Porn and the Possibility of Revival

FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS

volume 18, number 25, June 20, 2019

And looking upon them Jesus said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” -Matthew 19:29

Porn and the Possibility of Revival

When Jesus was dealing with the rich young ruler, the man who asked, “What good thing shall I do so that I may obtain eternal life?” Jesus told him, “Go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come follow Me.” When the young man heard these things he went away grieved. Jesus told His disciples, as they stood there watching the interaction, that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. In fact, He said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The astonished disciples then asked, “Then who can be saved?” To which Jesus answered, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Indeed, salvation is completely of God, from beginning to end. 

The statistics for porn usage are truly staggering. We are now told that 68% of Christian men in the church and 50% of all pastors watch porn regularly. The numbers are even higher among boys and teens between the ages of eleven and seventeen.[1] This is incomprehensible to me. However porn addiction is just that, a physical and emotional addiction. When a mother is nursing her baby, skin to skin, her brain releases a neurochemical called oxytocin, which emotionally bonds her to her child. The same thing happens in sexual intercourse which causes an emotional bonding. This same neurochemical is released when one watches pornography, causing the person to bond to the images being watched. This helps explain the dramatic control pornography has on people. 

Some have suggested that porn addiction is so rampant, so pervasive in the church, that the church cannot, will not recover from it, that the church is so compromised along with our culture, that a revival of true Christianity cannot happen. 

I do not in any way wish to mitigate the serious and pervasive nature of porn addiction in the church. It is indeed a very serious problem. However nothing, not even porn addiction, can prevent a revival if God chooses to pour out His Spirit upon us. Indeed, with men this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. 

The Puritan revolution of the Seventeenth century was cut short by the death in 1658 of Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector of England. By 1660 Charles II was brought back from exile in France and was restored to the throne of England. He very quickly gutted the Church of England, as well as the Nonconformist churches (Presbyterian, Independents, and Baptists), of true evangelical faith by the Act of Uniformity of 1662, which required every pastor to perform worship services and the rites of the church according the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Two thousand preachers refused to take the oath so they were thrown out of their churches. Many died in prison and most lived in poverty for the rest of their lives. More importantly the churches threw off all self-restraint and ran headlong into the most vile debauchery and atheism. Many still thought the church was important so they continued to attend though they had rejected the evangelical theology in favor of Deism, a vague religious belief in a god which lacked supernatural power to judge or save. By the late 1600’s one in six homes made and sold gin which yielded an orgy of gin drinking. One magistrate said, “What must become of the infant who is conceived in gin, with the poisonous distillations of which it is nourished both in the womb and at the breast. Those cursed liquors will, if continued to be drunk, destroy the very race of the people themselves.” This yielded an unprecedented cruelty. The Puritans had forbidden contests which promoted cruelty to animals, but now they were back in full force. Poverty of a most wretched kind was seen everywhere. One man in the slums kept his dog with him to fight off the rats, but alas, the rats had killed and eaten his dog. An outbreak of the Bubonic Plague from 1664 to 1666 killed an estimated 100,000 people (out of a total population of 460,000) in London alone. Licentiousness was so rampant that in order to gain control of the populace, one hundred and sixty crimes were punishable by death. Gallows to hang men and women were permanent fixtures and large crowds would gather to watch and jeer as convicted criminals were hanged publicly. Women were hanged, sometimes even while pregnant, for passing counterfeit money. At times the women had no idea the money was counterfeit. 

A 1732 article in the Weekly Miscellany, London’s foremost paper at the time, wrote that a zeal for godliness looked as odd upon a man as would the antiquated dress of his great grand-father. Free thinkers were formed into clubs to propagate their tenets and to make the nation a race of profligates. . . prostitution, polygamy, and even sodomy were rampant.[2]

Puritan pastors and their people, who had been reduced to penury from 1662 onward, along with the Scottish Covenanters who were hunted down and killed by King Charles II’s army during the killing times of 1680 to 1688, no doubt were praying fervently for a return of the once great movement of God during the golden era of the Puritans. They never lived to see it. They all died while living at a time of unprecedented wickedness, cruelty, poverty, licentiousness, persecution, and atheism.

Within the first five months of 1735, however, God gave new life to three men, who at the time did not know each other-George Whitefield, age twenty-two, Daniel Rowland, age twenty-one, and Howell Harris, age twenty-one were all born again by the Holy Spirit. They became powerful preachers whom God raised up, along with other great men of the time-Jonathan Edwards, William and Gilbert Tennent, John Wesley, and Theodore Frelinghuysen. 

The Great Awakening began in 1735 continued until at least 1770 and no doubt saved England, Scotland, Wales, and Colonial America from the ravages of the wicked, godless French Revolution which began in July, 1789. 
Secular historian J.R. Green had this to say about the effects of the Great Awakening.

. . . a religious revival burst forth . . . which changed in a few years the whole temper of English society. The Church was restored to life and activity. Religion carried to the hearts of the people a fresh spirit of moral zeal, while it purified our literature and our manners. A new philanthropy reformed our prisons, infused clemency and wisdom into our penal laws, abolished the slave trade, and gave the first impulse to popular education.[3]

God can do it again. The question is, will He? To go further, what hope do we have if He does not do it again? And finally, will you seek Him earnestly to again do what He has done so many times before? “O Lord, in your wrath, please remember mercy,” Habakkuk 3:2.

_______________________

1. “Why 68% of Christian Men Watch Porn,” Terry Cu-Unjieng <www.conquerseries.com>
2. I urge you to read pages 19-32 of Arnold Dallimore’s biography George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival, volume one, Banner of Truth Trust in order to gain a vivid picture of just how vile and wicked England was at the time. 
3. A Short History of the English People, 1899, pages 736, 737 as noted in Dallimore’s Whitefield.

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