Sunday morning idols (1) …


No one is immune to idol worship, and no place is safe from the encroachment of false gods.

Jared Wilson, pastor of Middletown Springs Community Church in Vermont, uses Isaiah 44 to show that the transition from everyday work to idol making can be seamless and subtle.  One part of a log can be used to make a fire for heating the home and for cooking food.  Later, part of the same log can be shaped into an idol and worshiped.

The move is subtle. The switch from ordinary human achievement to blasphemy requires no explanation. It just flat-out happens. Isaiah 44:12–17 demonstrates that there is only one step to becoming an idolater, and it is simply to mind your own business.

Wilson then examines some implications for contemporary worship.

On Sundays, our sanctuaries fill with people seeking worship, and not one person comes in set to neutral. We must take great care, then, not to assume that even in our religious environments, where we put the Scriptures under so many noses, that it is Jesus the exalted Christ who is being worshiped.

Many of us file in each week to enjoy the conspicuous spiritual exercises of our brethren. We worship the worship experience; we tithe with expectation of return from heaven’s slot machine; we dress to impress; and we serve and lead to compensate for the inadequacies in our hearts that only Christ can fill.

A church will become idolatrous in a heartbeat because it’s already there. So, we cannot set our worship on autopilot.

No place, then, is safe from the encroachment of false gods.  As John Calvin has taught us, the human heart is an idol factory.  More recently, Tim Keller has reminded us that even after we’re converted, our hearts will “go back to operating on other principles unless [we] deliberately, repeatedly set [them] to gospel-mode.”  This resetting hearts to gospel-mode should be the primary task of church.  Jared Wilson concludes,

The proclamation of the good news of Jesus and the extolling of His eternal excellencies is always an interruption, always a disruption. It alone will bring the sword of division between where even our religious hearts are set and where they ought to be. For this reason, we cannot go about minding our own business any more. We must mind God’s (Col. 3:1–4).

HT : The Church and Idolatry

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One Response to “Sunday morning idols (1) …”

  1. Mike–

    Great articles! This piece, ‘Sunday Morning Idols’ brings to mind the unfortunate trend of anthropocentric “worship” in Christendom, whereby serious doctrinal study is marginalized and, at times, impugned.