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Porn and the Church

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Hannah Harrison AFA Journal MORE

“It’s the greatest cancer in the churchؙ—it’s too late to say, ‘Well, give it time and let’s pray about it.’” -Chuck Swindoll

Pastor Swindoll isn’t referring to physical sickness; rather, a hidden evil within our churches – pornography.

When it comes to porn, our churches are suffering. Instead of looking into its horror and fighting to defeat strongholds, most churches lack the planning or fortitude to combat the sickness of pornography. For some reason, this dangerous issue isn’t at the forefront of discussion, even though the industry is more lucrative than the NFL, NBA, and MBA combined.

Last week, prior porn-addict and Christian actor, Terry Crews, called for a famous porn site to be defunded, sending the site’s supporters into an up-roar. Why? Because so many porn addicts see pornography as harmless when that’s not the case. It is destructive to the brain, body, and soul (of those watching, and the performers).

Meanwhile, it’s stealing the innocence of our children. 

Currently, the average age of child porn exposure is 11. And according to research, a tenth of those 12 to 13 are already obsessed with pornography. That means children in our church’s youth groups are struggling with porn addiction.

Some church parents are inclined to say, “I don’t have to worry about that!” But little do they know how accessible porn is in today’s world, unlike days of old when it was just a magazine under their father’s bed. Today, any boy or girl with access to the internet is a click away from violent, pornographic content displaying abuse and graphic rape.

A sexual assault examiner (SAE) testified she had seen countless young children suffering from sexual abuse, and the link is almost always pornography. The most terrifying story I’ve heard was of a mother who walked in on her young son raping his 3-year-old sister. The boy explained he had seen it online and actively watched porn when taken to the SAE nurse. This horrifying revelation is simply that—horrifying. The most-viewed porn content is videos, including teens and incest.

America’s kids, teens, and adults are daily faced with graphic content containing choking, beating, and dehumanizing acts. Yet, it’s not just affecting the culture anymore. It’s hurting the church. Many sitting on the sanctuary pews are inwardly struggling with their secret sin, and unsure of what to do next.

The Conquer Series, a biblical anti-porn ministry, has recorded some shocking statistics regarding porn usage in the church.

  • 68% of church-going men and over 50% of pastors view porn regularly. Of young Christian adults 18-24 years old, 76% actively search for porn.
  • 59% of pastors said that married men seek their help for porn use.
  • Only 13% of self-identified Christian women say they never watch porn – 87% of Christian women have watched porn.
  • 33% of women aged 25-and-under search for porn at least once per month.
  • 57% of pastors say porn addiction is the most damaging issue in their congregation.
  •  69% of pastors say porn has adversely impacted the church.

And perhaps one of the saddest statistics listed: only 7% of pastors say their church has a program to help people struggling with pornography

Porn destroys innocence, marriages, and lives.

Where is the church? Where are the classes, accountability partners, and sermons regarding this plague among us?

A couple of ways churches can step up and address this issue is first, by talking about it. As pastor Swindoll said, “it’s too late to say, ‘Well, give it time and let’s pray about it.’” It’s time to get our boots on the ground and start fighting the battle.

Ways the church can address this issue are as follows:

  • Recognize the magnitude of the problem
  • Create a culture of redemption – not judgment
  • Have a ministry leader trained to deal with addiction
  • Start sex-specific accountability groups

One of the most important things the church can do to acknowledge the issue is to do it in love. There cannot be a spirit of judgment or condemnation, but hope and patience.

It’s one thing to look at the world and judge sinners for their sins. It’s another to reach out and help them find healing. This is a $97 billion industry. For our churches, congregants, children, and world, we have to have the hard talks. Wake up church, for we are losing a dangerous battle. We’re losing our own.

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23)

For resources to help to defeat porn, visit Conquer series or CovenantEyes.

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