Monday, September 06, 2010

Book Review: Captured by a Better Vision

Pornography is perhaps one of the great unspoken issues in the church. Statistics and surveys suggest that many men (and women) who are Christians struggle with temptation in this area, but it's rarely discussed or dealt with.

Tim Chester is doing something about it in this great book which addresses the issue frankly, but faithfully. Primarily written for men (although women may also find it useful), Chester identifies the epidemic of porn which has arisen through an increasingly permissive society, and new technologies which make it easier to access. From there, he first discusses twelve helpful and revealing reasons why porn is wrong; then digs deeper to find the root cause of pursuing pornography - the heart.

In one of the most helpful sections, Chester exposes the false promises that porn makes, and corrects them with the greater promises of God - for example, porn may offer refuge from the pressures of the world; but God promises true refuge, redemption, and salvation. Indeed, while the book is primarily addressing the particular problem of porn, it could be usefully applied to any and all sin in men's lives through the incisive exposure of the root causes and heart motivation (with the caveat the author supplies, that 'reading about porn is dangerous').

For those who have struggled with porn and sexual temptation, this book will be a real help, as Chester lays out the five ingredients of combating temptation: Abhorrence of porn, adoration of God, assurance of grace, avoidance of temptation, and accountability to others. It's not enough to try one thing on its own, but to use all these weapons together, finding greater pleasure in God than in porn; replacing a vicious cycle with a virtuous cycle in seeking to live for the glory of God.

The closing section is brilliant, in the form of a guided meditation through Psalm 51, and is almost worth the price of the book for this alone!

Captured by a Better Vision: Living Porn-free is a great book, not just for those who struggle with porn, or those who are pastoring those who are struggling, but also for men in general to think through their sins (whatever they are), and to continue in a life of repentance every day. While church bookstalls may stock it, there could be a reluctance among men to buy it from there, so perhaps an online order may be the best and easiest for this book!

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