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.
- 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 computer 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.
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.
Steve Gallagher is the Founder and President of Pure Life Ministries. 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.
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