Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Christians Are Urged by the Gospel to Unmask Idols!

                   The Prophet Nathan confronts King David of his sin of murder and adultery

Whether we like to admit it or not, we worship many idols on a daily basis, never recognizing nor acknowledging that we are sinning against God. These idols take many forms, including money, fame, power, as well as abiding in societal, political and yes, even religious realms. Some even make their personal relations with their spouses and their children more important than God and abiding in His will.

Many will look lightly upon this message, some going as far as to state that where sin abounds in abundance, God's grace is greater. Here is where Christians (true believers and followers of Jesus Christ) have to make a major decision: "Come out of her, my people, as we are urged by Christ in Revelation 18:4.

More importantly, the church has failed one of its many tasks, that of unmasking these idols, especially in the political arena. Rather than exposing the evils of today's political leaders, many Christians have become involved with their political machinations. Way too many Christian leaders believe they can solve today's problems by becoming active in politics. Unlike the prophet Nathan, who confronted King David for stealing Uriah's wife. The courage the prophet Nathan displayed could have cost him his life, for daring to accuse King David of the sin of adultery and murder. Unlike Nathan, today's Christian leaders bow before today's political leaders solely to taste a little bit of their power.
In the book, Idols For Destruction, author Herbert Schlossberg, remind us that it is the duty of believers to be active in the unmasking of these idols:

"One major function of the Church is to unmask the idols and expose them for what they are. There is no basis for this to be done except the authority of the biblical witness. Unmasking the idols destroys their effectiveness, stripping from them the false teachers their guise as angels of light. As Gabriel Vahanian puts it. Christian faith can be true to itself only if it is iconoclastic. If it is to have any effectiveness, it must be actively engaged in breaking the idols.

We have reached a point in history in which it is essential to pay closer heed to the four Gospel and associated portions of the New Testament. There "the world" is identified as the system of political cultural, and religious leadership that arrayed itself against God and refused to listen to the prophetic word that exposed its wrongdoings. It is that world which Jesus said "hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil, (John 7:7)." The leadership of the early church recognized that the disciples were not different in that respect from their Lord. "Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God, (James 4:4)." The Pauline summary for living an evil life was "Following the course this world, (Ephesians 2:2).' A Polish bishop, afterwards known as Pope John Paul 11, speaking in the United States in 1976, put it this way: " We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel."
Even when the lines are not drawn so clearly between the gospel and an idolatrous environment,  an inevitable tension exists between Christian faith and society. Notwithstanding the uncritical acclaim sometimes accorded to Europe in the thirteenth century or New England in the seventeenth, it is questionable whether Christendom - the identity of the kingdom of God with any society - has ever existed. As long as the biblical world view is not identical with any other religious, cultural, or political system, attempts to relax the tension between them, to accommodate the church to the 'best" of the surrounding society, surrenders the gospel to what will debase it. Theologies of peace that avoid conflict at any cost produce a tame church without offense, without effectiveness.
Such toothless theologies flourish when people do not take the New Testament seriously enough. Those documents appear dated because they cannot be reconciled with the prevailing wisdom. But it is easy to forget that they were always "dated" and for the same reason. The pathologies that required biblical text to be written on the economic, social, familial, sexual, and legal aspects of life have always been there.  Those texts cannot in fact become out-of-date because they rest on truths that come from outside of time and stand in judgment of all societies that contravene them.

Schlossberg  adds that "believers in Christ were urged to live as pilgrims, strangers, and exiles in the midst of an evil society, (1 Peter 2:11)." He concluded this particular thought by mentioning what many in the church feel is near and close,  Armageddon!

"In the apocalyptic vision, it is the kings of the earth that represents the ultimate evil, (Revelation 18:9), and so it may be with authorities with which we have to deal. There is no official edict that cannot be abrogated by the refusal of people to obey it. This choice was faced by and stated starkly by the early leaders of the church: We must obey God rather than men, (Acts 5:29)."
What's it  gonna be Christian? Are you going to join a political party in an attempt to change it from within? More importantly, are you prepared to examine how many idols you currently bow before, to see if you are truly walking with Christ? Or will you continue to bow before the myriad of idols destined for destruction?

For more information about the author and his books, please click on Joe Ortiz.

1 comment:

  1. Your mention that "the church has failed" brings something to my mind. If the church members don't care if their leaders lie to and steal from church members, why should church members be surprised when God allows the country to have political leaders who will lie to and steal from the citizens? Here's hoping that all of the church members will always walk with Christ and stop bowing before idols. Thanks for your perceptive and spiritual blog.