Learn more about Renewal Ministries and purchase Ray Ortlund’s new book, The Death of Porn: Men of Integrity Building a World of Nobility.
In this short address, the latest installment in our TGC Talks series, Ray Ortlund—pastor and author of The Death of Porn: Men of Integrity Building a World of Nobility—argues that it’s time Christian men go from defense to offense in the battle against porn. Ortlund says porn is a justice issue, and that there are three things every man can embrace in order to help “starve the beast” and end porn: honesty, prayer, and activism.
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Ray Ortlund: It was God who created you with sexual energy running through your body. And he is not having second thoughts. Now we all have some regrets about how we have used his gift, but still
your sexuality is magnificent. God thinks so. the porn industry doesn’t think so. the porn industry has no respect for you at all. Here’s what it is. It’s a meat processing factory. And the cattle being herded in for slaughter are human beings. It’s high time to shut it down. Let’s face what a porn site really is. When you log on to a porn site. You’re standing in a doorway to a big room semi darkened. Lots of beds, sofas, floor space. There are many sexual predators in their mistreating women, children. Those precious people are being humiliated. They’re being tormented. The victims who look like they’re having fun, are faking it because they’ll be punished even more. If they don’t perform on command and you’re standing there in the doorway.
Looking for the decent option that isn’t that bad, because you’re a good Christian guy, and so forth. Now. When you log on to a porn site, that’s where you are. And that is what’s going on. And instead of standing there, you should be turning on the lights, rescuing the victims and calling the police. The fact that you’re looking at this gospel coalition video right now, I’m guessing that means you don’t want that anymore.
You hate, sadism. torture, rape porn, child porn, revenge porn. humiliation. You understand? That no girl ever makes it her life go to end up on a porn site. The reason she ends up there is she is mistreated into it, she has violated into it. Which means porn is a justice issue. And you’re not okay with injustice. And what I’m saying is you can stop playing defense and you can start playing offense, you can starve the beast. You can band together with other men who feel the way you do to diminish and marginalize and stigmatize this industry in my own lifetime.
I’ve seen the tobacco industry and smoking cigarettes relocated culturally from suave and sophisticated, to marginal and pathetic. Now it’s porns turn. And here are three things you can do about that. One, three ways you can make a difference one, honesty. Today, call a friend you trust, arranged to meet with him this week, to put out before him, what’s really going on in your life and invite him to do the same with you. And locked away in the vault of your sacred trust and your friendship. Put out on the table. The things that are hard to talk about, get honest with each other, and then meet again next week.
And then as you go along the way pull more guys in, more and more men would be so relieved to know there’s a place where they can go to talk about the real anguish in their hearts. Honesty sets men free. So that’s the first thing secondly, prayer. Honesty alone is not enough. Here’s why. porn is demonic. Porn presents itself as a sort of momentary sidebar thrill, a bit of escapism, but in fact porn represents a total worldview.
It comes out of a total worldview, it brings with it a total worldview, denying everything you care about, and denying everything you believe in. It is the total denial of God. It isn’t about sex. It’s about erasing God from existence. Which means God is really eager to help and to enter in. So when you meet with your friends, and you come to the end of your time together, always end with prayer. God will enter in God will be there. If you don’t include prayer, it’s like going up against a tank with a squirt gun. But if you include prayer, you’ll make a difference. Honesty, prayer, thirdly, activism. There are so many forms of powerful activism, you’ll know what you’ve got to do. But for starters, here’s one sample one idea.
What about the creative arts? Back in the 1800s people fought against slavery, inspired by great songs that were written for their fight, like the Battle Hymn of the Republic, which says, as he died to make men holy, let us live to make men free. They drew strength from those words. And then in the civil rights struggle of the 1960s they had songs like we shall overcome. Those heroes were strengthened as they sang, oh, deep in my heart, I do believe we shall overcome some day. But where are our songs of liberation today?
Why is it hard for us even to imagine coming into church lifting our voices in song to God, praising him for liberation, praying for the spread of liberation and singing our way into a better world pushing back against all forms of oppression, including the porn industry, with the power of song and the power of all the arts. You singer songwriters in Nashville, for example, where I live, help us out.
We want to sing our way into a whole new world. In 1955, Rosa Parks came to a moment in her life. When she said no to getting pushed around. She didn’t hold political office. She wasn’t rich and famous. But Rosa Parks started a movement that changed the world because she stopped playing defense. And she started playing offense. She said no to humiliation. She said yes to dignity for herself, and for everyone. And now it’s your turn. And you have by God’s grace in your possession right now everything you need to get traction. So this rich, corrupt, brutal industry. It’s all a bluff. What they don’t want you to know is that you have the power. You have the power your noble refusal. They have no power before your determination. God has given you that power. Use it. Make the world right where you are safe for honesty, for prayer, for activism, and you will win and you will enjoy winning god bless you