Moore discusses temptation, sexual immorality, pornography with seminary students

Moore discusses temptation, sexual immorality, pornography with seminary students

FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, held no punches in his honest and direct statements about the “weaponized epidemic of porn” during his chapel sermon at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Sept. 5.

Preaching from 1 Cor. 6:15–7:5, Moore likened the present-day cultural saturation of pornography with the first-century pagan practice of temple prostitution, saying, “The temple prostitution of Corinth has been digitalized and weaponized and brings with it the kind of illusion and anonymity that the temple prostitutes could never promise.”

Moore said people often view their bodies like machines detached from spiritual consequences. He warned those called to ministry to recognize the satanic powers at work in the world and 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 warned.

“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 noted that even the language Christians use, such as “pre-marital sex” instead of “fornication,” indicates a subversive tendency to cover over sin. He explained 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 against 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 will power 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 Q-and-A forum, and a presentation on work and economics during a luncheon sponsored by the school’s Richard Land Center for Cultural Engagement.

During the student forum, Moore answered questions related to temptation and sexual purity. He addressed ways to minister to those in the church that struggle with pornography as well as ministry to homosexuals and transgendered persons.

“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. “This isn’t some niche problem that’s going on somewhere out there; this is something that is ravaging and destroying our churches.”

Along these lines, Moore encouraged Christians to demonstrate the biblical balance between confronting sin and offering grace.

Other questions offered anonymously by text message during the forum included:

  • How can women resist pornography?
  • Is the sin of homosexuality different than other sexual sins?
  • Do accountability groups work?
  • Are there temptations that never go away?
  • How can a girlfriend help her boyfriend who struggles with pornography?
  • What do I do if my wife doesn’t want sex as much as I do?

Watch, listen or download Moore’s three sessions at www.swbts.edu/MooreResources.

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