Theonomy and drugs.

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Edm, Feb 13, 2016.

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  1. Edm

    Edm Puritan Board Freshman

    May be a simple question that I am just overthinking. I fairly recently started studying the idea of Theonomy. Most of it has answers for restitutions etc. What about the case of Drug dealing, usage etc? What would the theonomic restitution be for that crime? Thank you.
     
  2. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    I'm not a theonomist, but I think theonomy at its best wouldn't have many of the substances illegal to start with. :2cents:
     
  3. Alex the Less

    Alex the Less Puritan Board Freshman

    How about pharmacists and doctors?

    Its hard to draw the line where drug-dealing starts and ends. Some doctors may do it and it would be perfectly legal.

    A long time ago (1970's) I was a youth pastor who preached against drugs using the scriptures. However, many of my more mature elder brothers in the Lord bristled at my zeal. Later I found out why. Who gets to say what is "illegal" and what is not? Whats a drug? Didn't God make all things and declared them "good?"

    I used to note the word "pharmakeia" in the Greek when preaching and said it was proof that drugs were sinful. When I traveled to Athens, Greece however, I noticed signs advertising "pharmakeia." Upon inquiry, I was told that it was where medicine was dispensed.
     
  4. Miss Marple

    Miss Marple Puritan Board Junior

    I consider myself a theonomist, although there are a variety of definitions of that. I have regretfully concluded that there seems to be no civil sanction against psych drug abuse.

    The best I can come up with, and I wonder if it has merit, is the "ox known to gore" argument, reasoning thusly: if we see conclusively that, say, using LSD makes you psychotic, unstable, and criminal in your behavior, then it's like an ox known to gore.

    I am quite convinced that psych drug abuse does more than destroy the user. It destroys his family, his dependents, those at his work, those who may cross his path. I think we have a reasonable expectation that our neighbor be sober - that he would not make himself deliberately insane. Even if temporarily insane.

    But drunkenness, which is a sin, was not punishable by civil law where I can see. So I wonder whether psych drug abuse should be. It is a conundrum to me.
     
  5. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    The law didn't propose to be a complete guide to every possible case, but was to be "filled in" by kings and elders meditating on the law.

    Look for example at the wisdom of Solomon with the two prostitutes and the baby. There is no case law in Moses dealing with this.

    Drunkenness is mentioned in regard to Noah, in regard to Lot, in the case of the rebellious son, and in the later Book of Proverbs. Other drugs may not have been an issue. That doesn't mean that if cannabis or heroin had become an issue in OT Israel, the priests and elders weren't to address it, just as our elders have to address drugs if it becomes an issue in our congregations, and just as our civil magistrates have to decide what is the wisest course of action in our societies.

    In the new administration of the New Testament where e.g. elders no longer are the officers of civil justice, congregations are no longer executioners, the death penalty is no longer a form of excommunication, and where church and state have different spheres, the Reformed approach to biblical law is not the wooden new kid on the block, theonomy, but general equity (WCF 19:4).

    Sent from my HTC Wildfire using Tapatalk 2
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
  6. Justified

    Justified Puritan Board Sophomore

    "But we know that the law*is*good, if a man use it lawfully" (1 Tim. 1:8). Just because God made all things good does not mean that there is improper use of substances. I doubt God, in the ultimate scheme of things, intended men to use LSD. Now, not all things that are immoral or necessarily illegal, but we should proceed with caution in saying drug use are good because God made them-- I understand that probably wasn't exactly what you were intending to say.
     
  7. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Modern theonomy would have great difficulty defining drug dealing and use as a civil crime. This difficulty emerges owing to its appropriation of and application of the regulative principle of civil government. Under WCF 19.4 and 20.4, the sale and use of drugs ought to be classified as a crime 'contrary to the light of nature and the known principles of Christianity', and so it is punishable as a public breach of the moral law (Romans 13:1-7) and as a violation of the 'general equity' of judicial laws that gave directions concerning the safety of one's neighbour (cf. Deuteronomy 22:8).

    For my part, I believe that the laws of common equity (being congruous with the law of nature) in the judicial law bind all nations; the laws of particular equity have expired with the expiration of the nation of Israel, except insofar as they contain a general principle of equity that may continue to oblige. Modern notions of "the abiding validity of the law of God in exhaustive detail" are too confusing to be of much help. As John Frame said, such statements will have to die the death of a thousand qualifications.
     
  8. Alex the Less

    Alex the Less Puritan Board Freshman

    Use may or may not be good, abuse is bad

    Hi Justified,

    No, just because God made it "good" doesn't give license to abuse substances. To me, it seems like the pattern of alcohol use in the bible is a good guide. Clearly drunkenness is sin and God does not want His people to lose control of their faculties. Instead, we should control usage of alcohol. I don't see many problems if folks in Bolivia chew coco leaves. Someone smoking crack and engaged in criminal enterprises is a problem however.

    I am not sure about mushrooms, peyote, or LSD. Possibly some medical usage could be found as I have read articles describing helpful applications. But again, a Christian should focus on Christ and be in control of their mind. How much usage is allowed and still being in control, I don't know the answer of degree. The government has limits on alcohol usage and can test for it. I don't know if its possible for other substances.

    One note on this topic of *drug use* is the translation of English of a Greek work meaning: "sensible" into "sober." This is clearly a miss-translation. "Sober" today means "no use whatsoever" whereas the Greek term meant "reasoned", and "sensible." So I have heard it preached: "no alcohol use because the bible says we are to be 'sober.'" Well, we need to be accurate as to what the bible says and means.
     
  9. Miss Marple

    Miss Marple Puritan Board Junior

    I am curious how you differentiate between the laws of common equity and the laws of particular equity. A pm response is fine if this might be a "thread hijack," I am just trying to work this issue out in my mind. This is in response to you saying:

    "the laws of common equity (being congruous with the law of nature) in the judicial law bind all nations; the laws of particular equity have expired with the expiration of the nation of Israel, except insofar as they contain a general principle of equity that may continue to oblige. "
     
  10. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Common equity = laws that apply to all nations, Jews and Gentiles; particular equity = laws that, as they were originally framed, only applied to Israel.

    A question to ask here is what examples do we have in the Old Testament law of laws that were clearly obligatory upon Jews and Gentiles alike, and what laws that were clearly only obligatory to OT Israel?
     
  11. Captain Picard

    Captain Picard Puritan Board Freshman

    This is a classic example of the case that reformed people not in the "Theonomy with a big T", post-Rushdoony camp have been making for a long time: there are certain elements of what the Mosaic code did and didn't address that were clearly temporal and cultural. To argue heroin use should be legal because it isn't mentioned in the OT strikes me as a hermeneutic of wooden literalism.
     
  12. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Actually the best of the Reconstructionist Theonomists would have no trouble defining drug dealing and use as a civil crime for precisely the reason you gave. Don't forget how Bahnsen applied the OT regulations about a rooftop parapet to come up with the need for a fence around a modern swimming pool.
     
  13. Miss Marple

    Miss Marple Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, the parapet law must be the most germane. Was there a punishment for not having a parapet? Or were you just punished once someone fell off and was injured/killed?
     
  14. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Perhaps the best would, but I have read various RT writings in which they have argued that drug use/sale should not be a civil crime. Does someone not argue for this very position in the Greg Bahnsen festchrift?
     
  15. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    First, the theonomists don't understand the law in its own context, and then they add the "RPCG" on to it because of 21st century concerns about big government.

    If the rebellious son was on heroin rather than alcohol would they say that the law didn't apply in OT times?

    If someone had been distributing hard drugs in Jerusalem in the time of Solomon, are they saying that the king would have his hands tied because the Pentateuch dioesn't talk about hard drugs?

    This is before we get to the question of what these laws teach us for today.

    I've recently started reading this book, and, so far, find it more scholarly and suggestive on the general equity of the case laws, than the standard works by Bahnsen, North and Rushdoony:

    http://www.jubilee-centre.org/god-justice-and-society-by-jonathan-burnside/
     
  16. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Not everything is stated in the law.

    If a law like this was given by God which could be publically vetted, who's to say that elders, priests, or others in authority didn't point out to people concerns about lack of parapets and other health and safety concerns.

    Just because there is no penalty given in the Pentateuch like restitution or the death penalty, does not mean that there would be no ecclesiastical or civil consequences from despising the authority of a priest or elder.

    I'm not saying that beating would be the penalty for despising the will of the elders or priests, but notice that it isn't prescribed for any particular crime, but left to the discretion of the judges to decide. The Pentateuch doesn't specify everything in detail like some modern statutes try to:

     
  17. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    The example of the parapet demonstrates that the "equity" is so broad it is just a matter of common sense, which in turn validates common sense and invalidates theonomy's fundamental thesis.
     
  18. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I never cease to be amazed—and dismayed—at the lack of understanding here even among the learned with respect to that particular and unique class of drugs spoken of in the Scriptures. Given that under Moses the drugs and drug activity referred to by the Hebrew word, [SIZE=+1]%yIp;êv'K[/SIZE], kesheph, [thy] sorceries, Strong’s #3785, from the root [SIZE=+1]@v;K' [/SIZE]kāšaph [a verb meaning to practice magic, witchcraft, to practice sorcery, Strong’s #3784], with both Hebrew words translated in the LXX Greek as farmakeia, pharmakeia, such drug use and related activity warranted the death penalty under Moses: Exodus 22:18, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Strong’s #3784). One reason for the judgment pronounced upon Chaldean Babylon was its dependence upon and indulgence in “the multitude of thy sorceries” (Isa 47:9, 12, Strong’s #3785), one of its chosen means of divination and spiritual potency—communing with their gods/demons—a judgment echoed with respect to the latter day Babylon in Revelation 18, note especially verse 23.

    Alex, you were not off with your view back in the 70s (I reckon that would make your age now in the 70s also, no?). In the Greek “pharmakeia” can indeed mean medicine, or poison, or magic potion. I’m writing this from the country of Cyprus, and one can see such signs everywhere on the local pharmacies. However, in the LXX translations from the Hebrew (noted above) and in the New Testament in Gal 5:20, Rev 9:21; 18:23; 21:8, and 22:15—all cognates of the root [SIZE=+1]farmakon[/SIZE] pharmakon drugs—the meaning in neither medicine nor poison but strictly “magic potion”. In the NT the spiritual equivalent of the death penalty is given for those unrepentant partakers of these peculiar drugs: excommunication from the church, barred eternally from the City of God (Rev 22:15) and consigned to the lake of fire (Rev 21:8). In both communities, ancient Israel and the NT church, this kind of satanic influence among the holy people was / is profoundly defiling.

    You rhetorically asked, “Who gets to say what is ‘illegal’ and what is not?” I would say it depends on what kingdom you’re in. The kingdom of man—and its civil magistrates—will decide for themselves, and God decides for His kingdom. It is written in our Scripture that we should obey the civil magistrate (1 Pet 2:13, 14; Titus 3:1; Rom 13:1-7), but when this latter makes permissible what God has forbidden, we obey God. The prohibition against these drugs as regards us, Christians, is from the word of God, not the word of man.

    It is the class of drugs that became so popular in the 60s and 70s and on—the psychedelics, all of them, cannabis and its derivatives included—that constitute the pharmakeia / sorcerous agents. It does not include standard medicines, including opiates and other analgesics, even the strong ones, nor tranquilizers and other psychotropic meds.

    Yes, there is a resurgence of advocacy for using LSD and peyote or psilocybin mushrooms therapeutically (I have seen articles in the NYTimes fairly recently), which, as regards therapy, is a horror. In the paper referenced below are links to other papers (by me) in which purported medicinal uses are discussed.

    I attach the paper on these and related issues:

    View attachment New Insights in Amillennial Eschatology.pdf
     
  19. Alex the Less

    Alex the Less Puritan Board Freshman

    To Steve

    Hoping this goes through as I have lost posts to my being logged off the site. Yes, I am a slow typist but do not want to lose any more posts.

    Steve, I will have to respectfully disagree with you as to your linking Pharmakon to psychedelics. How do you know to assign this meaning? Do you have valid linkage? Do you know or have materials of learned theologians who assign Pharmakon to psychedelics? How do I know that you did not come up with your own idea apart from sound exegesis. In Greek usage governs meaning. We cannot decide on our own to assign meaning because we think that a practice we see today is what they were referring in the New Testament.

    As you know, and I have posted my history of investigating the issue, I cannot assign this meaning of recent psychotropic drug use to what the bible condemns with the terms pharmakeia and pharmakon. To change my mind Steve, you will have to historically prove that written scripture dealt with a similar issue at the time of its production. We have a wealth of primary sources from this era and my research turns up nothing of the sort was happening in the First Century as the phenomenon of greatly expanded psychedelic drug use from about the late 1950s to the present. My take on the reason of the current expanded use was the increase of informational dissemination. The Western Culture of today is basically decadent and so they have found another toy.

    When doing exegesis on the usage of the terms we are considering we need to see what O.T. practices they refer. For instance, the usage in Rev. of pharmakon quotes Malachi. We need to see what the issues were in Malachi's day to determine what John is writing against. We know it was a form of sorcery (finding out information from the spirit world primarily). Recreational drug use in Malachi, I would argue, was nonexistent. So interpretation of terms, I am saying, must be grounded in historical reality. Again, Steve, give me your historical references to recreational drug use during biblical periods and you will make your case.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
  20. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

  21. Alex the Less

    Alex the Less Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi Jake

    Does Steve say anything different in the post? I will take a look when I have more time. Today will be busy for me.

    I am open to anything that can be found in historical sources as I may have missed something. However, we need to have interpretational integrity and not assign meaning where none exists. The consequence for being wrong is just too dear for me to become another moralist instead of basing my preaching on the word of God as to what it actually says. I do not want to be a false prophet. We have to establish our credibility otherwise if we just preach a moralistic message that is not bible-based then how will they believe when we tell them about the riches of Christ? We need to accurately handle the word of God.
     
  22. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Alex
    When this happens and you go and log on, if you return to the "Quick Reply" window, there is a facility - button - available at the bottom of the window which says something like "Retrieve Post". If you press it you get your recent posting back and can continue your golden thoughts.
     
  23. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hello Alex,

    When you say things like, “I am not sure about mushrooms, peyote, or LSD. Possibly some medical usage could be found as I have read articles describing helpful applications”, it is clear you have not done proper homework on these matters. The same with the saying, “Whats a drug? Didn't God make all things and declared them ‘good?’ ”

    Yes, He made all things good, but not all things holy, or clean (fit for man’s use): Thus He gave the spiritual overseers and guardians understanding, “that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean” (Lev 10:10; cf Ezek 22:26). We are to discern and discriminate among the things God made.

    Nonetheless, I respect your not wanting to be legalistic—a mere moralizer—giving as of the LORD what might only be of man. Before I give some historical data, let me ask you some questions: When the apostle John in Revelation 9:21 spoke concerning those who survived the massive destruction—of one third of humankind—in the woe of the sixth trumpet, “Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts”, what does the pharmakeia mentioned refer to? I would likewise ask you regarding the same word in Rev 18:23, and its cognates in 21:8 and 22:15, what do these refer to? For evidently the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] woe was meted upon men for the idolatry and the specific sins listed, while the utter destruction of Babylon in Rev 18 was in great measure judgment called for because “by thy sorceries were all nations deceived” (18:23). Further, the eternal damnation of the sorcerers spoken of in Rev 21:8 and Rev 22:15 was due to their activities. Now in these four instances involving immense destruction and eternal torment for the sin of sorcery, what do you think this sin consisted of? What meaning would you assign to the word “sorcery” / pharmakeia? Can you tell me? Surely a New Testament-age sin warranting such wrath ought to be plain to us, so that we may carefully shun such lethal transgression of God’s word. It cannot be that such an egregious violation of His law is not known to us, leaving us in the dark! You presume to teach—or at least publicly give a favorable opinion—concerning this (saying what you have concerning “mushrooms, peyote, or LSD”), so I ask you.

    To begin looking at historical evidences; the ancient Jewish translators of the Pentateuch into Greek in Exodus 22:18 “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”, and Deuteronomy 18:10 “There shall not be found among you…a witch…”, both of these from a cognate of the root word [SIZE=+1]@v;K'[/SIZE] kāšaph, which the Septuagint-creating Jews translated with a word specifically denoting drug use: [SIZE=+1]farmakoj[/SIZE] pharmakos, sorcerer. They did the same with that word in Malachi 3:5 of the coming Messiah, that He “will be a swift witness against the sorcerers”. Why would they use this word denoting drugs and their activities were it not known to them to be so? What can we infer historically regarding their knowledge? We will get to the nature of these drugs used in a moment.

    This is likewise the case with the word [SIZE=+1]%yIp;êv'K[/SIZE], kesheph, [thy] sorceries in Isaiah 47:9, and Chaldean Babylon’s sorceries (as I mentioned in my earlier post)—the LXX translators again used a Greek word to refer to their activities with the meaning of illicit pharmaceuticals used for occult purposes: pharmakeia, sorceries. What did they know that we are ignorant of?

    These are things not unknown to the commentators and lexicographers. Here’s some lexical data concerning the words, to shed light on them.

    The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, by Spiros Zodhiates, gives us a start:

    “Strong’s #5331, pharmakeia, from pharmakon, a drug, which in the Gr. writers is used both for a curative or medicinal drug, and also as a poisonous one. Pharmakeia means the occult, sorcery, witchcraft, illicit pharmaceuticals, trance, magical incantation with drugs (Gal. 5:20; Rev. 9:21; 18:23; Sept.: Ex. 7:22; Is. 47:9, 12). (pp. 1437, 1438)

    “Strong’s #5332, pharmakeus; gen. pharmakeos, from pharmakeuo, to administer a drug. An enchanter with drugs, a sorcerer (Rev. 21:8 [TR]) (Ibid., p. 1438)

    “Strong’s #5333, pharmakos, gen. pharmakou. A magician, sorcerer, enchanter (Rev. 21:8 [UBS]; 22:15; Sept.: Ex. 7:11; 9:11; Deut. 18:10; Dan. 2:2). The same as pharmakeus (5332). The noun pharmakeia (5331) means the preparing and giving of medicine, and in the NT, sorcery, enchantment.” (Ibid.)​

    Quoting now from the old ISBE,

    “The word translated in the AV ‘witchcraft’ in Gal 5:20 (pharmakeia) is the ordinary Greek one for ‘sorcery,’ and is so rendered in the RV, though it means literally the act of administering drugs and then of magical potions. It naturally comes then to stand for the magician’s art, as in the present passage and also in . . . the LXX of Isa 47:9 . . . translated ‘sorceries’.” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, James Orr, Ed., Vol. 5, p. 3097.)​

    With regard to pharmakeiaBAGD 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] Edition says, that in Rev 18:23 the meaning is “sorcery, magic”, and in Rev 9:21, “magic arts”. It also gives usages in many other classical and LXX readings, but for brevity I’ll limit it to the NT usage, and will in the following citation also.

    Concerning pharmakon – drug – in classical use there are 3 meanings: 1) “poison”, 2) “magic potion, charm”, and 3) “medicine, remedy”. These are on page 854a of Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, and Danker’s, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] Edition.

    In both Biblical (as well classical) and modern Greek, the semantic range of these words with similar lexemes is clear. There are three uses of the basic word, pharmakon, drug: 1) medicinal / curative, 2) poison, and 3) magic potion. That’s the extent of the semantic range.

    John was not talking of poisoners (murderers!) in Rev 21:8 and 22:15 as he had already listed “murderers” separately in those respective verses; neither was he talking of murders in Rev 9:21, as there also he had listed “murders” separately. Nor was he talking of legitimate medicines; these are used for curing illnesses and would warrant no judgment at all. It means specifically one who uses sorcerous potions. The same applies with liars / deceivers in Rev 22:15 and 21:8; sorcerers cannot be meant as liars are also are listed separately, so the Greek words, pharmakos and pharmakeus for sorcerer, can only refer to those who use and administer sorcerous drugs.

    In Biblical times, according to both commentators and lexicographers, the historic meanings of these words are clear. Modern Greek retains these meanings.

    But what of the nature—the properties—of these drugs? Simon Kistemaker in a textual note says of pharmakon (drugs)—appearing as a variant in Rev 9:21,

    “[SIZE=+1]farmakon[/SIZE] [pharmakon]—‘magic potion . . .’ [and refers] to the concept of drugs that induce magic spells.” [Emphasis in original]. (Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Revelation, p. 302.)​

    And from The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol 2, p. 558,

    “. . . pharmakos, magician (Rev. 22:15); pharmakeus, mixer of potions, magician (Rev. 21:8); pharmakeia, magic, sorcery (Gal. 5:20; Rev. 9:21; 18:23). The basic word pharmakon does not occur in the NT [save in the aforementioned variant –SMR], but its meaning of medicine, magic potion, poison gives the underlying idea of the words. Potions include poisons, but there has always been a magical tradition of herbs gathered and prepared for spells, and also for encouraging the presence of spirits at magical ceremonies . . . Sorcery is classed among the works of the flesh in Gal. 5:20.” [underlined and last bold and italicized emphases added]​

    The picture we get is of drugs which are used to “encourage the presence of spirits” and “induce magic spells” / spiritual states of consciousness / trance states. It’s clear that Christians are naïve about such things, which is generally good, for these are deep things of Satan. But now, in these times, we need to be more discerning, because of the great danger. The world knows well enough about such drugs and their properties. Students of Hinduism know that Hindus smoke cannabis and hashish in their worship (it’s a holy plant to them) in order to commune with their spirit entities / deities (demons); shamans likewise with peyote and mescal buttons. The Spiritual Use of Cannabis <http://www.sparcsf.org/learning-center/spiritual-use-canabis> article shows the same in many spiritual paths and religions. In secular literature there are many studies of the historical use of what the Bible knows to be sorcery, but the world thinks of as “entheogens”, psychedelics, or “sacraments” for their demonic spiritual paths. The literature concerning these things is vast.

    Alex, there has been no previous (going back into ancient times) use of “recreational” drugs such as we know—that is something unique to our times, beginning in the 1950s and 60s with the Beats and the counterculture / Woodstock generation. Even in Chaldean Babylon with “the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments” (Isa 47:9), I believe this drug use was reserved for serious occult practitioners and not the general populace. In our days folks use such drugs for kicks (sensual pleasure), and various other works of the flesh, as Galatians 5:20 categorizes it (witchcraft or sorcery).

    There is great danger for the church if it undiscerningly allows such things into her midst. And those who either facilitate this or merely keep silent at its arrival do grave ill. This is not legalism, but a warning from God’s word with many witnesses.

    And speaking of witness, how can those be convinced—namely the skeptical—that what I and others report of these drugs is true? How could they possibly know—or even believe—if they had no personal experience of them? It should be sufficient that the Lord has raised up witnesses through the exposition of His word, and the accompanying testimony of those He has rescued from participation in these activities.

    Which brings me to the matter of legal testimony. In this matter of the pharmakeia drugs there are three classes of witnesses:

    1) The testimony of Scripture: these drugs exist, are used in sorcerous activities, and are condemned by God on pain of death.
    2) The testimony of Biblical exegetes, linguists, and commentators: who define what sorcery and witchcraft are by indicating the use of drugs to enter demonic realms, and the practicing of their crafts there by said users.
    3) The testimony of those who have experienced these peculiar drugs, and they are of two classes: a) godly men and women who have been delivered from the use and effects of them; and b) ungodly men and women who continue in use of them and clearly write and speak of their properties, their affect within their beings, and their efficacy in entering the spirit world.

    The quality of this legal testimony (Deut 19:15; Matt 18:16; 2 Cor 13:1; etc) ought to be sufficient for skeptics to at least take notice, and ponder, prayerfully weighing it.
     
  24. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    To get back to the OP’s question, “What about the case of Drug dealing, usage etc? What would the theonomic restitution be for that crime?”

    I’d think it would depend on the type of drugs. If it were the sorcerous ones, the death penalty. If the narcotics / opiates and the like, which heavily addicted men, so that they would steal and kill to be able to buy them (or overdose and die), I’d still think the death penalty.

    This is off topic, but I’ve been pondering it: here in America (though I’m in Cyprus at the moment) there are great numbers—I don’t know the stats—who use tranquilizers, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, prescription pain-killers, and other mood-altering drugs, including heroin—the new scourge of affluent white youths (but excluding the psychedelics), so that vast multitudes are drug-dependent, relying on these “meds” to keep them sane or calm or simply feeling okay and able to deal with life.

    The psychiatrists of our day—a good many of them—do not practice psychotherapy (whatever worth it was anyway) but push pills, dreaming up cocktails of chemicals to make us feel acceptably well. This seems to reflect a worldview that we are but physical things (personhood now purportedly a debunked concept) in a merely physical universe, without souls, and where there is no God.

    I know there are legitimate reasons for the use of these for some, but what does this say about us as a nation (I don’t know about the U.K., Europe and other parts of the West)? Is it that the times are so bad, psychologically speaking, that without these psychological aids we are basket cases? Is this perchance related to the torment of Revelation 9 and the fifth trumpet judgment, where the incursion of demonic influence into the collective consciousness torments those men not protectively sealed by God’s Spirit to the point of wanting to die? For the influence of demons is deathly, like a plague-infested blanket.
    __________

    I had occasion to go online (I’m not online as I’m writing—can only do so sporadically) to get some stats of those taking psychiatric drugs, from here: http://www.cchrint.org/psychiatric-drugs/people-taking-psychiatric-drugs/. If we as a nation went off all psych drugs, or there was a failure of the electric grid or economic breakdown that prevented their being purchased, could it be we would become a nation of suicides, psychotics, psychopaths, and sociopaths? Madhouse USA. Does this not bespeak a plague upon us of Biblical proportions? What have we become that we—an enormous number of us—are mentally ill and only can make it if we are on meds?

    I count from the lists 94,836,220 on psychiatric drugs (though the page seems to say 78,694,222 – I’m not sure why the discrepancy). This does not include those obtained illegally (not from legit scripts), nor heroin, which is now a bane of affluent white youths. I recently saw an article from the Woodstock Times (where I lived 19 years) how that the youths there are in great numbers using heroin.

    If the stats I see online are right the total U.S. population is 308,745, 538. So over one fourth of us is on these meds.
     
  25. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    You can also control A control C before pressing "post." I have saved a few posts this way.
     
  26. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    I would think that after a time or two of posting the same material you would no longer be surprised that few follow your idiosyncratic interpretations. Reading your own experience with the drug culture back onto scripture isn't a responsible handling of the text.
     
  27. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    OK, Scott, so I ask you: What meaning would you assign to the word "sorcery" / pharmakeia? Surely a New Testament-age sin warranting such wrath ought to be plain to us, so that we may carefully shun such lethal transgression of God's word. It cannot be that such an egregious violation of His law is not known to us, leaving us in the dark! You should really speak for yourself, not others.

    It may seem idiosyncratic to you, but other responsible commentators and linguists concur.

    You should note that I am speaking primarily of "
    mushrooms, peyote, or LSD". You would allow these?
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016
  28. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hello Scott,

    Do you want to denigrate what I had experience of in the Lord’s providence to the end of being able to tell about these agents and give warning, as many others also bear witness? And alleging that I am “reading [my] own experience with the drug culture back onto scripture” because I know whereof I speak, while you who fault this understanding know nothing of what you speak? Were I to speak only from experience without the witness of Scripture that would be one thing, but Scripture itself bears witness, as commentators and linguists affirm. It’s a shame you “criticize what you can’t understand”, to quote Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’, and give only an unknowledgeable opinion with no scholarship at all to back it up.

    I post again on the topic (and with new material as my studies and discernment continue) because I see folks new to the issue, and unfamiliar with it.

    It does appear, oddly enough, that a sector in the Reformed churches looks at the identification of the psychedelic drugs as the pharmakeia / sorcery agents condemned and forbidden in the Scripture as being an “idiosyncratic interpretation”. It matters not to them that lexicographers and commentators affirm this identification, nor does it trouble them that they themselves are unable to give an alternative interpretation of what the lethal sin of using pharmakeia agents is, if continued in without repentance! Neither does it matter to them that the drug-using world is fully cognizant of the properties of the psychedelics, including shamans and other occult mystics and practitioners—instead they simply deny what is obvious to so many. Which were not so terrible a thing, were it not that by this denial they tacitly allow their entrance into the precincts of God’s temple, thinking it adiaphora—a matter of indifference. This calls to mind what Greg Beale said about deception being a judgment—even upon the churches—during the fifth and sixth trumpet woes of Revelation:

    “The deception manifests itself partly through the false teachers affirming the legitimacy of some form of idolatry for Christians (cf., e.g., Rev. 2:6, 14-15, 20, 21).” – New International Greek Testament Commentary: Revelation (Eerdmans 1999), pp 513.​

    And there is no worse form of idolatry than that which deifies the demonic presence.
    __________

    The spiritual warriors these days—pastors are called to be shepherds guarding the flocks against predators—must also be scholars with spiritual discernment, for the assaults of antichrist spirits are multifarious and we are in the thick of battle, despite the obliviousness of some.

    Along with preaching the cross of Christ (1 Cor 1:18) we are to cast down high imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, bringing them captive to obedience to Christ (2 Cor 10:4-6).

    The mind-expanding drugs—such as LSD et al—and what they are capable of, are enemies of the Kingdom of God, and I will continue to expose them while I live, and care not for gainsayers who have no defense against sound Biblical knowledge of these things, cavils notwithstanding.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
  29. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    Steve, sorry for the drive-by nature of my post earlier. I haven't made time to follow up until now.

    I stand by what I said earlier. You have not shown how these numerous commentaries that agree with you. You have latched on to pharmakeia = drugs and run with it.

    As far as alternatives to your reading, there are several. Some insist with equal conviction that the word refers to abortifacients and others say it is birth control. While I think these are more likely than your interpretation as many in the early church use pharmakeia to mean exactly that, I think the seductive aspect highlighted in Scripture and elsewhere is in view. The drugs or potions seem to be something that is used on someone else--they are poisons or enchantments to cause someone else to be weakened in some way. The self-administration of drugs in shamanism is likely not in view.

    I'm not convinced that these potions are necessarily efficacious. One common way to make a potion would be to dissolve a written spell in a solvent, giving the drink all the power of a homeopathic remedy. We shouldn't be bothered by this as Scripture also warns against charms and astrology which also have no power.

    I find it interesting that you hold the KJV as the best and practically the only translation to be used, yet the translators seem to have erred in translating pharmakeia as sorcery. One wonders why they would obscure the meaning of the text in this way.

    Come now. I don't think you approve of abortion because you don't think pharmakeia applies to abortifacients.
     
  30. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hello Scott, I'm going to be traveling (from the middle east) very shortly, and won't have an internet connection, but I'll reply to your thoughtful post when I get back in the states later this week.
     
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