Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 15, A Plea to Pastors

It is with a bit of trembling that I approach the topic of pastors today. Part of me wonders if I am crossing into the territory of those who will be held to a higher standard (James 3). I think so. To be further sobered, that whole chapter is about how the tongue is lit by the fire of hell (or the keyboard, in this case) and that we should not act out of selfish ambition.

But that selfish ambition lives in my heart. It wants you to read this blog and be very impressed by my sacrifice, my boldness, my wisdom. It is not that interested in God getting credit or glory. Oh no, it wants to make sure that all of the honor goes to Chip.

I am not fit to preach or to lead the church. I want my own glory too much. But I don’t think that means I have no contribution to make. By the grace of God, I hope to encourage the church. To God be the glory.

I want to approach the pastors today. You are men called by God to lead his people. This is a heavy burden and I fear I am going to add to it today. I don’t want what I am about to say to discourage you. Quite the opposite, I want to encourage you.

As my recent posts have pointed out, there is a crisis in the world and the church. Sexual sin is disintegrating our homes, communities, and churches. The gateway drug for this sexual sin is pornography. It starts and fuels most of this destruction. So, pastors, I plead with you.

Confess Your Own Sexual Sin

Somewhere in the range of 1/3 to 1/2 of pastors have recently looked at pornography. If this is you, you must confess this sin to God and to another believer. It is useless to fight this without the church helping you. Don’t think that because you are a pastor that you are above the need for support and community. If anything you need it more than your people because you are being held to a higher standard. God is watching you and he expects you to lead well. Confess your sin to another believer.

Also, look at your heart. Are you emotionally drawing close to a woman in your church? When you preach, who are those girls that you always know where they are sitting. You need not look are porn to lust. Confess this sin to another believer as well. You need to be “in the light, as he is in the light.” Otherwise, don’t be surprised that you are living in darkness.

Now, go flirt with your wife.

Have a Ministry in your Church for Sexual Sin

If there is no forum for discussing sexual sin in your church, then you are overlooking an area of huge need. Around half of your men are regularly looking at porn and maybe a quarter of the ladies. If they were snorting cocaine, you would say something. Have a place for these people to go to have the gospel speak to their addiction. Maybe you partner with another church’s ministry, but you need a place for your people to get support for their sexual sin.

Be Ready to Address the Spouses of Porn Addicts

I struggle to recommend this because I have never known a group for spouses that I thought was really helpful. But part of the problem is that groups for spouses are quite rare. For almost every porn abuser, there is a struggling spouse. If you don’t have a plan for what to say to them, you will say something stupid. I have seen way too many pastors put the addiction back on a spouses shoulders. It’s not that these pastors meant harm, they just weren’t prepared. Be prepared.

Be Biblical, not Victorian

If you haven’t read my article Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 2, How Did We Get Here, then please take the time. I explain how many of our views of sex are not biblical, but cultural. We have overly stigmatized discussing sex and that has meant that the only people who are talking about it are the sexual sinners. Satan was very clever to set us up like that. Until we get over our reluctance to talk about sexual sin, we can never expect to overcome it. No one in the Bible is shy about it, why are we?

You Must Address Sexual Sin from the Pulpit

I don’t mean that you should occasionally mention sexual sin. I mean that you should be specific and be ready to address specific questions. There is a whole book in the Bible about how great sex is in marriage (Song of Solomon). Jesus had a three year ministry and had several specific and controversial teachings on sexual sin (Matthew 5:32, 15;19, and 19:9). Paul had several letters read from pulpits that were very specific about sexual sin and commanding sex in marriage (Romans 13:13, 1 Corinthians 5, 7:1-3, 2 Corinthians 12:21, Ephesians 5:3-5, 1 Thessalonians 4:3). The author of Hebrews (Hebrews 13:4) and Jude (Jude 1:7) both discuss sexual sin and the judgement that comes with it. Finally Jesus comes back to John in Revelation and has specific sexual sins at specific churches that he addresses (Revelation 2:14-21).

So, I will argue that if you are not being specific about the sexual sins that your congregation is facing from the pulpit, you are not loving your people well. You are not being biblical. You are more afraid of the critics in your congregation than you are in serving that mass of people who need you to have the courage to address their sin.  Be bold, dear brothers, be bold.

I do have a couple of good examples of this. Pastor Kempton Turner at Bethlehem Baptist did a wonderful job of facing sin and proclaiming the cross. He did a seminar called Pure Pleasure and he is an example to us all of how to approach this issue. Also, Pastor Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church has spoken on sexual sin numerous times, but I like this one the best of them all.

Be Encouraged

I don’t want to add burdens to you. I want you to be fruitful. This article may be discouraging to you. Please, know that I love you and I want you to be successful. God has given me this grace and I want you to share in it. There is a fountain of joy for both of us, but obedience is necessary and I believe God is calling us to boldly correct sexual sins of all kinds.

Brother, I’m pulling for you. We’re all in this together.

-Chip

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Count Vicegrim’s Letters: Chapter 2 The Slow Spiral

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The Demon Mudpot’s Annual Review regarding the Temptation of the Patient in His 16th Year

My Dearest Mudpot,

What a year this has been? Your success with the patient has been so thorough that even I am getting the attention of the High Lords. The Great Lord himself asked me about your progress and looked pleased at my report. If you were here, I’m sure they would speak with you as well, but I am willing to carry this burden for you in your absence. Someone has to go to parties around here.

No reason to beat around the vermin, let’s dig into your review.

The Better than Average

You have a real knack for arranging sexual deviance. How you have him looking at pornography daily and still his parents don’t suspect. it is simply a work of art. Vermin are so stupid. They are no smarter than the dirt they were made from. I must say I am envious of you being there to see him longing for those images every moment he doesn’t have them and then racing to every opportunity to look at them. You are doing a masterful job of slowly allowing sexual pleasure to prevent enjoyment of all other pleasures.

It is wise of you to avoid real sexual encounters for this patient yet. He can live under the illusion of “purity” because he has not exchanged human slime with a female. If you play your cards right, he could even have a sense of self-righteousness about his sexual restraint! In addition, this allows you to continue define sex by what he is looking at in those pictures. The more he separates sexuality from any real living vermin, the better.

One of the purposes of the sexuality of the vermin is to bond them to their “spouse.” We have a big advantage if we can use that process to bond them to images, then to fantasies, and finally get them hopelessly bonded to things that don’t exist. Let your imagination run wild for a moment, Mudpot. One day, if you do this right, your patient will long day and night for some sexual fantasy that can never be fulfilled. That is the sort of times a demon can really enjoy.

You have done quite well with his church attendance. As I did more research on his church I became concerned that the preaching might lead him to the Enemy’s Son. You can imagine my pleasure at reading how tuned out he is during the sermons. It really is amazing how those filthy creatures are able to hear words that would rescue them from us and they entirely ignore them. Despite your success, be vigilant. This is a area of concern.

I’m glad you were able to direct the patient to his father’s pornography supply in the home. This is an invaluable asset. Now, should his father discover what the patient is doing, he will have no credibility to correct it. It is also so helpful that the father hides it from the mother. That way we can be sure that he will be very uncomfortable talking about it with her as well. This is real teamwork between you and their demons.

Finally, the way you have fostered a sense of superiority in him is simply stunning. Our goal is always to bury them in shame and guilt or to make the feel superior to others, above the rules. Our preference is always to have them above the rules as this discourages them from ever seeking forgiveness (which the Enemy claims to offer).

Some Areas for Improvement

You are too cavalier about his association with that neighbor vermin. We have been working on the neighbor for years and have made only minimal inroads. That man is not to be underestimated. Keep you patient away from him. We have begun efforts to have that man hit by a car, but with no results. Be careful!

Your report indicates that you wish to be more eclectic in your temptations. I know it can be boring to keep hammering away at his sexuality at the expense of other delightful ways to play with him. Remember, the goal is always to keep the vermin away from the Enemy’s son! As much as it might feel like you are on offense, we must always work with the weaknesses the human presents to us. Consider it this way, after years of diminishing enjoyment of sexual pleasure, your patient can be brought to desperation. Then a whole buffet of delight is open to you. Think of the depression, anxiety, decimated relationships, and poverty. These, my dear Mudpot, can be yours. But only if you continue to capitalize on the weaknesses your patient actually has.

I know the temptation to wish you had a patient with certain weaknesses. I too miss a good flogging and a burning at the stake. The brutality of past days is sorely missing from these Western humans. Really, the only reliable place to find it in high concentrations today is in their abortion clinics. I promise you that if you press this weakness to it’s fullest potential, it will be worth your waiting. So for your patient, keep working with his weaknesses toward self-righteousness and sexual sins.

I am growing tired of your whining about the vigilance of the patient’s mother. If she is the worst difficulty you have, then you have been blessed by the Great Lord. Stop thinking in terms of how closely she watches and work this to your advantage. Work on your patient’s ego so that he does not see this as loving, but controlling. Try to have him make up some evil motive for this behavior. You are complaining to me and missing this opportunity.

One thing you need to start preparing for is this vermin’s college plans. I have compiled a list of the most favorable colleges. For your patient we will need to be careful that the college is respectable to pacify his parents but to also make sure that there is teaching that will make believing in the Enemy to look simplistic and stupid. Finally, there needs to be enough of a “party scene” to pull your patient in, but not so much that his parents might hear that reputation. If possible, try to get your vermin into one of the top four listed, they are the best for our purposes. The top listed college is ideal because it has Christian in the name and will serve our purposes and will leave your patient buried in debt by the time he finishes. A win in every respect!

Overall, this was a better than satisfactory year. Your patient is beginning a slow spiral that could end very well for us.

Your Affectionate Supervisor,

Count Vicegrim

Take a Breath Tuesdays: Tuscan Milk!

 

In 2008, a small dairy in New York called Tuscan Dairy Farms had their Amazon Page hit with a long series of humorous comments. The string became an internet sensation and eventually a New York Times article was written about the whole page. Below is the best response of all which is an adaption of Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Raven.’ Enjoy!

Make it Your Stock and Store

Once upon a mid-day sunny, while I savored Nuts ‘N Honey,
With my Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 gal, 128 fl. oz., I swore
As I went on with my lapping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at the icebox door.
‘Bad condensor, that,’ I muttered, ‘vibrating the icebox door –
Only this, and nothing more.’

Not to sound like a complainer, but, in an inept half-gainer,
I provoked my bowl to tip and spill its contents on the floor.
Stupefied, I came to muddle over that increasing puddle,
Burgeoning deluge of that which I at present do adore –
Snowy Tuscan wholesomeness exclusively produced offshore –
Purg’ed here for evermore.

And the pool so white and silky, filled me with a sense of milky
Ardor of the type fantastic of a loss not known before,
So that now, to still the throbbing of my heart, while gently sobbing,
I retreated, heading straightway for the tempting icebox door –
Heedless of that pitter-patter tapping at the icebox door –
I resolved to have some more.

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
‘This,’ said I, ‘requires an extra dram of milk, my favorite pour.’
To the icebox I aspired, motivated to admire
How its avocado pigment complemented my decor.
Then I grasped its woodgrain handle – here I opened wide the door; –
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams of Tuscans I had known before
But the light inside was broken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only words there spoken were my whispered words, ‘No more!’
Coke and beer, some ketchup I set eyes on, and an apple core –
Merely this and nothing more.

Back toward the table turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
‘Surely,’ said I, ‘surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore –
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; –
‘Tis the wind and nothing more!’

From the window came a stirring, then, with an incessant purring,
Inside stepped a kitten; mannerlessly did she me ignore.
Not the least obeisance made she; not a minute stopped or stayed she;
But, with mien of lord or lady, withdrew to my dining floor –
Pounced upon the pool of Tuscan spreading o’er my dining floor –
Licked, and lapped, and supped some more.

Then this tiny cat beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grand enthusiasm of the countenance she wore,
Toward the mess she showed no pity, ’til I said, ‘Well, hello, kitty!’
Sought she me with pretty eyes that seemed to open some rapport.
So I pleaded, ‘Tell me, tell me what it is that you implore!’
Quoth the kitten, ‘Get some more.’

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 14, A Plea to Fathers

child_fearFor many (if not most) men who struggle with porn, the person who introduced them is not who you might think. It is not that group of boys mom always told us to stay away from. It isn’t that creepy guy on the street corner. It is most likely not even the internet.

It was dad.

Our dad’s didn’t mean to introduce us in most cases. It is often a boy finding his dad’s stash of porn. Sometimes it is that dad now thinks that since his son is thirteen, it is somehow OK to let him see nudity in a movie. We walk into the restroom and there he is, looking at porn.

Whatever our father’s intentions, we were exposed. Slowly the roots of this sin sunk deep into our hearts. Soon we were more deeply ensnared than our father’s ever dreamed.

Not only did they introduce us to porn, but they also lost all credibility with us. Dad looking at porn and he is strictly warning me not to look at porn. They failed to confess their own sin and in doing so, they taught us how to cover up our sin. The moment we needed them to stand strong for us and strongly tell us how dangerous this path is, they cannot. The would not.

Jesus had some very strong language for just such a situation.

And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. (Luk 17:1-2 ESV)

Let the weight of that sink in. Let it pull on your neck. Imagine hurtling toward the water and a certain drowning. The water rushes over your face. In your fear, you forgot to take a deep breath before you went under the surface. You scream and the last air you will ever breath leaves your lungs. Sinking, you keep sinking. The terror of this moment fills your mind. There is a deep pressure and hunger in your chest, but no air to fill it. Your thinking gets fuzzy. You pass out. You die.

It would be better to do that than cause a little one to sin.

So now most of us are fathers. It’s our turn to carry this mantle and to set the path for our children. Are we doing any better? It seems that we are doing worse! Now instead of a magazine, they slip from their rooms late at night and watch us masturbate in the light of a computer screen. We are guiding them into hell.

Gentlemen, be afraid. This warning is for you. Those little hands and feet will do what you do, say what you say, look at what you look at. We can do better. Here are my thoughts on how to keep millstones off your neck.

Repent

Read my article How Do I Stop Looking at Porn and get the first steps of your repentance going. It is no good to your family if you can’t get a handle on your porn problem. Jesus has the grace you need. It really is a question of whether you will take it.

Tell Your Kids About Your Struggle With Porn

The way to struggle and not be a hypocrite is to be honest. When our fathers told us to avoid porn and kept looking at it themselves, they lost all credibility with us. The way to get it back is to tell them how much pain it has caused you. Have your wife sit with you. Let her talk about how much this has hurt her as well. If you let your kids see the pain that this has caused, you set for them a deep and powerful warning of this danger. You will have served them well.

But When Do I Tell Them?

This is difficult, but here are some good rules of thumb. The average Western child is exposed to porn at age eleven so I think you really should have this conversation by age eleven if not sooner. If your kid is thirteen, he is most likely looking at porn already so this should be addressed. If he is fifteen or older, get up right now and talk with him. Your time is short and your son is an addict waiting to happen and your daughter has about a 1/4 chance of being one as well. Talk with them right away.

I know that this is a hard thing. It is humiliating. It is necessary. Have the courage to talk with them.

Tell Your Daughters Too

It may seem like this conversation is only important for your sons, but it is key to also have it with your daughters. She is going to run into men who struggle with porn in her life. She needs a good example of how someone fights their own pornography problem.

Dad, enter stage left.

If you set this good example, she will be much better equipped to see men and understand how they should be behaving. She’ll know because her dad showed her. This is key for her as she is selecting the most important man in her life, her husband. Guess what dad, he will have a porn problem at least 85% of the time. She needs to be ready for that.

The other reason your daughter needs to know is that there is about a 1/4 chance that she will struggle with pornography as well. You need to set a good example for her of how to deal with it. Please, please tell your daughters of your struggle.

Keep Talking About It

There is this myth out there that any discussion about sex is a single conversation. In reality, your kids will have many, many conversations about sex. The question is how many of them will be with you. Take a good look at your kid’s friends, are they the ones you want educating your son. I hope not.

This requires courage and conviction. Keep talking about sex, porn, sexting, and how it impacts their lives. I think there is a generation that is getting most of their sexual knowledge from the porn industry. We need to change that.

The Cross

Remember that none of us are up to this. You and I can’t carry this load. It is too heavy for us. We will fail. But God can succeed through us. Love your kids enough to have these conversations. You will find the strength to do that by looking hard and deep at the cross. See how much he did for you. He went through hell for you. He loved you so deeply that he willingly had nails driven through his hands and feet for you.

Now go and love your kids like that.

-Chip

P.S. I should be clear that I was not introduced to porn by my dad. I am the sort of sinner who doesn’t need help to find porn. So the content of this article has little to do with him. He taught me how to love a woman deeply, not how to stare at images of other women. 

Reblog – Sexual Sin in the Ministry

This is a very thoughtful article by Dr. Harry W. Schaumburg. lt is a discussion on the limitations of the addiction model for describing pornography. Enjoy! The original post can be found here

For the last twenty years thousands of men from across America struggling with sexual sin have come to our intensive counseling workshop. Over half were pastors and missionaries.

I wish our experience was unique.

Several years ago a seminary professor told me: “We no longer ask our entering students if they are struggling with pornography, we assume every student is struggling. The question we ask: ‘How serious is the struggle?’”

One missions agency told me that 80% of their applicants voluntarily indicate a struggle with pornography, resulting in staff shortages on the field.

Pornography is just one level of sin, a form of visual sex, or heart adultery. Physical adultery includes an affair, multiple affairs, prostitution, and homosexuality. Other sexual behaviors within the ministry are such heinous “unfruitful works of darkness . . . it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret” (Ephesians 5:11–12). To face the crisis we must correctly understand the nature of the problem, ask God to search our own hearts, and be committed to restore each one caught in sexual sin “in a spirit of gentleness” (Galatians 6:1).

I have pondered long and hard two questions: Why do people repeatedly return to sexual sin and why do people turn away from sexual sin?

Lured Toward Sin

First, I would say that after two decades of helping set free those held captive by sexual sin, I’m convinced that the concept of sexual addiction as a disease does not fully identify the seriousness of the problem. If we are going to get serious about the problem in the church we can ill afford to be misled in our thinking. The real problem is hidden deep within. The least bit of lust is an indication of vast corruption in the human heart. It is an enslavement that cannot be broken through any form of behavior management, recovery program, or counseling. The inside is so ravaged by sin that we can do nothing to change it.

When one is held in the grip of sexual sin, there is no hope of self-reform or self-efforts, for those living according to the “passions of their flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and mind” (Ephesians 2:3). To put it bluntly, those living in habitual sexual sin are “dead in their trespasses and sin” (verse 1). Dead, in a loss of spiritual life. Dead to finding satisfaction with God. Dead to living for his purpose. Holiness is dead. Wisdom is dead. Purity is dead. Love is dead. Like David, the sexual sinner has sinned “against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13), and in so doing has “utterly scorned the Lord” (verse 14). The horrible fact is they are “by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3).

I believe addictionology plays down the seriousness of sin and the necessity of the work of God when it encourages the sexual addict to accept the theory that recovery will only be successful when they begin to believe that they are a good person at the core and just have a disease.

Diagnoses always determine the method of treatment. So ‘good’ people only need to get serious, follow the steps of recovery, and remain in recovery. The opposite is true. When dealing with sexual sin we must hold fast to the teaching of Jesus Christ, “For from within, out of the heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, . . . adultery” (Mark 7:21).

By nature and by choice we satisfy ourselves, rebel against God, and have no accurate understanding of the depth of our problem. The heart is deceptive, and without supernatural change it will grow worse. The only hope is “the grace of God . . . training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:11–12).

Look closely and you will see that the sexual sinner is disappointed with pleasure in their pursuit of what is essentially false intimacy. As one pastor, who was living in two adulterous relationships, put it: “This was the insanity; I no sooner finished the sexual act and immediately broke into tears, devastated by what I had done, but I only returned again and again to the same sinful relationship.”

As sinners we are created with desires for intimacy and for delight. Therefore, “The way to fight lust is to feed faith with the precious and magnificent promise that the pure in heart will see, face to face, the all-satisfying God of glory” (Future Grace, 338).

Yet the sexual sinner, finding no pleasure in real intimacy with God, ultimately finds no pleasure in false intimacy. Real intimacy has both pain and pleasure; false intimacy offers the illusion of no pain, but in the end there is no real pleasure! A part of exchanging the “truth about God for a lie” (Romans 1:25) is that you end up with pleasure now, pain forever!

Descending Deception

Deception runs deeper than we think. Deception is inherent to the problem of sexual sin on two levels.

First, there is the double life with clandestine liaisons, endless hidden hours on a computer, or the misuse of unaccounted time away from the office or home. The behavior is carefully hidden from view, but there are lies, then more lies to cover the lies. Face the facts: the motive for secrecy is to keep doing it. But secrecy of sexual sin also indicates a person’s commitment to flee from the light. “And people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (John 3:19).

The second level of deception is self-deception. If the heart is deceitful, it impacts the way we want to see the secret things in our lives, particularly secret sexual sins. The missionary can justify going to nude beaches; a pastor sees the value of an affair because it makes him happy; going to a prostitute on Monday is just a reward for hard work on Sunday.

When you say, “I will keep this part of my life a secret,” what are you hiding?

Hidden from view is a scandalous behavior that would certainly horrify any congregation or spouse. It is also a calculated contradiction of one’s public image that if revealed would bring ruin. It also may be a relationship that you believe is so fulfilling you can’t imagine ending it.

Everyone thinks they are hiding their acts of sin: lust, cheating, porn, and adultery. Such thinking makes it easier to justify the secrecy for the greater good of one’s marriage, family, ministry, job, and future. Such rationalization is universal to all secret sexual sin. “After all, a lot of people would be hurt if they knew what I was doing.” As one pastor put it, “I was in a six month affair, at the same time preaching and counseling against adultery, and telling myself that God didn’t care because the church was growing.”

In reality, it is not the behavior alone that is hidden.

Secret sexual sin is an invasive poison to the soul, mind and the body. It is a poison deep within the recesses of the soul that keeps one from finding satisfaction in God and meaningful intimacy with others. This is a poison that will kill not only in this life, but also life eternal! “For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure . . . has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Ephesians 5:5). Sexual behavior that is indistinguishable from the unbelieving world may indicate a person is not truly a child of God.

The Turn From Sin

Why do people turn away from sexual sin?

In thousands of cases that I have counseled, only about one-percent of the men have come to us voluntarily and preemptively. Ninety-nine percent of the men were caught.

Getting caught in sexual sin doesn’t change the heart.

I can’t prove it, but I believe that God will providentially expose the secret sexual sin of his children.

It staggers our finite imagination that God will allow his chosen ones to go deep into brazen sexual sin, live in it for many years, and have so many people badly hurt. And no matter how difficult it is for spouses and church members to see it in the moment, God is at work when a pastor’s sin is exposed. Exposure is a sovereign act of God. God’s ways are not our ways! In all the vileness and rebellion against God that is a big part of sexual sin, exposure is showing us the perfect patience of Christ.

Many times I’ve been asked, “How can you keep dealing with such sinful men?” There are two reasons: First, I have seen over and over again the power of God to change the darkest sinner. Second, restoration with God is more important than anything. It is more important than career or marriage. God cares more for you, your soul, and your wife than he does your gifts and calling. You are his child before you are a pastor or a husband.

Conviction

After secret sexual sin is exposed we can make the mistake of focusing on the actions and attempt to eliminate behavior. We may be inadvertently feeding a false conviction rather than aiding true conviction.

False conviction is a reflex reaction caused by self-disgust, a sorrow over the consequences of sin. True conviction is an abiding sorrow over the offence against God, and while not the natural response, it does demonstrate that God has begun a good work that he will complete. True conviction is followed by true repentance. False conviction is followed by counterfeit repentance that only sees the consequences of sexual sin and the pain it caused others. Often this leads to a temporary change in behavior without a heart change.

Heart change is critical, “For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexual immoral (Gk. porneia) or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater) has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Ephesians 5:5). There is no room for error when it comes to dealing with sexual sin. There is a demand to either repent or perish (Luke 13:3, 5). So there must be inner transformation of the heart because it is “deceitful above all things and desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9).

Christians must take severe measures in killing this sin. This is the real danger: “Every unclean thought would be adultery if it could” (John Owen). “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality . . .” (Colossians 3:5).

The cross isn’t a recovery program, the place to improve on what good is already there. It is a place to die. It is not a question of giving up sexual sin, but of giving up one’s rights!

“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:17–18). As dead sinners we lived “in the passion of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind” (Ephesians 2:3). Deceived, we foolishly think we can use our bodies as we choose when we are in love, when it brings us pleasure, when it makes us a whole person or feeds our spiritual well being. The truly repentant sexual sinner begins to grasp, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20).

True repentance is radical change from the inside out. “The basic meaning of repent is to experience a change of the mind’s perceptions and dispositions and purposes” (What Jesus Demands, 41). Repentance is not just becoming sexually pure, but an inward change, “so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10). Inward change leads to sexual purity. Repentance happens on the inside where heart change includes the development of an ingrained attitude to flee sexual immorality.

Don’t Wait To Get Caught

Some time ago I met a pastor who told me that he had two or three affairs in each of the several churches he had pastored. He said, “My reputation in my denomination is to take a small struggling church and see it grow, only to again take another small church and see it grow. I’ve made that move three times, but in fact, I was only moving to a new church before I got caught in those affairs.” That man has no reason to expose his sexual sin or leave the ministry. Why should anyone know?

Why should anyone turn from sexual sin before being caught?

First, don’t let yourself be deceived. “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil . . . No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:8, 9). While not completely free from sin, the heart of the true believer has been transformed, and they cannot live in a pattern of continual sexual sin.

Second, the exhortation is to “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16).

Third, fear is not a virtue. Yes, exposure will be costly, but right now you are dying on the inside. It may not feel like dying right now, but you are, you are slowly killing yourself, your spouse, your family, and your congregation.

Fourth, if secret sexual sin has severe consequences, it is worth dealing with before the devastation occurs. Obvious examples come to mind to get help before: your Internet browsing history is discovered and shared; the prostitute turns into an uncover police women and you are arrested for soliciting; you contract an STD; or you are publicly exposed, humiliating yourself, your spouse, your family, and your congregation.

Fifth, it will come out. God is never mocked. “Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness” (Romans 11:22).

Sixth, getting caught shatters trust and honesty in marriage, embarrasses your spouse, and makes reconciliation more difficult.

Seventh, there is hope. It begins with facing the truth. It is never just a struggle with your thought life; like all sexual sin, it is evil. If there is an old self to put off, there must be a new self to put on; that is the gospel.

Hear the Better Word

Christ bears the wrath that will come for all sexual sin. If you are a true believer and real change has occurred, you are called to put off the old and put on the new. Killing sexual sin starts with exposure; it ends with no longer being enslaved (Romans 6:6). Exposure is painful, but it is better to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” than to hear, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

If you are a pastor stuck in sexual sin, no matter how well you have attempted to cover those sins with layers and layers of lies, I plead with you, step out from the darkness of those sins. Step into the light. Get help. You will never find life in the shadows.

Topic: Sexual Purity

Dr. Harry W. Schaumburg is a speaker, author, and counselor specializing in the area of sexual sin in the church. He is the director of Stone Gate Resources and the author of False Intimacy: Understanding the Struggle of Sexual Addiction (1997) and Undefiled: Redemption From Sexual Sin, Restoration for Broken Relationships (2009). He has been married to his wife Rosemary for 43 years, and they have two adult sons.

HIV, The Porn Industry, and the Christian

Cameron Bay at a News Conference Discussing her recent HIV positive test

The porn industry in the Los Angelos area has a problem. There have been four HIV cases in the last two months and this has caused a halt to production in the much of the adult industry in the LA area. This is a big deal because the San Fernando Valley has a one billion dollar porn industry and it is costly to the producers of porn to have their sets shut down.

The story of trouble for LA County porn began in earnest when in 2012 the county voted to require condom use on porn sets. This was decried by the porn industry but in August and September of 2013, four porn actors and actresses were found to be HIV positive. One of those actresses is Cameron Bay (her stage name), who is pictured above. The question I want to ask is, how should the Christian feel about this?

To be clear, Ms. Bay was involving herself in some very risky behavior. HIV infections are rare in the porn industry due to mandatory testing every thirty days, But other STDs are very common. She repeatedly chose to expose herself to STDs and she caught the worst one of all. Not only did she get it, but so did her boyfriend who is also a porn actor.

But one of the big ideas throughout the New Testament is that we do not get what we deserve. She may have been foolish and caught HIV? I am foolish and have earned a place in Hell. The gospel is about how we don’t get what we deserve.

Jesus actually ran into a similar case once.

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” John 8:3-11

He alone in all of the Universe is in a position to condemn this woman. She was caught and the law is clear. Thank God we have been set free from the law. You and I are toast if we need to uphold the law. Because we are forgiven, we should be gracious to Cameron Bay. Jesus saw no need to condemn her, neither should we.

So that leaves two things left for us to do for Cameron. First, she should have our compassion and not our judgement. We are no better than her and we were forgive. Second, we should hope and pray that she too could be forgiven by Jesus? Wouldn’t it be another wonderful confirmation of the ridiculous grace of God if she were redeemed as well.

Christian, we have no room to be harsh. Don’t wag your head judgmentally at the Cameron Bay’s of the world. Realize that but for the grace of a God, you would be far worse. God has been kind to us. May God be gracious and kind to Cameron Bay.

-Chip

With Dad, in the Kitchen

My son recently came up to me while I was in the kitchen.

“I want to help” he said, looking up at me. 

i considered that being that he is three, It is doubt any of the actual cooking is a good idea for him. 

“Could you put the bowls on the table for breakfast?” I asked. 

He ran over to the drawer where the bowls are. He grabbed a pile of them and walked to the table. Carefully and thoughtfully selecting the bowl that is the right color for the right person. He knew who would want a pink one and who would want a yellow one. He eventually finished getting all the bowls where he wanted them. 

He walked back to me, “I got the bowls!:” he said with an excited look on his face. 

“I don’t see one for me. Could you pick one out for me?” I asked. 

He then hurried to the bowl drawer again and selected the perfect bowl for me. Imagine a pink paint store exploded, this is the bowl he selected for me. It is most certainly the wrong bowl for me. 

He returns and looks up at me, delighted to be helping. “I got you a bowl dada!”

“Thank you. You are a big helper.” He then ran off to play while I finished breakfast. 

When i started this blog, I didn’t expect to learn how much I wanted attention. There is this thirst in my soul to be admired and thought wise. It was revealing in my heart when I would watch the blog so carefully for when the viewership is up an down. i am happy when it was up. I was disappointed when it was down.

Which led me to a question. Whose blog is it? When I introduce it, I always say it is my blog. But maybe it is my blog only in the sense that my son was distributing his bowls. He is not overly concerned with ownership of the bowls. He is concerned with my approval and sharing in the experience of making breakfast with me.

My son has a lot to teach me. This is God’s blog. The joy I should feel is the joy of working together with my dada in what he is doing. The numbers of visitors and the impact that the blog has on them, that is too big a thing for me. If God sent one visitor and that one visitor wasn’t even helped, it should be OK with me. Why? Because I am not in the kitchen to really make breakfast. That is dada’s job. I am in the kitchen to enjoy some time working with my dada and “helping” him make whatever he wants to make.

There is real joy in that. My son does want a breakfast out of it as much as I really want to help those struggling with porn. But it is dada’s job to make sure the work is effective. How cool is it that I get to help in the kitchen? He might even let me pick his bowl.

-Chip