Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Modern Example of Idolatry

I've been blogging a lot about idolatry recently. Idolatry is a difficult thing for us to discern in many ways, since the expressions of idolatry in the Bible are so foreign to our modern sensibilities. But here is an excellent example of modern idolatry, and it comes from a professing Christian, no less.

Brian McLaren writes, "This year, I, along with a few Christian friends (and perhaps others currently unknown to us will want to join in) will be joining Muslim friends in the fast which begins August 21. We are not doing so in order to become Muslims: we are deeply committed Christians. But as Christians, we want to come close to our Muslim neighbors and to share this important part of life with them."

I care not what McLaren thinks he is doing in partaking in a Muslim ritual, this is idolatry, pure and simple. Observing a pagan religious ritual for any reason whatsoever, even a seemingly good one, is idolatry. Recall Samuel's words to Saul after Saul chose to disobey God by sacrificing captured animals to God rather than destroying them in battle, as he had been commanded:

Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to listen than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has also rejected you from being king.”

Also read the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18:

"Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”

Observing or partaking in a ritual that opposes the kingdom of God is practicing in idolatry, even if in the name of coming "close to our Muslim neighbors and to share this important part of life with them." Do not be deceived by those who would tempt you into believing that one may casually partake in such practices.

For another take, read Doug Wilson on the matter.

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