A Near-Death Ecstasy Experience, Passing Up The UFC, Plant Medicine In Christianity & Much More With Pastor Jeff Durbin.

Affiliate Disclosure

plant medicine christianity
Body, Health & Wellness, Lifestyle, Mental Health, Mind-Spirit, People, Podcast, Podcast-new, Relationships, Spiritual Growth & Disciplines, Spirituality

Listen on:

From the screen glow of an 80's television showcasing Chinese Kung Fu theater to the vibrant arenas of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Mortal Kombat,” Jeff Durbin's life reads like a reel of adrenaline-packed sequences.

But it wasn't all triumphant rounds and ninja moves; there were battles far more internal and daunting, fights that transcended the visible world.

You might recognize Jeff from the History Channel's “The Stoned Ages,” where he took a candid, Christian stance on addiction, or from the documentary film A Storm Comes Rolling Down The Plain. Jeff co-hosts Apologia Radio and Apologia TV, both of which garner followers throughout the U.S. and internationally. (You can find these shows via Apologia Studios). A World Champion martial artist with five black belts, Jeff even appeared as a fighter in MTV’s “The Final Fu.”

Not long after Jeff was married, he began to develop a drug addiction that put a severe strain on his marriage. His alcohol and drug consumption grew to surpass all other priorities. This developed into a dependence on ecstasy, which Jeff overused to the point that he had to take several pills at a time to feel anything. Eventually, this led to a near-death experience by overdose.

Sitting in an ice water bathtub to try and cool his overheated body and slow his racing heart, Jeff tried to make a bargain with God to spare him in exchange for being a better person: an impossible promise to make. After recovering, Jeff ignored the promises he made, but the Lord was not done with him yet. A personal financial collapse brought on by his sinful lifestyle led him to the point of utter brokenness. With no way out, Christ was faithful to offer Jeff a place to turn.

Apologia Church, under Jeff's guidance as pastor and elder, has always asserted that being a church isn't just about weekly attendance; it's a way of life, a deep-seated commitment to serving the community and each other. A popular speaker for camps, conferences, churches, and schools across the globe, Jeff worked for many years as a hospital chaplain. He has participated in outreach to various religious organizations nationwide and has even engaged in several moderated public debates. Jeff has been married to his wife, Candi, for over 20 years. They have five children: Sage, Immagin, Saylor, Stellar, and Augustine.

In today's episode, we’ll dive into the murky waters of addiction. Is drug and alcohol dependence merely a physical affliction, or is there a spiritual vacuum that perpetuates it? How does Jeff’s own personal experience with addiction inform his perspective? And not shying away from controversial topics, we’ll touch upon the use of plant medicine in spiritual journeys. Prepare for an enthralling look into the world of a man who seamlessly fuses martial arts, faith, and resilience.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-Why does Jeff wear NAD patches?…04:46

  • Jeff is a fan of NAD
  • NAD patches from Ion Layer (use code GREENFIELD to save $150 on your first order)
  • Ben’s experience with NAD patches
  • Jeff’s friend, Dennis Sarfate, a professional baseball player
    • Got the hip replacement and used NAD to recover 
  • Started using NAD patches and felt the benefits
    • Jeff’s wife took NAD as well 
  • NAD is good for:
    • DNA repair
    • Injury
    • Inflammation
    • Long haul COVID
    • Sleep deprivation
  • The same effects with Creatine

-What does Jeff do for health and longevity?…09:39

  • Momentum longevity shake
  • Uses a lot of supplements
  • Cautious about what he puts into his body
  • On a world tour in Argentina, he saw everybody walking around with a Yerba Mate
  • Started drinking it when he came back to U.S.
  • Every culture has some kind of stimulant

-How did Jeff get involved with martial arts?…13:36

  • Jeff was the 80's kid
  • Watched Chinese Kung Fu theater on TV and loved it
  • Started Judo at 4
  • Family moved to Japan and trained every day
  • Moved to Washington D.C. and became a private student of one of the best martial arts teacher in the world
  • Started winning all the national tournaments, the international tournaments, and World Championships
  • Went to the Junior Olympics
  • Full-time training and full-time competition traveling across the country
  • At 18, went to a national tournament in Boston, got a part as Johnny Cage
  • Other roles followed like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

-Did Jeff ever consider the UFC?…19:00

  • Got a contract as an 18-year-old
  • UFC had a lot of rules that favored people who wanted to just fight on the ground
    • You couldn't do certain things to stop that
  • At the time, he got the contract for Mortal Combat
    • Jeff didn’t want to get broken into pieces
  • He is a fan of the UFC
  • He will never lose his love for martial arts

-How did Jeff become a pastor?…21:21

  • Ben’s story about being raised in a conservative home in Idaho
  • Jeff wasn’t born into a Christian family
  • Came to Christ after a drug and alcohol addiction
  • Developed a love for God, His word, and people
  • Took ecstasy for the first time at 21
  • That led to a year of depravity and abandoning his wife and kids
  • Almost died several times
  • Started reading the Gospel and turned to Christ
  • Opened a martial arts school and did ministry at the same time
  • Turned to evangelism
    • Passionate for apologetics – the defense of the Christian faith
  • Never thought he would become a pastor
  • His pastor asked him to teach Sunday service
    • Did not feel comfortable with that, didn't feel like he was supposed to do that or was worthy of that
    • But in the end, he did it out of obedience to God
  • One Sunday led into more over the next year
  • Felt he was called to become a pastor
  • He gave away his highly profitable martial arts school and became a pastor
  • Became the head chaplain at a hospital in Phoenix, a drug and alcohol rehab facility
  • Apologia Church has close to a thousand people on Sundays

-Jeff’s life of addiction…31:02

  • Ecstasy burns up all the serotonin in your brain
  • When you're using it too much, you don’t feel the drug anymore
  • You constantly chase that feeling of ecstasy and high
  • After the year, he was taking 5-6 pills a night
  • Only 1 pill can lead to overheating
  • One night, he felt he was overheating and thought he was going to die
  • He tried to cool himself and started praying
  • As soon as he prayed, everything got back to normal
  • It was a miracle, but he continued to use ecstasy
  • After 2 weeks, he lost everything and hit rock bottom
  • That’s when he finally turned to Christ

-What is drug and alcohol addiction?…36:44

  • The History Channel was making a documentary called The Stoned Ages
  • They wanted to talk to somebody who approached drug and alcohol addiction from an explicitly Christian position and found Jeff
  • Drug and alcohol addiction is an expression of idolatry
  • People chase an idol to get what they can only truly have in God
    • People take drugs to get peace, happiness, or pleasure
    • We can ultimately be satisfied in God
  • We're broken and rebels against God
  • We don't want God, so we chase the substandard God
    • False gods will never satisfy real spiritual needs
    • You'll chase it forever, and you're never going to get it
  • Addicts need a heart change and a mind change
  • Detox is essential in order to save your life

-Using exercise and fitness to fill the eternal hole in the soul…43:26

  • What is man's Primary purpose?
    • To glorify God and to enjoy him forever
  • If our relationship with God is broken, we're going to seek satisfaction, peace, and wholeness elsewhere
  • People can be addicted to anything – drugs, sex, exercise, etc.
  • Fit Soul by Ben Greenfield

-The use of plant medicine to communicate with the Divine…45:35

  • The Immortality Key by Brian C. Muraresku
  • Idea that Christians used drugs throughout history to communicate with God is fiction
    • No scholar with any integrity would make that kind of connection to the Christian faith
  • Old Testament – In Deuteronomy chapter 18
    • God warns his people against pharmakeia, sorcery, taking substances to communicate with the other side, getting into an altered state of consciousness
  • New Testament – Galatians
    • God explicitly speaks to the issue of pharmakeia
    • Scripture condemns that kind of practice
  • DMT and ayahuasca show us the other side exists
  • Scripture is really clear that you cannot communicate with the dead
  • Many people became believers after their experience with plant medicine
    • Atheists come in, but they don't come out
  • After a while, they would slide toward schizophrenia, bipolar, and weird personality disorders
    • Or they would forget about God
  • Not every path is good and risk-free
  • The Bible condemns the use of alcohol, but also gives high praise for alcohol in the right context
    • The substance is not evil but the use can be evil
  • The right and wrong use of morphine and cannabis
  • Ben’s experience with plant medicine
  • Articles on plant medicine:
  • Responsibility and temperance are required for everything

-Jeff’s stance on the use of cannabis…59:04

  • Christians should overcome inconsistencies because they could be quite devastating
  • Christians should not vilify cannabis
  • People dying from cancer can choose between opiates and cannabis
    • The damage is much greater from opiates
    • Cannabis is natural, and your system knows what to do with it
    • It will not devastate you physically like opiates
    • People on opiates are not present; they disappear
  • The abuse of cannabis among Christians
  • It is a problem, and it will always be a problem as long as the world has fallen
  • Christians are particularly embarrassed to talk about their addiction
  • The Church is for sinners, not for the righteous
  • Just be honest with your brokenness and needs because Jesus heals the sick
  • Experimenting with substances for prayer and meditation is not a good idea
  • The way to peace with God and communion with God is through faith in Christ

-And much more…

Upcoming Events:

  • Couples Collective: October 25th – 29th, 2023

Couples Collective is an exclusive and immersive way to explore health, wellness, and mindset with your significant other. Jessa and I will be leading a health optimization and relationships workshop, alongside many other awesome couples. This is a small event, and access requires you to interview with event-holder OWN IT to ensure a right fit. However, for those who are said fit, this event is designed to bring you into deeper union within your relationship and onward into greater connection with your life, love, health, and happiness. I'm looking for 6 to 7 powerful couples to come join me at the event – are you one of them? Learn more here.

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

Jeff Durbin:

– Podcasts And Articles:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

Episode Sponsors:

Timeline Nutrition: Timeline is offering 10% off your first order of Mitopure. Go to timelinenutrition.com/BEN and use code BEN to get 10% off your order.

BiOptimizers Magnesium Breakthrough: The 7 essential forms of magnesium included in this full spectrum serving help you relax, unwind, and turn off your active brain after a long and stressful day so you can rest peacefully and wake up feeling refreshed, vibrant, and alert. On top of the promo code ben10 for a 10% discount, you can unlock a special gift with purchase – for a limited time only. Go to magbreakthrough.com/ben now and get your gift.

Lucy Gum: If you are looking for a cleaner and tastier alternative to other nicotine products, Lucy is for you. To save 20% on any order, head over to lucy.co use discount code BEN20.

BioStack Labs: NAD Regen increases your energy, enhances your cognitive function, and slows aging. Buy one bottle, get your second bottle for 20% off by going to biostacklabs.com/ben.

Xtend-Life: Achieve longevity through “future-proofing your health.” If there's one supplement to choose from, let Xtend-Life's 100+ ingredient Total Balance Premium be your choice! Use code BEN15 at www.xtend-life.com/ben for 15% off sitewide, plus free shipping is available.

Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Jeff Durbin or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *