Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

Internet Pornography

The viewing of pornography, in the past, necessitated a bit of moxie on the part of the viewer. If one wanted to look at a magazine or other materials, he had to go to an “adult” establishment, or lay a magazine on the counter of the local convenience store, and risk being seen by someone he knew.

Of course, if a man was profane, this did not deter him. However, the danger of being “found out” precluded some Christians who might otherwise have been tempted to sin in this manner.

Eventually, through videocassettes, and now through internet access, the viewing of pornographic images has become easy, private and (in the case of the internet) often free.

Unfortunately, it has also become problematic among God’s people. Too many men, and even women, are succumbing to the ease and illicit lure of such a sinful activity.

Last year an invitation to participate in a survey regarding porn viewing on the internet was sent to many members of the Lord’s church. Note that these are Christian men, 4,000 of which responded to the survey.

In the survey, nearly three out of four Christian men ages 19 to 29 indicated they struggle with Internet pornography as a temptation. Despite the ubiquitous nature of the sin, 50% of the men said that they had heard no preaching on the matter in the past year.

On a broader scale, it is estimated that roughly 40 million U.S. adults visit X-rated internet sites regularly, spending $2.5 billion annually on internet pornography. (We hasten to add that there is much pornographic material that can be found on the internet for free). According to the U.S. Justice Department, roughly 9 out of 10 children have been exposed to pornography online.

(Note: All statistics in this article were taken from two articles in this month’s Christian Chronicle. If you would like to read more of the survey results, you can find them at: http://www.campbellstreet.org/survey)

This article is not intended to condemn the internet in general. It is a valuable and legitimate resource for information. Where once you had to go the library, and searches for information were laborious and time consuming, the internet puts a world of resources at your fingertips. But the same ease in obtaining such legitimate information can be found in obtaining illicit and salacious material as well.

There are ways to avoid the temptation. First, internet filters can be purchased which limit the internet browser only to sites which contain no profane or pornographic material. Such software is helpful to those who need the added protection from themselves. Parents should especially consider purchasing such software to preclude their children’s exposure to such ungodliness.

Another problem area can be the instant messaging services which allow instant communication online. The anonymity such programs provide lend themselves to risk taking, and the development of illicit relationships. Here, teenagers are especially vulnerable, as the instant messaging phenomenon is especially popular with the young. Having the computer in a public area of the home, frequent “over the shoulder” checks, and limitations on time are all helpful in avoiding temptations that can come from a misuse of the technology.

Each Christian must consider the inappropriateness of these types of behaviors. The fact that the viewing of pornography is done “late at night” and in “secret” indicates the illicit nature of the activity. The tempted individual should flee these circumstances, lest he fall. The spouse (wife or husband) or parent should be aware of any secretive behavior, and be ready to investigate if suspicions are present.

Finally, when such individuals come to grip with their sin and seek help, the church should receive them with love and forgiveness. There has always been a stigma attached to such sexual sin, and rightly so. However, to continue to reject and or punish those who have revealed their sin, is both contrary to the Christian spirit, and discourages the confession of sin.

Remember James’ admonition, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20).