I Surrender All by Clay and Renee Crosse, with Mark Tabb (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2005), 173 pp. paper $9.99
I Surrender All is the true story about well-known Christian recording artist Clay Crosse’s enslavement to pornography which nearly destroyed his marriage, his career and his life. As Clay admits, he was never a strong Christian but the Lord had gifted him with marvelous singing ability. With his breakout song “I Surrender All” in 1994 Clay was catapulted to the upper echelons of the Christian entertainment world. Clay saw himself as an entertainer, not a minister, and while his music lifted high the enthusiasm of his audiences, his spiritual life bounced along near bottom. Clay and his wife Renee were content to enjoy the fruits of success: money, possessions, awards and applause. Neither saw the need for a deeper walk with God, seldom reading the Bible or being involved in their local church. In addition, they had desensitized themselves against worldly habits and amusements, so it was just a short step for Clay to move into the world of pornography where he found thrills he had not found anywhere else.
Perhaps Clay would have remained in his secret sin, and most likely moved on to adultery, except that the Lord chose to break Clay’s voice. While still capable of singing, Clay lost the abilities that made him outstanding. This crisis caught his attention and by God’s grace led him to repentance. Clay came clean with his wife and ultimately to the world. He turned to the Lord with true dedication, devoured the Word, got involved in real ministry, sought accountability and through God’s power changed his life. He is now on staff of a local church (although he still travels, both singing and speaking), and Renee is involved with the women’s ministry in their church, and also conducts womens’ conferences.
I Surrender All is not the final word on dealing with the sin of pornography, but it is a useful tool. Many men and their wives will identify with the great spiritual battle the Crosses’s have waged. And they will be encouraged with the outcome. There are no quick fixes here, no magic bullet. To have victory over such an enslaving sin requires turning with all one’s heart to the Lord, a renewing of one’s mind through the Word, the help of fellow believers, accountability and openness. The Crosses’s story is one of encouragement and example for all trapped in this powerful sin. I recommend it highly.