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1989 Issue 3

When we are thinking of worship we must distinguish between the generic and the specific. The generic is the devotion we owe to God in the whole of life. God is sovereign, he is Lord, having sovereignty over us and propriety in us, and therefore in all that we do we owe subjection to him, devotion to his revealed will, obedience to his commandmants. There is no area of life where the injunction does not apply: Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God' (I Cor. 10:31). In view of the lordship of Christ as Mediator all of life comes under his dominion. Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men, knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ' (Col. 3:23,24).

Four of our articles this month were written by four of the greatest Christian giants of the Twentieth Century. Benjamin Warfield was Professor of Theology at Princeton Seminary, (1887-1921). John Murray was Professor of Theology at Westminster Seminary, (1937-1966). Jay Adams is Director of Advanced Studies at Westminster Seminary in California. And R.J. Rushdoony is the president of Chalcedon, a Christian educational organization devoted to research, publishing and to cogent communication of a distinctly Christian scholarship to the world. All four of them were/are prolific writers. I own thirteen of Warfield's books, twelve of Murray's books, twenty or so of Adams' books, and over twenty-five of Rushdoony's books.

In order to understand some of the major currents of our day, it is necessary to recognize that one of the central purposes of pornography is political. An analysis of the politics of pornography is therefore essential.

Before doing so, it is necessary to call attention to a distinction made between pornography and obscenity. The novelist, Henry Miller, has said, "Obscenity is a cleansing process, whereas pornography only adds to the murk.... Wherever a taboo is broken, something good happens, something revitalizing." Miller is by his own statement a champion of obscenity but hostile to pornography. What is the distinction, if there is one? Basically, Miller's distinction is this: pornography is dirt for dirt's sake, whereas obscenity has as its purpose the systematic destruction of law and moral order, a revolutionary reordering of society. This distinction is only partially true. Obscenity does have this revolutionary purpose, consciously and openly. Pornography is more exploitive, but it has nonetheless an implicit or explicit revolutionary purpose. It is hostile to morality and law, and it encourages and favors rebellion against morality. As a result, it has political implications no less than Miller's obscenity. In discussing the politics of pornography, we are therefore analyzing the basic position of the whole field, pornography and obscenity. While there are differences in emphasis, the essential position is the same.

Time Magazine most vividly told the story of "The Revolt of Leo Held". The question is, was Held really sick? Was Mrs. Knisely right? Wittingly or unwittingly, Time answers that question. The caption under a picture of the prostrate wounded killer runs, "responsible, respectable-and resentful." Time put its finger directly on the real issue. Held was not sick; he was resentful. Yet, it is a significant sign of the nearly total acceptance of the mental illness propaganda that Mrs. Knisely's first thought was, "He's sick and needs a psychiatrist". Held's true condition was recorded long ago in Proverbs 26:23-26, which describes people who harbor grudges, resentments and bitterness in their hearts. For a long while Held was able to cover the resentment with an outer gloss of tranquility and graciousness. But finally the resentment burst through. Consider these words: ('Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel are smooth lips with an evil heart.... " Outwardly Held seemed respectable; outwardly he appeared responsible; but inwardly his heart seethed with hatred. Held spoke to his Scout troop with "smooth lips." At church and as a member of the Fire Brigade he paraded in a glaze of respectability. But Proverbs says, He who hates dissembles with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart. When he speaks graciously believe him not for there are seven abominations in his heart.

God gives enough free rein to Satan to sow many errors and corruptions, not only in the world, but also in the Church. It is with good reason that our faith should be tried, to see whether we live in uprightness, soundness, and love before our God, or whether there is any pretense in us. And there is not a truer trial of it, than when we are forced to discover in life's encounters, whether God's truth is really invincible against all errors and lies. And therefore let it not offend us when we see him sow tares: but let us think that our Lord will search us to the rock bottom, whether we bear reverence to His word earnestly and truly or not. Not that He does not already know well enough what we are; but to the end that our faith should show itself and that there should be truer record of it.

What is called the dogmatic spirit is not popular among men. It is characterized by an authoritative method of presenting truth; by an unwillingness to modify truth to fit it to current conceptions; by an insistence on what seem to many minor points; and above all by (what lies at the root of most of its other peculiarities) a habit of thinking in a system, and a consequent habit of estimating the relative importance of the separate items of truth by their logical relation to the body of truth, rather than by their apparent independent value. Such a habit of mind seems to be the only appropriate attitude toward a body of truth given by revelation, and committed to men only to embrace, cherish, preserve, and propagate. It seems to be, moreover, the attitude toward the body of revealed truth commended to those who were to be its "ministers" and not its masters, by the Lord and his apostles, when they placed it as a rich treasure in the keeping of stewards of the mysteries of God, but it is irritating to men. They would discuss rather than receive truth. And, if they must receive it, they would fain modify it here and there to fit preconceived opinions or permit cherished practices. Especially in a busy age in which Pilate's careless question, "what is truth?" represents the prevailing attitude of men's minds, the dogmatic habit is apt to fare somewhat badly.

Mikhail Dukakis, governor of Massachusetts, may have lost his presidential bid this past November, but he is determined to leave his mark on the nation. He recently signed a bill that will warm the hearts of America's statists. It prohibits new firefighters and police officers from smoking cigars and cigarettes; not just at work, but at home as well. This was reported in the January/February issue of Dr. SerVass' Saturday Evening Post. The Post went on to say this was a heroic and courageous thing for Mikhail to do.

Dear Dr. Gentry,

Thank you for your gracious letter of the 7th (which I did in fact find a more mannered penning than your original to the newspaper!).

Indeed we do "disagree over the facts and the philosophy of the facts," but such disagreement only attests, I think, to the Creator's sense of style: that He gave individuality to the mind very much as to the body.

"Jeremiah was forbidden to marry and to participate in the normal joys and sorrows of his people. These deprivations made his life a picture of the terrible fate that awaited the nation. His withdrawal from normal life was a reminder that Yahweh had withdrawn from the life of his people." - Thompson. Jeremiah lost all social and psychological security. He was cut off from all human support systems. He was alone in the world. God was his only support.

This withdrawal of God involved the withdrawal of his:
a. Peace (shallom)-the totality of well-being and the restoration of God's order.
b. Covenant devotion (hesed)-God's devotion to and loving care for his covenant people, Judah.
c. Compassion (rahamim)-mercy and patience.

"Remember the former things long past, For I am God and there is no other; I am God and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning And from ancient times things which have not been done Saying, 'My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all my good pleasure'" (Isa1ah 46:9,10).

God is sovereign and has predestined whatsoever comes to pass. The Bible also teaches that man is responsible for his actions. Throughout the history of the Church these two biblical concepts have been difficult to reconcile. Perhaps we should not try to reconcile the two, for attempting to separate divine sovereignty from human responsibiity is to establish a false dichotomy. Charles Spurgeon once was asked if he could reconcile the truths of God's absolute sovereignty and man's responsibility: He replied, "I wouldn't try, for I never reconcile friends."