Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 7, 1970

Burning The Books


We've been flying a bit more than usual these past few weeks. And, what with strikes, "sick-outs" by the traffic controllers, cancelled flights, delayed flights, missed connections, etc., we have spent more than our share of tedious hours in some of the airports. Which were whiled away, in part, by browsing through the newsstands and looking through the books offered for sale. Have you looked through any of the bookracks in recent months?

It Is Appalling!

It is fantastic to see how much filth, obscenity, gross and unmitigated trash is now displayed on the shelves. After a glut of such pornography, one gets both bored and disgusted by it. It would seem that some modern writers have seized upon the more familiar vulgarisms with all the enthusiasm and delight of new found discoveries; and want to parade their "new" words on every page and in every conversation. We would assume that most healthy human beings spend a certain portion of their time each day in the bath-room, or its equivalent. But we cannot but feel that a writer is sick, sick, sick for whom such normal and ordinary physiological functions as are related to these facilities absorb his attention and demand his writing talents (with his "new" words) for page after page and chapter after chapter! The human process of reproduction is both interesting and complicated. It has both a spiritual and a physiological area of concern. But the "modern" literature seems to lose itself in a veritable sea of coarse epithets and raucous ribaldry, exploring every minutest detail of the experience — not in terms of science or religion, but in the crudest and most brutish terms of the illiterate semi-savage.

Obviously a great deal of this trash is being offered in a frantic effort to "cash in" on the new permissiveness before sheer boredom (on the part of the buying public) makes such publications unprofitable. Nearly every well run house has a slop bucket or a garbage can somewhere on the premises; but where is the man who wants to spend any considerable portion of his time analyzing the contents of the slop-bucket or sniffing the sewer gases? The hippies and yippies may delight one another by looking (and smelling) like goats, or like dogs who have been eating their own vomit, but people whose minds and bodies are relatively normal and clean are nauseated both by the sight and the stink of such obviously sick wretches. The modern literature is overwhelmed by a tidal wave of hippie, yippie, "sick" publications.

We think the time is far past due for a monumental Ephesian book burning. When the gospel of Christ came to the ancient city of Ephesus, "Many also of them that believed came, confessing, and declaring their deeds. And not a few of them that practiced magical arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all; and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of the Lord and prevailed." (Acts 19:18-20). We are quite aware of the horrified cries of "censorship" that some would raise at such a proposal. But we also know there are some books that can serve no useful purpose at all except as fuel for a bonfire! They have no redeeming social value; they say nothing of any greater significance than has been said a thousand times over by those who have inscribed the graffiti on back fences and toilet walls from times immemorial.

And what has all this to do with Christians? We simply bring it up to emphasize once again how tremendously important it is for all those who have respect for spiritual values to beware of the flood of obscenity which is upon us — and to take positive steps to counteract it!

We would seriously urge upon every eldership the advisability of sending some good gospel journal (how about the Gospel Guardian, for instance?) to every family in the congregation. This might well be a regular part of your reaching program — just as the purchase and distribution of Bible School literature is an accepted part of the church's program. It is not enough to bemoan and deplore the sluice of filth to which we are subjected; it is imperative that appropriate steps be taken to offset and neutralize the sad effects of it. A fine gospel journal in every home is surely no great strain on any congregation's budget. And while it is hardly to be expected that this alone would offset the combined impact of television, newspapers, school texts, magazines, and a thousand other subtle factors contributing a pornographic pattern for contemporary society, at least it would be a step (a tiny one to be sure, but nevertheless a positive one) in the right direction.

— F. Y. T.