Anytime a Christian man is caught in sexual sin the first question asked is always: “Is it just pornography?”. Every. Stinkin. Time. The “just” is ALWAYS put in front of the word pornography. As if pornography without some other form of sexual deviancy attached to it is somehow less sinful than other sexual sins. Pornography is every bit as sinful as “having an affair” (maybe even worse) because “having an affair” (unless the sex is with a prostitute) is almost always a consequence of some sort of a problem in the marriage. Affairs rarely occur in a vacuum, something else is always wrong: communication is poor, the couple is not connecting, the couple is unkind to one another, eventually one partner pursues companionship with someone else. Conversely, pornography and sex with prostitutes is a result of lust, lack of self-discipline and covetousness. I am categorically not stating that an affair is acceptable simply because a person is in a difficult marriage (it doesn’t work that way). I am saying that the church will never have a measurable spiritual impact on the culture unless we deal with the sin of pornography in our own ranks.
The women are instructed to be endlessly patient with their straying husbands and to do everything within their power to keep their marriages intact. Not once were the women (who were sinned against) coached to treat their stubbornly unrepentant husbands like unbelievers or to go to the elders of their Church and ask for church discipline to be applied to the cheaters (1st Timothy 1:20, 1st Corinthians 5:5). Instead the women were encouraged to “make a safety plan” in the event of a “relapse”. None of the safety plans included putting the guy out on the street until he gets his act together and repents permanently (Exodus 20:14, Proverbs 6:32, Matthew 5:27-28, 1st Corinthians 5:9-11).
That said, I do not believe that “all sin is the same”. Nor do I believe that the view that “all sin is the same” can be backed up biblically (1st John 5:17, Matthew 12:31, 1st Corinthians 6:9-10, Ephesians 5:5, Galatians 5:21). Furthermore, this ridiculous view is actually leading to more sin rather than less, and therefore ought to be examined more closely.
Before you write me off as a wild-eyed heretic, hear me out.
Too often well-intentioned Christians make rules around God-given commands and call those rules commands. The man-made rules we put around a command are meant to assist us in keeping the actual command. This is how we end up with man-made rules that look and sometimes even feel like God-made commands. An example of this sort of thing would be sexual immorality. Christians are commanded to abstain from sexual immorality. Prohibitions against dating, hand-holding, movies, premarital kissing and dancing might help some people to avoid sexual sin but those things are personal choices, not God-given commands and should not be treated as such.