The Christian and Pornography

July 21, 2007

By Dr. D. James Kennedy

There is an open sewer in our society today—an open sewer which is corrupting and polluting the hearts and minds of young and old alike—a sewer of pornography! Its vile flow comes from the hearts and minds of men who are depraved and degraded to the point past feeling, when they not only do those things of which they should be ashamed, but rejoice in those who do them and promote them throughout the land.

The importance of this problem might be seen when we examine something of its historical character. It’s not new; even the word is not new. Pornography comes from two Greek words, porne, “a harlot,” and graphien, “to write.” Pornography literally means the “writing of a harlot,” whether it be writing about one, or drawing one, as in pictures, paintings, photographs, motion pictures, or television. And with every advance in the technological world, pornography has been swift to turn its sewer pipe in that direction.

The ancient pre-Christian world was very pornographic. Some people think pornography is very modern. This is not true. The world into which Christ came was a world of pornography. Although there were no motion pictures or photographs, pornography was everywhere. Even the most eminent and virtuous writers wrote passages that would shock even the modern conscience. Plato, Demosthenes, Epictetus, and other Stoic writers—all have passages that are very modern indeed.

In fact, the New Testament makes it abundantly clear that the cardinal vice of the heathen world into which Jesus Christ was born so pure, was impurity, or immorality. Read that great list in Romans 1 and you will see how frequently we find reference to all matters of sexual sins and uncleanness, concupiscence and perversion. Homosexuality and lesbianism head up the list of a world that had sunk deep into the depravity of the flesh.

Into this unbelievably defiled world Christ was born, and the Apostles went out with the message that was transforming. They came, they declared that God was holy—an absolutely novel idea, for certainly the gods of the heathen were not holy.

Not only did the heathen gods not forbid or restrain vice and wickedness, they actually encouraged it. Consider the temple of Aphrodite at Corinth or the temple of Diana at Ephesus, and all the temple prostitutes that encouraged vileness and wickedness everywhere. And now the Apostle Paul comes into this Gentile world with a message that God is holy, that He has called us to be as holy as He is holy—an absolutely revolutionizing idea.

Now in the twentieth century we heard a cry for openness and free discussion, and not only discussion, but also every sort of picturing in books, magazines, films, and television, as well.

What are the results of such uncleanness and such a lax attitude toward pornography in our culture? The results of abuse in this area—even in the Christian world—are tremendous. I think many of them are unseen. For one thing, indulging in pornography leads to a terrible bondage of the soul. Every counselor has talked to people whose lives have been ruined by sexual indulgence. This refers not only to adultery or fornication, but also to those sins of thought, or secret acts of sexual self-indulgence which can bring people into such bondage that often they can never escape throughout all of their mature lives. There are Christians whose testimonies are ruined, and the sparkle is gone from their lives because there is a sin they have not yet been able to overcome.

Though people deny that pornography has any ill effects, it has a real effect upon the spiritual life. It is not at the moment that a person indulges in pornography that they pay the penalty. It is in the future, and then with interest. How many persons have lost the vitality of their Christian life because they are defeated by sexual sins? It’s bad enough to have a broken sewer in the community; it’s even worse to hook up a private line from that sewer and run it right into your own living room. But many are doing just that.

What is the answer for the believer who is involved with pornography? First, it is going to involve a realization that God has called us not unto uncleanness, but to holiness. And all manner of sexual impurity—illicit sexual indulgence of every sort—whether it be outward adultery, fornication, or perversion, or inward private acts, private thoughts, or privately looking at pornography brings the inevitable consequences of hardening and bondage into the sinner’s life. The Bible says we are to flee from immorality and make every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

The only time to deal with temptation is at the very moment of its entrance into the portal of the human mind. From the very first look at pornography, a Christian must immediately flee and remove the temptation, that God may grant the escape. But too often people tend to indulge themselves with a little titillation, supposing they can avoid a greater sin, without realizing that they have been already enslaved in the very act of lust. “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).

We are to be disciples, disciplined for Jesus Christ, not only in the outward act but in the inward thought. We are to be on our guard, be cautious, and be watchful, that at the very moment Satan comes with something for our eyes, or for our ears or for our thoughts, we would recognize this for the dangerous sin it is and flee to Christ.

Do you stand guilty and convicted before God? Are you guilty of the same vile sins that plunged the heathen world into depths of depravity? Then look to the Cross where the holy and undefiled Son of God died, taking upon Himself all of our vile sins and transgressions, and paid the penalty in our stead. If you will, by faith, embrace Him and receive Him into your heart as your Savior, He will cleanse you, wash you, and renew you. You will be transformed by His grace. He will give you the victory over your sin.

Posted: July 21, 2007 12:09 PM
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