Christian Living

Christian Idolatry

We Are Made in God’s Image, Not the Other Way Around

An idol is anything that becomes more important than God. The Old Testament of the Bible talks a lot about God’s displeasure with his people worshipping idols, that is, false God’s.

Today our idols may be things like money, career, possessions, and status. Even family can become our idol.

Yet there’s another form of idol worship today. It’s Christian idolatry.

Christian idolatry is a widespread practice. Most people accept it and even celebrate it. Christian idolatry occurs when we try to make God into who we want him to be, not who the Bible says he is. It’s modern-day idol worship.

It’s wrong. It’s short sighted. And it may have eternal consequences.

A Religious Smorgasbord

The prevailing attitude today is that everyone needs to decide for themselves what’s right and wrong. There are no absolutes. Society encourages this mindset.

And people apply this misguided perspective to their faith. This results in one form of Christian idolatry. It occurs when people mix religions.

Though they may start with Christianity as their basis, they selectively pick beliefs and practices from other world religions—and popular culture—to stir into their pot.

They end up with their own faith concoction. Though it may taste good, it’s not nutritious. And it may kill them.

Selective Christianity

Another form of Christian idolatry—one more pervasive and less obvious—is selecting what parts of biblical truth to accept and what to reject.

If a passage in the Bible offends, people don’t seek to change their perspective to align with God’s. Instead, they disregard that text as being irrelevant or obsolete.

They read Scripture—if they read it at all—with a highlighter in one hand and scissors in the other. They celebrate the text they like and disregard what they don’t understand or don’t like.

Then they augment what’s left by adding common misconceptions about God, the Bible, and Christian faith. In doing so, they become secular Christians.

They forget that the Bible is the only authoritative faith foundation.

Made in God’s Image

God created us in his image (Genesis 1:26). He made us to be like him. More correctly the godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit made us to be like them.

When we make up our own faith practices, it’s as if we’re trying to make God into our image. Implicitly we’re saying we don’t want to view him or approach him for who he is but how we want to perceive him.

We don’t want to worship him the way he says to but the way we want to.

A faith that we make up may make us feel good, but it can’t save us. And being sincere is not enough either, for we can be sincerely wrong.

This is the root of Christian idolatry. It occurs when we try to make God into our image. And we must stop.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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