“My prayer is that we will leave here motivated to do something about this problem [of pornography].” –Heath Lambert
As I wrote earlier this week, Heath Lambert gave the opening sermon at The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) Leadership Summit of the Southern Baptist Convention. I applaud the ERLC for opening the summit with a pernicious problem residing within our churches which is easy for perpetrators to hide. The videos from the summit are now available.
Rather than reiterate from my earlier post the problems I had with some of the language usage Lambert employed, in this post I focus on the important appeal Lambert made for Christian leaders to combat the scourge of pornography.
After using Proverbs 7 as a depiction the temptation that pornography poses as well as how foolish and unknowing are those who walk down those paths, Lambert gave some facts that underline how tragic pornography is for those so employed and for those who purchase:
Nearly 100% of performers have or have had an STD
90% of performers are involved in some type of drug abuse.
Lambert quotes a performer regarding this drug use:
“Guys are punching you in the face. Your body is damaged and torn. You’re viewed as an object; not as a person with a spirit. People do drugs in porn because they can’t deal with the way they are treated any other way.”
12 is now the average age for the first exposure of boys to hardcore pornography.
56% of divorce cases cite one of the partners as having some level of enslavement to pornography.
After discussing these facts, Lambert stated:
“I am pleading with the church to have practical strategies [to combat pornography use]. … But those behaviors won’t be enough if we aren’t teaching people to draw near to Jesus Christ. The first appeal when we are helping our people and when we are teaching ourselves is NOT ‘Do this; don’t do that’ … The first thing we say as Christians is, ‘Believe in a Messiah!'”
Lambert implored the leaders in his audience to speak honestly about the problem of pornography existing in churches. If leaders do not, then they are hypocrites. “And here’s a dirty little secret,” he said. “Church leaders are struggling with this.”
“With all my heart, I do not want to have a conversation about this and then everybody goes back to normal,” Lambert stated.
Lambert outlined three things leaders can do:
- Pursue accountability
–75% of Christian leaders do not make themselves accountable for their activity on the internet.
–Do something to have protection on your internet access.
- Address Your People
–Address what strategies people can employ.
–The church needs pastors who are growing up in wisdom about how to help people who struggle.
- Awaken the World to this problem
–Lambert wrote a book about the problem: Finally Free
–Lambert: “Asking for and praying for Evangelicals to get serious about awakening the world to this problem.”
–Movement to fight for and protect women, families, and churches from this scourge that is destroying us.
“You know what I pray for my children almost every night?” Lambert asked, and here his voice cracked with unshed tears, “I wind up praying that their story would not be … that decades of their life is trashed looking at people commit acts of faithless sex. …. I care about my kids, I care about your kids, and grandchildren. …. Surely we want more for our sons and daughters than that.”
Heath Lambert concluded with a strong appeal for Christian leaders to protect our homes, our churches, our sons and our daughters: to take a courageous message of love to show our culture that there is something far, far better than looking at than naked people. And that is the person of Jesus Christ.