By Dennis C. Abernathy
I am persuaded in my own mind that the use of tobacco is sinful. I know there are many, many, Christians who do believe that it is (or at least they will not admit it). But surely most will admit that the use of tobacco in any form (smoking, dipping, sniffing, chewing, etc.) by the Christian, to say the least, is a questionable practice. Do you know of any good that comes from it? It is a filthy and expensive habit. It injures the body of the user (although many will not admit it-they know more than all those medical doctors you know (Romans 12:1; 1 Cor. 6:1920). It enslaves the user (1 Cor. 6:12).
Is it not rather sad to see a person, seemingly not knowing where the next breath is- coming from, continually puffing on a cigarette? Even some gospel preachers are addicted to the habit. I surely agree that it is no worse for a preacher to use it than any one else (both should quit it), but it does cripple his influence for good. It does set a bad example before others (the same is true for elders).
But what about our children? Brothers or sisters who smoke, chew, dip, etc., do you want your children to do it? If you do, why? If not, why not? (Be honest now!) But how can you effectively teach your children not to use tobacco when you yourself use it? How can we teach our children not to use tobacco, if the elders, preacher, and fellow Christians use it? Well, it can be done, but it makes the task much more difficult.
Many who read this are going to call to memory someone they know who is 110 years old, who has smoked all his / her life and is still around (and still smoking too!). Presto! Justification for tobacco use. No matter what or how many scriptures are used, or medical facts cited, “if it is good enough for that 110 year old man/ woman (after all it didn’t kill them), it is good enough for me.” Others who read this are going to continue to smoke until the day they die! They “wish” they could quit, but will not exert the will power to do it. Many others are going to read this and make up their minds that I am just trying to criticize, hence, they will simply put it out of their minds. Some may even get angry: Perhaps one will even try to refute it with some intelligent argument. So be it. Hopefully, some will read this and ponder (honestly) this habit and resolve to put it away from among them. That is my hope, and my aim in writing this in the first place. Think on these things.
Truth Magazine XXII: 13, p. 216
March 30, 1978