West Murray church of Christ

John McKee, Evangelist, West Murray church of Christ

Idol worship is still practiced in some parts of the world, but most Christians have been raised in cultures where the worship of pagan gods is not a thing.  There are plenty of temptations around us that are contrary to the will of God but falling down before Baal or Molech is not generally among them.

Pagan idols were prevalent among the Israelite people 3,000 years ago, yet even in that environment, the prophet Samuel expanded the definition of idol worship to a degree that has relevance among Christians today. In 1 Samuel 15, King Saul was returning from defeating the wicked Amalekites in battle. God had sent him to utterly destroy them, but he instead had chosen to keep the king and some of the livestock alive. Rather than praising him for his victory, the prophet of God chastised him instead. Samuel told Saul, “Rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.” What in the world was Samuel talking about?

Saul’s King was Jehovah God Himself. Had God been reigning on the throne of Saul’s heart where He belonged, Saul would have kept His commands completely. Instead, he kept only the commands with which he happened to agree. Saul was guilty of removing God’s will from the throne and replacing it with his own will. That, my friend, is idolatry.

Besides the idolatry of materialism (Colossians 3:5), the idolatry of insubordination is one of the greatest problems among those who call themselves Christians. Many religious groups engage in activities with no semblance of Scriptural authority and their members simply follow along. In questioning the Jewish leaders about the baptism of John the baptist, Jesus asked them, “was it from heaven or from men?” There was no door number three. Any religious activity or doctrine is either by God’s authority or men made it up. There are no exceptions.

Jesus further taught that the Jewish leaders of His day were rendering their worship vain by teaching as doctrines the precepts of men (Matthew 15:9). Why? Because they were worshipping and honoring the traditions of men and dishonoring God in the process.  Idolatry.

Peter wrote that God’s divine power “has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3).  Paul wrote that “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

If the religious organization of which you are a member teaches and practices doctrines for which there is no Scriptural authority, those practices constitute reverence of human will over the honor of the Divine Will. Doctrinal idolatry is rampant in our society and we must take great care to ensure we are not willing participants.

Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of the Murray Ledger & Times.

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