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Ripples in the Kingdom

The pastor the TEXAN interviewed said one of the ministers he is counseling is "going to do everything he can to recover. He turned himself in [to his ministry], started the counseling process, started the accountability, did a contract with his wife and with me and with some other guys."

But even with accountability, vital as it is, "both you and I know that people can lie," the pastor said. "In fact, one of these guys I used to meet with, he did lie to me for a while. When all this started, when he actually was doing some of this stuff, he was lying to me."

The man later initiated a meeting and confessed that he had lied.

"There's no guarantee that goes with accountability. And we're naïve to think that just because somebody sits down and asks the questions that we are always getting the truth. But at the same time, I think it's something important. I think it's something you need to do. It's a process you need to be experiencing, though it's certainly no guarantee."

The pastor said it is crucial that a minister allows friends, staff and fellow church members to inspect the cache of his computer anytime to see what sites he has visited.

The ravages of pornography and sexual sin among believers has a ripple effect, the pastor said.

"Particularly when it's someone in ministry. It affects that pastor. It affects his spouse, his family, his children if he has any. It affects his children's friends. It affects his congregation. It affects his immediate family, cousins. It affects his neighbors. It degrades the image of Christ for those who are lost and those in the community who look to that church and those who are considering the claims of the Gospel, those who have just come to know Christ.

"It's enormous when you stop and think about the negative consequences of falling into the trap. Quite frankly, at least half the time they end up losing their family. And nobody thinks that way. Nobody thinks when they first start looking at porn that 'I'm going to lose my family, I'm going to lose my job.'

"Both of the guys I'm dealing with right now, here's what they've lost: They've lost their marriage. They've lost their job. They lost a lot of friends in the sense it will never be the same. They've lost custody of their children and now they are both doing something that they don't really want to do or feel called to do, and they're just trying to get by."

(c) 2007 Baptist Press. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Jerry Pierce is managing editor of the Southern Baptist TEXAN, newsjournal of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. TEXAN correspondent Bonnie Pritchett & Dwayne Hastings of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission contributed to this report. Click here to see an earlier Baptist Press story with counsel for women who learn their husbands have a pornography addiction.