The Table Podcast

Freedom from Pornography

In this episode, Dr. Darrell L. Bock, Josh McDowell, Joy Pedrow, and Josh Proctor discuss pornography, focusing on ministries that help people find freedom from addiction.

Timecodes
00:14
Bock introduces the guests
02:42
McDowell’s background in addressing the issue of pornography
04:16
Proctor’s background in addressing the issue of pornography
05:49
Pedrow’s background in addressing the issue of pornography
07:19
How pervasive is pornography online and in the church?
11:30
Advice for parents in talking to their kids about pornography
14:47
The importance of open communication at an early age
19:05
The effects of pornography include shame and a false view of sex
21:30
Neurology and pornography
25:02
What is “Toxic shame?”
26:09
The effects of pornography on trust in a marriage
32:02
Advice to people struggling with pornography
38:30
Advice for helping people struggling with pornography
Resources
Transcript
Darrell Bock
Welcome to The Table where we discuss issues of God and culture. I’m Darrell Bock, Executive Director for Cultural Engagement at the Hendricks Center at Dallas Theological Seminary, and our topic today is actually a very serious one.

We’re going to talk about pornography and pornography in the church in particular, and the various ministries that are available to help people deal with this area and what’s going on in this area.

And I have three experts here to help us negotiate this material. Josh Proctor, who I’m giving credit for encouraging us to do this podcast, is here on my right, and he has a ministry called JoshProctor.com that is run out of – is it Remedy Church in Waxahachie?

Josh Proctor
Yes, sir.
Darrell Bock
And he’s been engaged in dealing with this ministry and dealing with people who are addicted to pornography for several years now. And then Joy – I’m probably gonna mess this up – but Joy, is it Pedrow?
Joy Pedrow
Yes.
Darrell Bock
Oh, how about that. Founder of Joy Pedrow Ministries, and she’s been involved in this ministry for some time. And then Josh McDowell who is coming to us from California, just back from Manila who is Founder and Director of Josh McDowell Ministry which is a part of Cru, and he has been connected, he was telling me, to Cru for 55 years.

And if the name sounds familiar and the look looks familiar, you’re probably familiar with Josh for Evidence that Demands a Verdict and More Evidence that Demands a Verdict, and now I guess a Volume 2 is out, is that correct, Josh?

Josh McDowell
No, it’s a complete revision; 70 percent new.
Darrell Bock
Oh, wow.
Josh McDowell
Gone back to the title Evidence that Demands a Verdict.
Darrell Bock
Okay, and is that out yet or is it about to be released?
Josh McDowell
Yes, it came out two weeks ago.
Darrell Bock
All right, very good. And –
Josh McDowell
I think I sent you a copy.
Darrell Bock
I did, and I –
Josh McDowell
You probably already sold it.
Darrell Bock
No, I have it sitting on my desk. I very much appreciate. And Josh, we have another first with you here, and that is you’re probably, you and your son are probably the first father-son team that we have had who’ve both been on The Table. So I guess the ribbon is in the mail or something.

So it’s a pleasure to have them with us to discuss this topic, and I’m gonna go around the room first and have them talk about what got them into this ministry, and Josh, we’re gonna respect our elders here, so you’re gonna get to go first further in California. How did you get into a ministry that’s involved with pornography?

Josh McDowell
About nine years ago I started to sense there’s something wrong with culture, with the youth and all that was affecting their authority, their source of authority. Darrell, I couldn’t put my finger on it. It took me a whole year. Usually, I can tell you what the problem is instantly.

And I remember and I called my wife, and I said, “Honey, I now understand what it is. It’s pervasive internet pornography.” And I felt as an apologist, that I do not deal with pornography and its affect upon truth, then I’m not fulfilling God’s calling in my life because I think probably one of the biggest barriers today for kids coming to Christ is pornography.

They asked the question, Cru did, of 485 students who had come to Christ when I was speaking, and the second follow up they said, “What is your greatest barrier to becoming a true follower to Jesus Christ?” Darrell, when they sent me the email, they said, “You won’t be able to believe this, all 485 students, said pornography.”

Darrell Bock
Wow.
Josh McDowell
So if you don’t deal with it, you’re missing God’s calling in life as an apologist.
Darrell Bock
Wow. Okay. Well, Josh – and we got two Joshes here, so I’m gonna be Josh challenged during the podcast, so Josh P. is what we’ve decided to call you for Proctor, okay, how did you get involved in this ministry?
Josh Proctor
Well, it goes back to when I was a kid, when I was 12 years old, I got stumbled on porn, and this is all pre-internet ’cause I’m 41, and my dad was a pastor, from 12 to 20 I had a secret addiction, worked really hard to find stuff, you know, ’cause it wasn’t the internet. The internet was not around then. It started to become a little prevalent when I was in college.

And then God in his grace just pricked my heart and helped me come clean about what I was wrestling with, and in my 20s led me to two men who set me free or pointed me to Jesus so I could learn how to walk in freedom that he’s given me.

And I thought that was it until about 2011-2012, and I was doing multiple things work-wise, but one of them was life coaching, mentoring, discipleship, and the other was coaching part-time at a Christian school, and I had never had that many people confess to me issues with pornography ever.

And as I was praying about it, the Lord basically said, “You know how to help because you’ve been helped, so start helping,” and it snowballed into what I’m doing today.

Darrell Bock
Oh, wow. And Joy, how did you end up being in this area?
Joy Pedrow
Yeah, so it all started my freshman year of college. I was a new Christian, I was healing from some sexual abuse and turning to pornography for comfort, and so from that journey I just felt so alone and shameful and didn’t hear anyone talk about it, especially for women.

You hear that men struggle with pornography, but not women, and so I felt even more alone. And I went to Cru, I was involved in Cru, and I went to one of their women’s nights, and a woman went first and shared her story of how she was struggling with pornography and found freedom, and that gave me the gift to go second, and be able to share my story and find freedom.

And from that, I started to look for resources and realized there weren’t that many out there for women, and so I launched my blog, and I started speaking and teaching just to help women find freedom from shame.

Josh Proctor
Amen.
Darrell Bock
Now, this is really interesting because I’ve brought you three together. I don’t know if you all have met each other before we’re doing this.
Josh Proctor
No.
Joy Pedrow
No.
Darrell Bock
Okay. And you’ve all used the same phraseology and, in fact, Josh has a book that he’s just written called Set Free to Choose Right: Equipping Today’s Kids to Make Right Moral Choices for Life. There it is. And you’ve all talked about being set free from this. So let’s talk about that process a little bit.

Well, before we get there, let’s talk about how pervasive this is. And Josh, Josh McDowell in California – Josh in California, maybe that’s the way to do it – you’ve got statistics about how pervasive this is.

You’ve already suggested it by this second answer that you’ve talked about that came from your Cru Ministry, but talk to us about some of the statistics that we’re dealing with and how pervasive this is.

Josh McDowell
There’s 26 million pornographic websites, one click away from right here in my living room 2.3 billion pages, just one of 26 billion sites, just one, last year had 23 billion visitors. That’s over 64 million every day. They had 91,980,000,000 porn videos watched. That is enough videos for 12 ½ videos for every man, women and child alive. And that’s only one site of 26 million.

They said 4.4 billion pages viewed by that site every 30 days. But get this, it comes out to 201 trillion pages last year by just one site. If you printed those pages out from one site in one year, it would fill over 20 billion four-drawer file cabinets.

Another site, every two seconds – Darrell, every two seconds – 4,000 more porn videos are being shown. And that’s only on two sites. Whenever somebody says, “Well, my kids won’t look for it,” that’s about the dumbest statement you can make because porn is looking for your kids.

Joy Pedrow
Mm-hmm.
Josh Proctor
That’s right.
Darrell Bock
Josh, comments. I mean, you said that’s right. It’s readily accessible and it is being accessed.
Josh Proctor
I would say as a parent it’s irresponsible and negligent and even like borderline neglectful if you don’t sit down and talk to your kids about what’s available because they’re gonna see it, and they need to know what it is, like when it comes, it’s like, “Wait a minute. This is not what God intended. This is what my parents were talking about.” Yeah, it’s a mess.
Joy Pedrow
And it’s even happening in our churches. I mean, 34 percent of women in our churches are struggling with pornography, so this is not just an issue that’s happening outside the church, so we need to be talking about it in our churches.
Josh Proctor
Well, and that’s 34 percent that admit.
Joy Pedrow
Yes, yes.
Josh Proctor
– _____, so.
Josh McDowell
But Darrell?
Darrell Bock
Yeah.
Josh McDowell
For 34, from 18 to 34 year old women in evangelical church, it’s 56 percent actively pursue pornography. Within one of the most biblically based mission organizations in the United States, solid, and one of the largest in the world, just one of their divisions since January 1, they’ve had 276 applications for staff.

I mean these are top seminary graduates, bible school grads, some of the most spiritual kids from the campus, they sent me an email, of 276 applications in the last two months, 99 percent of the men, 80 percent of the women applying for that organization pursue pornography on the internet. That, I can’t even grasp it. I can’t get my mind around it or my hand, but I know it’s true.

Josh Proctor
Yeah.
Josh McDowell
I can tell you one of the top bible schools in America that is so respected, everybody knows about it all over the world, of their students, hundreds that are studying to go into the pastorate, right now it’s probably 100 percent are struggling with pornography on the internet.
Darrell Bock
Wow, wow. Well let’s, actually, I’m uncertain where to go next, but let’s start here since this go raised. You said it would be irresponsible for parents not to talk to their kids about this. I think most parents out there who are raising kids, who haven’t thought about talking to their kids about this would say, “Okay, at what age?”

In other words, what are the signs or the signals or whatever would you have, what advice would you give in thinking about when to address this?

Josh Proctor
Well, I would say this is not gonna be an answer that the audience wants to hear, but it really depends on the child.
Darrell Bock
Okay.
Josh Proctor
And I think that especially within the church circles, if I know how to pray, and I know how to spend time in God’s word, and I know how to listen to the spirit, and I’m actively praying and asking the Lord, “When is the right time to bring this to my child?” I’ve heard as young as 6, I’ve heard waiting until 10, 11, 12, but if you’re not addressing it when they’re in elementary school, I think you’re missing the boat.

And the other thing is, it’s an ongoing conversation. It’s not, like my generation, it was “We’re gonna talk to you about this once or twice and now we’re good.”

Darrell Bock
We’ve had the talk, yeah.
Josh Proctor
This is an ongoing dialogue, and it’s almost like you’re trying to – you’re not redefining sex, but because sex has been so distorted, you have to redefine it from God’s perspective, and they have to see it as a beautiful, good God-given gift, not as this shameful, horrible thing that needs to be done in secret. It does need to be done in secret in the context of biblical marriage, but it also needs to be told to kids, “This is a good gift. It’s not a bad thing.”
Darrell Bock
And I take one of the other cues or clues as to when to do this is when a child begins to get some level of independent access to the resources where you can get access to this stuff, that that would be one of the factors that you have to weigh in because if you don’t address it, and they don’t hear it from you, they’re gonna hear about this stuff from somewhere else.
Josh Proctor
Well, if they have a video gaming station, if they have a smartphone, if they have an iPad, if any electronic device they have has access to the internet, and if they have access to the internet, they either need significant parental blockers on it which they can probably get around anyway, and/or they need to have a sit-down conversation with that child.

And I’ve done some trainings on that with parents in churches of how you do that, when you do that. It’s just hard to narrow it down to one specific age.

Darrell Bock
Got it. Fair enough. Joy, any –
Joy Pedrow
Yeah, I mean, you could do all the protection in the world, but I first discovered it from a friend showing me at her house. So really, it might just happen, so having that openness with your children, and that conversation, so then if they stumble upon it, they don’t feel the shame and this guilt. We don’t want to put shame into them, so we want to help create that so they can talk to us about it.
Darrell Bock
Oh, Josh, you’ve obviously been working with this a long time in the context of ministry, and this is, I think, a pretty significant question, so what advice would you give in terms of age and approach and that kind of thing?
Josh McDowell
Well, I agree with both Josh P. and with Joy, but I would go further. I would say you’ve almost gotta start at birth. Why? The average age group worldwide right now is 8 years old. I believe in evangelical homes, especially evangelical pastors’ homes, it’s 4 to 6 years old, and I think you need to start at birth.

People say that’s impossible. I wrote a book on it called Straight Talk with Your Kids About Sex in the Age of the Internet and Pornography. You’ve gotta start when they’re born because the first time they see it, you need to have built in, like what Josh P. was talking about, build in a very healthy, exciting, biblically based view of sexuality, how beautiful it is, God created it, God created your beautiful body that he’s made and all.

And you have to evaluate it with each child. Some are a little more mature than others, but you’ve gotta start younger than what you ever think, and here’s the thing, if you do not build a loving, intimate, secure marriage and home where your children feel free to ask you anything, and I mean anything, without shame, without judgment, without starting to quote the Bible.

So Christians can’t open their mouth without, “Well, don’t you know God says –.” That’s one of the fastest way to turn your children off. Listen to them. You can bring in God’s view later. And Joy is right, we’ve got to reach them by the first time they see it. You better have in your mind, it’s 5 years old. And that doesn’t matter what conditions you have in your home, on the internet and everything else. Parents have lost control.

What about your child’s friend’s smartphone? What about your child’s friend’s iPad, etc., etc., etc.? You don’t have any control over that. The number one teacher of children today is no longer the church, it is no longer the family, it is no longer the school, it’s Google.

Joy Pedrow
Mm-hmm, definitely.
Josh McDowell
And if you do not talk to them young, I guarantee you they will go to Google, and I mean at 6, 7, 8 years old, and you won’t like the answers they get. And we’ve got to start young.
Darrell Bock
So I wanna kinda flush this out a little bit because I think it’s interesting. The point that you’re making is, is that you need to establish what sex is and what sexuality is at a very, very young age, and I guess the question I have now is, is that when do you begin to broach the topic of the abuse of sexuality and the presence of pornography, etc. because when you’re talking about from birth, you’re not necessarily talking about that strand, but that’s obviously eventually part of the conversation that you’re gonna be having?
Josh McDowell
I would put it this way. By the first time your child sees pornography, and they’re gonna see it, they are going to see it, period. By the first time if they do not have a certain understanding of the authenticity of sexuality, who created sexuality, how beautiful it is, how your body is very beautiful, then when they see pornography, they won’t be able to detect a counterfeit.

And what is happening, even our Christian evangelical young people are growing up thinking pornography is sexuality, pornography is God’s means. Why? 75 percent of Christian parents have never ever talked to their children about pornography, and like Josh P. said, that is one of the gravest crimes and sins against our children.

Darrell Bock
Okay, so –
Josh McDowell
Excuse me, I get so –
Darrell Bock
I know.
Josh McDowell
– _____ about this subject because I see the broken hearts every day.
Darrell Bock
Yeah, and of course, you and I, remember when we touched base at Jim Becket’s Bible study and we had you out to talk about this, and that’s when I knew I had to have you be a part of this conversation ’cause I saw your passion with regard to this, and your understanding about how pervasive it is.

Let’s talk about a little bit – and we’ve got about four minutes left in this segment, and I’ll try and confine it to this segment which will be tricky, but let’s talk about how dangerous this is. Let’s talk about the damage that gets done.

Joy, I’m gonna start with you. You say most people when they think about this usually just think, “Well, it’s a male problem,” and what you’re telling is, “No, no, no, it extends far wider than that.” Well, I guess you can’t get much wider than the male; there’s females left. So talk about it from that angle.

Joy Pedrow
I mean, the damage is never ending. The shame, the self-hate that starts, and the fact that pornography is fake, so these women are most likely on drugs, they’re most likely drinking alcohol and just experiencing fake sex. So someone who would be watching that, they would think, “I need to look as skinny as them.”

Well, they might not be eating, these women, and so it just creates these fake images in your head and fake belief about sexuality. So it’s just teaching them what sex is. So if we’re not discipling our generation, if we’re not discipling our kids with sex, they’re gonna be disciple by pornography in the internet, and so the damage is just, it’s crazy.

Darrell Bock
Josh P., the damage that you see because you minister.
Josh Proctor
Well, I think that, I mean, Joy’s already touched on this, but I think shame is the big one. 1 Corinthians 6:18 talks about the one who sins sexually sins against themselves, and it’s not that a sexual sin is a worse sin, and it ranks higher than other sins because when Paul goes through this list of things in 1 Corinthians 6 about who will inherit the Kingdom of God, there’s a lot of other things mentioned, but you cannot – it’s impossible to put into words the amount of shame that it puts on that person as well as the shame that it puts on the people close to that person that are being hurt. And I mean, I could talk about a lot of other things that do that damage it, but to me, the number one issue is the shame issue.
Darrell Bock
Interesting. And Josh, you speak about this in the book, you talk about toxic shame, and the damage, and I guess the two that I see are the shame that is involved for the person who’s involved, and the second is the destruction of trust that emerges as a result for the spouse who finds out that this is going on in their marriage.
Josh McDowell
Well, I really hear the heart of Josh there, and I think we have to go back further Darrell. Even before shame, you cannot understand pornography if you don’t understand the human brain. You cannot understand an answer of pornography if you don’t understand neurology. You can’t. It’s more than just biblical.

Within ten seconds, your brain is physically biologically changed – and I’ve got all the documentation on that – within ten seconds of a video screen passing in front of you – this wouldn’t be where you – oh, come on, where you read books on it. My mind went blank. But on a passing screen like an iPad – Kindle, it’s not on a Kindle. It’s like an iPad or a cell phone. Within ten seconds your brain changes.

Darrell Bock
Okay. Well, what –
Josh McDowell
That happens before you ever sense shame or anything.
Darrell Bock
Okay. This is something that’s actually been studied and tested a great deal hasn’t it?
Josh McDowell
Oh, it has by just about every neurologist out there. And the biggest thing, it’s the biggest change immediately, and what we must deal with in any solution is that you’ve heard the phrase, “cells that fire together wire together.”

What that means in the example of pornography, when you see pornography move across a screen, the images are so novel, so powerful, instantly a certain combination of cells in your brain fires, and every time you see pornography, those same cells fire, and what happens in a short period of time, you develop what’s called neurological pathways.

It’s like walking through a woods. After quite a few times you develop a dirt path. Well, this is what happens in your brain. And then you’re driving and you smell a certain smell, hear a certain sound or music, see a risqué billboard or something else, immediately, those cells fire and with a man, he has to go masturbate, and he can’t reason through it.

He can’t think it because it immediately goes beyond his prefrontal cortex straight to the limbic system. So when you give into your cravings, you give up on your reasoning, and this is why so many men and women will make some of the dumbest, stupidest decisions, walk away from a 30-year marriage, a wonderful family, from their ministry, their business, 38 percent do, because it’s affected their very reasoning power.

And so that’s the first real change that takes place before toxic shame or anything, is it immediately creates neurological pathways that they can watch with technology today.

Darrell Bock
Okay. And obviously we’ll come back to this because obviously then dealing with on the other –
Josh McDowell
How do you change it?
Darrell Bock
Exactly right. So that’s in the queue now, but let’s work through our list. So let’s talk a little bit about toxic shame. What’s toxic shame, Josh?
Josh McDowell
Toxic shame is where you’re doing something, seeing something that affects your opinion of who you are as a person. Guilt is more with your behavior. Shame is with your personhood, who you are. And you can’t watch pornography very long before that aspect of your personality starts to sense a bitterness, a shame, a toxic disease in their own life.

And what so often happens, this is so sad, is when the shame starts to take place, you actually go to more pornography to escape it, and it intensifies the shame. So I put guilt as that relates to what you do; shame relates to who you are, created in the image of God with infinite value, dignity and worth.

Darrell Bock
Okay. Joy, you said you could talk about trust. Let’s talk about that.
Joy Pedrow
Yes, I was at a speaking engagement talking about this issue, and afterwards a woman came up to me, tears in her eyes saying she had finally found freedom from pornography, but her biggest worry was “Will a man ever love me because of my past, because of my sin?” So she just worried that a man wouldn’t be able to trust her.

And I was able to share that I married a man who never struggled with pornography, and so I had the same feelings, and to be able to be married to him and see him love me like Christ loves me, and to look at me as a pure bride, it’s just – I was encouraging her and telling her that if a man loves Jesus, he’s gonna look at you as pure. He’s gonna trust you. And so just to be able to use my story to help her find that healing.

Darrell Bock
Now that’s interesting because the trust that you’re talking about is the trust that comes from the person who has participated in the pornography.

There’s another element of trust that’s a part of the equation. I’m gonna come to you, Josh P., for this, and that is the element of trust of the spouse who finds out that this is going on in their house, and I guess the other word that goes with this, the sense of betrayal that comes with it. So let’s talk a little bit about that, and those consequences.

Josh Proctor
So for my marriage, we went to some Christian counseling, and one of the things that he did is he had a dry erase board, and on the dry erase board he wrote down – he said on a scale of 1 to 10 – my wife’s name is Kelly, so he said “On a scale of 1 to 10 Kelly, how would you rate Josh’s understanding of what he did wrong?” And so she put it at a 10.

And then he said “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate Josh’s understanding of what that did to your heart?” And she put it at a 2. And my being able to build trust back with my wife was directly tied to my understanding of her pain.

And so the more that I was able to understand her pain, the more trust was able to be built, and the more I understood her pain, the more boundaries I put in my life, and the more help I got because I never wanted to do that to her again. And the more help I got, and the more boundaries I put in place, the more trust that developed. But for us, –

Josh McDowell
Beautiful.
Josh Proctor
– it started when I could see what I did to her heart.
Darrell Bock
And this is not something that you in one sense you fix overnight, and what I mean by that is, is you can forgive and the person can offer the forgiveness, but working through that is a bigger, longer journey in many ways. Is that a fair way to characterize it?
Josh Proctor
I would say it’s still going on. I mean, like, I’ll come home from a trip speaking, and for whatever reason, I mean, Kelly was attacked in her mind, and she was like, “I need to know.” So then I’m reminding her of the boundaries I have that I don’t stay in a hotel room by myself, that I don’t have internet access on my phone. I don’t carry a lap. So I’m reminding her of all those things, and then I’m like, “And babe, I didn’t do anything.” And that instantly, the trust is back. For our marriage, I don’t feel like that ever goes away.
Darrell Bock
Interesting. Josh, any –
Josh McDowell
Darrell, can I add to that?
Darrell Bock
Yeah, sure.
Josh McDowell
Josh Proctor’s wife probably represents 99 percent of porn addict spouses. I have concluded the number one hurting person, most hurting in every single church in the world, even the jungles of Africa, Indonesia, whatever, is the spouse of a porn addict. They are destroyed. As men, it’s very difficult to understand what it does to a woman, to her psyche, to her being, to her personality, to her everything.

And I’d recommend, there’s a book by Vickie Tiede T-I-E-D-E, Vickie Tiede, and I don’t know the exact title, maybe you do Joy, married to the – the spouse of a porn addict. I believe every pastor should absolutely be required to study that book. I never understood the hurt that it brings to a woman until I studied that book, and I couldn’t stop crying. It devastates a woman.

And I would say most women who say my husband understands at about 1 to 2 on a scale of 10. And it takes, like you said Darrell, and Josh _____ Joy, it takes a period of time. It can take four, five, six, seven years to build that trust that Joy was talking about. And I’ll tell you this, if you don’t come clean in 100 percent, your spouse will never experience the joy and the freedom of trusting you. You must come clean.

Darrell Bock
So it’s obviously a key part of this process, and I do think it’s a consequence that isn’t in someone’s mind, I think, who steps in this direction, that they just do what they do, and it bypasses them in some way or something like that. Let’s deal with, we’ve got about 13 minutes left.

I normally don’t talk about the clock, but in this case we need to. Let’s talk about, okay, so I’m in this situation, and what do I do to get out of it? So what advice do you give to the person who feels trapped and who has that sense of shame? What suggestions would you have? Josh, I’ll start with you?

Josh Proctor
Well, we have developed a website with the Southern Baptists of Texas called CraveFreedom.com, and it’s the 30 day process that we take guys through to start their road to freedom, not at the end of that 30 days they’re free. And so that would be one resource.

The biggest, I mean, Josh just alluded to it, it’s come clean. It’s confession to God, it’s confession to others. 1 John 1:19 talks about I’m gonna experience cleansing when I confess my sin. James 5 talks about I’m gonna experience healing when I confess my sin to one another. The consequences of that are different for everyone, but you can’t get free or walk in the freedom that Jesus has given you until you come clean.

Darrell Bock
So and then – well, you know what? I’m gonna stay here and explore this a little more before I ask the next question because I do have another one. Joy, what’s your ____?
Joy Pedrow
Yeah, so, I agree with Josh, they have to come clean, and in addition to that, they have to be 100 percent ready to go through this journey because if they’re kind of unsure, they’re not ready to full surrender, I mean, they’re not gonna find freedom. They’re gonna keep turning back and they’re not gonna press forward, and so they have to be 100 percent ready to go all in and talk about this issue.
Darrell Bock
And of course in the context of a marriage, coming clean is eventually – I can’t imagine doing it and not, your spouse is gonna be involved in that process and that is a – I don’t know whether to describe it as a time bomb or a risk or whatever. I mean, it seems to me, that is the wildcard in the exercise to some degree because the reaction could be literally all over the map.
Joy Pedrow
Right, but we also have to think about single people who don’t have a partner. I mean, at least in a marriage, you have someone to maybe help you get through this. As a single woman, they don’t have anybody.
Josh Proctor
Especially a single woman in the church because if she’s sitting there and she’s like, “I struggle with this,” and every time somebody is brought in to talk about it, it’s about what men and struggling with. It just makes her aloneness increase.
Darrell Bock
Interesting. Josh, you’re getting ready to say something about this?
Josh McDowell
Both _____ effective to what both Josh and Joy’s talking about, but there’s still a more basic beginning solution is that if you try to go it alone, you won’t make it. Probably maybe 1 percent of Christians would ever make it if they tried going it alone. If you try going it alone, you will probably never come 100 percent clean. You’ll never come 100 percent “I’m going to see it through.”

One of the best things that I learned after being raped – I was raped from 6 to 13 years old by a man every single week for 7 years. I was forced to watch homosexual pornography for 7 years almost every single day of my life in my own home by a man named Magwin Bailey.

And after I came to Christ, one of the most marvelous thoughts I ever had, and one of the most biblical, I need more than Jesus. Now, I know that sounds heretical, but it’s biblical. I need more than Jesus. Pastors and teachers that preach “all you need it Jesus,” is probably doing more harm than almost anything else taught on pornography, and if somebody thinks I’m a heretic than they are because I’m biblical.

Just take your Bible and then start with the New Testament how many scores of time it writes “one another, one another, love one another, pray for another, counsel one another, encourage one another.” Look at Galatians, “bear one another’s burdens.” James 5 “confess your sins one to –.” That’s not you and Jesus; that’s you and a sister or brother in the body of Christ.

And when we confess our sins to God, the Bible promises forgiveness, but what does he promise when we confess our sins one to another? Healing. And every time a parent, a teacher, a Bible teacher, a pastor preaches “all you need is Jesus,” they’re cutting people off from one of the greatest sources of healing. And it’s not speaking in tongues or anything else; it’s confessing your sins one to another.

We need the body of Christ. I wouldn’t be sitting here on this program with you Darrell if it hadn’t been for Steve Ardeburn, Henry Cloud, Fay Logan, Jim Simpson, Dick Day, and Paul Lewis. I needed these six men in my life to be there, to love me, to speak truth into my life, to listen to me where I could listen to them. If you think you’re going to go it alone, you won’t make it.

Darrell Bock
And the other half of this that I see that I’m hearing through what you’re saying is, that’s involved in this journey is, is the accountability that inevitably has to come on the other end.
Josh McDowell
Yes.
Darrell Bock
That if the opposite, obviously, of going it alone is having people alongside who come alongside and come through this. There’s a lingering question in the back of my head that I think I wanna get to now because I think this is where it fits, and that is, there’s an anticipation about how the church will react if I come forward.

Not only do I have to deal with the time bomb of the spouse, if you wanna think of it in that situation if you’re in a marriage, but I think about coming forward, the issue becomes, “So what will the reaction be?”

And I can see a situation in which the anticipated reaction is so – I don’t know how else to describe it – negative or so full of rejection that a person says, “I don’t know if I’ll risk coming forward.” So what advice would you give to the bodies or the groups that field the confession, if I can ask it that way? I hope the question’s clear.

Josh Proctor
No, it is.
Darrell Bock
Okay, Josh, go ahead.
Josh Proctor
I would say two things. I would say number one to read John 8 and watch Jesus’ response to the woman caught in adultery. There were no stones thrown, and nobody has the right to throw a stone whether they struggle with sexual sin or not. But there’s an interesting thing in there where he says, “Woman, where are your accusers?” and she says, you know, and they’re gone, and he says, “Well, neither do I condemn you. Now go leave your life of sin.”

Too many churches today, when people come forward to confess, pat them on the head, “Hey, man, great for being honest,” and then they just send them on their way to go it alone. And there has to be a plan for how do you go and sin no more.

The second piece to me is in Genesis 3 where in the midst of sin and shame, and Adam and Eve have blown it for all of mankind, that God still goes to meet with them in the cool of the day. So what I would say to a pastor or a church leader is just like Jesus meets you in your stuff, meet them in theirs, and be Jesus in the midst of their sin, in the midst of their shame, but don’t be afraid to do tough love.

It doesn’t say pat you on the head and hope maybe it works out for you. It’s go and sin no more. It’s fight like crazy for their heart, and – I’m sorry. I just want our church leaders when they say, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to handle this.”

Well, do what Jesus did. He prayed and fasted. If in Mark 9, if the disciples couldn’t cast that demon out because they had to fast, and Jesus is saying it only comes out through prayer and fasting, that makes me think he fasted.

So if we don’t know what to do and we’re not sure where to start, well you know what, how about we just pray and fast for a week and say “Jesus, meet me there so I know how to love this person well.”

Darrell Bock
And that’s the goal is to figure, is to move the person to a place where they can serve in a positive and full way the person we’re talking about. Joy, how do, what –
Joy Pedrow
Yeah, and we can even do some preventative measures where from the pulpit our pastors are preaching on pornography, are using it as an example or pulling men and women, sharing their stories of freedom so that it’s creating this safe place, it’s creating this dynamic of, “Yes, I feel comfortable sharing about this in my church community.”
Darrell Bock
Should churches talk about, openly, how they would handle these kinds of things so that people have an idea of what to expect?
Joy Pedrow
Sure. Talk about the resources that the church provides, if they have regeneration, if they small groups, if they have people who have struggled and are willing to meet with them, share that so that someone knows, “Okay, there’s options. There’s way to find freedom.”
Darrell Bock
Josh?
Josh McDowell
The church absolutely needs to think this through ahead of time. You should not be caught surprised because it’s the number one problem in your church and in every church in the world. And pastors – oh, I hate saying this, but I believe the overall majority of evangelical pastors that counsel people in pornography are doing more harm than good.

It’s look, “You’ve gotta stop doing it, stop watching it, read God’s word, pray, and trust Jesus.” Yeah, and you’ll probably end up in suicide. Pastors need to – one of the first things they need to do is empathize with the person, thank them for being vulnerable, and then suggest a group. Every church should have a recovery group. Every church.

And have the pastor, the greatest thing ____ do is allow that spouse of an addict or the person that’s the addict, into a small group, and that shouldn’t be haphazard. They should have that all planned out ahead of time when anyone comes forward. And the last thing to say to the spouse of an addict is, “Well, you know, God says that you’re supposed to obey your husband and please your husband. Maybe you just need to go back and be a little more sexier and everything else.”

That is one of the worst things you can say to a woman because usually, that has absolutely nothing to do with pornography. Almost every single pornography person, pornography is just a symptom. There’s almost always a deeper root cause out of a relationship when you were a child or something else.

And when pastors and others deal with the symptom of pornography and not the cause, within three months that person will be worse off, in greater shame, and the depth of sorrow than ever before.

Josh Proctor
Yeah, that’s –
Josh McDowell
And the small group helps to bring that out.
Josh Proctor
Now the root, the root is you gotta get to the heart. And that’s one of the things. We use an acronym, it’s called BLAST – bored, lonely, angry, afraid, sad, stressed, shame, tired. So when you’re tempted, what of those are you feeling, and that helps us to get to the heart issue.
Darrell Bock
Well, our time is up, and you’ve been immensely helpful. This has been terrific to walk through, and almost shocking in some ways to hear, but I think important. I can tell you, almost for sure, I’d love to have you back because obviously we’ve only just gotten started, but it’s clearly an important discussion. It’s a discussion, as we’ve shown is pervasive in the church.

The church needs to pull its act together in terms of thinking through how to deal with this. People who are caught need to come forward and they need to come forward in an environment in which people will surround them and help them, help them turn and change, and with the support that’s necessary.

So I thank y’all for taking the time and for engaging in a ministry that reaches out and tries to help people who are caught in pornography.

Josh McDowell
Darrell?
Darrell Bock
Yeah.
Josh McDowell
Can I suggest get the book Pure Desire by Dr. Ted Roberts. It’s probably the No. 1 book in the world, Pure Desire by Dr. Ted Roberts or Healing Wounds by Dr. Mark Laseer L-A-S-E-E-R. Those are the two finest resources for pastors, for parents, whatever, single people, married, in the entire world.
Darrell Bock
Okay. Thank you for that, Josh. We thank y’all for coming in, and we thank y’all for joining us on The Table and we’ hope you’ll be back again with us soon.
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Darrell L. Bock
Dr. Bock is senior research professor of New Testament and executive director for cultural engagement at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has authored or edited more than forty books, including Jesus according to Scripture: Restoring the Portrait from the Gospels, Jesus in Context: Background Readings for Gospel Study, Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources and Methods, Jesus the Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel’s King, Who Is Jesus?: Linking the Historical Jesus with the Christ of Faith, and Key Events in the Life of the Historical Jesus: A Collaborative Exploration of Context and Coherence.
Josh Proctor
Josh Proctor has founded the ministry joshproctor.com, which is run out of Remedy Church in Waxahachie, Texas. His ministry has focused on ministering to people addicted to porn for several years.
Joy Pedrow
Joy Pedrow is a second year student, pursuing a MACE degree in women’s ministry. To know more about Joy, please visit JoyPedrow.com, where she points women to Christ so he can bring them healing from addiction and freedom from shame.
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