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In 2004 Albert Mohler gave a talk to the male students of Boyce College, entitled “The Seduction of Pornography and the Integrity of Christian Marriage”--available in manuscript and audio form.

I encourage young guys in particular to read it and listen to it.

Here is an excerpt, where he talks about two pictures of male sexuality:

The first picture is of a man who has set himself toward a commitment to sexual purity, and is living in sexual integrity with his wife. In order to fulfill his wife's rightful expectations and to maximize their mutual pleasure in the marriage bed, he is careful to live, to talk, to lead, and to love in such a way that his wife finds her fulfillment in giving herself to him in love. The sex act then becomes a fulfillment of their entire relationship, not an isolated physical act that is merely incidental to their love for each other. Neither uses sex as means of manipulation, neither is inordinately focused merely on self-centered personal pleasure, and both give themselves to each other in unapologetic and unhindered sexual passion. In this picture, there is no shame. Before God, this man can be confident that he is fulfilling his responsibilities both as a male and as a man. He is directing his sexuality, his sex drive, and his physical embodiment toward the one-flesh relationship that is the perfect paradigm of God's intention in creation.

Mohler then asks us to consider the picture of another man:

This man lives alone, or at least in a context other than holy marriage. Directed inwardly rather than outwardly, his sex drive has become an engine for lust and self-gratification. Pornography is the essence of his sexual interest and arousal. Rather than taking satisfaction in his wife, he looks at dirty pictures in order to be rewarded with sexual arousal that comes without responsibility, expectation, or demand. Arrayed before him are a seemingly endless variety of naked women, sexual images of explicit carnality, and a cornucopia of perversions intended to seduce the imagination and corrupt the soul.

This man need not be concerned with his physical appearance, his personal hygiene, or his moral character in the eyes of a wife. Without this structure an accountability, he is free to take his sexual pleasure without regard for his unshaved face, his slothfulness, his halitosis, his body odor, and his physical appearance. He faces no requirement of personal respect, and no eyes gaze upon him in order to evaluate the seriousness and worthiness of his sexual desire. Instead, his eyes roam across the images of unblinking faces, leering at women who make no demands upon him, who never speak back, and who can never say no. There is no exchange of respect, no exchange of love, and nothing more than the using of women as sex objects for his individual and inverted sexual pleasure.

By logical consequence, he achieves sexual gratification at the expense of women who have been used and abused as commodified sex objects. He may imagine a sex act as he fulfills his physical pleasure, but he almost certainly does not imagine what it would mean to be responsible for this woman as husband and accountable to her as mate. He can sit in his soiled underwear, belching the remnants of last night's pizza, and engage in a pattern of one-handed sexual satisfaction while he "surfs the net" and forfeits his soul.

Here’s the point:

These two pictures of male sexuality are deliberately intended to drive home the point that every man must decide who he will be, whom he will serve, and how he will love. In the end, a man's decision about pornography is a decision about his soul, a decision about his marriage, a decision about his wife, and a decision about God.

Pornography is a slander against the goodness of God's creation and a corruption of this good gift God has given his creatures out of his own self-giving love. To abuse this gift is to weaken, not only the institution of marriage, but the fabric of civilization itself. To choose lust over love is to debase humanity and to worship the false god Priapus in the most brazen form of modern idolatry.

You can read it and listen to it online.


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23 thoughts on “Two Pictures: Purified vs Pornified”

  1. donsands says:

    He’s a good exhorter. And Dr. Mohler is quite frank at times. Fornication is a powerful thing. Paul says to flee porneia. When we do get drawn to it, we need a ton of God’s grace to keep us from it. And there’s so much of it on the internet and TV even.

    May God grant us a disgust for porn, and give us strong souls to avoid it at all costs. Amen.

  2. Mike White says:

    Powerful!

  3. Ben says:

    I won’t say who I am but I am a christian who got caught up in porn before I was married. Twice, each time for only two months. Although even without porn I was still “getting off” because images in my head were enough to reach a climax. I quit porn simply cause I didn’t need it, and my own creative thoughts were actually more exciting. When I met the girl who is now my wife, I simply had to quit. It was a tough habit to break but I worked through it. I did look at porn once in our relationship. I was drowing in guilt before I finally fessed up and asked for forgiveness. God was graceful, as was my lady who didn’t break up with me. I haven’t touched porn since and have no desire for it. I have no need to get off, as I can make love to my wife. Making love to my wife is so much better than porn, and getting off.

  4. Brad says:

    Very good insights and applications from Mr. Mohler. Though at the bottom of our struggle against sexual lust needs to be faith in Jesus, not mere moralism.

  5. mike w. says:

    i find it typical of al mohler that he ignores the Bible’s preferred mode of sexual purity – pure single-hood.

    1. JMH says:

      Right, unless you consider Song of Songs. And most of the first 10 chapters of Proverbs. And Genesis 1-2. And Ephesians 5. And Hebrews 13:4.

      But hey, let’s rely on a pretty rigid reading of one passage, and yeah, God must really want us all to be single.

      1. mike w. says:

        that is a straw man. no one said God wants everyone to be single. someone (me) asked why what scripture calls the preferred option was ignored.

  6. Lloyd says:

    Then there is the man who has no money to support a wife. He is disabled or has little opportunity for education. He wants a wife, would gladly give up the guilt associated with the porn and the porn itself, but sees it as the only game in town for he just gets by financially.

    1. Lloyd, And so he sells his soul for a mess of pottage? Justifying his sin because of poverty, rather than comitting himself to Christ and the Bible, and trusting God to provide his needs, accepting God’s timetable for doing so, and believing that what God has supplied for the moment does meet his needs because he believes the promises of God by faith?

    2. Lloyd says:

      One can not lose their salvation. Even Scripture says that it is not good for man to be alone and that was when he was still in the Garden.

      1. Brad says:

        Hi Lloyd,

        True one cannot lose their salvation, but one must have something with which to lose.

        And somehow I don’t see how such an poor soul is somehow any less alone because he’s able to get hands on a filthy magazine..he’s still alone, and just more pitful.

        1. Lloyd says:

          Magazine? You must be kidding. Since you don’t look at porn, let me explain something. There are thousands of free movies online. This isn’t just from the porno sites from Hollywood. A lot of these movies are amateur productions. You can easily tell the difference between the women who are being payed and the women who are having fun. The women run from 18 to over 70. I would recommend avoiding the movies of the young because they might be underage. Our neighbors are producing these amateur movies of themselves and they are sharing them with everyone.

      2. Victor says:

        Lloyd from the comments you have made, I feel sorry for you becuase you are lost. You have made peace with sexual sin, and believe that it’s o.k. You seem to have fallen in non-Lordship salvation heresy. I believe in the perseverance or preservation of the Saints as the Bible teaches. You friend, are not walking in repentance as Christians should be. Get away from porn, it will damn your soul. I hope you find in the Cross of Christ forgiveness from sin and freedom!

        1. Lloyd says:

          perhaps

  7. Yes powerful stuff but an extraordinary caricature of men who enjoy pornography.

  8. Ray Ortlund says:

    I note the title: Purity vs. Pornified. Since none of us is sinless in any area of life, purity is already gone. The paradigm we need is Purified vs. Pornified. More symmetrical, realistic, hopeful. As a pastor, I find it easy to warn my friends against porn. But helping those already bound, so that they become purified, is not easy — not for me, anyway.

    Not at all a criticism of Dr. Mohler, who rocks the world. Just a personal admission.

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      Good call, Ray. The wording was mine, not Dr. Mohler’s. I do think “purity” is a legitimate biblical category of self-description (even for sinners: 2 Cor 6:6), but I do think your word works better here.

      1. Ray Ortlund says:

        Good point, Justin. I hadn’t thought of that wonderful verse. Thank you.

  9. john smith says:

    Mohler cracks me up. Every time I have ever read something by him he talks about appearance and looking good. He obviously puts a lot of stock in that. Problem is I know plenty of sex addicts addicted to porn that look clean cut. Look at Tiger Woods. That is why it surprised the world is that he is so clean cut. I think it is a good article. I don’t think you can put so many things in a nice black and white world with clear cut lines though.

  10. Christian says:

    “…both give themselves to each other in unapologetic and unhindered sexual passion.” In this picture, there is no shame. Before God, this man can be confident that he is fulfilling his responsibilities both as a male and as a man. He is directing his sexuality, his sex drive, and his physical embodiment toward the one-flesh relationship that is the perfect paradigm of God’s intention in creation.”

    Much of this article is supported by some of Mohler’s recent thinking about contraception, and also agrees with the ideas expressed in the book Open Embrace.

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Justin Taylor, PhD


Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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