By the Book: From the pulpit to the pews, dealing with the problem of porn
by Anthony Cook
acook@annistonstar.com
Jul 14, 2012 | 2718 views |  0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It starts with an image.

Then an image isn’t enough.

Then it becomes multiple images.

Then those aren’t enough.

Then it’s a movie.

Then multiple movies.

Each one increasingly more perverse than the one before.

Addiction to pornography is a downward spiral that robs men of their dignity and robs marriages of their true intimacy.

But a truth about pornography addiction that’s rarely acknowledged and almost never addressed is that it’s prevalent in the church.

Christian men struggle with porn. Some surveys have shown that as many as 50 percent of the men in the church watched porn within a week before taking the surveys.

Those are our choir directors.

Those are our youth ministers.

Those are our ushers.

Those are our pastors.

According to Christian Telegraph, a Christian news website, Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land made this statement at a 2011 summit in Baltimore: “Internet pornography is in your church. If your church has got more than 50 members, it’s in your church. I can tell you hardcore pornography is on the seminary campus. It’s on the Christian college campus. It’s in the pastorate. It’s on the staff.”

How can that be? These are supposed to be the best of us.

It happens when we convince ourselves that pornography is a victimless crime.

It happens when we don’t acknowledge that addiction to pornography is real — and that we’re not in control.

I was asked recently to be on a panel of speakers at a men’s purity conference at Anniston Bible Church, and this past week I taught an adult class of Vacation Bible School at New Hope Baptist Church in Hobson City. In both cases, the conversation touched on the taboo issue of porn in the church.

The purpose was not to be salacious or provocative. The purpose was to be real and to acknowledge the truth — that many Christian men wrestle with pornography. The only sins that God doesn’t fix are the ones we pretend aren’t there. It does none of us any good to look the other way, because, like all addictions, it doesn’t just linger. Either you tackle it head on, or it gets worse.

So what do we do about pornography in the church?

Get help. Partner with a fellow Christian who can hold you accountable (James 5:16). Sin, especially addictive sins, hate the light. When secret sins are dragged out into the open, it becomes easier to see them as disgusting, rather than seductive.

Be compassionate. If someone confides in you about their struggles with porn, then be firm, but compassionate. It’s not our job to condemn them. Our goal is to get them to see the wickedness of the sin and the goodness of Christ, understanding that, but for the grace of God, any of us could stumble in the same way (1 Cor. 10:12).

Repent. Turn away from that behavior, and be renewed and reprogrammed by the word of God. The more time we spend with the Bible, the less time we have to spend on racy websites. (1 Peter 1:13)

Remember your wife. According to Christian Telegraph, one marriage counselor said she has seen so many marriages lost to porn that one of the first questions she now asks men is: What have you been watching? And the usual response, she said, is: How did you know?

The psychological nature of porn sends the mind into a fantasy land that men begin to expect in real life. When their wives refuse to meet those perverse expectations, husbands either sink deeper into pornography or they seek to fulfill those fantasies elsewhere, or both.

We should remember how attracted we are to our wives and consider all the ways she is beautiful and pleasing in and out of bed.

“Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.” (Proverbs 5:18-19)

Remember Christ. The better we know him and understand his sacrifice for us, the more we want to live for him.

“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)

Because Christ has suffered and died for my sins, I should live my life in a humbled and submitted way that brings glory to God.

Remember grace. When you fall, get back up.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Managing Editor Anthony Cook is pastor at Christian Fellowship Bible Church. He is the author of “By the Book,” available at local Christian bookstores or online. Phone, 256-235-3558. Email, acook@annistonstar.com. Twitter, acook_star.
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