On March 13, Pornhub, the largest porn website in the world, announced they were giving users in Italy free access with subscriber privileges to their content. Then they did the same with France and Spain. Italy’s porn downloads shot up 57%, France’s 38%, and Spain’s 61%.
Pornhub’s traffic from Europe, Canada, and the US have steadily climbed this month. On March 17 Pornhub announced that worldwide porn downloads were up 26.4%. In just in one month.
To put this in perspective, Pornhub’s 2019 Year in Review revealed that the site was visited 42 billion times in 2019—that’s 115 million searches a day. The US continues its reign as the largest user and producer of pornography in the world. Remember, Pornhub is just one site; there are thousands of other porn sites.
When you consider that Google Trends consistently shows that the US states with the highest percentage of porn searches are in those with high concentrations of religious organizations, we can see that the quarantine restrictions and isolation from the coronavirus are pushing many Christians deeper into bondage to pornography.
It’s not that the church wasn’t already isolated. When I speak at churches, I ask those who meet with another believer weekly for the purposes of support and prayer to raise their hands. Usually only 15-20% do so. Now isolation, the fuel that breeds and feeds porn addiction, has been supercharged.
This is the fruit from a church that avoids the hard topics, don’t equip its people to be overcomers, and has performance-based church services where we don’t connect with each other.
Think about the reactions you see from the church and believers about the coronavirus. You can’t get through several pages of your social media feed without getting overloaded. Now consider what happens when you say there has been a porn epidemic in the church for several decades that has decimated tens of thousands of marriages and destroyed many lives. The lights go out, people give blank stares, and the subject is changed.
From God’s perspective, which do you think He is more concerned about? The decades-long wreckage caused by porn and other types of sexual sin, or, a virus that will eventually be resolved? Which should we be more concerned about?
I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.
Paul gives the reason why our churches don’t face the sexual sin in their midst in 1 Corinthians 5:
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
An arrogant church that thinks it has no problem with pornography or any other type of sexual sin keeps God’s people in bondage. This is the root of our problem.
Most of the chatter in the Christian community has been related to fear, comfort, faith, and the love of God. These are all excellent topics to discuss. The problem is that their message is incomplete. Yes, God loves us, but He is also holy and calls us to a high standard. In His word He names the specific sins, even to the point of naming names in Scripture. Are we? Yes, we should never fear a virus; the fear of the Lord is wisdom (Proverbs 9:10) and there should be a measure of holy fear and trembling when we realize we’re not the church we think we are and are in desperate need of revival. Yes, we need comfort, but should we not also reach out and offer comfort, hope and answers to those who are struggling with sin, depression, and other problems in our midst?
Churches are closed. Think about that. What do you think God is saying to us?
Might He be saying something like this:
“I hate, I despise your feasts,
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the peace offerings of your fattened animals,
I will not look upon them.
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Man, that’s rough. But does it fit?
This description of the early church comes to mind:
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Have our churches been devoted to prayer, fellowship, and God’s word? Many have not, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many isolated Christians. Most churches are not houses of prayer. We have cut out prayer and connection with other believers and replaced it with the worship band.
As I wrote last week, I believe this time is an opportunity. After the virus is resolved, we can reboot our churches into the biblical version that are powerhouses of prayer that will not allow isolation or loneliness in their midst, while focusing on God’s word. Those churches will change the world.
It would be great if the pastors speaking in their livestream service messages would open up the issues with porn, isolation, and the others in this newsletter, but most won’t. That leaves it up to you and me, the Rogue Christians, to start putting it out there. Let’s do this.