This week, Joe Carter of the Gospel Coalition published an article on their website entitled “When did idolatry become compatible with Christianity?” In his article he wonders when it became acceptable for Christians to “embrace and endorse homosexual behavior.” His answer is that there is no specific date, but it is part of a wider idolatrous movement in the church. He characterizes the issue like this:
At its root, the issue has more to do with idolatry than marriage, since same-sex marriage could not have advanced in America if believers had not exchanged the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for the God of faux-love, cultural acceptance, and open theism.
This idolatry, he says, takes two forms. The first is essentially libertarian. Some Christians believe that because we live in a pluralistic society, and we do not have anything but a religious objection to marriage equality, we can’t really say it should be illegal. Carter says to do so is to replace
Jesus’ commandment—”You shall love your neighbor as yourself”—with the guiding motto of the neopagan religion of Wicca, “Do what you will, so long as it harms none.”
The second form of idolatry is essentially just liberal theology he doesn’t care for. He says that they have “completely rejected the authority of Scripture and embraced the idol of open theism, a god who changes his mind over time.” He proceeds to use Rob Bell as a punching bag, which is becoming a pastime for Reformed theologians, I think.
He concludes that Christians who agree with him (as opposed to the idolatrous Christians who don’t) need to speak up. He concludes:
We fear that if we point out too clearly or forcefully that you can’t both serve God and endorse sin that they may leave our congregations. We seem more concerned with losing the volunteer for the Sunday morning nursery or the regular check in the offering plate than we do with the souls of those in open and unrepentant rebellion against God. We seem more worried about the judgment of the kids in the youth ministry than we do with the judgment of a wrathful and holy God. We are so troubled by the thought that same-sex advocates will fall away from the faith that we fail to see that they’ve already rejected the faith of historic, orthodox Christianity and replaced it with an idolatrous heresy—one that is as destructive and hateful as any that has come before.
I don’t need to tell you that I have problems with this article, but let me outline them.
[[Based on Baruch 5:1-9 (NRSV)]]
Take off your mourning clothes, O Church;
Wrap yourself forever, Christian, in God’s beauty and glory.
Put on the robe of righteousness that comes from God;
Put on your head the crown of glory of the Prince of Peace,
For God will show this splendor everywhere under heaven,
For God will give you evermore the name,
“Pax Christi, Imago Dei.”
Arise, O Christians, stand upon the heights;
Look toward the East,
And see all God’s children,
Gathered from West and East,
At the word of the Holy One,
Rejoicing that God has remembered them.
For they went out from every place,
Into the captivity of their enemies,
But God will bring us all back together,
Carried in glory, as on a royal throne.
For God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low,
And the valleys filled up, to make level ground,
So that all may walk safely in the glory of God.
The woods and every fragrant tree
Have shaded us at God’s command.
May God lead us with joy,
In the light of God’s glory,
With the mercy and righteousness of the Kingdom that come from God.
This morning I went to church twice — once at Mass and the second at my Baptist church in Birmingham. While at Mass, we sang the refrain to the Psalm: “The Lord upholds my life.” The line is from Psalm 54: “Save me, O God, by your name, and vindicate me by your might. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth … Surely, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life … I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good. For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies” (1-2, 4; 6-7, NRSV). This concept has stood out to me for the past few weeks, but the reading and singing in the Mass brought it before my face. We talk a lot about the characteristics of God, the roles of God. We talk about God as Judge, Savior, Redeemer, Father, etc. At my university, we are currently going through Genesis so we have talked a lot about God as Creator. How often, though, do we talk about God as Sustainer? Read the rest of this entry