The Church Should Take the Lead in Fighting Porn

Porn isn’t a problem, it’s an epidemic. Even celebrities like Russell Brand, Terry Crews, and Pamela Anderson (yes, that Pamela Anderson, the former Playboy model) are speaking out. So, where’s the church in this battle? Should’t we be leading the fight against this immense social evil?

According to the latest research by Barna, the vast majority of Christian leaders believe porn is a bigger problem than it was two decades ago. Here’s just a sampling of what Barna found in The Porn Phenomenon study:

  • 93% of pastors and 94% of youth pastors say it is a much bigger or somewhat bigger problem than it was in the past.
     
  • More than half of youth pastors have had at least one teen come to them for help in dealing with porn in the past 12 months.
     
  • Although teens seeking help are mainly teen boys, there is still a significant amount of teen girls seeking help from youth pastors.
     
  • Most Americans believe porn is “bad for society,” but those attitudes are shifting toward neutrality or “good for society” among younger generations.
     
  • Only one in 20 young adults and one in 10 teens say their friends think viewing pornography is a bad thing.
     
  • Nearly half of young adults say they come across porn at least once a week—even when they aren’t seeking it out.
     
  • More than half of women 25 and younger seek out porn (56%) and one-third seek it out at least monthly (33%).
     
  • Men of all ages and stages, but especially married men, are coming to pastors for help with pornography struggles.
     
  • Despite the awareness of the problem, most churches do not have programs specifically designed to assist those struggling with porn use.

Not only do most churches having nothing designed to deal with porn use, many church leaders admitted not knowing what to do about the problem. So let me suggest at least three steps for the church to take:

(1) Know the extent of the problem. This is the first step. When your eyes are opened to the breadth and depth of destruction and evil that porn brings, it will motivate your church and leadership to action. Specifically, read the following:

Pastors and leaders need to be teaching about this topic and laying out the specific details about porn access and addiction, the connection between porn and sexual exploitation and sex trafficking, and the tremendous personal and social consequences of porn. We need to wake up the church on this issue.

(2) Set up protection immediately. There is no good reason why every family in the church doesn’t have internet protection software. No, this will not solve all of our porn problems, but it’s an important starting place. There’s a reason why armies build walls—to keep out the bad guys. “But walls don’t work 100% of the time, so why even build them?” asked no one ever. We all know that prevention is much better than recovery. Here are just a few internet filtering options:

So lead a campaign at your church to set up internet filtering in every home.

(3) Build strong families. According to the FRC (and common sense!), “The main defenses against pornography are close family life, a good marriage and good relations between parents and children, coupled with deliberate parental monitoring of Internet use.” Yes, this is a long-term strategy but it’s the one thing that will help secure future generations. Strong fathers and mothers in strong marriages and in loving relationships with their children are the best protection against pornography.

Of course, these suggestions are not exhaustive, just a starting point to get us moving. Here are two final resources. Get the book Finally Free: Fighting for Purity With the Power of Grace. Heath Lambert points us to the power of the Gospel and offers a number of practical strategies that can be implemented in our homes and churches. Also, Covenant Eyes has put together a resource to help you Fight Porn in Your Church.

With the power of the gospel—its redemption in Christ and the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit—available to us, the church should be on the front lines of this battle.

*Please share your stories, suggestions and strategies in the comments section below!

Brett Kunkle (@brettkunkle) is the founder and president of MAVEN, a movement to equip the next generation to know truth, pursue goodness, and create beauty. He has more than 25 years of experience working with youth and parents. Brett has a master’s degree in philosophy of religion and ethics from Talbot School of Theology and co-authored the book A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World.

Brett Kunkle

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