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Fund a film about fighting sexual temptation

“Into the Light” will equip God’s people to fight the pull of pornography

This is an overview of an episode of Lucas Holvlüwer and Tyler Vanderwoudes’ Real Talk podcast. Real Talk is a podcast of Reformed Perspective featuring great conversations on everything from propaganda to mental health, and if you haven’t checked it out already, you really should. And you really can, at www.RealTalkPodcast.ca.

*****

On this, their 50th episode, Real Talk’s Lucas and Tyler invited filmmakers Jake Valk and John-Michael Bout to talk about pornography, its devastating effects on Christians, and how the Lord’s people can fight against this terrible pervasive sin.

Bout began by describing in a very real and personal way his own decade-long struggle with pornography – the feelings of guilt at what he knew was sinful, difficulties with anger brought on by his own hypocrisy, and his gradual drift away from the Lord with a conscience made dull over time. Bout described how grateful he is that God led other Christians on his path who had turned away from porn by the Lord’s grace, and dedicated themselves to helping others with this pervasive, insidious sin.

A providential conversation

So what made the two of them think about creating a documentary? Jake Valk shared a story of having coffee with Christian author Tim Challies, whose book Sexual Detox was of great help. Not (yet) knowing that Valk was a filmmaker, Challies wondered if books were the best means to address the problem of pornography: wouldn’t video be a better medium to reach those caught up in that cycle?

This suggestion fanned a spark into a flame: why not make a documentary that would inspire people to take the steps to get out of the grip of pornography? And that is just what Valk and Bout did. Their new film, to be called Into the Light introduces six speakers with expertise in Christian responses to porn, not just in understanding that porn is sinful and wrong, but with real and practical suggestions for how to stop sinful habits, from the perspective of both those struggling with the sin, and those trying to help “the struggler.”

Valk explained:

“(One of our speakers) is Deepak Reju; he wrote the book Rescue Plan. He and Jonathan Holmes wrote a pair of books that are really good. One of the things he talks about is the philosophy of locking down a phone: how to cut off all access, and he walks you through that process from the vantage point of someone who is struggling with porn, but also if you’re helping someone who is struggling, and understand how they would be tempted to get out of the full lockdown of a phone, and so you can be extra alert to make sure that you really are shutting down a device for all it’s worth.  So you can kind of take everything that our speakers talk about in the film from two different angles – the struggler, and the (one helping the struggler).”

Valk and Bout want the film to be made available for no cost to churches, organizations, and individuals, to be a resource to as many people as possible. To make this work, they’ve been fundraising through a Christian crowdfunding site with a target of $85,000. You can find out how to donate at their page GiveSendGo.com/IntoTheLight, and you can watch the trailer below.

It’s not about stopping the bad, but embracing the One Who is Good

Bout emphasized that freeing people from porn is not the end goal: the real goal is to help people find Jesus Christ, and to have Him be the foundation of their new life.

“There are other methods to get free from pornography that don’t involve God – there are many secular programs… but if you get free of porn and still lose your soul, what’s the point?”

Valk stated emphatically that a documentary can never take the place of a program like Life Renewal, with accountability, personal connections, and a thorough teaching program.

“Life Renewal is way better than what we can make. 100 percent! Life Renewal is so thorough; they really walk through the process and do it over a year. That’s way better than this!”

But there’s also a place for a film like Into the Light to help get conversations started, and to push a struggling sinner to seek help through a program like Life Renewal and other Christian resources.

“If you find this film, and you’re uncovering sin, and you’re bringing it into the light, and you’re really building your relationship with God, and you want to go to something like Life Renewal which will take you way, way deeper, please do! They do a phenomenal job.”

First, stop the bleeding

So what else is in the film? Bout summarized a section that deals with “triage”

“Deepak Reju gets into the radical practical measures of cutting off access (to porn)… if you walked into a hospital with an open wound, you’re not going to be getting asked ‘oh, so what are your symptoms, what are some things you need?’ The first thing they do is they take you in and stitch up the gaping bleeding wound so that they can have the healing take place, and to use that analogy, when you’re dealing with pornography it’s not legalism to say we have to start by cutting off access… cutting off total access.”

Valk remembered asking one of the speakers, Heath Lambert, when it was OK to introduce the internet or social media back into someone’s life.

“Heath gave a really thoughtful response to that, a large part of it being that you’re not necessarily the best person to make that choice, so having good community in your life saying, hey brother, you know it’s been two months since you last fell into pornography, you’re displaying good devotional habits, you’re really walking with the Lord, I can see that in your life. If you enjoy Instagram, I think it’s reasonable you can have it back, let’s see how that goes… So other people in your life can give you an opportunity to have a better perspective.”

Bout followed up on his own story:

“There are a lot of things that I cut out, and there’s (just) a couple of things I’ve reintroduced back. I never had to go as radical as going to a flip phone – actually, that may have been a good thing to do; I really respect people who do that. So for myself, I’ve actually kept most of the (guards) that I put in place, and just because I know I would so much rather live with the inconvenience than deal with the temptation or the potential relapse.”

What about relapse?

Speaker Ellen Mary Dykas is highlighted in one of the chapters in the film called “Endurance,” dealing with the reality of sinners struggling with a relapse, or a step backwards. Bout stated that it is very rare that one is able to “change instantly, although that is not beyond the Lord’s power. Your inadequacies, your failures do not mean that God is not able or willing to change you.” Valk summarized some of what Dykas taught:

“Your identity is not your track record. You are not your success last week, your success yesterday, the pattern of sin… even if you do really well, that’s still not your identity. Your identity has to be as a Christian, as a loved, cherished child of God, because that’s where you find your root in fighting in the first place.”

The last section of the film is presented by Garrett Kell, and reminds viewers of the hope that we have in Jesus’ saving work. Valk summarized: No matter what our sinful tendencies are today,

“one day all of this sin, that darkness, like what you did last night, all that’s going to be gone if you’re a Christian… God’s going to do away with this sin nature that we have, and that’s going to be incredible, and then there’s going to be (forever) of being porn free… I won’t have to shed another tear, an angry, frustrated tear (at my sins)… There is hope beyond this (life) where there are no tears anymore!”

You can download this and other episodes of “Real Talk” at www.RealTalkPodcast.ca, on your favorite podcast app, or through the ReformedPerspective.ca home page. You can also watch the YouTube version of the 50th episode below. For more information on “Into the Light,” go to IntoTheLightDocumentary.com


Up Next


Culture Clashes, News

Samuel Sey on Critical Race Theory

This is an edited excerpt from Lucas Holvlüwer and Tyler Vanderwoudes’ Real Talk podcast Episode 43 where they discussed Critical Race Theory with special guest Samuel Sey of SlowToWrite.com. They've had a lot of other great conversations with all sorts of intriguing guests like Tim Challies, Arnold Viersen, André Schutten, and Jonathon Van Maren, so be sure to check them out on YouTube, their website, or any of the places you find your podcasts! ***** Lucas Holtvlüwer: Define Critical Race Theory (CRT) for our listeners, and maybe give a couple of examples of where it's infiltrated our society. Samuel Sey: Critical Race Theory is very complex, intentionally. Many people call it Marxist, and some Critical Race theorists would deny that but it really is a version of Marxism, a newer version of Marxism. So, I'll explain Marxism first in a very brief way. Marxism, basically, is the idea that there is an essential conflict between groups in society, and these groups are the bourgeoisie, or you would say the privileged class of rich people, versus the proletariat, being the poor lower class. That's the idea. There's a book called From Class to Race, by one of the founders of Critical Race Theory, Charles W. Mills. What he says is, Karl Marx was right that there is a conflict in society, a conflict that has been plaguing society from the very beginning and is still ongoing today, until there is a revolution. But what this author says is, Marx was right about there being a conflict; what he was wrong about is what the conflict was really about. Marx said it was an economic or class struggle. Critical Race Theory says, it's a racial struggle – it's really between white people and black, white people versus non-white people. That is really what Critical Race Theory is about. And it also says, in very post-modern thinking, is that Western society, especially Canada, is built by white people for white people. So even the values that we think are impartial – things like freedom, rights, impartiality, our legal system, our schools, our government, our churches, all the things we think are impartial – they're designed by white people for white people, as a way to marginalize and oppress non-white people. That's what Critical Race Theory is, in a very general, brief way. The implication is that white people – unless they are fighting against the systems and the culture – are racist. If you want to abolish the system, then you are anti-racist; if you're not for revolution, then you are a racist by nature. In terms of examples, I don't know if you guys know about this, but last year around Black History Month, I was invited to a school in Alberta to speak about racism. But, I guess they didn’t Google me. They did not read any of my articles, so they thought, I guess, that I was going to be teaching Critical Race Theory. They didn't know that I was going to be actually speaking against Critical Race views. Tyler Vanderwoude: Oops! Samuel Sey: That’s a big oops indeed. I was actually fairly tame. I didn't want to shock them. The title of the speech was “What is racism?” and I was defining racism biblically as partiality (Acts 10:34-35, Gal. 3:28, Lev. 19:15). Racism is simply partiality against someone because of their skin color. Or to use a more broad definition, racism is bias against anyone because of their skin color, therefore you can be racist against black people, white people, Asian people, brown people, indigenous people, it doesn't matter. Then I said – and this is a key part that became controversial – if racism means partiality, then systemic racism means systemic partiality. What that means is if someone claims Canada is systemically racist then they need to identify a policy or a law from the government that shows partiality or a bias against black people. Systematic racism is shown, not by outcomes, not by disparities but by clear favoritism against black people. I asked if they could find a single such law or policy in Canada. They could not find a single one. So that was it. I leave. Then a few weeks later the school wrote a public letter denouncing me for denigrating students, for denying racism, for sharing racist views, essentially calling me a racist. Now the one thing they didn't do was mention my name. Everyone knew who they were talking about – people from the talk at the school knew they were referring to me. But I guess if they mentioned my name, someone would Google me and they would realize that, wait a minute, this guy's black! Which probably doesn't jive with what they're saying. That's one example where, by simply defining racism through biblical theology, they deem that I'm racist because I am protecting the white supremacist definition, in their mind, of racism. Another example: I think it was in the Durham region here in Ontario you had the school board giving non-white teachers more weight in their votes, because they believe that non-white people are oppressed and are marginalized in society. They, therefore, need to compensate for that by making their votes count more than the white person, which is, of course, racism. But that's an example of critical Race Theory. There’s many more. The federal government has given – I'm forgetting what they call this project – but there's a project from the federal government that gives black businesses more funding because they're black, because, again, they live in a racist society, they have more barriers, therefore they need more help from the government. Lucas Holtvlüwer: The tricky part about Critical Race Theory is that, perhaps there are grains of truth to some of the claims. There has been, obviously, discrimination in the past, there are disparities today, and people find themselves in different situations. And often you can categorize that, generally speaking, certain demographic groups based on race are in better or worse positions, financially speaking. So, I guess what I would ask is, is Critical Race Theory just a tool that people can use to look at the world, and sort through disparities, and figure out why disparities exist, or is there more of a theological, more of a worldview at play behind it? Samuel Sey: Critical Race theorists claim it is “just a tool,” or what they call an analytic tool. But I think they're not being honest. I also don't mind them calling it that. It clearly is a worldview – they see Western society, or Canada, or white people, as being a certain way. They have a definition for what is injustice or what is just. They're not simply analyzing things. They are claiming good and evil, righteous and evil. They have a theological view as to what is right or wrong, what should be punished and what shouldn't be. Through that worldview, they analyze the world. That is true for every worldview – every worldview is analytical by nature. So yes, they analyze things, but fundamentally CRT is a theology. They have, what I like to call, their own past and future. We say that through Adam all humanity became sinners. We know that there's no distinction between Jew or Greek, or black or white; we are all fallen people. The problem is Critical Race theorists would essentially say white people, since they have more power, are more evil or more “sinful“ than non-white people. That’s why they oftentimes say only white people can be racist, because white people have power and other people don't. So they have a different theological understanding of sin. And they also have their own future, in the sense that they have their own heaven which is really a socialist or communist utopia. The key word in Critical Race Theory is “equity.” They really believe that we can have equity, which basically means “equality of outcome” – that you can have all non-white people and all white people having an equal outcome. According to the most prominent political race theory scholar today, Ibram X. Kendi, the only way – and he's kind of right about this – to produce equity is to discriminate. He actually says this very openly. He says that the remedy for past discrimination is present or future discrimination. That's also because in his book How To Be An Anti-racist – which I call How To Be A Racist because the book is all about racism – he says that racial discrimination is only wrong if it leads to inequity, but it's good if it leads to equity. That means it's okay to be racist against white people, it's okay to discriminate against a white person if it will lead to equality of outcome between all people. So it's okay to bring white people down so that you can make them equal with all groups. It never works out that way, of course. There are always going to be people who have more power than others. But just like communists, now and in the past, Critical Race theorists will be the ones on top and everybody else, including black people will be at the bottom. Lucas Holtvluwer: I think the one topic that trips up a lot of folks, especially white folks is this idea of “white privilege” because I feel like there is some truth to it. There are differences in outcomes more so certainly in America, but still as you pointed out in previous interviews, also in Canada there's is quite the disparity. Can you talk to folks about what this idea of white privilege is, how they can understand it, if there's some truth there, how to navigate the truth, and separate out the truth from the Critical Race Theory Samuel Sey: ….White Canadians generally are more wealthy than black Canadians. As to the reason why, I wrote an article, maybe three years ago now, addressing this topic. I compared the numbers in America, the UK, and Canada when it comes to the disparities between white people and black people in these three nations. My point is this: these three nations have very different histories concerning slavery, segregation, and racism. All three nations have experienced racism against black people, for sure, throughout their history, but all three nations have very varying degrees of this racism. And yet the numbers comparing white people and black people in these nations are very similar when it comes to wealth, crime, education, and basically everything else. My point is, if we would claim the reason for this is because of the legacy of slavery or racism, how can you make that claim when, again, you have identical outcomes but with very different histories. It makes no sense. My explanation – which is proven because this is the common denominator between all three nations – is fatherlessness. I grew up without a dad in the home so I know this personally. Long story short, my father left my mom before I was born. It meant that since my father wasn't home my mom was never home either because she had to work two jobs. When she was then working two jobs I had no one teaching me discipline, therefore I became a very violent kid. I was in 25 fights before I became a Christian at 19. When I said 25 fights I mean 25 fistfights. …..My mom is an incredible mother but it's very hard to take care of a child when you are the only parent in the home. I mention that because single parenthood is the norm for a lot of black people. Here is the issue: in America 75% of black children are raised in a household with no father. 75%. The number for white people it’s 25%. That's a 50% gap. That is the real issue there when it comes to disparities. It is a known fact that children raised without their fathers in the home leads to more crime, more sexual activity, poorer education, poor discipline, which creates, of course, a lot of the disparities that we already know. In Canada, the numbers are pretty similar as well. That is the issue that no one talks about when it comes to white privilege. So if someone says to me there's white privilege, I don't like that term because it's based on Critical Race Theory and I will reject it. But what I will say is this: if a white person is more privileged than a black person, generally it's because they have more access to their father which leads to more privilege and prosperity in the home and in culture. Listen to the whole episode below. ...


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