Sexual Immorality In The Church (Can Sexual Purity Make A Comeback?)
- Fighting Lust In The Church
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There was a day, not so long ago, when sexual purity was normal in the church. There was a day when a man gave his word to forsake all others and he did exactly what he said he would do. He would flee from sexual immorality. He would stay married and faithful to the wife God gave to him to cherish. In that day it was expected that men keep their word to their wives and to others. A man was as good as his word, as the legend would have it.
There was a day when a man would run from wicked women and avoid the porn store located on the dirty side of town. That day was not so long ago. Some with grey hair still talk of the day when men were pure and their word was as good as gold.
Then the war happened. This wasn’t an ancient war of long ago, but a war many of us can remember, we were there. It wasn’t a conventional war with bombs, planes and navy ships. This war wasn’t raised by some nation, near or far. This war was raised against us, the church and our culture, from the very pit of hell itself.
The enemy of our souls began a campaign against our sexual purity, or as we would later call it, a sexual revolution. This campaign would wage war and question the very core Biblical view of sexuality. This war was vicious with pornography, drugs, and sexual immorality throughout our educational institutions, and spread throughout the land and our churches.
This war placed sons and daughters against the truths and values of their parents, and grandparents, like no other war in the history of mankind. These young people talked of free love, or rather free sex. Sexual immorality was subjective and sexual purity was under full attack. Sex was without consequences or responsibilities, pornography was a right, and sex was a right that they endowed themselves with and in which they participated in numerous ways over the past several decades.
The Technological Porn Bomb
The Internet has taken this war of sexual immorality to every home and cell phone. Pornography is a huge percentage of the Internet. For most of us men it is only a click, or the push of a button, away in order to grant access to the leviathan of the enemy’s army to our hearts and have this monster released into our lives and families.
The cancer of this war on sexual purity has impacted every church in this great nation and many nations around the world. Some churches are active in this war and some have no idea they are in a war, as half or more of their men are dead inside because of their silent sexual issues and sexual immortality that are keeping them trapped from reaching their full destiny in Christ.
You’re In The Fight Whether You Like It Or Not.
The Integrity Journey conference is a wealth of weapons for all of you engaged in this war. You didn’t ask for this war to protect your sexual purity. You just happened to be born when the enemy declared war on you, your family, church and nation. I picture every man reading this like the military men at Pearl Harbor or the first responders on September 11th. At Integrity Journey conference in July, we will all gather and design a strategy to fight this evil enemy together and destroy sexual immorality.
The enemy in no uncertain terms has declared a war. You had no say, but you are called to help our God win this sexual battle of our generation. No church before us has been in such a sexually perverse and sophisticated battle of this intensity. We are the only warriors to protect the churches sexual purity in this battle. The culture says we are crazy or insane to believe God’s Word about sexual fidelity and purity, whether we are single or married.
Yes, The War on Sexual Purity is Real
This war is more real than any war the church has fought throughout her history on earth. I will present statistically some of the realities of this war for you, so as to break any denial that you are in a real war for you, your wife, your family, your sexual purity, future generations, and our nation.
If we win this war together, we might see a return to Christian sexual values in our lives, homes, churches and nation. We might return to a day when sexual purity is the norm once again, and perversion is seen for the damaging entity it really is.
Even if you have never struggled a day in your life, you will be needed to help win this battle that is at the doorsteps of your brothers in Christ.
Leading From Experience
I write this from a place of absolute compassion. I never met my father. I was placed in foster homes, sexually abused, and fully sexually addicted as a teen and young adult. I know the damages of this enemy personally. This soldier has the scars from the enemy and experienced the shame of feeling flawed and disconnected from God and the body of Christ much like many of you do. The memories of this war are real for me, and so are the memories of victory I will share with you. Victory is so much sweeter, since this is what God has made each of us for, victory!
I have been sexually clean for more than thirty-five years. I have not masturbated, viewed pornography, or had any sexual behavior outside of my marriage. My clean lifestyle has been validated repeatedly by a polygraph, so I am telling you the truth man to man, soldier to soldier.
In the last two decades while I have been counseling men, wives, and their families that were also sexually addicted or broken, I have seen the ravages of this war and the terrible effects of sexual immorality. You could fill a room with the tears I have witnessed from the men, women, and children who have been wounded in this sexual war. This is why we need the church to be flooded with sexual purity to overflow from the inside out.
I have also seen the miracle of men getting clean and remaining sexually pure. Sexual purity is possible. I have written several books related to sexual addiction. I am considered an expert in the field of recovery, appearing on Oprah, Dr. Phil and many other national televisions shows, and have had a Lifetime Movie made about our treatment for sex addicts called Sex, Lies and Obsession.
I am also the President of the American Association for Sex Addiction Therapy (AASAT). We train and certify counselors and life coaches to help those who struggle with sexual addiction both nationally and internationally.
My passion to fight against sexual immorality is the reason the Integrity Journey conference was founded. I am excited to see healing and hope restored in the church. Together we can crush sexual immorality.
Join The Integrity Journey
At the Integrity Journeyconference you will find both tested and tried weapons for you to get and stay clean, not for a week, month, or year, but for the rest of your life. My heart is to see all the men in every church get and stay sexually pure and clean. Our culture needs men, today more than ever, to win this war against sexual immorality and my prayer is that you would be an answer to that prayer for those you love and who trust you to be a man of God.
I am now going to take you into the world of facts and statistics for a short season, and then in the following chapters give you the tools to be that sexually pure man you deserve to be. Even if you never struggled with sexual immorality, please read and join the men who need help to see them cross over the finish line and hear, “well done good and faithful servant,” by our precious Lord and master Jesus Christ.
Pornography vs. the Church
One of the main weapons used against our sexual purity is pornography. Many of us older guys grew up in a totally different world than the one we have today. Porn might have rarely been seen, unless you had an adult neighbor or family member who left it around for young boys to see. Today pornography is available on every cell phone, as well as computers everywhere, and that doesn’t even account for the magazines on full view at convenience stores. In today’s culture, sexual immorality is on full display and almost impossible to avoid.
So, how big is this monster we are talking about? One website had much to say about this. So, let me give it to you and unless otherwise noted this would be the reference, it is Internet Pornography Statistics by Jerry Ropelato (http://internet-filter-review.toptenreviews.com/internet-pornography-statistics.html) who compiled some great statistics that can give us a broad overview of this subject.
Pornography Time Statistics
- Every second=$3,075.64 is being spent on pornography.
- Every second=28,258 Internet users are viewing pornography.
- Every second=372 Internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines.
- Every 39 minutes= a new pornographic video is being created in the United States.
I don’t know about you, but three thousand dollars a second is a lot of money. In one hour at three thousand dollars a second it would be $10,800,000 an hour. You don’t have to be a mathematician to know that porn is being given quite the income. Sadly enough, some of this money is coming right out of the wallets of church men, the same church men who have been expressly instructed to flee sexual immorality. Let’s look at the money being spent on a national scale.
America leads the way as the top producer of video/DVD pornography. Also, we are number one in porn pages by a long shot. The United States has 244,661,900 porn web pages. The next largest country is Germany with 10 million porn web pages. This type of world leadership on pornography has happened in many of our lifetimes. This tragedy has happened to our families and nation during our shift of church history. We are in a war and there is no doubt of that. The question is, what will we do with this battle? Will we fight sexual immorality, be taken captive by it, or simply ignore the war on God’s bride, the church?
Do Pastors Struggle With Sexual Immorality Too?
Our next category of porn viewers is our pastors. Half of the pastors, or their wives, at churches where I have been a member, have fallen to sexual sin during my forty years as a Christian. These statistics reflect our current reality regarding this area and thankfully some pastors, priests, and clergy do not struggle with sexual purity. However, the sad fact is even the men who are charged with teaching the church about sexual purity often have their own sexual immorality struggles.
Surveys of Protestant evangelical clergy in the United States reported that 33% to 43% admitted to viewing Internet pornography. Of these numbers, approximately 6% to 18% viewed pornography multiple times per month and one survey cited 37% of clergy who described Internet pornography as a current temptation.
In an informal survey of pastors in Seattle, Washington, conducted by the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families (2000), 11% of the 58 pastors surveyed intentionally had accessed a sexually explicit website; 9% viewed by choice and felt that it may be a problem for them. Five thousand pastors were questioned through the web site www.pastors.com and 55% indicated that they had visited a pornographic site within the last year; 33% had visited a sexually explicit site within the previous three weeks.
In a recent nationwide survey conducted by Christianity Today, 1 in 10 pastors with Internet access reported they have visited a pornographic Web site, and more than one-third have done so in the past year. Slightly over half of the pastors (51%) say Internet pornography is a temptation for them; 37% admit it is a current struggle. Among the laity, 11% report at least occasionally viewing pornography.
Studies of Protestant clergy indicate that up to 23 percent of married clergy have affairs with parishioners.
Pray For Your Pastor
I love pastors. While I was in seminary working on my Masters in Divinity I was also an associate pastor. I have nothing but compassion for pastors who struggle with pornography or sexual immorality issues. Over the past twenty-five years I have worked with many pastors who have gotten and stayed sexually pure. I have seen their churches grow amazingly after they were free in this area of their life. One counselor in my office has a telephone group just for pastors and he is so proud of those who walk out their sexual purity alongside other pastors.
I also have great respect for pastors who have taken some heat for talking about sexual purity or having groups start in their churches for men who struggle against sexual immorality. Our pastors are part of our solution for helping the bride of Christ to become clean without the stain of this sexual war on her. My hat is off to all pastors today. If you have a pastor, encourage him in the ministry of the local church.
The Enemy Is Attacking Young People
On top of all this, the enemy has used the internet to launch a vicious attack. A study done in 2009 by Braun-Corville, D.K. and Rojas, M. states that in the United States young men and women looking at sexually explicit material range from 56% to 86% of young men and 31% to 56% of young women. However, a study on porn use among college students found that rates of pornography used among females are increasing, with nearly half of female adolescents reporting viewing pornography in the past 6 months.
All the statistics we have covered are alarming. These stats of our young people and their viewing pornography are most alarming. This is the future of our church and our society. If this trend continues, most young people will be raised by the worst pornography in world history. This is our time to really become and stay clean and to give hope to our sons and daughters, so they can shine the light of Christ to their generation.
Children Internet Pornography Statistics
- Average age of first Internet exposure to pornography 11 years old
- 15-17 year olds having multiple hard-core exposures 80%
- 8-16 year olds have viewed porn online 90% (most while doing homework)
Wow, I know it’s a different world than when many of us grew up. However, this is the real world and the future generations of the church are growing up in this unclean soil filled with sexual immorality.
What Does The Bible Say About Sexual Immorality?
Let me digress for a minute and talk about soil, or the land as the Bible talks about nations. This truth is that part of what has motivated me to pen these pages is because I believe God is crying out for a clean nation to rise up and reclaim our unclean culture and strive for sexual purity.
In Jeremiah 3:1 we read:
If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled? But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers—would you now return to me?” declares the LORD.
And in verse nine we read, “Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood.”
Does God Really Care?
These verses allude to the fact that the immorality of the people affects God’s perspective of the land. I want to take you even further through this principle and that is how our sexuality impacts God’s view of a land or a nation.
Leviticus probably isn’t a book you spend a lot of time in but there are some real jewels in its pages. In Chapter 18 you will find all the sex acts that God disapproves of. In short, only have sex with your wife. Then in verse 24 and 25 it says, “Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.” Wow! We can really see that God takes our sexual purity very seriously.
God commands them not to be sexually immoral because this is how the land became defiled or unclean. The land becomes defiled or unclean by the sexual immorality of the people in the land. Then he says something really interesting. As the people are immoral “the land” will vomit them out.
To reiterate His point to the Israelites that their sexual purity determines whether a land is defiled or unclean, versus being clean to God, He says in verse 28, “And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.” Here God says if the Israelites practice sexual immorality they will defile or cause their land to become unclean. The consequences of making a land unclean is that they would get kicked out of the land God wanted to give to them.
I love this teaching that our collective sexuality impacts our land in making it clean or unclean. Usually, as I am sharing this with men or pastors, and they have never heard that God looks at a land as clean or unclean based upon our sexuality. You can also verify God was telling the truth, because Israel was repeatedly kicked out of the land because of immorality.
Are American Churches Safe?
Sometimes, as a Christian, I feel we are being kicked out of our American culture. Our God has been taken out of our schools and His commandments taken out of our court houses. Even His nativity scene is taken out of some places. I don’t know about you, but it feels like we are being kicked out of our own land. Could this be a result of sexual immorality in the church?
- I like to ask a few questions to those in the audience of my conferences, questions I will now ask you. Consider each question for a moment.
- If God was to look at America based upon its sexual purity and its leadership in sexual immorality, what would God say? Unclean or clean?
- If God was to look at your state or your city based on its sexual morality, would He say unclean or clean?
- What if God was to look at your local church, remember He sees all, what would He have to conclude, unclean or clean?
- Let me ask you if He was to look at your life based upon your sexuality alone what would He conclude, unclean or clean? You already know the answer.
I thank God for the blood of Jesus who paid for all my sins. Because of Jesus, God can look at all of us as blood bought men. I want God to be able to look at every man, church, city, state and nation and say, “clean, clean, clean,” and smile upon us all.
Do Something About It
Integrity Journey is a national conference gathering all the top leaders in sexual purity in the church. God has anointed these men and women to provide the church warriors with the weapons needed to effectively fight against sexual immorality in the church. These generals in this war will equip you with the tools you need to get clean, stay clean, and help your brothers and sisters in Christ attain the same freedom and sexual purity. Join the war and fight on the side of Christ.
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Integrity Journey in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books including, Clean. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com.