By Steve Klein
One of the saddest lives ever lived by a human being came to a close recently when Ted Bundy was executed in Florida’s electric chair. According to an Associated Press news story that appeared in the Gadsden Times (January 15, 1989), Bundy confessed to detectives that “he had murdered 23 young women since the mid-1970’s” but authorities believe the number “could total 36 nationwide” and others have speculated that it may be over 100! Ted Bundy’s death evidences the fact that the “governing authorities” do not “bear the sword in vain,” but they serve as “God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Rom. 13:14).
I am both sickened and horrified at Ted Bundy’s death. Sickened because, in all probability, his soul is lost forever and he is waiting even now to be cast into “the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Rev. 21:8). Horrified because I see in Ted Bundy’s life the soul destroying potential of the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes. You see, Ted Bundy claimed, in an interview with James Dobson just hours before his execution, that pornography “guided and shaped” what he did.
The frightening thing is that the same power that guided Ted Bundy is reaching even into the homes of Christians today. As Bundy said, “Those of us who are or who have been so much influenced by violence in the media, in particular pornographic violence, are not some kind of inherent monsters. We are your sons and we are your husbands and we grew up in regular families. And pornography can reach out and snatch a kid out of any house today.”
Theodore Bundy was not raised to be a serial killer by his parents. He said he was raised in a “Christian” home. And it is true that his mother and siblings seem to be fine moral people and exemplary citizens. Bundy believed that without the influence of pornography on his life, things would have turned out a lot different for him too.
Many of you are saying to yourselves, “It can’t happen in my house!” or “None of my children will ever be exposed to the kind of mind defiling material that Ted Bundy was! ” Stop and think about what comes into your house through your television. In the interview with James Dobson, which I have seen on tape replay, Bundy said, “What scares and appalls me is what I see on Cable T.V.” He noted that much of what is on cable would have been rated “X” when he was growing up, and that with so many kids watching it, we may well be raising an entire society of Ted Bundy’s. (The truth is that even network television programs frequently contain scenes that most people would have labeled pornographic just a few years ago.)
“Pornography” is an interesting word. It comes from two Greek words which are both found in the original language of the New Testament. The first half of “pornography” is from pornos and it refers to a “fornicator” or “one who practices sexual immorality” (see 1 Cor. 5:9, 10; Eph. 5:5; Rev. 21:8). The second half of “pornography” is from graphein which means “to write.” Pornography then involves the depiction of erotic behavior in words or pictures in such a way as to cause sexual excitement or encourage sexual immorality.
The primary spiritual problem created by pornography is described in the Scriptures by the word “lust.” “Lust” is an unlawful desire for anything, but particularly unlawful sexual desire. Jesus said, “Whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:28). I don’t think it would be overstating the facts if we said that this statement of Jesus roughly equates the viewing of pornography with adultery. After all, why does a person look at pornography? To lust! What does Jesus say one has done when he looks to lust? He has committed. adultery! -And make no mistake about it, such lust inevitably destroys lives. The wise man Solomon instructed his son not to lust after the beauty of an evil woman in his heart” (Prov. 6:25). Why not? “Can a man take fire to his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on coals and his feet not be seared?” (Prov.6:27-28) You cannot play with the fire of lust without getting burned!
What can we do to fight the destructive influence of pornography in our lives? In connection with his earlier statement Jesus said, “If you right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell” (Matt. 5:29). Other scriptural instructions for fighting lust are not quite so dramatic, but teach the same thing in essence. Paul instructed the Romans to “make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts” (Rom. 13:14b). He told Timothy to “flee youthful lusts” (2 Tim. 2:22a), and he told Titus that God’s grace teaches us to deny “ungodliness and worldly lusts” (Tit. 2:11-12). Peter begs us to “abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (1 Pet. 2:11b). We must then “abstain from, ” “flee,” “deny, ” and “make no provision to fulfill” lust! If one must pluck out his eye to accomplish this, then by all means let him pluck it out!
But there are other things we can “pluck” to escape the damaging influence of pornographic lust. We could pluck the cable out of the back of our T.V. if necessary. We could pluck the VCR tape of a movie that is unfit to watch out of the VCR We could pluck ourselves off the couch when some steamy “soap” comes on. If worse comes to better, we could pluck our T.V. out of the house. We could pluck our children out of the movie theaters where filth is being shown, and out of the convenience stores and book stores that make visual trash available. Pornography can be beaten, it just takes a lot of pluck!
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 6, pp. 161, 183
March 16, 1989