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September 7th, 2010
09:13 AM ET

My take: Jesus loves porn stars


Editor's note: Craig Gross is the founder of XXXchurch.com and the author of 7 books. His latest two books Eyes of Integrity and Pure Eyes release this week. His previous book Jesus Loves You This I Know explains more about his relationship with Ron Jeremy and other outcasts. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with his wife and two kids.

By Craig Gross, Special to CNN

I met Ron Jeremy at a porn show. A few years later we were sleeping on top of each other in a bunk bed on a tour bus. My family was with me, at times there were swingers on the bus and on occasion had some other pastors as well. We were on "The Porn Debate" tour of 7 cities in 7 nights.

Ron is arguably the biggest porn star in the world with 2,000 XXX rated videos. He claims to have had sex with over 5,000 women.

I started XXXchurch.com 8 years ago, created a software called X3watch that is keeping almost 1 million people accountable online and I am most often known as the Porn Pastor. I have only had sex with one woman who happens to be my wife.

Ron says we are just alike. He has been with 5,000 women and I have been with my wife of 12 years almost 5,000 times.

Just alike… Well not really.

Ron is for porn and I am against porn. We are opponents on stage. In fact we have debated each other over 60 times in the last 4 years. We have debated at Yale, Ohio State, University of Southern California, Texas Tech, and in a few weeks we start the school year off with another debate at the University of Tennessee.

We are opponents on stage but off stage we are great friends. That's really what this is about. Jesus dined with tax collectors and befriended prostitutes. I don't want to be known as the guy who debates Ron, I'd rather be known as the guy who loves Ron.

Love wins. My old pastor in Grand Rapids said that a lot. I have come to realize not only does love win, but love works and love waits.

Last year, Ron was in Vegas for Easter weekend. Before he hit the topless pool at Mandalay Bay, he said he was free so I picked him up in my minivan with my two toddlers in the back, and wife as well, and we all headed to church.

Ron loves worship music. If you don't believe watch this YouTube video.

He loved the song "Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So."

Ron and I travel quite a bit on for the porn debates.  When we see each other at porn shows across the country we go out and when he is in Las Vegas or I am in Los Angeles , we connect up for a meal or just to hang out.

Ron and I talk about sex, the Bible, marriage, family, kids, heaven, hell, turtles, and so much more. He is never short on words. He has told me he is afraid to die. What if he is wrong and Jesus is really who he said he was?

For the last four years we have hit up college campuses and a few nightclubs with the porn debate. We have never been to a Christian university or a church.

Why not?

I am always the underdog and I kind of like it that way. Although, I think it would be great to bring Ron into my world just a bit, no one invites us.

The great thing about the debate is it is fair. I speak for 20 minutes, then Ron for 20 minutes then we do an hour of questions and answers.

Why is the church so afraid to hear the other side? I think it would be a great outreach to bring the debate to a church but every time I pitch it to a church or Christian college they say, "We could never let him on stage at church."

I don't get it. But then again, these are often the same people who say I should not even be friends with him, let alone on a tour bus with him. I know Zacchaeus was a short dude in the Bible but how can we overlook that story and see the example Jesus set for us to go after people?

Two friends of mine, Miles McPherson and Ryan Meeks have agreed to do the unthinkable. On October 9, Ron and I will do the unthinkable and head over to The Rock, a church in San Diego. A few months later on March 5 we will bring the debate to Eastlake Church in Seattle, Washington.

My friend Ryan is a bit out there. That's why we are friends. He traveled with Ron and me last year for a couple of debates. He said he would host the debate but only if Ron came back on Sunday and shared with the congregation about faith, God and his life.

Ron does not claim to be a Christian.  Why share a church stage with someone that does not claim to be a Christian yet? What can we possibly learn from that?

A whole lot I believe. I believe if Christians and others would listen to more people who are not just like us, and give them opportunities in our environments, we both might experience change.

What do you think?

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Craig Gross.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Celebrity • Christianity • Culture & Science • Movies • Opinion

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soundoff (498 Responses)
  1. Pastor Sean Isaacs

    There are some good things about this. May the Lord continue to give you wisdom and courage to speak the truth in love. It is my prayer that the Lord will put you on the prayer list of many Christians, so that your labors will not be in vain.

    My prayer for you Craig Gross is that the Lord will fill you with his spirit and provide you the boldness to speak the truth at all times. I pray that your debates and interaction do not confirm Ron in his rebellion to Christ. It's possible to become so familiar with spiritual things that you feel like you know what you need to know and there is no need to submit to that which is known.

    September 7, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  2. Marqui Pooh

    The church needs to be doing so much more like this!! Thanks Craig for displaying soo much on what it really means to be a disciple of Christ! 😀

    September 7, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
  3. NL

    Translation-
    Have you ever considered that the women in porn are paid as well?

    September 7, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  4. catmom13

    Liking Craig! I'll give him props for being able to cast away the so called xtian dogma and actually CONSIDER and RESPECT another point of view. Its a big world and there is room for all beliefs, even those who don't believe.
    My guess is Craig is truly a REAL xtian who actually practices what he preaches and remembers that Jesus said to love EVERYONE, not just the sheep that agree with you.He seems capable of actually thinking for HIMSELF. Big difference from those so called xtians who's beliefs are not strong enough to stand any conflict or disagreement. Those who are so adamant that they won't listen to or look at the other side of ANY argument are just afraid they will be proven wrong or are just arrogant little bullies. Their beliefs are weak and they know that. Congrats to Craig for being neither!

    September 7, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
  5. Jacob

    I disagree with the writer of this article but I respect him, because he grants me the same courtesy. See how that works?

    September 7, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
    • catmom13

      Its called respect and its a wonderful, but rare thing!

      September 7, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  6. Michael

    lol wut?!

    September 7, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
  7. Translation

    I think Jesus probably secretly got it on with Mary Magdalene. And if he did, why would that be such a bad thing?

    September 7, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
    • tony

      IT would cause all kinds of theological paradoxes. For example if Jesus is also 100 percent god, then wouldn't his offspring, be gods themselves? And if he did get it on with Mary Madeline then woudn't she have definitely gotten pregnant, I mean he is omnipoent, how can a god be shooting blanks? Where are these children then and would they be pseudo deities, such as as the half god heroes in Greek Mythology like Heracles or Achilles? Would we have immortal superheroes wandering the earth if went around boinking chicks?

      Also if he is God, the creator of the universe, and everything in it, why would he be thinking with his little head like a drunken sailor, he is a being of fantastic power–doesn't he have better things to do, than boinking prostitutes?

      September 7, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  8. Darrell

    Craig Gross is doing the type of ministry and friendship most Christians turn their back on... I am a Christian and love everything that Craig is doing. Keep it up!!!

    September 7, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  9. M&M

    Sounds like true religion to me!

    September 7, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  10. Translation

    Steve: Did Saul of Tarsus (aka Paul) find salvation? Or did he just change his shtick and start projecting doom and gloom for the world unless everyone else did the same? How do we really know what happened to Saul after he died? Maybe he just died and his body rotted and his bones dried up that was it.

    September 7, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
    • NL

      Another question, how can we be certain that it was Jesus who appeared to Paul and not Satan? Paul's ideas are so contrary to Jesus' message as recorded in the gospels it almost appears like there was an effort to co-opt the Jesus movement away from Jews and towards gentiles. Surely, Paul was Satan's best opportunity to hijack Jesus' message and twist it to his own plan.

      September 7, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  11. Victor

    I am hoping that this guy starts a new revolution for religion. I have asked many people who are hardcore Christians why they believe, most of them tell me that they were raised to believe so they do, what kind of an answer is this? In order to truly believe in something including God you have to questions why? If you can't answer that then your not a believer your a follower. I left religion behind many years ago because every church I attended judged there own congregation and even excommunicated their members because they drank or smoked. What use is a church when they are unwilling to help those that need God the most? Judge not lest ye be judged yourself, you may not support Porn or Homosexuals or people who drink and smoke, it doesn't mean you should shun them and write them off as a lost cause, Jesus didn't find his followers in a synagogue, he found them on the streets and accepted them as they were and gave them the knowledge they needed to lead a happy life, he didn't point at them and scream sinner you will be damned for who you are, he even forgave the man dying next to him for all he had done wrong and promised him a place in heaven, all religions should take a lesson from this.

    September 7, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  12. Brian James

    The world needs a lot more Christians like you. I now know two Christians with open minds and resistance to bigotry. And before I read the article I knew one.

    September 7, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  13. Steve

    I wonder what RazMor thinks of Saul of Tharsus. He seems quite adept in quoting scripture about wrath and hate I have to wonder if he knows of any other? Saul was responsible for sending many early Christians, men, women and children included, to their deaths for their beliefs. Somehow he found "salvation" and became who we now know as the Apostle Paul.

    I feel that when the bible speaks that the road to salvation is a narrow one that it also speaks to Christians themselves. Throughout the centuries there have been many Christians in name only. They carry their religion with them like a credit card in their wallet, ready to be pulled out and used when convenient but for the most part it just sits there and does nothing. It doesn't matter if you go to church on Sunday or have gone through a specific water ritual. What matters are your thoughts and actions.

    September 7, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  14. caro

    Jesus prayed for the sinners. Worship the Lord our God not idols. Jesus did not hang around and sin with those who sined. He would talk to them tell them thier ways needed to change. If you dont see this then the Devil has covered your eyes with dirt. Jesus loves us all and gives us freewill and if we choose to sin in adultry he would not approve this nor would he do this with you. So if you choose to sin he will not be there to support you. If you have the desire to change and try to change by asking his help to do better then he is there with you to walk u thru the darkness and out to the light. He does not like us taking in things that put him last. Idols are a sin and are not allowed in heaven.

    September 7, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  15. Michael

    I believe Jesus said to his disciples to make fishers of men. Craig's got himself a good catch in Ron and this story is a great example of what Christians should do more of, befriend and share fellowship with those that are NOT Christians.

    September 7, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  16. Wzrd1

    Utilizing your comment and the vehemence of contained therein, I would say that YOU care and disagree.
    Of THAT fact, I don't care what you believe in or not believe in.

    September 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  17. AceRider

    I'd like to know what their engagement fee is.

    I have a feeling this is less about morals than it is about money.

    September 7, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  18. Linda

    Oh, I love this!!! Ron Jeremy would be a very cool guy if he wasn't so nasty as to sleep with all those women. Educated and I like his personality. Anyone that sleeps with that many people is just nasty to me though. But this guy seems pretty cool as well for a Christian... Very cute! I'm neither a Christian or into sleeping with 5000 people so I'm a pretty objective person on this...

    September 7, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  19. Donny Pauling

    Umm... Bob? Who told you masturbation is a sin? Even Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family said, "It is my opinion that masturbation is not much of an issue with God."

    September 7, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
    • Jon

      If that discussion about masturbation comes up again, there is a verse in Ecclesiastes that reads, "Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do with all thine might." What else could it be talking about?

      October 11, 2010 at 12:48 am |
  20. AceRider

    I'd like to know what their engagement fees are.

    I think this has a lot less to do with morals and a lot to do with money.

    September 7, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.