This is a gripping little book. The author, founder of the controversial website XXXchurch.com, seems to make a career out of getting people’s attention. In this instance, having gotten mine, he kept it. The book reads swiftly, and pulls the reader through as if he were caught in a tractor beam.
Gross is writing to help the church talk about a subject she is ravaged by, but thinks too impolite or embarrassing to discuss: porn. Christians, through fear or ignorance, often demonize those touched by porn. Gross shows them as people made in the image of God—but hopeless, undone people who need redemption. Some are porn consumers, others porn stars, but the common theme is that many want out, but feel helpless to get out. Unless the church is a safe place to talk about the problem of porn and its solution, those affected by porn will continue to be slaves.
To educate his readers, Gross takes us to the porn set, to the porn convention, to the erotic museum, and to “porn prison” (a live-in treatment facility). The people are portrayed as very human, complex, and needy human beings. And after 160 pages, we are left with the conviction that as God’s people we need to be more approachable, kinder, and gracious to those enslaved by porn. At the same time, we must be more proactive and aggressive in dealing with this devouring giant.
There are a few problems with the book, but they are well worth bearing with in order to benefit from its many strengths. For example, the author uses the terminology of sexual addiction, even with regards to professing believers. Most pastors will have encountered Christians who are seriously entangled by sexual sin. However, one of the first steps out of it is knowing that the Holy Spirit is working in us, that we are no longer slaves of sin, but slaves of righteousness. Gross also falls into the trap of being judgmental to those who judge. Of course, the problem in Matthew 7 is not that we judge, but that we do so hypocritically and unrighteously. Finally, there is some question as to what Gross sees as the solution to pastors who have a porn habit. He seems to imply that porn should not infringe on pastoral job security—that compassionate churches will help their pastors repent. Of course, this is true, but there are also 1 Tim. 3 qualifications and the call of 1 Pet. 5 to be examples to the flock.
This book is not for everyone. While Gross is as discreet as one can be in writing about such an indiscreet subject, there are images he invokes that persist in the mind after reading. However, because of the massive scope of the problem, it should be read by pastors and church leaders. We must know our enemy, and this book is helpful towards this end.
For complimentary reading, those who desire practical counsel on how to break with pornography should read Douglas Wilson’s book, Fidelity, while those interested more in the sociology behind pornography should read R. J. Rushdooney’s excellent Noble Savages: Exposing the Worldview of Pornographers and Their War Against Christian Civilization. – Joost Nixon, Christian Book Previews.com
Addiction to pornography has exploded to epidemic proportions, infiltrating churches and holding our pastors, friends, and family members prisoner. But no one—not even the church—is talking about this dangerous and destructive addiction.
The Dirty Little Secret follows Pastor Craig Gross as he breaks the silence and begins his ministry XXXchurch.com, a website devoted to fighting pornography. As he meets people in the industry and those addicted to porn, Craig exposes the very real, human face of pornography and the destructive physical, emotional, and spiritual toll it takes. The Dirty Little Secret plainly reveals the addictive lure of pornography, explores the pain and brokenness it causes, and challenges us as individuals and as the church to talk about and openly fight pornography. Don’t be tempted to keep this secret any longer.