Those of you who have read Beyond Betrayal may recall that the final chapter of the book is called "Juggernaut." Today, as Naked Truth Project (the agency I work for) begins to wind down it's 24/7 prayer against pornography in our culture (i.e., "the juggernaut"), I ask you to consider standing with us, in prayer by signing up to take a 1-hour prayer slot that will help us to fully cover this week in prayer (please just note that times are in UK time, so you'll have to do some time math if you're not in the UK). Our battle is not against flesh and blood.
The porn problem
(excertps from Beyond Betrayal: How God is Healing Women (and couples) from Infidelity)
"When I think about the pornography industry, trafficking industry, and the entertainment industry I often visualise a large steamroller. Not just large… but supernaturally enormous. That steamroller hasn't just flattened me, and you, and our families. It's flattening entire nations. Like ours."
"...media gets them started, [and then] porn solidifies boys' and men's sexual addictions. However there's no longer a hard distinction between ‘media’ (e.g., television, movies, games) and porn. [Dr. William ]Struthers says, ‘many things on television or on newsstands [are] pornographic… Pornography… is everywhere. You cannot get away from it; if you don't view it intentionally, you will unintentionally.’
Sociologist, Jill Manning, cites research that pornography consumption is associated with:
- An increased appetite for more graphic types of pornography and sexual activity associated with abusive, illegal or unsafe practices and
- An increasing number of people struggling with compulsive and addictive sexual behaviour
In other words, our pornified media causes boys and men to slide into harder porn, addiction and sex crimes. I mention boys here because a recent Canadian study showed that the average age a boy begins internet porn use today is 10.
10! What does that spell for our future when we consider that researchers have identified the following physical/mental health issues as a result of porn use:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Loss of libido, delayed ejaculation
- Acquiring of fetishes
- Lack of motivation
- Social anxiety
- Seeing people as objects
- Brain fog
- ‘Real people are boring’ syndrome
- Self absorption
- Lack of concentration
- Inability to feel emotions
And these are only the physical and mental health problems that result from porn and pornified media use. What effect is porn having on the spiritual health of men and boys? Of girls and women? Of our nation? Of the world?”
“The global pornography industry is expected to reach US $100 billion in the near future [I wrote in 2015] making it one of the most profitable, and powerful, industries, if not THE most powerful industry. This power enables these mafia-controlled organisations to buy off law enforcement agencies, academic institutions, international corporations and even governments. In 2009 the UN estimated that the global child pornography industry alone made a profit of up to $20 billion.
To put these figures in perspective, the porn industry generates more annual income than Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon combined. These types of earnings could not be realized unless ‘massive numbers of male consumers had been conditioned to view women [and children] as objects to be purchased and used.’
A lesson from history
William Wilberforce, famous for leading the slavery abolition movement, once said that God had set two great objects (i.e., ‘tasks’) before him. The first was the abolition of slavery. The second was ‘the reformation of manners’ in Britain. That quaint phrase refers to taking action on such issues as child labour, prison reform, alcoholism, and prostitution. In Wilberforce's day (in the 18th century) 25% of single women in London were prostitutes. Their average age was 16.
Wilberforce biographer, Eric Metaxas, writes:
‘Suddenly, the idea that women should sell their bodies so that they could feed themselves, or feed their alcohol habit or the alcohol habit of their pimps, could no longer stand. For the first time, in his life, Wilberforce saw the world through God's eyes. But he was living in a culture where almost no one saw things this way. So the task that lay ahead of him was impossible. How would he do it?’
The first answer was God. Wilberforce could not engineer this type of massive change on his own: though he was a popular politician and wealthy man.'
On his death bed, John Wesley wrote Wilberforce and warned him that if he was trying to bring about an end to slavery in his own strength he would be ‘worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you?’
Metaxas expounds on Wesley's warning, saying:
‘It was not merely a political or a cultural battle he was undertaking, it was a spiritual battle… to fight something as wicked as the slave trade was to go against an invisible demonic host. God has the power to fight them, but we do not… At its core, every battle worth fighting, is a spiritual battle.’
Metaxas believes that what tipped the scales for Wilberforce was prayer, time spent in scripture and reliance on a solid community of praying brothers and sisters. Moreover, Wilberforce knew he had to win the battle in the cultural sphere, before it could be won in the political sphere.
Thus, Wilberforce set about to use his influence as a cultural icon (due in part to his wealth and connections to the British elite) to ‘make goodness fashionable’. One of the ways he did this was by being a conspicuously good husband and father.
What can we take away from the story of William Wilberforce?
- Do not underestimate the power of prayer and spiritual community.
- Do not underestimate the power of love and right living.
- Support those on the front lines – which down under includes groups like Naked Truth Project – and go to the front line if you are asked.
But, most of all: never underestimate the power of our risen Lord to stop a worldwide juggernaut.
Again, please consider praying with Naked Truth Project as we fight this week – and every week – to change the culture and rid the world of this modern day slavery: porn and sex trafficking. Sign up here to pray.
One of my favorite independent Christian musicians will be leading a worship time for us towards the end of our prayer week