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Porn Free: Finding Renewal through Truth and Community (Book Review)

Last Updated: February 21, 2014

porn freePorn addicts are, unfortunately, a dime a dozen these days. And in the Christian “recovery” community, there is no shortage of would-be therapists and theologians.

Brian Gardner, author of Porn Free: Finding Renewal through Truth and Community, stands heads-and-shoulders above the rest in this grassroots movement. His ruthless desire to be, first of all, faithful to the revealed truth of the Bible, and second, practically helpful to men entrenched in lust is what enables him to so easily marry doctrine with down-to-earth counsel.

Porn Theology

For those of you looking for a book with quick and easy tips to get you over the hump of your porn habit, look elsewhere. Porn Free is first and foremost a book about God and the redeeming work He accomplishes through Christ, not quick-fix solutions. Reading Porn Free is like sinking your teeth into the marrow of theology.

Of course, Porn Free offers many practical suggestions for application, but at its foundation, the book grounds its readers first in Biblical truth. It is a refreshing read.

Finding Renewal Through Truth

Brian states outright that the very point of his book is his readers gaining freedom from the trap of pornography. One key to this freedom is when our minds are renewed according to God’s truth.

Brian writes, “God has made a way for you to be changed and have new desires, through what the Bible calls the gospel. The gospel is what transforms us from people who love and live for ourselves into those who love Christ and live to please him.”

The gospel of Christ stands at the center of this book. Brian spends multiple chapters explaining concepts like grace, justification, propitiation, union with Christ, and other gospel doctrines. Why? What does this have to do with kicking a bad porn habit? Everything.

In order to experience the grace of God that overcomes the grip of sin, we must first embrace what Christ has done for us, what He is doing for us, and what He will do for us. It shapes our understanding of God’s love and compassion to us. It shapes our understanding of who we are as God’s children. It sets our minds on things above. And when the mind is radically renewed to believe and embrace these things, it changes our affections and desires.

God has given us his promises so that through them we can participate in His nature,” Brian writes. “These promises—that Christ died for our sins once for all time, that we will be with him forever, that His Spirit will be in us, empowering us to live holy lives in the midst of darkness—have the power to change us.”

Finding Renewal Through Community

Brian has spent years helping men in his church pursue real sexual integrity, and that wisdom comes out in this well-researched book.

Brian attends Xenos Christian Fellowship in Columbus, Ohio (my hometown). Xenos is known throughout America as one of the largest, most successful home-church movements. Knowing Brian Gardner has benefited greatly from the rich fellowship provided at his church, it is no surprise to see the importance of community come through loud and clear in Porn Free.

But more than just a personal preference, Porn Free lays a biblical framework for how authentic Christian community is linked to freedom from sin. Because of the heart-hardening effects of sin, we need to live in a kind of Christian community where we can have daily and mutual conversations of encouragement with one another (Hebrews 3:13).

Brian talks at length about what good accountability looks like in the church—and not just for sins like using pornography. He gives ideas for finding good accountability partners and having good accountability conversations.

The book is written not just for individuals, but for groups to discuss together.

A Personal Story of Freedom

While the book isn’t crowded with too many autobiographical statements, Brian is very candid about his past addiction to pornography. More than this, he is candid about his past addiction to himself and how porn was one of the many manifestations.

Brian Gardner is a real trophy of God’s costly grace. He unabashedly shares with his readers about the squalor of the far country from where the Father called him, and the joy of freedom he enjoys as a child of the living God.

I heartily recommend this book.

Buy it on Amazon in paperback or the Kindle edition.

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