The following is an open letter to the church that Chuck Swindoll published in 2003:
From the desk of Charles R. Swindoll:
An Open Letter Concerning the #1 Secret Problem In Your Church
Our churches are in significant trouble. I’m not talking about financial trouble, or having too few staff doing too many things. Comparatively, those are easy problems to solve.
This trouble concerns a severe disease that is eating away at our congregations, perhaps even some of our own leadership, from the inside out. Men and women, from adolescents to senior citizens, from all walks of life, have succumbed or are at risk, and more are becoming infected every single day.
The problem is pornography, especially Internet pornography. Without your knowing, it could be eating your church alive. And the scariest thing is . . . you may not realize the extensive damage it’s causing.
The most recent studies available suggest that 1 out of every 2 people-that’s 50% of the people sitting in our pews, are looking at and/or could be addicted to Internet pornography. The struggle is going on among those who volunteer in your church and mine. Chances are good that some of our full-time staff members, even some who faithfully serve on our boards, may be losing this secret battle. And while I’m listing these possibilities, let’s not overlook our young adults-married and single-who provide instruction among our junior and senior high youth. Truth be told, that statistic could be even higher.
Forget the red-light district or adult bookstore. Pornography has entered homes via the Internet more pervasively and subtly than any store or strip club ever did. The irony is that if an X-rated store was being established across the street from where you worship, you’d have a committee assembled to fight it immediately. Yet they’ve set up shop in the homes of millions of our friends in the church while we remain mute and passive.
Stop and imagine the ugly but very real possibility of some of your own elders and deacons leaving your meetings and going home to surf porn. Think about youth leaders viewing it one minute, and leading a small group with your kids thirty minutes later. It’s ruining marriages, destroying relationships, harming youth, and hurting the body of Christ. You hardly need to be reminded that fallen pastors and priests did not “suddenly” fall. More often than not, pornography played a role in their downward spiral.
My friend, it’s time to do something about it. In fact, we need to start today. Making a difference requires action. Following this open letter is a place for you to sign your name and commit to taking a stand on this issue. I’m convinced the more people who sign this letter, the more attention this issue will receive.
Second, once you sign this letter we will send you a list of resources and services you can put to use today to begin making a difference in the future of your family and your church. I urge you to take advantage of these resources right away.
Our churches are in trouble. This is no time to simply wait and pray. Please join me in this battle for our young minds, our marriages, our leaders, and our churches.
Impassioned and determined,
Chairman, Insight for Living”