Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
NUMBER 27, PAGE 9b,12a

The Mark Of Depravity

James W. Adams

The depravity of the gentile world when Jesus came to save it was evident, not so much from the wicked deeds by which it was characterized, but by its almost total lack of shame. After naming a horrifying list of sins of which the gentiles were guilty, Paul emphasized that which transcended all else in manifesting their depravity by saying, "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are not worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." (Rom. 1:32). It has been said, "While shame keeps watch virtue is wholly extinguished from the heart." (Burke). Conversely speaking, the absence of shame would indicate that virtue has been totally extinguished from the heart.

The frightening thing about the state of morals generally in our country today is not the fact of an increase of immoral conduct but rather, in the almost total loss of a sense of shame on the part of our people. The grossest of immoral acts are performed openly and without shame by the masses. A blush is as rare in our day as a bustle or a hooped skirt. Public drinking, immodest dress approaching total nudity, adulterous cohabitation, the production and sale of pornographic literature and movies, wanton destruction of public and private property, an almost total lack of respect for personal and property rights of individuals, wholesale rebellion on the part of minor children against all forms of authority and many other things as bad or worse are performed openly and without shame. Sin is sin whether performed openly or in secret. Yet, sin openly practiced without shame indicates a degree of depravity of human character not demonstrated in the individual who sins, yet has enough of a sense of shame left in his heart to keep him from putting his vile practices on public display. Where there is a sense of shame, there is hope for the recovery of the individual from his sinful state. Where there is no sense of shame, all doors of access are closed to the heart, hence all ground for hope destroyed. It has been well said, "I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed." (Swift).

The modern trend in the realm of sociology is to regard all moral aberrations and criminal acts of passion and violence as mental illness. Such tends to eradicate a sense of human shame and guilt from the human mind and is vicious. We do not for a moment reject the fact that some immorality and criminality may be the result of mental incompetence, but we do most fervently reject the idea that all such attributable to this cause. To assume such a position would be to deny the reality of sin, the free moral agency of man, the fact of accountability and judgment, and the necessity of redemption. The codling of lawlessness under the guise of mental illness is to a great extent responsible for the world-shocking crime rate of our country. This has led to a relaxation of our positive opposition to sin among the people of God and is doing irreparable harm among the churches of the Lord. it has robbed the churches of a positive and militant stand against all forms of sin, and has substituted in its stead a weak, vacillating, elastic policy of toleration that covers every thing from innovations to adultery. We ought to pray fervently, "Lord restore our sense of shame!"

— P. O. Box 384 Henderson, Texas