine and the positions of major medical organizations.

Many powerful factors are propelling these movements, but first, we need to know what the Bible says. While it doesn’t address the issue of marijuana specifically, it has a great deal to say about its effects and about God’s demand for holiness for His people.

THE BIBLE SPEAKS

1. We are to obey the law. We are to obey the Law of God (Romans 13:1–2), as well as the laws of the land, unless those laws conflict with God’s law (Acts 5:29). Marijuana is still illegal by federal law except within approved research situations.

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (Romans 13:1)

2. We are to live soberly. The Bible tells believers to be sober and practice holy behavior. Marijuana (THC) can lead to a vulnerable, drunken type of state.

Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. (Romans 13:13)

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

3. Marijuana can be harmful. There is a great deal of scientific evidence concerning its mental and spiritual harm, which is discussed later. According to the Bible, our bodies are not our own; we belong to Christ.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)

4. Only God’s Word can transform our minds; supposed “consciousness-raising” drugs can be spiritually dangerous. Here again, I speak from experience: Under marijuana, the soul can become more vulnerable to false teachings.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1)

5. Marijuana can lead to idolatry and demonic bondage. Whatever has power over you becomes an idol, and behind every idol is a demon. Richard has observed marijuana leaf tattoos on many young psychotic patients, sometimes entwined with a cross. The idolatry of drug abuse involves both spiritual and physical bondage.7

Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Corinthians 10:14)

Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. (1 Corinthians 10:21)

6. Marijuana is a method of sorcery. This is one of the strongest arguments against Christians using marijuana and the reason why it opens the door to worldview changes. Witches have used it and other such drugs for centuries to contact the demonic realm. The Bible uses the word pharmakeia for “sorcery,” which is the root of our modern word “pharmacy.”8 Consider the following thoughts from a Bible forum:

Marijuana is a hallucinogenic. This is one of the reasons why using it is sorcery and witchcraft. With the use of drugs, you are opening yourself up to all sorts of spiritual attacks and seducing spirits. Mind-altering drugs are used in witchcraft to alter your reality. This can be very dangerous. This is why God calls us to be sober and avoid attacks from Satan (1 Peter 5:8).9

Let us make it our concern to grow in holiness through obedience to Christ. Scripture exhorts us:

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. (Galatians 5:13)

TURBO POT—
NOT YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S MARIJUANA

It occurred to me lately that these new ultra-high THC level marijuana breeds or what the kids refer to as (KB) Killbud mixed with any other narcotic is [sic] altering the children’s minds in such a destructive way the consequences are irreparable.10

When I committed my life to Jesus Christ, I knew that I needed to give up marijuana and other hallucinogenic drugs. I realized that the influence of these drugs was the opposite of the influence of the Holy Spirit. The two are incompatible.11

Now, maybe despite the Bible’s warnings about how we are to live, you’re not convinced that there isn’t some good in using marijuana recreationally.

But there’s a vital fact many people don’t realize: The current weed is immensely more powerful than it used to be—to the point of being hallucinogenic. In their book Going to Pot, William Bennett and Robert White explain:

Let’s acknowledge that today’s marijuana is at least five times stronger than the marijuana of the past. The THC levels of today’s marijuana average around 15 percent, but go as high as 20 percent and above in the dispensaries found throughout the states that have legalized it for ‘medicinal’ or recreational use. The marijuana of today is simply not the same drug it was in the 60s, 70s or 80s, much less the 1930s. It is much more potent, leading to a great many more health risks.12

The Marijuana Potency Project at the University of Mississippi has found levels of THC as high as 37 percent. That is a growth of a psychoactive ingredient from 3 and 4 percent a few decades ago to close to 40 percent.13 (emphasis added)

WHAT IS THC, AND WHY DO HIGH LEVELS MATTER?
Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that gives the “high.” Synthetic versions can be very harmful.14 Consider the following:

The difference between 3 to 5 percent THC and 13 to 30 percent THC is very significant. It is like comparing a twelve-ounce glass of beer with a twelve-ounce glass of 80 proof vodka; both contain alcohol, but they have vastly different effects on the body when consumed. Indeed, many argue that because of the difference in potency, it is not even the same drug we once knew. Some have taken to calling today’s marijuana “industrial marijuana” or “turbo pot.”15

A hallucinogen. Such high levels can be hallucinogenic and cause profound perceptual distortions of reality. Regular use may lead to “flashbacks” or (sometimes frightening) hallucinations that can reoccur for years. There may be panic and anxiety attacks, and health problems. Used with other drugs or medications, it can lead to vomiting, stroke, increased blood pressure, convulsions, seizures, and nerve problems; and it can affect babies in the womb.16

Psychosis. And then there is the connection with psychosis. “Nine studies following hundreds to thousands of people for decades searched for a connection between marijuana use and psychosis. All but one of these studies suggest a connection between marijuana use and schizophrenia.”17

Other studies reveal the connection between high pot use and a clinically significant increased risk of developing schizophrenia and other mental illnesses during adolescence.18 Our own experience has shown that you can’t know how it will affect you; it might seem fine for a while and then act without warning as a depth charge in your soul.

Sir Robin Murray, a psychiatrist at King’s College in London, says, “Even I, 20 years ago, used to tell patients that cannabis is safe. It’s only after you see all the patients that go psychotic that you realize—it’s not so safe.’”19 My husband says amen to that, having worked 24 years at treatment centers.

MARIJUANA AS MEDICINE?
PART I: THE BATTLE

In 1970, the US Congress placed marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act because they considered it to have “no accepted medical use.” Since then . . . [21% of the U.S. population] now lives in a state where smoking weed is legal.20

There is no level of marijuana use that is actually completely safe. . . . even the casual use of marijuana changes the brain.21

This new marijuana is waaaaaaay beyond simple medical use for pain.22

The controversy rages. The Journal of the American Medical Association defines medical marijuana as:

. . . the use of cannabis or cannabinoids as medical therapy to treat disease or alleviate symptoms. Cannabinoids can be administered orally, sublingually, or topically; they can be smoked, inhaled, mixed with food, or made into tea. They can be taken in herbal form, extracted naturally from the plant, gained by isomerisation of cannabidiol, or manufactured synthetically.23

So, do the Bible’s warnings apply only to using marijuana with THC? After all, the CBD used for medical purposes doesn’t contain THC. Does it?

Actually, CBD does contain the hallucinogen THC, in varying ratios. Some claim the two work together therapeutically and that “a patient’s sensitivity to THC is a key factor to determining the ratio and dosage of CBD-rich medicine.”24 But many advocates don’t differentiate and insist on using the entire plant.

Proponents argue that it can treat the symptoms of chemotherapy-induced vomiting, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, childhood epilepsy, and neuropathic pain. Testimonials are the main support for other conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.25

In 2015, The Journal of the American Medical Association published the preliminary conclusion of a compilation of 79 studies of the experiences of 6,000 patients who used marijuana for self-medication. The report stated:

Smoking pot was found to be of little use in relieving symptoms for many ailments, among them hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Researchers found that smoking pot did show some success in relieving nausea caused by chemotherapy, and “spasticity” for multiple sclerosis patients. The authors of the study did not rule out other medical benefits, but found little evidence of any so far.26

Opponents decry marijuana’s dangers, the fact that it lacks FDA approval, and that legal drugs make marijuana unnecessary. They point out its addictiveness and that it can lead to harder drug use and mental problems; they also say it “interferes with fertility, impairs driving ability, and injures the lungs, immune system, and brain. They claim medical marijuana is a front for drug legalization and recreational use.”27 There is no clear optimal dose for its various approved conditions. THC concentrations vary widely; and sometimes users breed out CBD, which can ameliorate THC’s negative effects, to increase THC’s potency.28 Furthermore, marijuana smoke can contain up to 70 percent more carcinogenic materials than tobacco smoke.29

No one medicine has ever been recommended or used for the number of diseases and ailments political proponents of medical marijuana say it is a therapy for. The proponents have turned it into some kind of major miracle drug while, at the same time, the scientific literature finds marijuana either dangerous or of extremely limited use, and often both.30

Now let’s look at the positions of professional medical associations.

MARIJUANA AS MEDICINE?
PART II: THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY SPEAKS

The American Psychiatric Association—

There is no current scientific evidence that marijuana is in any way beneficial for the treatment of any psychiatric disorder. In contrast, current evidence supports, at minimum, a strong association of cannabis use with the onset of psychiatric disorders.31

Medical treatment . . . should not be authorized by ballot initiatives.32

The American Medical Association—
In November 2013, the AMA retained its longstanding position that “cannabis is a dangerous drug and as such is a public health concern.” Recent policy changes call for further well-controlled studies.33

The American Society of Addiction Medicine—
The ASAM warns against marijuana’s adverse effects on mind and body, its increasing potency, and its influence in precipitating relapses in alcoholism and other drug dependencies. It recommends carefully controlled medical use and drug education for early school grades and health workers.34

The American Cancer Society—
A 2013 position paper states that cancer patients may receive benefit from marijuana, which can “help alleviate the nausea, vomiting, wasting, and muscle spasms caused by chemotherapy in some patients.” The ACS supports more research for treatments for cancer and its side effects, but it does not advocate marijuana legalization.35

The American Ophthalmological Society—
In 2014, the AOS reaffirmed its stand that marijuana does not help glaucoma. Ophthalmologists believe marijuana has side effects that could endanger eye health, increasing risk for cancer and eye diseases.36

The American Academy of Pediatrics—
In 2015, the AAP reaffirmed its opposition to legalizing marijuana for either recreational or medical use. It recommended protections for children in states that have legalized either. It says, “For adolescents, marijuana can impair memory and concentration, interfering with learning, and is linked to lower odds of completing high school or obtaining a college degree. It can alter motor control, coordination and judgment, which may contribute to unintentional deaths and injuries. Regular use is also linked to psychological problems, poorer lung health, and a higher likelihood of drug dependence in adulthood.”37

CRITERIA FOR MARIJUANA AS MEDICINE
The general conclusion appears to be, “If marijuana is to be used for medical purposes, it should be subjected to the same evidence-based review and regulatory oversight as other medications prescribed by physicians.”38

Bennett and White offer the following controlled program for obtaining medical marijuana: a) A physician specialist for the patient’s chronic condition must sign a special waiver; b) Approval by the Institute of Medicine; c)Both patient and physician must sign a formal statement under penalty of federal perjury charges limiting the marijuana to that patient only; d) The patient must sign a waiver of understanding releasing the government of any liability regarding marijuana’s possible adverse side effects; e) It must be a standardized dose of government-provided marijuana; f) A hospital pharmacy must fill the government-approved, doctor-certified prescription; g) The patient’s prescriptions must be based on the doctor’s regular reviews.39

So, if marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, and all these authorities oppose or caution about its legalization, why is the legalization movement growing so rapidly? This is a question that begs an answer.

BIG MARIJUANA AND CULTURAL CHANGE

“The pro-legalization movement hasn’t come from a groundswell of the people. A great deal of its funding and fraud has been perpetrated by George Soros and then promoted by celebrities,” said John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy under George W. Bush. “The truth is under attack, and it’s an absolutely dangerous direction for this country to be going in.”40

Marijuana use in the United States before the ’60s was mostly underground; but as its popularity spread, the public became much more accepting, until by the ’90s,

]L]eaders and politicians stopped speaking of the harms of marijuana . . . anti-drug ads became less prevalent . . . arguments on behalf of marijuana use were no longer answered . . . a market was found to create medical marijuana and call marijuana medicine because of its analgesic effects, and . . . Hollywood made punch lines out of the use of marijuana in blockbuster movies and popular television shows.41

NEVERTHELESS, LEGALIZATION TODAY IS NOT A GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT.

Billionaire financier George Soros and other wealthy people jump-started it and are maintaining it. Soros “has become one of the largest supporters of drug reforms ranging from medical marijuana use to the easing of sentencing for drug charges. His foundation has donated about $200 million to drug reforms since 1994.” He has also spent around $80 million on reforms through a nonprofit network and his mouthpiece, the Drug Policy Alliance.42 Soros provided 68% of the financial backing to pass Washington State’s 2012 initiative and is focusing on other states.43

Other promoters include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and billionaires Peter B. Lewis, PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel, and Sean Parker and Dustin Moskovitz of Facebook.

THE NEW GOLD RUSH
Today the pot industry is viewed as the “new gold rush,” with “hundreds of tributary businesses.”44

Sales of marijuana grew 30% in 2016, and as long as acceptance continues to gain steam, the industry could hit $20.2 billion in North America within four years, according to a marijuana market research firm.45

The legalization movement and industry are transforming our culture and institutions.

THE POT PRESIDENT
Former President Obama’s administration greatly expanded the movement. He openly admitted smoking marijuana when young, calling it merely a “bad habit and a vice,”46 and supported legalized pot in Washington State and Colorado. In April 2013, his administration even told the Supreme Court to ignore a lawsuit by Oklahoma and Nebraska opposing legalized pot in Colorado.47

The Obama administration also pressured the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the Department of Justice to consider removing marijuana from the list of the country’s most dangerous drugs.

That list was created as part of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, which consolidated all federal drug laws into a single comprehensive measure and defined marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, alongside heroin, LSD and other drugs that the government says have no medical value and the highest potential for abuse. That meant marijuana was saddled with the strictest possible restrictions and penalties.48

To date though, the DEA has maintained its “core priority” to oppose marijuana and prosecute “those who manufacture, distribute, or possess any illegal drugs, including marijuana.”49

However, movement is underway to reclassify cannabis as a non-Schedule I drug, allow states to regulate medical marijuana programs, remove CBD from the Controlled Substances Act, and reconcile federal banking issues in the legal marijuana industry.50

DRUG-DEALING STATES
George Soros also funds studies about the profits from marijuana legalization.

Colorado. Such a study found that marijuana legalization could generate as much as $100 million in state revenue after five years. “That research was widely considered to have influenced the election.”51 (emphasis added).

Washington State. Marijuana sales generated $70 million in tax revenue during the first year of legalization, with over $257 million in sales.52 But one business owner said $70 million is low and sales should increase.53

Logan Bowers, who co-owns a recreational cannabis store in Seattle, claims there’s a “cultural shift happening in Washington, Colorado and other states that have started to legalize marijuana use.” 54 (emphasis added) Although the article doesn’t describe that “cultural shift,” I know it well. And my husband sees its results every day.

POPULAR ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST

You talk to the kids and with everything that’s going on with it being legalized in Colorado and comments being made that it’s just not that bad for you, the kids are taking it one step further and they’re telling me, “It’s just an herb. It’s OK. In fact, it’s used for medical purposes, it’s not bad for you. It’s good for you.” And that’s the belief our kids are getting.55—Fourteen-year veteran, Salt Lake City Police Department

There’s a wide spectrum of opinion about legalizing marijuana, but the battle doesn’t fall on a simple Left-Right continuum. Some Republicans favor it and some Democrats oppose it. Issues involve personal health and freedom, tax revenues, public policy, expense to our justice system, cultural change, and states’ rights. Many believe a ban would be futile.

Bennett and White conclude in Going to Pot that most advocates are poorly informed because of deliberate falsehoods by interest groups, ignorance about the strength of today’s marijuana, and unwillingness to give it up.56

Even Christians have many different views, as you will see in the chart below.

FOR

Divine intervention. Pot is God’s intervention to bring healing and relief. Even Jesus must have smoked it because it grew in the Middle East then.

AGAINST

What can bring temporary relief isn’t necessarily good (e.g. alcohol, opioids, etc.) (1 Corinthians 10:23). To assume that Jesus Christ smoked it because it may have been around is an irrational unbiblical leap.

FOR
Relaxation. It relaxes me, so it must be good.

AGAINST

Don’t count on it. Marijuana is not a sedative; it can excite and even stimulate hallucinations and psychosis. The present high levels make it unpredictable.

FOR
God’s creation. God created everything and gave us the plants of the field (Genesis 1:29).

AGAINST

God created deadly nightshade, too, but we treat it with care. This is a fallen creation.

FOR
Not from Satan. Satan doesn’t create, so marijuana couldn’t be of Satan.

AGAINST

Instead of creating, the devil spins webs of deceit (2 Corinthians 11:3).

FOR
Freedom. Jesus wasn’t legalistic; Christians live by grace.

AGAINST

This is true, but Scripture clearly says that we are never to use our freedom as a license to sin (Romans 6). And the Bible has given us many instructions on how we are to live including being sober minded and avoiding drunkedness.

FOR
Fairness. Trust the democratic process.

AGAINST

The democratic process also brought us homosexual marriage and transgender bathrooms.

FOR
Just an herb. Marijuana is just a medicinal herb.

AGAINST

Opium can be medicinal too, but recreationally it’s destructive.

FOR

Popularity. My friends all use it.

AGAINST

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” (1 John 2:15; see also 2 Timothy 2:22).

FOR
Bigotry. You’re a bigot to oppose pot.

AGAINST

Don’t be afraid to be criticized for standing for righteousness. Be bold. (1 Peter 4:1–5)

FOR
Legality. It’s okay for Christians in states with legalized pot.

AGAINST

It’s still illegal on the federal level, and even if that changes, it won’t make it safe or right. You can sin with legal and social approval.

 

WHAT CAN CHRISTIANS DO?

For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. . . . Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:9, 11)

Many Christians today are confused about marijuana. This may result from:

Lack of education

Misreading the Bible / rejecting biblical authority

Peer pressure and moral laxity in churches and society

Confusing propaganda

Naiveté and/or ignorance of the devil’s wiles

Here in Washington State, we’ve not witnessed any noticeable Christian resistance to the “legalization.” On the contrary, we’ve encountered apathy in some churches and casual openness to it in some church youth groups. Online, youth pastors sometimes seem uncertain. There seems to be little awareness of its spiritual dangers. A woman who had opposed a marijuana factory in her neighborhood called us after our letter protesting the new law was published. She’d approached many Christian neighbors, but few had signed her petition. There was a lot of apathy, she said, an attitude of, “Well, it’s a law now, what can we do?”

Well, there’s a lot we can do. First and foremost, we can pray. In spite of all that is happening in the world today, including the growing use of marijuana and other drugs, as Christians, we serve a God who cares and who listens to our prayers.

We can also help to educate those around us, in our homes, churches, and neighborhoods. And while it may seem like a hopeless case there are some encouraging signs. As of this writing, the White House has announced that we should expect to see greater enforcement of federal marijuana laws, regardless of states’ laws. Attorney General Jeff Sessions opposes the drug. Furthermore, marijuana is still classified on the federal level as a Schedule I drug along with heroin, LSD, and ecstasy.

But the battle will continue. The exploding marijuana industry is up in arms about losing its huge profits from a possible major crackdown. While President Donald Trump doesn’t oppose medical marijuana, the White House views recreational use differently. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is examining the whole issue. If the White House and the DOJ go easy on the “legal” states, the marijuana industry will continue flourishing, with the states as drug dealers. But if the DOJ cracks down, marijuana will increase as a powerful symbol of rebellion. One thing is clear: President Trump, the DOJ, and the country need our prayers.

No one knows which w

ay the nation will go.

But which way will you go?

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:17–18)

To order copies of The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf, click here.

ENDNOTES
1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24904437.
2.https://tinyurl.com/y7zl4f5y.
3. http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html.
4. http://www.refinery29.com/2016/04/107985/where-is-weed-legal; www.westword.com/marijuana/eleven-states-considering-pot-laws-in-2017-8720; see a current map of state marijuana laws at http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html.
5. https://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=006473; https://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881; and http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html.
6. See http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881 and http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=006473. See a chart of medical marijuana pros and cons at http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000141.
7. There is a good discussion about this at https://justprayno.org/tag/idolatry.
8. See http://www.revelation.co/2010/01/27/what-does-the-bible-say-about-marijuana-is-smoking-pot-a-sin-in-gods-eyes.
9. See http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php/127483-Sorcery-Drugs-In-The-Bible for a thorough discussion. Also http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-sorcery.html.
10. William Bennett and Robert White, Going to Pot: Why the Rush to Legalize Marijuana Is Harming America (New York, NY: Hachette Book Group, 2015), p. 152.
11. http://www.sosmin.com/pdf/marijuana.pdf.
12. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 172.
13. Ibid., p. 18.
14. See http://spiceaddictionsupport.org/what-is-spice.
15. Going to Pot, op. cit., pp. xiv–xv.
16. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/can-marijuana-use-during-pregnancy-harm-baby.
17. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/06/390143641/pot-can-trigger-psychotic-symptoms-for-some-but-do-the-effects-last.
18. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana/there-link-between-marijuana-use-psychiatric-disorders.
19. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/06/390143641/pot-can-trigger-psychotic-symptoms-for-some-but-do-the-effects-last.
20. http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org; http://www.businessinsider.com/marijuana-in-america-20-of-americans-can-now-access-legal-weed-2016-11.
21. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 92. Also see http://adf.org.au/drug-facts/hallucinogens.
22. Ibid., p. 19.
23. “Cannabinoids for Medical Use: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis” (The Journal of the American Medical Association, June 2015, at http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2338251).
24. https://www.projectcbd.org/guidance/cannabis-dosing.
25. “Problems with the Medicalization of Marijuana” (2014, at http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1874073; https://tinyurl.com/yd6tet2a).
26. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/12/editorial-a-bust-for-medical-marijuana.
27. http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org.
28. “Problems with the Medicalization of Marijuana,” op. cit.
29. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 19.
30. Ibid., pp. 61–62.
31. https://web.archive.org/web/20161003070041/https://www.recoveryanswers.org/pressrelease/apa-position-statement-on-marijuana-as-medicine.
32. Ibid.
32. http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/addiction/marijuana-and-psychiatric-patient
33. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/11/20/ama-reaffirms-opposition-to-marijuana-legalization; http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/sourcefiles/AMA09policy.pdf.
34. http://www.asam.org/docs/publicy-policy-statements/1marijuana-5-062.pdf.
35. http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.source.php?sourceID=001399.
36. https://tinyurl.com/yb5mxrt9.
37. https://tinyurl.com/zolhjrl.
38. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 68.
39. Ibid., pp. 65–66.
40. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/2/billionaire-george-soros-turns-cash-into-legalized.
41. Going to Pot, op. cit., pp. 177–178.
42. https://tinyurl.com/ybt8ph67.
43. https://tinyurl.com/mfqdk4o.
44. http://www.msnbc.com/the-cycle/how-marijuana-could-be-the-new-gold-rush; http://www.fox5ny.com/news/160812124-story.
45. https://tinyurl.com/yctqxtm9.
46. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8pZ2AC_pv0.
47. https://tinyurl.com/y962aclb; http://countercurrentnews.com/2016/01/obama-tells-supreme-court-to-legalize; https://tinyurl.com/y8am2h57.
48. Joel Warner, “Marijuana Could Soon Be Rescheduled As A Less Dangerous Drug By The DEA, So Why Aren’t Cannabis Proponents Excited?” (04/14/16, https://tinyurl.com/yd3bvlm2).
49. The DEA Position on Marijuana, https://www.dea.gov/docs/marijuana_position_2011.pdf, p. 1.
50. See http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/10/us/washington-marijuana-70-million-tax-dollars.
51. https://tinyurl.com/ya9tkpqg.
52. “Pot Money Changing Hearts in Washington” (July 2015; http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/10/us/washington-marijuana-70-million-tax-dollars).
53. Ibid.
54. Ibid.
55. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 12.
56. Ibid., p. 82.

Note: To follow this discussion and for updates, visit http://www.logosword.com/blog.

AUTHOR BIO: Linda Nathan spent many years in the ’60s and ’70s West Coast counterculture before Jesus Christ rescued her. She has a B.A. in psychology and master’s work from the University of Oregon, and ten years in the legal profession. Since 1992, she has provided professional freelance writing, editing, and publishing consultation services through her company, Logos Word Designs, LLC (www.logosword.com). You can visit Linda on the web at www.logosword.com.

To order copies of The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf, click here.

Where Are We Going?

bigstock-climbers-13749146By David Dombrowski
Editor at Lighthouse Trails

The expression “Where are we going?” is not an uncommon one, but whether it be a child asking a parent or a fellow traveler posing the question, it usually denotes a sense of being lost and one of concern. Then, of course, posing the question to a stranger could be one of much graver concern. But, in any case, it is a good question to ask because it signifies a desire for safety – to get going in the right direction toward the right destination. When a hunter or a hiker asks that question, it could actually be a matter of life and death; oftentimes, he may have nothing more than a map and a compass, but these tools of navigation can make all the difference when it comes to survival.

I thank God that He has given us His Word to enable us to navigate our way through life, for we are on a life and death journey, and our destination is of utmost importance. The Bible indicates that we are sojourners through life (Psalm 39:12), yet we need not be lost because the Psalms also declare, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). Have you ever been hiking when it was beginning to get dark? Hopefully, you got out in time before darkness set in, but this psalmist offers us a picture of someone walking along a path when darkness has already set in. Yet, he has the comfort of a lamp to light his way to safety. We can be encouraged by God’s Word that offers us both comfort and safety, because the fact is we live in a dark world, and the “god of this world” (Satan) blinds the eyes of the unbelieving (2 Corinthians 4:4). But today, it is more than just the atheist and agnostic who are in grave spiritual danger, as multitudes of proclaiming Christians are being blinded by what Scripture refers to as a time of strong delusion (2 Thessalonians 2:3) or as Paul says elsewhere:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1)

Unfortunately, for many of these people, they will all the while think they are abiding in the truth.

In another article I wrote titled “Shamanism or Cutting-Edge Christianity?,” I addressed the fact that mystical spirituality has been drawing multitudes of Christians away from the truth of the Gospel message. I also demonstrated that all these forms of mystical meditation are from the same source in that they connect the practitioner with the world of the occult – a realm that is populated exclusively by deceiving spirits and not shared by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will not inhabit a realm that God has declared to be “an abomination unto the Lord” (Deuteronomy 18:12). So whether an individual enters the mystical realm (“the silence”) through chanting, the mantra, rhythm, dancing, or focusing on the breath, and whether it be through Eastern mysticism, yoga, New Age meditation, contemplative prayer, Native Spirituality, or shamanism, in each case the practitioner is connecting with and drawing from the same source – an occult realm of deceiving spirits pretending to be “of God” but where in reality neither Jesus Christ nor the Holy Spirit can be found. Seeing that mystical meditation has become common place, I realize a very great number of people would see the statement I just made as fanatical or as a conspiracy theory. But the fact is that a conspiracy is already underway, instigated by Satan himself and performed by his vast number of demons. As Ray Yungen suggests in his book A Time of Departing, mysticism will have much to do with the great delusion that is already sweeping throughout the world. He points out that there is a mystical sector or element in the various religions of the world, so it would only make sense that if the religions of the world are to unite, mysticism will play a major role. Also, as I pointed out in that article, the Yanomamo shaman practices spiritual disciplines of self-denial reminiscent of the spiritual disciplines of the Desert Fathers. But, these practices, too, are being resurrected today as the latest in cutting-edge Christianity.

Now, as I suggested in that article, because the Yanomamo have been practicing mysticism and the spiritual disciplines for a very long time, it stands to reason that what they have brought to fruition will in time be the outcome of these practices that are sweeping through our churches today. So, without attempting to or pretending to be prophetic, we can forecast the outcome of these practices based on where these practices have brought the Yanomamo and other peoples who practice Native Spirituality. The reason why I can say these things is because when the Yanomamo shaman engages in mysticism, he enters the same mystical realm that Christians do when they engage in contemplative prayer. In both cases, they enter into the same occultic realm and put themselves at the mercy of the demons who inhabit that realm. Unfortunately, the demons are not merciful, but rather pose as angels of light or the Holy Spirit and lead the practitioner away from the simple truth of the Gospel. While promising much, they deliver what is ultimately harmful to the practitioner. Currently, contemplative or mystical prayer is sweeping the church with the sales pitch that it enhances physical, mental, and spiritual well being to include relaxation and a direct connection to hearing from God. But as we have been attempting to demonstrate over the past thirteen years with our books and articles, contemplative prayer and mysticism do indeed connect one with a spiritual realm, but that realm is not God, and it is not good.

And while the New Age movement promises an Age of Aquarius (or enlightenment) as an age of peace and oneness if we all engage in mystical prayer, the Bible indicates that the last days will be marked by unrest and war. And if we look at the Yanomamo, who have been practicing spirituality for centuries, we can see that the lives of these tribesmen and women are marked not by peace but by unrest and violence. If all that the mystics are saying were true, you would think that when the anthropologists discovered the Yanomamo peoples they would have discovered utopian bliss and celestial innocence; but rather violence and unrest was discovered. The Yanomamo have tried and proven that spirituality is not what sustains a people, but as Chief Shoefoot points out after his conversion, our hope is in Jesus Christ alone. It is tragically ironic that while a Yanomamo  chief, like Chief Shoefoot, has time tested and proven that mysticism does not work and has now turned to Jesus, countless Christians are now turning to mysticism to find answers.

The only real difference between the mysticism or Native Spirituality of the Yanomamo and the “Christian mystic” of today is that the Yanomamo have a fully developed spirituality and are far ahead of the mystical leaders and contemplative prayer proponents of the present. An example of this is that the Yanomamo have developed a broader variety of techniques that enable them to enter “the silence” more quickly. For instance, a drug is used that quickly brings the participant to an altered state of consciousness. Interestingly enough, the Book of Revelation makes reference to the re-emergence in the last days of “that great city Babylon” (Revelation 18:21) which was in ancient times a center of idolatry and mysticism but in the end times will be the mercantile hub of false religion. Revelation 18 describes Babylon as “the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” (Revelation 18:2). But how can it be that a city that practices contemplative prayer and mysticism can be frowned upon by God to such a degree? Is it not because the mystical or occultic realm is the habitation of devils? Chief Shoefoot says that it is so. Of further significance is verse 23 that states: “for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived” (Revelation 18:23). If we consult Strong’s Concordance, we find that the Greek word used for “sorceries” is pharmakeia (pharmacy) signifying medication and derived from the word pharmakon signifying drugs (i.e., spell-giving potions). It seems very possible, therefore, that the mystics of the last days will incorporate drug use into their mystical practices, and as indicated in verse 23 above, this may become a great merchandising endeavor where people all over the world will be using mind-altering drugs. Thomas Merton, who helped to pioneer contemplative prayer into our generation, said he felt sorry for the hippies of the ’60s who used LSD because, as he pointed out, they could have achieved the same result by practicing contemplative prayer. But the mystic of the end times may actually feel sorry for Thomas Merton because drug use could make the mystical state much more readily attainable by anyone. Contemplative prayer takes some effort by incorporating a mantra-like word or phrase to create a hypnotic state whereas, in the future, the same result could be achieved by popping a pill or inhaling the smoke of a drug – hence “instant” spirituality! Yet, all the while God’s statement about such practices will be, “for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived” (Revelation 18:23). Apparently, whatever happens will be a massive global effort and by it, people all over the world will be living in great delusion.

Perhaps “Babylon the great” spoken of in Revelation 18 refers to the re-emergence of a literal city of mystical practice and idolatry in the last days, but, at the very least, it must refer to a state of affairs that will sweep the world. Mysticism (i.e., occultism) will be practiced on a global scale. And, all the while, the masses will be thinking they are pleasing God by practicing mysticism, oftentimes with the aid of drugs.

Then, this chapter in Revelation brings out one final point where it says, “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth” (Revelation 18:24). May I point out once again that mysticism (or occultism) connects one with a spirit world inhabited by demons posing to be angels of light. The occultist Alice Bailey, under the influence of her spirit guides, predicted that while New Age style meditation will be promoted and propelled by the apostate Christian church, Christians who will not forsake the fundamentals of the faith will be seen as being in the way of bringing in this Age of enlightenment – an age of peace where everyone sees his or her own divinity and oneness with all things. New Age leader Barbara Marx Hubbard suggests that these resisters of the new world/new reformation will be like a cancer that needs to be excised out of the earth. She calls this elimination the “Selection Process.”1 Now I ask, what can be more hypocritical and diabolical than to think that the annihilation of godly people will bring about peace?

What will be the end of this resurrected city of Babylon? Revelation says, “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her” (Revelation 18:8), and again it says, “for in one hour is thy judgment come” (Revelation 18:10). Apparently, the judgment to come will be speedy and severe.

So, while we can only speculate on the details of what will happen, we can be sure that a massive delusion will encompass the world and that severe judgment will also take place. Just knowing this, let us, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, cling the more dearly to the Word of God and the Gospel message. Jesus died on the Cross to save sinners and rose from the dead to conquer death; our hope is in Him and nowhere or no one else. And while it is scary to think of persecution of the believers, it is more frightening to think of God’s judgment on those who abandon God’s Word for a lie. May we remember that no matter what we might suffer as Christians, the safest place to be is in God’s will. Knowing this, let us encourage one another with the comfort and hope that is in the Lord. And let us be assured that we know where we are going.

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:13-14

Marijuana Legalization, Loss of Freedom, Abortion, and Same-Sex Marriage Win in the Election (The Continual Decline of America)

LTRP Note: The following stories are from various news sources and are posted for informational purposes and not as endorsement for these sources.

Marijuana legalization passes in Colorado, Washington: NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Voters in Washington and Colorado passed ballot initiatives Tuesday to legalize marijuana for recreational use, the biggest victory ever for the legalization movement.

Same-Sex Marriage Wins on the Ballot for the First Time in American History: (Atlantic) — Last night’s election marks the first time in American history that a measure to legalize gay marriage has been passed by a popular vote. Prior to the election, the states (and District of Columbia) where same-sex marriage was legal had been made so by the actions of lawmakers and courts; voters, in all 32 times that measures to enable same-sex marriage had been offered on a state ballot, had voted them down.

Pro-Abortion President Barack Obama Defeats Mitt Romney: (LifeNews) — In a disappointing night for pro-life advocates, pro-abortion President Barack Obama defeated pro-life candidate Mitt Romney in the race for president. The results make it increasingly difficult that Americans will be able to end legalized abortion any time soon, be able to end taxpayer funding to the Planned Parenthood abortion business, or approve new pro-life legislation in Congress.


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