Count Vicegrim’s Letters: Chapter 7 Neutering the Clergy

The Count Vicegrim LettersThe Demon Mudpot’s Annual Review regarding the Temptation of the Patient in His 21st Year

Mudpot,

Engaged! You let your patient become engaged and yet you have not gotten him to fornicate yet. What am I to do with you Mudpot!? This is a male college student in the Western world. ALL OF THEM FORNICATE…except yours. To be clear, almost all of them fornicate. How is it that millions of tempters are able to pull this off and you can’t? I’m not asking you to get him to renounce the Enemy!

You are an idiot.

I suppose I have to write your review now.

The Acceptable

I see you have further encouraged your patient’s ‘tolerance’. In fact, I even heard from another tempter how helpful your patient was by encouraging a friend to sin by saying, “God would want you to be happy.” This is my personal favorite excuse for sin. As if the sin we encourage will make them happy. Mudpot, you aren’t simply working our ends for your patient, but are making him an evangelist for the destruction of others. Good work.

Keep the tolerance coming. An important area to press this into is ‘religious tolerance’. In centuries past, this meant that the various religious groups didn’t declare war and kill each other. We have so changed it now that it means that tolerance means that one can’t even really believe their religious teaching. If one really looks at their religious text and believes it, that is now intolerant. The religion of the day is that all religions should be nice to each other and that no religion is really right.

Of course, no one really believes that. Not even the vermin. When someone is murdered, suddenly they all believe in right and wrong. When one of them steals from another, no one ever says that they simply have a religious preference about ownership. Like most of our teachings, this would be easy to disprove if the vermin didn’t want to believe it so badly.

His increasing isolation from other children of the Enemy is very helpful. Along with the notion of tolerance, we have added the idea that religious preferences are not just personal, but exclusively personal. So personal, in fact, that to mention them to others is rude. We have been able to drag more of the Enemy’s children out of the church with this than any other tool I can remember. The church, of course, is a place where beliefs are not personal but are subjected to being either true or false. Not a place we want to go.

Mudpot, you need to foster in him the very American belief that he can go it alone. That he needs nothing and no one. He can make up for himself men who did it by themselves without support and conquered their enemies. He needn’t consider that no man has ever done anything without help from others and no man has ever worked against us effectively without the Enemy’s Spirit. Let him believe that accepting help or correction is somehow weakness.

I love how you have gotten him so deeply convinced that the “forgiveness” of the Enemy’s Son is really just a chance for him to do whatever he wants. Fight any notion of guilt or remorse. The Enemy’s Spirit in him will be making him uncomfortable, it is your job to make him complacent. A few good statements to keep him saying are “nobody’s perfect” and “everybody makes mistakes”. These are so glorious for us because they recognize that there is a sin and the fail to do anything about it. I like to call those two statements the Conscience Killers. Use them often Mudpot.

The Totally Unacceptable

He is engaged and not fornicating. Some of the poorest tempters out there can pull this off Mudpot and you can’t. I don’t think you realize the harm this can do to us. If he can avoid fornicating before his marriage he will be much better prepared to avoid adultery after he is married. The patience he is learning will be a very dangerous tool in the Enemy’s hands. Get your patient fornicating!

Convince your patient that if he feels committed that he is “married in God’s eyes”. You see, the vermin really do mix up felt commitment with commitment. None of them would tell their pastor that they were just impatient so we need to equip him with a good excuse.

His plans to go to seminary have been moving forward. This is causing great concern in the Lowerarchy. It is doubtful that you will be able to persuade him to become a plumber, so I think you should focus your energies on getting him into one of our seminaries. You need to use ‘tolerance’ to its full potential now. Guide him to seminaries that are ‘open’ to ‘alternative lifestyles’. If he can come to believe that ‘acceptance’ is the same thing as Love, then we have him.

You see, acceptance is nice. There is no conflict with it. It makes one look enlightened and kind. Love, on the other hand, can often lead to conflict. To truly love someone, the vermin must press them toward the Enemy. This is not very ‘accepting’.

I have included a list of seminaries that will meet our needs. Make sure he gets into one of them. I have also included a copy of the book Neutering the Clergy by Lord Blackmist. It is the best work on how to handle this very dangerous group.

Finally, I would like to emphasize and important section from Neutering the Clergy. It is the five ‘Anything Buts’. If you can get your patient to go for anything but these, we have already won. They are:

Anything but the Enemy’s Book

Anything but Faith

Anything but Grace

Anything but the Enemy’s Son

Anything but the Enemy’s Glory

Work hard to take away these pillars of the Enemy. Review the ‘Anything Buts’ every day and hammer at them. There is hope to neuter him if you do this thoughtfully.

Not that you are good at doing anything thoughtfully.

Count Vicegrim

Image created by Cavin and used with permission

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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

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 13, Teenagers, Church, and Statistics

How bad is the porn problem? Maybe this blog is really just a place for the few of us that struggle with pornography. That would be a great relief to everyone else. They can let us go quietly off by ourselves and try not to think about us.

If only it were that simple.

Unfortunately, pornography is uncomfortable AND prevalent. Today I will explore just how common it really is. All of the statistics I have used today were gathered from a very helpful document that Covenant Eyes has assembled called Pornography Statistics 2013. It is available as a free download from Covenant Eyes after you fill out the request form.  All of the quotes below are directly from that document.

Teenagers and College Students

In 2008, more than 560 college student responded to an online survey:

  • 93% of boys and 62% of girls were exposed to pornography before 18.
  • 14% of boys and 9% of girls were exposed to pornography before 13.
  • 69% of boys and 23% of girls have spent at least 30 consecutive minutes viewing Internet pornography on at least one occasion. 63% of boys have done so more than once, and 35% of boys have done so on more than 10 occasions.
  • 83% of boys and 57% of girls have seen group sex online.
  • 69% of boys and 55% of girls have seen same-sex intercourse online.
  • 39% of boys and 23% of girls have seen sexual bondage online.
  • 32% of boys and 18% of girls have seen bestiality online.
  • 18% of boys and 10% of girls have seen rape or sexual violence online.
  • 15% of boys and 9% of girls have seen child pornography.

Take a look at that top statistic: 9 out of 10 boys and 2/3 of girls admitted to being exposed to pornography before age 18. 14% of boys and 9% of girls were first introduced before they were 13. Take into account that the error in this sample would most likely be under reporting of porn exposure. Why would you lie and say you had seen it when you hadn’t? So most likely these statistics are the floor of the real numbers.

In 2009, Michael Leahy released results of a survey of 29,000 individuals at North American universities.

  • 51% of male students and 32% of female students first viewed pornography before their teenage years (12 and younger).
  • 35% of all students’ first exposure was Internet or computer-based (compared to 32% from magazines, 13% from VHS or DVD, and 18% from Cable or pay-per-view).
  • 64% of college men and 18% of college women spend time online for Internet sex every week.
  • 42% of male students and 20% of women said they regularly read romance novels, sexually explicit magazines, or regularly visited sexually explicit websites or chat rooms.

This study is even more frightening with 51% of men reporting their first exposure before they were 13. Also, notice that 2/3 of  studied men and 1/5 of studied women (who are current college students) report looking at porn at least weekly.

But, of course this is only a problem of young people. When they grow up and go to church, they will stop looking at porn, right?

Churchgoers

According to data taken from Internet users who took part in the General Social Survey for the year 2000, regular church attenders are 26% less likely to look at porn than non-attenders, but those self-identified as “fundamentalists” are 91% more likely to look at porn.

In 2003, 34% of female readers of Today’s Christian Woman’s online newsletter admitted to intentionally accessing Internet porn.

In August 2006, a survey reported 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography. 60% of the women who answered the survey admitted to having significant struggles with lust; 40% admitted to being involved in sexual sin in the past year.

Now I have nothing against a good fundamentalist, but if you are marching against homosexuality and looking at porn, I think you more strongly resemble a Pharisee than a disciple. We need to be first interested in out own sin, not other peoples. Hypocrisy Alert: I am certainly guilty of focusing on other people’s sin while ignoring my own. 

The other very notable number was that 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women surveyed could be described as “addicted to porn.” Now please don’t think to yourself, “Well, yes, but this is all of those other evil churches. Not mine.” Even if your church is better than average, that is still very large numbers of men and women in your church. Take this threat seriously, your denial only ignores a very real problem.

But at least the pastors are safe, right?

Pastors

In 2002, of 1,351 pastors surveyed, 54% said they had viewed Internet pornography within the last year, and 30% of these had visited within the last 30 days.

Porn is ravaging our pastors as well. If you think about it, pastors would actually be a vulnerable group. They are under tremendous pressure to perform and to keep up appearances but are sinners just like us. They generally are too “good” to go out an have an affair, but they might slip and give into porn.

Take a breath for a moment and think about the fact the 30% of pastors admitted looking at porn in the last 30 days. Remember that this is a 2002 survey, do you think it has gotten better in the last 11 years. I think not. So consider that at least one in three pastors have looked at porn recently.

I don’t say this to denigrate pastors. In fact, I am confident that there are pastors who will read these words and, I hope, pursue getting their own pornography problem addressed. I say this because I believe the church is eager to ignore this serious and widespread problem. I want the church to wake up. Stop hiding and smiling our way past each other on Sunday morning. This issue needs to be addressed publicly and directly.

So What Do We Do?

It is time that we stopped pretending that pornography use is an isolated problem. It is very common and very destructive. The Church needs to remove the stigma that prevents sexual sins from being addressed from the pulpit. Dads and moms need to address this issue directly with their kids. Like drugs and strangers, there is a threat out there that is too common to ignore anymore.

The question really isn’t what are we going to do. It is what are you going to do?

-Chip