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What I Learned from 50 Shades Darker

by Craig Gross on February 8th, 2018 in The Haps, Men, Women, Couples, Students, Spouses


[Editor’s Note: We originally published this post last year but with all the attention being given to the upcoming Fifty Shades Freed we thought this was worth resurrecting for our readers. That being said, Craig wrote a new blog post regarding the new Fifty Shades Freed that just came out. You can read that here.]

I went to see 50 Shades Darker with Jeanette last night in Hollywood.

I wrote this blog post about the first movie back in 2015.

I was even asked to do a sermon at Daybreak Church about the movie for their AT THE MOVIES SERIES. You can watch that HERE.

We went to the 10 pm show and the first thing that stood out to me was the theater was filled with 90% women. I am not talking women with their husbands or boyfriends. I am talking women out with their girlfriends like they were about to watch Magic Mike or Bridesmaids.


The person in front of me buying a ticket was a woman, maybe 30 years old by herself at 10 pm on a Thursday night.

I had this mindset that the movie was going to attract a bunch of dudes, but I realized that women read the books and women are the ones pouring in to see the movies. That part scares me a bit.

Just a bit.

Back to my story…

The previews rolled. Three of them:

Beauty and The Beast
Girls Trip

Disney’s new Beauty and The Beast before Fifty Shades of Grey? Seems odd.

Not if you just read what I wrote about who is watching these Shades of Grey movies. Girls Trip looks to be one of the raunchiest previews I have seen in a long time.

Now to the movie.

The movie starts out with Christian Grey trying to get Anastasia Steele back. They come to terms with a deal:

No Rules
No Punishment
No Secrets

Throughout the movie, I wrote down one-liners that stood out to me either from Christian or Anastasia. It was dark in the theater, so don’t get mad at me if I didn’t get the quote exactly how it was said, but I am pretty dang close on most of these:

(A) It’s all wrong, all of it is wrong.

(A) It’s not a relationship. It’s ownership.

(A) Don’t crowd me; I need space.

(A) Take me to the red room.

(A) It means the world to me when you open up to me.

(A) Thank you for telling me.

(A) You forbidding it is not us talking about it.


(C) I don’t like strangers gawking at you.

(C) I get off on punishing women who look like my mom.

(C) My arrival into the world isn’t something I feel like celebrating.

In this second movie, you still have a very broken, confused Christian Grey who wants what he lost in the first movie.

Anastasia knows she should not go back to him but can’t refuse. The old saying, “Men give love to get sex and women give sex to get love,” sums up this movie. Anastasia’s refusal for crazy dark sex in the first movie is flipped around in this movie several times when she pushes Christian to even darker sex.

The movie is really slow.

There are some other storylines, but for the most part, you see two very dysfunctional people in a dysfunctional relationship that ends with a proposal, engagement ring, and a YES.

You may think that is great and you are cheering them on…right?

Well, maybe the ladies in front of me were. But for Jeanette and I who have been married now almost 19 years and watched so many of our friend’s divorce, we couldn’t cheer this couple.

What did I learn from 50 Shades Darker?

Here are five things:

1. Sex doesn’t solve problems.

In this movie, Anastasia asks a lot of questions and gets very few answers from Christian about his past, his secrets, and his emotions.

He avoids and dodges a lot of point-blank questions from Anastasia. Instead of conversation and communication between the two, you see they avoid them and jump in bed together.


Never happens like this in real life.

Those men who are married for 19 years (or any amount of time for that matter) can relate to what I am saying.

If you and your wife are in a fight and it’s not even a big one, wouldn’t it be great just to have sex and then make up the next day?

Sex isn’t a band-aid and in this movie you only see them having sex instead of communicating. Anastasia engages in crazier sex than she is typically comfortable with in hopes that Christian will open up more, but he never does.

Don’t think that passion and sex can be enough to withstand a broken relationship. It is temporary and that band-aid is going to be ripped off because sex is not going to solve your problems; often it is going to create more of them.

2. One-sided relationships won’t work.

Do you have that friend that always needs something from you?
Do you have that friend that always talks to you, but never listens to what you say?
Do you have that person that you always have to pay for?
Do you date that person who could care less about your kids, but you’ve invested in their kids?

There has to be give-and-take. If it is not 50/50, it has to be pretty close for a good relationship to work.

This relationship with Anastasia and Christian is tough to watch because it is one-sided.

The quote I mentioned above from Anastasia sums this up. “It means the world to me when you open up to me.”

Christian thinks he is comprising and trying to give into her requests by taking away some of his rules and allowing her to get closer to him. Ultimately he doesn’t know how to open up and communicate and show any emotions and that is why this doesn’t work. 

If your spouse or the person you are dating is not willing to comprise, give in, let their guard down, meet you halfway, do something you enjoy – you are in trouble, just like Christian and Anastasia.

3. Relationships require hard work.

Christian works hard at winning Anastasia back in this movie, but I wish he would work hard on diving into his past, his issues, and his pain.

I tell couples that are thinking about marriage that marriage is hard work. No one talked to me about that when I was growing up and dating. I don’t like even how this movie ends with the two of them getting engaged, one might leave the theater happy for them, but I didn’t.

Neither one of them are willing to do the hard work that marriage is going to take.

Instead, they settle for band-aids on all their wounds. As a result, their many scars will never heal and their relationship won’t make it.

Neither one of them is willing to do the hard work that marriage is going to take.

Instead, they settle for band-aids on all their wounds. As a result, their many scars will never heal and their relationship won’t make it.

Your relationship won’t work if you both are not willing to do the hard work that marriage requires.

4. People need other people.

My friend put it on a T-shirt. And I wrote a whole book about it.

The friends and family of the couple in this film just celebrate these two broken people becoming one broken mess.

No one speaks up.

No one says, “I OBJECT.”

I recently had a guy steal from me with Facebook ads. His agency was a total joke and I was in trouble and didn’t know what to do. So I contacted a top agency recommend by Facebook themselves. The CEO was willing to get on the phone with me and offer up advice at $3.00 a minute.

I was impressed actually with the way that phone call was set up and organized. Super legit. At the rate of $180 bucks an hour.

Cheaper than a lawyer, I thought to myself that I should do this.

You know how many hours I spend talking to people who ultimately won’t listen to anything I say? A lot. In fact, in 2017, I said I was done investing so many hours trying to help others that don’t want help.

It is just a fact – most people don’t have anyone to call when they are in a bind or when they are in a messed up relationship that they don’t know how to get out of.

Not one person in this film helps Christian or Anastasia realize they are not right for each other, that they should not be in a relationship right now, that they should work on their issues.

That’s sad, but that is real life for many of you.

You not only don’t have people in your life you feel comfortable asking those questions to; you don’t want to hear what they have to say anyway.

It’s amazing what happens when you pay $3 a minute for advice. You listen. At least I did.

I thought maybe more people would listen to me when they call me in the middle of the night because their marriage is on the rocks and I point them towards the direction I feel they should go.

But, they don’t do it.

Ultimately, whether you pay $3 bucks a minute or you get it for free. You need other people in your life.

If you are dating and thinking about marriage, you need to ask your friends and family (and kids if you have them) what they think of the other person, what they think of you two together, what their concerns are and then LISTEN and TAKE ACTION.

People need other people in good times and bad times.

5. You can’t fix people.

People need other people, but that doesn’t mean people can get you to change or someone can fix you.

Anastasia honestly believes she can get Christian to change. It was hard for me to watch because one of the things she does over and over in the movie is give into the things she was once against.

So, to get Christian to change, she pushes him for darker and darker sex knowing that in the end, it is not a good thing for him.

You and I can’t fix people.

Marriage won’t solve your problems.

If you are fighting and not seeing eye to eye dating, you are not going to get married and just have those problem solved. Instead, they will be compounded.

It’s an ego thing to think you can fix someone because you can’t. If you are healthy and believe that by dating an unhealthy person they will become healthy, you are WRONG.

They will most likely drag you down instead.

Chances are you both are dysfunctional like Christian and Anastasia and instead of tying the knot, these two should be separate and both work on themselves before getting into a relationship.

My friend told me he shouldn’t be in a relationship and needed to work on some things. I agreed. He’s still in a relationship because that is more fun than doing those other things that require deeper work.

My friend asked me to marry him and his girlfriend. I said I would do it, but a few weeks later I sat down with him and said while I would do the wedding, I didn’t think he should marry her.

That was super tough.

I wondered, do I lose a friend over this if I say don’t marry her and I won’t do the wedding?

Do I just suck it up and marry them because that is the Christian thing to do so this couple can have sex?

You think I am exaggerating?

You know how many dumb things I have heard from people who told me their pastor found out they were living together or having sex and then just said, “Let me just marry you right now so you can stop living in sin.”


Marriage, like I said about sex on my first point, doesn’t solve your problems.

My buddy was divorced not long after the wedding I performed.

It was sad to watch, but I feel like so many Christian kids (especially) have been brainwashed to believe that marriage is the answer. That marriage will “fix anything.”

Date for a long time.
Ask hard questions.
Look for red flags.

Ask anyone and everyone you know what they think of him or her and you together. Don’t get caught up in the “I need to get married just so I can have sex” stuff.

Take your time and realize that the red flags you see while you are dating will still be there when you are married and you can’t fix the other person.

I don’t know how the trilogy ends. I can only imagine there is a wedding in movie three, continued dysfunction, and then probably kids at some point thrown into this ugly mess.

Anastasia deserves better and so do the girls in the theater watching this movie last night with all their girlfriends. So do you.

Don’t settle.
Hold true to your standards and beliefs.
Don’t compromise for a man.
Don’t say yes to him when he doesn’t respond to your needs.

And lastly, stop having sex today outside marriage.

Yea, its easier said than done, but it’s the truth.

There is a time and place for it and outside of that complicates things and brings in many other things that you shouldn’t worry about until you have that commitment in marriage.

In the movie, Christian asks Anastasia why she waited to have sex. She said, “I was waiting for something exceptional.” Instead, she ended up with Christian Grey.

Set the bar high.

Exceptional is a good place to start.

Don’t end up with a Christian Grey.

Wrapping this up because it is now 2:00 am. Fifty Shades Darker isn’t a movie or a book just about sex (sure there is a lot of sex in the movie).

I don’t recommend the movie.
I do NOT recommend the movie just because of the sex.
It wasn’t a good movie, period.

As you can see from what I just wrote for the past two hours, I didn’t talk about whips, spanking, beads, dungeons, or anything like that.


The thing that stood out to me all revolved around two people in a relationship who can’t communicate with one another, so instead, they just have sex. In the end, that won’t work for them and it won’t work for you either

Best Sex Life Now is an online video course hosted by couples Dave & Ashley Willis and Craig & Jeanette Gross. It’s a real, honest conversation about sex and marriage, an elegant production for married couples, newlyweds, and those about to be married.

Learn how to “spice” up your sex life in a healthy way. Use coupon code REALLOVE at checkout to save 25% from now until Valentine’s Day.




  • Bradley James Atkinson

    I disagree with some of it. But for the most part, I agree that sex isn’t the answer. But Paul writes “Better to marry than to burn with passion.” Sadly this is the reason I took up born in the first place….I am not saying I was looking to sex…I am saying I had my heart broke. I think denying the love I had for her hurt me more than anything in the world, now she is with someone else….

    • 1776

      A pastor who says porn is evil goes to watch porn in a movie? Of coarse, this is for “research” purposes only….nothing hypocritical here, right?


      • Iamsecond


        • 1776


          • David Trainer Read

            What’s all of this for? It’s not needed.

          • Iamsecond

            Sigh. Troll is simply a descriptive term. See Mirriam Webster for the definition:

            a : to antagonize (others) online by deliberately posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments or other disruptive content

            Rather than simply state your opinion, you replied to every comment, antagonising anyone who offered a different viewpoint. You are a troll by definition.

            Also, while I do understand your position, and I am undecided on the morality of his choice, I am certain of the immorality of your judgemental stance. If you believe that it is acceptable to publicly decry a brother, simply because you believe he made an error in judgement, then you are directly ignoring Matthew 18:15. Did you seek to counsel your brother in private, as t
            Paul advises, or was your first reaction to publicly denounce him?

            Secondly, even if he has made an error in judgement, that doesn’t call his whole ministry or morality into question. We have all sinned and fallen short, and we all do things that we regret. Maybe you believe you are without sin? In which case I would suggest you read 1 John 1:8-10.

            Lastly, if he has stumbled, you are sinning yourself if you don’t forgive him, as Jesus makes clear in Matthew 6:15. I’m guessing you are not his church elder, so you lack the authority to put him out of the church. If what he says or does still offends you then simply look for other teachers, but judging him like this is poison for your own heart.

            I suspect your response to this won’t be favourable, so I won’t carry on a slanging match on the internet, that doesn’t benefit either of us. However, I do suggest you seriously pray about your attitude to your Christian brothers. Do you honour Jesus with your mouth but not your heart? Please think about that.

          • 1776

            Pure strawman. Look up that definition.

            Actually, I was responding to the antagonist responses to my comments. You might want to fact check which posted first.

            I’m not without sin. Never said that…you did about me…
            is that not judging me? So, are you not doing to me what I’m doing to him? I state again HYPOCRISY.

            Scriptures? I’ve got some. Here’s some of my favorites…

            1 Timothy 5:20 ESV /

            As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.

            Craig is persisting in his sin of preaching against porn but supporting porn at the same time.

            Proverbs 10:17 ESV

            Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.

            Accountability is an essential part of this! He is clearly sinning publicly and he puts himself in a position to be publicly rebuked.

            James 4:17 ESV

            So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

            If Craig knows porn is bad and goes and watches porn, like 50 shades, then he is sinning period. This is a soft relapse…there’s no 2 ways around it.

            and for you….

            Proverbs 19:20 ESV

            Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.

            I’m sorry you think that I can’tell stand against what he’s doing. I will not tolerate a ministry that is hypocritical. That’s my point. I sin. You sin. But making money off of something your currently struggling with like Craig is, is where I draw the line.

          • Iamsecond

            Yes, God bless. Let’s agree on that, and that maybe we both need to spend less time on internet forums, and more on loving like Jesus.

  • 1776

    A pastor who says porn is evil goes to watch porn in a movie? Of coarse, this is for “research” purposes only….nothing hypocritical here, right?


  • Joe

    I think this post is counter productive. Why on earth would you see this movie and write about it if you’re trying to help other men get free from porn addiction? Frankly, I didn’t even know about this movie, and I didn’t need to. This is pure foolishness… as if you can watch a movie like that and have it not stir up desires. I’m no longer following your ministry.

    • 1776

      Exactly! I wrote the same thing! He’s justifying his sin in the name of “research”. Everyone knows this movie is porn…going to see it contributes to what he says he’s against.

  • Shayne

    Stop being fanatics guys, this review is here to minister to the endless amount of women who are enticed by this 50 shades appeal to their heart. And he is exactly right, the movie is about dysfunctional people, issues too many are blind to unfortunately. This woundedness is the true nature of sin, and far too many are ignorant to what sin really actually is… the fruits of selfishness.

    • 1776

      And…He’s 100% selfish in seeing this film.

      • Peter Rowe

        Are you retarded?? He went with his wife…. what about police who watch child porn all day in the aim of prosecuting offenders??? Are they all sick pedophiles??

        • 1776

          I cannot cast pearls before swine, obviously.

          • Bishop Asuquo

            How untrue!

        • 1776

          Your police watching child porn is a bad analogy. Police watch this fifth to catch a predator, looking to find something. You don’t need to go see 50 Shades to know the fifth it contains. Police don’t know so, they have to go and investigate. Pretty sure, Craig, like every human on Earth, knows that 50 Shades glorifies sex.I hope that helps.



    • 1776

      Using his logic, I can put youporn on tonight…just to do some research on human dynamics. Write about it, and cover my sin by justifying my actions.

      • Vashthestampede

        Hey man I replied to your comment up top. Just wanted you to get the notification. If that’s how it works idk. Hope this message finds you well bro.

        • Shayne

          didn’t see it

  • Vashthestampede

    To 1776:

    I see your point, and you could even be right about Craig (I don’t know him personally) but can I ask a question? Do you believe it is POSSIBLE to view a naked female/somthing sexual and NOT sin?

    I do. I believe if you’ve been set free from sin, you are no longer a slave to it and therefore make a choice when you sin. That’s why I don’t belive sin can be forced upon you (how unfair would that be?). I believe (in theory) you can view anything, even porn and not sin. For example what if you where shown a video of your loved one being raped? Would you lust after the naked bodies? No, you would be heartbroken and angry.

    Now, I’ve never viewed porn without sinning, I’m just saying it’s possible for one to do so. I have NO GOOD REASON to view porn, so if I choose to watch it, there’s about a 100% chance I’m sinning.

    Now let’s apply this same logic to Craig. Dose he have A GOOD REASON to view this crappy movie? If not, I’d probably assume he’s sinning.

    His reason, I presume, is to reach fans of this film with his message/write this article about it. Also perhaps it is, yes, to do research. His ministry is all about this stuff after all. I don’t think his motive was entertainment. If he wanted to view porn he could do so at any time without any of us knowing. We all know how easy is.

    So it just depends on weather you think he has a valid reason or not. If not, then I fully understand your indignation at a ministry leader being so hypocritical. As for me, I refuse to pass judgment on him. He could have a pure heart/motives or a heart 50 shades of dark. Either way I wish him and all who read this the best.

    Love and Peace!

    • 1776

      Thanks for a civil argument.

      If you were set free from any addiction then why would you want to dance with the devil at all?

      Steering clear at all cost, would be the best bet towards your sobriety.


      The moment you think you can test the waters, like Craig did, is the moment that the enemy has fooled you.

      Source, Genesis through Revelation.

      • Vashthestampede

        Thanks 1776! I think a logical and civil discussion is the only way to go when talking about something controversial, that is, if you want anything productive to happen. Now on to my response:

        This is the guy who passes out bibles at porn conventions. PORN CONVENTIONS. Should we speak against him for that? Somthing thats bringing porn stars to Jesus? If he steered clear of temptation at all costs then he wouldn’t have a ministry.

        • 1776

          I’ve admired a lot of what he has done with this ministry.

          However, does Craig need to watch porn to give a report on how bad porn is? NO! So, why is watching movie porn any different?

          If your whole ministry concept is based on not watching porn….then stop watching porn!


        • 1776

          I repeat….

          The moment you think you can test the waters, like Craig did, is the moment that the enemy has fooled you

          • David Trainer Read

            Or in which you will be tested like what Craig has been with many of the negative comments he has been receiving.

      • David Trainer Read

        Because some of us are mad… I know I am.

    • David Trainer Read

      Good point. Love it. I won’t lie, while I’m likely to sin if I look at porn, I make an attempt these days to stay away because I’m weak when it comes to women and I know I’ll probably fail.

      With that said I did see the first movie and only had one part of the movie I regretted watching: the part with the ice being dropped on her back and that sex scene….. and that was it.

  • Disappointed

    Sorry brother, but there is no way I can continue to take your advice seriously. I’m not judging your heart or your motive but your decision to see this movie was incredibly unwise and I don’t believe I can trust your counsel any longer. The fact is there are just some movies we do not need to review before knowing that Christians shouldn’t see them. As a brother who is living in victory over porn addiction, I fail to see how you can lead someone out of the very thing you justify viewing. I too have unsubscribed to your newsletter. I wish you the best.

    • 1776


    • David Trainer Read

      Some people can handle it while others can’t or shouldn’t. I believe Craig is spiritually mature because i watched the first movie and understand where he is coming from, what he is talking about and what he is concerned about. This is not easy to talk or to deal with and I applaud him for doing his best.

  • Shocked and sickened

    I am my son’s accountability partner for your “ministry”. Let me just say, I am appalled that any Christ follower would go and see this movie… But for a man in your position to not only see this movie but wax on about it, is beyond disturbing. I am devastated by your choice and will no longer recommend your website within our youth ministry. Young men and women struggling with porn need someone reminding them to “test everything” and to “walk worthy”. Unfortunately, this post gave me, and countless others, a snapshot of your heart.

    • Danielle

      Yes walk worthy, but let’s face the truth in wisdom and be ready to have the conversations. Thing is, there are so many Christians who are going to this movie. How about engaging in discussion?

      Those youth are hearing about the movie at school. Trust me, yes they are. Their friends are talking and sorry to say, some may be secretly watching. We’ve got to talk about these things in the Church.

      By what Craig wrote, there are excellent teaching tips for married couples and ones I can now share with my friends. Yes of course I can throw Bible verses at them, but sometimes we need to learn how to have these conversations as well. I will not be watching the movie, that’s for sure but I’m also not leading a Ministry like xxxChurch.

      As a female, I am so grateful that I can share this article with the many ladies I know who go to watch this garbage. We need someone to give a commentary like that from a faith perspective.

      Craig, thank you!!
      Mr. shocked, have some understanding and grace.

      • BethAnn Rivers

        Like I needed him to see the movie to explain these Basic concepts to me! Come on!

        • Peter Rowe

          He went with his wife…. you people are dipshits

          • 1776

            Your use of language…dipsh%ts and retarded speaks volumes about your intellect. Enjoy your justification of soft core porn watching brother! The reason people are mad is because they can discern the facts about a guy who publicly says ALL porn is bad and then goes and watches a move that glorifies what he preaches against. XXX is in trouble as it is. Right now, you can buy there products for 1.00 on there website….I wonder why? Perhaps, people have grown weary of the hypocrisy. Next time you want to have a discussion with me, please use less vulgarity with your objections or else no one will take you serious. Good day, sir!

          • David Trainer Read

            XXXchurch In trouble for other reasons and not the ones you’re pointing to.

          • 1776

            If I go to a crackhouse with my wife then it’s Okay?

          • David Trainer Read

            Only if the club is rumored to be one under the guise of a casino or whatever and your both interested. I.e.; replace the casino with a restaurant or whatever both of you prefer.

          • David Trainer Read

            Probably not the best route to go, even if you’re right.

          • Bishop Asuquo

            Man watch your language!

        • 1776


      • 1776

        he didn’t need to watch this film to know it was trash. instead, he soft relapsed and went to justify why you shouldn’t go. it makes no sense!

      • 1776

        do you need to inject heroine to report how bad it is?

        • David Trainer Read

          For first hand experience, yes. But you won’t, you’ll go read about the effects SOMEWHERE else…… just like here. You’ll come to read about the effects of this movie here instead of watching the movie to see for yourself.

          And I thought other Christians had said the Harry Potter movies were bad…..

          • 1776

            So, by your own omission, you have proved my point. That is, for a “pastor” to on one hand claim, ALL porn is bad, but on the other hand, goes and watches porn, is foolish. Especially, using your logic of going somewhere else to read about the effects of, in this case the movie. Meaning, with modern technology, all that this “pastor” had to do, was read a review for himself, and report his “research” back to his base. Instead, he soft relapsed, justified it by saying it’s for the first hand experience, and somehow has convinced you that he is still sober. Therfore, no matter if you inject drugs for the “first hand experience” or to report it’s effects as a warning, you still injected. That’s the point bro…he still injected.

          • David Trainer Read

            Hmm interesting theory….. all porn being bad. Where did Craig say that in his review? I don’t see that anywhere. Now to ask a REAL question…. how do you, a Christian man practice BDSM with your wife within marriage? Thanks 1776 for bringing that very good question up to mind (my mind).

          • 1776

            All porn is the basis of the XXX church. I invite you to research everything they have done, written, and preached against. Then you will answer your question of where do I get he says that. I don’t practice BDSM, I think that any adult that needs to be controlled in the bedroom has some issues, regardless of religion preference. I believed that even when I was an Atheist.

      • Shocked and sickened

        I agree that we need to have the hard conversations, but I don’t need to fill my mind with junk to do that. Fortunately we are able to discuss taboo topics without engaging in them.

      • Shocked and sickened

        And it is Mrs. Shocked. I am a woman who teaches about the perils of books/ movies like this WITHOUT having to watch it. Let us encourage one another with the truth of the word. It truly is a light and a lamp.

      • David Trainer Read

        It’s not garbage but it is painful. There are definitely some applications you can pull from this video.

    • 1776

      I agree. It boggles my mind that people are some people are defending what he did.

    • David Trainer Read

      Snapshot of your heart? What’s that supposed to mean? Craig clearly went out of his way to make known to others about this movie and his perception of everything in it, around it and those who went to go see it. You should understand he posts this with sorrow and pain. Clearly if he didn’t do this for his benefit. I get the distinct feeling you, 1776 and a few others aren’t grateful for his sacrifice; and no he didn’t need to go see the movie but his reasons also clearly had to do with his ministry.

      • 1776

        David the enemy has fleeced you like he has fleeced Craig.

  • BethAnn Rivers

    Can’t believe you viewed this, payed money to see this! just sick. Like any of these reasons aren’t common sense already, I didn’t need you to see the movie to tell me he’s just in for the sex. So disappointed and confused.

    • Peter Rowe

      Saw this movie last night and like craig i was surrounded by women… watched a program on womans sexuality made by feminists on the public broadcaster last week…. you wait and watch it happen, in the next 10 years women will be the sexual aggressers and men will be tired of woman using them just for sex… and men will be the ones making women wait till marriage…

      • 1776

        you needed to see a soft core porn film to tell you this?

      • Mungbean

        OH NOOOEZ! The HORROR of women wanting sex and *gulp* actually initiating the contact! Those shameless hussies! Better lock up your sons! It sounds like….

        The future is so bright, I gotta wear shades. 😎

    • 1776

      This is soft core porn is it not? Everyone knows that. I give up on XXXX church. I don’t want my sponsor to be a current addict.

      • paul traincover

        Don’t give up on Craig!
        His is prepared and emotional healthy walking in to this movie.
        I appreciate him breaking down the movie and bring all the dark things in to the light. I wouldn’t be able to watch this movie, but he is beyond qualified

        • 1776

          I’m not okay with someone saying how bad porn is and then goes and watches porn.

          Do you understand that point?

        • Bishop Asuquo

          He didn’t have to. Nobody goes to see the movie so they can take home some lessons. It’s pure sinful pleasure for the audience like the pleasure of watching porn. I’m not saying Craig had such motive but I don’t think it was necessary to see the movie so he can come tell us what’s off about it. I mean what did he think we would expect from a movie like that? Godly lessons? Common people! Isn’t the Word of God enough to make us wise unto salvation any more?

  • Isaih Nelson

    Im defending Craig on this one. First of all, there arent many ministries today addressing the issue/s he is addressing. And anytime you take a stand against hot topics you will be criticized from both sides. So you will never satisfy “the people”. So craig if you’re reading this, please keep on keeping on with your ministry.

    The fact that he saw the movie, and wrote about it, and published his thoughts shows that he’s not ashamed. So there must be a method behind the madness. If you know craig at all you will see that his actions here aligns quite well with who he is and what he stands for. Craig has to address issues with porn and sexuality. That in fact is his ministry! Its obvious he is saturating himself with the content to better address and counter the teachigs come from the movie. This movie represents the changing culture of sexuality in our western world.

    Its funny because we can watch movies that has killing, cursing, lieing, stealing, which are all “sinful acts” but judge Craig because he saw a movie that has sex in it. The same way you judge him for watching sex in movies is the same way you should judge yourself for watching murder in movies. Both are considered sin.

    Craig is a controversial guy. Nothing wrong in that by the way. And him watching this movie is controversial, but you people are the very reason why sex is so taboo in the “church”. We the church need to be having very open discussions about sex and sexuality. Our childrens and teens and young adults need that from us. But we are too closed minded and as a result isolate our youth and let them fend for themselves in dealing with these issues. Shame on us. But whats new. May God continue blessing Craig and his minsitry. Salute.

    • Peter Rowe

      Im with you bro. I saw this movie last night. And like craig was surrounded by woman…. we need to be able to engage in convo about these things. And as for ‘porn’….. pg13 at worst. Tame as. I have seen more in daytime advertising…

    • 1776

      Who is to say that I watch these movies that you speak of?

      If I was to publicly say, don’t watch movies with foul language and then went to movies that glorified foul language…what would that make me?

      A hypocrite.

      That’s why people are mad.

      Justify it all you want, however, the proof is in the pudding.

      • Isaih Nelson

        The guy named his ministry xxxchurch. Think about that. He’s clearly not afraid of controversy. In fact I dare to say controversy is how he attracts people to his ministry. He’s different. His approach is different. And he doesnt shy away from that point. This article shouldnt be surprising to you. If your stance is where it is, then you should’ve stopped following him way before this article was posted. In my opinion Craig is way ahead of his time in terms of his approach to ministry, and that makes people uncomfortable. Im not trying to justify Craig AND his WIFE of 19 years (I believe). I didnt see the movie myself. But just keep in my mind Jesus did some pretty controversial things in his time. Dined and socialized with sinners (prostitutes and tax collectors etc), flipped tables in church, healed on the sabbath… again im not trying to justify watching this movie. But what we cant do is understand motives and therefore we can’t truly judge craig and his wife here. If his approach to ministry doesnt fit your style then agree to disagree, walk away, and leave it to Jesus to deal with it the way he knows how. The thing I will be doing is praying for Craig and his ministry, as we should always be doing.

        • 1776

          Can I eat cyanide to see how bad I will be hurt? Or can I rely on the common sense that it’s bad for me without actually tasting it? This is what he did, and it can’t be denied.

        • Shayne


    • Vashthestampede

      Amen Isiah.

    • craiggross

      thanks man!

  • Loyal Bear

    God has set me free from a serious sexual addiction for over 15 years now. I would self destruct without God in my life. I have been leading a group at my church for 15 years on Sexual Integrity. I know how hard it is to stay sober – And it’s all gain for sure! I know how hard it is to mentor and teach others about this subject in a world that is hostile to God’s word. With that being said let me offer my sincere opinion (only my opinion – I’m only human): We are deceiving ourselves if we think we can willfully view objectionable content and still glorify God. With the case of this movie we (teachers) could read a secular review of it and comment from that without paying to see it and poisoning our mind. I can understand and commend why Craig would go to porn conventions to minister to porn stars and attendees even though that would seem like playing with fire (I couldn’t do it). And I commend him for bringing to light the problem of sexual sin / addiction to our culture. But in this case he is absolutely wrong for seeing the movie. Sin is full of justifications (deception) and gives a terrible example to those who are still caught up in this “justification” delusion of their behaviours. But…We must rebuke in love. And just because our christian brother made a mistake we should not cast him aside as invalid now. He is a wonderful person as far as I can tell (I don’t know him) and overall his heart is in the right place. And he has done great works in this area. So hopefully God will put it on his heart to refrain from doing this in the future. I’m not sin-free in this subject matter, but the times I do sin (staring intentionally lustful etc.) I will readily apologize to my group and move on. I would suggest he do the same. Again, we need men like Craig. We need him to keep fighting the good fight. Trust me, it’s not easy as you already know 🙂

    • 1776

      I agree. I sin. Craig has done a lot but this is not something I support.

  • Melissa

    I don’t mean to be rude, but couldn’t all of these lessons he known without having watched this movie? This movie is nothing but ungodliness. The Bible says that what we put in will eventually come out and it affects everything we do. I appreciate that you’re willing to share what God has taught you, but I don’t think watching the movie was necessary.

    • 1776

      I agree, but somehow because I do, I’m a troll.

    • Nicolas

      Sure, some folks won’t get Craig’s message outside of this context, though. Some folks won’t listen to Craig if he can’t show he hasn’t been there. It would be easy for any non-believer to discredit as Craig as another Christian prude just complaining again about these issues. When they see he has been there and actually done his research, it changes the context. Gives an open door.

      • Nick

        What a poor excuse to see Fifty Shades of Trash. Scriptures say in Ephesians 5:3 (NIV) “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” It doesn’t take a lot of research or social awareness to know this film/book is sexually immoral. Using your logic I could tell other believes I am going to go practice prostitution and then come back and write a review about it for the purpose of informing other believers not to practice prostitution. That would be silly because we all know prostitution is sexually immoral. I don’t need to go practice it for the sake of informing other believers that it is a sin.

    • Bishop Asuquo

      I was about saying the same thing. The movie is a script. It was created on purpose. The writer could have twisted it to whatever he/she wanted. What part does Hollywood play in helping us grow in the Lord? I can’t still take it in. Really! We now feed on the table of devils?

  • Sorry, but this once again shows End of Days futility and thinking. So now we go into the world and learn from the world about Godliness?

    This is no different changing the church to suit the world, unbelievers will read this stuff and laugh, saying oh how the Christians are sining our tune now.

    Things like this: 5. You can’t fix people.

    People need other people, but that doesn’t mean people can get you to change or someone can fix you.

    People do not need other people, they need Christ. That ^ right there is the same New Age, self-help, seeker sensitive church movement rubbish we are trying to get rid of. Can you not see how that is unbiblical?

    Everything we need to teach the world about how to live in the Word. Right in there, God has written everything we need to ever know, because He knew that in the end there would be no truth, no honesty and nothing wholesome in the world to learn from. There is no good apart from God, all have fallen short, out of the hearts of men come every wicked thing.

    The world has nothing to offer, Christ is Truth.

    I pray Chris that you seek the Lord, I mean daily get down on your knees and weep before Him, we all need to, I am include myself. I do not say this in judgement, but in love. We can all be deceived by trusting our thinking.

    We must abandon our ways, our thoughts, our wisdom and understanding and relentlessly pursue God’s.

  • Derick – Las Vegas

    Pastor Craig,

    You men on mission to seek and save the lost. You go where they go, do what they do(with wise discernment of course) and meet people where their at Just as Jesus did. I was dishearten buy the supportive comments from professing Christians. However, being a men who understands my own tendacey to project my limited understanding, insecurity or just simple disgust on to others for doing the mess ministry, i get it I just want to celebrate you for being real, hones , bold and vulnerable….it’s teaching me from a far to do the same.

    “Keeping being transparent, transformation and transcendent caring more for hurting people, than caring about what hurtful people think.” Las Vegas, 31yr, God First

  • craiggross

    I am not one to read comments normally but this was too good to pass up. Here are some thoughts.

    1. Most of you don’t read. Your mind was made up before you even read the blog about a pastor seeing a r rated movie? Some are calling it porn but lets call it what it is. It is a R rated movie. I saw Shame years ago which was NC17 and wrote about it here – . If you read the blog, I mentioned why I saw the movie and I also mentioned the movie is not really about sex. All of you killing me have your mind made up before you even read something and that is why so many people hate the religious . Jesus hated them also. Remember the guy who healed on the sabbath? Thats what a lot of you sound like.

    2. My wife and I went and watched the movie and we talked about it all the way home. If you care to listen to it you will see that the whole reason in seeing this movie was to discuss this and form an opinion on something. Most of you formed an opinion on me going to the movie before you read anything I wrote. I don’t like to form an opinion on things that I know nothing about. –

    3. Some mention my common sense points. I had no idea going into the movie what I was going to write about. My first blog on the first movie – was way different than what I ended up writing about. You say I could make those points without seeing the movie. I wrote those points after seeing the movie.

    4. Thing are $1 for our online store because we don’t sell t-shirts anymore and books you can buy on amazon so there is no point to keep funding inventory so we are having a sale.

    5. Last thing. Did anyone watch the Superbowl? Don’t you think the Falcons should have run the ball on their last drive and just settled for a field goal and gone up by 11 points? Instead, they did a pass play and Matt Ryan got sacked and pushed them out of field goal range and they had to punt. Search online especially all you trolls and see the debate over this play. I watched the Falcons weeks prior kill my Packers and watched them all season put up the most high scoring offense in the NFL so I don’t think it was a crazy play to pass. Why? That’s how they play. They attack, they point up points and they are looking to score all the time not just play it safe. Matt Ryan has Julio Jones and a ton of others and they thought they could move the ball. That is their game. You guys can critique and criticizes and do all that just like all of us in front of a TV on Superbowl Sunday and in the end thats the reason I don’t read comments normally because you are on the sideline and don’t play on the field that we do. I have spent 15 plus years in this space and from day one on January 9, 2002 we didn’t play it safe. We didn’t do what people thought we should or could do. XXXchurch probably isn’t going to run the ball on 3rd down and try and kick a field goal. We would go for the touchdown and the 2 point conversion and if that bothers you than there are a number of other websites for you to critique and criticizes. I went to the movie 2 years ago and I went to the movie this week and if they make another one you can expect a third blog.


    • David Trainer Read

      Don’t sweat the small stuff. There will always be people who will have a problem with what you say. If you’re right about what you’ve done and sure of it, you don’t need to worry about what others comments are.

  • Nicolas


    Thank you for all you do. Also, thank you for being the hands and feet of Christ. I believe that your words are helpful to especially people that don’t know the Lord yet and are caught in this web of a hypersexualized culture. It provides that alternative voice that can draw folks to the truth. Maybe believers like some of the people that commented here will criticize you and I get their points, too, they are wondering why you need to do this. I think it is important to give a balanced response to this so that other deeper conversations about Christ can be had with those that are weak in their faith or for those that don’t yet believe. I don’t judge you, even though I wouldn’t watch that movie I appreciate your perspective so much and will pray for you so you can keep on speaking out and providing that truthful commentary on the craziness out there. I am a person in long-term recovery too and I just want to thank you for speaking out against the Shades of Grey material. Keep on being like Christ, bro, He walked in some dark places too and religious folks criticized Him like crazy and wanted Him dead. They don’t understand because they are afraid and a lot of believers are on the defensive because of so much pressure and persecution these days. God bless you man, have courage and press on. – Nicolas

  • Anon

    Why does it shock you that mostly women went to see the film? Men are more known for watching action packed movies with explosions and stuff. Where as women like the romance and the story. Isn’t that all that the 50Shades books are all about?

  • Shelly

    This is appalling . How does a Pastor go watch porn and write about it ?? I do not need to murder to know it’s wrong . I do not need to do drugs to know it’s wrong . What kind of example are you setting ? You have an addiction problem .

  • Prisoner of the Highway

    Thinking I need to start a chain of embroidery shops to sew fancy hems on all these poster’s garments.

    Some of you need to get over yourselves. This blog isn’t for YOU.
    It’s for the bored suburban housewife searching the Internet for 50 shades with Satan whispering in her ear how her husband isn’t as exciting as Christian Grey.
    It’s for the young woman in high school or college reading these books and thinking how exciting it is to be Anastasia Steele.

    For all those people, Craig’s voice is a bull horn shouting,
    “No! These two are nuts! Their relationship sucks! You don’t want to be like them!”

    So, all my fellow hypocrites, let’s go enlarge those phylacteries and let Craig help some people stay out of hell.

  • Bishop Asuquo

    Hello Craig! I have never met you nor have I ever considered the possibility of meeting you in person. I am glad about the work you do. You’ve been faithful in the work of helping men, ministers, couples and women find help in getting free from one of Satan’s systems of bondage. I admit too finding people who are as committed as you are may not come easy. It’s the more reason we, your brothers in the Lord, should join you and pray for you to stay faithful and to be delivered from Satan.
    However, you’ll do well to heed the comments of people who reacted to this article. They don’t hate you. On the contrary, they have been following you, listening and using your materials to help people with the same struggles. Their reaction is justified even though your motive was pure. That christian women would want to go see 50 shades darker is indicative of a much deeper problem. And this article only scratches what is deep-seated spiritual deadness to the engrafted sword of God. Unless, your article isn’t solely written for christian women, the post will be much welcomed elsewhere. But l believe you know who your audience is and as a leader, it’s crucial you pay attention to how your decisions affect your followers.
    On the post, you really didn’t have to go see the movie to highlight the lessons you drew. Unless you see getting burnt as the way to show me that fire is hot, then I gladly take the lesson and wish you recovery. I am not saying the movie could currupt you by seeing it but I am saying you hold the key to a door. What your follower take from your actions is more important than the words you speak. It’s a trap many fall into. Please, be careful. Caution is of the esssence. Our Lord warns us to stay attach to Him and that his words should remain in us since no branch can bear fruit on its own.if a man or woman goes to see a movie that violates and undermines the word of God, he or she risks being cut off from Christ. This is what you should reach them. None of us who belong to Christ Nests Jesus have the right to live as we please. We’ll all give account to God of every deed done and receive the just reward of our actions and words. Please, warn your audience of the danger of being cut off from Christian Chrisr and the risk of having their name blotted out from the Lamb’s book of life.
    Th truth is some people who tasted of God’s mercy and grace and received the salvation that comes through Jesus but choose to deny Him by allowing iniquity in their hearts, will have their part in the lake of fire. Please, be careful and waen people you know.

  • Bishop Asuquo

    Well was about posting my thoughts on when my phone went off. Hopefully, do so later.

  • Tom Harrigan

    Craig, Thank you for all you do. I read in a book years ago that %10 of men don’t struggle at all with lust. And while in 44 years of living I only know of 1 man personally who I believe that to be true of, I believe you are also in that 10%. So I have no problem with you seeing this movie! This is not an issue for you!! I don’t struggle with alcohol, so as a Pastor I have no problem eating at a bar that sells it. But because I don’t struggle with that, I can sit and have great conversation with people who may never encounter Jesus otherwise. I can also gain a sense, by sitting there of where our culture is, and try to like Jesus and meet people where they are! So I thank you for going to this movie with your wife so that you can help the rest of us, who shouldn’t be exposed to it’s content because of our struggles, to know what our culture is experiencing and being told is “normal and good”. Can you learn these points without seeing the movie? Of course! But there are people watching it thinking it’s just an “entertaining story” and not aware of the hidden lies you are exposing! Thank you for your ministry and for helping people see the deeper truths behind the lies Satan wants to through at us everyday!

  • Christian Michael Rivera

    I have a lot of respect for you Craig but don’t understand, I was reading your article about Hugh Hefner and the Playboy documentary; why would you praise a documentary that has nudity in it (I’m assuming that it nudity designed to titillate the senses, if it doesnt please disregard this) and at the same time have an active ministry designed to fight against those who are ensnared to the addiction of pornography. That’s like praising a documentary about drinking and then helping alcoholics recover; please tell me what I’m missing here? I know you mean well but it doesn’t add up. Help me out here.

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