Skip to main content

Undetected Idolatry


What is idolatry? We see the word idol at the outset of the word, tipping us off to the idea that idolatry involves idols. Webster defined idolatry as “the religious worship of idols.”


Fair enough, but what are idols? Let’s ask Webster again. He says it is “an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed.” The dictionary goes on to say an idol may be a figment of the imagination, or any person or thing regarded with blind devotion. We often think about a thing in relation to idolatry, such as the Baals in the Old Testament or the kachinas of the Native Americans. But idolatry can also exist in the mind. 


In the classic theological work The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer wrote, “The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of him. It begins in the mind and may be present where no overt act of worship has taken place.”

 

We see this played out in Romans 1, where Paul noted, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened (v.21).” 

 

Some people know just enough about God to be dangerous. They know He is merciful so they assume everyone ends up in heaven. They know He blesses His children so they only expect to receive “good things” from God. This is idolatry, according to Tozer, in that the person is thinking thoughts of God that are not worthy of Him. Wrong thinking about God leads to creating a god that does not exist. There is no god that only gives us good things and does not allow anyone to go to hell. Worshipping that god is a form of idolatry. 

 

We must guard against undetected idolatry, the subtle inaccurate thoughts that lead us to worship a false god. This demands that we know God and know about Him. Our source of truth has to be His inerrant Word. Filling our minds with the truth of God will keep us from idolatry. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The “Christians Hate Gays” Myth

During these Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) hearings before the Supreme Court I keep hearing how much Christians hate gay people. This was news to me since I am a Christian and I don’t hate gay people. I also go to church with over 1000 other Christians, and if any of them hate gay people, they sure haven’t told me. Before moving to South Carolina I worked at or attended several churches in Texas; prior to that I spent a decade going to church in Florida. Guess what? No one hated gay people. In fact, I don’t know any Christians who hate anybody. The very uniform of a believer is his love, and if a person does not show consistent love, then he is not actually a believer. Are there non-believers who hate gay people and claim to be Christian? Of course. But that doesn’t represent Jesus or His church. Equating  hateful sign-wavers with Christianity is like equating a kindergarten baseball team to the New York Yankees. They may claim to be playing the same

SBC 22 Update

The Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting is in the books, and I wanted to give a recap of some of the highlights. We were glad to represent Putman among more than 8,000 messengers in the beautiful city of Anaheim, California.  Most notably, the SBC dedicated serious time to the issue of sexual abuse within the convention. One year ago messengers asked for the creation of a Sex Abuse Task Force (SATF) that would report back 30 days prior to this year’s meeting. The report was horrific (to quote outgoing SBC President Ed Litton, it was “a gut punch”). In response, Southern Baptists overwhelmingly voted to adopt both recommendations from the task force.  First, the convention approved a continuing task force, called the Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force (ARITF), that will work for as many years as is needed to continue the effort begun by the SATF, which was only given one year to work.  More importantly, the convention adopted the creation of a database at the SBC office. The

The Rose of Sharon and Lily of the Valley

If you have spent much time in church you have probably sung some songs with lyrics like these: “He leads me to his banqueting table, his banner over me is love… Jesus is the rock of my salvation, his banner over me is love.” “Sweetest rose of Sharon, come to set us free.” “He’s the lily of the valley, the bright and morning star…” But are those songs biblical? They come out of the writings of the Song of Solomon, but are we to understand those lines as describing Christ? The Song of Solomon is a collection of love poems that were written between two people who were deeply in love and about to be married. While we know that King Solomon is one of the writers, the other’s name has escaped us, and we know her today simply as the Shulamite woman. Some people believe that since this woman is not named then she never existed; some teach that this book is pure allegory, only existing to serve as symbolism. King Solomon, they say, represents