Popular culture is a big enough threat to the values of our kids. But there's an even more dangerous and pernicious problem lurking out there: pornography. And in this internet age, it's more available and ubiquitous than ever before. During today's interview, you'll hear renowned apologist Josh McDowell, and his son, Sean McDowell discuss the issue and arm you with countermeasures.
Josh McDowell: Author, apologist, speaker, evangelist, youth minister
Pornography is out there, and it's not going away any time soon. So to help your kids guard against it, you have to prepare them. According to Josh McDowell, author of books including "Evidence which Demands a Verdict" and "More Than a Carpenter," who has turned his attention of late to the devastation of pornography on our culture and the Church, this may rank among the greatest threats to Christianity we've ever seen.
Explaining why he decided to tackle the issue of pornography, Josh relates how he sensed a barrier to his apologetic work which had nothing to do with the Faith itself.
"I am an apologist," says Josh. "I set forth positive reasons why to believe, in order to see young people come to Christ. But about five or six years ago, I kept sensing that there's a problem out there. When I would interact with young people, something had become a barrier. I realized it was intrusive and pervasive sexual immorality and pornography on the internet. As an apologist, the one thing that can undermine everything that I teach is not in the area of apologetics, it's in the area of morals. If you don't deal with this issue, you won't fulfill your role as a biblical apologist."
Josh's son, Sean McDowell, who is the head of the Bible Department at Capistrano Valley Christian College, as well as an author, speaker and apologist in his own right, works with youth full time. In that process, Sean has gathered a litany of sad stories of apparently model Christian young men and women who have fallen into the trap set for them by a culture saturated with sex and lust.
And that's just the problem. The first points Josh and Sean McDowell hope to communicate to parents, pastors and teachers is that in today's world, most children and students aren't looking for pornography. "Pornography is looking for them," says Josh. "Of those teenagers who have seen pornography, between seventy-eight and ninety-one percent were never looking for it. Researchers show that thirty-eight percent of those will become addicted."
"How big of a deal is this for the body of Christ right now?" asks John.
"Well, the stats which I have documented," explains Josh, "show that upwards of fifty percent of pastors struggle with pornography. Sixty-two percent of men who attend evangelical churches regularly struggle with pornography, and upwards of sixty-five to sixty-eight percent of teenagers. This is probably the greatest threat to the cause of Christ in two-thousand years of church history, because it so undermines your life, your walk with Christ and your beliefs. My fear is that many pastors are not addressing it because they're involved in it. Somehow, we've got to get the leadership in the body of Christ addressing this."
"Give us some specifics," says John. "How does it undermine Christians? How does it undermine Christian growth, how does it undermine marriages?"
Sean McDowell: Son of Josh McDowell, author, founder of Worldview Ministries, speaker for Just 1 Click Away
"Apart from shame and loneliness," explains Josh, "[pornography] produces a question about the authority of the Scriptures, of Christ, of the Resurrection, of the Church and of parents. It starts to darken the door of the brain to consider truths of the Christian faith. One you become involved in pornography, it takes over all your thinking, your morals, and your life. You have to understand: pornography just takes over your life. It takes over your relationships—your view of people, of women of children. And as a result, it doesn't leave room for your walk with Christ. You can't become involved with pornography and have a healthy walk with Christ."
That, says Josh, is why he's launched "Just 1 Click Away," a website devoted to networking the old and young with resources and help. Sean McDowell gives a lecture at Summit Ministries which echoes the message of "Just 1 Click Away." In it, he draws from the work of Drs. Joe McIlhaney Jr. and Freeda McKissic Bush in their groundbreaking book, "Hooked," in which they describe how pornography and sexual promiscuity actually change the physical structure and chemistry of our brains, making it more difficult to love, bond and have sexual relationships with our spouses.
Another critical issue which the McDowells seeks to address with this new campaign against pornography is the dreaded task parents have of educating and preparing their children. Both Josh and Sean discourage any hope that our children will be among the lucky few who never encounter pornography. Statistically speaking, say the McDowells, that's a non-existent group.
"Your kids will encounter pornography," says Josh. "It's so sad, but it's true." We can take away internet, television and smart phones from our children and students, but these measures will barely stem the tide of pornographic images and themes which bombard them from other sources we cannot control, such a friends and classmates. Even if we isolate our kids and teens from the outside world, they will still become adults and have to confront all at once the sexual culture we tried to stifle. Our job as parents and mentors, believes Josh, must now be to focus on preparing our children to respond in a godly way when faced with pornography.
That's why at "Just 1 Click Away" the McDowells have sought not only to expose the problem, but also to provide resources and training for parents and adults on how to open the channels of conversation with their children early, how to forearm them to face the battle ahead, and how to ultimately and consistently say "no" to the dehumanizing, degrading influence of our culture's worst addiction.
Check out Josh McDowell's new book and study, "The Bare Facts," in which he lays out the facts, debunks the myths, and answers students' biggest questions about sex, love and relationships. >>CLICK HERE.
Watch Sean McDowell's Summit lecture on pornography. >>CLICK HERE.
Watch a dramatic and powerful video teaser for "Just 1 Click Away." >>CLICK HERE.
Pick up your copy of "Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting our Children." >>CLICK HERE.