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'One Million Men Porn Free' Pastor: You Forget About God, Family When Addicted to Porn

February 26, 2013|8:11 am

Pornography is an unspoken word in most congregations, but this powerful addiction is permeating Christian households, and is destroying marriages and parent-child relationships.

To combat the addiction to pornography, Pastor Jay Dennis of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Fla., created his own program, "One Million Men Porn Free," because he wasn't able to find resource materials that he could use to defeat the devastating effects the lure of pornography had on members of his church.

"I led our church initially through this program in March and April of 2010," said Dennis, who leads a congregation of 9,000 members. "I met with our men for six Wednesday evening sessions, with the last session being the commitment rally. I also met with our women for one session and our parents for one session. The women's session was called 'What Men Wish Their Wives Knew About Pornography.' The parents' session was titled 'Protecting Your Child From Sexual Brokenness.'"

Dennis hopes the "Join 1 Million Men" program will ultimately strengthen churches by helping pastors get the subject of pornography out in the open so they can work on rebuilding families and marriages.

"If the pastor is not addressing the issue, either he doesn't feel it's enough of a problem, or it's too shameful to discuss in church," said Dennis, who cites the biblical scriptures of Job 31:1, Psalm 119:37 and I Timothy 5:2 to illustrate the ways in which men should view and respect women.

"[The program] strengthens churches because men are dealing with an issue that is preventing them from being spiritual leaders in their homes and churches," he continued. "It strengthens relationships because it creates an atmosphere of accountability, trust, and transparency among men in the church. It strengthens marriages when husbands and dads take responsibility for spiritual leadership."

His ultimate goal is to have churches of all sizes and denominations embrace the Join 1 Million Men program, and for their congregations to achieve success in overcoming the addiction to pornography.

"Whether a church has a large staff or no staff, the program can be launched by one man in that church who is willing to lead," Dennis said. "When churches take seriously the issue of Christians viewing pornography, I believe we can see revival. 'The pure in heart shall see God.' When men get passionate about purity, there will be a new freedom for the Holy Spirit to move. When a man is struggling with pornography, he's not going to be concerned about winning people to Jesus Christ or serious about praise and worship. With purity comes a new passion for both. I want to see church leaders, pastors and staff members show a boldness with grace to tackle this sensitive issue. The effect I believe will be the favor of God."

Once seduced, a man's addiction to pornography doesn't only affect his relationship with his wife, but his children, too, especially if he's trying to be an example of morality in the family and at church.

"The father cannot credibly lead his son to be pornography free if he is looking at porn," Dennis said. "With the sophistication of today's children, chances are they will find their dad's pornography. A father is placing his stamp of approval on something that affects some fathers' daughters. In addition, the father's moral credibility is compromised as his children's spiritual leader."

Even though many Americans deem pornography as socially acceptable, Dennis fervently believes that pornography is destructive to one's personal walk with Jesus Christ.

"The nature of pornography is to appeal to those areas of a man's mind where he is most likely to feel tempted," said Dennis, who was the president of the Florida Baptist Convention from 2001-2002. "It appeals to the eyes, demanding sinful thoughts followed by sexually acting out. One of the most destructive aspects of pornography is when a Christian man is viewing it, because he narrowly focuses only on that image and forgets about God, his wife, his children, and his reputation. Only after he's acted out does he realize the guilt and shame of his action; but the nature of pornography is to pull him back into the process again, even though he feels ashamed. It's a vicious cycle."

Dennis, who's the author of six books, said that he's faced many spiritual challenges since the creation of the Join 1 Million Men movement. He even lost a manuscript he was working on that dealt with the issue of pornography and its impact on Christian households.

"The level of spiritual warfare I've experienced as I've broached the issue of Christians viewing pornography is unlike anything I've experienced as a pastor," Dennis said. "As a pastor of 34 years, I thought I understood a great deal about spiritual battles, but this issue has taken the fight to a new intensity. One example, is that I lost most of the manuscript for one of the books I was writing on the subject when my hard drive crashed. The technicians were perplexed … but I knew exactly what had happened. As I've addressed this issue in conferences and churches, the number of cancelled flights has almost become humorous."

He also said that overcoming pornography is not a one-time, sign-a-card, make-a-commitment kind of thing. "Overcoming involves repentance, accountability, responsibility, a daily commitment to spiritual disciplines and community. In Join 1 Million Men (formerly called 1 Million Men Porn Free), the commitment involves a process, not just a signature on a card."

Dennis added that the only way to overcome an addiction to pornography is through the power of the resurrected Savior, Jesus Christ.

He's currently writing a book that will give advice to Christian women on what they should do if their husbands are viewing pornography.

The Join 1 Million Men program will be featured on June 11 and 12 at the Southern Baptist Convention in Houston, Texas.

Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/one-million-men-porn-free-pastor-you-forget-about-god-family-when-addicted-to-porn-90771/