Pornography likened to temple prostitution
FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) -- Russell D. Moore assessed the "weaponized epidemic of porn" during a chapel sermon at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Sept. 5.
Preaching from 1 Corinthians 6:15–7:5, Moore likened the present-day cultural saturation of pornography with the first-century pagan practice of temple prostitution.
"The temple prostitution of Corinth has been digitalized and weaponized," the president of Southern Baptists' Ethics & Religious Liberty said of pornography's modern-day onslaught, "and brings with it the kind of illusion and anonymity that the temple prostitutes could never promise."
People often view their bodies like machines detached from spiritual consequences, Moore observed, warning those called to ministry to recognize the satanic powers in the world seeking to destroy families, ministries and Gospel witness.
"The strategies of Satan have become so crafty that they are able to promise a cover of darkness, including to ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in a way that is able to communicate with alarming regularity 'you shall not surely die,'" Moore said.
"As you are headed out into the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, if you are not arming yourself right now to recognize what is happening with this demonic strain of sexual immorality, you are not going to be able to stand.
"You are living in the kind of world in which there are digital harems of prostitutes, available and pushed upon every single population in the United States of America and increasingly every single population in the world," Moore said.
Even the language Christians use, such as "pre-marital sex" instead of "fornication," indicates a subversive tendency to cover over sin, Moore said, noting that the term "pre-marital" makes the act simply a matter of timing.
"Fornication is not simply a matter of timing, because the sexual act is not simply a physical act," Moore said. "An act of fornication isn't wrong simply because it has bad consequences -- and it does -- it is wrong because it preaches another Gospel."
For those involved in pornography and sexual immorality, Moore encouraged genuine repentance, not "sham repentance." He challenged husbands and wives to work together in fighting sexual immorality because it strips away intimacy in the marriage relationship.
"In your marriages," Moore said, "... if you are not together in this issue, including in the fight for sexual morality by cultivating your relationship with one another, by maintaining intimacy with one another, by identifying threats to that one-flesh union, you are not doing spiritual warfare."
In the end, Moore said, no amount of willpower or empty promises will correct a pattern of sexual immorality; only the Gospel can conquer sin.
Moore spoke in three different venues during his two-day visit to the seminary, including chapel, a "Grindstone" student question-and-answer forum, and a presentation on work and economics during a luncheon sponsored by the Southwestern's Richard Land Center for Cultural Engagement.
"In this context and in this culture, you are not being faithful to the Gospel if you do not deal directly with the issue of pornography," Moore said during the student forum. "This isn't some niche problem that's going on somewhere out there; this is something that is ravaging and destroying our churches."
Moore addressed ways to minister to those in the church who struggle with pornography as well as ministry to homosexuals and transgendered persons, encouraging Christians to demonstrate the biblical balance between confronting sin and offering grace. Watch, listen to or download Moore's three sessions at www.swbts.edu/MooreResources.
Keith Collier is director of news and information for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas (www.swbts.edu/campusnews). Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).