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Penthouse Attempts to Cash in with Christian Dating Site BigChurch

“Meet people who share the same spiritual beliefs as you!”  That’s what it says on the homepage of Christian daiting site BigChurch, but apparently they’re not referring to their ownership.  Newsweek revealed that BigChurch.com is operated by the social-networking giant Various, Inc., which was purchased in December by the Penthouse Media Group.

In addition to BigChurch, the Penthouse/Various company also operates social networking sites for swingers, homosexuals, and of course pornography.  (See the Newsweek article if you want more details.)

The online match-making industry is very profitable, and the way to successfully get a piece of that action is to create dating sites that focus on a specific niche, such as Christians.  Focusing on a niche causes users to feel like they’re among like-minded people, that they can be more open about who they are, and they are more likely to find a person who shares their values.

BigChurch has tried to target the Christian singles in a number of ways.  The homepage includes Christian-sounding phrases like “Brining people together in love and faith.”  It includes a quote supposedly from a happily matched Christian couple, “I feel blessed to have met Shawn on BigChurch.com. I feel like my prayers of finding a respectable man have been answered! Thanks BigChurch!!”  The site even quotes scripture on the homepage, “A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:24

It seems to have worked as BigChurch claims to have a half million Christian members worldwide.

In an interview published yesterday on WebProWorld, Penthouse Media Group CEO Marc Bell didn’t seem to see any incongruence saying it was like owning two separate businesses.  Bell also apparently dismissed the idea that BigChurch members would take issue with the site’s ownership.

What do you think?  Do you have a problem with a Christian dating site being owned by a company that produces porn?

BigChurch members – will you continue or will you cancel your membership? 

Spread the word by voting for this article at Blogs4God and PlugRug so others can see it as well.

About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.

23 Comments

  • » Penthouse Attempts to Cash in with Christian Dating Site BigChurch…

    Christian singles/dating site BigChurch.com is operated by the social-networking giant Various, Inc., which was purchased in December by the Penthouse Media Group. What do you think about a “Christian” website being owned and operated by a porn publ…

  • Ithink a “Christian” website should not be owned by a porn publisher. That is an oxymoron. The Bible says you can’t serve two masters because you will hate one and love the other. This company needs to decide which one it wants to do, porn or christian.

  • In do time those who cash in on an idustry they do not have in their hearts will be judged by God. Those who have used the site with God in their heart have done so with good intentions. Those going to the site knowing those behind it should stop and consider the many actually Christian run sites that are true to real Christian love and match making. I do youth outreach and found a similiar situation with a youth site at one point to where myself and many other parents helped band the site from the host. As Christians we have to rise above and as the bible teaches us though evil is what it is it can come in many different forms even those that decieves. It also tells us that tose ispreading the word will be held even more accountable than the Christian who lives their daily life as a Christian.

  • It is an interesting question. And Penthouse is really not even part of the equation. All of these sites were run together before Penthouse bought them.

    The site is effective. The software runs well. Of course that is because it is the same software that runs another 5 or 10 other sites, which keeps development costs down and improves the software.

    The site works. (If you are honest about who you are and what you need in a spouse). My sister-in-law was complaining about the how hard it was to find a good Christan guy. So I googled out “christian online dating” and found the site, and singed her up for an account.

    She met someone wonderful, and they have been married for two years and serving God together. Right now, the point is moot for her. I don’t know if someone who is currently using the site discovers this should quit.

    The site itself is “pure” and someone ungodly is making money off of it. Buy pure, I mean that it is a Christian dating site. For the most part it is what it is. A site where lonely Christians are looking online for someone to fall in love with and marry who share have the same faith and beliefs. You know going in, it is a pay site. So someone is making money off of running the site. When you rent and you pay your rent, you don’t know what your ungodly landlord does with the money. Just because he hangs out at the bar does not mean a) you hang out at the bar b) that others will think you are like him or c) That you need to move so as not to help “sponsor” his lifestyle.

    it is just pretty amazing that they would not sell it off. I can’t see it being anything but bad press for them.

  • A sister in Christ who is divorced and presently praying for a new partner asked me to pay her registration for BigChurch. I have been reticent, arguing that the principle of looking for partners online is still debatable in Christian settings and that BigChurch does not appear to be “Christ-like”. Today, I can tell her, ‘sister, time has proven me right, keep praying for a husband and forget about BigDevil in the name of BigChurch’.
    May Christians see the tactics of the devil. If anyone is going to such sites today, it will not be without knowledge. Thanks to ourchurch.com for the info.

  • Let me add that even if people have found partners on BigChurch, it does not make the site “pure”, it does not mean the site has ever been run by christians. It is simply s business owner who knows strategies for money grabbing.
    There are ‘good christian sites’ for dating, you may say. The strategy of the devil is make the division unclear and lead people astray. Must we borrow everything the world is going?

  • How many people would be comfortable with the idea of Penthouse “owning” a church? Sure, the choir might sing well, the pastor might preach great, but there is something wrong with that picture. The same applies to this case. I have a BIG problem with a porn company owning a “Christian” dating website. I would never be part of a church “owned” by Penthouse, regardless of how good the church itself might be, and I would never join a “Christian” dating service owned and operated by Penthouse.

  • “I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.(1Cor:9-10)
    “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?
    God will judge those outside”(1Cor.5:12-13)

    No christian who is a part of Big Church is in the dark as to the ownership of the site. Periodically it is brought to the attention of the members one to another, some leave according to their conscience, others stay.

    We know and understand that the church is not a building, but rather is made up of those who fill the building. It dosen`t really matter who owns the building, in-fact, is it not true that the darker the building, the greater the need for the light. Jesus was criticised for eating with tax collectors and sinners.
    A friend of mine planted a church in a local pub because it was closed on a Sunday, and God Blessed the work.
    I myself was part of a church plant who met in the hall of our local communist group. In the end they gave us money and asked us to take their kids on vacation.

    Speaking as an ex-member of BC, the reason I left, as do most, was not because of the sinful affiliations of the sight, but rather, because of the way Christians treat one another, and their inability to get along due to doctrinal differences, and I find that far more disturbing.
    Maybe we should take the log out of our own eye before we attempt to remove the speck from others.

  • there is something wrong when you have to go a dateing service to find a mate what they need to do is pray and leave it in the hands of GOD, i did and married my wife from where i went to church. and we have been married for 21 years.

    next when a place sells it site to a porn ring there is something wrong there,because we are in the world does not mean we have to act like the world
    this sends a wrong sign to are youth, and that is its all right to go to a porn site to find a mate, GOD FORBID THAT.

    and to the person who said we need to take the log out of our eyes, you better wake up AND SMELL THE AIR WE AS BORN AGAIN BELEIVERS OF JESUS CHRIST, are to watch where we go and how we act, and what we look at, and if its porn, look out cause no matter how fine it looks on the outside its hell on the inside,

    thats how people get hooked on those site it looks inesent, but its harmfull.

    we need to pray that it closes up fast,

  • I have just read through the list of comments concerning this penthouse owned dating site. When I was recently in Israel, on a ministry tour there were certain sites that we did not go to because the money raised from visiting those site was used by the PLO to bring terrorist activities against Israel. Because I love Israel, and because God promises blessings to those who love, and curses to those who hate Israel, I would not fund anything that would come against that nation which God loves.

    Likewise, though one’s curiosity may get the better of them to ‘tour’ the land of ‘christian dating’ we must remember, that we are stewarts over what God has entrusted to us. Even though we cannot control what others do, we can control what we contribute to, and participate. No christian should support any business, at any level, that supports the sensual flesh markets that contribute to the destruction of so many homes and marriages. Do not make an alliance with one who is involved in whoredom, no matter how pretty the dress is that they put on it. Remember the whore of Babylon!! The Lord commanded his people to come out of her, and to be separate!!

    Let us not fall to gimmicks to support the ungodly. If you desire a mate, seek the Lord. He promises to direct the steps of the righteous. He knows your hearts desire. He alone knows what will satify. In light of this why would we want to seek the help of the ungodly to help us find a mate?

  • Was this a typo?

    “In an interview published yesterday on WebProWorld, Playboy Media Group CEO Marc Bell didn’t seem to see any incongruence saying it was like owning two separate businesses.”

    I think “Playboy” should be “Penthouse”.

  • It does not surprise me that these people are doing this. The devil has his workers in many places and this is just one of the places he has placed them to get Christians involved. There are so many people that are in the world now that are liars and thieves that it is unbelievable. Christians need to do their research before they decide to go with anything and let God guide them.

  • BIGCHURCH IN THE PENTHOUSE SUITE…

    Odd couplings don’t get much odder than that of online dating community BigChurch and porn-mill Penthouse Media Group. Via its acquisition of the FriendFinder Network of dating sites, PMG finds itself to be the corporate parent of BigChurch.
    Busi…

  • I don’t have a problem with a Christian site being owned by a porn producer. I have a problem with my porn producers owning Christian sites.

  • Up until very recently I was a member of Big Church.There are some really nice people on that site, and like myself none of us had any idea of its ownership.
    Big Church is a horrible deception.
    It is not simply a dating site,many are just seeking friends and fellowship.For anyone to find themselves on any website they have fallen prey to loneliness.
    Christians are, contrary to the pious, still human.
    Big Church lures with its name, and a ” fake umbrella” of Christianity.
    I know that there are many B,.C. members who are still unaware of its true ownership; it is a huge website and Penthouse is well hidden.
    There is more information available now on line than when I joined, and I am hopeful that there will be more yet.I am also hopeful that the truth will be spread within the site itself,as more and more members do become informed.
    God will have His way, and that I believe is one opponent Penthouse have not
    considered.

  • Imagine if the membership demand for BigChurch became larger than any of their other “secular” social networking sites. The owners would then potentially see how great the demand is for God, and it might even lead them to seek him for themselves! Who knows how God can work 🙂 All I know is that we live in a world filled with sin and we can’t really separate ourselves from it until death or the 2nd coming of Christ. Still, some might see using BigChurch as embracing sin instead of rejecting it with the will, and I understand why. Though single, I’ve never considered online searching. I would encourage each person to consider the entire kingdom with every decision made in life…and always remember that God created everything, and nothing is beyond him. So is it possible for a Christian dating site to be a blessing even when non-christians are profitting? Why not? Money is nothing to God, but he does long to fulfill our heart’s desires (he put them there, after all) and he seeks every person like a lost sheep, so maybe this organization’s involvement with a Christian population is meant to open their eyes and hearts as well? Again I say, why not? If I can see it, I know God can 🙂

  • hi there I could not belive it when I herd about it what ever next I know there are christian web sites which have been taken over by pornsters as my friends have come across christian sites were pornsters have added things and hidden the porn were christians click on a box for christian info yet get SENT some were the christian does not want to go so for penthouse, to buy up big church is big problem now for christians,we all have to be so carefull even more so now all the very best to you all STEVE

  • That’s right we really have to be careful on what to click and where to go in the cyberspace. I know that those Christian who decided to subscribe online dating services are really serious of looking for true love. So it’s important for them to have nice and good community.

  • […] … the same problem here with the Moot being in a pub – although I have taken Dee in for …Penthouse Attempts to Cash in with Christian Dating Site …The Penthouse Media Group is trying to cash in on Christians with Christian singles/dating site […]

  • I am a member of Big Church and while I do like being there I in no way feel this
    is a church,and have debated this with another who say's it is because any where
    that more than two people meet is called a church,I don't beleive in this,and asked
    my pastor he said I was right what do you think?

  • Great paintings! This is the kind of info that are supposed to be shared across the web. Disgrace on the search engines for now not positioning this put up upper! Come on over and visit my site . Thank you =)

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