Lifting a Standard Against the Plague of Immorality – Panel Discussion

Panel discusses some of the prevalent issues of immorality that plague our world today and too often need to be repented of within the four walls of the church as well. Not an easy subject to tackle but a very necessary one in these times.

Panelists include Donald Brechbill, Matthew Milioni, Roger Hertzler, and Tim Power.

Panel discussion moderated by Ken Miller.


The Kingdom Fellowship Weekend podcast is available through many outlets. Listen online, download episodes, or subscribe through your preferred provider.

Dial-A-Message code 1504# to listen by phone (click here for more information).

Transcription:

Matthew: Yes, thank you, I’m Matthew Milioni. I’m from Boston, Followers of the Way. Ken introduced the subject of fornication and adultery to me, and asked me to speak on that subject. And with the time limitations, I began to think about what’s the best way, what’s the best use of that time, because there are many, many things that we could talk about in that one area of sexual immorality.

The thing that occurred to me, and the thing that I wanted to bring before all of you, is that there is a root to the insanity that we see happening in the world around us. And if we look carefully at what’s been happening in America, and in western society, we can trace back where these problems come from. Today we’re in a world where people do not know if they’re men or women. And we have seen the ultimate degredation of man. And when I came into the kingdom, I was struggling with these teachings of Jesus that hadn’t been taught to me in any other environment. And very soon, the things that people like me run across is the teachings about nonresistance and the teachings about divorce and remarriage, because they’re things that have by and large been totally forsaken by most places that call themselves the church in America.

So when I began to look into that issue, and look back through time and see how the churches responded to the issue of marriage especially. And we look back into early American history when anybody who called themselves a Christian was against divorce and remarriage. And we see how, over time, these things have become more and more acceptable. And I understood, very early on, that you can draw a direct line of causation between the church changing her stance in allowing people to redefine God’s definition of marriage. There’s a straight line of causation from that decision among those who were calling themselves the church in America, and all of the social ills that we’re seeing in regards to family and sexual purity now today. It’s directly tied to, to problems in the home, where we’re seeing children being raised with single mothers, or men that are not their fathers in their homes, and the problems that come along with that. The single mother syndrom that you know, where not only Dad is missing, but now Mom is missing because she has to work. Children raised on their own and all the problems that come from that.

We see—we see women coming into the ministries of the church because we’ve redefined the roles of a man and a woman. We see people questioning, if that’s up for question, who’s my father, who’s my mother, who’s my brother, who’s my sister. And I don’t know how involved some of you are with people, but it is—it takes a long time to figure out people’s families. When you start talking about step-parents and step-grandparents and step-brothers and half-brothers and half-sisters, it’s hard to tell who’s even family anymore. And all of these problems go straight back to changing our simple definitions of—that Jesus laid out, that man and a woman for life are husband and wife.

So I just want to lay out there that all of the—a lot of the social issues we’re dealing with go back to this one issue. And I think that the onus is on us to be presenting this to the world around us. There’s a similar problem that Brother Finny talked about this morning with this avoidance ethic. You know, it’s a temptation to be enclaved, and say we don’t allow divorce and remarriage, without challenging the world around us. Because, how many of you have had the same experience that I have, where you meet someone, they seem like responsive, they seem like they’re open, you have a few—you have some dialogue with them, maybe you had a meal with them, and then you realize this is their second wife, and you kind of have this—ahh, man, and you almost give up.

But see, that’s the problem. That’s the problem. There is hope for these people. And I begin to think about the sin of divorce and remarriage. That sin is no different than other sins. And when I meet a drunkard, and I talk with him, and he’ll listen to me, I’m not afraid to say, “Hey, listen, friend, if you keep doing this, you’re going to end up in hell because this sin is separating you from God.” But for some reason, because of some emotions tied to the thing, and a lot of other things, we’re really afraid to  engage people on this issue, and challenge people, very up front and from the beginning, that this is a sin, just like drunkenness, just like any other sin, and it is separating you from God, it’s putting your soul in peril. And we need to begin to present it to the world around us.

And, you know, we’ve done pretty good, people understand that we’re modest, people understand that we believe in head coverings, people understand that we’re non-violent. But there are all kinds of people, in every evangelical church around your church that have no idea that there is a group of people who is teaching and believing the things that are very clearly taught in the scriptures about divorce and remarriage. And we need to bring those up.

The other problem that we have in the church, is that we have—we’re not speaking with one mind about this issue. And this is where it gets really practical for us in this room. There’s a division over this issue of divorce and remarriage among us. So we have a very small group of people who are—we have a very small group of people who believe these teachings. But among those of us who do, this small percentage of people in America who teach that divorce and remarriage is wrong, we have this problem that we don’t see eye to eye on some particular facets of divorce and remarriage, and how to apply the church’s teachings to these situations.

And it comes from the complexities that have developed in a society that’s abandoned God’s ways, and here we find ourselves as the people of God, looking at the scriptures and saying, we have to have some way to deal with this, and so we reason together, and we come up with positions that are—that are not in the same camp. And I don’t think it’s tolerable—and I’ll explain what I’m talking about for those who are not following—but I don’t think it’s tolerable that the few who are preaching against divorce and remarriage don’t see things the same way. So I think we need to have conversations. And—and what’s missing in that conversation—we shouldn’t be content to allow each other to sit in our own camps. We need to enage with each other, and begin to have really thoughtful and critical conversations about how we’re going to minister to the tremendous needs of divorce and remarriage in our day.

When I present the gospel to people, and I talk about obeying Jesus and following the Sermon on the Mount, the number one thing that evangelicals and the people in the nominal Christian settings say is, “That can’t be true because it would affect so many people.” And we’ve got to start reaching those people. And we’ve got to start healing these people. And we’ve got to start bring them out of these sinful situations into a place of purity. The church needs to be engaged in these people’s lives, and making ways for them to repent and walk in holiness and truth, so that we can raise up a testimony, “You know, we have brothers and sisters who are being faithful in this issue.”

They have hard lives, they’ve made hard choices, just like Jesus said they would, for the kingdom of God. They’re very valuable, they’re very precious. We need to be supporting them, and loving them, and encouraging them, and lifting up their testimony to the world around us, so that we can say, “You know there are people who are obeying Jesus. Look here, come and talk to them. Come and meet them.” We have answers to these problems, but we have to get our heads together and be able to say the same thing.

What’s been missing in our conversation, quite frankly, is just a good terminology. So we have two issues. We have an issue that we’ve begun to call unconditional indissolubility. I know that’s a big term, but what it means is that the view that we’re familiar with that says there’s only one marriage that exists, and that there’s only one marriage that God sanctions, and anything else is not a marriage, it’s just adultery. And there are all kinds of implications from that. There’s another side to this issue that we’ve begun to call consequential marriages. That each time someone engages in a marriage, there are attendant consequences, and there are implications from all that. So to be able to use some terms, and to define those terms, and to begin to have conversations among ourselves about how to resolve these differences, and what’s the best—the best way to apply the scriptures. And how to help people in these situations, I think, is a really critical issue that we need to take upon our hearts in order to start answering these problems. We have to be able to deal with who—we have to all be able to speak with one mind about who is an adulterer, what is a marriage. These are really critical, you know, basic issues that involve these complicated cases. And I’m just encouraging all of us, in this short time that I have, to begin to pursue these conversations. Followers of the Way is hopefully working on putting out some literature and some papers about these things, with the hope of engendering a conversation about this. So, I’m out of time here, and thank you for the opportunity to present that.

Ken: First miracle. Alright, thank you. Brother Matthew, you mentioned a term, indissoluble—something. Could you say that again? Uh, mic, where’s that mic?

Matthew: So, so again, the terms we begin to use—and we’re open, you know, we’re—just for the purpose of having a conversation about these things. What happens often with me, is I start a conversation with someone and I have to explain the whole premise before we can talk about it. So, these terms are kind of a way to have a shorthand expression. An unconditional indissolubility, there is nothing that can dissolve the first marriage, there is no condition that can change the status of that first message. Unconditional indissolubility. Both views have a kind of indissolubility, but this one is distinguished by unconditional, there’s nothing can affect it. And I think a lot of people in here are familiar with that line of argument. The other term that we’ve begun to apply is consequential marriages, that there is a consequence associated with every marriage. So if you marriage a divorced person, that that is a marriage, albeit it’s an improper one, that has to be repented of, but that it was a marriage. So, that’s—

Ken: Thank you brother. So, um, what would be your solution in terms of trying to bring people together on the last issue you talked about here.

Matthew: Yes, so I think it has to begin with conversation. And it has to begin with open conversation. You know, a lot of us that think a lot about these things, and talk about them, have developed very well-reasoned arguments for why we believe what we believe. And we need to have—so I recognize that some of my favourite brothers don’t hold the same view as me on this, people that I love and admire and respect. I’m not content to have that difference, but that difference exists. So what I hope is that with some terminology, and with some openness among us, we can begin to not allow ourselves to not just sit in our camps, but engage with each other and find resolutions to these issues.

Ken: Thank you brother. I’m going to open it up to the rest of the panelists, if they have a comment, or something to say in this issue of unconditional indissolubility, versus consequential marriage.

Donnie: Just taking the word, adultery. The word adultery means “to mix.” And I’ve asked myself the question, what are we mixing? When someone commits adultery, what is it that they are mixing? And I’ve come to the conclusion that what they are mixing is coventants. When you have made a covenant with a person, and now you make a covenant with another person, you’re mixing or blending covenants. Now you’ve got two covenants, which you really cannot be faithful to either one of them. And so you have committed adultery, therefore you are an adulterer as long as you are in a state where you’ve made two covenants, you are an adulterer.

Ken: Uh, so in you’re impression, marriage is based upon covenant.

Donnie: Yes, definitely.

Ken: OK, now we didn’t talk about this Brother Donnie, and you did not understand Brother Matthew’s position, but I’m understanding right at this moment that all five of us are on the same page in this particular issue. Thank you very much. OK. So, yeah maybe at some point we ought to figure out how to get together and work on these issues, as a larger body. Alright, now I have a question for you brother. You were saying you think that the—one of the big causes of immorality in society is rooted back in failure of the church to maintain purity on the issue of adultery. What is the solution? If we don’t talk to the rest of the church world about the problem, what can we offer them?

Matthew: Yeah, so we have a lot to offer them—we have a lot to offer them with our families. We have a lot to offer them with pure marriages in the church. But that’s not enough. I think the reason—actually a big part of the reason why we have allowed these two different camps to live in harmony in kingdom churches—is because by and large we haven’t been effective in bringing people in. And as the church brings these people in, then we have to deal with these practical implications of the state of these people. And it’s not just a level of theory, but now we have somebody who’s in the church, who were dealing with these sort of situations, and we have to begin to talk about what the case is, and get counsel from people, and find some kind of solution for these complicated lives.

Ken: Do you have any teachings of Jesus that you think of that might bear upon this particular—

Matthew: Well, absolutely, there—on the issue in particular?–yeah, we all know the classic texts where Jesus and the apostles teach about divorce and remarriage. But I think in regards to the brother’s comment about covenant, it’s also very interesting to look at Joshua chapter nine, and see how God was dealing with covenant in the Old Testament, and in that case in particular, a covenant that wasn’t supposed to be made, that was made in a bad way, and the implications of it. So yeah, these are all things that guide our thinking.

Ken: I want to say one thing, that I want to open it up to the rest of the panel. Um, we have—Brother Tim, I hope you don’t mind, maybe you’ll share some more with us—Brother Tim here is on a journey, a very personal and a very painful journey with his own marriage. And in fellowship with these brothers at Boston, he has come to the place where he realizes that as Jesus taught here in Matthew 19, “There were some eunuchs that were born so from their mother’s womb, and there’s some eunuchs that were made eunuchs of men, and there be some eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.” Brother Matthew, would you say that is a solution that we must offer the churches, if they want to purify their ranks?

Matthew: Absolutely it is, but here’s the really neat thing about that. We’ve been really family-focused  for a long time, and I think we’ve lost the value—so if I meet someone who’s in one of these situations, and because of their situation, they’re like Brother Tim, they’re in a place where they have to remain single, that’s not a curse. [Ken: Amen.] It’s a blessing, it’s an opportunity for the kingdom of God. And we need to present it as that, Amen? Like, your repentance is an opportunity for you to live for God like nobody else can. To raise up a testimony and to live a consecrated life, that can do things for God that a lot of us married brothers cannot do.

Ken: Thank you, brother. We have four minutes, so I’ll open it up to the rest of the panelists—

Tim: Yeah Matthew, so practically, how does that look, so someone’s married in a un-Biblical marriage. They need to separate in order to be in a right standing with the Lord, how would you handle that situation practically, that you know this person doesn’t—the woman doesn’t have financial means, the husband was the main bread-winner. How do you deal with something like that on a practical level?

Matthew: So there’s—there’s as many answers to that question as there are situations. And we have to be able to analyze what’s happening in that situation, what’s happening in the home. Uh, are both the husband and wife willing to walk in holiness in this issue? Are we—you know, is the mamma wanting to repent, but the papa doesn’t? You know, all those issues change dramatically how that works out. But what I would say is that it’s our job, as the church, to minister wherever we can, and find support. You know, I’ve seen some tremendous blessings in my time at Ephrata, in watching the church take care of single mothers, women who didn’t have resources and opportunities on their own, that the church was able to step in and bless those women, and allow them to take care of their children, take care of their home, for whatever the situation in their life was. It was a good experience, and I think we ought to be involved in that kind of work.

Ken: OK. Thank you brother, and does anyone else have a comment on anything that’s been said, or another question for Brother Matthew.

Roger: How many minutes?

Ken: We have three minutes.

Roger: Three minutes left. Here’s sort of a quesion. We’re dealing with a lot of people here that know theses scriptures. Maybe there’s difference of interpretation, but we know the scriptures at least. But we’re living in a society that doesn’t know the scriptures. How can we change that? How can we change it to the fact that—get to the point where at least society is awakened to the fact that these verses in the Bible. And I say that working with Gospel signs, there’s just—you know, you show people certain verses, and they come up and just—behind you car, they come up—you know, upon this sign—they say, that’s not in the Bible, even though there’s a reference underneath it. How can we change that?

Matthew: It’s a great question. I’ll say by way of encouragement, that—one thing first. Judgment must begin at the house of God. And there’s a lot of people who call themselves Christians that are in divorce and remarriage situations. And we encounter them all across the board, in every denomination, in every place. And I think that’s a fertile ground to start, because you’re starting with someone who already does accept these scriptures. But outside of that context—I’ll say that within, within the evangelical world, when people have come to us—especially Roger and I’s time at Valley—when we encounter people who are coming into our church from some evangelical world who are not familiar with this teaching, we had a lot of conversations with people, where we had to, for the very first time, sit down with a man and a woman who are in one of these situations, and challenge them and say, “Listen, we love you, we so much appreciate you and your family. But we have to share the truth with you. Let us open the pages of scripture.” And we would read through the teachings of Jesus, the teachings of the apostles, and we would challenge them and say, “Listen, it doesn’t—we do love you, and God loves you, and He said this situation is not right, and you have to repent.” Every time I’ve had that conversation, it has resulted in conviction of the Holy Spirit. That in every one of those occasions, when we’ve sat down and done that, the Holy Ghost convicts those people, that what—the situation there is wrong. And not all of them have followed that conviction into repentance, but every conversation like that that I’ve had has resulted in conviction. And that’s a strong testimony to me, that God wants to work in this way, and he wants to challenge people. And I think even secular homes know, if you talk to people who are divorced and remarried, they know, they know—they had a reservation when they got married the second time, or they’ll say things like, “It’s not like the first time,” or “You never love like the first time.” And those are opportunities that we have to capitalize on. Those feelings, and those sentiments are laid at the heart of every man and woman. Because, this is the beautiful thing about marriage, is that it’s universal, right? We don’t remarry people when they come into the church. It’s the very first institution of human society. And it’s present in—when the heathen gets married, he’s showing a picture of our Jesus and our Church. Everywhere on earth, when people get married, they’re testifying of Jesus and His bride.

Ken: But I didn’t think of doing this till right now. We have this brother, Brother Roger wrote this book, Dear Pastor. And it’s addressed to the very people we were saying we should addressed, the pastors of the churches that have accepted divorce and remarriage. Brother Roger has some copies in the back, and I’m sure, while they last, he would be glad to stand there and talk to you about the book, maybe even sign his name. So at this point we’re going to turn the time over to Brother Roger, and he will make a statement about pornography, media, whatever the Lord has laid on your heart, brother.

Roger: Alright, well, good afternoon. You know these things that we’re talking about, you know, are not easy to talk about in a mixed group like this, this thing of pornography, and with it, of course, we have to think about the sin of self-abuse, masturbation. You know, these things go together, but I’m convinced that we have to bring these things to light. If we don’t, if we leave them in darkness, we’ll be ensnared, that’s what’s been happening all around us.

The title of this is called Lifting up a Standard. When we we talk about lifting up a standard, one of the first things that comes to my mind, is this billboard that Christian Aid Ministries has been putting up. “Lust drags you down to hell.” We had one of these boards in Missouri. And a man I’m going to call Adam was driving through Missouri on June 17 of this year. He passed this billboard, and it immediately grabbed his attention. He’s—Adam is married to a woman we’ll call Betty. This is the first marriage for both of them. They’re church going people. At one point they had a genuine walk with God. But six months ago, Adam’s wife had an affair, and she came and confessed it, or else she was caught. But it really jeopardized their marriage. They were going to divorce. They decided somehow, let’s stay together, let’s try to work it out.

But two days before he drove past this billboard, Adam caught his wife again in an affair again, with the same man. He called the billboard. He says, he thinks, “You know, this is obviously jeopardizing our marriage,” he says, “but I have something to confess.” He thinks—he says, “I believe it’s not just my wife who has a problem with lust. I think I do too.” He says, “I have something to confess that no one else knows about. My wife doesn’t know about it, my pastor doesn’t know about it, no one else knows about it but me. I have been into pornography since childhood.” This pornography has affected his mind as it always does. He became emotionally abusive toward his wife. Put her down a lot, and that was part of what drove her to the affair. But she didn’t have any idea that this was going on. I encouraged him to go home and confess it to his wife, and confess it to other believers. Bring it to the light. Deal with it, this thing of pornography.

The end of that conversation, he said, “I’m home now, I’m parked in the driveway. I need to go inside, and I’m going to confess this to my wife.” A few weeks later, we sent them some videos from John Coblentz, some marriage counselling videos. He sent me a text, they received them. They got these videos, they’re going to watch them together. He said, “I’ve also been reading a book called Every Man’s Battle.” And he said—that’s a book on sexual purity—and he says, “I feel truly blessed and free from sin.”

So there is hope. There is a possibility of redemption even if you’re wrapped up in this. What’s a definition of porn? It’s that which is designed to excite sexual desires. That’s what it’s about. So of course it would include what you can get from the adult store, magazines, videos, things you download on the internet under that title. But I’m convinced it’s more than that. I’m convinced much of the advertising content we see today has the same intent behind it. Therefore it’s also pornography. Many of the novels you can buy today, including this recent best-seller, Fifty Shades of Gray they call it. And it hit the best-seller list, but it’s definitely pornography. And it’s what is bringing people into this addiction.

Let’s talk about some statistics. Ninety percent of boys today are exposed to pornography by the time they’re age eighteen. The average age is eleven. That’s the average age of first exposure. Also, men are five times as likely to watch—look at porn than women are, although many women are also ensnared in it. Here’s some shocking news. Fifty percent of Christian men admit that they are addicted to pornography. Fifty percent of not just out-there men, but Christian men. People who say they’re Christians, I should say. And pastors. There was a poll taken of pastors, and thirty percent admitted that they had viewed internet pornography within the last thirty days.

Well, that’s out there. What about here, in a group this size. I wonder what you would think if I would ask those of you that have fallen to one of these sins, self-abuse or pornography within the last thirty days. Everyone be totally honest and stand. Would you be shocked? Now, please don’t do it, but would you be shocked if you saw five people stand up in here? Would you be shocked if you saw fifty people stand up in a group this size. I don’t know how many are here. But I’m guessing that a lot of us would be shocked. Probably the women would be more shocked than the men.

But I’d like to talk to you, if you are sitting here, and just after I said that, something went through your mind. You say, “You know what, if I was honest, I would have to be the one.” And you’re sitting there hoping I don’t ask. Well, I’m not going to ask, but I want to talk to you for a moment. I want to say to this, I want to say this to you, “Don’t despair.” Because just imagine with me for a moment, that I would ask another question. I would say, “Everybody stand if you have at one point been addicted to pornography, and God set you free, and you have been free for a period of time, let’s say twelve months, and you haven’t touched it since then.” I think you would—I’m not asking that, but if I would, just imagine with me that you’d see people all over this tabernacle stand up. I believe that would be the case, by the way. I believe we’d have a whole host of people right here in this building stand up. That should be an encouragement to you. If God can do it for them, He can do it for you. If God can set them free, He can do it to the rest as well.

We could talk about pornography in this way, we could say it’s just dirty filth. You know, we could talk about how black and dark it is. Here’s a problem though. The people who are in it, at least they’re just getting in it, they don’t think of it that way. To them it’s a source of pleasure, it’s a source of excitement. There’s a—it’s a relief from their troubles. And so to paint a picture it’s all black and filth, there’s something that doesn’t—it doesn’t click that way, and—which makes it even more important that we do paint it for what it really is. It really is dark, and the devil uses that sweet taste to pull more and more people into it, and it is poison. It will kill you and the desires are never satisfied, they only increase, and they go deeper and darker, and into things and places you never thought you should go.

So, is there victory? Is there a secret? What is the secret to victory? You know, many people have found different secrets to victory. Let me tell you one thing that is not a secret, that many people think is a secret. That’s marriage. A lot of people think, “I’m addicted to porn now, but as soon as I get married I’m going to be free. Many testimonies tell us that’s not the case. They carry it right over into marriage, and it’s not the magic pill that they thought it was going to be.

So, what is the secret? Let me mention a few things, that for many people have been the final key to get this. And I would encourage all of these things, because they are all powerful. Number one, prayer and fasting. For many that’s been the key to victory. Number two, filling your mind with the word of God. Scripture memorization. For other people, they examine their condition before God, and they realize they had not ever truly surrendered to Jesus, never been truly born again. So that thing of true surrender was the key that set them free. Another thing is accountability, bringing it before the light. Many people have struggled, and they did everything they needed and knew to do. But they could never get victory until they brought it to the light, and exposed it, let their friends, their wife, their pastor, someone see this dark side of their secret life. And—but the last one is one I want to emphasize. It’s the fear of God.

Ken: Amen, that’s right.

Roger: Testimony of a friend of mine who had this addiction. He grew up in a church, that said he could never, once he was truly born again, he could never lose his salvation, and he believed it. But he had this addiction, carried it over into marriage. One day he was reading in Hebrews, Hebrews 10:26, which says, “If we sin willfully, after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there’s no more sacrifice for sin, but only a fearful expectation of judgment, and raging fire.” When he read that verse, the fear of God came over him, and he did get born again. And he also put away this habit away permanently.

If you’re a father here, with young children, if you’re a paster, I encourage you, open up this subject. The devil has his way when we don’t talk about it. If we warn people, and if we tell people that there is a danger here, especially if you can catch them at a young age, before they take the first bite, how powerful it is, how much more freedom they’re going to experience in the future. If they take that first bite of either of these sins, they’re going to struggle probably more than anybody else. But if they can—if they can avoid that, and if you can do it as a pastor or father, I encourage you to sound the warning, and have them do it. And my own testimony is, I’m so thankful for a conversation I had with my father, that saved me a tremendous amount of grief. So thank you, thank you for being willing to think about these things. God bless you.

Ken: Thank you so much, dear brother, for bearing your heart, and being frank. I didn’t—I wasn’t asked to do this, but this was a struggle of mine for quite a few years. Accidential exposure at six years old. I struggled with it for—off and on for twenty-some years. I praise God, and I have to do this like a recovering drunk, with AA or something. I have to keep talking about my story. But by God’s grace and His mercy and with the help of other brothers, I’ve been free for over twenty years. I praise God. So I say that to raise up a standard, say that it is possible, as addictive, and as desctructive as this stuff is. It is possible that a man like myself can be set free. And I want to lift up the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, all glory to Him, nothing to myself. If I was where I deserved to be, you know where I’d be. Alright, the question still is, practically speaking, how do you help people? I will mention this one thing too, we’ve been open with this at home, and you were talking about the statistics, how prevalent is it among our churches? I’ll be frank with you, at the brothers’ meeting, we did a snap survey, and discovered that about twenty-five percent of our brothers had been somehow struggling with it within the last several months. That’s within a conservative Anabaptist church. I’m ashamed to say that. That’s reality, however. We are trying to address the problem, but it is a widely prevalent problem. If there’s any pastors here, I would encourage you to somehow get a pulse on your congregation, and at least bring some reality to the extent of the problem. Let it bring us to our knees. OK, are there questions for Brother Roger, on the question of how to help, or any comments?

Donnie: There has been, um, some people are saying, that to break an addiction like that, requires a re-programming of the mind, and that it takes from thirty to fifty days to re-program the mind, to heal neurological pathways, and to create new ones. What do you feel about that, is there any validity to that? And in helping people to work through that, have you found that to be true?

Roger: I—I believe there is a lot of validity to that. But that is from a scientific standpoint, not a spiritual standpoint. We have that study that we can look at, and I was just reading some of those things this morning, I would have loved to, yeah, read the whole article to you. But those—that certain number of days—I remember I was thinking, fifty days, something like that. But, yeah, to re-program, there’s a term used—reject and replace I think. And again, this is any addiction, this is from a secular standpoint. This was, you know, secular studies of the brain. So we can know that. But we have an additional resource. That’s the blessing of being followers of Jesus. We can tap into a power that supercedes that fifty day rule or whatever it is. [Ken: Amen.] So, yeah, we can’t ignore it, if it’s true science, which I have no reason to doubt it. But we can’t take that, in addition, and say, “Hey, the power of the Gospel has something in addition to add to that.”

Matthew: Uh, so I have four sons now, my oldest son just turned thirteen. Can you talk some about when and how we should be talking to our sons, because I think that they’re the primary target at least—attacks of the enemy.

Roger: When my father spoke to me about this, one of the most powerful conversations we had—I’m sure it wasn’t an easy conversation for him. It wasn’t like we had an extremely close relationship. But somehow he knew he had a responsibility to do it, and I’ve been forever grateful that he did. Um, how old was I? I don’t know, I would guess ten, eleven, sometime in there. Which means, Brother Ken, if I would have been in your shoes, he would have missed his opportunity. That’s scary. And it’s more scary now than when you and I were young. It’s all around us. It’s on our phones, it’s on our—it’s, yeah, everything. Um, I’m not sure what to say—

Ken: I have a question for you, brothers. I’m speaking now from my own experience. But my burden is, the protection of innocence. Because this is what happened to me. And it just absolutely changed my life, when I discovered that, and I fed on it. I struggled with this thing for twenty years. And one of the burdens of my heart—and I know we don’t want to retreat into this isolationist iron-clad type of setting—but Sodom has come to us. And we are responsible—and I tell my congregation, we got to cut off our right hand. Now, this is going to be controversial, no doubt, but I’m going to, if I can find it— I just pulled out my good old flip phone. And this flip phone has got the internet turned off on it. Because I don’t trust myself, and I don’t trust my boys to carry something around in their pockets that they can pull out at any moment, and, in a moment of weakness, indulge. Any other comments?

Matthew: Let—Let me ask you brother, with an early experience like that, and I had an early experience similarly, how and when—this is the question that I keep coming back to with my sons, and I think a lot of fathers struggle with it—you know, we don’t want to, we don’t want to bring up curiosity, and invite problems in our young sons, but we don’t dare wait too late. So how are we dealing with introducing ideas of purity, and teaching about purity, and warnings about purity, to young boys?

Ken: Right. Amen. Again, maybe some of you—Brother Donnie, you probably have. You’ve got older sons than I do.

Donnie: Really. Yeah, I do have older sons than you do. But I guess our way of dealing with it was to avoid it. We do not have have smartphones, and we don’t have internet in our home or business. Although both of my boys would have—now that they’re older, more mature, they are using internet, and they’re use—obviously they have blocks on it and filters and things like that. But this is a problem that we encounter everywhere we go, because we’re being almost forced into using the internet. If we need to use it, we have a laptop, we can go to a WiFi someplace, and use it. Um, but yeah it’s a universal problem. And sometimes, I think about the Amish, they’ve chosen to not have telephones, they’ve chosen to refuse technology because of how it’s going to impact their lifestyles, and I think there’s a place for us to make those same choices in some of this technology that’s coming down the street.

Ken: Thank you very much brother. And in our home—I like the idea—simply not having WiFi in the home, but if you need to go somewhere, take your laptop, if you have to do that. I’m going to think hard about that. OK, and, um, any other comments?

Roger: I would say in our home, we do have WiFi, but it’s through a router that does have a blocker on it. So anybody going through that router, you know it would—it would at least slow them down. You know, somebody who’s tech savvy can always get around it, and that’s why I—yeah, I’m certainly not an expert on this, but I would say that—the last point of the fear of God. If that’s not there, there’s really no stopping anyone. In the same article—it was actually a Michael Pearl article, which I have a lot of disagreements with him, on various things—but in this issue of pornography, it was actually pretty well done. And he had a letter in there from a family who had moved to a very conservative setting, to try to guard their children, and somehow their ten-year-old son was exposed to a phone or something. He developed this craving for it. He rode his bike ten miles to get it. He got it, and, you know, just—anyway just a very sad story. People who were trying to protect, and the devil still got through. And somehow, it’s yeah—it’s scary, that’s all I can say.

Tim: Yeah, um, so one thing we’ve done in Boston is really—trying to at least once a month have an accountability group. And those times have been great. I think we could do it more often, and maybe even do one on one type of accountability. But how do you propose going from potentially a place where there’s a lot of hidden sin, in such a shameful area, right? The sexual sins are the most shameful of areas, because you sin against your whole body, and you feel real guilty, and you don’t want to talk about it. But how do you propose starting that for any of the people here. You know, how do you start such a sensitive issue. Do you just, you know—do you have any thoughts on that, or what?

Ken: Good question, big question. We have about sixty seconds according to the time table, but go ahead Brother Roger.

Roger: That’s a good question. In other words you’re saying, what if there are fifty people here, and they want to repent? I guess an altar call, and they all repent together? I don’t know, I’m not sure of the answer to that. But the other alternative is to come to another brother individually. You know, that would take—that’s why it would be kind of nice to know how many are like yourself, have said “I’ve been there, but God has set me free.” And so the people who need freedom, say, “I’m going to go seek that brother out.” That would be interesting exercise. I’ll leave it up to the moderator.

Ken: One thing that we could potentially do here, if we want to take the risk to do it. We could do an anonymous survey, like we did at our church. Later, at the next session. We could have—should we do that? We could have papers available for people to fill out, whether or not they have had victory in the last three years—particularly the last three months or so. Particularly for the men. It would give us an assessment of where we really are, as God’s people. How many of you brothers are in favour of doing that? OK, we’ll do it.

And, um, we want—we do not want to accept as inevitable, brothers, that ninety percent of our boys are going to be exposed to this by age eighteen. I refuse to accept that as inevitable. But that means we fathers, we have to take very strong measures, to protect our homes. And it’s terribly heartbreaking to me. I’ve trying very hard for twenty-six years to guard what comes into our homes, through the mail. But now I have allowed WiFi, and we use Covenant Eyes, but I’m still very concerned. And there’s always smartphones that someone can give to your son or something, and it’s available everywhere.

So, but we are not going to succumb to this inevitability, brothers and sisters. I think a lot of this solution rests on the fathers, first of all, for them to get their own hearts pure. And if there are fathers here who aren’t pure, then the first thing we should do by the grace of God is to expose that impurity, before God, and with a brother. Preferrably a pastor. And be responsible to your spiritual authority, with this problem. Fathers got to get their act together, if they haven’t.

And then—I’ll just say what we have done. I’ve sought to do this with my boys at a very young age—five, six years old or something, or even earlier. And I’ve made them promise to me, that if they find some immoral literature, whether it’s in the ditch, or they see something on the computer, or where—anywhere, that they’ll come to me and we’ll talk about it, so that we can keep the conscience free, and keep the accountability there.

We have to live with a new level of transparency, brothers and sisters. And I’m convinced that if I am unable to hide—if I am unwilling to expose my internet usage in it’s totality, to anyone, then maybe I’m not transparent enough in this day and age. I think we should—transparency, a complete freedom to share where our travels have taken us on the internet—is part of this solution. I’ve taken away time from you brothers, and we’re over time now, but, that’s OK. Anything else on this very important subject? I hope we’ve said something that has encouraged—we don’t want to leave with a sense of hopelessness. There is hope in Jesus, and—if we walk in the light with Him, and with our brothers. And with our fathers and mothers.

Tim: OK, well I’m not sure if I’ll ever be asked to speak again at these type of events, but as Ken said we need a new level of vulnerability. So, I’m going to read to you a passage in Nehemiah chapter four, and verse fourteen. As the burdened Israelites were rebuilding the wall—and I believe today we are in desparate need of men to rise up and help us rebuild the wall that has been broken down by nominal Christians. And if ourselves fall into that camp—it said,

14 “And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brothers, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”

Everything we’re talking about today, this is the motivation. We’re fighting for our Lord Jesus, but we’re fighting for our brothers, our sisters, our sons, and our daughters. My topic is, Raising a Banner Against Homosexuality. I want to start off right from the get go, and make it unequivocally clear, that the Bible is very clear homosexuality is a perversion, it is not right, it has no place in the Kingdom of God. With that being said, I’m not going to sit here on a soap box for the next eight minutes and tell you how evil it is, as we know it’s evil. I’m going to talk a litle bit about it.

My main approach is going to be two-fold. One, it is out of concern for our sons and our own family in the church here. I want to raise awareness so we can not be naive about this sin. And secondly, about the people, the un-churched or nominal Christians out there that are wrestling with this issue, and how to help them. And there’s a lot here, I’m going to talk fast. You can listen to the recording if there’s one, and I’m happy to talk to you afterward.

So, I had my first exposure to pornography at five years old. One of my neighbours brought me downstairs into his house and showed me the images of—uh, pornagraphic images. I didn’t understand what they were but I knew there was a lot of shame involved. And then at six years old I had a friend sleep over at my house. He was a boy, and he introduced me to homosexual acts, at six years old. Around the same time my cousin also did the same thing. And for the next years until I was fifteen years old, I had participated in homosexual acts.

And I will tell you that it—like Ken, with being exposed to pornography—it had a wild, horrible effect on my psyche, on who I was as a person, on my security around my friends. I was a very confident young man. I was very popular, I had lots of friends, and I was very active in sports. But underlying every day of my life, up until nineteen, when I met Jesus, I was wondering if I was actually gay or not. I questioned that all the time. Some people have an attraction to same-sex people, I didn’t have that. I was never attracted to men, per se. I never had that—that problem if you will, or that challenge.

But I had the perversion of the act in my mind, and I thought about it, and I thought through some of these things. And it made me wonder that maybe—because the world teaches you that you’re a certain way. Does it not? Doesn’t the world tell you that you’re this way or that way? And so, I also questioned whether or not I was that. And, so, I wrestled with that off and on.

And I think that many people today—studies prove it—seventy-eight percent of all professing homosexuals were abused at some point before they’re eighteen years old. That’s from men. Women are around forty percent. They’re less than men. So there is some kind of abuse situation that takes place.

And then like anything we do in life, over time—you might start off starting a business, and you might start being a roofer. And you start off doing some roofing work, and after a year you got the Carhartt pants, and you got the tools; and after five years you got the truck, you got the big building. And before you know it, you’re a fully—full on, you’re a roofer. That’s what you are. And it’s the same thing with sin. It’s starts off with some—some incest or something taking place, and you don’t even think about it much. But then as the world is so perverted, they get in there with you. And as you get older—all it would take—all it would have taken for me at seventeen years old, off at art school, it would have just taken some rich man, patron, to take me under his wing, and fund me for a bunch of my paintings and encourage me to go down that homosexual road. And through the grace of God that never happened.

But that’s typically how it happens. And then these people become “a homosexual,” and they feel like they’re now fighting in this fraternity of other men that wrestle with this, or women. And then if you tell them, “No, you’re not a homosexual,” they think they’re a martyr for telling you that they are. And that’s why we have this huge battle today, where even in the church we feel like we can’t even say that, “No, homosexual’s wrong,” because you’re going to get put out of the church, or the school, or the government, for standing up against it.

So, how do we deal with this issue. How do we raise a standard against this issue. I’m going to tell you there’s only one solution. It’s not a recovery group, it’s not a twelve-step program, and it is nothing but the blood of Jesus. That might sound like a cliché, brothers and sisters. That may sound like a cliché, but when I was nineteen years old, and folks started studying the word of God with me, and I was in this identity crisis—which I believe the world is in an identity crisis right now—once I started to align my identity with Christ, it wasn’t until then that I was free from this sin. And I’ve been free ever since from the insecurity of whether or not I was that way. I’ve now been restored back to who God made me, and I know I’m a man of God, and that’s it.

Now, I will say this. I’m going to be very real with everybody here. Thirteen years ago I got married, and in that time, I’ve messed up my marriage. As Ken said, we’re no longer together right now, and be praying for us, maybe someday, hopefully, we’ll get restored together. But much of the pervesion that I had in my mind, even though I didn’t act anything out in that same-sex type arena, it absolutely damaged my ability to handle my wife, to support her, to take care of her, to love her, to nurture her.

And much of this perversion led to—someone was talking about breaking these addictions. Because what happens with sin, is that you get—dopamine gets released from your brain, and it’s basically a drug. And God allows that. Sex between woman—a husband and a wife is one of the most amazing things in the world, and we should have no shame talking about that within the right context. Satan and his demons have taken that and perverted it, and they’ve used those same triggers, those same dopamines, those same pleasure centers, but they’ve moved it into a—into sin. And so when you experience these sins, it gives you that drug-type euphoria.

So whenever you’re going through stressful times or financial hardships or even marital challenges—which some of you may have faced in your life—and the burdens of your children and all the things that come up, if you’ve got this background—and many people in the world do, and maybe some folks here too—your natural inclination is to want to revert back to those places where you get those pleasures from. That’s why we have to be vigilant when we’re taking in folks from the world, or from the nominal churches that are wrestling with this—and dare I say these folks here too—we’ve got to be very aware of how the devil roams around like a roaring lion, and not put this stuff under the rug. Don’t ever let the words come out of your mouth, “That would never happen in my house,” that “My son would never do that.” That is naive, we need to put that type of thinking to death, we need to—like Ken said—bring up these issues. I am being purposely very vulnerable with you guys today, because I want to make sure you know these issues are real. And the only way we’re going to accomplish and overcome this is we’re going to have victories in the church. It starts with the church, judgment does too. And then as we bring in outsiders, as we raise our families, we can have more and more victory. And I believe, like I was—I’m one of the most—was, and probably still am one of the most grateful Christians—all the glory to God—because of the fact that I’ve rescued from this bondage, and it’s nothing but the blood of Jesus. So to that, second miracle.

Ken: Brother Tim, once again, we come to this question: What is the solution? I meet somebody, and they’re struggling. I’m trying to help somebody as a pastor. How do they overcome?

Tim: So it’s a great question, and it’s not complicated. The world wants to make it complicated, and they want to make this issue unbearable, and there’s no way out. So, I’m not one to go looking, I’m not going to go to the gay pride parade and look to win over those people. However, God puts people in my life on a regular basis, and I build friendships with them. And I have clients that are of the homosexual lifestyle, persusaion. Just like someone working at McDonald’s would serve a lesbian couple, I have couples that I work with. And I minister to them, just like I would to any one of you all, OK? So the answer is, first of all—again, to sound cliché—the answer is love. “Love one another as I have loved you.” OK, that is the answer. You are not going to save anybody by telling them they’re going to hell for being a homosexual. As I just shared my story, if anyone ever said that to me at nineteen, I can promise you I would not be sitting here right now, because I would have been so turned off by that way of thinking, until I knew the Bible. The second thing is, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. We’ve heard that before. So, once people know how much you care, they start to really open up their lives. I think about Russel, he was a homeless homosexual man, eighteen years old, living in the streets of Boston, in a halfway house. I shared my faith with him on the streets of Boston, walking up an escalator. He was going down, I was going up. I said to him, “Hey, you look like you want to know Jesus.” And he said, “I—I do,” and he was going down the escalator. So I went down, and I chased him, and we exchanged numbers. The halfway house—I reached out to him, we studied the Bible over six months’ period. He got baptized. He’s—today, he’s married with children, living in the Midwest. [Ken: Amen.]

Tim: So these are real issues. I didn’t change him through my humour, and my wit. It was through opening up the word of God, showing him John 8:31-32, that “if you’ll hold to My teachings, you’ll really know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” And so, things like that, yeah.

Ken: Thank you. Did you have something Brother Matthew?

Matthew: Yeah I did. I think—you know, praise God, our churches are one of the last bastions of real masculinity and real femininity. And I rejoice in that. I’m so glad that men are men in my church, and women are women. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. I shouldn’t even have to say that, but we live in a world where you have to say that now. In that context—

Ken: Brother Matthew, if I can just interrupt, you’re a good example of that. [Laughter]

Matthew: I’m doing my part. [Laughter] So, coming from that context, you know, it’s very easy to look at these things in the world, the things in the newspaper, the things we encounter, especially in Boston where we live. And it’s rampant, and it is so easy, brothers and sisters, to take an isolationist approach to these things. Or at least an adversarial approach to these things. So I had an experience several months ago, the beginning of this summer, a guy called me—a brother in my church and I, we have a handyman business together—a guy called me, he’s moving in town. He’s not from here. He needed help. I showed up at his house, I was helping him doing some extra things. And it was obvious, soon on, that this man was a homosexual. And I have all these reactions, you know, this is the enemy, this is the problem. That’s what happens in my heart. This is what’s destroying society. This is the problem in my day. And as I’m around this guy—I’m there for work, I’m just helping him with his house—we start to engage in a conversation. And through talking to him, we ended up actually going and sitting down having a meal together, because it was late at night, all these things. And I was able to talk to him, ask him about his life, ask him about where he’s from, ask him about—and to experience homosexuals as people. As men and women with hurts, and with all the things. To dehumanize the homosexuals is the number one problem we have in ministering to them.

Ken: How do you overcome that “yuck” factor?

Matthew: Well, I think it’s through—through the opportunities to engage with people as people. You know, the way that the military teaches the young men to kill is by dehumanizing the enemy. He doesn’t think like you. He doesn’t love his mama like you love your mama. He doesn’t love his children like you love your children. That guy is an other. He’s not really a man. He doesn’t feel the way you do. And I think that we have a temptation to do the same thing, because these sins are very, very scary, and it’s—we’re seeing the damage that it’s doing in our society. And to re-humanize the people that are involved in the struggle, and to have individual encounters with people, that can be loving and generous and kind, I think, is a big part of it.

Ken: Thank you, dear brother. Did you have something more on that?

Tim: I was going to say, you know, one of the best ways to practically—other than just getting into the Bible, because not everyone’s ready to sit down and study the Bible—but showing men what men do. Going out hiking. Going out doing things together. Working together. Men want to be men. We were designed to be men. Even if you’re somewhat of a feminized man, they want to be men. They long for those manly relationships. And because of the industrial revolution, the men stopped taking their boys to work with them all day, and they went off the farm, into the city. And then we had World War I and II, when all the men went off to war, which made great CEOs and great leaders, but didn’t translate to raising good boys from there. And then these men are off to work, and they’re being raised by women or nannies or—so really, we have a feminized man problem, a lack of masculinity today, which is lending itself very naturally to the homosexual persuasion. So if we can show them with our lives and other way—like Matthew said, anyone that comes into our fellowship—we got a guy right now who’s at six-foot-four, semi-pro baseball player. He was begging—he wished he could have been here this weekend, but he’s got a final playoff game. But he’s—he loves hanging out with us, because we’re all a bunch of men who stay up, drink coffee, and talk about God. I mean, where else are you getting that? I mean, you don’t have to have the coffee part, but he loves hanging out with us.

Ken: OK, brother, how do you answer this question: I was born that way.

Tim: Sure. OK, so it’s a great question, and here’s the thing. It is—I’m going to say this, and some might disagree, but you show me your success. I believe it’s misguided energy, if you’re going to fight that battle, OK? Because whether or not you were born with a same-sex attraction, or whether you weren’t and it just developed, whether it’s nature or nurture, I don’t know. Literally fifty percent of the scientific studies say that you were, fifty percent say that you weren’t. Animals act homosexual sometimes. Well, we’re not animals. I mean—so, I think you have to say, “Listen, you may have been born with some tendencies. OK, I was born wanting to talk a lot. But that doesn’t mean I have to.” And, you get into it that way.

Ken: OK, I understand. Thank you very much. Another question, for any one of you. OK, so now this compromise has entered the churches. How do you talk to someone in a church who believes this is somehow now OK. We have about two and a half, three minutes. How do you deal with—how do you answer the compromise in the churches? Go ahead Tim.

Tim: Well, I’m going to be honest and say I don’t fully know. I think—you know, what was it, Mennonite Today recently had that big article with the former elder that’s—now grandson or son was a homosexual. And I mean, you should have seen the message board on that, about half the people saying, “Thanks for taking a stand,” and saying it’s OK. The other half saying, “You guys are all a bunch of hypocrities and heretics.” I think, like in a lot of areas, people have lost their way with theology, and true Biblical Christianity and discipleship. I think when you start getting into the scriptures, and you don’t have to go past Genesis, the first book in the Bible, to talk about that in the beginning God made man and made woman to complement that. It’s not OK. Yeah—

Ken: By the way, did Jesus teach that a homosexual can change.

Tim: I mean, I think he teaches that everyone can change.

Ken: He said—He was in Capernaum and all those places—and He said, “If the mighty works that have been done in Sodom and—if these mighty works had been done in Sodom and Gomorrah,” He said something to the effect that judgment of God would never come, which means that those people would have changed.

Tim: Right, absolutely, absolutely. Yeah, I think everyone can repent, and the people that God puts in your life are going to be there for you to build a relationship, so they can real, get open. The last thing I say about this, guys—and folks, this is a demonic problem. This is not a physical problem, this is not a phsycological problem. This is a demonic problem. And unless you attack it with spirituality, with the Bible, you will not win this war. This is beyond our winnings.

Ken: OK. Did the Apostle Paul teach that homosexuals could change? He said, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Don’t be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminite, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkers, revilers, extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Very clear. “And such were”—praise God—“and such were some of you.” So we have Jesus teaching there can be change. We have Paul teaching that they can change. What else do we need, brothers and sisters? I have one more book I’m going to recommend. Have you seen this book, by Joe Dallas? I’d be careful—I mean, I’ve read through it pretty much, I think he’s sound all the way through. Do you know this man?

Tim: Yeah, I haven’t read it. There’s another brother that wrote a book that’s more for ministering-type purposes. And—yeah, we can get that, but—

Ken: What’s his name?

Tim: Drawing a blank off the top of my head.

Ken: Ghallanger? Steve Ghallanger?

Tim: No, it’s not. He’s actually a Church of Christ guy, and it’s—Guy Hammons. Yup.

Ken: Go ahead, while he’s looking.

Matthew: Yeah, one more thing about that. These are expected things for the church to believe in. If we’re going to hold a standard on divorce and remarriage, we’re going to pay a price in society. But we are preparing to pay no greater price than over this issue. As the world continues to change in this regard, with gender confusion, and with the rise of homosexuality in our day and age, we are going to begin to be persecuted over this issue. And we are going to begin to be sued, and our businesses are going to be affected, and our pocket books. And eventually, perhaps, our personal freedom. And so I’m just—it’s worth, since we’re talking about the issue, to bring it before God’s people that this is something we have to be serious about, because the world is going off the rails with it.

Ken: Brother Donnie, do you have something?

Donnie: Can I have just a minute? [Ken: Yes.] We’ve been talking a lot on male homosexuality here, and I would like to just make a comment about lesbianism. Last summer, within a two-week time frame, my wife received three phone calls from three Anabaptist pastor’s wives asking the same question, “How do we help young girls who are being attracted into lesbian relationships?” And we were just kind of aghast, like, what is going on in our Anabaptist communities, that this is happening?

And I just want to share what we’ve seen happening. I was born in the fifties, so I remember—I can think back fifty years, and I just want to mention a little bit about the trend that led our nation to where it is now. Back in the sixties we had what was called the cultural revolution where young people decided that they’re tired of the way—the moral standards that their parents were maintaining, and so they threw it all to the wind. And we had free love, and immorality became socially acceptable. And then, in the seventies, we had the rise of feminism. And then that led, in the eighties and nineties, to where homosexuality came out of the closet, and became publicly recognized and actually accept—they tried to gain acceptability. And just looking at the—looking at the trend that we saw there, what I believe is happening is that when men fail to defend the virtue of women and feminity, when they fail to defend the virtue of women, women come to despise men—feminism—which leads to the sexes now at war with each other, which opens the door for homosexuality. And—what I’m afraid is what we’re—happening, is that we’re seeing that very trend in our churches now. Fifty percent—twenty-five percent of our men struggling with pornography. How can women respect, submit to men who have those kinds of issues in their lives? And I think it’s a call to us as men to rise up, to raise up a standard of moral integrity. We’re going to defend, we’re not going to bow to the altar of sexual idolatry. If we want our women to be strong, then we need to be strong.

Tim: Amen. Can I say one last thing, Ken? It’s real quick. I just want to lastly—I want to say if anyone is wrestling with these issues, I just beg you, get open with someone. Don’t—that’s the biggest thing I want to make a point of today is—don’t let Satan keep you in bondage to this issue. You haven’t done the unpardonable sin, and no one has ever gone to hell for confessing their sins, OK? So get open, get real, get help. Otherwise, it’s going to just spiral downward to full-blown death.

Donnie: Praise the Lord. The Gospel leaves us with solutions to these problems. We don’t have to be as those who have no hope. A few verses from Romans chapter thirteen.

11 And that knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh.

The assignment that I’ve been given is that of sexual molestation and incest. And you may be thinking, Well, that’s certainly not an issue in our churches. But I am sorry to inform you that it is. Unfortunately, many, many times our response to this issue is to shove it under the carpet, cover it up. We want to maintain our—our self-righteous appearance of purity. So we have a tendency to not bring these to the light. But there are some cases that do come to the light; those are the ones that we have the most hope for. And then also one of the things that my wife and I have discovered, is that whenever you’re counselling people who are struggling in their marriage, many times, in helping them to work through the issues in their marriage, the truth finally comes out: “I was molested as a child.” And many times that is some of the cause of the problems that they’re having in their marriages.

First of all, let’s talk about the effects of sexual abuse. It is murder in that it destroys a life. You’ve probably seen young girls who have lost their glow. The light has gone out of them. It is theft in that it takes away that which can never be recovered or restored—or recovered, I should say. Virginity—you’re given one chance to be a virgin. Once you’ve lost it you have lost it. Fortunately you can be redeemed. It is violence in that it assaults the spirit of a person. And so sexual abuse is very, very damaging. It leaves the victim feeling broken and defiled. Many young girls who have been sexually abused feel like ruined goods. Like, how can anyone ever love me? And that is certainly tragic. It destroys their sense of personal worth. They struggle all their life, some of them, with these feelings that I’m not worth anything. I can’t do anything right. I’m just a nobody.

It leaves them with false guilt. Many girls, especially, that have been sexually abused, are confused about, “Am I responsible for what happened, or am I not?” And many times they go through life with this guilt about what happened, and not sure what to do with that. One person that my wife counselled said it this way, in her attempt to deal with this guilt that she lives with. She said that, “I had to come to the point where I repented of—I had to repent of the pleasure that I received from the experience,” Even though it was something that was forced upon her, and it was not something that she wanted. She had to repent of any pleasure that she experienced in that process.

It twists their perception of sexual intimacy. Because now sexual intimacy has guilt associated with it, and so they have a twisted perspective of sexual intimacy, and maybe even disgust. It damages the spirit of the marriage for the perpetrator as well. In counselling one marriage who—I was counselling a husband who was frustrated that his wife was not responding as he thought she should. And I did not realize it at the time, but I found out later that he had molested his sister, and his wife knew about that, so how could she respond? She was not the first woman that he had been with. And it damaged the spirit of their marriage.

It creates an illicit bonding that is not easily erased. A girl tends to bond with the person who takes away her virginity, even if it is in a—an illicit sense. There’s still a bond that happens there. And that bond indication of abuse is very, very painful.

Some symptoms to watch for for sexual abuse—because most people who have been abused, unless you have a very good relationship with them, they’re not going to come running up to you and say, “I’ve been sexually abused.” It is extremely shameful. Watch for sudden change of personality or behaviour, unreasonable outbursts of anger, rebellion toward the parent. In sharing—some girls feel angry at their parents, because, “You did not protect me, and you were supposed to be my protector, and you did not protect me.” Look for anti-social behaviour. They become withdrawn, depression. They lose their song. Crying for no apparent reason, and ungrounded fears. Irrational behaviour. Some of these things may be evidence—may be signs that sexual abuse is happening. As a parent we need to be aware of that. We need to be tuned into the spirit of our children.

The prevention of sexual abuse. The most important thing is the spiritual climate of your home. Is your home truly a godly home? Do you pray regularly and faithfully for your children? Job, we read, prayed for his sons and daughters, and he pray—he offered sacrifices for them. He said, “Lest they have sinned, and lest they have sinned in their hearts.” Job’s concern for them was—yes, that they were living uprightly—but he was also concerned about what was going on in the hearts of his children. And Job prayed a hedge about his children, lest they have sinned in their hearts. Something that was not outwardly visible or apparent. But he was praying for them that their hearts would be kept pure. And we need to be praying for our sons and daughters, that their hearts would be kept pure. Yes, we’re concerned about their behaviour, but we need to also be concerned about their hearts.

And along with that, we need to know the hearts of our children. We need to have the kind of relationship with our children that they can come to us, just talk to us about anything and everything that happens. And, like I said, sometimes you know, we want our family to look good. And we want our children to behave right, so that other people can think that we have our act together, and we are a “truly godly family.” We need to repent of our pride, and we need to be willing to acknowledge, if there’s problems in our home, we need to be willing to acknowledge that. And we need to be humble enough that our children can come to us and confess sin, and we don’t react because, “You’re not supposed to do that.” We don’t react because we’re trying to defend our family name. But rather we respond in a way that we can lead to genuine repentance and healing in their lives. We need to have that kind of relationship with our children.

And we’ve been talking about how soon do we—that thing’s going up. OK, I got it. We need to—we need to be sharing with them in such a way that there is this openness. We need to be willing to talk to our children, and, I believe, very early on. We’re hearing ages of five and six years old becoming defiled, very, very early on. We need to tell our children that there are certain parts of your body that are strictly private, and that no one should ever touch those parts of your body. You can do that at a very young age, and your child will understand, because there is a built in sense of shame, and your child will understand that.

Tell them to report to you if anyone ever tries to touch them inappropriately. Open that up. Talk to your children. So much sexual abuse, and so much illicit sex happens because parents are—turn their back. And I think it’s especially true—important in our day that we as parents be opening the door, take the first step. Open the door to talk to our children about sexual matters. The world is talking. If we don’t talk, they’re going to get their information from where it’s available. As parents we need to be able to share with them. And many times, if there is issues in our own life, if we have our own spiritual bondages, that makes it very, very difficult to open up and talk to your children about sex. And many times, that’s what’s going on. Parents themselves have issues that are unresolved, and so it is very difficult for them to open up and share. We need to create an environment of openness, where we can share with them and they can share with us.

He says I’m out of time already. I’ve got—I guess I’m going to overrun a little bit. Response to sexual abuse. What is the right response when you find out that abuse is happening within your home? The worst thing you can do is cover it up. You need to open up. You need to—actually in America, in Pennsylvania the laws require that you report out before you report up. That means you need to report to the Child Protection Agency. Now, that may sound threatening, because the world does not have answers to these problems. We shared with a family this past weekend who had this situation in their home, sexual incest in their home. And they immediately separated the perpetrator from the victim, which was the right thing to do. They got help for the perpetrator. They got help for the victim. Someone reported it to Child Protection Agency. The Child Protection Agency came in, and evaluated what had happened. And the Child Protection Agency said to them, “You’ve done all the right things. We cannot do anything more than what you have done.” Child Protection Agency has their hands full with these kinds of things. But I think that as churches we need to prove to them that we are proactive in dealing with these kinds of things, so that we can win their support. They realize that we are going to do something about it. We’re not going to let it slip through the cracks. I want to—yeah.

Get help for both of them. It’s almost impossible for a parent to appropriately minister to both the perpetrator and the victim. And as a final—it may be necessary even to relocate, because there’s tremendous bonding that happens. If this abuse happened in this house, than that person always associates that with this house. It may be necessary to relocate. Just, we’re starting all over fresh again as a family. But above all things, you know, the Gospel is able to redeem these situations. We’ve seen it happen, and the Gospel is able to redeem your situation. We need to prove that we care, and we are concerned, and do all that we can to protect our children.

Ken: Thank you, Brother Donnie. I have a question for you. What should the victim do? If there is a victim caught in this thing, what should he or she do? A young child or a young person.

Donnie: Well, I would say the first thing is to expose the problem. Go to—

Ken: If it’s a parent, what do they do?

Donnie: You’re saying the parent is the victim?

Ken: Let’s say the parent is the perpetrator.

Donnie: Oh. Well, there’s obviously two parents. The child needs to go to other parent, I would say, first. But then beyond that, reach out to the pastor or someone who can help. Definitely, reach out to someone. It has to be exposed. It won’t go away any other way.

Ken: And I would not want to think that anybody here is in that circumstance. But if there would be, then we would want the victim to seek help from a trusted—let’s say a pastor’s wife, or the pastor.

Donnie: Victims are sometimes silenced by threats. That’s very—that’s a very difficult situation, especially for a young child that doesn’t realize that those—that there is help available.

Ken: Thank you for that Brother Donnie. Well, is there anything else that we need to say on this topic, or question that you’d like to ask Brother Donnie?

Tim: Just one statement, but we—I connected with a brother down in Austin, Texas, who came up this weekend. Rick Nailer. Rick, I don’t know if you wouldn’t mind—just stand up, because people might want to talk to you. But Rick started an organization called Partners Against Child Trafficking. And ironically a lot of these issues end up lending themselves into the child sex-trafficking arena. And it’s unfathomable to even think about these things, especially in these circles here. But in the world we live in today, it’s the largest industry in the country. So it’s just something to be aware of. If you have questions for Rick, he’s a great resource to talk about some of those issues here, so—

Ken: Thank you very much. Yes—

Roger: One of the things I appreciated that you mentioned there at the last, Brother Don, and I think we’ve all mentioned it. But that’s one thing that we all have here, no matter how bad things have gotten. We live in a land where repentance is still available. And that’s whether you’re the perpetrator, the victim, wherever. There is a path to freedom. It may be through separation. It may be through the prison system. They—but there is a path. And there are people that don’t have that path available to them anymore. And I talk to people sometimes who seem to have hardened their hearts. And I tell them, “There’s people that would love to trade places with you. The people that are in hell right now, they would just love to trade places with you. No matter how bad things have gotten in your life, they would love to trade places with you, because you have the opportunity to humble yourself. They don’t. You have the opportunity to repent. They don’t. And so matter where things are, that’s the hope that we have. But it’s a window that will close someday, and don’t waste it while it’s open.

Ken: Yes, go ahead.

Tim: I’d like to ask you a question, Donnie. So, how do you prevent these things? I mean, in our fellowship in Boston we have twenty-five children running around. We’re all fairly vigilant in things. But we know that visitors’ kids could come in, I mean what kind of things they’re bringing in. What sort of safeguards would you suggest setting up ahead of time, preemptively, preventing these things?

Donnie: Thank you for asking that, that was a part that I missed because I was running out of time. Perpetual vigilance. Know where your children are at all times. That sounds like a big assignment, but you should know where your children are, who they’re associating with at all times. Sleeping arrangements. Say no to sleepovers. Mostly, it’s not necessary, if it’s just for fun. Mostly it’s not necessary. At least know what kind of a home your child is going into, if it is necessary for them to sleepover somewhere.

Protect your daughters. You know, a popular house design now is to put Mom and Dad downstairs, and the children upstairs. A perfect setting for things to go wrong. Maybe give the girls the master bedroom downstairs, and you sleep upstairs with the boys. Just simple things like that, practical. But protect your daughters. They only have their virginity once. Once it’s lost it’s gone. You don’t want it to happen. So take these kinds of extreme measures to protect your daughters. Establish boundaries for your families. You know, there’s things we will not do, we will not allow. Be proactive in protecting your children. I’m sure these brethren have all kinds of other ideas as well.

Ken: Thank you very much. That is so very good. We’re out of time. These brothers will linger around in the front, or on the outside here in the front. If anybody wishes to speak to them, please feel free to do so. I wrote down a number of words as I thought about concluding this. Vigilance. Repentance. Confession. Transparency. Yieldedness to God. But above all that, I have one word, for a solution. And that word is Jesus. Jesus, the Saviour of the world, who cured the blind people. He healed the lame people. He calmed the storms. He cast out demons, and He raised the dead. And most certainly, it is my conviction that this same Jesus, who can change our inside, can change our most basic orientation, into an orientation that pleases Him. And God has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Above all else, as we face this onslaught of immorality, let’s keep our eyes steadily on Him, and our faith on Him, and His atoning work on the cross for our sins.