“Porn is the modern day story of cigarettes. As a whole, our culture has absolutely no idea how destructive it is. Years later, we will.” —Andy Mineo
One of Satan’s go-to strategies against God’s people today is to lure them to worship the culture’s idol of sex and personal gratification through lust and pornography use. To help point struggling believers to resources that can help them find purity and freedom in Christ, I created this list of books.
Struggle Against Porn: 29 Diagnostic Questions for Your Head and Your Heart by Benjamin Vrbicek
I invited Benjamin on the blog to share about this book which was born out of his pastoral ministry. I love his practical approach: diagnosing a wide range of underlying issues and helping readers cultivate love instead of merely trying to slay lust (which we also want to do!).
This book is my top recommendation for its practical format and for Benjamin’s engaging prose. [Vrbicek has created a series of short videos and a shorter ebook to supplement the book, both are free here.]
Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace by Heath Lambert
Battling any type of sin isn’t merely a “stop doing it” issue, but a deeper heart issue. If we could simply stop doing something, it wouldn’t be a struggle! That’s why I like Lambert’s emphasis on the power of grace—only by deepening our grasp of grace will we be transformed and set free from the sins that bind us (Titus 2:11–14). Here’s Lambert’s description of why he wrote this book:
This book provides eight clear strategies to help you work out your salvation and experience freedom from your desire for pornography. These strategies are tools designed to help you turn from sin to righteousness based on the work of Christ. I have seen them work time and again. I pray that you will see them work in your life and in the lives of those God has given you to help.
“No other book I have read so helpfully lays out strategies you can actually do and that will actually work in the fight against porn. . . . This book will equip you for the fight.” —Tim Challies
A Better Story: God, Sex and Human Flourishing by Glynn Harrison
While not specifically about sex, this book is a biblical proposal for how to respond to the sexual revolution. We don’t need to just understand the negative of sexual sin patterns in ourselves and in culture, we also need to know the positive of God’s design and the story it tells. See this review by Dave Gobbett for a deeper look or this summary from Justin Taylor.
The publisher’s description:
Biblical, practical, and concise, The Purity Principle is a one-stop handbook for individuals, families and churches.
Some people have given up on purity. Some have never tried. Bestselling author Randy Alcorn shows us why, in this culture of impurity, the stakes are so high—and what we can do to experience the freedom of purity. Impurity will always destroy us; purity always leads to higher pleasures! Choose wisely. Let the insights of this amazing book—written for old and young, married and single—help you gain your footing on the path to truly lasting joy.
Sexual Detox: A Guide for Guys Who Are Sick of Porn by Tim Challies
Publisher’s description of the book:
Sick of porn? Time to detox. A huge percentage of men need a porn detox, a moral and psychological reset. Do you? If so, whether you know it or not, pornography has corrupted your thinking, weakened your conscience, warped your sense of right and wrong, and twisted your understanding and expectations of sexuality. You need a reset by the One who created sex. In this book, I hope to help you reorient your understanding of sex, both in the big picture and in the act itself, according to God’s plan for this great gift. I want to help you detox from all the junk you’ve seen, all the lies you’ve believed… Whether single or married, such a reset to normal is the only thing that can ever equip you to become a pure, loving, attentive, sacrificial husband. But you already know you need to change.
This 9Marks journal is a uniquely helpful resource for the church and church leaders for a few reasons. First, it focuses on many practical ways porn use affects the church at a number of levels: how it affects pastoral ministry, the congregation, porn users’ spouses, etc. Second, it addresses a wide variety of topics from a pastoral perspective, so ministry leaders can grow in how they counsel others through porn-related issues. Third, since the journal is a collection of articles that first appeared online, it makes it easy to find what topics are most relevant to you. (Plus you can read online or download a free digital version.)
I haven’t read this but know that Reju, a pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist in Washington, DC will provide top-notch biblical counsel. Here’s the publisher’s description:
Is there any hope for men and women in the “voluntary slavery” of pornography addiction? Deepak Reju shows that this worship problem can be fought only with a greater love for Christ. This month-long devotional, with reflection questions and practical suggestions for action, gives you the encouragement and resources you need to fight in the war being waged for your soul every day.
Hide or Seek: When Men Get Real with God about Sex by John Freeman
Freeman leads Harvest USA, an organization dedicated to helping people through sexual sin through the lens of the gospel.
Raymond Johnson says this book approaches “areas of sexual brokenness candidly and graciously while pointing men to the Bible and to Jesus Christ as the only one capable of satisfying them. They are powerful tool—particularly when used with others in the context of the local church.”
Closing the Window: Steps to Living Porn Free by Timothy Chester
Tim Chester is a great writer and pastor, and although I haven’t read this book, it looks like a solid choice for living in purity. See the publisher’s description below:
Tim Chester says that we can be captured by a better vision—a liberating confidence that God offers more than pornography does. Moving beyond pat answers or mere willpower, Chester offers spiritual, practical and corporate resources for living porn free. He exposes the false promises of porn and redirects us to the true promises of God.
With assurance of God’s grace and cleansing power, we can change our desires and escape the traps and temptations of pornography. However great the challenge, God’s grace is even greater. And we can come to a place where we no longer feel the need to use porn.
Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain by William Struthers
Struthers, a professor at Wheaton College, takes a biological approach when dealing with the enslaving nature of pornography. The book doesn’t share practical strategies on overcoming sexual sin, but it does help readers understand why porn can be so addicting by looking into brain science. See Deepak Reju’s review on 9Marks for a more thorough look at the book. Also, check out this chart from the book: Healthy vs. Unhealthy Sexuality.