Sunday, July 31, 2011

How to Refute an Idolator

Definition of IDOLATRY
: the worship of a physical object as a god
: immoderate attachment or devotion to something
"You shall have no other gods before me.
 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:1-5)

“Man's mind is like a store of idolatry and superstition; so much so that if a man believes his own mind it is certain that he will forsake God and forge some idol in his own brain” John Calvin

I believe that idolatry is the one sin that is little understood and therefore often ignored when it comes to pastoral teaching. Anything that man creates from his imagination is an idol. And we can even make an idol of the God of the Bible Anytime we define God that pleases our imagination, it is idolatry! Here are a few ideas about God I have heard in my ministry with each one followed by a refutation.

Scenerio 1
Suzie: It doesn't matter what we call God, it's all the same.

Christian: You're absolutely right, Nancy!

Suzie: My name is Suzie.

Christian: But if I can call God by any name I wish, then I should be able to call you by any name I wish. 

As you can see, to make oneself more important than God is idolatry!

Scenerio 2
Bubba: It doesn't matter what we believe about God, He loves us anyway.

Christian: What is 2 + 2?

Bubba: 4.

Christian: I believe it's 16!

Bubba: But that doesn't make any sense. You would get an 'F' from a teacher.

Christian: Then why does it make sense to come to any conclusion about God that one wants to?

I hear this a lot. Belief is subjective. Yet at one time man believed the earth was flat. We can believe anything we want but it does not make it true. To believe anything we want is idolatry.

Scenario 3
All religions are the same. 
Well if all religions are the same, then why are their names different? If all religions are the same, then how come only Jesus' tomb is empty? All religions except Christianity are based on works righteousness! No system of faith offers forgiveness of sins. Only one person, Jesus Christ the Righteous can do that. All religions except Christianity, have at their center the person who believes they are good. This is the beginning and the end of idolatry. As John Calvin also states, "Every one of us is, even from his mother's womb, a master craftsman of idols."
And as St. Paul writes:
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 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. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen." (Rom. 1:18-25)