lu1 — 2016-04-05T19:48:21-04:00 — #1
There has been reports of up to 80% of men & over 60% of women in Ministry/Missions struggle with Porn
Several years ago a seminary professor told me: “We no longer ask our entering students if they are struggling with pornography, we assume every student is struggling. The question we ask: ‘How serious is the struggle?’”
One missions agency told me that 80% of their applicants voluntarily indicate a struggle with pornography, resulting in staff shortages on the field.
The Pernicious Effects of Pornography
By: Dr. Steven C. Riser
By: ATRI Staff Writer; ©2007
In our modern day and age, pornographic material can be found virtually everywhere: television – even during prime time, the internet, in magazines, on billboards, and in books. What affect has that material had on our society and on our churches?
The Pernicious Effects of Pornography
Let’s begin with definitions. According to the 1986 Attorney General Commission on Pornography, pornography is any material that is “predominantly sexually explicit and intended primarily for the purpose of sexual arousal.” The Commission went on to define hard-core pornography as material that is “sexually explicit in the extreme, and devoid of any other apparent content or purpose.”
In our modern day and age, material that fits those descriptions can be found virtually everywhere: television – even during prime time, the internet, in magazines, on billboards, and in books. Joe Dallas explains,
Erotic images pose a challenge. I dare you to try to escape them. There was a time you could do so pretty easily just by avoiding pornographic magazines, but those days are long gone. Take a drive and you’ll see some model flashing her wares on a billboard. Thumb through a magazine – a regular magazine, mind you – and you’ll get hit with clothing ads that show more flesh than clothes. Watch television and you won’t get away from sexual themes no matter what channel you turn to. Try as you may, you can’t get away from, erotic images without going into hibernation.
Now that we know what pornography is, and how pervasive it is, we need to know the damage it can do psychologically and socially. In his article “The Pornography Plague,” Kerby Anderson gives just a sampling of the negative effects of pornography upon our society:
Women Against Pornography estimate that about 1.2 million children are annually exploited in commercial sex (child pornography and prostitution).
Psychologist Edward Donnerstein (University of Wisconsin) found that brief exposure to violent forms of pornography can lead to anti-social attitudes and behavior.
Pornography (especially violent pornography) can produce an array of undesirable effects such as rape and sexual coercion. Specifically studies have found that such exposure can lead to increased use of coercion or rape, increased fantasies about rape, and desensitization to sexual violence and trivialization of rape.
Researchers Dolf Zillman and Jennings Bryant showed that continued exposure to pornography had serious adverse effects on beliefs about sexuality in general and on attitudes toward women in particular.
One study demonstrated that pornography can diminish a person’s sexual happiness.
Extensive interviews with sex offenders (rapists, incest offenders, and child molesters) have uncovered a sizable percentage of offenders who use pornography to arouse themselves prior to and during their assaults.
Police officers have seen the impact pornography has had on serial murders. In fact, pornography consumption is one of the most common profile characteristics of serial murders and rapists.
Scary? It should be. But the news gets even worse (if that’s possible). So far we’ve been talking about society at large. How about in the church?
In 2002, a New Man Magazine online poll reported that 75 percent of Christian men have viewed pornography in the last three months, and 43 percent have done so repeatedly. 37 percent of pastors, in a Christianity Today survey, admitted that they struggle with Internet pornography.
54 percent of pastors said they viewed porn within the past year in a Pastors.com survey… in a 2003 Focus on the Family poll 47 percent of respondents said porn is a problem in their home.
34 %….[of the] readers of Today’s Christian Woman’s online newsletter admitted to intentionally accessing Internet porn in a recent poll. While many women wrote in to explain they’d accessed these sites to better understand what was luring their husbands time and again, it was the other e-mails—from Christian women who shared about their own Internet porn addiction —that caught our attention. Apparently online sex addiction isn’t just a male problem anymore.
In other words, pornography is an issue no Christian can afford to ignore. And it’s one that is seriously impacting the Church today. Many Christians have accepted the world’s standard for sexuality, ignoring or reinterpreting what the Bible says about God’s standards. Mike Genung explains,
In a 2003 Barna survey, 28 percent of Christians said looking at pictures with nudity or sexually explicit behavior was morally acceptable. God’s standard, found in Matthew 5:28, is that lust in the heart is the same as committing adultery. The married man who uses porn is sinning against God – and is unfaithful to his wife. Christians aren’t immune from our culture’s “if it feels good do it” mentality, and those who’ve allowed this lie to influence their thinking need to hear God’s truth.
It is important for Christians to remember that God has called us – and empowered us – to be holy as He is holy (1 Pet. 1:16; Phil. 4:13). So we need to establish God’s standard for sex within the context of holiness. In both the Old and the New Testament, God illustrates the spiritual dangers of premarital and extramarital sexual activity. In that context, He also forbids those practices. For example,
1 Corinthians 6:13-18 – The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body…. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”
But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 – For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God.
Job 31:1-3, 9-12 – I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl. For what is man’s lot from God above, his heritage from the Almighty on high? Is it not ruin for the wicked, disaster for those who do wrong?… If my heart has been enticed by a woman, or if I have lurked at my neighbor’s door, then may my wife grind another man’s grain, and may other men sleep with her. For that would have been shameful, a sin to be judged. It is a fire that burns to Destruction; it would have uprooted my harvest.
Jesus also shut the door on that “look but not touch” loophole so many Christians try to invoke. In Matthew 5:27-28 Jesus explained, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matt. 5:27-28).
The Bible certainly has a lot to say to Christians, both single and those who are married, about their sexual behavior. He tells us what to avoid and how to steer clear of the dangerous consequences of inappropriate sexual activity. But God also promises to help those who come to Him. Perhaps Christians should commit these verses to memory so they will be immediately available in times of temptation:
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place” (Eph. 5:3-4).
“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 4:7- 8)
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires (Rom. 6:11-12)
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).
“Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18) [Pastor Jeff Miller pointed out that the Bible tells us to “resist” the devil but to FLEE sexual immorality. Don’t stand around looking at it – if you do, it will snare you.]
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Pet. 1:3-4)
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” (Phil. 4:8).
The Holman Bible Dictionary explains,
One’s sexuality is a vital part of Christian holiness and not a necessary evil to be rejected. Within the limits of marriage, sex is for procreation of children, the enhancement of the one-flesh relationship, and the pleasure of the married couple whose love can be nourished thereby. Outside of the limits established by God, sex becomes an evil and destructive force in human life, calling for God’s redemptive power to deliver humans trapped therein.
If you are starting to feel guilty now, that’s a good thing. You can’t – or won’t – start dealing with your pornography problem until you admit you have one. And as Dr. D. James Kennedy pointed out, “indulging in pornography leads to a terrible bondage of the soul.” Once you are ready to take steps toward conquering this problem in your life, there are a number of ministries available to help you, including online resources such as New Life Ministries, founded by our guest Steve Arterburn (www.newlife.com). Remember too that a pornography problem is not the “unpardonable sin.” Richard Strauss offers this encouragement to anyone struggling with any type of sin in his or her lives:
The hymn writer put it like this: “Who is a pardoning God like Thee? Or who has grace so rich and free?” That great God of grace stands ready to pardon you. Listen to the Prophet Isaiah: “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:6, 7). Listen to the Apostle John: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). It matters not how grievous your sin may have been. God stands ready to blot it out. Acknowledge it to him, then accept his gracious forgiveness.
Don’t wait! Don’t let that bondage to sin continue. Accept Jesus gift of forgiveness and freedom by taking the first steps toward dealing with your pornography issue today!
↑ Kerby Anderson, “Pornography,” Probe Ministries, www.probe.org. quoting Final Report of the
Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography, ed. Michael McManus (Nashville, Term.:
Rutledge Hill Press, 1986), p. 8.
↑ Joe Dallas, “Visual Stimulation and Sexual Integrity,” http://www.newlife.com/Articles/
↑ Kerby Anderson, “The Pornography Plague,” www.probe.org. See this article for documentation for
↑ Dr. Paul Dean, “A Call to Sexual Purity,” http://www.christianity.coin/faith/1416327.aspx, emphasis
↑ Mike Genung, “How Many Porn Addicts are in Your Church?,” http://www.crosswalk.com/
1336107/, emphasis added.
↑ Ramona Richards, “Dirty Little Secret,” http://www.christianitytoday.com/tcw/2003/sepoct/
5.58.html, emphasis added.
↑ Mike Genung, “How Your Church Can Take on the Porn Epidemic,” http://www.crosswalk.com/
↑ See for example the Holman Bible Dictionary entry for “Immorality,” http://studylight.org/dic/hbd/
↑ See his series “Sex: A 12 Step Program for Men” at bible.org.
↑ Butler, Trent C. Editor. “Entry for ‘SEX, BIBLICAL TEACHING ON’”. Holman Bible Dictionary.
↑ D. James Kennedy, “The Christian and Pornography,” http://www.purelifeministries.org/Unchained/
↑ Other resources include www.blazinggrace.org, the ministry of Mike Genung, and Steve
Gallager’s Pure Life Ministries (www.purelifeministries.org). In addition, Probe Ministries
(www.probe.org) has many some good information.
↑ Richard Strauss, “Caught in the Tempter’s Trap – The Story of David and Bathsheba,” at
hamilton_ramos — 2016-04-06T09:51:22-04:00 — #2
The best way to be victorious over sins of the flesh, is through God's grace and with the intervention of the Holy Spirit.
Step programs are useful to give structure and discipline, but only the power of the Holy Spirit can break the chains that bind men and women to sin.
In church many times different types of yokes have been successfully dealt with by the Holy Spirit's power.
It is not only pornography, also drug addiction, fornication, swearing, bitterness, resentment, smoking, greed, envy, etc. can successfully be dealt with, by the Holy Spirit's involvement in the life of the bound person.
If the church sets a specific period of time in which members fast, pray and call for help to the Lord, so that chains are destroyed, God would allow wonders in that area, in response to people's faith and prayer.
Just remember that after being freed from ungodly bindings by the presence of the Holy Spirit (come from above to help), there is a responsibility to keep the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, by worship, thanksgiving, prayer, praise, fasting, Scripture reading, study and memorization, etc.
There is a true spiritual struggle going on, the enemy of humankind uses unfair systems to lure persons into pornography, and then tries to get people to move away from God by making that pornography available through different media.
Pornography is but a secondary spin off of the sex element in an ungodly strategy by satan to get people to miss the target God intends for all of us.
Power, money, sex (an other physical possibly addictive behavior), in the wrong context and without God's wisdom can be source of much problem.
As Lu says pornography is a real problem, and some wise preacher said that just as a doctor always tries to be as aseptic as possible before dealing with an operation, a preacher must try to stay free from any possible form of sin (including pornography) because he is dealing with the spiritual health and wellbeing of the sheep.
I do think that the presence and action of the Holy Spirit is the best way to deal with sinful areas, lifestyles, etc.
The Holy Spirit must come to indwell the believer, and with His power clean out the heart, so that there is only space for Him.
As the adage says: "you cannot get something out of a man's mind, until it has been removed from the heart".
lu1 — 2016-04-06T13:39:35-04:00 — #3
I don't disagree with you... So what do we do with the 80% that struggles with it?
hamilton_ramos — 2016-04-06T14:41:49-04:00 — #4
Each case is particular. the church context is important also.
If you could rally 10 or more men of God anointed with the Holy Spirit, then develop a ministry that is focused on those that want to be helped, and have a spiritual campaign of fasting, praying and calling to God so that the Holy Spirit comes to minister the ones in need of deliverance.
After members start to get victorious, they can be a part of the ministry that besides delivering from the problem, multiplies workers in the ministry.
Hope this help.
david_taylor_jr — 2017-03-09T17:41:13-05:00 — #5
There are people who just struggle with pornography and other sexual sins. They are more easily dealt with as it is a heart issue and they need to decide to turn it around and follow God.
However, there is the remainder of the 80% that actually have an addiction to it. This is not an excuse, but a very real reality that there are chemicals in the brain that fire to cause the addicted person to "act out."
Once again, they are without excuse. They were not always addicted. But they must be treated in a different manner. I am NOT saying that they do not need the Spirit. That is what ultimately will break the addiction.
However, as Hamilton alluded, there are step programs. The step programs are actually Biblical. In fact, Bill Wilson of Alcoholics Anonymous, when he was coming up with the steps, took them from the Sermon on the Mount, 1 Corinthians 13, and the entire book of James. The whole point is for the addict to realize that they cannot control their urges and temptations, but with a spiritual awakening to God they can find freedom and peace.
This, however, has been largely watered down by Bill's successors as they wanted to take the Christian out of AA and other 12 step programs. They replace God with "Higher Power." They can call it what they want but that does not change the fact that the steps are Christian based and Biblical and the church should utilize them.
For those that do not know, here are the 12 Steps, I will take them from Sexaholics Anonymous for sake of the conversation:
The Twelve Steps
- We admitted that we were powerless over lust, that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to sexaholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
dave_l — 2017-03-09T23:55:12-05:00 — #6
I think the best way to overcome any sin is to seek a deeper love for God. And when this happens, we do not want anything in our lives that would hinder our relationship. Any sin becomes an immediate threat to our relationship with the Lord and we not only reject the outward temptations, but the mental temptations too. Don't fight sin with the flesh and 12 step programs. Seek a deeper love for God. That alone fixes everything.
david_taylor_jr — 2017-03-10T10:19:50-05:00 — #7
Do you realize that is what 12-step programs do? Do you know anything about 12 step programs?
dave_l — 2017-03-10T10:22:42-05:00 — #8
How about 11 step programs to wean people off of the 12 step ones? And so on? If you love God, you do not want anything to get in the way. And this is the real cure.
david_taylor_jr — 2017-03-10T10:24:02-05:00 — #9
Do you know anything about 12 step programs? Do you know that each of the 12 steps are actually taken directly from Scripture?
Are you saying we shouldn't let Scriptural principles get in the way?
dave_l — 2017-03-10T10:26:17-05:00 — #10
Love for God is the only true motive for overcoming sin.
david_taylor_jr — 2017-03-10T10:29:40-05:00 — #11
So no. You don't know anything about them and just want to immediately throw them out the door because it is not part of your Christianity.
Instead of just saying something is wrong you need to back it up, something you refuse to do time and time again.
dave_l — 2017-03-10T10:30:35-05:00 — #12
I know first hand what works best and what does not. And love for God takes first place.
david_taylor_jr — 2017-03-10T10:33:20-05:00 — #13
You know first hand what works best in every possible scenario and situation? What if it is an unbeliever who does not yet have a love for God but is seeking something greater?
Why do you think that your way is absolutely 100% correct. Dave is it possible for you to ever be wrong or are you infallible?
dave_l — 2017-03-10T10:34:35-05:00 — #14
Because love for God is the highest good. Love for self (12 step programs) is the direct opposite.
david_taylor_jr — 2017-03-10T10:36:41-05:00 — #15
Dave, what do you think a 12-step program is?
It is NOT a love for self. 12-step programs are the EXACT opposite. They attempt to get the addict out of themselves and to have a real relationship and connection with God. That is the whole point!
dave_l — 2017-03-10T10:38:25-05:00 — #16
If people love God, they do not need therapeutic programs. It's all about them getting what they lost back.
david_taylor_jr — 2017-03-10T10:39:48-05:00 — #17
That's not what a 12-step program is.
dave_l — 2017-03-10T10:44:23-05:00 — #18
I know what a 12 step program is, and its just another drug or bottle of booze replacement.
david_taylor_jr — 2017-03-10T10:51:38-05:00 — #19
No it is not. They are taken straight from Scripture and I even gave you the passages they come from.
dave_l — 2017-03-10T10:54:03-05:00 — #20
It is still a replacement addiction for other addictions. Love for God is not. It actually treats the problem directly.
next page →