Is my soul in jeopardy if I don'taddress the issue ofa known smoker that attends church where I attend?He was baptized years ago andpartakes of the Lord's Supper.By not addressing the issue withhim, am Inow out of Christ? Also, if a preacher baptizes a known smoker who comes forward during church to be baptized, is that putting the preacher's soul in jeopardy? Thanks.


Smoking is a difficult question for Christians to address because for so many years in the past, people didn't know the harm that came from smoking. As time passed, we've learned much about the damage smoking causes on the person and those around them. Arguments against smoking focuses on the harm, the lack of benefit, and the expense.

I have known a number of Christians addicted to smoking. About the only thing I can say is that at least tobacco doesn't warp a person's thinking like so many other drugs. I feel sorry for these people. Just as I feel sorry for a person who doesn't manage his money well or who yells far too much at his children.

I teach against it. I do sermons on the subject. I warn young people that it is very hard to stop once you start, that it will cause harm, that it is a waste of money. I tell people caught up in the habit that they ought to stop. Yet, I recognize that ultimately it is going to be between that person and God to discuss on Judgment day. I believe they will be far better off quiting the habit, but whether it will keep them out of heaven isn't something I can say with absolute certainty.

So why don't you talk to the person you know, just to make sure he understands the problems with tobacco use? Perhaps ask if there is something you might do to help. And definitely encourage him to quit. In other words, stop worrying about your position with God and start being concerned over the safety of a brother in Christ.

When teaching a person about Christianity, I make sure I cover verses dealing with not causing harm to yourself and about addiction. While I will tell an active drug user they need to stop using before they can say they are turning their life over to God, much of it is because I know the drugs are messing with their minds. A Christian needs to be sober-minded. With a smoker I warn them of the dangers, but I don't feel I'm in the position to refuse since they know what they are doing. I'll keep pushing them toward a better position in life.