By Don Potts
I have been asked to respond to Brother Walters’ reply to my article on “King Nicotine or King Jesus” which was published in the October 7, 1976 issue of Truth Magazine. If it were just a matter of responding to a preacher who wishes to serve as an advocate for the use of tobacco, I would not waste my time. However, I do feel a responsibility to Truth Magazine and to its good readers; for this reason I shall respond.
First, Brother Walters says, “Why should a writer waste his time defending tobacco?” That is what I would like to know. It is a shame that a preacher of the gospel would look at the use of tobacco as being on the same par with coffee drinking or gum chewing, much less offering a defense for it. He says that brother Potts is not trying to persuade brethren to use good judgment or to exercise moderation. He is absolutely right; I am not interested in the practice of sin in any kind of “good judgment or moderation.” Nor, am I interested in “personal convictions” as the sole reason for the divorcement of any sin. The sinfulness of “self destruction” is far more than just “personal convictions.” When Judas committed suicide, Luke said he went ” . . . to his own place” (Acts 1:25). In the Houston Press (July 21, 1959), Dr. Alton Ochsner, Director of Surgery at the Ochsner Cancer Clinic and Ochsner Foundation Hospital and Professor of Clinical Surgery at Tulane University, said, “A pistol would be easier . . . . Habitual cigaret smoking is suicidal. If one must commit suicide, it would be easier to put a pistol to the head and pull the trigger. It’s quicker, far less painful and far less expensive.” Like Judas, those who commit suicide with a cigarette will go to their own place regardless of what their “personal convictions” may be.
Brother Walters says that Jesus and the Apostles never gave such a commandment. Who was it that said, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor. 3:16)? I believe an apostle wrote that and said, “If any man think himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). Brother Walters declared that this is a terrible perversion of scripture to say that 1 Cor. 3:16 is the physical body. He says the temple of God is the Church of Christ. Really? He sounds like some of the liberal brethren in an effort to make James 1:27 and Gal. 6:10 church action rather than individual action. If Brother Walters does not agree with that interpretation, his controversy is not with Brother Potts, or “King Potts,” as he chose to refer to me, but with the apostle Paul. It was Paul that said, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). No, Brother Walters, the major premise does not fall! Brother Walters seems to think that all he has to do is just jump up and down and scream `perversion” and, like the walls of Jericho, the major premise falls. Jump some more Brother Walters and when you are exhausted, sit down and see who perverted what.
Now to the minor premise, he says Brother Potts does not offer any scripture to prove that tobacco is harmful, and therefore it is just not so. Suppose I were to say that according to Isaac Newton there is a law of gravitation that says that everything that goes up must come down. If I did not give scripture to prove it, do you suppose that Brother Walters would think that it was false? If Brother Walters were to go to the doctor, assuming that he does consult doctors occasionally, and he were to give him his diagnosis, do you suppose he would demand Biblical, scriptural proof before he would believe him? He says that the same majority of doctors and scientists who say smoking is harmful also have concluded that man has evolved from an ape. How does Brother Walters know that? That sounds like a “Brigham Young Revelation!” The truth is, it is just an empty assertion. The fact is, you at least acknowledge that the majority of doctors and scientist do agree that smoking is harmful to your health. The majority of doctors, however, do not prescribe beer, wine and whiskey for their patients. I suppose doctors are much like preachers, there are some that might come up with anything. What Brother Walters needs, but cannot produce, is the evidence and proof that tobacco is not harmful to your health and until he does my minor premise continues to stand.
Again, he said, “Brother Potts does not say that the excessive use of tobacco is harmful . . . .” Right again, I am no more interested in discouraging excessive smoking or use of tobacco than I am discouraging excessive use of Alcohol. Different degrees of usage of tobacco may bring about lesser degrees of harm to the human body, but the fact is, to one degree or another it is harmful. Thus, the temple of the Holy Ghost is being defiled. He then brings up poor little Grandma and her nightly pinch of snuff which is one of her few sensual pleasures. And Brother Potts just will not make a distinction between cigarets, pipes, cigars, snuff or chewing tobacco, what a shame! I noticed he described Grandma’s pinch of snuff as a “sensual” pleasure. I wonder if that might be equal to what Paul describes as “hurtful lust” (1 Tim. 6:9)? Brother Walters needs to learn that there is no defense for the chewer, the lipper or the dipper! Any way you look at it, tobacco use is nasty and filthy to say the least. Paul commanded us to “. . . cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh . . .” (2 Cor. 7:1). Take a look at the man or woman with tobacco juice streaming down the corner of their mouth and, in many cases, splattered all over his clothes, and you tell me if this becomes godliness. It is a sheer filthiness of the flesh and sin before God. Try telling those who through its usage have been smitten by mouth or throat cancer that it is not harmful. Brother
Walters brings up white sugar, white bread, food additives, and fluoridation in our water, but what does all that have to do with disproving my minor premise? If these and a thousand other things are harmful to our health, my minor premise still states, “The use of tobacco is harmful to the physical body.” Brother Walters has made no effort to prove otherwise and yet he seems to think that all he has to do is just tell our readers that “. . . we conclude that our Brother’s minor premise falls flat . . . .” I cannot help but feel that Brother Walters underestimates the intelligence of our readers.
Then, he launches his attack on syllogism number two. He said, concerning the word sorcery, that it is well known that many of our English words have more than one meaning and that this is true with ancient Greek, to which no one disagrees. He then gives the three definitions of sorcery as given by Thayer (pg. 649): a. the use or the administering of drugs. b. poisoning: Rev. ix. 21. c. sorcery, magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and fostered by it: Gal. v. 20.” He complained that Thayer makes the meaning clear that the third meaning is the one used in Galatians and, therefore, Brother Walters ruled out the definition drugs or poisons. Adam Clark, in his Commentary on Galatians, says of witchcraft or sorcery in Gal. 5:20: Pharmakeia, from Pharmakon, a drug, or poison; because in all spells and enchantments, whether true or false, drugs were employed.” Both Thayer and George Ricker Berry say that drugs and poison are intended in the word sorcery in Rev. 9:21, and the Revelator says it is a thing that is to be repented of (Berry, pg. 104). A thing to be repented of is a sin and sin is the one thing, if not repented of, that will send your soul to hell. Sorcery falls into that category. Both definitions of sorcery in Rev. 9:21 are true of “King Nicotine. ” It is both a drug and a poison. Dr. Richard H. Overbolt, a Boston chest surgeon said, “The body of the long term smoker requires a replenished supply of nicotine for a feeling of well being. He is a victim of drug addiction. ” Dr. Alton Oschsner said, “Tobacco is a poison …. It is as harmful and addictive as any drug, perhaps even more so” (The National Insider, Vol. 7, No. 1, July 4, 1965). Some one has given us a list of some 49 known poisons in tobacco. For a fact, one does not need a “Brigham Young Revelation” to know the addictive powers of “King Nicotine.” Those who have tried to quit know its power (Rom. 6:16; 1 Cor. 6:12). Preachers have been fired, brethren alienated and churches split because some either cannot or will not forsake “King Nicotine.” As to my conclusions, according to Brother Walters, making all doctors and druggists guilty of sorcery is anything but the truth. While Brother Walters is looking all those words up with more than one meaning, he might look up the definition of the word “drug.” True, it carries the thought of any substance used as, or in a medicine, but it also carries the idea of narcotics, hallucinating and addictive drugs which faithful doctors and druggist are not administering. Brother Walters knows this, but muddy water helps his defense.
I am sorry our good brother has become so disturbed by my condemnation of the use of tobacco. His terminology tells us much about his attitude, for example his caption, “King Pans or King Jesus?” I do not intend to say anymore on the subject. I will leave yon, the reader, to act as judge and jury to decide where the truth lies. If Don Irons is in error, pray for him, but do not count him as an enemy. My only interest is in the truth and in the salvation of souls. Paul’s advice seems best to regulate such offensive and questionable habits; “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of G0d.. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God” (1 Con 10:31,32)
Truth Magazine XXI: 6, pp. 90-92
February 10, 1977