Quodlibet

Idol Threats

by Donald T. Williams

It's a burden to be unique. If you don't think so, just remember back to high school.

If you are different from everyone else, you had better be solidly committed to that difference if you want to maintain it, because otherwise the price you'll have to pay for it will lead you to compromise or even to conform. Israel was the only people in the world that served a God who did not want to be worshiped by graven images. But not enough of the Israelites were committed enough to that difference to maintain it. So they kept succumbing to syncretism, to the temptation of the human heart to be an idol factory.

If you worship the living God today, your situation is no different. You probably aren't tempted to worship an idol of metal, wood, or stone, but you are tempted to worship the same idols of sophistry, sensuality, and self that your neighbors are committed to, and you probably are not as free from those idols as you tell yourself you are. This explains a lot about the history of Israel and of modern Christianity. And it tells us how committed to the true God we need to be if we are not to share their fate.

Donald T. Williams Ph.D., is R. A. Forrest Scholar at Toccoa Falls College. He is the author of eleven books, most recently Deeper Magic: The Theology Behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Square Halo Books, 2016) and An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of J. R. R. Tolkien (Christian Publishing House, 2018). He is a member of University Church, an interdenominational house church in Athens, Georgia.

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