Florida pastor Jay Dennis is issuing a wake-up call to churches who are fighting an enemy of which they may be unaware.
“Churches are facing a spiritual battle against a hidden plague that is keeping many believers from fulfilling their part of God’s mission,” said Dennis, pastor of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Fla. That hidden plague is pornography. Dennis and other SBC leaders are fighting it by launching the national “Join 1 Million Men in the War Against Pornography” campaign at this summer’s Southern Baptist Convention in Houston, Texas.
A 2011 LifeWay Research survey of 1,000 pastors found 62% of them believe less than 10% of men in their churches viewed pornography on a weekly basis. Dennis believes the figure is more like 80 percent.
Most churches, he said, respond to the problem of pornography by denying its reality, while others are aware of the problem but are not specifically dealing with it. Instead, pastors must “admit there is a problem and urgently address” pornography by helping men overcome it.
The “Join 1 Million Men” campaign started as a ministry in Dennis’ church. He wrote the initial materials – based on a pursuit of purity rather than pleasure – and taught them in six Wednesday evening sessions for men. To date, 1,300 men in the church have committed to live pornography-free lives by affirming 14 statements on a commitment card. The cards are displayed prominently at the church.
Dennis is taking the campaign to a national level with the help of Southern Baptist Woman’s Missionary Union and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Both entities will help promote the campaign at this year’s SBC annual meeting in Houston, and WMU’s New Hope Publishers has produced resources to support the movement. The goal is for one million men to take a public stand against pornography, and for one million women to commit to pray for them.
Faith may aid psychiatric treatment
A study of patients at Massachusetts’ McLean Hospital found those that believed in a higher power “do significantly better in short-term psychiatric treatment than those without, regardless of their religious affiliation,” said hospital clinician David H. Rosmarin. “Given the prevalence of religious belief in the United States – over 90 percent of the population – these findings are important in that they highlight the clinical implications of spiritual life.” Read more at www.BPNews.net.
SBC site blocked by U.S. military
FoxNews reported earlier this month the official website of the Southern Baptist Convention (www.SBC.net) was blocked on some U.S. military bases due to “hostile content.” Roger S. Oldham, a vice president for the SBC’s Executive Committee, urged Christians not to jump to conclusions.
“Though there have been several instances recently in which evangelical Christians have been marginalized by the broader culture, we think that a rush to judgment that the United States Military has targeted the Southern Baptist Convention as a hostile religious group would be premature.”