Sunday, April 29, 2012

Personal Views on Smoking

Many godly people such as C.S. Lewis and C.H. Spurgeon have smoked tobacco. Some of the brothers and sisters in an effort to avoid adding extra moral codes to the Bible have wisely stated that smoking is not prohibited in Scripture. Smoking has a particular stigma to it that other unhealthy habits do not have. Re-enforcing this stigma is not wise for the church since such a practice focuses on an extra-biblical moral code. Such a focus can cause the would be hearers of the gospel to mistake moralism as the message of the Gospel. This has been a tragedy in the church in America. It is true that our freedom in Christ gives us freedom to do as we think best and according to godly decision making processes. God stated that in regard to keeping his Law we are not to add to it. "Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it. (Deu 12:32 ESV) It is also true that the morality of smoking is not directly addressed in the Scripture. Smoking is an unwise practice due to its damage to one's health though historically the church has often condemned smoking for reasons not related to the scientific evidence that shows smoking to be damaging to one's health. The long term health effects of smoking breaks the Sixth Commandment regarding the prohibition against murder though arguably not as heinous as taking a life in an immediate sense. Ending one's own life is against the Sixth Commandment. Smoking one cigarette has a negligible impact on the health of the person; it is the habitual use of tobacco that destroys the health of the smoker. Habits of neglecting exercises or sound diet can also break the Sixth Commandment. Smokers often smoke to cope with the stresses of life. It can be a mild form of self treatment that has damaging effects. Smoking also is awfully difficult addiction to break. The church has a mandate to love and care for those who are the image bearers of God. Freedom from addiction is always desirable. Helping smokers to quit is a noble act of service and love. I do not smoke. I discourage everyone from smoking. I would not disqualify anyone from church office based on a habit of smoking. “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 1 Cor 10:23 (ESV)

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