Power Over Porn: from the Pulpit to the Pew

Porn has become a major problem in today’s Christian church. In fact, in a recent survey taken by blazinggrace.org, startling results revealed that 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography! Wow!

Could this really be true? Yes! What is even more astounding is 54% of pastors said they viewed porn within the past year in a survey, and in a 2003 Focus on the Family poll 47% of respondents said porn is a problem in their home (pastors.com).

Pornography is dangerous because it corrupts the mind and eventually desensitizes one\’s spirit of its ability to discern the will of God, which is absolutely essential for daily success in life. Porn addition also destroys marriages by creating conflicts, insecurities, isolation and ungodly lust for individuals outside of the marriage covenant.

In his Insight for Living website, Chuck Swindoll published an open letter addressing the need for the church to address the problem of porn in the church. The following is an excerpt from his letter:

…The most recent studies available suggest that 1 out of every 2 people-that’s 50% of the people sitting in our pews, are looking at and/or could be addicted to Internet pornography. The struggle is going on among those who volunteer in your church and mine. Chances are good that some of our full-time staff members, even some who faithfully serve on our boards, may be losing this secret battle. And while I’m listing these possibilities, let’s not overlook our young adults-married and single-who provide instruction among our junior and senior high youth. 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.

But how can your church help those who struggle with porn or sex addiction?

Here’s a battle plan for dealing with the problem of porn in the church:

1. The topic must be discussed openly before the congregation. 

Those who struggle with porn the most live in a protective cocoon of isolation. You can address sex addiction at a men’s retreat or seminar, but realize there are many lone stranger Christians in your congregation who aren’t comfortable rubbing shoulders with other men, and they’ll have a hard time showing up for a “let’s talk about porn” event. These broken ones need to hear your message of truth and hope the most, and you won’t reach them unless you address it on a Sunday morning. Those who struggle with sex addiction carry an immense weight of shame that drives them away from others, so you need to speak to them where they are.

2. On a Sunday morning, tell them how to deal with sexual sin.

The message of hope should provide concrete answers and direction, not just tell them “it’s wrong and don’t do it.” We need to tell the body of Christ how not to sin. First, expose the 2 myths of “I’m the only one” and “it’s not hurting anyone else.” Because sexual sin is so rarely discussed, most guys assume they are the “only one” struggling with porn. Show them they’re not alone (at least half the men in church have an issue with lust) and that there is hope.

3. Then, hold up the one true standard of sexual purity, which is Matthew 5:27.

And most importantly, point the way out by:

  • Drawing the connection between isolation and lust. Describe the blessing of living the James 5:16 life. “Confess and pray!”
  • Telling them how to “remove the stumbling blocks.” (Matthew 5:29-30)
  • Showing them how to fight the war in the mind (Chronicles 7:14) “Repent/Turn; You can’t fight it yourself.”
  • Pointing them to whom they were searching for in lust – the Living God. Encourage them to seek His face.

By: Darryl Izzard