What Place do Pedophiles Have in the Church?

After Jimmy Hinton’s previous article on “Protecting Our Children from Pedophiles” I asked him to write a follow up piece about what we can do as Christians to continue to understand how to interact with people who struggle with this as they are people just as in need of Jesus as anyone else. This article is Jimmy’s response to that question. Jimmy just presented on this at Tulsa last week and has some recommendations for churches in this article. We may not all agree on how this is handled but the conversation is as relevant and necessary as ever. Last, like Jimmy’s first article, there are some difficult things to read in this article but they are left in because this conversation is so vitally important that we are able to provide space to have an open and honest conversation on these things. – Matt

This is a subject that is deeply personal to me and I write from the perspective of someone whose dad is currently serving a life sentence for sex crimes against children.  To make it more personal, my dad is the former minister at the same exact church where I now preach.  To make it even more personal, I was the one approached by one of his victims three years ago.  Three days later I reported my own father to the police, which eventually led to his confessions and subsequent 30-60 year prison sentence.  My dad and I still communicate fairly often and have frank conversations about how he was able to abuse over 20 children and keep it hidden from us his whole life.  He once wrote from prison, “You have no idea how many pedophiles there are in the church.”  But there’s where he is wrong.

Now that I write and speak on this subject, I encounter stories of pedophiles in the church on a regular basis.  It literally is an epidemic.  We are fooling ourselves to believe otherwise.  I just returned from Tulsa, where I spoke on abuse.  Nearly ½ of attendees stayed after and told me stories of their or close family members’ abuse. . . horrible stories.  Did you catch that?  50% of my audience had either been abused themselves or had a close family member who had.  This is my experience everywhere I speak.  There have been no exceptions.

There seems to be a nagging question to a private problem in the church—“Is child molestation the unforgivable sin?”  I’ve heard a wide range of answers to this question.  Some liken it to Paul who approved of the murders of Christians but then had a “Jesus moment” and became an apostle of the Lord.  “Who are we to judge them if they’ve repented?,” the argument goes.  Others argue that, since there is no cure for pedophilia, they will never be able to change.  Therefore, we should not allow them in the church at all.

And so I offer my perspective—not to spark debate, but because I am in a unique position.  I know some of my dad’s victims personally and have heard their stories.  I am haunted by that.  I listen to similar stories everywhere I go, and they are always equally painful to hear.  I do not write as the final authority on this matter.  Each congregation must make its own wise decisions.  But I offer you my perspective as a minister of the Gospel and as one who knows the thought patterns of both pedophiles and their victims.

I will state my view upfront, then explain why this is my view.  I believe that, while pedophiles can and should repent, the church is not in a position to welcome them into the assembly where children are present.  In fact, we have written into our policy that any known sex offenders will be removed from regular worship and will be offered an alternative worship with a group of adults only.  This can be at the church building or in a home.  But for them to participate in worship with children present is an act of sheer insensitivity and irresponsibility.

Let’s begin with pedophiles (I am limiting the scope of this essay to pedophiles only).  The medical definition of a pedophile is (1) someone who is aroused by, has intense, recurring fantasies, or is involved in sexual behaviors with prepubescent children (13 or younger), (2) someone who is aroused by, has sexual fantasies, or is involved with a child for at least 6 months, (3) someone who is at least 16 years old, and (4) at least 5 years older than the child(ren) he or she is attracted to.  Pedophiles generally have cognitive distortions (self-lies) which they truly believe.  While they groom their victims to think that the victim initiated sexual contact, ironically the pedophile also tells himself that the victim came on to him.  There is a flat-out denial of responsibility here.  Put another way, pedophiles tend to view themselves as the victim of the children who “came on to” them.  One man, after assaulting his young daughter, told investigators, “I slipped on a bar of soap and my penis just went into her.”  Another man, who repeatedly assaulted his 4 year old daughter, said that his daughter liked to rub her foot up and down his penis.  He went on, “She ‘loves’ to orgasm.  I’ll get her a vibrator.  She’ll hold the handle against her peepee and giggle until she climaxes” (Salter, 18).

It sounds too extraordinary to be true, but these types of stories are the norm.  And they don’t seem to change with therapy or verbal repentance.  And they are prevalent in the church.  Listen to this excerpt:

I want to describe a child molester I know very well.  This man was raised by devout Christian parents.  As a child he rarely missed church.  Even after he became an adult, he was faithful as a church member.  He was a straight A student in high school and college.  He has been married and has a child of his own.  He coached Little League baseball.  He was a choir director at his church.  He never used any illegal drugs.  He never had a drink of alcohol.  He was considered a clean-cut, all-American boy.  Everyone seemed to like him.  He was a volunteer in numerous civic community functions.  He had a well-paying career job.  He was considered “well-to-do” in society.  But from the age of thirteen years old he sexually molested little boys.  He never victimized a stranger.  All of his victims were friends…I know this child molester very well because he is me! (Salter, 36-37).

Mr. Raines, the man quoted above, was in prison for a short time then was let out on parole.  He almost immediately infiltrated a church and became the director of the children’s choir.  He was incarcerated two more times after this.  Dr. Salter, who met him in prison says, “I believe in my heart the next time Mr. Raines gets out of prison, he will successfully ingratiate himself in youth activities in a church once more.  He will do this even though he now has at least three criminal convictions for child molestation and likely more, all of which any church could have discovered.  But who will check criminal records for such an outstanding, polite, well-spoken young man?  After all, volunteers are hard to come by” (Salter, 37).

I could go on and on and give example after example of this.  Perceived repentance, tears of sorrow, promises to never do it again, stories that minimize what actually went on during the abuse—these are ploys to gain access to children.  Pedophiles successfully molest children without us adults knowing it.  This is what makes them successful.  And here’s the catch—churches are welcoming them with warm embraces in the name of Jesus.

Let’s talk about victims of abuse for a moment.  An estimated 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys has been sexually abused as a child.  I thought this number was exaggerated until experience told me otherwise.  At every place I’ve spoken, more than ¼ of the audience revealed to me that they were molested or raped as children.  And these are just the ones who are talking about it.  I suspect there are more.  I’ve heard firsthand the horror stories.  “I tried to tell people—my mom, people at church—but nobody believed me and my dad continued to molest me until I was 16.”  Another one, with tears rolling down her face, says to me, “I was forced to forgive him and was told that if I didn’t I would be kicked out of church.”

The gospel I read gives a different picture.  Victims and the vulnerable—not the attackers—are supposed to be protected.   Jesus did it with the woman caught in adultery.  He did it with the woman at the well in Samaria.  And don’t forget his infamous fightin’ words: “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:5-6 ESV).  I know that we could go round and round with verses, some on forgiveness and mercy, others on judgment.  That is not the point here.  Believe me, I wrestle with this on a daily basis.  I wish we could see a clean-cut version of crystal-clear repentance and redemption where we don’t have to question whether someone is still abusing children.  But I also know what reality looks like with abusers, and it’s not promising.

What’s worse is that many churches are unknowingly siding with child abusers by allowing them into services with children.  Imagine, for a moment, that you are in the shoes of a survivor of abuse.  At 3 years old (my daughter’s age), you are forced to perform oral sex on your uncle when he takes you out for ice cream.  You are told, as many victims of abuse are, that this is what good little boys and girls do, and that this is what God wants you to do.  You believe that the sex is your fault, and that if you tell everyone else will think it’s your fault.  So you keep it inside, as 95% of abused children do.  Fast forward a few years.  You are (reluctantly) at church.  An elder gets up and tells the church that brother George has had attractions to children but has repented and we need to love him as Jesus does, no questions asked.  “Forgive and forget,” he says.  Warm hugs are exchanged and tears are streaming down their cheeks.  Meanwhile George, as he’s walking back to his seat, tussles your hair along the way.  In an instant, you begin reliving your childhood abuse all over again.  These are the things that re-victimize children all the time.  A survivor of abuse once told me, with her head in her hands, “How the hell can I ever trust God or the church again?”  Until we protect our children and the vulnerable, it’s not going to happen.

In conclusion, experience and education prove that pedophilia is a strong evil.  Manipulation, lies, and secrecy drive the engine of sexual abuse.  Because it is so secretive, it is impossible to gauge whether a sex offender is ever truly repentant.  Good hard statistics show that the vast majority of sex offenders re-offend when put back into a high risk setting, such as a church.  Why?  Because they are tempted by children and because we give them access to the drug of their choice.  I believe that, with good treatment and lots of prayer, pedophiles can repent.  But make no mistake—they will always be attracted to children.  And because they are attracted to children, and because they have successfully offended in the past, and because survivors of abuse fear their presence, and because we are called to protect the vulnerable, when we invite them in a gathering with children, and because there is no true test to know if they’ve repented, and because they prey on the naivety of church members, and because sexual abuse has such devastating spiritual, mental, and emotional effects, we owe it to everybody to keep children and sex offenders separate.  Period.

So what place do pedophiles have in the church?  Repentant pedophiles have no place with children any more than drug addicts have with drugs.  But they do have a place in the kingdom.  They still can volunteer in activities that exclude children.  They still can serve, pray, even teach in the alternate service.  Pedophiles need community the same as everyone else.  God designed us to desire community.  To exclude sex offenders from redemption is to play the part of God.  We cannot decide whether God’s grace has covered them or not.  We pray for the redemption of pedophiles the same as every other one of us sinners.  We serve the same God.  But to not take measures to protect the innocent is Christian malpractice.

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  1. Pingback: Married to a Pedophile: Should Pedophiles Be Allowed in Church With Children? | Finding A Healing Place

  2. Thanks for your willingness to tackle this difficult topic Jimmy.

    It seems to me that this separation would be more natural in the many churches that these days have basically adult services while the teens and children have their own time of worship or Bible class. Since most Churches of Christ still value the intergenerational family-style worship, the separation you describe will probably seem a lot more severe.

  3. The separation is going to seem severe in the churches you describe, but it’s necessary. “Keeping eyes” on convicted pedophiles who are released is not enough. I just heard a story 3 days ago from a minister where they had a convicted child molester in their church. They took drastic measures to ensure that the kids were safe–always having adults watching the guy, making it clear he was to have no contact with children, etc. The problem is that we are human and we get distracted. The other problem is that pedophiles are still attracted to children. The person who told me this story said that one Sunday he happened to look up after church when people were talking with each other and he saw the sex offender walking out the door holding a small boy. He made it to the parking lot before he was apprehended by male church members. It’s just way too risky to put children and child sex offenders together, even with safe guards in place. On the other hand, isolating them completely is a bad idea. They still need opportunity to worship and must be offered an alternative worship service. I don’t know of any church that is doing this. The unfortunate side is that I hear story after story of convicted offenders who reoffend because churches thought they had enough safety measures in place.

  4. Undoubtedly, we need to do background checks on anyone who is working with the youth, and not allow people with certain criminal convictions to volunteer to work with youth. But do we do background checks on anyone who comes to worship? Also, we need to be aware that just because someone HASN’T been convicted of child abuse, does not mean they are necessarily not a child molester. We need to take steps to watch our children, and other people’s children. Keeping children and sex offenders separate is a great idea, but it is not possible unless we have some way of knowing who the sex offenders are, and it’s not like it’s branded on their heads. One concern I have is that people will take their children to services and assume that, because an adult’s only service is available, their children are safe at the regular service.

    • You are exactly right. I probably didn’t clarify as much as I could have, but my article only very specifically addresses those who have been caught and convicted. Once convicted, a church should offer an alternative service specifically for the convicted pedophile. We have a group of adults who are poised to do so (myself included) should this arise. But absolutely, we need to change the landscape of our buildings and put drastic preventive measures in place. The vast majority of child sex offenders will never get caught. According to a very reliable study of thousands of pedophiles done my Dr. Gene Abel, 93% of pedophiles described themselves as religious. Religious people go to church. My dad told me the 2 easiest places to get away with sexually abusing children are churches and Christians daycares. Background checks do very little to safeguard a church. They are necessary, but nobody should have a sense of security from cleared background checks. I address all these issues in my seminars, but it’s tough to unpack all of it in one short article. I appreciate your input. You are wise.

  5. I really appreciate so much what you’ve written. I speak as an adult who was abused as a child by men I knew. Here is my question, a question I’ve been truly seeking to answer for years now as a Christian: what about being a new creature in Christ? You wrote “…with good treatment and lots of prayer, pedophiles can repent. But make no mistake—they will always be attracted to children.” Will they really ALWAYS be attracted to children? Can’t that be changed? I want to believe that they can because I want to have the assurance that I’VE become a new creature in Christ and so can we all. I’m so sorry for this situation here on earth and I long for Jesus to come and for this great controversy to be over. Praise God for the ultimate sacrifice He was willing to make to save us.

  6. If there is evidence that pedophiles, as defined by the medical definition of pedophilia, can successfully break their attraction to children for good, I am unaware of those studies. There are studies that evidence about 40% of pedophiles can successfully avoid offending again but only with constant treatment. The downside is that these studies only follow them for about 4 years. And the attraction still remains. They can learn how to identify and avoid high risk scenarios. The reality is that nobody knows of people who have successfully avoided offending again long-term. We certainly are made new creatures in Christ, but temptation is still a very real factor. One of my favorite passages is from 1 Cor. 10. “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Temptation will always be strong. I believe God provides a way of escape for pedophiles by giving them avenues to not have access to children. But if they don’t take that avenue, temptation will always win eventually.

    My personal belief is that the temptation is so incredibly strong partly because this sin is so incredibly secretive. I can literally not think of any one sin that requires so much manipulation and lying at every single corner as the sin to sexualize a young child. My prayer is that churches expose, rather than cover up, this sin in the hopes that pedophiles seek help. It’s such a complex problem, but hopefully we can keep a dialog open in the churches for years to come. I just had a church member approach me yesterday who told me of her young niece who was being trafficked across state lines this past week to be sold to 4 men for sex. There’s not a week goes by where I don’t hear these stories from people I know. It is a huge problem. Thanks for your thoughts and questions and may God continue to heal you!

  7. Our church has a training/testing program for people who are volunteering with youth and children, which includes a criminal background check. I recommend that every church should have a similar program.

    Several years ago, I assisted another congregation as they dealt with the issue of a member who had been incarcerated for child sexual abuse, and is now a registered sex offender. I helped them draft an agreement for the elders and the man, which was then presented to the congregation. To the best of my knowledge, this man is still attending that church under the agreement which I have included below.

    Brother Hinton, I know from your post that you will disagree with some of this, but this is another congregations’ effort to be wise and protective as they deal with this situation:

    Registered Offender in the Church

    Principle: All of us are sinners, forgiven by the grace of God. Through fellowship, we encourage one another to live holy lives, but none of us is completely successful. The scriptures enjoin us to withdraw fellowship in situations when Christians are divisive or rebellious; otherwise every Christian is entitled to fellowship and encouragement. Even in those situations, the purpose is to encourage the offender to live a holy life.
    When we have a brother in Christ, who is also a registered offender, we want the brother to be in fellowship with the Church. Like any other Christian, we want to encourage him to live a holy life through our fellowship and encouragement. Extending love and fellowship to the registered offender—within a framework of behavioral guidelines and accountability—is the best way to help him be faithful to the Lord and protect children.
    Purpose: Our purpose is to encourage holiness. We want to help the registered offender attend and participate in the activities of the church; to receive and give fellowship while protecting all involved. Our children must be protected; and the offender must also be protected against temptations as well as against the possibility of false accusations. We want to prevent unloving behavior and false accusations, which may drive the offender away where he will not receive encouragement or accountability. If the registered offender is not supervised, he may be tempted by opportunity and fall back into sinful behavior. Likewise, other Christians will have the opportunity to grow, as they reach out in love to restore a brother.
    Guidelines:
    1. The Offending Brother must not be alone with children at all.
    a. The Offender must not enter or stay in a room with any children unless another adult is present. To enter or stay in a room without another adult opens the offender up to false accusation and temptation. Likewise, members should not walk off and leave the offender with children.
    b. The Offender must not loiter or wander in parts of the facility where there are not other adults. This includes wandering the grounds or loitering in the lobby, restroom or fellowship hall when most people are in the auditorium.
    c. If the offender has a need to enter an area where there may be children present without adults, the offender should ask an adult to accompany him. Brothers in Christ are encouraged to be aware of the offending brothers needs and offer to accompany him so he can participate in the activities of the church.
    2. The Registered Offender should try to arrive and leave with the congregation.
    a. Although children should not be in the building unsupervised, teachers often show up early to prepare for class and may allow their children to wander.
    b. The Registered Offender should attempt to arrive only when multiple adults have already arrived, and leave while there are plenty of adults present to avoid suddenly finding himself unsupervised with children.
    c. Members are encouraged to recognize the need of the brother and offer to specifically accompany him so that he can participate.
    3. The Registered Offender should avoid physical contact with children
    a. Although children are naturally affectionate and may want to be picked up or hugged, the Offending Brother should avoid this. To be observed hugging, touching or holding children will only open the brother up to false accusations. Members should be aware of this problem and not hand children to the offender or encourage children to make physical contact.
    4. Incident Handling
    a. Any breaches of these guidelines should be brought to the elders’ attention by the offending brother, or any member who observes the actions, so that accountability can be fostered and appropriate action taken.
    b. Any unchristian behavior towards the Registered Offender should be reported so that accountability can be fostered and appropriate action can be taken.

  8. Thank you for posting this. My intention is not to say that what other people are doing is wrong. This may work for your church in your context. Part of the reason we do not mix registered sex offenders with children is because of the revictimization that is so commonplace among survivors of abuse, which accounts for anywhere from 40-50% of our church members. Sometimes in an effort to accommodate the sex offender, we forget about the victims. It’s certainly a conversation that a church should have with survivors of abuse within the church prior to making the decision to have a sex offender worship among them. Our response that we’ve chosen is certainly not the only response a church could take. It’s definitely a sensitive issue, and I’m glad that some churches are having this conversation. Your program seems thorough and I’m thankful you took the time to post it! God bless you in the Kingdom work!

  9. Jimmy,

    Thanks so much for both your open honesty and critical look at this important issue. I understand where you’re coming from because my grandfather is also a child molester. I commend you for your ability to continue speaking with your father; I don’t have the strength to talk to my grandpa again. Maybe someday…but for now he is dead to me.

    It’s also encouraging to hear you are giving a voice to survivors. This issue is too often dismissed. I’m not much of a speaker, but I sought to also raise awareness the only way I know how. Check out my senior thesis film project, .

    I’d love to talk some more if you want. Best wishes and God bless!

    -Daniel

  10. Hi Jimmy,

    Thanks so much for both your open honesty and critical look at this important issue. I understand where you’re coming from because my grandfather is also a child molester. I commend you for your ability to continue speaking with your father; I don’t have the strength to talk to my grandpa again. Maybe someday…but for now he is dead to me.

    It’s also encouraging to hear you are giving a voice to survivors. This issue is too often dismissed. I’m not much of a speaker, but I sought to also raise awareness the only way I know how. Check out my senior thesis film project,

    I’d love to talk some more if you want. Best wishes and God bless!

    -Daniel

  11. Daniel,
    I’m sorry to hear that you’re dealing with the aftermath of your grandfather’s actions. I think it’s one of those things–unless you’ve experienced it, the seriousness of this issue doesn’t fully resonate. I’ll hold you up in prayer. And your video–way to go! I’d love to talk to you about that project and see if there’s any way we can join forces in this battle of sin being waged against our children. One of the things I love is networking with people who are making a difference. I do believe your video will be a catalyst. Look me up, send me an e-mail, and we can exchange phone numbers. God bless!

  12. I would make another suggestion as well and that would be to check the different sex offender sites to locate them locally in your community. It is important to know whether or not they are in the vicinity of your church. My husband actually happened to find a guy who was living right next door to our church who had been convicted of some type of sexual assault against a minor. Fortunately we did not have to do anything. They literally moved within a week or so of us finding this out.

  13. Vicky,
    That is good practice. Sex offender registry is a national data base. I search PA Megan’s Law about once a month to know where registered offenders live in my town. Interestingly, there are clusters of sex offenders living next to our public schools and playgrounds (one sex offender’s yard connects to a public playground). I haven’t paid much attention to this in our town, but my guess is that the larger churches in town (especially ones with playgrounds) are prime real estate markets for pedophiles.

  14. Pingback: Sex Offenders in the Church | Blog & Mablog

  15. Very good article with many facts & figures, but, what about giving God a chance. Most, if not all actions to be taken regarding pedophiles (registration, separation, teaching, awareness, etc. etc. etc.)and methods for dealing with this problem, and it is a very real problem, are steps that we can put in place. What about God? Why do they do what they do? Can they change? If we are Christians as we profess, we know that pedophiles (any type sinner) do what they do because of sin. They many comments above may indeed steps that may need to be put in place, but, what about the pedophile? According to scripture, no they cannot change their behavior, they must have it changed. (Jer 13:23) By all means we protect our youth. I have not read 1 post on relying on the power of God. What does 2Cor 5:17 say to us. Without the Spirit of God in control, we might do anything. Yes, I said we. No, none, not even one program designed for behavior issues is better than God’s. Pastors & leaders & teachers stay on your watch. Protect our youth, our future. It’s our duty, but let’s do it God’s way.

    • Melissa,
      Not at all. I’ve narrowed the scope of the article specifically to sex offenders who have already offended prepubescent children. I didn’t mention it in the article, but people diagnosed with pedophilia average over 200 victims each. That’s not 200 instances of abuse, it’s 200 children. Some of those children are abused by the perpetrator hundreds of times. Dr. Gene Abel, et. al predicts that a pedophile only has a 3% chance of getting caught each time they abuse a child. It literally is that difficult for us to detect it. Had someone not spoken up when they did about dad, he would have abused children for the rest of his life and none of us would have ever known it. One common misconception is that registered sex offenders (specifically pedophiles) just “messed up” and had a run in with one child. Once people understand the grooming process, however, we find that it is anything but accidental, and there is rarely ever only one victim. The reason this misconception sticks is that plea deals are struck and they usually are only charged for one victim, even though there could be hundreds. For example, dad confessed to 23 victims and only had charges on 3. So in the news, they reported that he had 3 victims which is entirely inaccurate.
      We cannot compare this to homosexual attraction or adulterers, because a child is never consenting. People who counsel survivors of child sex abuse understand the traumatic effects of abuse. It is a lifelong struggle for people who’ve been sexually abused as children. I’ve seen adults who still mess their pants because of abuse from when they were children. PTSD, body remembrance, phantom stomach pains, intimacy issues, impotence, promiscuity, trust issues, hatred for God, depression, anxiety, cutting, drug addictions, porn addictions, and suicide are some of the many symptoms of child sexual abuse. There’s just not way to compare it to same sex attraction among adults, or adultery between consenting adults. Hope this helps.

  16. Pingback: Facts About Child Molesters In The Church | The Common Room

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  18. As someone who was sexually abused by a Sunday school teacher as a child, this post really resonates with me. While forgiveness is possible for people who have been molested, we will always bear the scars.

    For years, I was terrified of going to church, and couldn’t even shake hands with people at the beginning of service. I still have a very hard time. I also have a very hard time working in a Sunday school environment because I find myself constantly paranoid that one of the other workers will molest a child, since pedophiles so often seem completely trustworthy on the outside.

    I, for one, really appreciate the measures that you suggest to protect children from the fallen, human natures of people who struggle with sexual attraction to children, while still accepting them into the body of Christ. Thanks for your post.

    • Thank you, Tori! Unfortunately, this is not a popular stance. Interestingly, I find the most resistance not from survivors of abuse, but by church leaders. As a minister myself, I understand the temptation to mistake our desire to see people transformed with actual transformation. They are two very different things. But even if a child sex offender does repent, it does much harm to the healing of victims of abuse within the church. I always say that once someone spends time counseling with survivors of child sex abuse, they will never fathom putting them together with a perpetrator again. It’s not fair to the survivor. . or to the perpetrator.

  19. Jimmy, I’m not even sure how I came across this article, but maybe it was providence. What about a young man who finds himself with an addiction to improper things on the internet involving children? I think it stems back to something that happened to him when he was 7 or 8, not involving sexual abuse, but something that embarrassed him deeply and made him feel such shame that it planted the seed for an unnatural obsession. I don’t believe he is looking at child porn, but there is potential that it could lead to that. He has been depressed and in a spiritual slump for the past 2 years feeling that he has disqualified himself from being used by God. He is disgusted at himself and has requested that his father hold him accountable, but that is difficult to do when he is currently not living at home. He sees no hope for his future because his dream was to work with children, possibly as a teacher, and now he feels he can never do that. Is there a counseling ministry or an individual you would recommend? We know a couple who have a ministry that focuses on freedom from addiction to pornography, and we thought of having him talk to them, but he didn’t want to do that. Probably is too ashamed. I want to believe that he can find freedom from this addiction, by going back to its roots, to the embarrassing incident, with the help of an experience counselor, and being helped to find healing. I admit your article has scared me.

    • Thank you for commenting. Without knowing the specifics of this gentleman’s situation, it’s difficult to know how to proceed. He has an addiction to improper things on the internet involving children, but is not looking at child pornography? That needs some clarification. The question that really needs asked is, “Is he regularly attracted to prepubescent children?” If that’s the case, he needs to seek a sex-specific therapist who can give him an objective test and find out if he is diagnosed as having pedophilia. If he is diagnosed, he needs to be in a sex-specific treatment plan, not with a regular therapist. Shame is a good start, but it doesn’t keep pedophiles from offending. Pornography is like dumping gas on a wildfire, too, because it is a constant fuel for masturbatory fantasy.

      I think the problem is only going to compound if churches are not boldly addressing porn addictions. The fastest growing genre of legal pornography are 18 year olds who shave themselves and are made to look much, much younger. This ought to scare all of us. Why is this genre so popular? Demand is fueling the supply. Churches cannot afford to not be talking about this problem.