Grant serves as the Executive Director for CBMW. He is also a PhD student in Church History at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is Marine Corps veteran. He holds a B.S. from Texas A&M and an M.Div from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, GraceAnna, reside in Frankfort, Kentucky where Grant also serves as Pastor of Evangelism at Buck Run Baptist Church.
T4L: Thank you very much for agreeing to do this interview with Theology for Life Magazine, Grant. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and the current ministries you are involved in?
Grant Castleberry: Absolutely. My life is very simple. I am a husband, father, and ultimately am called to serve the Lord in pastoral ministry. I am an Assistant Pastor at Buck Run Baptist Church and the Executive Director of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Between doing all of those things, my time is pretty much dictated for me.
T4L: Wow! Sounds like you stay pretty busy! So with regards to your work with CBMW, how does a biblical view of gender roles, as advocated by The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, help Christians to fight against the cultural tide of pornography and uphold biblical purity?
Grant Castleberry: I think the biblical view of gender roles calls men to the highest standard of purity. The biblical standard. They are called to lead in the home and in their churches with uprightness and holiness. This means that all men should aspire to the character qualities that Paul mentions in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 of being a “one-woman man” and “beyond reproach.” Moreover, every Christian is called to a life of purity in mind and action (Philippians 4:8). This means that men must repent of past sin, and follow Christ with their whole hearts. That is the essence of true faith. Moreover, in following Christ, Jesus demands that we take radical steps in our own lives to pursue purity. True discipleship means cutting off our hand or gouging out our own eye for the sake of holiness (Matthew 5:27-30). Jesus goes even as far to say that the eternal resting place of our souls depends on it.
T4L: So, how should Pastors and ministry leaders speak to the problem of pornography and for biblical purity?
Grant Castleberry: I think we have to take the problem much more seriously than we have and address these issues head on in the church. The statistics regarding men and pornography are absolutely staggering in the Western world. And we can’t be naive and think that men in the church aren’t affected or struggling with it. Many are. If God is going to bless the church again, repentance must start with the house of God. We must confess our sins, repent, and seek Christ-like holiness by walking in the light in accountability with other godly men. We must care more about holiness than our comfort. In short, I think the answer is not ignoring it or only addressing it periodically, but pastors must be much more pro-active addressing it in men’s discipleship ministries. And if churches don’t have a men’s discipleship program, then beginning one would be a great place to start.
T4L: And, as a Pastor, how do you counsel people who tell you they are addicted to pornography?
Grant Castleberry: I remind them that they stand on the righteousness of Christ if they have trusted in Christ and not on their own merits (2 Corinthians 5:21). Yet we are called to walk in a manner worthy of this great calling (Ephesians 4:1). Pornography, like other lusts, is an addiction, which once fed, grows bigger and more monstrous in its need to be fed. Moreover, studies have shown that pornography changes the way men think about the female body in negative ways, often leading to sexual dysfunction. These problems are real and it means many men face a long road ahead in the process of sanctification. We all do. We are all struggling to be conformed to the image of Christ. But there are steps we can and should begin to take. As I mentioned earlier, men’s discipleship is a must in this process. Men must be held accountable and exhorted to righteousness by older, wiser men (see Titus 2 on God’s blueprint for discipleship). We must be renewing our minds in the Word daily (Romans 12:2). We must be putting on the whole armor of God to stand against Satan’s attacks (Ephesians 6:11). God has not left us without armor to face Satan’s schemes. The question is: are we putting it on?
T4L: Very good point. It seems as though the armor of God is often something we forget in our daily lives. In light of this, how can a vision of biblical manhood and/or womanhood help those coming out of an addiction to pornography to discover their God-given purpose, meaning, and identity as male and female created in the image and likeness of God?
Grant Castleberry: In our day and age identity is so important. People are searching and longing for meaningful identity. Whether it’s sexual orientation, business or sports accomplishments, wealth, or the ideal body, people are searching for worth and value. The biblical worldview informs us that ultimately our identity is found in the fact that we are image bearers of God (Genesis 1-2) and that if we are Christians, we are in Christ (Galatians 3:22). Being male and female is part of that identity and that means that in appreciating that, we don’t use or defile someone else’s identity. We don’t use them, like in pornography, as an inanimate object. No, truly understanding our identity means that we value the humanity of all people, especially the weak and the oppressed, who are marginalized and taken advantage of. This is why the Christian worldview has no toleration of pornography.
T4L: Excellent insight, brother! Thank you so much for taking the time to let us interview you, Grant. Until next time!