Vol. 3, No. 2 Page 4 February, 2001
Varying degrees of pornographic manifestation have saturated public outlook through every form of media (e.g., books, magazines, the Internet, movies, music videos, television, live performances). "Nearly 900 theaters show X-rated films and more than 15,000 'adult' bookstores and video stores offer pornographic material, outnumbering McDonald's restaurants in the U.S. by a margin of at least three to one."1 One immediate result of the widespread popularity of pornographic expression is that society rapidly becomes jaded by it, susceptible to, and often drawn to even more greatly depraved representations of it. Pornography is psychologically addictive.
In the technologically advanced age of the twenty-first century, the computer via the Internet provides the most pervasive source of pornography. How is computer pornography being used, and by whom? An unlimited trove of pornography on the Internet is readily available to any determined user. Therefore, unattended children -- a bumper crop of whom are styled "latchkey children" -- may well stumble upon or purposely pursue the most perverse examples of pornography on the planet. Researchers determined that the incidences of the most graphic pornography occur significantly more often on Internet sites over previous and more traditional outlets for pornography. Further, the frequency and ease with which even the most outrageous pornography can be obtained anonymously is greatly enhanced through the Internet. Civil law has been unable or unwilling to interfere to any great extent with Internet pornography, excepting successful prosecution of child pornographers (providers and consumers).
The Internet is not without its redeeming values. The Internet from its conception to the present remains a tremendous research tool. Also, the Internet is proving itself a viable storefront for the world and in many respects a cost-effective, capable replacement for "snail-mail." In 1993, an estimated 15 million personal computers were connected to the Internet with an additional 25% being added every three months.
The Internet has evolved over the past 25 years from a U.S. Defense Department tool for assisting with scientific research to a commercially-oriented communications network. As a research tool, the Internet helps users to share information with minimal costs. One of the biggest benefits of using this network is that long distance charges do not apply. Until recently, these costs and others were absorbed by the U.S. National Science Foundation in its administration of the central "backbone" of the Internet.2
Among the good uses of the Internet are the Bible correspondence courses, biblical articles and religious journals put thereon by the churches of Christ.3 Therefore, it is both irresponsible to ignore the dangers to the home posed by the Internet, or on the other hand, to completely dismiss the potential benefits that it offers.
Some search engines provide password protected family filters to screen most of the objectionable material from appearing on one's home computer (e.g., AltaVista). Most Internet search engines provide sufficient definition of search hits to avoid opening pornographic pages. Finally, there are several commercial software packages that are specifically designed to prevent objectionable Internet material from reaching the computer screen.
The Internet itself is neither holy nor sinful, but has the propensity to be used for evil, good or morally indifferent purposes (e.g., gathering information, games, communication, etc.). The Internet is no different from any other aspect of life; Christians must "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness . . ." (2 Timothy 2:22).
"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" (Titus 2:11-12).
1 Anderson, Kerby and Brown, Perry, “The Peril of Pornography," (Garland, TX: American Tract Society)
2 [found on the Internet on January 11, 1999 at http://www.queensu.ca/epu/mehta/mehta.htm].
The Old Testament contains types of New Testament anti-types. A type is a "representative form" or "characteristic" of something else. There are striking similarities between the liberation of Israel from Egyptian captivity and the freedom enjoyed in Christ from the slavery of sin. Judaism was never intended by God to be His final revelation to man, but it contains figures, types, patterns, shadows and examples of New Testament counterparts (1 Corinthians 10:1-11; Hebrews 10:1).
Old Testament types perfectly fit the New Testament church and its doctrine. Therefore, one can learn valuable principles relating to the Lord's church and its teaching by examining Old Testament types. Types confirm that the church of the first century is the fulfillment of the long standing will of God (Ephesians 3:10-11).
The background to the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian slavery begins when Joseph invited his father and brothers to resort from famine to the land of Goshen in Egypt (Genesis 46:27, [70 souls]; 47:1-12). Later, a different line of kings ruled Egypt, during which time the Israelites were enslaved. Moses was born during this period of oppression. Eighty years later, while a shepherd in the wilderness of Sinai, to which area he fled from Egypt 40 years earlier, Moses was commissioned by God to liberate Israel (Exodus 4).
By the mighty hand of God, Egypt was punished and Moses was enabled to lead Israel across the Red Sea to freedom. These points especially need emphasis: (1) All the power at the command of Pharaoh was ineffective in his argument with God, (2) Pharaoh's attempts to bargain with God were useless, and (3) Israel was not free from bondage on the near side of the Red Sea, but only after crossing the Red Sea like God through Moses commanded.
For the next 40 years Israel wandered, marching toward the promised land of Canaan. God refused Israelites entry into Canaan when they attempted to do so outside a covenant relationship with Him (Numbers 14:40-45). Finally, as every young Bible class student knows, Israel crossed the Jordan River and entered Canaan.
The anti-type of deliverance from Egyptian bondage is salvation from the slavery of sin. Every accountable soul is initially in the bondage of sin from which he cannot liberate himself without Divine help (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8). The Heavenly Father sent Jesus Christ to deliver men from sin (Romans 5:8-10; 1 John 4:9-10).
Even the mightiest of men cannot obtain redemption from sin or receive the promise of Heaven outside a covenant relationship with God. Further, God still refuses to bargain with his creation -- man. Jesus Christ alone is the door through which one must pass from the state of being lost to redemption (John 10:1, 9; Colossians 1:13).
Just as the Red Sea served as the line of demarcation between Egyptian slavery and freedom for the Israelites, immersion in water (baptism) for the remission of sins is the line of demarcation today between the lost world and the saved (the church) (Acts 2:38; 1 Pet. 3:20-21). The Israelites rejoiced after crossing the Red Sea; the time for rejoicing today is after baptism (Acts 8:36-39).
Our Canaan toward which faithful Christians march is Heaven with God. Tens of thousands of Israelites perished before Israel entered Canaan; by Divine inspiration the apostle Paul referred to the same (1 Corinthians 10:1-11), citing it as an example, capped with this warning: "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (1 Corinthians 10:12).
Jesus, our Savior, will not compromise; He will refuse every alternative plan offered to him by man. No one can cross into Heaven who is outside a covenant relationship with God.