A recent verdict came out finding Josh Duggar guilty of two counts: possession and receiving child pornography. And I feel like the church needs to have a brief discussion about that because Josh Duggar has been used to attack Christianity. So, I feel it’s necessary to not only defend the church because I love the church but to speak the full counsel of God to this situation.
Josh Duggar is a deeply troubled individual. It’s clear that despite having been brought up in a very Christian culture, he has been given over to that which even the pagans believe is wrong. In addition to molesting his sisters, committing adultery on his wife, he has now been caught with his hand in a child pornography cookie jar.
I followed this trial being open to the possibility that he was innocent. This was not because I had faith in Josh Duggar’s character. Quite the opposite, I have broader concerns that the government has the capability to hack devices and incriminate people. Whale bone is illegal in the United States, and the government, if they find this contraband, puts weights on it and drops it into the ocean. Valuable material goes to waste. Yet, with child pornography, the government holds onto this material in order to perform sting operations. While I understand the utility of this, I also understand that with human nature, the availability to placate sinful desires begets more desire to sin in those ways. Additionally, I have a broader concern that this capability is a perfect way to get rid of political enemies. Josh Duggar would be theoretically a perfect Guinea pig to roll this out on a broader level. However, in the trial, it was demonstrated that despite software designed to block Josh Duggar’s desires, he was able to get around that with some sort of Linux program or operating system that enabled him to access certain markets. It was also shown that this contraband was stored using passwords he had commonly used, which in my assessment is damning evidence. It appears for the first time ever; Josh Duggar will be held accountable for his actions.
I’ve said before that I do not believe that the church preaches against pornography enough. I believe partially because the church is not technologically aware. You have many people preaching that are more familiar with video store rentals and public theaters than they are Only Fans. Moreover, it’s entirely necessary for the church to instruct and warn people that pornography is a seldom satisfying rabbit hole of increasing deviance and aggression. Some people find themselves in the kiddie porn land. Other people find themselves living out orgy relationships. Adultery, as evident with Josh Duggar, arises. So, I see this as a pressing problem in our society, in our culture, and I have this strange belief that the more prevalent a sin is the more the church should preach against it. And with a preaching against sin, a perfect opportunity to present the gospel takes place.
You weren’t made by God to stare at porn on the internet for hours at a time. In fact, your doing so is an affront to God. And among other reasons, you will incur the full wrath of God for your rebellion against Him. Yet out of God’s love for the world, he did send his one and only begotten Son to pay the penalty for your rebellion on the cross. To prove that he was God, He rose again from the dead on the third day. And if you believe in him, repent and be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. And through sanctification you will become more Christlike because you have a reconciled relationship with God and the Holy Spirit dwelling within you, and when you die you will be free from the desire to sin and spend eternity with God.
To the Pagan that uses Josh Duggar to attack the church, I want to inform you that Christianity teaches a doctrine called sphere sovereignty, which recognizes four authorities: self, family, church, and the civil magistrate. Obviously, Josh Duggar was not the master of his domain. However, the most pressing failure in this situation is the failure of the institution of the family. The Duggars did not hold their son properly accountable for his actions. Jim Bob Duggar did not protect his daughters and those otherwise under his care. From what I gather about the Duggars, they have pretty strict rules on a host of other issues. And I liken this to the oral law of the Pharisees, in that, it’s clear that their extrabiblical rules took precedence over their moral obligation to protect their daughters.
To get a little personal, I know a real life Josh Duggar, similar situation, obviously not as many kids. And the family from what I gathered was very split on this issue. At least from what I gathered at Duggars went to the police more willingly. But additionally, the civil magistrates failed to punish evil as God’s avenging angel as described in Romans 13. However, we can’t ignore how much a parents influence over a victim can play in the civil magistrate’s dereliction.
So where does the institution of the church play into this? Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5,
“It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. 2You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst. 3 For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
Church discipline is unfortunately a neglected practice. And if one such as Josh Duggar professes repentance after having been confronted for his sin, and not held accountable criminally, how much can you expect the church to do? It would not be suffice to the pagan, for the church to institute a shunning or excommunication. This is because the other institutions that God establishes are actually responsible.
I want to close by saying that God is righteous. The case of Josh Duggar is not cause to inject feminism into the church or otherwise undermine biblical sexuality. It is however an extreme example of the sins which plague our society deeply and should serve as a warning to people everywhere.