“Pursue holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.” ~ Hebrews 12:14
So often when I write or speak I begin by saying that I used to be into pornography during my years in college at Michigan State University. I had come out of a good home with good values – though not a church-going family, or necessarily a Christian family. There were many families like that in that generation. I graduated from high school in 1965.
Why do I often begin my messages that way stating that I was once into pornography? Because it marks a point of demarcation in my life. During those later years of MSU and while in my first year of teaching, I began to attend church with my wife to be. I was an agnostic at the time (1970). Suddenly and much to my surprise, I began to recognize that God was getting my attention through the preaching of God’s Word and the singing of hymns.
I was a long-haired guy at the time and an anti-war protestor. My Dad, a World War II veteran, was heart sick and disappointed in me.
Here’s where I’m going with this. A pastor came and shared the Gospel with me (fall 1969) trying to help me to see what the Bible says about sin - my sin – and my need for a Savior. I kindly blew it off. I certainly didn’t see myself as a sinner. But over a rather short period of time, I began to recognize that I was a sinner. I began to sense something new in my life – a desire to know more about God – more about His will for my life. I became saved.
That became a demarcation line - though I had no clue as to how big a deal that was and how big it would be going forward throughout my life.
If anyone would have ever said that one day I would be called out of a teaching career to found and head an anti-pornography organization I would have had a good chuckle. However, I did sense a call long ago that seemed so real then - back in the ‘70s already - and finally in 1988 I left my teaching career to become American Family Association’s first named state director (1988-1999).
In the late 1980s, one of the great concerns was to encourage stores to discontinue the sale of pornographic magazines. X-rated videos were just emerging at that time. Under President Ronald Reagan, obscenity was one of the nation's top five law enforcement objectives: to combat the trafficking of pornography. In my new ministry calling back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, I was speaking in churches sometimes several times a week on the topic: Holiness: God’s Desire for His People.”
I have continued the stand against pornography, obscenity, and indecency, while calling God’s people to pursue holiness, from 1999 up to this present day. The organization that I am thankful to head is American Decency Association. There hasn’t been a day that I have questioned God’s calling in my life.
I’m writing this because I am sickened with what I see in our culture. I am committing to write on this assault upon our God, upon His word, and our lives going forward from my long years of perspective. Please pray for me as I desire to speak into this subject often – with God’s help.
Until the next time, may God tenderize ourselves to His great love for us and to His desire - that we seek Him to help us pursue holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. There is a lot at stake. Many are compromised and in need of a Savior as I did and do.
Let us never forget that the God we love, loves holiness -- hence the intensity of his fatherly, chastising discipline (Hebrews 12:5- 6, 10!) William Gurnell says it best: ‘God would not rub us so hard if it were not to fetch out the dirt that is in our natures. God loves purity so well He had rather see a hole than a spot in his child's garments.’
Taken fromA Radical Comprehensive Call to Holiness, Joel R. Beeke and Michael P.V. Barret
Bill Johnson, President and Founder
American Decency Association