Saturday, April 10, 2010

Your Private Life Gives Public Witness

This is a guest post by Jared Wilson and is cross-blogged at The Gospel-Driven Church.

A word of warning for the thousands entering Louisville next week for the Together 4 the Gospel Conference: what you do in the privacy of your hotel room can be a witness against the gospel. Think this is unwarranted?

From Steve Farrar's Finishing Strong:
A number of years ago a national conference for church youth directors was held at a major hotel in a city in the mid-west. Youth pastors by the hundreds flooded into that hotel and took nearly every room. At the conclusion of the conference, the hotel manager told the conference administrator that the number of guests who tuned into the adult movie channel broke the previous record, far and away outdoing any other convention in the history of the hotel.

My friend Justin Holcomb, who is a sociologist, an author, a pastor at Mars Hill Seattle, director of Mosaic Peace, and the academic dean of Re:Train helped me in looking into this phenomenon, recalling from his own research in an email to me:
I interviewed hotel managers about this when I was teaching in the sociology department at Univ of Virginia. All managers said that porn rates increase during conferences in general. That's normal because they have more guests. A few admitted that it seems to be the same or a bit more when Christian conferences come to town. One manager was a Christian and he said a line I'll never forget: "Unfortunately, 'they know you are Christians by consumption' is more truthful than 'love' when it comes to this."

Friends, this should not be.

We may flood to the area hotels next week and outwardly demonstrate a solid witness for the gospel, and then put a black eye on the church, thinking viewing pornography in our hotel room is easy, confidential, and inconsequential. Will the church stun Louisville hotel managers with its porn consumption next week?

If you believe you are susceptible to this, take precautions now. Secure a roommate, have your TV removed or stations blocked, whatever you have to do. Thinking longer term, utilize Internet filters or accountability software, or seek out help with a pastor or counselor if you need it.

And of course you shouldn't not view porn next week merely because you could contribute to a black eye to the bride of Christ. You should not view it any time because it dishonors God and because the joys of Christ and his gospel are stronger and more fulfilling than lustful indulgence.

Blessings, T4G'ers. Watch your life and your doctrine closely, because your private life gives public witness, whether you realize it or not.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ooh...VERY important admonition here! Thanks. I could not help but think of the ETS annual meeting that I will be attending in Atlanta in November this year.

Every encounter, whether in the privacy of our rooms or the in the public domain of the lobby engaging a clerk who mistakenly over-billed us or a waitress who brought the wrong order, is an opportunity to show the glory of the Gospel and the beauty of Christ's Church. May we be ambassadors for Him!