By Grant Castleberry
I recently interviewed Dr. Heath Lambert about his new book Finally Free, which was written to help those struggling with lust and pornography to find victory in the grace afforded them through Jesus Christ. First, let me say that think that this is an outstanding resource. It is a book that I will keep multiple copies of – one for myself and others to give away. I especially appreciate theologically how he points readers continually to the cross of Jesus Christ and the grace that is freely offered to sinners. I also appreciate how practical the book is. The book is filled with examples and ways to apply Scripture and the means of grace that Christ has given us in our lives to defeat sin. Lastly, I am grateful how, opposed to other “Christian” books I’ve read on the subject of lust, Dr. Lambert does not give gross details of various peoples’ sexual sins as examples, which I have found only tempt readers further into lust. You can purchase the book here. Below in bold are my questions to Dr. Lambert about the book followed by his answers:
What led you to write Finally Free?
I wrote the book because of two kinds of interactions I constantly have. On the one hand, I talk with a lot of guys who are struggling with pornography, feel trapped, and don’t know how to get out of the pit. On the other hand, I talk with many pastors and other ministers of the gospel who are trying to help those who struggle and don’t know how to do it. I never had a resource that did everything I wanted it to do, so I wrote Finally Free to provide it.
What do you think is unique about Finally Free compared with other books on fighting lust on the Christian market?
There are three things about Finally Free that, combined, separate it from every other books on pornography of which I am aware. First, it is clean. The shelf next to me is full of books that Christians wrote on pornography and many of them are full of filthy, lust-producing language. I am committed to talking frankly in my book, but in a way that avoids using sexualized language which provokes thoughts of sexual immorality. Second, it is gospel-centered. Others of those books on my shelf are full of guilt-motivation. They make people feel badly for looking at porn. People should feel badly for looking at porn, but the people who come to me for help already do. Feeling badly is fine as a first step, but is a terrible foundation for real and lasting change. Ultimately people can only change when they experience the power of Jesus to set them free. My book is about how Jesus does this. Finally, my book is practical. There are a few books on my shelf that are pure in their speech and that are gospel-centered, but I find they are not as practical as they should be. Men who are struggling with porn need grace. They also need to know how grace leads to practical change. My book is written to point guys to a grace-filled and practical path to experience change. When you read it, you know what you need to do next to be different.
I personally am thankful about how intentional you are to not cause further lust in your readers by not talking about explicit sins in the lives of others, which so many books have done. Considering the “clean” content of Finally Free, would you feel comfortable recommending it to a anyone, including a teenager, who is struggling with a pornography addiction?
Yes. I wrote the book so that anyone—whether young or older men—could read it. In the back of my mind as I wrote I thought of my two boys, Carson and Connor. I kept asking, “If my boys were struggling with pornography is this the kind of language I would want them to hear.” I wrote this as a parent and a pastor desiring to be a good steward of the affections of my readers regardless of age.
Your comments on different types of sorrow over sin is very helpful in distinguishing true repentance. Is that something that you discovered through your own personal study and experience or did you learn that distinction from someone else?
Of course there were influences of others. Countless authors, preachers, and commentators are swimming around in my head. It would be hard to know who to attribute the most credit. With regard to how I develop it in the book, it was mostly my own personal study and experience. In my own life and ministry I saw the dangers of people (and I’m one of them!) who were truly sad, but the sadness didn’t lead to change. 2 Corinthians 7 is the biblical explanation for how someone can be full of regret and yet not change.
If someone is reading this and currently struggling with pornography, what encouragement can you give them and how would you advise them to use Finally Free?
If you’re struggling with pornography and you’re going to read Finally Free then I wrote the book for you. I have prayed for you, and continue to pray, that the Lord changes you through the gospel presented in the book. The only suggestion I would make here is that it would be most helpful to find someone with whom you can read the book. You can’t change on your own so find someone that can walk with you, help you do the application in the book, and be an encouragement and help when you get frustrated.
Dr. Heath Lambert is the executive director of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC). He also serves as the associate professor of Biblical Counseling at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and their undergraduate institution, Boyce College, where he is the associate dean of applied studies and the chairman of the department of biblical counseling. He is the author of The Biblical Counseling Movement After Adams, and co-editor (with Dr. Stuart Scott) of Counseling the Hard Cases: True Stories Illustrating the Sufficiency of God’s Resources in Scripture. He is married to Lauren, and is the father of Carson, Chloe, and Connor. You can follow him on Twitter at @HeathLambert.
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