I believe that something very evil was unleashed upon our land in 1971 when Joseph and Louis Peraino, members of the Colombo Mafia family, produced and released the X-rated comedy Deep Throat. The enormous success of that movie paved the way for the birth of the adult entertainment industry.
It was also a watershed moment in the spiritual history of the United States.
It was then that the door into a very dark world of succulent evil was opened to the average American male. The budding adult entertainment industry seized the opportunity, producing thousands of X-rated movies. This onslaught of pornography paved the way for multitudes of men to become addicted to illicit sexual activity. Strip clubs, massage parlors, escort services and gay bathhouses proliferated as porn addicts sought places to act out what they were viewing.
By the time I wrote the original version of At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry in 1987, the “group think” of our nation was already well on its way to being desensitized to lasciviousness. The “sex-is-everything” mindset of adult entertainment was beginning to reshape the American persona.
Just when it seemed that it couldn’t get any worse, a new medium was invented that would further open this Pandora’s Box of evil: the Internet. Within three years of its advent there were already 10,000 websites dedicated to obscenity. And recent data suggests that number is thought to have skyrocketed to 4 million sites.
There are two unsettling aspects to all of this. The first has to do with the law of diminishing returns which states that since sin does not satisfy, a person must find increasingly more base activity to view or participate in. This explains the record numbers of men accessing websites dedicated to deviant images such as child pornography, bestiality and S & M.
The second troubling aspect emerging is that adolescents and teens have become the largest single group using online porn. Insiders now believe that the average age of first-time exposure to pornographic content has dropped to 11 years of age. What is especially disconcerting about this is that those formative years tend to establish a youngster’s course of life. Even an alarming number of girls and young women are becoming addicted to pornography.
These trends are very disturbing and one can only imagine where this is all headed.
Unquestionably, today’s pastor must be careful not to allow himself to get swept along in the mindset of tolerance that is overtaking our culture. Taking a clear-cut stand for holy living is crucial—like never before.
Since this spiritual darkness has already made deep incursions into our congregations, pastors also must be prepared to offer spiritual aid to those already bound up in sexual sin. Nowadays, it is vital that pastors understand the grip of sin and the path to freedom.
Yes, the evil is mounting and the darkness is growing. But there is a silver lining with this dark cloud that Paul himself alluded to: Anytime sin increases, grace will flourish to meet the need. (Romans 5:20) Christians—people sitting in your pews every Sunday—will continue to fall prey to the enemy’s malevolent traps. As terrible as this is, however, we can all be comforted by the fact that God’s marvelous grace will super-abound all the more to draw people out of sin, hypocrisy and dead religion and into a vibrant life in Christ.
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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