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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. R*A*Z*M*O*R

    .
    .FYI
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    Rom 2:16
    (16) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my ""gospel.""
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    September 7, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
  2. R_A_Z__M_O_R

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    Deu 32:39
    (39) See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
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    September 7, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
  3. Bloke

    *laugh* @ "relief" who is going elsewhere for his news. Don't click on a BLOG when you want hard news. What the hell do you not get about that?

    September 7, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  4. SCDad

    Ron Jeremy is real. Jesus is a mythological character in a power play

    September 7, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  5. R*A*Z*M*O*R

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    Eph 6:12
    (12) For we wrestle not AGAINST flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, AGAINST the rulers of the DARKNESS OF THIS WORLD, AGAINST spiritual wickedness in high places.
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    September 7, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
  6. R*A*Z*M*O*R

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    TITUS 1: 13
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    Eph 6:12
    (12) For we wrestle not AGAINST flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, AGAINST the rulers of the DARKNESS OF THIS WORLD, AGAINST spiritual wickedness in high places.
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    September 7, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  7. Rebecca

    I love this article! Loving your neighbors as much as you love yourself is really the root of Jesus' teaching. Thank you for sharing.

    September 7, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
  8. COlady

    I think you're a pretty smart guy.

    September 7, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
  9. justgar

    Gary and John, Jesus was not the first Christian. 'Christ'ian means follower of Christ. The first Christians were his disciples. Being a Christian is to follow in Jesus' footsteps. This pastor is doing exactly what Jesus would do.

    September 7, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
  10. Khaled Anntar

    To Gaorg, If Jesus and Mohamed did not exist ; we might not have had this conversation. It is good we compete for the good. I do not blame Christians who believe Jesus was curcified and give Jesus a Godly status because the circumstance of Jesus' birth and the miracles he was equipped with may help to that false belief. Quran clearly mentioned the confusion surrounding Jesus' curcification incident but God would have never allowed Jesus' enemies to curcify him. Surely Allah has saved His Messenger from Jesus' enemies and His enemies by throwing Jesus's similiarity into one of Jesus' followers and Allah has raised Jesus to Heavens. He is still alive and he will be a witness to the distortions in his message. You say Jesus is a son and at the same time say His Father (Almighty God) allowed and did not prevent his curcification. It does NOT make sense at all. How the son of God be curcified and tormented as an example of forgiveness!!! How God the Almighty allow that so called Part of Him to suffer? This is nonsense!!!

    Where did the 500 plus texts and evidence you have come from? Who wrote them? The Quran told about those distortions 1500 years ago. By way, where did you guys get Jesus Christ and his Mother's images? When you enter churches, you kneel down to an image or a statue on the wall and ask the image to forgive your sins and help you!!! The unbelievers of Mecca before Islam used to believe in God but used other Idols (made of stones) as intermediary Gods to get them closer to God the ALmighty. You need help then ask God directly , do not ask Jesus Christ. You committed a sin, then go to God and ask for forgiveness because He is the most forgiving; Jesus is no help to you if you take him as a son of God who is capable to intervene on your behalf and wipe all your sins!!! If you believe that Jesus Chris is a son and he has Godly status then your entire faith is jeoparady even if you think you are so strong and so right. After all these differences are not going to be resolved now or tomorrow; only God the Almighty will judge between us on the judgement day.

    September 7, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
    • Violet

      Er, technically only a few sects do the image worship thing. (Though I guess we are very lenient about creating images for non-worship purposes.)

      Not having much prior knowledge of Islam, the "God would never allow a part of Himself to be crucified" thing really took me by surprise! It's a much different perspective than I'm used to in Christianity. The way I was raised, "God let a part of Himself be crucified in our place because He's so darn nice! <3333" was pretty much the point of the whole religion.

      September 9, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  11. R_A_Z__M_O_R

    13 This witness is true. Wherefore REBUKE them SHARPLY, that they may be sound in the faith;

    September 7, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
  12. R_A_Z__M_O_R

    Titus 1:13

    September 7, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
  13. R_A_Z__M_O_R

    .
    Titus 1:13
    13 This witness is true. Wherefore REBUKE them SHARPLY, that they may be sound in the faith;
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    September 7, 2010 at 7:47 pm |
  14. R_A_Z__M_O_R

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    Titus 1:13
    13 This witness is true. Wherefore REBUKE them SHARPLY, that they may be sound in the faith;
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    September 7, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  15. R_A_Z__M_O_R

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    Hebrews 4:12
    12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and SHARPER than any twoedged SWORD, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
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    September 7, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
  16. R_A_Z__M_O_R

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    Matthew 10:34
    34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a SWORD.
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    September 7, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
  17. R_A_Z__M_O_R

    .
    .
    FYI
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    Matthew 10:34
    34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a SWORD.
    .
    Hebrews 4:12
    12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and SHARPER than any twoedged SWORD, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
    .
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    .
    .
    Titus 1:13
    13 This witness is true. Wherefore REBUKE them SHARPLY, that they may be sound in the faith;
    .
    .

    September 7, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
  18. Andrew

    Nice article! I've always believed that the world can be at peace, through conversion. Especially when exchanging life experience stories, serious to the humorous while having a good meal, having some beers.. Political issues are just distractions to the simple way of life that exists. Politics and religion complicates the relationships we are in or the friendships we might be missing out on. Jesus was trying to prove that life is more about friendship, love, and being open minded then greedy, selfish, and hateful. Anyone who assumes God prefers one religion over another is mistaken.

    September 7, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
  19. TammyB

    Where in the world does it say that only God has the authority to hang out with heathens? If that were true, we would not have a need or have any preachers, priests, or any heads of any churches who hang with anyone as we are all kind of heathens, or sinners.

    September 7, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  20. Excuse me if I'm wrong...

    But does Craig ever say that he accepts Ron's beliefs or lifestyle? He accepts him as a friend, as a person, but does not accept his viewpoints or lack of faith as being correct. Yet he doesn't turn him off to Christianity by trying to force it upon him. From what I read in this article, that method seems to be slowly working, at least in opening Ron's eyes to the Gospel and what true Christianity is like.

    Secondly, if Christians believe that their stance is solid in truth, why shy away from an opportunity to prove that through honest, fair debate? No adult can have true faith until they have taken a good look at the alternatives and decided that Christianity is the one true way. Our faith as Christians would be meaningless without free will, and free will would be meaningless in a state of ignorance.

    So, Christians: What are you afraid of?

    September 7, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
    • chilipadi

      Certainly one of the most sound comments I've read. It is not to anyone's interest to try to defend God. He needs no defender. Acceptance of God or otherwise is one's own prerogative. In other words, I can tell God to take a hike and He wouldn't whine about it. Acceptance or rejection by God is within God's sovereignty and grace, settled at the foot of the cross. In a nutshell. GOD IS GOD, and we are...well, whatever we make out of this borrowed time. Christ has 'prepared' a place for us. Next, your move!

      September 16, 2010 at 5:28 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.