Can Pastors Please Stop Objectifying Women in Sermons? A response to Jonathan Pokluda

by | Feb 24, 2023 | Men's Corner, Sexual Intimacy | 63 comments

Jonathan Pokluda Objectifying Women Sermon Harris Creek Baptist
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Last week, there was a Twitter dust-up because megachurch pastor Jonathan Pokluda objectified women in a sermon.

The clip went viral, and this tweet by @laurchastain22 (Lauren Chastain) made huge splashes among Christians:

I’m so pleased that Baptist News allowed me to write an opinion piece on this. 

I think it’s important, and I’d ask you all to click through and read it so that they get lots of clicks on pieces that I write (it helps those pieces get more traction, and helps me be able to write more pieces in the future!). 

Here’s the beginning of it:


Baptist News on Jonathan pokluda

Megachurch Pastor Jonathan Pokluda made a splash on Twitter when a three-minute clip of his Jan. 22 sermon went viral. He narrated how, early in his marriage, he ventured to a restaurant with a friend for chips and queso when a woman with a “perfect body,” where “everything was in the right place,” propositioned him by asking if she could buy him a drink.

Pokluda, now pastor of Harris Creek Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, explained he was married. She replied “Is she here? Because I don’t care.” He then dramatically recounted how his saving grace, the only way he managed to resist the temptation of a few minutes of “ecstasy” with a complete stranger, was that he remembered Proverbs 5.

Outrage and derision

Christian social media erupted in outrage at his objectification of women’s bodies, as well as derision at the idea the story unfolded as he said. Many posited a more plausible explanation of the encounter was a server asked him if she could get him a drink; he misunderstood and replied he was married; and she was confused, since no woman was with him.

But let’s give Pokluda the benefit of the doubt: A “perfect” woman propositioned him when he was eating chips and dip with a friend. And his study of Scripture was the only thing that kept him from betraying his wife for an ecstatic encounter with a stranger.

Women exist in a world where people judge, use, ridicule and ogle our bodies everywhere we go.

Women exist in a world where people judge, use, ridicule and ogle our bodies everywhere we go. One study found between 34% and 65% of 5-year-old girls have ideas and opinions on dieting. And then we get to church and hear, once again, we aren’t enough — we’re merely the consolation prize, the one he settles for instead of the “perfect” woman he is barely able to resist.

Women deserve better than to go to church and hear all that stops our pastors from having sex with total strangers is a Bible memory passage. We’re all for Bible memory, but we’re also for marriage vows, faithfulness and holding Christian men to at least the same moral standard as your average non-Christian husband at your local Applebee’s.

More here.

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Can pastors please stop salivating over women’s bodies in sermons? A response to Jonathan Pokluda’s objectification of the ‘perfect’ woman, Baptist News

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It’s funny how this hit the same week as we were talking about Every Man’s Battle.

One of the main problems in Every Man’s Battle (not the only one, of course) is the extreme objectification of women that drips off of every page. The way they talk about women as disembodied body parts, with bouncing breasts “moseying by.” The salacious descriptions of women’s breasts. Describing women as tarantulas or temptation grenades. 

(See all of this in our one-sheet download and summary of the issues with Every Man’s Battle.)

I truly don’t think pastors understand how sick women are of being objectified. We’re tired of it. 

And it’s honestly worse in Christian circles than it is in the secular world, for most of us. In the secular world, people agree that’s not appropriate (even if they still do it). In the Christian world, we’re constantly told men can’t help it because they’re visual and that’s how God made them

And now our pastors are doing it, in their sermons. 

That is stealing women’s safe space. If we can’t even feel safe when we come to church on a Sunday morning, what’s the point? I’m so flipping tired of this (and, yes, I’m angry today).

We really do deserve better. Our girls deserve better. 

So please spread the word about the Baptist News piece, and then maybe we can get this conversation going, and more pastors will know they can’t do this anymore. 

(And thank you so much to the amazing pastors who get it. I published a great take by a pastor on Facebook yesterday. We appreciate you all so much!)

Jonathan Pokluda Objectifying Women in Sermon

How can we make church a safe space for women? Have you ever heard a pastor do something like this? What can we do about it? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Angharad

    “we’re tired of being framed as the dangerous ones when we’re the ones in danger. ”


  2. Jo R

    “No thanks,” then pointedly turn back to his friend to continue their interrupted conversation?

    “No thanks, not interested”?

    “No, please go away”?

    Or even just a simple “No”?

    Any of those responses would have put the responsibility for his action and answer firmly on himself.

    But no. He had to make his wife, who wasn’t even there, bear the burden of keeping him sexually faithful.

    This of course begs the question, would his answer have been an enthusiastic “Yes” if he were single?

    Because whether he’s married or single, he, as a Christian man, let alone as a PASTOR, is not supposed to have sex outside the confines of marriage.

    Or did THAT expectation of CHRISTIAN behavior and morality get pushed out of his mind by all those lovely body parts? Did he forget Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:27-30, which were not directed at only married men?

    I’ll be over here waiting for your answer, PASTOR, but you’ll forgive me for continuing to breathe in the meantime. 🙄

    • Jane Eyre

      “Because whether he’s married or single, he, as a Christian man, let alone as a PASTOR, is not supposed to have sex outside the confines of marriage.”

      Good point. If his wife dropped dead, would he have banged the hot young woman?

      Also missing from his Bible verses: that whole thing about “you have already committed adultery with her in your heart.”

  3. Andrea

    My only comment is about the “now” in the following sentence: “And now our pastors are doing it, in their sermons.” This has been going on at least since the 1990s with Mark Driscoll, who claimed that women slipped notes into his jeans pocket during service, inviting him over to their house. And frankly I have to also wonder about Billy Graham, who started the rule named after him in order to protect himself from false accusations. Because supposedly back in the 1940s women were sneaking into his hotel rooms while he travelled the country preaching the Gospel and tried to seduce him in order to thwart the Gospel? I’m sorry, I know Billy Graham is untouchable, but I just don’t find that anymore believable than women slipping messages into Driscoll’s pants, that woman at the stop light trying to bang James Dobson, or the woman trying it with JP most recently. Someone correct me about Billy Graham if there’s a better story about the origin of his rule. I think too many of these dudes read the story of Potiphar’s wife and have been playing Joseph in their fantasies. It’s just that now we have social media and we can shame them for it.

    • Jo R

      “It’s just that now we have social media and we can shame them for it.”


      Individual women who have felt too embarrassed or ashamed or even “disobedient and sinful” thinking “There’s something wrong with this sermon or book” to raise the issue are now able to find out that yes, their feelings are justified, and, no, the women aren’t crazy for feeling disquiet in their spirits (because the Holy Spirit is trying to get a word in edgewise against the immense flow of male-centric “Christianity”).

      Some of these theobros have lots of ‘splainin’ to do.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I just hope the outcry gets loud enough that some women in his church will hear and will realize they’re not wrong for being uncomfortable.

      • Kate

        Is it just me or is he committing adultery (in his ‘heart’/mind) DURING that very story? I literally feel sick watching him describe the woman (like I’ve just witnessed him sharing some sick fantasy). THEN to go on by saying this evil woman (whom he clearly still lusts over) wants to ruin his entire life and cause his entire family and community to “Hate” him – like as if had he physically (and not just mentally) had sex with her the fall-out would be all her doing (and INTENT). I mean I don’t hear him saying that every time to commits mental adultery he is actively trying to make his family hate him! So yet again, his sin is not his problem, but some stranger’s.
        Ugh! Simply repulsive!
        And his poor wife! How humiliating to hear your husband drool over (and almost become breathless) as he describes another woman ON STAGE – and one he’s judged as some kind of demon no less.

        I mean even my non-christian, abusive, unfaithful, ex-husband knew not to blatantly droll over another woman when I would witness it… That’s a sickly low bar and this ‘pastor’ didn’t even pass!

      • JamieLH

        I would never feel safe in this dude’s church. 🚫☢🖓

    • Jane Eyre

      Eeehh I’m gonna defend Billy Graham on this one.

      A lot of predatory men start out by getting women alone, then gradually ramping up the sexual overtones. Instead of a conversation in a conference room with windows in the middle of the day, it’s after working hours, maybe over sandwiches at the local shop. Sandwiches eventually turn into drinks. Drinks turn into a proposition. At this point, she feels very stupid because she’s agreed to sandwiches and then drinks and she can’t pinpoint exactly where things went off the rails. They went off the rails when they didn’t have that first meeting at 11:30 am in the fishbowl conference room with half of the company walking by.

      The secondary benefit is that false accusations are almost impossible. It is also important to not give rise to the appearance of scandal.

      • Angharad

        Yes, I think Billy Graham’s attitude was that he’d seen a lot of other men fall into sin in this area and he felt that not being alone with a woman would make sure he could never fall either. The ‘rule’ has since been abused and misunderstood, but I think in his case, it originated from a good place – not blaming women for being tempters, but him trying not to be proud and assuming that he would never sin the way the other guys had.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Good point! It has been going on for a long time.

    • Taryn

      These pastors might be Joseph in their minds, but they are really Potiphar’s wife. A powerful person doing DARVO when caught in a compromising situation. I hate when people say that story is a woman making a false accusation. (Not saying you are) That’s not what the story is about!
      The mistress of an influential household sexually harasses a slave & when her ego is bruised and she’s left w/his cloak as incriminating evidence she throws Joseph under the bus to protect her image & good name.
      Sounds like every youth pastor restored & teen girl shunned b/c she was so scantily clad & flirtatious. Every celeb preacher caught in a scandal who just “fell” (temporarily) to temptation b/c you all know these women always seduce men of God to destroy their good work.
      Somehow, (hint: it’s the patriarchy) a story meant to side w/the lowly victim gets turned around to protect the powerful leaders at the expense of their victims yet again.

  4. anon

    “how do we make the church a safe space for women?”

    well for starters, no one should comment on anyone’s body. period. men shouldn’t comment on women’s bodies (regardless of whether they are in the pulpit or not), and women shouldn’t comment on men’s bodies either. unless you are preaching on song of solomon and you are quoting Scripture, then i don’t see any reason why it is necessary to comment on anyone’s body.

    • Aabethany

      Unless it’s gender neutral and in the context of self control, and living a healthy lifestyle. That kinda sermon would be fine. But you’d have to watch out for the ditches!(any emphasis on being hot for hubby or too much vice versa. Healthy yes, hot is extremely optional and only private)

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I think that’s a pretty good standard!

  5. Cynthia

    What struck me beyond just the objectification was the way that he turns things around to make himself the one who is suffering hatred and persecution.

    First, the existence of an attractive woman gets turned into her hating him and wanting to destroy him, in his mind.

    Then, when people complain about his sermon, he turns that into persecution as well as portrays himself as a martyr.

    That’s a really dangerous mindset. If you convince yourself that others are out to get you – well, they don’t deserve kindness in that case, do they? If you see someone as your enemy who hates you, wants to destroy you and is a possible tool of Satan meant to keep you away from your God-given path, then you will think you are justified in inciting others against them, punishing them or maybe even resorting to violence. This is not hyperbole. I don’t know this pastor and I’m not saying that he is necessarily violent, but I have personally been on the receiving end of fury from a religious man primed to see me as the enemy for daring to exist in public as a woman, and I have seen places where that sort of violence is normalized via thinking like this.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, exactly. He somehow is the victim, and not the woman he likely embellished a story about; not his wife whom he disrespected and shamed; not the women in his congregation that he made to feel icky and insecure; not the women who spoke up that he derided.

      • Cynthia

        I just listened to that chip of what he said as Asbury, and it was even worse than I expected. So, he was criticized and his reaction is that God personally told him to read a Psalm to give him the message that his enemies will be brutally punished and he is adored and wonderful? That’s just so egotistical, and so lacking in any willingness to consider his own actions or the perspective of others. God for him is just some sort of personal bodyguard or enforcer, going after women who might challenge a pastor.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          It really was awful. It made himself the center of the story rather than God. No humility or understanding that he may have been wrong.

        • Amber

          Well said, Sheila!!

    • Tim

      Well said. I had the same thought (though you’ve expressed it better than I would have).

      • Tim

        (that was addressed to Cynthia, if not obvious)

      • Viva

        Calling good evil, and evil, good.
        Pokluda spoke the thoughts and intentions of his heart.
        He defended those.
        He attacked and reviled those vulnerable people and their defenders who called him to repent.
        His behavior is more than icky and threatening.
        Lack of humility is arrogance which is a characteristic of evildoers.
        Why should we stop short of calling this evil?

  6. Mara R

    From Sheila’s opinion piece on Baptist News Global: ” he [Jonathan Pokluda] described what God apparently revealed to him when he visited the Asbury Revival.

    As he entered the sanctuary, he was thinking about how he was being attacked by “mean and evil” people “antagonistic towards Christianity and pastors.” Pokluda recounts God told him to read Psalm 37: “Do not fret because of those who are evil, or be envious of those who do wrong. For like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.”

    Do these guys have no fear of God whatsoever? I don’t think they do. They appear to be so far up their own backsides that they truly believe that the evil thoughts inside their own heads are the oracles of God rather than the debris lining their intestines. I’m sorry, but calling good evil and evil good is a dangerous game.

    I think a better scripture from the Psalms that describes Pokluda’s heart is this one [God is talking to the wicked]:
    Psalm 50:21 “These things you have done and I kept silence;
    You thought that I was just like you;
    I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.”
    [Those who want to look it up, read verses 16-21]

    I don’t think Polkuda is evil. But I do think his understanding is so twisted it makes his thoughts concerning this issue wicked, His misunderstanding is so derailed from the truth that it is not lining up with God who values women in a way he doesn’t understand yet. We pray that he will become enlightened and stop burying his head up his backside. Because his thoughts are dung, not divine.

    • Helen

      Thank you for quoting that psalm. I’ve been wrestling with this and it seeming almost like God’s justifying his behaviour (obviously, like you say, it probably wasn’t God at all but I’m just giving the benefit of the doubt). I was specifically looking for some scripture related to it and verse 21 sums it up perfectly.

      • Jo R

        When do we get to stop giving the benefit of the doubt?

        • Mara R

          Jo R,
          For me, it’s not so much about giving the benefit of a doubt as much and making sure that I don’t commit the same sin against him that he is committing against us.

          He is calling good evil. He is calling those of us who are holding him accountable and to a higher standard, evil, and worthy of a withering demise.

          What I want to do is focus on his words. His words are straight up evil. And they come from a bad place in his heart. A place that is in deep need of being redeemed by God. I have no problem calling his evil words the evil that they are..

          But God tells us to not judge another man’s servant. Unlike Pokluda, I actually do fear God. And I don’t feel right saying that he, from the top of his head to the soles of his feet, is evil and worthy of a withering death. I don’t know every part of him like God does. So I defer or render that part to God.

          I am free to judge his words and the portion of his heart/spirit that those words well up from. But I must not cross the line that he so sinfully crossed.

          • Jo R

            Except he clearly thinks he’s the hero. If someone, well, a woman told him he was being evil, he’d just respond that she, like the temptress at the restaurant, was sinning and God was going to dole out some justice against her and Psalm 37 vindication for him.

            So perhaps I should have asked, when do we get to wipe this dude’s dust off our feet and leave? How long do we have to put up with people who have this anti-Christian view? How long do we bash our heads against the brick wall of this kind of thinking before we can just stop?

          • Mara R

            We can wipe the dust off right now as far as I’m concern.
            This man should not be a pastor. He should not be a leader of men. And he should definitely not be a leader of women, not when he is so disrespectful of them.
            I believe talking about this here and now and in other places, drawing attention to this as sin is the exact thing we need to do.

        • Pamela

          Thank you for so clearly writing on objectification of women. A few weeks ago, I had tears streaming down my face after the sermon, as the leader of my church spoke about how hot Sarah must have been (in the Old Testment). Our church family has been our family for a long time, so I was grieving the objectifying words he spoke and how I don’t think I can continue to have my 5 daughters listen to this in the sermons. My husband and I have been very much transformed by your teaching, Sheila, and in turn, our marriage has. We have been working hard to present this information to our church elders/pastors. Thank you for all you do.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            You’re so welcome, Pamela! I’m so sorry about that experience at your church. There are a lot of men in the pulpit who just shouldn’t be there.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Well said, Mara!

    • Cynthia

      Exactly. I have started to divide religious (and not just Christian) approaches into two categories: those that see God as being ABOVE those with power, and those that see God as being BEHIND those with power.

      In that clip, he isn’t seeing God as being above him, subjecting him to the same expectations as everyone else. He is seeing God as being a sort of bodyguard, ready to cause harm to anyone to dares to criticize him.

      • Helen

        “In that clip, he isn’t seeing God as being above him, subjecting him to the same expectations as everyone else. He is seeing God as being a sort of bodyguard, ready to cause harm to anyone to dares to criticize him.” — so so true! Amen to that.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Really insightful, Cynthia! Thank you.

      • Amy

        How could you know how how he was seeing God in that moment? I agree that he could have definitely chosen a better way to tell the story, but that doesn’t mean we can see into his heart and know how he was viewing God at the time.

    • Elise

      absolutely a GOLD comment. His thoughts are DUNG. YASSSSS

  7. CMT

    I am so, so, so tired of men assessing women from the pulpit. Whether it’s objectifying them for their bodies or making sweeping statements about their roles or character. These “leaders” say whatever they think with no understanding of how it impacts the women listening. And the women are supposed to sit there and accept it, and never have an opportunity to reply? It’s infuriating.

    Men like this have been able to shout over everyone else in the room for a long time, but I hope that time is ending. That opinion piece was 🔥🔥

  8. Elise

    Wow. This is so so scary to hear a PASTOR say this. The lead pastor at my church gave his testimony last Sunday, and the only reason he decided to try church as an unbeliever was because of the women. He said: “Christianity has the best looking girls.” (This was said from the pulpit in front of every age group imaginable.) I felt so disgusted and upset that he would even include that kind of statement in his testimony. (I would absolutely have left it out). Also, in a podcast by the authors of “It’s Good to be a Man” Pastor Michael Foster referred to women as sex objects. He said: ” I don’t think women should resent being sex objects.” VERY disappointing. I am inspired by you and Rebecca to change this narrative. To call out unbiblical and harmful teaching. I want to make a difference and help women realize their worth is not tied to anything another sinful human might say. Our identity is in Jesus Christ, and I am so thankful for a perfect Savior who loves me for who I am.

  9. Lucie

    Classic virtue signaling. And I couldn’t help thinking that it would be difficult to find a woman who would make one quarter that big a deal out of a similar situation, if the roles had been reversed.

    • Liz

      So right! When we have strange guys hit on us, it’s creepy – doesn’t matter if he’s good looking or not! If we tell the story, it’s going to be about how God protected us from a possible Ted Bundy, not about how He gave us strength not to go home with him! 😆

  10. Melissa

    I feel like if porn usage has this guy so messed up that the simple fact he’s married and loves his wife is not enough for him to refuse an attractive woman, maybe he shouldn’t be pastoring. Maybe he should be in therapy. If this were my husband publicly sharing such a story I would be humiliated. “Hey babe I could have cheated on you but Scripture says it’s wrong so I didn’t!” Um…isn’t the fact that you pledged to be faithful to me in your wedding vows enough????

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Exactly, Melissa! I really do feel badly for his wife.

  11. Connie

    My thought was, What if a woman pastor had told that story with roles reversed? Eww?? Also, what if he had offered her a drink and said, What’s your story? As followers of Jesus, my friend and I have a story to share with you, too.
    Offering someone Living water and Bread that satisfies has been done before, no?

  12. Liz

    I grew up in an Independent Fundamental Baptist church and this seemed extremely tame to me. I’ve heard sooo many highly inappropriate stories objectifying women from the pulpit that I’ve lost track. The worst one I can remember though was this “evangelist” who told a story about a gullible young man lured by a woman into the woods so her friends could rob him. He went into great detail about how she took her clothes off piece by piece! It was so uncomfortable! He also said some crude things regarding women’s or a woman’s hips at a different time, but I can’t remember exactly what he said, just that that also made me super uncomfortable.

    I don’t understand how it’s supposed to equate logically that the same guys who say that in marriage, women don’t want sex, but they just need to do it for their husbands, are the same guys telling stories about how all these women want them? I guess non Christian women are full of desire, but when they become Christians it’s like someone flipped an off switch! Or possibly they’re turned off by being objectified by guys like these…

    • Nessie

      Liz, great point! “I don’t understand how it’s supposed to equate logically that the same guys who say that in marriage, women don’t want sex … are the same guys telling stories about how all these women want them?”

      It really doesn’t make any sense! If they aren’t honestly satisfying their wives, maybe they feel like they need stories about how much other women want them so they can convince themselves they are good at sex/desired and save their own egos. Seems to center strongly around pridefulness. Agree about the objectification results.

  13. Cee

    My truest reaction was this: a feeling sick to my stomach and immediately thinking about my clothes and which dresses might show too many part locations and if I might be considered to have well placed parts and dear God I don’t want my pastor or other men looking. And then…it’s like…part locations? I can’t hide my boobs…they’re on the upper front of my body. I can’t hide my butt…it’s on the lower back part of my torso. I can’t hide my legs…they are below me and hold my torso up. It truly feels like I’m a piece of meat at church and it has since I was very young. What is wrong with evangelical men? It’s gross and unacceptable. Pornography. I would rather they actually sleep with real women than bang themselves and their brains into delirium behind closed doors to a computer pixeled fake person having sex or slicing each other up while being “sexual.” Is it any wonder these closet sinners are insane sounding when they open their mouths? No, look at what is happening behind closed doors. Adultery in the most cowardly form. I truly feel gross at some churches. God bless the men who don’t look at women as objects to comment on. I know they are out there and my gut feels safe with them. But when I walk up to one of my pastors recently and it’s clear and obvious he’s staring at my vagina…it’s such an awful feeling. And so defeating. Men are the leaders. Women don’t have a say. Men lust so get over it. Women are less than. It feels insurmountable. BUT it’s not and thank you thank you for shining a light.

  14. Amy

    Without knowing anything going on with Jonathan Pokluda, my college-aged daughter visited Harris Creek this past Sunday (2/26/23). She was struck by something he said at the end of the service because she appreciated his tone of humility, and she told us about how he’d apologized for something he’d said in a sermon on adultery that had hurt people. I was so intrigued that I looked the service up (Facebook) and listened for myself.

    I am requesting, Sheila, that you listen to what he had to say because he took full responsibility and humbled himself and asked for forgiveness for how he hurt people with his language about the woman who propositioned him. (This starts at about the 1hr., 12 min. mark.) After communion and closing song (about 1hr., 24 min mark), he goes onto say that anyone is welcome to talk to him after the service about anything they may feel hurt by concerning him, and says he wants to be teachable. I hope you’ll get the word out about his desire to make things right after causing hurt.

    I also wonder if the unresponsiveness of so many people you call out led you to forget that there might be some who are truly teachable and perhaps the first course of action in situations like these would be to go to the person first to get clarification, rather than write an opinion piece without giving him that opportunity?

    I appreciate the work that you do immensely!

      • Mara R

        But does he really think that he did wrong?
        Or is he just trying to save face and keep his paycheck
        I know, I’m not qualified to judge his heart.

        But his actions and delayed apology speak volumes. He didn’t care and DARVOed women until it no longer served him or did for him what he wanted (Shut them up). He proclaimed God’s judgement on his critics. But it wasn’t God’s judgement at all. It was his own judgement that he stamped “Thus saith the Lord” on in order to make his personal judgement and vindictiveness seem like it came from God.
        I’m not sure people really understand what a heinous sin this is, to take the Lord’s name in vain like that. I haven’t listened to the apology yet. not sure I will. If I did, it would be to see if he was also sorry for misrepresenting God Himself and taking God’s name in vain like that. That is in the top ten commands given by Moses on Mt. Sinai. It is on par with murder and adultery. Some would say that it’s worse than murder and adultery, depending on who you ask.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          That’s what struck me, too, Mara, how he misused God’s name. Jesus was so adamant that this was the greatest sin. Because it separates people from God. When he proclaims “God is like this” when God is not anything like that, it makes people run from God. It’s awful.

          • ButterflyCreation

            I have a question. If this was something that happened a long time, is this pastor not allowed to be honest about his thoughts at that time? Should he lie what he was thinking? I feel we’re not allowed to be honest anymore because we’re going to be put down about being honest of what we were thinking of whatever it is we encounter.
            What should he have said instead?

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            He should have centered the story on himself, not the woman’s body. Something like this:

            “A very attractive woman propositioned me, and I’m sorry to say that I was tempted. I was immature, and I was wrong. Thankfully, I didn’t succumb, and it was a good wake up call for me that I needed to do some serious work committing to my wife and seeing women as whole people, not just body parts.”

            There was absolutely no need to objectify her body, or to make it sound like this will always be a huge struggle for people to not have sex with perfect strangers.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi Amy! I’m so glad that he apologized! That’s wonderful.

      However, it’s clear that he only apologized AFTER the opinion piece came out, and went very big on social media. The previous week, remember, he had doubled down on it, calling his critics mean and evil, antagonistic towards Christianity and pastors. He told everyone that God told him that his critics would wither and die.

      I am very, very glad that he has realized what he said was wrong, and that he has repented, and I was moved by his apology. But many, many people reached out to him and he did not apologize until the opinion piece when it started to get traction in more mainstream media. I’m glad he did the right thing, truly. But I think what this shows is that when we do speak up, repeatedly and loudly, pastors will listen. When only a few people do, they often double down.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        One more thing: On the same day that my opinion piece was published, The Christian Post ran a piece. Here’s what he said there:

        “In response to a request for comment, Pokluda told The Christian Post that he is “sad that my words have stirred up so much bitterness and controversy” and said he would be “praying for those that have been impacted by my words.”

        So before the opinion piece, he really wasn’t apologizing at all. After the opinion piece he gave quite a good apology. I think that shows that we need a LOT of sunlight for many of these guys to get it, but thankfully, at least some of them will! But when it’s only a few voices, it doesn’t seem to get through.

        • Amy

          I really appreciate your reply to my comment. Thank you for taking the time to give me a wider understanding. I appreciate you!

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Thank you for bringing his apology to my attention! Honestly, it was encouraging, since it is the first one we’ve ever had. It shows that what we’re doing can actually work!

    • Jennifer

      Thank you for this! I think the message was stolen. The woman, according to the pastor, did not care that he was married. Why is no one addressing that part? He is right, this is Prv. 5,6, and 7. She may not have been a believer, but this woman did not care about his family or anyone else. If he apologized, why on earth are we still casting stones at him? He protected his wife, amd family that day, but we can only focus on his mistake by the way he described a woman? Come on church. Thank you for posting!

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        No one’s addressing the woman because she wasn’t a pastor.

        Also, he apologized AFTER I wrote this, and he obviously had read this (because he kind of quoted me in his apology).

        He also never apologized to those calling him to more (with whom he apparently now says he agrees), despite saying that God told him we would wither and die.

  15. Amy

    It’s beautiful when you see that what you’re doing matters – and it does, Sheila! Keep it up!

  16. Theresa

    Maybe I’ve missed the boat here, and I admit I might be a little slow to catching on. But, is it possible we are over reacting to this pastor’s comments? He said “everything was in the right place”. Which could be a man’s way of saying she was beautiful, attractive. Because he didn’t phrase his comment in the exact words we prefer is he really guilty of objectifying a woman’s body? Feel free to correct me; maybe I’m not being sensitive enough. But I do recall listening to a podcast a while back (think it was one on modesty) where both you, Sheila, and your daughter commented about Ryan Reynolds. I can’t recall the exact words, but the message or implication was clear – he’s hot! I don’t disagree! And I don’t have a problem with what either of you said. My concern is the double standard. I don’t think either of you were objectifying him. You were simply acknowledging he’s an attractive, good-looking, handsome, hot guy. Whichever adjectives you choose to use, we get the point and I see nothing wrong with that. Now, if you or the pastor started going into descriptive details about certain body parts, then I would say that crosses the line into objectifying. But, it just seems like it can be somewhat of a gray area because everyone has a different “line”. Men can be clumsy and not use the exact phraseology us women prefer, but perhaps they are truly simply trying to say, “she was hot, (attractive)”, without ever intending to objectify her. Shouldn’t we show them some grace?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      It was the context of the discussion. In our discussion of Ryan Reynolds, the point was, you can notice someone is attractive and not want to sleep with them and not lust. Noticing is not lusting. And we didn’t say anything specifically about his body.

      In Pokluda’s comments, he was describing how he felt when he DID want to sleep with her. And he did it in a sermon.


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