The Theological Implications of Addiction | Episode 23

Episode 23 show notes

In this episode of OCF Crosspoint, we explore some of the theological implications of addiction. Some of the questions we’ll consider include: What does scripture say about addiction? Can a Christian have an addiction? What does a biblical approach to recovery look like?

Before you press play, be advised that some topics covered in this episode are somewhat of a mature nature. If you have children around you, please use discretion when playing this episode. You can always press pause and come back later to listen.

Our guest is Dr. John Thorington. He’s a licensed professional counselor and is also certified as a Sexual Recovery Therapist by the American Association of Sex Addiction Therapy. John works as a pastoral counselor at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, CO, and he has a personal counseling practice called Restoring Hearts Counseling.

He’s also author of the book “Pure Teens: Honoring God, Relationships, and Sex”—a book that is written for teens, and offers Christian perspectives on relationships and sex. Each chapter concludes with a series of questions meant to challenge the reader and give them steps for living a life of godly freedom and integrity.

Because Dr. Thorington has an extensive background helping those who struggle with sexual addiction, pornography, and compulsive behaviors, our conversation will largely take this perspective…although much of the information you’ll hear today applies to many forms of addiction.

Book Giveaway

And as we’ve been known to do from time to time on Crosspoint, we have a free book giveaway. We’re giving away 5 signed copies of “Pure Teens” and all you need to do be entered into the drawing is send an email to me at podcast@ocfusa.org. The book is perfect if you are a parent with teens (or soon-to-be teens). Deadline to enter the drawing is 8 December.

Conversation outline

[3:25] We have a sin nature that is at the root of our addictive behaviors.

[3:50] What are the spiritual implications of not addressing an addiction, especially as it pertains to our relationship with God and others?

[4:33] Are there examples of addictive behavior in the Bible?

[5:07] What does scripture say about addiction?

[5:37] How is addiction defined? Where does it come from?

[6:15] What’s going on in our brains to form those addictive cycles?

[7:49] Is pornography just a “guy’s” problem?

[8:34] Can a Christian have an addiction?

[9:44] How does identity play into addiction?

[10:44] How do our past traumas influence an addiction? (11:50ish… stats on trauma)

[12:32] How do we define trauma? Does trauma always need to be something big—PTSD, rape, abuse, etc?

[14:18] Is it important to identify triggers? Why? Why not just ignore or avoid them?

[15:17] Why it’s important to identify triggers and not ignore them.

[17:18] Are addictions the result of triggers and trauma? Or is there something deeper? An emotional component?

[18:23] Six areas Dr. Thorington explores in the life of the addict:

  1. Brain impairment (biological)
  2. Spiritual Matters (identity, warfare, purpose, etc.)
  3. Trauma-based
  4. Mood Disorders (Depression, Anxiety)
  5. Psychological Factors (hurt by broken family, divorce, etc.)
  6. Way of Coping that Stunts Growth (how much?)

[20:49] Why can’t someone just pray more, read the Bible more, worship more, etc. to break addiction? Isn’t Jesus enough?

[22:01] Is addiction something that can be “cured”? Or is it more like a disease that we need to manage?

[23:01] Becoming sober is the easy part; staying sober is the hard part.

[24:53] What does a biblical approach to recovery look like? What key components are needed and why? (maybe break out the key components he talks about)

[29:26] What should be the church’s role in helping those with addictions?

[32:13] John chapter 8: Of shame, stones, sin, and grace.

[34:58] How does one know if they have an addiction? Is there a test to determine that?

[35:44] What should someone do today is they suspect they have an addiction? How should they start facing the addiction?

[36:23] What should a person look for in a counselor or therapist?

[37:00] What is the role of confession in healing? Is it an end goal or a starting point?

[38:52] What are some misconceptions about sexual addiction and pornography?

[46:04] Dr. Thorington shares more about his work at Restoring Hearts Counseling.

[47:27] More about his book “Pure Teens” and who it’s for.

[48:38] A final word of encouragement.

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