Pornography has been compared to the bubonic plague of the contemporary church, secretly destroying the spiritual health of individuals and families. It is crippling the ability of men to be the Christian, husband, father, mentor, spiritual leader, even friend that God intended for them.
Pornography is a subject we would rather not discuss at church, but here are alarming statistics that tell us we MUST be talking about this issue and its impact on families.
- The majority of Christian men are struggling with the temptation to look at pornography
- One survey found that 91% of men raised in Christian homes, 96% of men raised in partially Christian homes, and 98% of men raised in non-Christian homes were exposed to pornography growing up.
- Many surveys indicate that more than 50% of pastors are struggling with porn. In one survey, of 1,351 pastors surveyed, 54% had viewed internet pornography within the last year.
- 50% of men and 20% of women in the church regularly view porn.
- People who view porn will eventually start to act out, which includes visiting an adult-oriented business, visiting a prostitute, paying for sexual favors, cybersex activities, phone sex, or having an affair.
When a Christian is viewing pornography, his/her passion for God and influence for God will be virtually silenced, a place where Satan wants every Christian. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that one can break free.
Breaking free as well as protecting oneself from the temptation is what Join1MillionMen.org is all about. The goal is one million men who have committed to live a porn free life. Pastor Jay Dennis shares how this effort came about on the Our Hardcore Battle Plan DVD and his materials have been used by many to break the destructive cycle of pornography.
The Battle Plan includes two new books for individual reading and use in small groups. These resources help people understand that breaking free from the lure of porn—whether just tempted, viewing occasionally, or addicted—is a battle we don’t have to face alone. Our Hardcore Battle Plan: Joining in the War Against Pornography and Our Hardcore Battle Plan for Wives: Winning the War Against Pornography are insightful books and challenging both to families who struggle with porn issues and for those who want to protect their families. The DVD and books include testimonies of those who have been harmed by pornography and those who have broken free.
There are also two booklets which provide concise information and helps in the war against porn. Our Hardcore Battle Plan A – Z is a 32-page supplement resource which provides 26 key principles in an A-to-Z format for porn-free living. Our Hardcore Battle Plan: 1 Million Women Praying offers 26 prayers that support the key Biblical principles men need for porn-free living.
Whether we realize it or not, porn is coming to church every week in the minds of many people in the pews. It is a “secret sin” that many people engage in, thinking no one knows and there is no harm done. But the harm is done through images that can never be erased from the mind. The harm is done in a myriad of consequences that destroy families, isolates people, brings shame, and keeps people in self-destructive cycles. And when we hear of Christian leaders who are involved in affairs, leave their families, or become sexual predators, we find most often that pornography was part of the moral failure.
We are grateful to Jay and Cheryl Hatfield for developing an introductory conference to this material. (They will teach it again at the Super Saturday in Owensboro on September 7. ) Lee and I used their materials to lead a conference at the Super Saturday in Lexington on August 24. Four people came the first time and two the second. The man in our second conference said, “Why aren’t pastors here? Why are men not getting behind this? Why has this fallen to WMU to lead the charge?” Perhaps the statistics quoted at the start of this blog tell us why.
Through various Project HELP emphases, WMU has tackled social issues that affect our society. From poverty to AIDS, from child advocacy to violence, WMU has challenged churches to respond to issues facing us today. Project HELP: Human Exploitation is no exception. Through this emphasis, WMU has challenged churches to become aware of human trafficking, bullying, labor exploitation, media exploitation, exploitation of natural resources, and pornography.
The issue of pornography has been one of the most challenging. The new resources by Jay Dennis and published by New Hope (WMU), provide an avenue to start talking about this issue.