Pushing back against Dr. Moore shouldn’t be done lightly and without thought. He wrote an article which I thought was spot-on for the most part. And it is that one missing part that troubles me.
His article is called, “Fake Love, Fake War: Why So Many Men Are Addicted to Internet Porn and Video Games" and it’s a very true article that rightly diagnoses the battles that society and the Christian church are facing on the obsession over pornography.
But, there was a fundamental piece of the puzzle that Dr. Moore missed in trying to put together why this is happening both in society and in the Christian Church.
The one question he forgot to ask is “Why are Fake Love and Fake War winning?”
Yes, we know as Christians or we ought to know as Christians that…
The drive to the ecstasy of just love and to the valor of just war are gospel matters. The sexual union pictures the cosmic mystery of the union of Christ and his church. The call to fight is grounded in a God who protects his people, a Shepherd Christ who grabs his sheep from the jaws of the wolves.
Yes and it makes sense that…
When these drives are directed toward the illusion of ever-expanding novelty, they kill joy. The search for a mate is good, but blessedness isn’t in the parade of novelty before Adam. It is in finding the one who is fitted for him, and living with her in the mission of cultivating the next generation. When necessary, it is right to fight. But God’s warfare isn’t forever novel. It ends in a supper, and in a perpetual peace.
Yes and it would be reasonable to see that…
Moreover, these addictions foster the seemingly opposite vices of passivity and hyper-aggression. The porn addict becomes a lecherous loser, with one-flesh union supplanted by masturbatory isolation. The video game addict becomes a pugilistic coward, with other-protecting courage supplanted by aggression with no chance of losing one’s life. In both cases, one seeks the sensation of being a real lover or a real fighter, but venting one’s reproductive or adrenal glands over pixilated images, not flesh and blood for which one is responsible.
Dr. Russell Moore concludes by agreeing with the psychologist’s assessment and their article.
Strangely though, it ends on this note.
The answer to both addictions is to fight arousal with arousal. Set forth the gospel vision of a Christ who loves his bride and who fights to save her. And then let’s train our young men to follow Christ by learning to love a real woman, sometimes by fighting his own desires and the spirit beings who would eat him up. Let’s teach our men to make love, and to make war … for real.
My reaction is the same as anyone who orders a burger or taco expecting what you see in the commercials.
I love and respect Dr. Moore. I think he is a brilliant and godly man.
But I think he missed the biggest point of his article. Maybe it was for sake of space. After all, who would read this far into a blog post? If you are now here congratulations, you take reading seriously regardless of the medium. And that’s all for four of you.
As much as I love thinking through why someone is committing sin and to what idol they are sacrificing to, I can’t help but wonder what happened to the rebuke? I mean we are experiencing a brutal death of biblical masculinity in the church. It is happening. If you don’t think it is happening in your church then your church has already lost its men to other activities in the world and you think that men who are forty years up are “young men”.
How will the Church find elders? How will the Church find deacons? Where are the next generation of preachers and pastors? Where are the fathers? Where are the husbands? Where are the men?
These are the questions that will be asked in a decade if we don’t address the systematic failures of the evangelical church.
His application assumes a few things that should have been very explicit in his article and weren’t mentioned.
These are realities in the majority of churches I’ve visited over my last eight years as a Christian. The unbelievable thing is that the churches that still have young men attending do not reach out to them, address sin in their lives (because they don’t know their lives), or disciple them in any gritty way.
What will these churches do when they no longer have any young men attending?
Will they deviate from apathy when a young man visits the church?
That is why “Fake Love and Fake War” are winning.
It’s because churches won’t love God by fighting for a young man’s soul.
And when young men never see churches passionately love and passionately fight.
They just get it somewhere else.
It’s not real love and war. But it’s real to them. And that’s all that matters.
Which is why we in the church must get real.
I did this song for Desiring God ministries for John Piper’s 25th anniversary of the book Desiring God. My friend Erin Hill did me the honors of singing on the hook. Westminster Catechism song coming soon!
link to download the song here:
Clyde Kilby’s Resolutions
Let me conclude now by reading eleven practical steps used by my former teacher Clyde Kilby to stay alive to the beauty of God’s world.
1. At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above me and about me.
2. Instead of the accustomed idea of a mindless and endless evolutionary change to which we can neither add nor subtract, I shall suppose the universe guided by an Intelligence which, as Aristotle said of Greek drama, requires a beginning, a middle and an end. I think this will save me from the cynicism expressed by Bertrand Russell before his death, when he said: “There is darkness without and when I die there will be darkness within. There is no splendour, no vastness anywhere, only triviality for a moment, and then nothing.”
3. I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities. I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence but just as likely ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood.
4. I shall not turn my life into a thin straight line which prefers abstractions to reality. I shall know what I am doing when I abstract, which of course I shall often have to do.
5. I shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. I shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work.
6. I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what Lewis calls their “divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic” existence.
7. I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try, at least for a little while, to be, in the words of Lewis Carroll, the “child of the pure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder.”
8. I shall follow Darwin’s advice and turn frequently to imaginative things such as good literature and good music, preferably, as Lewis suggests, an old book and timeless music.
9. I shall not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead, as Charles Williams suggested, “fulfill the moment as the moment.” I shall try to live well just now because the only time that exists is just now.
10. If for nothing more than the sake of a change of view, I shall assume my ancestry to be from the heavens rather than from the caves.
11. Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life in the assumption that this world is not idiotic, neither run by an absentee landlord, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course I shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the architect who calls Himself Alpha and Omega.
Full Sermon Here
Piper, J. (2007). Sermons from John Piper (1980-1989). Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God.