Set Free Summit Recap

A few months ago, we had the privilege of being our regional representatives at the Set Free Summit headed up by Josh McDowell Ministries. The summit was described as a global summit promoting positive solutions to the pervasive problem of Internet pornography and sexual addiction. Throughout the summit, presentations were given about the impact of pornography on society, the damaging effects it has on individuals’ brains, and the harm it causes to individuals’ social, family, and spiritual well being. The summit also presented proven Christian counseling methods and gospel-centered recovery solutions to help tackle the issue.
We were very encouraged that the founder of Pure Desire, Dr. Ted Roberts, was one of the keynote speakers and leading voices at the Summit. As you may know, our region has developed a great partnership with Pure Desire the past few years and seen the Lord do great things in setting our students and staff free from pornography and sexual addictions.
The best clips from the Summit have been combined into an excellent 30 minute recap video, which we would highly recommend that you check out. In For the Sake of Our Children, Josh McDowell shares some of the highlights from the Summit to give us an overview of the global issue of Internet pornography and how we can take action. The video is available for free at:
Below, we have listed some important summary insights and take aways that will be helpful for us to understand and adopt due to the pervasiveness of this issue among our students and staff.

• Recognize over half of Christian men and women struggle with sexual addiction and that there are varying degrees of addiction.

• Shift from seeing and referring to sexual sin (masturbation, pornography, fantasy, sexual acts outside of the marriage covenant etc.) as just a moral problem to a sexual addiction if the behavior is consistent.

• Shift from wanting a quick solution to understanding it takes 2-5 years to renew the mind and see the underlying issues healed, although ceasing to relapse can happen immediately.

• Don’t counsel someone through their sexual addiction unless you have been trained to lead a recovery group or have specific counseling training in this field. If not, you may end up doing more harm than good. Refer them to someone else who specializes in this field, like the counselors at Pure Desire. (Dr. Ted Roberts)

• Recognize abstaining from sexual addiction for a period of time is not necessarily an indicator of freedom or healing. Often individuals just put their willpower to the test but soon return to the addiction.

• Recognize sexual addiction is a family systems issue. If the individual struggling with addiction is married and/or has children, he/she will need help and support as well (i.e. The spouse has inescapably been affected by his/her partner’s addiction and will need the support of a recovery group as well. It is important to be very patient with the spouse since the wounds from sexual betrayal have caused trust to be broken repeatedly in the relationship.)

• Recognize that sexual addiction is healed by Christ through getting involved in a recovery group (in addition to therapy with a Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist the majority of the time) where an individual is no longer isolated on a daily basis, lives a life of no secrets, addresses the underlying pain/trauma from family, friends, and our broken world with the gospel.

• See the link between pornography and the rape culture on the college campus. Studies show that the more someone uses porn, the less wrong they think it is. What we see we normalize, so the more someone is exposed to the sexual acts and attitudes depicted in pornography, the more “OK” those things become. Studies show that many of those who use pornography do not think that rape is a really bad crime. It is no wonder the statistics show that 1 in 8 women are raped and 38% of women have been molested by age 25. (Dr. Mary Anne Layden)

Additionally, you may find it insightful to read the attached article, Understanding Sexual Addiction, which you can right click to open or download here : UnderstandingSexualAddiction. This was developed by Ben Bennett out of a desire to summarize the most important things he has learned through his own journey to freedom from his sexual addiction, leading Pure Desire in our region, and being trained by Dr. Ted Roberts.

Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions about the Set Free Summit, the pervasive problem of pornography and sexual addiction, or need assistance if you are struggling yourself.

Ben Bennett and Heidi Smith

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