Pornography: Poisoning Marital Intimacy
About the Guest
In today’s society, pornography is so ubiquitous that many counselors essentially presume it is present in any marriage where sexual difficulties exist. Russell Moore exposes the evil of pornography to the light of Gospel truth, as he explores the root causes behind sexual and relational dysfunction in Christian marriages.
Russell MooreRussell Moore is President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Prior to his election to this role in 2013, Moore served as provost and dean of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also taught as professor of theology and ethics. A widely-sought cultural commentator, Dr. Moore has been recognized by a number of influential organizations. The Wall Street Journal has called him “vigorous, cheerful, and fiercely articulate” whi...more
Dr. Russell Moore exposes the evil of pornography.
Pornography: Poisoning Marital Intimacy
Bob: Marital faithfulness involves all of your body, including your eyes. Here’s Dr. Russell Moore.
Russell: Some of you, wives, in this room, are suffering silently alone while your husbands are enslaved to porn. You believe that you are doing so because you are being a submissive wife. No, no, no, no. Ladies, if your husband is entrapped in pornography, confront him in his sin.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, February 13th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’ll hear from Dr. Russell Moore today as he confronts the epidemic of pornography in marriage. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. You know, sadly, I think there are a lot of husbands—and some wives, as well—who have, in the back of their mind, the thought that, “As long as their viewing of pornography is something that nobody knows about—as long as it’s private—as long as their spouse doesn’t know—it’s not hurting anybody.” That’s just a—as we’re going to hear today, that’s a demonic lie.
Dennis: It’s a lie. I go back to a broadcast—Bob, you may recall the name of the book or even the guest that we had—but this was a wife, in a marriage relationship, where she didn’t know and she did know—
Dennis: —that her husband was off into pornography. She wrote, in her book, that there isn’t room in the marriage bed for three. An image—a false relationship with a fantasy person—divides the heart. That’s not how God intended the marriage relationship to submit two people with one another.
I’m going to tell you something. I am really, really concerned about a generation of young people, who have grown up with these screens in their hands—where, without going there, images have come near them. They’ve seen stuff. They’ve been attracted to stuff. They’ve not known how to turn away from temptation and have caved into it. As a result, some have addictions—have some things in the closet that they’ve brought into their marriage relationship. Their spouses don’t know about it; but then, on the other hand, they do know about it. They sense something isn’t quite right.
The message that we’re going to hear—that was given at The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, by Dr. Russell Moore—this is a pretty hard-hitting message.
Bob: He’s talking about the subject of purity in marriage—sexual purity—moral purity in a marriage relationship: “How do you keep your marriage bed undefiled?” “How do you keep it protected?”
I think a lot of times somebody will say, “Well, that means you keep from having an affair.” They don’t see pornography as an affair. Yet, Jesus said, “If you look at a woman, to lust; it is adultery.” So, we do have to elevate this issue. We have to see it the way Jesus sees it—the way the Bible sees it—rather than the way contemporary culture sees it.
That’s where Dr. Moore is going to lead us today as we hear Part Three of his message on moral purity in a marriage relationship. Here is Dr. Russell Moore.
Russell: This issue has become almost ubiquitous to such a degree that pornography—in terms of spiritual warfare—has been weaponized, including in our churches. Now, when a couple comes in to see me and they say to me: “We just don’t know what’s wrong in our marriage. We just don’t have any intimacy. We don’t have sex with each other anymore. We just feel cold.” I immediately say, “How long has the porn been going on?”
Husband, typically, looks at me, like I’m an Old Testament prophet or a New Age psychic. “How did you know? Are you working for the cable/internet company or something?” It’s because it happens so often and with such regularity, and it always has the same satanic results. Pornography is uniquely satanic because it drives you further, and further, and further from intimacy. Why? Because there is an occult pull upon you that is driving you toward the kind of mystery and the kind of intimacy that you are designed to find in the one-flesh union. It severs that away from real life—covenant, flesh and blood love—in such a way that you become numbed over to the joy of sexual intimacy itself.
Pornography lures you in with sexiness; and then, totally eviscerates your capacity for sexual intimacy. Pornography will move in and destroy you because it will start to create you into the kind of person for whom intimacy is simply body parts rubbing together—not one flesh. You will, ultimately, find yourself when you have seen every image you want to see—like Esau, vomiting up the red stuff that he craved so badly. Pornography has some of you, in this room, enslaved precisely because the satanic powers love to work by helping you to hide your sin.
Maybe, some in this room are called to ministry—you’re able to erase that internet history. You’re able to walk away for a little while. Nobody knows. They don’t want anybody to know, yet. They want to wait. They have time—until you are somebody’s pastor, somebody’s missionary, somebody’s women’s ministry leader, somebody’s counselor, somebody’s church leader—in order to, then, take everything that has been hidden and bring it forward into the light of day so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the family that you have put together, and the life that you have worked so hard for is destroyed.
They’re able to do it by giving you a kind of sham repentance. You feel repentant because, after the pornography episode is over, you feel sick, and self-loathing, and guilty. Everybody feels that way after pornography—Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, secularist, Wiccan—because pornography is sad, and lonely, and pathetic. That is not repentance. Repentance is being driven to the kind of desperation that that man of the tombs was in when he found Jesus and cried out for deliverance because he was being terrorized inside. Some of you are in that exact same place, right now, with whatever is luring you into this deadly and destructive force.
The answer to all of that is—number one, for the wives in this room—or in the case when it’s the other, the husbands in this room—to recognize the truth of what Paul is saying here when he says, “A husband’s body does not belong to himself. A wife’s body does not belong to herself.” Some of you wives, in this room, are suffering silently alone while your husbands are enslaved to porn. You believe you are doing so because you are being a submissive wife. No, no, no, no. The Bible says, “Wives, submit yourselves....” The Bible never tells women to submit to men, generally. It says for a wife to submit herself to her own husband. But the Scripture also says that what a husband is doing sexually with his body is a violation of his wife; and she, the Scripture says, has ownership over his body.
Ladies, if your husband is entrapped in pornography, confront him in his sin. If he refuses to repent and to show you how he is repenting, take it to the pastors of the church. You are not being un-submissive. You are saying to the powers—the authorities that God has put in your life—“Our marriage is in crisis. I love him. I want you to help me to help him.” You, as a joint heir with your husband—following after, going according to his authority—when Satan has gotten him, fight for your man.
Husbands, if your wife is entrapped with some form of sexual fantasy—whether it’s Fifty Shades of Grey or whatever the Christian version of that is these days—if she is pursuing a romantic fantasy or a sexual fantasy—first of all, ask, “What in our marriage is causing her to seek this out elsewhere?” and, then, bring in those who can come into your marriage and deal with the crisis. Why?—because this is not just a relationship issue. This is a spiritual warfare issue, and there are beings who want to work with your passions to destroy you.
There are some of you, in this room today, perhaps, who are vulnerable. There are some of you, in this room—perhaps, even today—who are accusable. The power that Satan has over you is only two-fold. Satan’s power is to take those things that God created for good in your life—including the impulse toward intimacy—and to twist it slightly away from its intended object so that you become more and more entrapped and enslaved, in your own deception, that you are exactly in the situation that the Apostle Paul speaks of with unbelievers, “...following after the Prince of the Power of the Air through the passions of the body and of the mind.” That’s one power.
But the only other power he has is Revelation 12, “…to accuse the brothers.” Some of you are staying in hiding, right now. When you are at the place in your life—where if there is enough of a sense of the urgency of the situation—you can save your life. You can save your ministry. You can save your marriage. You can save your children. You can save your grandchildren; but you are hiding, out of shame and of fear, back there in the bushes, where our prehistoric parents are. But there is a voice that comes through the Word of God as it does in every generation, that asks the same question, “Adam, where are you?” The only way that you will break yourself free from the pull toward immorality is to come out of hiding. “Lord, have mercy upon me, the sinner.”
The only way that the power of Satan can be defeated is, first of all, by recognizing that the goodness that God has given you in that one-flesh union, in your marriage, is to point you to something that is even better news than that. So, the very act of holding that husband, wives—holding that wife, husbands—crying and weeping in repentance together—that very act is a physical picture of what the Apostle Paul says of the church of Colossae when he says all of that legal record of our condemnation—that list of thoughts, and intents, and archived internet histories—has been nailed to His cross, disarming the principalities and powers by making a public display of them.
If you are in this room as someone who is unclean in hands, or in lips, or in mind, the answer for you is not to stay in hiding. The answer for you is step forward with your brothers and sisters to receive the forgiveness that comes with the blood of Christ, and to receive the power that comes with the Spirit of Christ, and standing with those who are able to bear you up—who are more spiritual—to defeat the power of slavery in your life and, then, defeat the power of accusation by turning and looking into those reptilian eyes and saying:
“You are exactly right. I am a sexually-immoral rebel against God. I deserve to hear nothing from Him but: “Depart from Me, you worker of iniquity. I never knew you.” I am guilty of joining myself—in thought, or in mind, or in deed—to an occult power that is seeking to destroy the image of the Gospel in my life. You are right about that. But my sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought—my sin, not in part, but the whole—is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord, oh my soul!” That’s where freedom comes from. [Clapping]
What that means is being a husband and being a wife together. It isn’t just about being romantic partners. It isn’t just about being moms and dads with good family values. It’s about being crucified people, who stand in the power of Christ, and who wrestle demons together. That’s what marriage is. As you wrestle those demons together and you bear each other up through that, you find the kind of joy that comes in being on a mission together—a mission of Gospel truth.
Bob: Well, again, today, we have been listening to Dr. Russell Moore. Right there, at the end, he sounded like he’d been listening to you because you’ve been preaching that same message about being on mission together, in a marriage relationship.
Dennis: It’s really, really important, Bob. There is both a defense that couples need to play—where they protect their marriage from evil on the outside—and there is also the need for a couple to go on the offensive and to be making a difference in the lives of others. We’ve focused on protecting your marriage from pornography, from relationships with the opposite sex, this week; but I’d just like to turn it in just a little different direction, here at the end, and talk to couples who are listening who’ve got healthy marriages and they’re growing—maybe, they’ve been to a Weekend to Remember ® in times past—but they’re thinking, “You know, I’d like to make a difference in other people’s marriages and families—some of our friends in our community.”
I just want to challenge you to think about picking up one of these tools we’ve created, just for you, to make a difference where you live—in your church, your neighborhood, your business, your community. One of them is called The Art of Marriage®. We’ve talked about it, back in January, here on FamilyLife Today—just about how laymen and women are grabbing a hold of this tool; and they are making a difference where they live.
Here, at Valentine’s—you know, this is a great time to be thinking about, “How could you use marriage and family as a way to reach out and hook people who won’t go to church—who, maybe, wouldn’t join you in a Bible study—but they might get away with you to, maybe, a hotel or to your basement downstairs, where you put this on a screen, and you watch it together, and you have a lot of fun together?” You get some popcorn.
You make it an experience so that they leave there, better equipped for their marriage to go the distance; because I’m going to promise you something—everybody in this culture is facing some kind of challenge—some kind of temptation, some kind of issue—where they need someone just to come alongside them and say: “Here’s the way you can handle this. Here’s how you can have a better marriage relationship.”
Bob: For a marriage to survive, in this culture, you can’t just put it on auto-pilot and say, “Well, this will all work out.” You have got to be investing. You’ve got to be doing regular maintenance on your marriage. You’ve got to be maintaining—not just maintaining—but building into—strengthening your marriage relationship—because the culture is working against it. You’ve got to know how to deal with it.
That’s one of the reasons why we encourage couples to attend a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. A number of our listeners have said, “You know, we ought to do that sometime;” and you’ve just never done it. Can I encourage you—this spring, find a city, near where you live, and just do it? Just get away, the two of you. Have a fun, romantic weekend together where you learn the biblical basics for building a strong marriage relationship.
And you know what? I’ve talked to people who have been in churches for their whole lives—I’ve talked to pastors, who have attended a Weekend to Remember—and they’ve said to me: “I learned some things about marriage that I had never seen in the Scriptures before, by being here this weekend.” “We learned some things about one another that we just hadn’t talked about before we were here together this weekend.” It really is a great weekend for couples.
Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. There is a link there for the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. You can click on that link. Find out when a getaway is happening in a city near where you live. I’m going to be in Hershey, Pennsylvania, this weekend. You can register over the phone or register online. Again, the website—FamilyLifeToday.com—or call, toll-free: 1-800-FL-TODAY. Just a heads-up: “If you haven’t taken care of Valentine’s Day, you can register for a Weekend to Remember and make that a Valentine’s gift for your spouse.” Again, call 1-800-FL-TODAY; or go online at FamilyLifeToday.com.
You know, I had a chance to speak at a Weekend to Remember, a while back, and spoke on the subject of marital intimacy—some of what we’ve been talking about today, and some of the challenges, like pornography, and like a whole list of other things that can weaken or threaten the intimacy in a marriage relationship. And we talked about the essential ingredients that make marital intimacy all that God intended for it to be. Our team captured that message on audio CD. We’re making it available, this week, when you make a donation to support FamilyLife Today. Without your donations, we couldn’t do this program. We’re listener-supported, and the money that you send us goes to help defray the production and syndication costs for this daily radio program. So, we appreciate your support of the ministry.
When you go online at FamilyLifeToday.com, right now, and click the button that says, “I CARE”, you can make an online donation; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make a donation over the phone. We’re happy to send you, as a thank-you gift, the CD on marital intimacy, along with our gratitude for your support of the ministry. We really do appreciate your partnership with us.
And we want you to be back again with us tomorrow on Valentine’s Day when Dr. Michael Haykin is going to join us. We’re going to hear about some of the love letters that have been shared between well-known Christians in Church history—be a fun show, tomorrow, on Valentine’s Day. Hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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