Josh McDowell says porn epidemic sweeping the church

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By Dan Wooding, Founder of the ASSIST News Service

Josh McDowell
Josh McDowell

Evangelical apologist, evangelist, and writer, Josh McDowell, has become so deeply concerned with the “porn epidemic” that is “sweeping the church” that he is leading a conference to help people understand what is happening and how people can become free from this addiction.

“Most people don’t realize what’s happening with pornography. Basically there’s two types of men in the evangelical church — those that watch pornography and those that lie.”

Josh McDowell described the porn situation within the Church as an “epidemic,” adding, “At least 78.8% of all men that attend evangelical churches watch pornography. Probably 80% of all evangelical youth pastors also watch pornography, and now, the greatest increase is among women and young ladies. It’s killing us. 64% of all Christian families have an acute problem with pornography.”

Three out of five divorces now are directly related to pornography.

“Nothing erodes the church faster than pervasive Internet pornography. Let’s do something about it,” he states.

McDowell gives the following shocking figures:

* Nine out of ten boys and six out of ten girls are exposed to porn by the age of eighteen.

* Two out of five church-going men watch porn several times a week.

Josh says that he has become so troubled with what is going on that, in April 2016, his Josh McDowell Ministry, in partnership with Covenant Eyes, is hosting the “Set Free Global Summit” on the impact of pornography in the church. It will take place in Greensboro, NC, April 4-7, 2016, and you can get further details at their website: http://setfreesummit.org.

“About six years ago I sensed there was something wrong; something affecting the belief system and, usually, I could pin-point it real fast, but this time, I couldn’t. Then, after a while, I realized it was pervasive Internet pornography that is just killing us in the church.”

As a true biblical apologist he feels he must deal with the “barriers of beliefs, not just beliefs.”

“And so I realized that if I take life and the Scriptures seriously, I had got to deal with the issue of pornography. It was the most discouraging thing for me when I found out how pervasive it is, how involved it is among pastors, youth pastors, and evangelical churches, but, at the same time, it was very challenging. So I started doing a lot of research on this topic, dealing with a lot of organizations that have dealt with it and then I decided to help set up in April the ‘Set Free Global Summit’ at the convention center in Greensboro North Carolina, where we will give incredible positive answers to pornography.

Almost every time you hear of a pastor asked to leave a church it’s because of pornography. “What they do is say that it is because of ‘a moral problem’, but they won’t just come right out and say it’s because of porn.”

“It is so mainstream in the world around us that it’s not even newsworthy. Within 18 months, it’ll be mainstream right within the evangelical, fundamental, born-again Church. At Christian schools, probably 80, 85% of all the guys watch pornography, even at the most evangelical, conservative of schools.”

“Right at this moment, there’s never been anything in history that is destroying more churches, more pastors, more marriages, more young people, than pornography. As Chuck Swindoll said, ‘It’s the greatest cancer in the church.’ For me, it’s too late to say, ‘Well, give it time and lets pray about it.’ Chuck Swindoll said that if we don’t move on it right now, it is too late to say we’ll pray about it and then wait.’

McDowell then alleged, “There are pastors who sit in their office and surf the net for pornography, then walk across the hallway and give leadership for our kids. Our deacons, our elders, our leaders come to church and they lead worship, then they go home and often until midnight, or one in the morning, will surf the Internet for pornography. These are our leaders.”

With such strong comments, I asked McDowell how he had uncovered this shocking information, and he replied, “Oh, it’s very simple. I have just spent $300,000 to commission the largest scientific study ever done on pornography. It involved 3,000 people with a 97% certainty of the results. There’s a good number of scientific research out there, but it’s all stopping for the simple reason that they cannot find control groups, for the young people not watching pornography.

“No parent can protect their child from seeing pornography. Any mother right now will probably say, ‘Oh no, I pray over my child’, or “I home school and so therefore I can protect my child.’ When I hear this, I look that mother right in the eye and say, ‘You will lose your child. You, cannot protect your, child, from, seeing, pornography! They will see it. What you must do is, as a responsible mother and father, is prepare your child for the first time they will see it, and it will probably be before eight years of age in Christian homes. In fact, in many Christian homes, it’s probably four to six years old when they first come across pornography.”

So, with such a serious problem, how will people who attend the upcoming conference, be helped?

“Oh my gosh. They will,” said Josh. “80% of the conference is on solutions. We have one of the top brain experts in the world neurologists who will explain how literally, physically, biologically, pornography changes the brain and how. Then, the next scientist, Dr. Williams Struthers, will explain how you can change your brain back.

“Then in 35 minutes, Dr. Ted Robertson will get up and say, ‘Now, let us look at this in the light of biblical terminology and context.’ The entire summit would be worth that presentation alone. No one’s ever done it that way. Then we have the top experts in the world on pornography and children, pornography and teens, pornography and men, pornography in women, pornography in marriage, pornography and wives, pornography and the husband, pornography and the church leaders. There’s never been a summit like this.”

Josh McDowell said, “I wish that every head of every single Christian school would be there because there’s very little difference in a Christians school than a secular school. It’s permeated every aspect of the church. And if we do that, and somebody doesn’t have the gall to stand up and address it in the evangelical community, then we’re going to get what we deserve.

“If we soon don’t have another Wilberforce or a Bonhoeffer to deal with pornography the way that they dealt with slavery and Nazism, we’re in trouble. And right now I don’t see a Wilberforce or a Bonhoeffer on the scene anywhere in the world.”

What is caused this sort of this avalanche?

“Well one of them is technology,” said McDowell. “Pastors will say to me, ‘Oh Josh, we’ve always had pornography. What’s the big deal?’ and I say to myself, ‘How in the world, did you ever get your head screwed on because that’s not right.’

“Of course, we’ve always had pornography, but the issue is that we have never, ever, had such accessibility with 26,000,000 pornographic web sites, 2,000,000,000 pages just one click away. We’ve never had that before. It’s so crazy when parents say, ‘My child won’t have a laptop’. Do you know how dumb that is? What about your child’s friend’s laptop? What about their cellphone? They may say, ‘Well my child won’t have a cell phone,’ so I say, what about your child’s friend’s cell phone at the Christian school? You’ve lost control over that.

“This has never happened before. This is why I’ve taken this big step of faith along with Covenant Eyes of co-hosting this conference. Whoever dreamed that we’d have a conference where 80% of it is concentrating on solutions, not the problem. But I’ll tell you this, Dan, if you do not understand the problem, in fact if you do not understand neurology and the brain, you cannot understand pornography and especially a solution to it.”

Are you getting a lot of opposition Josh when you speak like this?

“No! Usually I get silence because most pastors won’t say much because they’re involved in it, and they’re afraid of the shame and exposure if it comes out,” he said. “Same thing with Christian leaders, but when I get through to them, and tell them that there’s 26,000,000 pornographic web sites, they realize the size of the porn problem. Just take one site — it’s not even the top five sites – just one of them in the last 30 days has produced and transferred data 29 petabytes. A petabyte is a thousand terabytes. That’s 1,000,000 gigabytes. In other words, one web site out of 26,000,000 in the last 30 days has produced pornography that would fill 540,000,000 four-drawer file cabinets, or would fill 29 Empire State buildings.

“Another site has, in every 60 seconds, 4,000 pornographic videos that are viewed 24-7. You’re trying to tell me that your kid’s going to avoid that? Absolutely not! And then these parents say to me, ‘Oh, Josh, my precious little daughter or son, they’re not going to look for pornography the way I raised them. I say, ‘Lady, you better get your head screwed on straight. Maybe they won’t look for pornography, but pornography is looking for them and it will find your child.

“91% of young people today see pornography, even Christian young people who weren’t looking for it. It found them they were doing homework they were doing a paper something for school. But 38% of them will become addicted to pornography. And they weren’t even looking for it. Where my heart goes out is to pastors who are so busy, that they don’t have time to do all the research that I’ve done along with some of the top presenters in the world. So I’m bringing together 27 of the top presenters in the world, where pastors can come for three full days and get what nobody else has ever gotten in that time, and can go back and can intelligently lead their people.”

McDowell concluded by saying, “I’ll say to any pastor right now, ‘Lead or be led. If you do not lead, someone else will; and it means you have failed, the parents and the children in your church.’ And right now many pastors have.”

Again, for details of the conference, please go to: http://setfreesummit.org.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I agree that porn is a huge issue, but it is not bigger than Jesus’s saving grace. It has been a issue for me in one way or another for about 44 years, thirty three of them as a born again Christian. The last 2.5 years I have been living in victory aside from a couple minor, compared to where I was before, slips.

    As a young Christian it was mainly an issue when it found me. Sometimes I would resist the temptation for a time, but eventually it would wear me down. As time went by I did start searching for it sometimes. When I got internet service it became a habit. The best I did was suppress the behavior sometimes. But, I knew it was still there, just under the surface.

    About 5 years ago I got to the point where I was tired of loosing the battle all the time. Nothing I tried seemed to have any lasting victory. So I gave up and gave in, I quit trying to fight it. I still went through the motions of going to church, trying to appear like I was OK. Sometimes the “safest” place for a sinner to hide is in church.

    About 3 years ago I was invited to join a fellowship group in a most unusual way. The 4 members of the group had been praying about who they should invite next. They all agreed it was me. That got my attention, maybe God hadn’t given up on me even though I gave up on myself. If it would have been a simpler invitation, I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to it.

    About 6 months later I came to a place of confession and repentance. I had been there done that before so I didn’t expect I would last a week. But a month went by and I was still marveling at God’s love, grace, and the new freedom I was experiencing. I didn’t want to lose that, I didn’t want to go back. I was the prodigal son enjoying the party.

    But the party doesn’t last forever, and the enemy doesn’t give up easily. I started having to fight tempting thoughts again, but now I was determined to win. However, I was starting to become the prodigals older brother again. Trying to please God with my works done in my own strength. I see that as a picture of religion.

    My simple definitions
    Religion: All about man’s effort to please and appease God.
    Christianity: All about what Jesus did for and in us, because we could not do it for ourselves. So that we could have a grace filled relationship with Him.

    I was trying, like I did as a young Christian to live up to what the new creation, 2 Cor 5:17, should be. Instead of living out of the new creation that was in me. I had failed as a young Christian, and the enemy was good at rubbing my nose in it. I started believing his lies that maybe I wasn’t such a new creation after all, and I had better try and do something about it. That it was up to me to put down that old nature and become that new creation.

    Revelation of this came when I was reading “The Naked Gospel” by Andrew Farley. My old nature had already been crucified with Christ and buried through baptism. 2 Cor 5:17, Rom 6:3-8, Gal 2:20. Sin still lives within me, but it is not me. And I still have my flesh to contend with. Rom 7:16-20 But, neither of these is my old nature, or my identity.

    But, I had been deceived into believing that it was my old nature I was fighting. I was fighting a battle that was already won against an enemy that no longer existed. In other words, I was beating my fists bloody boxing my shadow. A shadow is just absence of light. Jesus is light John 1:4-5

    Knowing the scientific facts didn’t change my heart, at that point I didn’t care. Jesus’s love, truth, and grace changed me. I believe He set me free when I was born again 33 years ago. I just didn’t understand and believe it, after all I was still a spiritual baby back then. If the enemy can’t keep us from getting born again, his next goal is to render us ineffective. We need relationship with Jesus, not just religion.

    Being addicted to porn is no longer my identity. When I thought it was my identity that was just deception. Sure, I can still be tempted, but I have better weapons to fight temptation. It doesn’t have to be the inevitable defeat it used to be. If I should slip, I know He is there to pick me up when I turn to Him.

    Scott

  2. I want to add that I think this would be an excellent conference to attend! I hope and pray that there will be more outreach resulting from and in addition to this conference. That this would foster a new beginning of believers rising up in faith slaying with God’s truth, John 8:32, their own Goliaths who have mocked them mercilessly.

    Thank you and God bless you!!
    Scott

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