Christophobic attacks grow in America

Exclusive: Jerry Newcombe asks how burning Bibles alleviates police brutality

With violence in the streets of many of our most prominent cities, there is an underlying sub-theme that is also troubling. Christophobia, which attacks anything Christian, is surely on the march.

Perhaps the latest example is the burning of Bibles in recent Portland protests.

On Aug. 2, the Washington Examiner noted, “Portland protesters were filmed burning Bibles and the American flag as protests continue in the city for more than two months. Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz responded to a Friday video of people burning what was described as a ‘stack of Bibles’ on Twitter Saturday, saying, ‘This is who they are.'”

In reference to this bonfire, journalist Ian Miles Cheong, managing editor of Human Events, tweeted, “I don’t know what burning the Bible has to do with protesting against police brutality.” And he added, “Do not be under the illusion that these protests and riots are anything but an attempt to dismantle all of Western civilization and upend centuries of tradition and freedom of religion.”

How interesting to note that the focus of the ceaseless attacks in Portland has been the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse. The late Mark Hatfield, a long-time senator from the state of Oregon, was known for years as an outspoken follower of Jesus.

I suppose in the history of the world there is no book so attacked as the Bible. The famous French skeptic, Voltaire, predicted that within a century or so after his death the Bible would no longer be in circulation.

But within 50 years of his death, a Bible society purchased Voltaire’s printing press – on which he made such predictions – and instead of publishing skeptical books, they published the Bible. Today, more than 240 years after Voltaire’s death, the Bible remains the bestselling book on earth, with 20 million copies sold in America alone annually – despite the Christophobes burning copies of the Word of God on the streets of Portland. When was the last time you saw a book by Voltaire?

But the bias against things Christian continues unabated in our time. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called recently for the removal of the statue in the Capitol of Father Damien, who served lepers in Hawaii and contracted the disease because of his self-sacrifice. Why? What did Father Damien do other than offer his life as a sacrifice of the Lord on behalf of those in great need? He was white and therefore, says AOC, was an example of “white supremacy.”

The attack on Christ in modern America can be seen in all the recent attacks against churches and church statues. In his Denison Forum (July 15), commentator Jim Denison reported, “A number of churches from Florida to California were burned and vandalized over the weekend.”

The attack on Christianity can also be seen in the responses to churches reopening in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Several of the governors on the left have a double standard toward churches. Abortions are allowed (and abortion is considered “essential”), but not church services – even if those church services practice social distancing and require the wearing of masks.

America’s churches were once viewed as oases of good for society. But in the recent coronavirus pandemic, we have seen a bias against churches.

David Barton, founder and director of WallBuilders, said in a recent TV interview for D. James Kennedy Ministries: “When you look at the debate that is going on with COVID, we’re saying, ‘What are essential services?’ Well in the minds of a lot of governors, churches are not essential.”

Kelly Shackelford, the founder and director of First Liberty Institute, also spoke to our ministry, noting, “There’s a clear attack on religious freedom, the churches, there’s been clear discrimination. All people have to do is look at the experts even saying, ‘Well, you can’t sing at church, but oh yeah, the protests, we’re OK with that because that’s important,’ which belies an understanding that they have that the church is not important – that religious freedom is not important.”

When a church in Nevada recently asserted equal rights with casinos and liquor stores, the state balked. This is a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court – where the church lost. The case is Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak. Chief Justice John Roberts disappointed conservatives once again, casting his deciding vote with the liberal justices to favor casinos over churches.

Listen to the brilliance of Justice Neil Gorsuch’s dissent: “In Nevada, it seems, it is better to be in entertainment than religion. … But there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel.”

Those who engage in attacking Christ and the church need to remember this warning from the Word of God in Proverbs 21:30: “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.”

Christophobic attacks grow in America


Why Must Our Bodies Get Resurrected?

Interview with John Piper
Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

Audio Transcript

Why must our bodies get resurrected? That was one theme Pastor John touched on in a message in the spring of 2014, delivered at the Carl F.H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity International University near Chicago. In that message, Pastor John was recounting some lessons he’s taken from the works of Jonathan Edwards, lessons he’s learned about the work of Christ. Here’s a clip I wanted to share from that message.

The work of Christ in redemption does not only restore, but it advances God’s aim in creation. Christ was not merely a remedy or an afterthought to recover what was lost. The history of redemption climaxes with the cross, not only as a means of restoration, but a means of advance. Christ was the goal of creation, not a means to the goal. He didn’t just recover a goal; he was the goal.

And by his incarnation and death and resurrection, the glory of God was put on new display in its most vivid and lavish excellency. Christ did not come and die and rise only to restore our joy in God, but to become our joy in God. The incarnate God did not appear simply to enable us to rejoice in God, but to become the focus of our rejoicing in God.

Diverse Excellencies

Edwards put his incomparable lens to the gospel of the glory of Christ to describe the glory of Christ most compellingly in what may be his third-most famous sermon — namely, “The Excellency of Christ,” which I love. And the beauty of Christ in that sermon is developed in a stunning way to show that, when Christ did his work, he wasn’t merely enabling us to have something we had lost, but to become, in that work, the very focus of the glory that we once thought we saw and now see in fullness.

So, here’s his description of the glory of Christ — the glory of God — that we could not know without the revelation of God in Christ. The beauty is in the juxtaposition of these seeming opposites. These are things that mingle in Christ and thus constitute his incomparable beauty:

  • Infinite highness and infinite condescension
  • Infinite justice and infinite grace
  • Infinite glory and lowest humility
  • Infinite majesty and transcendent meekness
  • Deepest reverence toward God and equality with God
  • Infinite worthiness of good and the greatest patience under sufferings of evil
  • An exceeding spirit of obedience with supreme dominion over heaven and earth
  • Absolute sovereignty and perfect resignation
  • Self-sufficiency and an entire trust and reliance on God

Christ, the incarnate second person of the Trinity, the Redeemer, is now the fullness of the revelation of the glory of God. He didn’t just repair our ability to see something old; he became what God meant for us to see all along.

Billion-Ton Bliss

So, for example, when it says in Psalm 16:11, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore,” the Old Testament saints tasted that, and it was glorious — and they didn’t have a clue what the fullness meant. None of the saints knew the fullness of the meaning of that promise: that at God’s right hand are pleasures forevermore. It took the incarnation and the New Testament revelation to show that the pleasures at God’s right hand are the pleasures of God the Father in God the Son and the pleasures of God the Son in God the Father.

“Christ did not come and die and rise only to restore our joy in God, but to become our joy in God.”

And now he has come. “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). And you should put into the term well pleased billions of tons of pleasure. We gloss over those words so quickly. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I — God Almighty, with all of my infinite energy — am totally pleased and have been from all eternity. And now you can see what my joy is. Now you can see the joy that is at my right hand: my joy is joy in my image in my Son.”

Tie That Binds

What binds the children of God to their Father for eternity is that we enjoy the Son of God with the very joy of God the Father. Jesus had already said in John 15:11, “I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” So now you not only have Jesus praying for the love of the Father for the Son to become my love for the Son, but you have Jesus saying, “My joy, my joy in the Father — I have spoken to you so that my joy would be in you. There’s no other way for your joy to be full than for my joy in God to become your joy in God.”

So now we have our joy in the Father being the Son’s joy in the Father, and our joy in the Son being the Father’s joy in the Son. And we must have a new resurrection body, or we will be blown to smithereens by that experience. And that’s not a joke at all. That is why you must have a new body. These experiences are so magnificent that this “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:50). That doesn’t mean you won’t have a resurrection body; it means this one won’t work. This one will not work for that experience forever.

Good News of hope or despair?

MARCH 26, 2020 BY JOE RODRIGUEZ

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” –John3:16-18

Ever noticed how the most recited evangelistic verse is the Gospel in a nutshell? It begins with asserting God’s love, not His wrath. It’s not about judgment but salvation. Why? because the world is already lost/condemned. That is why Jesus came. People don’t need to be told that they are wicked and damned. They need to know that they are loved and that there IS HOPE and salvation in Christ! But here is the thing, they need to not only hear it but most importantly, SEE it in us!

Remember, unless the Holy Spirit brings conviction to the heart, responding to the Gospel out of fear or emotion is of no avail. So, be careful that your message is not just about repentance and hellfire nor just about love and positive thinking, for neither can save. The Gospel should include the truth about eternal separation from God, yes, but it must FIRST emphasize grace, eternal life, and the assurance that ONLY Christ can provide peace in the midst of chaos.

People are not deaf to the Gospel as many believe, what they are is confused because they HEAR it but seldom WITNESS it. They have trouble identifying real love, peace, hope, and trust because the church is either busy judging them, hiding within the walls of a building, bickering among each other, or simply living religiously and apathetically.

They have enough bad news, biased news, fake news, and hypocritical news. What they need is real GOOD NEWS, the message of the Gospel not only preached to them but lived out. They need assurance, not chastisement. Can you think of ways in which the world can SEE the Gospel, especially in times like these? I’d like to read your answers in the comment section below.

Let’s become effective agents of the Good News of Jesus Christ by creating an environment where faith can be planted, watered and allowed to grow. Faith cannot be forcefully germinated for such an action will only yield dead crops. And the church is already full of those!

Good News of hope or despair?

VIDEO Enduring Commitment: You, the Church, The End, Agents of Babylon

Enduring Commitment: You and the Church

April is the third of three issues of Turning Points magazine dedicated to the same theme: “Facing Uncertain Times.”

In February, we studied the life of Daniel and his three friends as they faced the challenge of representing God and their faith in a culture of captivity in Babylon. These four faithful and God-fearing Jews were taken from their homes in Jerusalem (along with thousands of other captive Jews) to the pagan, idol-worshiping city of Babylon, the capital city of Mesopotamia at the time. The Old Testament book of Daniel gives plenty of examples of why certain faith is the antidote to uncertain times!

Now, more than ever, Christians are being called to examine what we believe.

In March, we fast-forwarded five centuries to the first century A.D.—specifically, the first three decades of that first century. We looked at how Jesus and His followers managed what could be described as an even more complex environment than Daniel’s. In Babylon, one kingdom ruled for most of Daniel’s life until a second kingdom supplanted the first. But in Jesus’ day, Palestine [Israel] was a crossroads of kingdoms and cultures. The Jews brought their subdivided factions from the Old Testament to the New, and the Greek culture that dominated Israel was replaced by the Roman culture in the century before Jesus’ birth. This mix of religion, politics, multiple languages, and clashing cultures made Israel—and especially Jerusalem—a tinderbox that could be ignited, and often was, by the slightest of sparks. In this combustible environment, Jesus brought yet another competing claim that attracted attention from everyone: The announcement of the arrival of the Kingdom of God. Yet somehow, in the midst of all the uncertainties of the first century, Jesus and His followers set in motion a movement that changed the world.This month, we turn the complexity meter up to eleven on the dial as we reflect on the uncertainty in our own modern times. All the world is complex and uncertain, but let’s think about life in America and the challenges facing the Church of Jesus Christ. (But remember: The Church is composed of individual Christians. What faces the Church faces each of us individually.)

When our nation was founded nearly 250 years ago, there was religious and moral consensus in the nation. Many of the early emigrants to America came with a Christian vision for religious freedom. Many of the Founding Fathers and the documents they wrote as the charters for the new nation reflected a Christian worldview. Though not officially a Christian nation, a Judeo-Christian worldview undergirded most of the nation’s early actions.

This is not so today. Beginning in the middle of the twentieth century, observers began agreeing that America is a post-Christian nation. It is an ethnic, religious, and morally pluralistic society which has turned the public square into a grab-bag of competing views. America’s founding ethos—“land of the free”—has allowed liberty to become license in many cases. Christians look for leaders to vote for who will represent God’s point of view, but cannot always find them. And Christians, in many observers’ opinions, have become the most vilified and least tolerated segment in society. The diversity and complexity of twenty-first century America sometimes makes Daniel’s and Jesus’ worlds seem tame by comparison.

Now, more than ever, Christians are being called to examine what we believe. Is our faith firm enough to keep us on the path of righteousness in the face of forces that would seek to deter us? Are we equipped enough, committed enough, and spiritually-strong enough to stand firm against the attacks of the world, the flesh, and the devil?

Our commission from Christ remains unchanged: Preach the Gospel and disciple the nations (Matthew 28:18-20).

Our commission from Christ remains unchanged: Preach the Gospel and disciple the nations (Matthew 28:18-20). We do not get a pass just because our commission has become more complex than we have ever imagined it could. Our work is to take the Word to the whole world, navigating the shoals and snares as we go.I know you recognize how uncertain the times are in which we live. But I also believe that you, as part of our Turning Point family, know what our Lord expects of all who follow Him. Are you ready for the challenge? That is the purpose of this month’s issue of Turning Points—to strengthen our enduring commitment to Christ and His Church in these uncertain times.

VIDEO Police Arrest Two Students Chalking ‘Black Preborn Lives Matter’ in Front of Planned Parenthood

Dr Susan Berry

Police arrested two pro-life students who were chalking the phrase “Black Preborn Lives Matter” in front of a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Washington, DC, Saturday morning.

Despite the fact the students had received a permit for the event, they were arrested, said Students for Life of America (SFLA) President Kristan Hawkins.

SFLA Partnerships Adviser Warner DePriest and Student Leader Erica Caporaletti were arrested on the scene.

“What you didn’t see today on the city’s streets will be coming to billboards across the country, because BLACK PREBORN LIVES MATTER, and we will not be silent,” Hawkins said in a statement. “Viewpoint discrimination is not constitutional, and we will take this to court if necessary.”

The two students were stopped by police when they attempted to share their pro-life message in a painted mural, and then were arrested when they attempted to do so with chalk.

Video taken by Breitbart News shows D.C. police threatening to arrest the students in front of the Planned Parenthood facility on the 1200 block of 4th Street NE.

SFLA joined the Frederick Douglass Foundation (FDF) in a letter sent July 20, to Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser, requesting to paint the mural after the mayor permitted the phrases “Black Lives Matter” and “Defund the Police” to be painted on the street. The groups wrote:

Having opened the streets of your city for public expression, Students for Life of America (SFLA) and The Frederick Douglass Foundation (FDF) requests the opportunity to add our voices to those concerned about the treatment of people of color in America. Black Lives do matter, born and preborn, as too many people are lost in America today from causes that should be addressed and prevented for their disproportionate impact on minority communities.

You must allow SFLA and FDF to paint its “Black Pre-born Lives Matter” message. Your original decision to paint “Black Lives Matter” on the street is government speech. However, your decision to allow protestors to paint “Defund the Police” opened the streets up as a public forum. You are not permitted to discriminate on the basis of viewpoint in making determinations relating to public assemblies in public fora. The message of the preborn will not be silenced.

SFLA received a permit for the peaceful event and was asked to use tempera paint. The group said it made plans to express their grief over the loss of life in the black community from abortion.

Hawkins said:

After applying and receiving our permit for this event today, after being told by the Metropolitan police that the Mayor has quote ‘opened a Pandora’s box’ by painting public streets, we arrived to find six police cars threatening to arrest our team and students if they painted, even using the tempera paint we bought that the Police Department specifically requested. When we asked if we could at least use sidewalk chalk to chalk our anti-violence message on the streets, the police threatened to arrest us.

“With these threats D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has made her motives clear as she apparently only thinks that SOME Black Lives Matter and that only SOME slogans are allowed to be painted on streets,” Hawkins asserted. “She will be hearing from Students for Life’s attorneys about these unconstitutional efforts to limit speech to government-approved topics.”

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/08/01/watch-dc-police-arrest-two-students-preparing-chalk-black-preborn-lives-matter-front-planned-parenthood/


Development v Devil-opement.

May 7, 2020 by Inspiration Here

The society is based on change and development. Development can be sometimes inferred to as revolutionary change.

But at cost of what?

The integrity of Developmental activities around us often makes us ponder upon what is this to gain and what will it cost us. Their is no monetary reference when I highlight the cost of development. It consists of society , culture , Environment and all basic humane roots and values.

Here is where we see the complete difference between development and Devil – opement.

Their are changes needed for development not costs.

Development refers to the upward building of society around roots and values. The point to take into consideration is that no human values are comprised in this process.

This is the thin margin between development and Devil- opement

But many of us have failed to realize it.

Let me take industries and environment as an analogy to explain the dialogue. Industries ease human life in utmost infinite ways. Providing Jobs, Machines ,Tools and food to mention the least. But when human pleasure tool top priority in the list, Environment was compromised.

In a world , when both anthropological and Environmental factor are supposed to live in co – existence through interdependent development and not by paristic exploitation that one has been causing the other.

Development must occurs it is as natural as any other processes but the drivers of such processes must be considerate about possible damages caused to any value.

This may be interpreted in many perceptions but mostly importantly while interpreting development don’t only consider how much better it has done for one side of things but also the other factors in play .

“Progress

Be Inspired

Stay Home, Stay Safe…

https://meanlife522519166.wordpress.com/2020/05/07/development-vs-devil-opement/

Merciful Father

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

“Yet He was merciful and forgave their sins and did not destroy them all. Many times He held back His anger and did not unleash His fury!” Psalm 78:38 NLT

Selfish. Rebellious. These are just some of the words that can best describe the near-apostasy of God’s chosen people, the physical nation of Israel. The sin offerings described in the Old Testament are but a glimpse into the culture of sin. A young bull here, a lamb there, a goat the next time, two turtledoves, etc. – and you need to make an offering every time you fell into sin. Yes, your sins will be “covered” so that when God looks down, He will not see the sin but the blood of the animal sacrifice you offered. In a way the sin can be atoned for, but you will certainly “feel the pain” from an economic side as a consequence.

In the past, Moses interceded on behalf of a stiff-necked people. Then there was Aaron and his sons. The blood offering from animals and the priestly intercession stood in the gap, allowing them to survive for some time. Though the LORD’s devouring sword was lifted in mid-air, it was sheathed again so that the nation of Israel may live. His mercy truly endures forever.

Even today, the Lord Jesus Christ does the same: standing in the gap between God and men, pleading all of us to repent in order to avert the divine calamity. If there was a physical nation of Israel in the Old Testament, there is a spiritual nation of Israel in the modern times: the church. We’ve seen the height of God’s compassion when He sent His only begotten Son, but not the full extent of His righteous wrath.

The text said that many times the LORD held back His anger, like a loving father who cannot find in his heart to enforce the full term of the chastisement that his children deserved. Although we continue to provoke the LORD day after day, He bear with us and spared us and turned His anger away. The LORD never treats us like His enemy, but like His children.

Because the LORD is merciful, He withholds the punishment due to us. Instead, He chose to bless us. We owe God a debt so great that we could never repay and then when all hope seems lost God freely forgave us all those debts through His Son Christ Jesus.

In the end, God’s mercy triumphs over His judgment (paraphrase of James 2:13b).

“I have always found that mercy bears richer fruit than strict justice” – Abraham Lincoln –

https://benjiebensing.wordpress.com/2020/05/02/merciful-father/

What Is The Boldness In Christ Required To Preach The Gospel?


June 9, 2020 Nehemiah Zion

No one knows everything. Everyone knows only some things. Yet, there are some who think they know everything or at least try to project themselves as one who knows everything.

The truth that emboldens you to be proud is harmful for the spiritual health of those around you. Much more harmful for yourself.

The line between loving yourself and loving yourSELF is thin for most people.

I understood three things about the BOLDNESS that is of God; hope this Word enriches your heart and soul.

Received In Humility

And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, (Ephesians 6:19)

Paul was seeking prayers so he may receive boldness to speak the mysteries of the gospel to the lost souls.

Paul was a learned man, well educated and had a reputation among his own people before converting to Christ (Galatians 1:13-15). In other words, he was intelligent and zealous in the traditions of his fathers. What happened after his conversion? He radically changed into a man of God, poor in spirit, humble and meek, ready to do whatever God commanded. He moved from living in his own passions to now walking in God’s compassion.

No apostle or believer will do anything for God of himself; he does as he is told, guided by the Spirit of Truth. He is obedient and mindful in this new walk. He is a new man, a new creation. Born of God, is of Heaven, a stranger to earth, carrying only the burden of Christ in his heart.

Believed by Faith

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

The boldness to come before the throne of Grace, in prayer, is an act of faith. Faith which we received when we entered into a new relationship in Christ. Unless we do not know who we are before in prayer, we cannot experience the effect of God’s truth which produces the boldness to speak the gospel.

In Acts 4:31, we see how when the Apostles prayed, the place where they were gathered together shook, the Holy Spirit filled them with the boldness to speak the gospel to those before them.

Released in Love

But speakinthe truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (Ephesians 4:15)

Finally, what we receive from God, and believe, cannot be contained in our hearts and minds. It will burst forth! The bursting forth of truth carries with it the fruit of the Spirit. We speak in love, for peace, by faith, in all joy, and gentleness, meekness, longsuffering, goodness and temperance.

This boldness is powered by the heart of Heaven, the Love of God, the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

 

Original here

‘Mob rule’ campaign cancels Christian group’s bank accounts, social media

‘Reminiscent of how Jewish businesses were treated under Nazi rule’

(Image courtesy Pixabay)

A Christian non-profit in the United Kingdom that offers help to people seeking healing from unwanted same-sex attractions has been targeted with death threats and had their bank accounts shut down.

Fox News reported Core Issues Trust, or CIT, is the target of a “mob rule” campaign by LGBTQ activists, falsely accusing it of “conversion therapy” as the U.K. seeks to ban the practice.

The group’s CEO, Mike Davidson, received a phone message saying: “Kill yourself. You old boomer [redacted]. You’re the biggest piece of [redacted] and I hope you drop dead. I hope you and your family are raped and killed. Do It. Kill yourself. Just do it.”

Davidson rejects the term “conversion therapy,” contending LGBTQ activists wield it as a political term to describe long abandoned and outlawed extreme therapies such as electroshock and “corrective” rape.

“If it is [Core Issues Trust] first, it will be churches next,” said Andrea Williams, CEO of the British non-profit Christian Concern. “This kind of demonization and refusing of services to a Christian ministry is reminiscent of how Jewish businesses were treated under Nazi rule.”

Davidson said a “coordinated campaign has resulted in our ministry coming under immense pressure and key service providers canceling their services, action which we consider to be discriminatory.”

At the end of June, Barclays Bank notified CIT it was closing the group’s accounts. Mailchimp and Paypal did the same, and Facebook and Instagram have censored the group’s posts.

The campaign against CIT has been led by Joayne Ozanne, an Anglican who accuses Davidson of “conversion therapy.”

Davidson insists that is false, pointing out his group treats clients with SAFE-T, a program called Sexual Attraction Fluidity Exploration in Therapy.

It’s for people who want help “moving away from unwanted same-sex attractions.”

“Because the term speaks of talking therapies and counseling as ‘pseudo-science’ in association with these extremes, to be heard defending talking therapy and counseling for unwanted same-sex attractions is then taken to be a defense of the indefensible ‘Conversion Therapy’ label,” Davidson said. “We reject this accusatory term.”

Williams said the government needs to “put a halt to this kind of mob rule and to assert the rights of biblically faithful Christian organizations to be serviced by businesses without facing such intolerant discrimination.”

MinistryWatch reported Davidson condemned the “social media mob” that influences service providers.

“The U.K. is now becoming an intensely intolerant country,” he said.

‘Mob rule’ campaign cancels Christian group’s bank accounts, social media

‘Porn in the pew’: How churches should help members dealing with addiction

By Samuel Smith, CP Reporter

 

As studies have shown that about two-thirds of Christian men view pornography at least once a month, a leading addiction recovery expert has shared ways churches should respond to the issue of porn addiction in their pews and pulpits.

Mark Denison, co-founder of the national recovery ministry There’s Still Hope and author of the 2018 book Porn in the Pew: Confronting the Issue Nobody Wants to Talk About, recently joined pastors on a webinar hosted by the pornography accountability software company Covenant Eyes.

Denison, who himself has suffered from porn addiction in the past, discussed the latest data on sex and porn addiction within the church and among pastors. He presented data showing that the majority of Christian men and 37 percent of pastors admit having a struggle with pornography.

“Sixty-two percent of evangelical men view porn, compared to 64 percent of the general population,” Denison said, citing statistics from Proven Men Ministries. “How bad is the problem? Christians view porn almost as much as non-Christians and that should scare every pastor that is watching this.”

“As a pastor, you are thinking, ‘How do I respond to this?’”

He suggested seven things that churches can do to effectively minister to members currently struggling with porn and sexual addiction.

The first thing they must do, he said, is to “recognize the magnitude of the problem.”

“You have to know as a pastor that it is as bad as what we are saying,” Denison explained. “If you are an older pastor, perhaps you weren’t raised in the age of the internet so you don’t recognize the magnitude of the problem.”

He called on churches to “create a culture of redemption” that will let churchgoers know that it is safe for them to reveal their struggles with porn.

“In your teachings and programming, make it very clear that you are for the addict and that God is for the addict,” he said. “[Make it clear] that his addiction has not disqualified him from living a Christian life and serving in the church.”

Next, Denison called on churches to appoint and train an “addiction ministry leader.”

“[This is] someone in your church who is trained in dealing with addiction,” he said.  “Perhaps you need to send someone to a Celebrate Recovery training seminary. They do them all the time. Have someone who is specialized to help with this problem.”

Denison went on to suggest that churches should start men’s and women’s groups if they don’t have them already.

“We do a lot of couples groups in churches,” he said. “But I want to suggest to you that dealing with the real issues such as temptation and sex and addiction and pornography, if these real issues can best be dealt with men and women together then Jesus would not have spent His entire life just with men.

“His focus was to disciple men. Men leading men and women leading women. I don’t work with women. My wife works with women.”

Denison also called on churches to host 12-step groups such as Sexaholics Anonymous.

“There are many of them out there,” he said. “It seems like today, [Alchoholics Anonymous] groups have an easy time finding a landing spot in churches. But Sexaholics Anonymous or Sex Addicts Anonymous struggle to find churches to say that ‘You are welcome here.’ Open your church to these groups.”

Churches should also hold annual events where they bring in speakers to address pornography addiction.

“We do a program called ‘Pancakes and Porn,’ where we come in and for three hours on a Sunday morning, meet with the men and have pancakes and we go through this,” he said. “[My wife] Beth and I do a 30-minute presentation at churches. It is usually on Sunday mornings but can be done for couples where we share our story and we share hope and recovery.’

“That is why we are called ‘There Is Still Hope.’ [It’s] for the couples that are struggling with this. If it not us, find somebody else and host annual events.”

Lastly, Denison stressed that churches need to find a way to provide addiction counseling.

“The best way to do that is with a certified sex addiction therapist,” he said. “But if you don’t have one in your area, then find others that have some level of training in this area.”

He warned pastors not to “do this yourself.”

“We get calls all the time from pastors who reach out to me. Either they knew me or they found our ministry somewhere,” he said. “They say, ‘This is all you do 24/7. Will you talk to this guy?’ Yesterday, I talked to three new guys in two different countries and a couple of different states that came just because of their pastors saying, ‘We need someone who specializes in this area.’”

Churches should look to hold their pastors accountable as well, he stressed, noting that about 40 percent of the men that There’s Still Hope works with are pastors.

In cases where pastors have fallen due to porn addiction, Denison urged churches to respond in six ways.

He stressed that churches should “lead with redemption.”

“The natural instinct is ‘let’s just protect everything and let’s get this guy out the door as quickly as we can so we can just move on down the street and not be tied to the sin or tied to what has happened,’” Denison detailed. “So many times it destroys the individual. I am not saying that a pastor, when he falls, has to stay on staff of a church. But what I am saying is we have to redeem this guy and have to minister to the pastor that falls and provide for him the tools and resources to get well.”

In addition to “responding biblically,” churches should also “react compassionately.”

“I have yet to meet the man or woman who wanted to put every dark secret of the pastor up on the video screen in church for everybody to see,” he said.

For pastors that have lost their jobs and career because of their porn struggles, Denison said that churches and churchgoers should look to “provide financially” for the pastors and their families.

“Whenever a pastor falls and his salary is taken away from him, you have one or two choices. You are going to get criticized from either side,” he said. “Too much grace or not enough. It’s always better to be criticized for exercising too much. This man has a wife and has kids. He is in a crisis mode and has lost his ministry and lost his career.”

He also encouraged churches to “plan proactively” by having “a plan in place in case it ever happens.”

“Because it will happen,” Denison contended.

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith

https://www.christianpost.com/church-ministries/porn-in-the-pew-how-churches-should-help-members-dealing-with-addiction.html