Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 28, 1969
NUMBER 17, PAGE 5b-6a

Smoking- Personal Viewpoint

H. L. Bruce

One of the greater debts of gratitude which I still owe to my deceased mother (and I owe her many) is for the day she caught me smoking. She used a "slippery" elm switch on me, as only she could. I was twelve years old then and I haven't smoked another cigarette since. As I view things now, that was the best whipping that I ever received, and one that I surely deserved and I will be eternally indebted to my mother for having so discharged this duty. I would to God that we had more mothers of the same disposition.

Today, twenty three years later, I find the odor of cigarette smoke to be very offensive. When entrapped in a room, house or automobile full of tobacco smoke I develop a queasy feeling. That is one of the reasons that I do not want anyone smoking in my automobile, home or office.

I am also concerned about the influence that smoking is having on our young people. Smoking parents often wish, advise and trust that their offspring's will, through other influences, be constrained from smoking. I don't know how many smoking parents whom I have heard lament the plight of their young smokers. Mature thinking addicts have admitted that smoking is a bad habit, repulsive and even sinful — but they are out of control. They are not their own emotional regulator. They are now enslaved to a habit. Many are concerned about their influence. Many smoke and try to keep it hid from the preacher. Especially is this true with some women. Some elders of the Lord's church try to do this. Do you wonder why? Just what could be their motives? Do they not know that all things are naked to the eyes of the Lord?

Some preachers are also guilty of this repulsive and deceitful habit. I have known of preachers who use tobacco and who try to keep it a secret from the brethren where they preach. I have followed preachers in works with congregations whose smoking influence had a telling effect among adults and young people alike. There was an unusual attitude and looseness which was unwholesome to thievery nature of Christianity.

Some of the flimsiest arguments that I have ever heard, or heard of were made by preachers who were trying to justify their habit. "It helps to keep my weight down," they argue. So what? Since when does the end justify the means? That old argument didn't prove anything for the Catholics, Digressives, or Progressives. And it doesn't help the smokers cause either. "But there's a double stand," they lament, "other members of the church smoke; if they get to, I get to." Honest Christians can't appreciate the double standards of brethren. And there are many! Brethren will do many things that they will not tolerate in their preachers. Such is a demonstration of sheer hypocrisy on their part. The Lord will deal with such at the judgment. But since when does one justify self in the sight of the Lord by saying, "Look who's doing it"? Some brethren are careless and recklessly do many things which cautious Christians can't afford to do.

Obviously, I would not recommend that Christ fans smoke. Such is hazardous to health, influence and usability. I certainly can't recommend that preachers smoke — nor them that do. My reasons are obvious.

One more thought: Would you recommend that we reverse all of our preceding remarks and start trying to convince young people, adults and preachers that they should smoke? What are your reasons?

— Box 242, Mt. Pleasant, Texas 75455