Friday, August 06, 2010
The word "idols" sounds archaic. We tend to think of statues or gargoyles or sacrifices that are more in keeping with a pagan culture than our modern times. But N.T. Wright, in his book SURPRISED BY HOPE [HarperOne 2008] does a more than adequate job of showing the modern relevance of that word. He shows that "idol worship" is as modern as microwaves and as dangerous as radiation poisoning. In fact, to relationships, it is MORE dangerous than the afore mentioned modern items. Idolatry, according to Wright, IS a heart problem but doesn't stay there. It worms it's way into our value system [with devaluation] and carries with it consequences that infect our walk with God, our families, neighborhoods and even congregations.
N.T. Wright says it this way..."
"One of the primary laws of human life is that you become like what you worship; what’s more, you reflect what you worship not only back to the object itself but also outward to the world around. Those who worship money increasingly define themselves in terms of it and increasingly treat other people as creditors, debtors, partners, or customers rather than as human beings. Those who worship sex define themselves in terms of it (their preferences, their practices, their past histories) and increasingly treat other people as actual or potential sexual objects. Those who worship power define themselves in terms of it and treat other people as either collaborators, competitors, or pawns. These and many other forms of idolatry combine in a thousand ways, all of them damaging to the image-bearing quality of the people concerned and of those whose lives they touch." (p. 182)
Mark Driscoll says much the same thing in different words in his latest book DOCTRINE. He says it this way...
"If we idolize our gender, we must demonize the other gender. If we idolize our nation, we must demonize other nations. If we idolize our political party, we must demonize other political parties. If we idolize our socioeconomic class, we must demonize other classes. If we idolize our family, we must demonize other families. If we idolize our theological system, we must demonize other theological systems. If we idolize our church, we must demonize other churches.
This explains the great polarities and acrimonies that plague every society. If something other than God’s loving grace is the source of our identity and value, we must invariably defend our idol by treating everyone and everything who may call our idol into question as an enemy to be demonized so that we can feel superior to other people and safe with our idol." (350-351)
I do not agree with either man in all points of theology. But on this point make it a threesome. And...if this assessment is true...our generation has become as "Idolatrous" as any I've ever studied biblically or historically.
UPDATE___Since I'm connecting you with people who write about Idolatry better than I do..you need to read what my blogosphere friend from "Down Under," Aussie John, said about it here..http://john-caesura.blogspot.com/. By the way..I've yet to find anything theological that I disagree with when Aussie j writes.