An Election Reflection

In the wake of a sweeping Liberal win, pro-lifers across Canada feel betrayed by the Canadian populace. A prime-minister that shamelessly denounces the humanity of the preborn and further prevents his MP’s from voting life now leads our nation. Feeling like a liar, I will sing the anthem this morning with my students, “The True North strong and free.” Clearly, the Liberal stance is anti-freedom, anti-choice, and anti-God. But yet, I read in 1 Peter 2:17, “Honour the king.” How can I really honour Justin Trudeau and his government with all of his self-destructive policies?

Honour can mean so much more than paying allegiance to authority. Let me ask you to pray for our new government. They are in darkness and they need our prayers that God would direct them to His Word. Commending our leaders into God’s hand is honouring them, for only in this Word is there freedom. Let me ask you to continue to show the truth of abortion and the bloody waste of human life to our leaders. Throwing the light of truth on the darkest corners of injustice with uncompromising love and compassion to the perpetrators of that injustice is honouring those perpetrators – for in the words of the old cliché, “Truth will set you (and them) free.” They are prisoners to a cleverly planned assault on humanity and this we must show them. Let me ask you not to falter in this fight, for the silent screams of the children will only grow louder and the chains of inhumanity will only grow tighter. Honouring Trudeau means showing him those screams about him and those chains around so that he can no longer deny the truth and reality of them. Let us fight, not only for the children whose lives end between the merciless shears of the abortionist knife, but also because our leaders have blood on their hands and shackles on their hearts. We have the cloth necessary to wipe it off and the keys to unloose their bands. This is honouring the king, for though we cannot take away the stain that pollutes their hands or the scars of oppression, we can dry up the fountain of blood and loosen them from these manacles.

This election is a blow for the pro-life movement, but it is not the end. William Wilberforce nearly passed the abolition of the slave trade in 1796, losing by only four votes – and that because several of his supporters found more interest in a play than voting for abolition. It would be another decade before success crowned the work of Wilberforce. But success came at last – because the truth will trump the lie. Courage then, though the lie seemingly triumphs, truth shall grow if we continue to nourish it. Let us move to the fourth stanza of our anthem and sing with hope, “As waiting for the better day, we ever stand on guard.” Stand on guard for the children! Stand on guard for freedom! Stand on guard for truth! Stand on guard against the lie, against death, against oppression, against selfish patriotism, against discouragement! Honour the king with prayer, love, compassion, and uncompromising truth!

The Reformed in today’s society

It should be obvious to any observer that the world we live in is becoming increasingly hostile to Christians. Many Christian views are now considered to be hate speech. Christian tax dollars are taken to dismember pre-born children in government-funded clinics. Christian schools, especially in Alberta in the wake of Bill 10, are now under threat of being forced to teach their children ideological beliefs that directly contradict biblical teachings on sexuality. The schools haven’t been forced to change their teaching yet—although the Catholic school system in Ontario has already knuckled under—but be assured that the day is coming where the government will try. Secular activists are not satisfied with having thoroughly infiltrated and rebuilt the public system. They want Christian schools, too.

In the last decade, we’ve seen a moral revolution at warp speed. The culture has shifted so radically left on virtually every social issue that we’ve been left gasping—if we’ve even noticed.

The response to secular threats has been, for decades, to build the walls higher. A strong defence. And this has, in many cases, worked very well. It has successfully kept many of the wicked influences out of church communities. But with the dawn of the Internet, those days are over. Walls can be built higher, but Wi-Fi connections go right through them. Those children who are not presented with biblical teaching on pornography, sexuality, abortion, and so many other issues, will simply find those answers elsewhere. And by the hundreds, they are. I talk to them all the time.

The response of many is that we must pray. And this is absolutely true. We are commanded to pray without ceasing”—and especially when the times are dark, as these certainly are. But what we often forget is that we are also commanded to work. As Augustine said, “Pray like everything depends on God. Work like everything depends on you.” Prayer and work, as one Bible doctrine book of the Netherlands Reformed Congregations puts it, are like two paddles in one boat. Both are essential.

To say that we shouldn’t engage or interact with the culture is to say that a farmer can sit in front of a barren field (and what an apt comparison to our culture that is.) Instead of ploughing the field, and planting the seed, and watering the plants, and weeding the field—all the while prayerfully, as God rules over nature—he instead sits in front of his field and waits. He prays for crops to spring up where there has been no work done. He hopes the plants will spring up where no seeds are planted. And of course, the field remains barren.

Rev. Kersten, the founder of the Netherlands Reformed, advocated strongly against a withdrawal from the public square, recognizing the dangers of this. His well-known biography by Rev. Golverdingen states that Rev. Kersten himself felt drawn into politics because “he could not resign himself to the passivity he observed in the congregations.” Rev. Golverdingen notes that “Rev. Kersten also berated the indecisiveness and indifference toward national interest by some members of his own circles,” even preaching a sermon where he compared those who refused to defend Christian principles in the public square to the tribe of Reuben refusing to join Deborah in going to battle against Sisera and the Canaanites.

Many of us have fooled ourselves into believing that the world can burn, but as long as we keep the doors of our churches and communities tightly shut, we are safe—even when the flames are licking at the doors.

Even in political manners, many vote with their business interests in mind rather than social issues. We seem to have forgotten that in a democratic system where we choose the leaders who rule over us, we are morally responsible for the decisions that they make. When the Alberta NDP declares that we need more abortion clinics, and we vote for the NDP, we are voting for more abortion clinics. To focus simply on economic security only when voting is to believe that God will prosper a nation that has now butchered more than four million human beings created in His image.

When the people of Israel demanded a king “like all the nations” the prophet Samuel was commanded to tell them, “And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day” (1 Samuel 8:18). Similarly, if we are not trying to impact the culture on these issues of utmost importance, if we are not trying to curb and combat national sins, and if we are willing to vote for those who uphold the most wicked of political positions, then we cannot be surprised at the implosion of our culture. Indeed, we have contributed to it.

In his book Practical Religion, J.C Ryle states: “When St. Paul said, ‘Come out and be separate’, he did not mean that Christians ought to decline all intercourse with unconverted people, and refuse to go into their society. There is not warrant for such conduct in the New Testament.” He further noted: “To know nothing about what is going on among mankind, and never to look at a newspaper,–to care nothing about the government of one’s country, and to be utterly indifferent as to the persons who guide its counsels and make its laws—all this may seem very right and proper in the eyes of some people. But I take leave to think that is an idle, selfish neglect of duty…Christians who plume themselves on their ignorance of secular things are precisely the Christians who bring religion into contempt.”

Opposing or ignoring those who try to defend these values in the public square is, for Christian communities, cultural suicide. The secularists are not willing to live and let live. They have been successfully transforming society for more than four decades now. And they have met very little opposition.

The simple fact is that there has never been so much self-interest in cultural engagement. Those Christians who believe that our society is going to live and let live have quite simply not been following the news. It is not just the imminent threat to Christian education. It is even in our ability to say what we believe. A jeweler in Newfoundland, for example, is currently under attack by a gay couple who purchased rings at his store because they noticed that he featured a small sign supporting the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. They are demanding a refund, an apology, and the backlash has already been so severe that the jeweler has been forced to take down his business’s Facebook page.

They don’t just want to change the way society behaves. That they’ve already done. They want to change the way Christians think—regardless if it takes overt bullying and government enforcement to get there.

We can ignore these trends. We can wait for the time when, not so very long from now, government officials demand that we change the way we teach our children and demand that we begin excising from our curriculums those biblical teachings that contradict the new secular dogmas of our day. Or instead, for the sake of our children and our communities, we can speak up, and we can fight back.

The history of the people of Israel provides us with a powerful picture of what happens when the church fails to live according to God’s revealed will. It should serve as a reminder to do all we can to counter this trend, while praying for an inward change as well.

“Come, and let us return unto the LORD; for he hath torn, and he will us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we will live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth” (Hosea 6:1-3).”


A personal poem written by someone that has been adopted herself and speaks to the love and beauty of adoption for others. “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” (Matt 25:40)

Reality, too hard to embrace, stares her cruelly in the face.
The room seems to spin, so many decisions, unsure where to begin.

First love, stolen kisses, innocent fun, fast forwarded feels like life is coming undone.
Amid a whirlwind of emotion, she clings to the security of his devotion.

He holds her close and guides the way. The fragile new life begun is here to stay.
Uncertainty doesn’t end here, past the point of going back, panic is near.

Affirmation of truth on this dismal day, revealing their state of disarray.
Armed with the beautiful choice of life, this decision still comes with undeniable strife.

Too young to care for this child in the womb, yet unwilling to extinguish its life so soon.
Fears are faced, decisions begin.  They can’t fathom this dream that they’re trapped in.

At the hospital, the time is near. Nervous anticipation is tainted with fear.
Resolving together to get through this despair, remembering their choice was made with great care.

Baby is here. A little girl with no name.  Joy is laced with feelings of shame.
Papers to sign, goodbyes to be said, at long last, alone, lying empty in bed.

A waiting family receives an answer to prayer, they thank the Lord and begin to prepare.
Two hearts breaking, two swelling with joy.  Gods plans are for good and not to destroy.

His hand reigns over all, this is where she belongs. Although it was hard, it never felt wrong.
Prayers answered, a family completed. Two teens helped from feeling defeated.

Life continues at a more bearable place, everything’s as it should be, by Gods grace.
The child grows up from her youth, nurtured in the ways of biblical truth.

Good for them” is heard in a dismissive way, “Its not for me” so they say.
Precious children estranged from their parents, caring for these is a work of great merit.

So many lives by our Maker created, “Care for the Fatherless” He has stated.
Unwilling, we stand as the children cry, refusing to help them as they sigh.

Don’t point to others to carry the load. Everyone should prayerfully look down this road.
“The fruit of the womb is His reward. Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord.”

All children are included don’t forget one. When a child is hurting all objections should be done.
Everyone deserves to be loved and belong. The Bible shows examples of adoption’s sweet song.

The merciful shall obtain mercy, so we hear. Follow the command and do not fear.
Adoption is a gift, often misunderstood.  A beautiful opportunity to show good.

Answer the call, take the lead.  If not us, who will satisfy the need?
Become a refuge for the fleeing. Show the hopeless grace, their fears relieving.

We are commanded to “love one another.” Give a child a gift of a father and mother.
Let the love of God shine.  Change a life, like adoption changed mine.

The Church and Violence Against Women

Male violence against women is a real problem in our culture, one the church must address. Our responsibility here is not simply at the level of social justice but at the level of ecclesial justice as well.

We must teach from our pulpits, our Sunday school classes, and our Vacation Bible Schools that women are to be cherished, honored, and protected by men. This means we teach men to reject American playboy consumerism in light of a Judgment Seat at which they will give account for their care for their families. It means we explicitly tell the women in our congregations, “A man who hits you has surrendered his headship, and that is the business both of the civil state in enacting public justice and of this church in enacting church discipline.”

Church discipline against wife-beaters must be clear and consistent. We must stand with women against predatory men in all areas of abandonment, divorce, and neglect. We must train up men, through godly mentoring as well as through biblical instruction, who will know that the model of a husband is a man who crucifies his selfish materialism, his libidinal fantasies, and his wrathful temper tantrums in order to care lovingly for a wife. We must also remind these young men that every idle word, and every hateful act, will be laid out in judgment before the eyes of the One to whom we must give an answer.

In the public arena, Christians as citizens should be the most insistent on legal protections for women. We should oppose a therapeutic redefinition of wife abuse as merely a psychological condition. And we should call on the powers-that-be to prosecute abusers of women and children in ways that will deter others and make clear society’s repugnance at such abuse.

Whatever our views on specific economic policies, we must recognize that much economic hardship of women in our age is the result of men who abandon their commitments. We should eschew obnoxious “welfare queen” rhetoric and work with others of goodwill to seek economic and social measures to provide a safety net for single mothers and abused women in jeopardy. We should join with others, including secular feminists, in seeking legal protections against such manifestations of a rape culture as sexual harassment, prostitution, and sex slavery.

An abusive man is not an over-enthusiastic complementarian. He is not a complementarian at all. He is rejecting male headship because he rejecting his role as provider and protector. As the culture grows more violent, more consumerist, more sexualized and more misogynistic, the answer is not a church more attenuated to the ambient culture, whether through a hyper-masculine paganism or through a gender-neutral feminism.

Instead, the answer is a truly counter-cultural church, a church that calls men to account for leadership, a leadership that cherishes and protects women and girls.

Reprinted with permission from the author; originally posted on Moore to the Point

God and Reason Part III

The revelation of time as the Bible puts it and the logic of time that can be inferred from scientific theories based on discovery and inference may actually coexist, but in which the Biblical time remains the real time. Here is how to think about this problem: God created all things in their mature stage. They appeared in an act of sudden creation. Adam is called into being as a mature man, not as an embryo, baby or teenager. In like manner, trees, animals, rocks and planets appear in their mature state. For argument’s sake, let’s say Adam was 60 years old when he appears. Given his total life span of 930 years this would seem a reasonable and cautious number. Given the nature of the material, we should consider that trees and mountains were proportionally much older than flesh. Genesis mentions that the fruit on the first trees was created and not grown (1:12). If you looked at that pear or orange on day eight after creation and calculated that the tree must be three years old to bear fruit and the pear some 6 weeks to have ripened, you would have a lot of discrepancy in terms of inferred time compared to its actual age in terms of creation.

In other words there is creation time which is the real time and then there is inferred date of age and origin time. Imagine you could be in the Garden of Eden on day eight and meet Adam. If you analyzed his appearance and were able to do a few tests you might find him to be 60 years old while in fact he was only 2 days old, the discrepancy between creation time and inferred time would be 2 days versus (rounded number) 22,000 days. The discrepancy ratio would be 1:11,000. This discrepancy ratio alone would put the 6000 year-old created earth in the scientifically inferred age bracket of some 66 million years. Let’s take this thought a step further. It is likely that the spread in the ratio for other created things such as trees and rocks may be even bigger than for human flesh. If fruit trees were created mature, some of the larger evergreens or broad-leaves might show more than 300 years of rings. If you analyzed a piece of rock taken out of a mountain on day 8, applying current methods of dating, that rock may show to be hundreds of millions years old, yet God called it into being only days ago.

There is another important piece of information in Genesis 1. It explains that earth, water and space were first created, but subsequently from verse 3 onward formed more fully. It is thus clear that these first forms were subsequently mixed up and rearranged. When the earth and sea were separated as we read in verses 6 and 7, continental shapes may have been rearranged and mountains formed. Old shapes and new shapes were dramatically mixed up. We read that stars and planets were first formed and then set in their constellation. My point is this: what science with its available tools infers as a slow process of shaping, aging and forming, was in fact a much more rapid process that God declares he did and that he used mature material to do so. Science traces this process back in time with the best inferences it has, but these do not include the miraculous creation and reshaping by God. Therefore, it is not possible for science to have a truer or more real story of what happened, only an inferred story that does not account for God’s intervention. To set God’s own account aside for the inferred scientific account is to say we do not need God’s revelation to explain this question. What we have here is substitution: science claims it can substitute for God because it cannot measure what God has done. Christians do not need to join this argument.

Similar logic regarding the question of time needs to be kept in mind when we consider the ‘Big Bang theory.’ Remember that this theory does not explain the very essence of origin: how we go from nothing to something as we discussed earlier. But for now, let’s consider the element of time as used by the theory. Essentially, it says, given the laws of nature as we understand them today, this is how many billions of years we need to go back in time to come near to the start of matter. The point is logical and Christians must not belittle it. It follows logically from the rules of observation. But the problem with that view is that creation is actually a sudden miraculous intervention. Without this sudden creation, the logic of science would simply keep counting backwards in time. Given that the universe is expanding, certain laws of physics measure the rate of expansion and apply it backward in time to determine the rate of implosion. When you follow it through, you come to something around 15 Billion years ago as the point of scientific beginning. But what God reveals is that He did not begin under the laws of science. He intervened miraculously and sovereignly, entirely in His own manner. He brought into being that which is mature. He did so by His Word and Spirit.

Moreover, God created time. In Big Bang logic, time is a product of our understanding of the laws of the universe and time is without origin even though material being is. So Big Bang scientists have moved one step beyond ancient philosophy which thought material existence was also without time, but they are still a step removed from what the Scripture says, namely that God brought time into being.

Thus, the so-called Young-Earth argument is not lacking in knowledge and logic. Science does not compel Christians to interpret Genesis 1 and 2 as a symbolic story without factual data. To single out the first two chapters in that manner violates the key Christian contribution to the whole issue of creation and origin, namely that we have both revelation and observation (science) and that full reconciliation may not be possible. But it is possible to think of the two types of information as parallel in which science’s account would be all we had if God had not revealed His action.

In conclusion, the sudden appearance of time and mature matter called into being by an all-powerful God explains a young time frame full of old-looking matter. At the end of the day, Young-Earth Christians must be humble and cautious about the idea of time. Science is a marvelous gift God has willed us, human beings, to explore and use. The Bible often warns that we only know parts of the story.

This article was first published in Insight Into, a youth magazine published by the Netherlands Reformed Congregations. It has been republished here with permission from the author.

What a Woman Is Worth

Editors’ Note: This article was first published on-line by A Deeper Story and is reprinted here with permission from the author, who is not affiliated with the Reformed Pro-Lifer.

It began with a question even before I was born.

Just a swell in my mother’s belly, I was punched by a hand that was meant to hold me. I was not even here yet, and already my worth was in doubt. As I grew, so would the question, and it would gnaw at me—unarticulated, insidious, and damning.

My world told me stories of my worth, and I believed them. So I lived into what I believed, which is to say, I did not live fully well.

Still, story was what I knew; how, in rare moments, I lived; how I could still, in some small way, be the truest me. So I let out a bit of my story into the online pages of A Deeper Story. I knew I was searching for a story deeper than the one my world had been telling me, and so I broke and I bared and I finally asked out loud the hardest question of my life in a blog post entitled, What’s a Girl Worth?

I was 13– Excited to be out late at Denny’s with my friends, talking and laughing, effervescent, carefree. He was much older, at least in his 30s, but he zeroed in on me. He leered, scruffy face so close, stinking drunk, and he loud-whispered words I’d never heard about what he wanted to do to me. He said he would make me quiver, and he did. Just not the way he meant.

I sought comfort from two women I thought would understand, but they could only see the moment through their own dark-tinted lenses. My experience wasn’t as bad as theirs had been, and they brushed it off. I was alone with fear and shame.

What’s a girl worth?

I was 15– Too young and too scared, desperate to keep my older boyfriend, reluctantly willing. He gave me a magazine as a guide, full of bodies and skin, excitement and impossibility. He wanted me to learn what to do for him. So I did. And when he used me all up, he left me to guilt and self-loathing. And I dared not seek comfort where it had not met me before.

What’s a girl worth?

I was 17– Feeling like a woman behind the wheel of my red convertible, waiting for the light to let me get to my hostess job, mature, nearly grown. He honked his horn and filled the space between his car and mine with shouts and dirty laughter: He liked how I ate my banana. I drove away stupid and small.

What’s a girl worth?

I was 31– Creating a place of laughter and heart-baring, writing good words, typing out truth. I opened up so others could too, and I invited conversation. He was anonymous and cowardly. He sent a message to describe how he’d defile me if he had his way. I was shaken and suspicious.
When I turned to my communities, two scoffers stood out among the supporters. Women who suggested it was my fault, expected, deserved.

What’s a girl worth?

I know the statement of my worth comes from the lips of the One who made me, but yet– but yet. When the shouts of men say, You’re just a thing to ****, when the sneers of women say, Oh well, the voice of truth is hard to make out through the din.

And I need the strong voices of my brothers and the sweet singing of my sisters to raise loud the truth of our Father’s words, to remind me what a girl’s worth.

Have you ever struggled to believe what you’re worth when God and the world disagree?

I clicked “publish” and stared at my own story on the screen, now in full view. I was bare and frightened, bold and free. Right away, responses flooded in, but the one that was clearest was this: I was not alone. The question of worth was universal, and people were aching to find it answered.

So I began to gather their stories, and I read over and over that, different as they seemed, our stories were the same. We were all wounded and wanting, longing for acceptance, most of all from ourselves. And as I handled each woman’s story closely and with care, I saw my own wounds I had ignored for so long; I saw that I needed the same close care.

And so I offer this book not as a reflection of an editor who is herself a neatly tied-up work, but as a person who is still very much a work in progress. I offer you stories of hurt and of healing so that you might begin to listen to and claim your own. I offer you hope that the story of redemption is one able to be woven into all others. I offer you invitation to discover alongside me what a woman is worth.

Pick up your copy of What a Woman Is Worth here.

Blast from the Past: Sexting in the Church Community

When I was a teenager, I thought this guy was interested in me and since we lived in different provinces, we started emailing back and forth. When I got a cell phone, emailing became texting. We weren’t in a relationship, but we were getting to know each other and I was hopeful.

Gradually, so I didn’t even see it coming, the tone of our conversations changed. He started talking about my body and eventually started requesting that I send pictures.  This was before sexting became a well-known phenomenon and I didn’t know how to respond.

I had never had discussions about this with my parents or educators, but I had been taught that there were parts of my body that were private, that you didn’t share. But he knew what to say, how to convince a naive innocent girl that maybe our parents’ ideas were outdated, and that this was normal. It was the progression of things. How can he get to know me if I don’t share myself with him? He even sent me a picture of himself to show me how easy and how normal it was, and how this was a two way street, he wasn’t just taking advantage of me. I started to doubt what I thought I knew. But I was not comfortable with the idea of sending him a picture. I felt like if I did that I would lose control over who would see it, a picture sent over text or via email was too permanent, and I wasn’t going to do that.

Then he started talking about coming to visit me. That was exciting. This young man wanted to see me. It felt like our friendship was progressing and I was hopeful. Then he started to ask if I knew of a place we could go for some privacy when he was visiting. The young romantic in me was thinking of things I had envisioned doing on an official date. I suggested horse riding. We could pack a picnic lunch and ride through the country around my parent’s place, stop and sit in the grass and talk and I was so excited at the prospect. It was one of my dream dates, revolving around my love for horses, and my romantic notions that dates were laid-back activities where you could just sit and talk and get to know each other. But it became clear that that was not what he had in mind. He wanted a private place where we could get to know each other without chance of interruption. Except he wasn’t talking about my mind or my personality. He was talking about my body. I had never been in a serious relationship, and I didn’t know what dating looked like. I loved reading historical fiction novels, and they spoke of courting. That was what I envisioned, but he convinced me that my dreams were unrealistic. It just didn’t happen that way. He wanted to be friends with benefits. Didn’t that sound great? I really wanted him to like me and so I compromised. I felt like maybe I could give him some of what he wanted without crossing that final line and having sex. So I agreed to work something out. He didn’t have immediate plans to come, so I wasn’t under immediate time pressure.

His texts started gearing towards preparing me for this encounter. He spoke of masturbation and encouraged me to try it out, detailing for me how it should work. I felt increasingly uncomfortable with how he was talking and the more time passed, the more certain I became that I didn’t want to go where he wanted to go, at least not until we were in an official relationship and I told him so. He replied that he didn’t know if a relationship was what he wanted, and he wouldn’t know that unless I gave him what he wanted. I started to question him on whether he did or had done this with other girls. He said no, he was a virgin, and I would be his first, and it would be special. I doubted him because if he was willing to have sex with me without even the context of a relationship, how did I know for sure that there hadn’t been others.

I regret how naive and stupid I was, and how close I came to trusting him, all for the desire to be wanted, to be loved by a man. But I thank God for protecting me from him. I am so thankful that he and I were in different provinces, because if there hadn’t been distance between us, I likely would have caved under the pressure, and I wouldn’t have had the time to rethink my decision before it was too late.

A few years later, I was hanging out with a friend, and discovered that he was a mutual friend of ours. I told her how he had pressured me and what he wanted from me, and she replied, “that’s just how he is. You just have to stand your ground and not give him anything you don’t want to.” I wasn’t comfortable with that because I knew how hard it could be to stand firm against increasing pressure. I had already stopped talking to him, so this conversation was purely retrospective. I was again thankful for the distance between us.

I didn’t think of him again for years. Then last year, I was home visiting my family, and my aunt had stopped by and was chatting with my Mom. They were discussing a “new” thing called sexting. Surely it wasn’t that big of an issue in our communities, but it was good not to let kids have cell phones in their rooms, or open internet on their cell phones. A little bit of parental control would go a long way in preventing this from happening. My memories came flooding back and I snapped at them. This does happen in our communities. This happened to me. And that was years ago already. Don’t fool yourselves into thinking that this isn’t still happening and probably at a much larger scale than you think. This was the first time I had ever mentioned anything about it to either of my parents, and my Mom didn’t know how to respond or react. She just stood there in silence as I pleaded for them to support any education for the children in our community about this issue. If only we had talked about it before I was almost trapped into it. I broke down and left the conversation, and we never talked about it further.

I never thought about him, and I certainly never expected to see him again. And then I came face to face with him. I recognized him instantly, even years later, and I felt physically ill. He greeted me and asked about my life. I was polite. I didn’t know how to respond. We got on the bus and he sat down beside me. I couldn’t breathe and I felt nauseous. I knew I had to talk to somebody, so I switched seats with my friend so he couldn’t see what I was texting, I added a texting travel pack to my phone so that I could text without incurring huge roaming charges on my phone bill, and I started talking to my Mom about it and actually sharing some details with her for the first time ever.

I had been caught off guard not only by seeing him again, but by my own response to seeing him again. I am not a hateful or angry person, and suddenly I was being overpowered by my feelings of hatred and anger towards him. Feelings that I didn’t have years ago when this was happening to me, so when did these feelings develop? I felt unsafe around him, and saw my weekend being ruined.

I think when he saw me again he imagined we could pick up where we left off, and he would sit by me and try engage me in conversation. Although I was nothing but polite, with perhaps a slightly cold shoulder, he must have realized very swiftly that I was no longer the naive impressionable girl that I had been, and I wasn’t going to fall prey to him again. I made sure I was never alone over the course of the weekend, but worried about the other girls there too.

After the initial shock wore off, I refused to allow his presence to ruin my weekend, and had a good time regardless. But occasionally I would watch him interact with the other young people, and he seemed so normal, so friendly, so much like everyone else there, that I started to doubt my memories. How is it possible that he can mingle with the rest of us without there being some obvious indication of his perversion? And if he can, how many of the others have secrets like his too? Or how many of the girls have secrets like mine?

Girls, I share my story to try prevent similar things from happening to you. Make sure he respects you the way you deserve to be respected. As my friend Jonathon Van Maren said in his article “Personalized Pornography,” which also cites examples from inside our communities: “You are a person with a body, not a body with a person. If the boy you’re talking to doesn’t recognize that, then drop him hard, and wait for someone who does. There will be guys who want to spend time with you, not just your body.”

Stop “Struggling” with Porn

I’m very frustrated.

Over the last several years, I’ve done quite a few presentations in different Christian communities (Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta) on sexuality and pornography. Each time I’ve given the presentations, I’ve changed them quite a bit, adding things I’ve learned, tweaking it based on the needs of the community and the feedback I’ve gotten. I’ve gotten anonymous emails detailing the struggles of porn addicts in Christian homes, and had anonymous letters stuck in the door of my home. The more I hear from the men and women and youth in the communities where these topics are presented, the harder I actually find it to speak on those topics.

Many of the things I hear make me angry. While it is legitimate to be angry about the use of pornography—it’s much worse than just lust, it is sexual cannibalism, the one-sided consumption of a human being created in God’s image for personal pleasure—one must be very careful not to slip into the sin of pride. When dealing with issues of sexuality, we can never say, “Well, that’s not a sin I struggle with and thus I am somehow better than those who struggle with these sins.” After all, in John 7 we see how the Lord Jesus dealt with those guilty of sexual sin, after challenging those who sought to stone a woman taken “in the very act” of adultery: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” One by one, they left, “convicted by their own conscience.” Jesus then said to her, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” Pride, we see in the New Testament and in the ministry of the Lord Jesus, was condemned far more harshly than sexual sin. We have to assist each other in becoming free from sexual sin, not set ourselves above other people.

My frustration is not simply the result of seeing just how widespread the use of pornography is, and how damaging it is. As I heard one speaker put it, those who do not think they are susceptible to sexual sin are saying they are stronger than Sampson, wiser than Solomon, and closer to God than David, the man after God’s own heart. What frustrates me is that time and time again, men I speak to refuse to do what it actually takes to kick porn addiction and purge their minds of this scourge. In all cases, pornography is by its very nature predatory, perverted, narcissistic, and in direct opposition to how God created sexuality. It is, simply, self-inflicted destruction that contributes to the external destruction of so many of the lives that make up those de-humanized pictures. In cases where the man (or, in far fewer cases, the  woman) is married, it constitutes adultery. This is not just our culture, our church, our own “little lust problem” or “bad porn habit.” This is people consciously deciding to consume other people like a product, destroying their own relationships, twisting their perceptions of the opposite sex, and creating neural pathways in their brain that will often prove almost impossible to subvert.

Porn flourishes because people can nurture their obsession in private. No one looking over their shoulder, no one is seeing what they’re seeing, and they have the opportunity to make whatever material they viewed virtually untraceable after the fact. That’s why the one filter I always push for those who want to leave their porn addiction behind is an accountability filter — a filter that sends your Internet history every week to someone who will hold you accountable for what you viewed in the week past. I recommend this type of system (and there are a number of very good ones.) to everyone who tells me that they’re struggling with pornography—but it never ceases to amaze me at how many want to talk about their porn problem, but don’t actually want to kick it.

If you want to stop looking at porn, sign up for an accountability filter, and make your accountability partner—the person receiving your weekly history—your pastor, a church leader, one of your parents, your wife, your sister. Do you really think that you’ll browse some filthy porn site if your minister, or a church elder, or your mother or wife, will see at the end of the week what you’ve looked at? Perhaps in some cases, there will be slip-ups. But it’s generally very unlikely. With people you love dearly and respect much “looking over your shoulder” when you’re on the Internet, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll view your “porn problem” quite a bit differently—imagining how your wife or mother would feel if they realized what you were looking at would change your own view immediately and drastically.

When I suggest this step, I’m often told it’s “drastic.” No, it’s not. Looking at porn is disgusting and predatory, and this solution is not at all “drastic” when put into the context of the problem. If you think that porn consumption is not a big enough deal to take “drastic” steps to get rid of it, then you haven’t realized just how big of a deal it is. Yes, people can get around filters. You can decide to take one of your devices (cell phone, iPad) off of the accountability filter. But that’s a choice—a choice to continue the sexual consumption of other human beings. You don’t just “fall” into looking at porn.

Let me explain: I smoked cigarettes for close to ten years. For me to “fall into” smoking cigarettes again, I would have to get in my car, drive to the store, purchase the pack, take a cigarette out, and then light it. There are at least five conscious decisions that take place before I “fall into” smoking cigarettes, and am “struggling” with it again. The same applies to watching or looking at pornography again: You have to go home, or someplace where you can be alone, boot up your laptop or device, log on, search for whatever porn you’re “struggling” with, and then view it. There are multiple decisions taking place here. While pornography addiction is incredibly powerful, you do not simply “fall into” viewing porn again when you’re trying to kick the habit. You make a series of decisions that result in you viewing porn. You may be addicted, but you’re not helpless. And I do get frustrated when I hear from guys that they’re still “struggling,” but they still haven’t taken the drastic steps necessary to kick this habit. I’m sorry, you only get to say you’re “struggling” if you’re actually taking all of the necessary steps to get free.

Sexual sin is, in this day and age, one of the most common and destructive of sins. I understand that many people get hooked as the result of simply stumbling upon imagery on the Internet, or being exposed to it by friends, or even, in many cases, being exposed to it at a very young age in the home. But there are ways to free yourself from this addiction. There are people who want to help you get free of it, and people who won’t judge you or think that they are somehow better. To say to someone struggling with sexual sin that those who struggle with different sins are somehow better would be to defy what the New Testament tells us. But you do have a responsibility to cease this destructive and disgusting habit. The help is available. The choice is yours.

Porn goes to Church

Pornography is not just a ‘cultural’ problem. Pornography is also our problem. I think it’s necessary to ensure that everyone understands that this problem does, in fact, impact our community. There is a tendency to view these types of problems as problems of the outside world that we have to prevent from seeping in, as opposed to problems that we need to face and root out in our own church community. I’d like to very briefly go over three important facts about pornography:

1. Pornography is a problem in our churches
2. Pornography is a huge problem in North America
3. Pornography addiction is incredibly dangerous in its mental impact.

Porn is a problem in our churches

I’m going to share with your four (of many) testimonies of young people, all members (baptized or confessing) of the Netherlands Reformed Congregations, of how pornography has impacted their lives. These testimonies are anonymous.

A NRC wife and mother:

“When my husband first told me about his struggle with pornography I was too shocked to respond. Once that wore off I experienced much anger, low self-esteem, sadness and insecurity about our relationship. However, I am happy to know that he had the confidence and courage to tell me about it. His guilt about watching pornography is stronger than his pride to keep it hidden from me. We have become very open about the topic and discuss it from time to time. There are times that he feels the urge to look something up, but keeping communication as well as using a reliable filter for the internet on both our computer and smart phones has kept him accountable and our relationship strong. Now my trust in him has been renewed, we pray together asking for God’s forgiveness but also for His protecting hand over us.

In my perspective our community must be more open about this issue so that those who do struggle with pornography feel they are not alone and that they are willing to seek help. Without help someone who struggles with pornography will only feel hopeless and more than likely develop an unbreakable addiction. We must be realistic, realize that many people struggle and stop being quiet about the topic.”

A NRC high school student:

“I am a high school student. I was disgusted to hear a high school guy mention to his buddy, ‘I wouldn’t know what to do without data on my smart phone, then I wouldn’t be able to watch porn every night.’ What? Is viewing porn now the norm? Do guys not even realize what impact even hearing this has on girls? And why are we not discussing this issue?”

A high school teacher in a NRC school:

“As a teacher of high school-aged students I am appalled at how little education there is surrounding internet safety and pornography within our churches, homes and schools. I have spoken with girls who have become victims of sexting, heard from young men who already acknowledge they have a porn problem and have gathered from student surveys that they know that pornography messes with the mind. Many of the young people are looking for answers, but without opening the topic of pornography they feel lost and end up looking for answers in the wrong places or falling into unstable relationships.

I am very afraid for our upcoming youth and relationships. It is already obvious that porn is breaking up marriages and creating preventable problems if we would only be more open about the topic!”

And a NRC husband, who was exposed to porn at a young age and became addicted well into his teen years. He writes:

“This did not mean that from then on I was free and clear and never had to deal with the issue again—far from it. The pull of this addiction is much too strong and lasting. Thankfully I do not have the images popping up in my head from memories. However, everything around me reminds me of this “high” from store front advertisements, to suggestive music lyrics, to clothing that is too tight or too revealing. It is not the first and only thing I think of when confronted with these example but it is almost always there somewhere lurking in my thoughts. Therefore a constant guard is needed to fight against this addiction on a continuous basis. I can also say that the longer you stay “clean” the easier it becomes, now the triggers are not as frequent or perhaps as noticeable. Yet, they are always there and I am afraid they will always remain.

This constant struggle has (had) obvious strain on my marriage as I have fallen twice since my vows a few years ago. Thankfully, my wife is understanding and patient with me. She has also been my biggest help in this struggle, keeping me accountable and installing filters that monitor internet activity and block and filter out pornography. In my opinion the blockage of sites doesn’t help completely. It does make getting to the pornographic content harder but there is always a way around them and the younger and more attuned to technology you are, the quicker you will find it. The best mechanism or weapon to fight this battle other than prayer and the Lord’s help is accountability and openness. Knowing that my wife is looking over my shoulder and checks my activities it a huge deterrent and thankfully the consequence of disappointing and saddening her has more weight for me than the high of this addiction. I am afraid that others are not as fortunate. Considering how controlled the addiction is and how the images hardly plague me, in many ways I have been blessed undeservedly.

Now, the struggle is still there, but we have safeguards in place and as a couple know how to fight against and deal with the temptation better. For many, the addiction does not start after one or two instances but develops over time and therefore can be stopped, deterred and interest hopefully ended before it is addicting. Therefore, if I may offer advice, I would definitely recommend a filter or accountability program for everyone, especially families with teenage boys but also young adults. We all have the same heart. Let’s not think this fixes everything. It must be combined with supervision, education, conversation, discussion and especially prayer.”

These testimonies from people within the NRC here in North America who have struggled with pornography (and there are many more), as well as recent findings by our sister congregations in the Netherlands that show sky-rocketing rates of pornography addiction among young people in their churches, prove that this is a growing and imminent problem that demands our attention and our action.

Porn is a problem in our churches because it is a problem in our culture.

The threat pornography poses to churches and families is absolutely unprecedented in modern times in scale and severity. Just to give you a brief idea of the sheer size of the porn threat using the measurement of time:

Every second, $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography.

Every second, 28, 258 Internet users are viewing pornography.

Every second, at least 372 Internet users are searching for pornography online.

And every 39 minutes, a new pornographic film is being created in the United States.

Beyond that, the numbers get much worse. Statistics from 2013, released by the Christian anti-porn organization Covenant Eyes, revealed the following:

Global pornography revenues are estimated at about 10 billion dollars—but an estimated 80-90 percent of online porn users access free pornography online, which means that the ten billion dollars is truly the tip of the iceberg.

How bad? Researchers have estimated, after an analysis of 400 million web searches, that 1 in 8 of all searches online are for pornographic content. Computers are not the only danger—as cited in the testimony of the NRC high school girl, mobile pornography is increasing drastically in popularity. For example, an analysis of over one million hits to Google’s mobile search sites, over 1 in 5 searches are for porn. The porn industry is moving quickly to take advantage of mobile porn users, and they expect to reach sales of 2.8 billion dollars by 2015.

And teenagers are the most vulnerable target.

A 2010 survey noted that over a quarter of 16-17 year olds said they were first exposed to nudity online, even though they didn’t want to see it. However, when addiction takes over—often fueled by adolescent curiosity and developing into a powerful, mind-twisting addiction—the results are devastating. The result? More than 7 out of 10 teens hide their online behavior from their parents.

Over half of boys and a third of girls see their first pornographic image before they turn thirteen—some research says around the ages of 7 or 8. I have spoken to young men who first stumbled upon pornographic images at that age. By the time young adulthood is reached, 64-68 percent of young adult men and 19 percent of women are using porn every single week. An additional 17 percent of men and 30 percent of women are using porn one to two times a month.

This means that if you are not using pornography at all in today’s North America, you are a minority.

The porn threat is psychologically and spiritually devastating.

Pornography, because people are so visual, actually triggers a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing what are known as “erototoxins.” These erototoxins literally rewire your brain, and the images are often burned into one’s memory, inerasable.

In other words, pornography fundamentally changes how human beings think and function. The after-effects of viewing pornography are not like the after-effects of consuming drugs or alcohol—pornographic images can remain lodged in someone’s brain for decades, or for the rest of their lives.

Here are just a few of the long-lasting effects of porn use:

A diminished trust between intimate couples, as the previously mentioned NRC testimonials also reveals.

An increasing belief that monogamy is not the natural state.

An increasing cynicism concerning true, self-sacrificing marital love.

An increasing belief that marriage is not something to aspire to, but rather is sexually confining.

An increasing disdain for family and raising children.

It creates extensive psychological problems for men, including becoming more controlling, highly introverted, narcissistic, dissociative and distractible.

It results in addiction to masturbation.

It reduces women and girls to the level of objects, and change the way males view females.


To conclude, pornography is a real cultural problem, and is already a problem within the church community. We cannot simply attempt to keep porn out; we also must root porn out.

Pornography has the raw power to destroy the futures of an entire generation. We need to equip the youth to combat this new threat. Forewarned is forearmed.

God and Reason Part II

In God and Reason Part I,” we saw that science is a method of observation, investigation, and explanation. It is not a belief system and as such, it has no tools or arguments to claim that what it does not observe does therefore not exist. There is another source of knowledge called revelation. We saw that the fallen will of man does not want to accept God’s revelation because that would beg the question why he is not worshipping this God.

Have science and revelation always clashed? Notice how in Genesis 2, the creator brings animals to Adam to see what he would name them and then approves of the names (vs. 19). There was gold, bdellium and onyx in the Garden. The presence of gold, onyx (hard material), and bdellium (soft, resin-like) suggests a future of development. Humanity would grow in wonder and adoration seeing through science the marvelous concord between who God is and what he made.”

When humans fell in sin, they lost the substance and essence of God’s image given in creation. But they still have a remnant of this image, for example, the human desire for peace and the craving for justice. In the same way, we still have traces of creation knowledge. I am going to deal with two of them in this article: origin and evolution. By remnants of creation knowledge I mean that after science has tried all it can, people—deep down—continue to have doubts. There is this other trace of knowledge that keeps raising its head.

The first is origin. To start with nothing and end up with something cannot be explained by science. Before the classical Greek philosophers (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle) came to dominate Western thinking, scientists assumed that material things simply had no beginning. Due to findings in physics in the last 100 years, most scientists now admit on their own terms (the first and second laws of thermo-dynamics among them) that this assumption is wrong. Of course, if they had received Genesis 1 and 2 in the first place, they could have known all along. Remember, God even directs science itself to teach scientists about creation.

Origin remains a puzzle for scientists. Some pre-matter had to exist that eventually led to all things physical. The leading theory is that gas-like particles caused a large sudden process (big bang) that generated matter. The problem is that this ‘Big Bang’ thesis still does not explain how the pre-matter or gas-like particles came into being. In other words, the Big Bang solution is not a solution to origin. “In the beginning, God” is a more logical statement than any proposition about pre-existing energy, vapour, big bangs or big crunches. God, who is without cause, time and matter, caused time, space and matter to come into being. Ultimately it is by faith and not (just) reason that we ‘understand’ creation, but the faith that receives this explanation is not airy fairy but quite reasonable. God has said that he is without beginning and without end. He calls himself the “I am that I am.” It makes sense that a God without beginning can indeed be the cause of all things with a beginning.

There is a marvelous phrase in the letter to the Hebrews which captures the debate on origin: “so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Chapter 11). In other words, the material world was made by the non-material. Not only is this logically plausible but it is also in fact more likely than material just showing up.

To illustrate my point that the problem is not reason per se, consider an example from the world of law. In court trials evidence is sometimes called ‘inadmissible,’ usually because it has been allegedly gathered without proper authority or process. Similarly, secular scientists rule that ‘God-as-the-originator’ is inadmissible evidence. As in court, the evidence ruled inadmissible is often the real story. Divine creation is the real story that science cannot see.

The second is evolution. The logic of the evolution argument is that all things have changed slowly from simple matter and life form to more and more complex. Just as scientism is a case of over-reach so ‘evolutionism’ is a case of overreach as it tries to claim that it can explain all things by virtue of the logic of change.

I want to make sure not to over-state the point. Evolution itself or the notion that things change over time is logical and supported by observation as well as revelation. Consider a few examples: The people immediately after Adam lived hundreds of years. (It may be a reflection of the eternal life God had designed for them) People today are very old at 90. We have new dog breeds that result from pairing previous ones. It is likely that we have many more dog varieties today than 300 years ago. Lions in the Garden of Eden ate herbs and plants. Now they eat meat. In the new heaven and earth they will no longer eat meat. Change within species or micro-evolution is not something Christians need to quarrel with.

But science oversteps its bounds (again) when it claims macro-evolution as the explanation of life and all diversity of life. The macro-evolution assertion is that all things come from very few things and ultimately from the simplest ancestor of life forms. A good deal of evidence is increasingly pointing away from this theory. Researchers are finding out that even the simplest organisms broken down to their single cells are so intricate and so dependent on design that this race to the bottom in terms of simple is not satisfying reason. The thorny question is: if the ultimate simple life form (also called last universal common ancestor) is both highly complex and cannot in fact be broken down into simpler pieces how did it come to be such? At one point, scientists thought there was no limit to the amount of time it could have taken for this all to line up, but since the laws of physics require a finite amount of time for all things, there is not enough time for this to occur. That leaves two known answers: the leap from nothing to the first life form happened by random chance or by design.

One writer compared the idea of the components in a single cell coming together by chance in a limited time frame as follows: Imagine a very large scrap-metal yard. Suddenly a whirl wind blows up and there stands a fully assembled, flight-ready Boeing 747. As you can appreciate, compared to such a chance argument, the design argument is rather reasonable.

Moreover, God-the-designer has said that he made various types of creature and species. Life does not have to be reduced to its simplest form in order to be understood. God has clearly willed to create complex things and he is obviously able to do so. About humans, he said that they were made in his image. A complex God has created complex creatures. This is quite reasonable. Thus we can conclude that in essence the macro-evolution logic is a deliberate alternative to circumvent the nature of God who designs complex things by his word. In other words, God did not only cause the origin of all things, but he caused things to come into being at a sophisticated level. He wanted his creation to enjoy him so why would he make primitive life forms and wait?

Evolution is about change. The Bible declares that the most dramatic change took place as a result of sin because sin turned life into death. Put in its proper perspective, the extent to which evolution occurs is one of the results of sin. To turn change into a theory of macro-evolution and thus place it above God as an alternative to understanding the beginning and complexity of life betrays arrogance.

This article was first published in Insight Into, a youth magazine published by the Netherlands Reformed Congregations. It has been republished here with permission from the author.

“God and Reason Part III: Bible Time and Science Time”