Porn-Again Christian


By Will Dole

Pornography: one of the most severe issues facing American men today, including many Christians and church leaders. And yet when we address it, we tend to do so in largely secular ways, especially through secular psychology. If these tactics are working, why is porn still a multibillion dollar annual industry?

Perhaps because we as Christians know that it is a sin, and yet we simply have no understanding of why this sin is offensive to God. This is the issue addressed in Porn-Again Christian, by Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. The subtitle promises “A frank discussion on the issues of pornography and masturbation,” and Pastor Driscoll, one of the more controversial figures in the modern American church for his “Peasant Princess” sermon series on the Song of Solomon, in which he uses arguably blunt and crude terms from the pulpit, delivers.

Those of us familiar with this series will find much of the same in this book. Driscoll says in the first chapter, “While God spoke frankly to Israel, He is certainly not crass like some meat-headed high school boys killing time in a locker room. God is honest and forthright about the truth and His people must not be so prudish as to try and speak in ways that are holier than their God. In our age of lewdness and perversion we, like our Father, must avoid crassness, while wisely and boldly speaking frankly.” Driscoll practices that preaching, for sure.

The introduction and first chapter lay out the very real problem that pornography and masturbation are in our culture. Driscoll explains that this is a distortion of God’s design, and points out that God uses some very harsh language in Scripture regarding His opinion of sexual sin. He then spends three chapters going over the theological and practical problems with pornography. This, in my opinion, was the most helpful part of the book. Far too often we separate what we’re doing in our rooms or in front of a computer from what is happening in our hearts. Any idea that this is “okay” is thoroughly dismantled. The final three chapters of the book deal with masturbation, answers to common questions, and the slippery slope of pornography, respectively. Also included is an appendix dealing with prostitution and the sex-trade, which is, honestly, quite an eye opener for those who aren’t aware of how bad the issue is.

Overall, this book may not tell us anything we haven’t heard before. If we’ve studied our Bible, or even read a book such as “Every Man’s Battle,” by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker. Porn is a sin, and as Driscoll argues, there is general agreement that it inevitably leads to further sin, and will hurt our relationships with the opposite sex. But, what separates this book from most on the subject is the absolutely straightforward and blunt way in which the information is presented. Driscoll minces no words in calling sin what it is. Will this book be a great reference tool or help for someone who has never struggled with these issues? Most likely not; as stated earlier it’s probably not a lot of new info, nor is it even exceedingly thorough—it´s only 55 pages, including the appendices. Where is does have great value is the frank and forthright way in which it is written, as well as the fact that it is available online, for free.

The way we tend to skirt issues like porn brings to mind the words of 19th century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard: “The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.”

Driscoll manages to bring us face-to-face with the fact that sin is sin and is abhorrent to God. But as Ephesians 2:4, 5 says, “because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” God loves the unlovable and calls us to follow Him in worship. Our faith needs to be followed by works, including the putting to death of our sin in these areas, and Driscoll’s book serves as a healthy reminder to those of us who are prone to act as “scheming swindlers.”

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