Ministry to pornographers ‘crossed a line,’ Mohler says

Communications Staff — June 27, 2006

A pastor who runs an anti-pornography ministry and passes out Bibles with “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” printed on the covers has crossed the line of appropriateness in his effort to share the Gospel with the porn industry, R. Albert Mohler Jr. said on ABC News World News Tonight June 25.

Appearing in the news segment with Mohler was Craig Gross, the leader of the anti-porn ministry XXXChurch.com. Gross regularly attends porn conventions driving his “porn-mobile” and says the new Bible, the text of which is a paraphrase of “The Message,” is a way to reach sinners like Jesus did. He handed out his Bible at the recent Erotica convention in Los Angeles, according to ABC News.

“These younger guys seem to say that older evangelicalism is just out of touch,” said Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. “In a rush to be relevant I think these guys have crossed a line that I would not cross.”

Gross’ Bible was well received by those in the porn industry, but some Bible publishers have refused to print it, ABC News reported, adding that the American Bible Society wrote Gross a letter refusing to publish his Bible “out of a sense of propriety,” saying the “wording … was misleading and inappropriate.” It finally was printed by NavPress.

Gross said Bible companies “just freaked out” and thought, “I’ve never seen something like this, and I don’t know if we can do this.” Gross argued that his new methods of evangelism are necessary to reach people in the adult entertainment industry.

“We’re trying to reach a new audience, and so we can’t just do things like our parents did, like the generation before us,” Gross said.

Gross also said he believes Jesus would attend porn conventions with him if He walked the earth today.

“I believe Jesus, He’d be in the show with us,” Gross said. “He’d be mixing it up with these people. Because He doesn’t look at them as porn stars, or porn producers. He looks at us all the same.”

Mohler said he admires Gross’ intent of reaching people with the Gospel but believes the new Bible is packaged in a way that demeans the Word of God.

“It is, after all, the Word of God, and there’s no way to package it as just another book,” Mohler said. “It’s not just another book.”

Gross challenged critics to find a better way to take the message of Christ to the porn industry.

“If they have another approach, if they have another idea, come join us,” Gross said. “We’re here riding solo here. There’s nobody else doing this. … Sure we’re gonna maybe make some mistakes along the way, but we’re trying.”

Mohler predicted that Gross’ Bible may end up as a passing fad and said its cover commits a major error by misleading people about the book’s content.

“I just have to wonder what people think when they see that cover,” Mohler said. “In other words, are they expecting the Bible or are they expecting something else?”

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