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    “See to it no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

    « Altar Call | 1 Corinthians 1 Commentary »
    Saturday
    Oct272012

    Does Jesus Love Porn Stars?: A Critique of XXX Church Literature

    A friend of mine was telling me that her church was doing a series on sex trafficking. I told her it sounded interesting, and she promised to bring me a copy of the series and other related resources. True to her word, I received 2 CDs (out of 3 sermons), and a curious little book titled, “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” by XXX Church.

     

    After listening to the CDs and reading the book, I was struck by a few things:

     

    1.  The speakers on the CDs gave zero information about sex trafficking, the porn industry, or any other related topic.

     

    2.  The speakers on the CDs consistently referred to the little book, “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” as a Bible.

     

    3.  The speakers mostly talked about how important it was that they were reaching out “with the love of Christ” to people in the sex industry by hosting booths/tables at porn conventions.

     

    4.  The booklet consists of a hip-looking reprinting of the Gospel of John in hip, relevant, street language, intermingled with colorful pages about Jesus’ love for people, followed by a few testimonies, and ending with a lengthy, personal story (“Jesus Loves Ron Jeremy”) from the founder of XXXChurch Ministries, Craig Gross in which he lovingly bashes any person who might dare to question his ministry,

     

    “…I love to be around pre-Christians. On the other hand, some Christians make me feel awkward…They set in motion a swirling debate of how I should live my life. Most of the standards that are slung at me are darts” (157).

     

    5.  The speakers and booklet made it very clear the philosophy behind XXXChurch is Jesus loves people no matter what, and He has an awesome plan for their lives. Anyone who accepts Jesus can be changed for the better.

     

    I will address the points one by one.

     

    1.  CDs and a sermon series titled “Trafficking” (the labels on my CDs) in which trafficking is not actually addressed is misleading, but then that appears to be what the ministry does best. The name XXXchurch is proudly explained (on pp. 144-145 of JLPS) as a name that both disgusts Christians while drawing porn-seekers to their website,

     

    “The letters ‘XXX’ freaked the church out and the word ‘church’ freaked the porn people out. The two words blended the seedy and the sacred…[we] average a million visitors a month…I think some of those hits were people searching for some naked nuns”. Other purposeful misnomers include “Porn and Pancake” events, “Strip Church”, and “Pete the Porno Puppet” commercial (p. 149 JLPS)

     

    Scripture is quite clear the sacred and the seedy cannot be blended. God is holy (set apart), and we are called to “be holy as He is holy” (1 Peter 1:16) (See also: Set Apart). We are also called to be honest,  

    “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37)

     

    “Thou shalt not lie” (Exodus 20:16)

     

    Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).

     

    2.  Calling their booklet “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” a Bible is also highly misleading, as it is at best only the Gospel of John. The Bible contains 66 books. Every time the speakers announced they had given away countless Bibles at porn conventions, they were really referring to their “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” booklet, which comes no where close to being a Bible.

     

    3.  It was hard for me to understand how an organization that claims to seek an end to porn, sexual addictions, and sex trafficking could place lighthearted photos in their “Bible” of XXXchurch ministers posing and smiling with two guys in condom suits featuring a cartoon-ish sperm on the front (the photo is right before the Gospel of John starts on p. 1).

     

    Other pictures make it clear the XXXchurch partners are having a blast passing out Bibles, er…JLPS to the convention attendees. On the second CD, one of the young women unapologetically describes dancing to the music at a porn convention while passing out snacks to female porn stars.

     

    I do not understand how dancing to secular music at porn conventions, posing with condom-guys, passing out snacks, passing out “JLPS” stickers (on CD 2), eating at Hooters with the King of Porn (p. 150-152 JLPS), or filming commercials titled “Pete the Porno Puppet” with an unrepentant pornographer (p. 149) are examples of sharing Christ’s love. Christians may think they are building bridges, but they are in defiance of the very Scriptures they claim to follow.

    "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial[b]? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

     16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them   and walk among them, and I will be their God,  and they will be my people.” Therefore, “Come out from them   and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing,  and I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)


    4a.  Basically, this point is just re-hashing why trying to be relevant to culture (which is not the same thing as relevant to individuals) does not work.

     

    Trying to rework a Bible book to make it more appealing to the senses and ego (not the same as making it readable) is manipulative and was not something Jesus or any other disciple did. The Bible is not naturally appealing. Our sin-nature wants nothing to do with it. It is imposing because it is God’s word and it is truth.


    4b.  The testimonies featured in JLPS mostly have a common thread of stating somewhere how the person had finally come to the end of their rope when they heard about Jesus and how He had a better plan for their lives.

     

    But they turned to God out of desperation for the way their lives were, not because they had grieved God and that does make a significant difference. It was still about themselves, not God. http://www.zionfire.org/paul-washer-mocks-the-modern-gospel/

     

    There is also a common thread of never using the “sin” word, substituting it for “mistakes” instead (first page of the book and pp. 17, 57, 96). “Mistake” does not hold the same moral weight as “sin”. A mistake is putting too many eggs in the brownies or not enough creamer in the coffee. A sin is breaking God’s holy and just law.

     

    When we are confronted with our sin through the truth of God’s word, the appropriate response is grief and repentance for how we have treated God and His law,

    “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”(Acts 2:37).

     

    None of that was evidenced in the testimonies (except perhaps one, “A Porn Star’s Story”, p. 127).   

     

    4c.  Mr. Craig Gross does not hide his disdain for the church (what he calls “religion”, p. 142), organized religion (pp. 142-143), and conservative Christians (142-143).

     

    “As you have hopefully noted by now, I am not religious. In fact, I despise religion…Religion produces rules and regulations to control people and bully them with the fear of hell.” (p. 142)

     

    “I am an advocate for free speech and freedom of expression, which made me a target of organized religion…”(p. 143) (he has this last phrase enlarged and colored for emphasis).

     

    “Many in the church world despise who I am and ignore what I do…Scroll through my phone and you’ll find some of the top names in the adult industry. You won’t find many church folks…” (p. 143)

     

    “Then there was the porn trade show where we passed out thousands of Bibles… (*he means JLPS) and people who claimed to be Christians bashed me alongside the porn stars…The guy who I affectionately called “Hate Preacher” told me nobody would take the Bibles.” (p. 143) (*again, he means JLPS)

     

    Mr. Gross also includes a testimony entitled “A Porn Producer’s Story” (pp. 15-18) in which church-going Christians (but not Jesus) are reviled.

     

    This is a big clue to Christians. As many problems as the church of Christ has, it is still His church, His bride (Ephesians 5:25-27; Rev. 19:7-9), and those most precious to Him. For Mr. Gross to disregard and blast it as he does disrespects not only his brothers and sisters in the Lord, ), but disrespects Jesus as well.

    “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.” (1 John 2:9) (1 John 3 has more to say on this topic)

     

    5.  (See also: Selling Christianity Part 3) Some misunderstandings about the nature of Jesus Christ include where He went to be with sinners. He ate in neutral places like private homes where He had been invited as a guest.

     

    He walked, taught, and performed miracles in public places and synagogues. Jesus never went into a brothel, a bar/tavern, any place He was not invited, or any place of disrepute (other than private homes, as mentioned above).

     

    Page 167 of JLPS states, “The world divides. Jesus unites.” But the Gospel of Matthew records Jesus as having said, “I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matt. 10:34).

     

    Several times, Mr. Gross reiterates that Jesus died for love. What Mr. Gross doesn’t make clear is that Jesus died firstly out of obedience for the love of His Father (God),

    "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42; Matt. 26:39).    

     

    Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!

    Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:5-11)

     

    It was God’s will that Jesus die for the sins of the world, not Jesus’ desire to start a love revolution (p. 169) or establish “a set of beliefs…to make the world a better place” (p. 142 See also page 80).

     

    But both God and Jesus knew Jesus’ biggest finale was that He came back from the dead three days later, proving that He was God and had defeated sin and death on the cross (Acts 2:22-36). Yes, Jesus loves the world, but a person must love God first and foremost before other people,

    Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matt. 22:37; See also: The Greatest Commandment).

     

    Did Jesus come to judge (actions and hearts)? Yes! To condemn (a final act)? No. http://www.soulforce.org/forums/showthread.php?t=6409 See John 9:39 and John 12:47.

     

    It doesn’t just make God sad when He sees His creations sinning and destroying their lives (p. 58). It makes Him angry too. People seem to have a hard time understanding this. God is a just God. This means He (being God) created the world, set up some rules to govern and order it, and loved it.

     

    Whenever people break those rules (which you can learn all about in the Bible) it is called “sin” and does more than just hurt God’s feelings. It hurts us, and it hurts others too. God loves others as much as He loves us, and will not tolerate our sins forever.

     

    There are a hundred Old Testament stories to that effect, and God does not change (Malachi 3:6). He could not be a just God if He let those who injure others go unpunished.

     

    So He also sent Jesus to die for the sins of the world, but the contract is void if you don’t follow Him. You can’t follow Him if you don’t know Him,  

    We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love[b] is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did” (1 John 2:3-6).

     

    The only way to know God and Jesus is to read about them in a real Bible.

     

    For all Mr. Gross’s hype about love, he does not follow the famous Love Chapter in 1 Corinthians 13:  

    “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud it is not rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always hopes, always trusts, always perseveres.” 

     

    “This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. 

    14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

    16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:11-18) 


    “If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4:20)

     

    Mr. Gross is not kind or patient with Christians, he proudly boasts about the popularity of his ministry, while he writes in anger about the church. He aligns himself with those who do evil, defending them and his actions. His ministry is founded on deceitful misnomers and spreads misinformation about the character of Christ.  

     

    Far from bringing awareness about the devastating effects of the sex industry to churches, XXXchurch is sadly nothing more than one more piece of “progressive Christianity” presenting a false Christ.

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    I truly love how it is easy on my eyes and the data are well written. I'm wondering how I might be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your RSS which must do the trick! Have a nice day!

    July 25, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterxnxx

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