Also See WARNING! Epidemic in the Church
There is open season on sex in this country, and you don't have to look far to see it
Not only is holiness one of God's primary attributes (See Isaiah 6:3), but one of the central themes of Leviticus is God's call for His people to be a holy people - And it didn't stop with the Old Testament. In Matthew 5:20 Jesus told His listeners that unless their righteousness surpassed that of the scribes and Pharisees, they would not enter the kingdom of heaven. The author of Hebrews was equally blunt, telling us that "Without Holiness, No Man Shall See God!" (Hebrews 12:14). Yet, all too many Christians today believe that all they have to do is have faith. See The Myth of Faith Alone and Holiness
It was (or is) commonly believed that the only grounds for divorce is sexual unfaithfulness involving actual physical relations with someone other than the spouse. However, Jesus knocked that idea on its head. In Matthew 5:28 He said "... everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart". Thus, anyone with a spouse addicted to pornography is well justified in seeking a divorce. See Jesus and The Spirit or Intention Behind The Law - Chapter III of Jesus and The Law
How Many Porn Addicts are in Your Church?
Could half of Christian men have a problem with porn, as so many of the statistics say? Porn is reported to be a 12 billion dollar industry in the U.S... 50 percent of men viewed pornography within one week of attending a Promise Keepers stadium event... 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.
12 billion... 50 percent... half. My eyes glaze over at numbers like this. Are we supposed to buy into the idea that half of the men in the church are porn addicts? Maybe it's just more sensational rhetoric meant to rouse us for battle against the culture.
But In My Church?
Certainly half the men in my church couldn't have a problem with porn. Most the men in our body of 600 are in their late 30s to early 40s, married, and the father of little ones. They have successful careers making good money and are involved in ministry. I couldn't picture so many of these men I sit next to every Sunday leering at porn.
Wanting to prove the numbers wrong, in the spring of 2004 I approached the leadership of our church and asked if we could survey the men on the topic of pornography. Our numbers will be different; "half" can't be true here, I thought. Of those who responded, 25 percent had looked at porn within the past 30 days, 44 percent within six months, and 61 percent within the year. The real statistic is probably higher; I heard later that a number of men didn't fill out the survey "because they were afraid of how it would be used."
Ted Roberts, a pastor who's ministered to many caught in the bondage of sexual addiction recounts the following story in his book Pure Desire:
"I was speaking in the Bible Belt not too long ago. When I asked the gracious pastor what he wanted me to share about during the weekend service, he said, "just tell them about the great work God is doing at your church."
I said, "I would love to do that, but I will end up talking about real life – about the bondage, addiction and trauma that so many people are struggling with today. And I will challenge them to open up these areas of their lives to God so He can heal them and set them free."
The expression on his face changed a bit and he commented, "Well, I don't think we have a lot of folks dealing with the depth of issues that you're talking about. This isn't just the Bible belt part of the country. We call it the buckle of the Bible Belt."
But that pastor gave me the green light, so I didn't pull any punches. Then, at the end of the service, I gave an altar call for people struggling with sexual issues. No one moved at first. Then the dam broke, and they lined up three to four deep at the altar..."
Let's Get Honest Here
A few years ago a friend of mine told me of a small men's retreat he attended in Idaho. When the men were challenged in the area of sexual purity, the biggest, toughest looking guy in the room stood up and said "I'm struggling with porn and I know some of you guys are too, so stand up if you are and let's deal with this!"
Half of the forty men in the room came to their feet.
Accepting the fact that at least half of Christian men (pastors, music ministers, missionaries and those in children's ministry included) have an issue with porn is a big pill to swallow. We want to see the church in a positive light; we don't want to picture little Jenny's daddy "relieving himself" to pictures of naked women (or men, if his bent is with homosexuality). We don't want the problem to be this big, because the church is in serious trouble if it is.
Another Man Speaks
The following excerpt is from an open letter Chuck Swindoll posted on his Insight for Living Website not long ago:
"The most recent studies available suggest that one out of every two people-that's 50 percent of the people sitting in our pews, are looking at and/or could be addicted to Internet pornography... Truth be told, that statistic could be even higher...
Stop and imagine the ugly but very real possibility of some of your own elders and deacons leaving your meetings and going home to surf porn. Think about youth leaders viewing it one minute, and leading a small group with your kids thirty minutes later. It's ruining marriages, destroying relationships, harming youth, and hurting the body of Christ. You hardly need to be reminded that fallen pastors and priests did not "suddenly" fall. More often than not, pornography played a role in their downward spiral.
My friend, it's time to do something about it. In fact, we need to start today. Making a difference requires action... Our churches are in trouble. This is no time to simply wait and pray."
The Bottom Line
In my ministry to those who struggle with porn and sex addiction, I see many marriages and families on the brink of divorce. Most guys wait until their dirty little secret spins out of control into a big traumatic mess before they do something about it. What starts out as "just me and pictures" can destroy a family. Sadly, there are some marriages that don't make it.
The church needs to expose this snake and cut off its head before more lives are ruined. In upcoming articles we'll provide you with effective strategies for doing just that.
NOTE: Mike Genung struggled with sex addiction for 20 years before God set Him free in 1999. He is the director of blazinggrace.org, a ministry to the sexually broken which also helps churches deal with the black plague of porn (See Below). You can email Mike at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why Pornography is the Greatest Threat to Today's Church
Statistics clearly prove that pornography addiction has become an enormous problem in America. For instance, according to Dr. Laura Schlessinger, on-line adult entertainment is now a $5-6 billion a year industry. One researcher estimates that 60 million Americans have visited sexually explicit web sites. These figures only represent Internet porn. The numbers involved with pornography as a whole are even greater.
"But what does this have to do with the Church?" you ask. Apparently quite a lot. Studies and polls have shown that the percentage of Christian men viewing pornography is the same as that of nonbelievers (33-50%). This could explain the findings of Barna Research, which found that 35% of born-again Christians believe sex outside of marriage is "morally acceptable."
How Can So Many Believers be Involved With Something as Filthy and Disgusting as Pornography?
Pornography appeals to one of the most powerful physical drives a male human being possesses: his sex drive. Furthermore, men are visually stimulated, making them extremely vulnerable to sexual images. When a man sees sexually oriented pictures, the demand to see and experience more becomes intense and overwhelming. Male hormones are easily inflamed, driving the man into insatiable lust.
"It goes without saying that the enemy will do everything within his power to enslave Christian men in habitual sexual sin."
The Internet makes the vilest pornography available a click away; its easy accessibility creates a deadly temptation for believers. Most Christian men - especially ministers - are not going to rent an adult video in public, where someone they know might see them. No problem, now that same man can pull up the most "delicious" images on his mobile screen within seconds - all in the privacy of his home or office. The ease of access to Internet porn has compounded this allurement exponentially.
I am convinced that demonic powers are involved with the entire pornographic industry from top to bottom. It goes without saying that the enemy will do everything within his power to enslave Christian men in habitual sexual sin. Why? Because he realizes that a lust-filled Christian offers no threat to his kingdom, and worst of all, disgraces God.
How Is This Affecting the Body of Christ?
All this brings us to a second question that begs asking: How is this affecting the Body of Christ? When Jesus warned us to “beware of the leaven of hypocrisy," He was communicating to His listeners that even though a hypocrite hides his sin from those around him, it still has a detrimental effect on the lives of others. The metaphor of leaven is used to illustrate the corrupting influence of a small ingredient upon the rest of the dough. Unfortunately, in the case of the 21st Century Church, we are talking about the influence of millions of men who are outwardly presenting themselves as religious while inwardly maintaining a virtual mental library of pornographic images.
In spite of the soothsayers who minimize the damage being done, pornography is a spiritual disease racing through the Christian community. In short, we show all the signs of suffering from a spiritual epidemic.
"The greatest threat to the Church today is not so much the pornography itself as much as it is the lackadaisical attitude many Christians have about its wrongness."
If it is true that one out of every five men sitting in America's pews is saturating his mind with the evil images of pornography, how does this effect the overall level of godliness in the Church? It seems that the general urgency to live a consecrated life is at an all-time low. Self-centered living seems to have replaced true sacrificial love. A hunger for God has been exchanged for a lust for entertainment. While the Church is weathering a fierce spiritual onslaught from without, the godly character needed for this battle rots within.
I believe in the Church Triumphant. However, if we are going to return to the godly living of our forefathers, we must face the blight of pornography in an honest and forthright manner. The greatest threat to the Church today is not so much the pornography itself as much as it is the lackadaisical attitude many Christians have about its wrongness. Minimizing its wickedness might alleviate some of the shame for those using it, but it will not help to halt the epidemic. Let's recognize pornography for the evil thing it is. Perhaps then we can effectively help those contaminated by it and do more to arrest its incursion into the Christian ranks.
NOTE: Steve Gallagher is the Founder and President of Pure Life Ministries (See Below). He has dedicated his life to helping men find freedom from sexual sin and leading Christians into the abundant life in God that comes through deep repentance.
Copyright © 2017 by Pure Life Ministries. Permission is granted to use, copy, distribute, or retransmit information or materials on this page, so long as proper acknowledgment is given to Pure Life Ministries as the source of the materials, and no modifications are made to such material.
[Please Note: I have no personal knowledge of any of these programs. They are linked here as they might help for those that may need it. If you contact or enroll in one of the programs, we would hope it is only after thoroughly investigating the organization concerned. All the wording below is from each organization’s own site.]
Blazing Grace is a Christ-centered ministry for those who want freedom from porn & sex addiction - through the new life God offers. We also provide support and help for wives.
Focus on the Family, the Christian ministry that operates Pure Intimacy, maintains a Counseling Department dedicated to providing caring support and counsel for anyone in need and has a number of other programs available for people struggling with pornography, sex addiction, and affairs. Go To The Site
This website was developed to be the first Church Porn site in the world. However this Church Porn Site is not like other Porn sites. This is a ministry that helps those who are struggling with Pornography by allowing you to download a free accountability program that will allow a friend to know what websites you are visiting online in order that they may hold you accountable to what you are looking at online.
Read personal stories about other people's experiences and how they have dealt with sexual addictions, adultery, and more. Need some wise advice about a problem you are facing? Don't wait. We can put you in touch with a Christian that can discretely and confidentially correspond with you about your problem by E-mail. Warning: Some content is frank and not appropriate for younger audiences Go To The Site
Internet addictions are easier to prevent than they are to overcome. Covenant Eyes is designed to safeguard your Internet world from the dangers, risks, and liabilities of Internet pornography and could be your first line of defense for online temptation”. However, accountability is a major key to successful recovery for those who have an existing struggle.
It's easy to use. Once installed, Covenant Eyes monitors websites your computer visits. Whenever Internet access is attempted, you will be asked to log in (or you can configure it to log in automatically). Once logged in, your Internet activity will be monitored by our servers and periodically emailed in a report to the Accountability Partner(s) you choose in the Signup Procedure. The information is scored specifically for pornography and presented in an easy-to-read Accountability Report, but the entire history of the web sites visited is recorded and available. Weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, a list of sites visited is sent to one or two Accountability Partners, selected by you when you sign up for the Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability program.