In over 50 years of working with young people both in church situations and in my teaching in public schools, I have found one of the most destructive things in our culture is also one of the least talked about. It’s the problem of pornography.
Several years ago, our ministry produced a video series with Jimmy Hinton dealing with sexual predators. This series was personal for Jimmy because his father is in prison for sexual misconduct, even though he was a preacher for many years. It is an excellent series, but we have found that congregations don’t want to talk about this subject. When we send the DVD series and the teaching materials we provide with it, we usually have to mail it to an individual or business address rather than a church. The usual statement from church leaders or ministers is, “Well, we just don’t have that problem here.”
We have done many youth rallies and camp sessions and have participated in many church workshops. Over and over, teens have come to us to find answers to their personal struggles with porn and sexual abuse but wanting to remain anonymous. In several situations, I was forced to confront a youth leader or a minister about their use of pornography. In some cases, they were involved in a relationship that was in clear violation of God’sWord.
An organization known as LifePlan has released new data on the problem of pornography. Pornography use has skyrocketed, with one website reporting four-and-a-half billion hours of porn watched in one year. Seventy percent of Christian youth leaders have had a teenager come to them for help in dealing with pornography. Let us be clear that we are not talking about “dirty movies.” We are talking about movies that display sexual intercourse and perversions, including sex with animals. The STD rate among young adults (ages 15 to 24) in the United States is over 10 million a year.
I have learned by experience that giving a lesson on sexual behavior is a quick way to be reprimanded. People don’t want to hear teaching from the pulpit about why sex outside of marriage is not only wrong and sinful and destructive mentally and spiritually. “That’s the parent’s job” is the usual response. But parents aren’t doing it, and having the Church back up a parent who IS doing it should be the best of all worlds.
Don’t assume that this is someone else’s problem. We need to have frank discussions with kids. Youth leaders need to broach this subject with teens and their parents, and they need to know how to deal with their own struggles. Read Romans 1:24-32 and discuss it in detail with the young people you have access to. Pornography is a growing business in our world, and the problem of pornography isn’t going away. Neither is Satan going to stop bringing it into the minds of those who claim to be Christians.
— John N. Clayton © 2021