Anti-pornography initiative calls for sexual purity comments (3)
June 20, 2013
An initiative seeking commitments from 1 million men to live pornography-free lives was launched at the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting June 11–12 in Houston.
Named “Join One Million Men,” the initiative calls Christian men to commit to sexual purity and, specifically, to protect themselves and their families from the devastation caused by pornography. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) jointly sponsored the initiative along with Jay Dennis, pastor of First Baptist Church at the Mall, Lakeland, Fla.
“Internet pornography is the perfect trap because it hooks men and then men don’t know what to do,” Dennis said.
“I am hoping that this will be the launch, the discussion-starter for pastors to go back and start having some hard discussions with their men.”
The Join One Million Men website includes a place for men to register their porn-free commitments as well as a place for women to register their commitments to pray for the purity of men in their lives.
Resources from WMU’s New Hope Publishing also are available at the site, including Dennis’ book “Our Hardcore Battle Plan: Joining in the War Against Pornography”; the companion volume for wives, “Our Hardcore Battle Plan for Wives: Winning in the War Against Pornography” by Dennis and Cathy Dyer; and a mobile app for men that delivers daily Scriptures to their mobile devices to help in the fight against sexual sin.
The seeds of the initiative were planted in 2010 when Dennis compiled a notebook of material to help churches deal with pornography — material that brought revival to families in his church when he had preached a sermon series confronting sexual sin two years earlier. Dennis showed the notebook to Richard Land, then-president of the ERLC, and Land said the material was exactly what he had been praying for.
Land said WMU was the only organization in Southern Baptist life “that [had] the mechanism and the communication apparatus” to launch a convention-wide anti-pornography initiative, Dennis recounted. So Land contacted WMU executive director/treasurer Wanda Lee, and she agreed to support Join One Million Men.
Among the advocates of the initiative is Kevin Conrad, a member of First Baptist Church at the Mall. He helped staff the Join One Million Men booth in the SBC exhibit hall and shared with others his testimony of deliverance from pornography through the power of God’s Word.
“I just simply went to the Word and bathed myself in the truth of God’s Word that I can’t be effective for Him if I’m tied down by the bondage of the lust of my heart,” Conrad said, adding that accountability from his wife and others was a key part of his repentance.
Various Southern Baptist leaders endorsed Join One Million Men during the SBC annual meeting and auxiliary events.
Russell Moore, the ERLC’s new president, said the anti-
pornography initiative confronts a “crisis in our culture and also in the churches when it comes to pornography.”
Moore hopes that Join One Million Men will lead to reconciliation in many marriages.
Dennis estimated that as many as 2,000 people visited the Join One Million Men booth during the SBC Pastors Conference and SBC annual meeting. Many pastors told of the pain pornography has caused in their congregations and expressed support for the initiative.
“I pray that this time next year, when we get to Baltimore, we will have known that the majority of pastors in this convention have at least started the discussion with their churches,” Dennis said.
For more information and resources for the Join One Million Men movement, visit www.join1millionmen.org.
Women to battle pornography with prayer
Dennis, whose husband, Jay, launched the Join One Million Men movement, is hopeful women will pray up, speak up and join the fight against pornography.
“As moms and grandmothers, we should be angry — righteously angry about this,” Angie Dennis said. “These pornographers are trying to steal the purity from our sons and grandsons. Every woman should be doing whatever we can to stop it.”
In recent years, Angie Dennis said she sensed a growing drive within her husband, pastor of the 9,000-member First Baptist Church at the Mall, Lakeland, Fla., to minister to families struggling with a “snowballing” effect of online pornography.
Unfamiliar with confronting the issue on a personal level, the longtime pastor’s wife said she quickly learned young men and women are sometimes overwhelmed with the toll of pornography and the effect it has on their relationships.
“They are embarrassed and humiliated,” Angie Dennis said of couples struggling with the issue.
Wives who know their husbands viewed pornography may ask themselves, “What’s wrong with me?” Angie Dennis said, noting that self-doubt can occur whether the husband confesses or the wife discovers his sin for herself.
Angie Dennis acknowledged the road ahead is rocky for ministers’ wives who can be hit by a “double whammy” when they consider that their entire livelihood could be dramatically affected if their spouse confesses his problem and seeks help.
More challenging still may be a situation in which a woman discovers her husband is looking at pornography or is involved in an affair and won’t “come clean.”
In a church setting, she said women are well aware of the radiating effect a secret sin may have on people who discover their pastor or other church leader has fallen. And yet, “God is going to be their support,” she said. “It may be tough, but God said, ‘I have never seen the righteous forsaken.’”
There is satisfaction in knowing women can “make a dent” with prayer, resources and commitment against pornography, Angie Dennis said, and that people who suffer from sexual addictions can be part of the body of believers, which is filled with people who have struggled with sin, repented and received forgiveness.