ST. LOUIS (BP)–The most threatening issue facing families in America today is pornography, Richard Land said June 11. Noting the pro-life issue remains an extremely critical issue with nearly 4,000 babies lost to abortion each day, the head of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission said an equal number of men and boys are impacted by pornography each day.
“I am more convinced than ever before that men and boys are being destroyed and having their abilities to be the husband and father God intended them to be warped by exposure to this emotional and spiritual toxic waste called pornography,” Land said during a taping of his daily “For Faith & Family” radio program at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in St. Louis.
Internet pornography, Land said, is particularly insidious.
“A lot of Christians don’t want to speak about this issue and they don’t want to hear about it,” he said, noting that many Christian men are under conviction on this issue because “somewhere between 40 to 60 percent of Christian men — these are the good guys — are involved in a struggle with pornography.”
“Pornography thrives in silence; it proliferates in the dark. And the sad truth is that Christian men are not in any way, shape or form impervious to the lure of pornography.”
Land was joined on the program by Henry Rogers, chaplain for the Dallas-based Interstate Batteries and author of “The Silent War: Ministering to Those Trapped in the Deception of Pornography.”
Rogers said he was motivated to write the book when he realized how bad the problem of pornography is in the church. Pornography and sexual temptation are “ripping the soul out of the American male,” he said.
Rogers had “the common misconception that it was something outside of the church, but the closer I got to it, I discovered it was within the church walls and not only in the pews but behind the pulpit as well.”
“We are surrounded by inappropriate sexual messages,” Rogers said, stressing what a man does when sexual thoughts come into his mind is important.
“Do you take those thoughts captive for Christ or do you let them linger and dwell and maybe act them out?” he asked. “Unfortunately too many Christian men are acting them out.”
He said pornography, by design, does not satisfy and always leaves the user wanting more. “I have never met a men yet who said, ‘I’ve been enjoying Playboy for 20 years and that is really all I need.’
“If you think for a minute that you are not going to fall, you’ve made a big mistake,” Rogers said. “It is certainly a temptation that any man can face. We have an adversary who wants to take us out. He may wait 10, 15 or 20 years. There is no age at which we can relax, thinking we are immune from sexual temptation.”
Christians always have to be looking for a way of escape from such temptations, Rogers continued. “If a building catches on fire, we run to the exits, not to a solid wall. Likewise, God gives us a way of escape in times of temptation but we have to look for it,” he emphasized. “Confession is a powerful deterrent to temptation.”
Often when men fall in this area, Rogers said they don’t want to talk to God or to their friends or their spouse. “They feel like they can’t talk to anybody, but that is the exact opposite of what they need to be doing. 1 John 1:9 tells us if we confess that sin, God is faithful and just to forgive us. He is not going say, ‘You blew it, I’m through with you.’ He wants us to confess.”
Yet most men resist making others aware of their failures in this area, Land said. Guilt and shame overwhelm them and they suffer in silence. Christians’ refusal to acknowledge the severity and pervasiveness of the issue contributes to the problem, he said.
“You can go to your Sunday school class and say you have a real problem with alcohol and ask the class to pray for you, but if you go to your Sunday school class and say you need prayer for a problem with pornography, it would be like you set off a stink bomb in the room,” Land said.
In his research on the issue, Rogers learned that typically men go into porn outlets alone and when they are in the stores they don’t look at each other. “It is quieter in those stores than your public library,” he said.
“Whether you have a relationship with Jesus Christ or not, you know that it is not where you are supposed to be,” Rogers said, noting whenever he drives by a strip club or pornography shop, he honks his horn and waves at any men he sees going inside the building. “I want them to know I saw them,” he said.
To be victorious, men need to be in fellowship with godly men, he said. “It is important to have relationships where you can speak freely and not be concerned about being judged,” he said. Men need to fall in love with their wives and love them as Christ loved the church. “Don’t replace her with some video-enhanced woman,” he urged.
Finally, Rogers urged men who are tempted to flee. “When you are faced with that temptation, you have to get out of there because you can’t stand up to it in your strength.
“We are not alone. We have a God who loves us and who wants to heal us and wants us to find victory,” Rogers said.
The For Faith & Family broadcast ministry of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is heard on nearly 600 radio stations across the U.S. and on the Internet at www.faithandfamily.com. Henry Rogers leads seminars on the pornography issue, designed to help families protect their homes from the destruction of pornography. For more information on his ministry, e-mail him at [email protected].