Missions & Masturbation – How John Piper Almost Got Fired

In September of 1984 John Piper almost got fired from his church for writing an article in the churches magazine entitled, “Missions & Masturbation.”  He did not get fired, but he did almost get fired.  You can see why when you read the article below.  So read carefully what follows – it can be graphic.   But nonetheless it is necessary to teach on these things because issues of sexuality affect every single person who has ever existed.

John Piper:

Masturbation is the experience of sexual orgasm produced by self-stimulation. Virtually every man and almost as many women have tried it. It is a regular practice of most single men.

One of the major forces preventing young people from obeying the call of God into vocational Christian service is defeat in the area of lust. A teenager hears a challenging call to throw himself into the cause of world evangelization. He feels the promptings of the Holy Spirit. He tastes the thrill of following the King of kings into battle. But he does not obey because he is masturbating regularly. He feels guilty. He can hardly imagine witnessing to a pretty girl about the eternal plight of her soul, because he has so habitually looked at girls naked in his imagination. So he feels unworthy and unable to obey the call of God. Masturbation becomes the enemy of missions.

Is masturbation wrong? Let me address the issue mainly for men. I cannot imagine sexual orgasm in the loins without sexual image in the mind. I know there are nocturnal emissions, which I regard as innocent and helpful, but I doubt that they are ever orgasmic apart from a sexual dream that supplies the necessary image in the mind. Evidently God has constituted the connection between sexual orgasm and sexual thought in such a way that the force and pleasure of orgasm is dependent on the thought or images in our minds.

Therefore in order to masturbate, it is necessary to get vivid and exciting thoughts or images into the mind. This can be done by pure imagination or by pictures or movies or stories or real persons. These images always involve women as sexual objects. I use the word “object” because in order for a woman to be a true sexual “subject” in our imagination she must in reality be one with whom we are experiencing what we are imagining. This is not the case with masturbation.

So I vote no on masturbation. There may be other reasons why it is wrong. For now I rest my vote on the inevitable sexual images which accompany masturbation and which turn women into sexual objects. The sexual thoughts that enable masturbation do not help any man to treat women with greater respect. Therefore masturbation produces real and legitimate guilt and stands in the way of obedience.

Three encouragements to single men:

  1. You are not alone in the battle.
  2. Periodic failure in this area no more disqualifies you from ministry than periodic failures of impatience (which is also a sin).
  3. Pursue the expulsive power of a new affection. I walked by a whole section of “photography” books at the Walker Art Center last Thursday empowered by the better pleasure of feeling Christ conquer the temptation to look.

For the sake of your power,

Pastor John

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Help Your Kids Say No to Porn

Jen Wilkins:

The first time porn was served at the cafeteria lunch table, my son was 11 years old. Does that seem young to you? Research suggests that one in three children ages 11 to 14 have viewed pornography on a mobile device. Add to that the very real possibility that a child will stumble across explicit content on YouTube or in a pop-up ad during innocent computer usage, and one thing becomes clear: parents must be proactive in talking about porn with their kids.
I’m not a fearmonger when it comes to parenting. In fact, I think fear is a terrible motivator for making parenting decisions. But if children are being exposed to porn at young ages, the loving thing to do as a parent is to equip them to know how to respond. The most frequent parenting question I’m asked is, “When should I talk to my child about sex?” My adamant answer is, “Much earlier than you might think.” If you’re concerned about your child being exposed to porn, you have to talk about sex, and you must do so early.
Let me tell you what played out at the sixth-grade lunch table that day. When the phone with the images was offered, my son responded, “I don’t look at porn.” The owner of the phone, perplexed, asked, “Then how will you know how to have sex?” My son responded that his parents had told him all about it. Jaws dropped. Not one other sixth-grade boy at the table had yet talked with his parents about sex, or, it would seem, about porn. But they were by no means lacking in instruction.
We may stall on the sex talk, but the world will not. If we delay introducing the topic because of personal discomfort, shame, or uncertainty about how to begin, our children will form their first ideas about human sexuality based on the reports of their peers, the images on their devices, or the pop-ups that introduce them to porn. They will also assume their parents are not willing or equipped to handle discussions about sex.

Ask the Right Question

Too many parents are still asking the wrong question with regard to children and explicit content. We can no longer ask, “How should I prepare my child for if they see porn?” Instead we must ask, “How should I prepare my child for when they see porn?” External controls are important, but they only shield your child from a handful of instances when porn can make an appearance. Mobile devices are everywhere, and your neighbor’s unsecured Wi-Fi is easy to find.
We must begin giving our children internal controls as early as possible. We must give them a way to flee danger as soon as it presents itself. Just as parents of my generation taught their kids a script for when they were offered drugs, we must teach our kids a script for when they are offered porn. And we must be ready to have frank, fearless conversations about what they may have already seen, conversations free of any hint of condemnation. We must maintain a safe environment for openness and ongoing dialogue about this and other difficult topics.
Your children may very well be exposed to porn before they are developmentally able to understand what they are looking at. They need your help to know how to respond. Give them red flags, a script, and a plan.

Red Flags, a Script, and a Plan

Though not developmentally ready for a full-blown explanation of the nature and dangers of porn, young children can learn two red flags to help them avoid contact with it, two red flags that also guard against predators. Teach your child at a young age that “naked is private,” and that “don’t tell your mom and dad” means danger. Both of these red flags will help them recognize when they are being shown something you wouldn’t want them to see.
Train your children how to respond to an offer of porn by giving them scripted words to use, and a plan of action:
Parent: “If someone shows you a picture of something and asks you not to tell anyone, what should you do?”
Child: “Tell them ‘no thanks,’ and then come tell you.”
Parent: “If a picture of something strange comes up on the computer, what should you do?”
Child: “Ex it out, and then come tell you.”
Rehearse this language, just as you would rehearse what words to use in other situations, like if a stranger offered a ride home from school.

Culture of Confession

Children need to know they can come tell a parent without fear of getting in trouble or setting off high drama, even if (especially if) they looked at what was offered. When we give them permission to come to us, we reinforce a culture of confession in our homes. We may not be able to shield our kids from pornographic images, but we can give them the internal tools they need to protect them from becoming entangled in secrecy, shame, and a warped view of sexuality.
Whether they are 8 or 28, we want our children to choose confession over concealment every time. Reward their courage in coming to you by reacting calmly, affirming that they have done the right thing, and then helping them process what has happened and what to do moving forward.
We must communicate clearly to our children that porn is telling a lie and that we will tell them the truth. As your child gets older, talk frankly about what porn is, about how it teaches a perverted view of sexuality, and about how it exploits both the viewer and also those revealed in the images. Talk about the consequences of having a wrong view of sex and sexuality, the dangers of lust, and the sin of objectifying another person made in the image of God.

Start Early

If you have preschool-aged children, begin gathering resources now to help you naturally introduce the topic of sex in age-appropriate ways as opportunities present. (In other words, if you take your kids to the zoo in the spring, be ready to broach the subject if the animal kingdom introduces it.) Rather than think, How long can I put off the sex talk? ask, How soon can I begin to equip my child to filter messages about sex and sexuality in age-appropriate ways?
Be the first voice your child hears about sex and sexuality, and about fleeing porn exposure. Don’t let fear cause you to delay beginning this conversation. And don’t let fear cause you to have the conversation in a way that scares your child or casts sexuality in a negative light. Get educated about what resources are available to help you confidently and calmly discuss sex as a beautiful gift from God, to be enjoyed within the good boundaries he has set. Lovingly teach your kids red flags, a script, and a plan. And trust your heavenly Father that even this parenting hurdle is one he can help you surmount.
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Check out these additional resources. (By listing these resources I am not giving them an unqualified endorsement. As with all parenting resources, the responsibility lies with you to read discerningly, take what you can use, and leave the rest. Happy digging!)

Jen Wilkin is a wife, mom to four great kids, and an advocate for women to love God with their minds through the faithful study of his Word. She writes, speaks, and teaches women the Bible. She lives in Flower Mound, Texas, and her family calls The Village Church home. Jen is the author of Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds (Crossway, forthcoming). You can find her at jenwilkin.blogspot.com and follow her on Twitter.

Why Google’s New Anti-Porn Policy Is Such a Big Deal

Recently on RELEVANT Magazine:

Last week, Google sent out a letter to many of their advertisers, informing them of their new policy to no longer accept AdWords advertisements containing explicit language or that link to porn sites.

This is a huge deal, and not just because of its implications for users who will no longer see search ads for porn sites. This is a move that could significantly affect Google’s bottom line.

Essentially, Google is getting out of the porn business.

So What Does This Mean?

To clarify, Google isn’t further limiting its search engine’s ability to find and link to adult websites. Instead, with this policy, Google will no longer be profiting from them as their customers. The new rules are directly aimed at excluding porn-peddling from its AdWords campaigns.

As a technology company, Google does a lot of things: They make cool maps; have created the world’s most popular mobile operating system; help you organize emails. They also maintain the Internet’s biggest search engine. But ultimately, Google does one thing very well: They help you find things.

Their entire brand is predicated on people coming to them to help them find things—driving directions, email contacts, funny videos—more easily. It’s also their business model.

How Do Google’s Ads Work?

BY ALLOWING ADS TO PORN SITES, GOOGLE WAS ESSENTIALLY MAKING MONEY DIRECTLY OFF OF PEOPLE GOING TO LOOK AT PORN. THAT IS, UNTIL NOW.

If you’re not familiar with how AdWords work, it’s a simple concept: Customers can create small, text-based ads linking to their website that will appear along with the organic results when a user searches for designated terms. (They are the links that appear on the side and top of the page when you Google something.) The more specific and in-demand the terms themselves are (and, depending on how much custom demographic targeting you want to include) the more expensive they are. Advertisers pay Google a small amount every time someone clicks on the ad. Ideally, everyone wins: The advertisers get a customer looking for their website, and customers find what they are looking for.

AdsWords are also extremely profitable for Google. A 2012 study estimated that the company made $100 million a day just from AdWords campaigns.

But, by allowing ads to porn sites, Google was essentially making money directly off of people going to look at porn. That is, until now.

What Is Google Giving Up?

It’s hard to know how much money this new policy will cost Google. But, considering some stats estimate that 12 percent of all websites contain pornography, and 25 percent of all search engine requests are porn-related, the number could be massive.

How Is This Different?

GOOGLE IS SHOWING THAT IT IS WILLING TO SACRIFICE A LARGE CHUNK OF CONSTANT REVENUE IN ORDER TO NO LONGER PROFIT FROM THE PROLIFERATION OF PORNOGRAPHY.

It should be noted that this isn’t Google’s first action against porn. They recently banned the sale of apps that contain pornographic material from being sold for Glass, and have invested substantially in fighting child porn.

The AdWords policy though—which actually first changed in March—is different.

Their efforts in partnering with law enforcement to find Internet users who exploit children is admirable, but it isn’t a threat to its business model. With this new stand, Google is showing that it is willing to sacrifice a large chunk of constant revenue in order to no longer profit from the proliferation of pornography on the Internet.