Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 20, 1962
NUMBER 20, PAGE 8-9,13b

News And Views

Charles A. Holt, 4662 University Dr., Wichita Falls, Texas

Lewdness In The Name Of God

The New Testament speaks of "ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness." (Jude 4) One of the strongest examples of this is described in the article below. It is taken from the April, Reader's Digest. The article was not written solely from the Christian's viewpoint, hence the kind of conclusion which the author gives. But, this being the general conception of these pseudo-religious films; how much stronger the aversion to them of the sincere child of God.

The name of God is treated with reverence when it is used in the Bible. This does not justify just any kind of use by men of the present age. God's name is not to be taken in vain.

The Bible tells of the sins committed by the people of that age, but does not dwell on it in such a way as to stirring lascivious thoughts in the reader. They are given to warn the reader.

These modern movie makers, however, are using the mention of these sins as an occasion to deal in a lascivious depiction, sometimes bordering on, if not actually engaging in, pornography. Then they give this lewd, pornographic film a Biblical title and advertizing as an appeal to the public. It is a turning of the grace of God into lasciviousness by ungodly men. Our government is making a fight against obscene and pornographic material sent through the mail, but, apparently it is doing nothing about the same type of filth on the stage and in the films.

They can call a "Peyton Place" by the title "David and Bathsheba" and nothing is said. They can appeal to the lustful and perverts against children with a "Salome" under the guise that it deals with the case of John the baptist. When such perverted trash becomes nauseating to those who do not claim to be Christians, it is way past time that Christians be alarmed at the degeneracy of the age.

— Robert C. Welch

From New York Times Magazine

Those Phony Bible Pictures — Bosley Crowther Enterprising film-makers, ever entreating the gods for dramatic material, have lately turned, like salvation-seekers, to the Holy Bible, whence hath come — and still cometh — box-office strength. Increasingly, the public is being exposed to Biblical films the likes of which have not been visited upon it since the earliest days of the screen.

Some producers, eager to popularize their films with susceptible educators and religious groups, say that this wave of recourse to the Good Book is a wish on their part to feel an upsurge of spiritual hunger in the world. Others have delicately hinted that this cycle of Biblical films represents the atonement of a repentant film industry for all the worldly and naughty movies made in the past few years.

These would be ennobling explanations if it weren't for two facts. The first is that all the Biblical pictures this season were initiated long before the recent clamor against sensationalism and eroticism began. The second is that the "spiritual" values in these films are obvious compounds of sybaritic splendor, religious chauvinism, and sex.

The best to be said for these sagas, combining a smattering of Biblical data and a pose of religiosity with virtual horse-opera action and elaborately dressed (and undressed) spectacle, is that they may stimulate curiosity about the Biblical episodes and actual history they pretend to embrace. Thus they may encourage Bible study and discussion, and so justify their acceptance, and even endorsement, by the clergy.

— Via Faith and Facts

Church And Crime

A news item says that Nashville, Tennessee, has 250 churches, nearly all of them Protestant and that it is the center of administration for several big denominations — The Churches of Christ, Methodist, Southern Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists. Practically everyone goes to church, on Sunday morning. BUT, despite all this piety permeating the atmosphere Nashville ranks seventh among U. S. cities in its crime rate. We shudder to think of what the crime rate would be if there were only 125 churches to keep the Devil at bay. Nashville might be as wicked as Chicago where there are hardly any Protestant churches. — Liberal, December, 1961

(A paper published by Atheists and for the advancement of their unbelief in God, the Bible, and all things sacred.)

'Tropic Of Cancer'

Philadelphia, Pa. (EP) — Should Tropic of Cancer be banned? Judge Vincent A. Carroll of Philadelphia County Court thinks so. He has issued a permanent injunction against the sale of the book, labeling it obscene and not entitled to the protection of the First Amendment.

Judge Carroll described the book as "one continuing series of sexual infirmities and abnormalities with each incident depicted in the most degrading and filthy words to be found in our language." He maintained that the book has "no character development, no story, no plot, no message. Sex is not dirty or obscene except as depicted in this book and others of its ilk."

Asserting that "complete freedom is chaos," the Judge said that the state in protecting its citizens has not only the right but the duty of preventing distribution of the novel.

He warned that if "such lewd and erotic works" were given the protection of the First Amendment, there would indeed be a 'cancer' in our society, which malignancy would surely erode the foundations of morality upon which our nation rests." — Arkansas Baptist

Another Trend

Last Thursday evening several of this congregation attended a religious discussion held in Big Springs between brother T. H. Tarbet and a Primitive Baptist preacher. Brother Tarbet did his work well, and I believe the truth gained a victory.

However, one thing disturbed me, and it pointed up a trend which we can see in the church. The overall attendance was small, and according to those who knew the crowd, more than over half were baptists, As well as I could determine, I was the only gospel preacher in attendance in addition to brother Tarbet and his son, who moderated for him. I can remember the time when brethren from miles around would flock to such a debate and give their support to the truth. Preachers would be swarming around the speakers' platform giving encouragement to the man defending the truth. Brethren were always interested in such discussions, and preachers were always willing to defend their convictions in honorable controversy.

But now that attitude seems to have changed. As brethren became liberal in their thinking, and brought innovations into the work of the church, their thinking has also changed in regards to controversy. Now it is the accepted thing to "play down" religious differences, "get along" with the denominations, and "cover up" differences among brethren, if even it means compromising our convictions. "Peace at any price" seems to be the order of the day. So, these brethren are somewhat embarrassed when truth-loving brethren, intent upon defending the gospel of Christ against all adversaries, engage in public religious discussions, and usually ignore them.

These "liberals" are also unwilling to defend their beliefs and practices in public discussions, and the amazing thing is that they use the very same excuse for not doing so that denominations have been using for years. "Debates don't do any good." "The disputants always start slinging mud and we don't want any unpleasantries." 'We don't want to air our differences before the public," and on go the excuses. We have always believed that the reason denominations have been so reluctant to debate was because they had no Scriptures to support their doctrine, and they did not want their doctrine exposed to the light of the Bible in public discussion. Could this be the real reason our brethren are not willing, in general, to discuss publicly the work of the church? Are they willing to defend publicly the institutions, promotions, centralization of work, etc., now being used among brethren? Evidently not, for the elders of Crescent Park sent a letter of challenge, with propositions covering these practices, signed by brother Irvine, to every congregation in Odessa, and they have not even received a reply. Why? The apostle Paul conducted public discussions time after time in his work.

He wasn't concerned with petty excuses, but only in truth taught.

I stand ready at all times to defend publicly or privately what I believe. I'm willing to meet denominational preachers, or brethren in error on the platform of controversy, not because I feel I am peculiarly qualified for such work by scholarship and intelligence, but because I have deep conviction that what I teach comes from God's word. If it isn't, I want to change. I want the people to have opportunity of hearing truth and error in contrast. — W. E. Irvine, Odessa. Texas