The Apostle John finishes his first letter with these words (1 John 5:21)
“Little children, keep yourselves from idols”
At first glance this instruction seems to be out of place, but on further reflection it becomes clear, this is actually a summary of all that had been written before.
Idolatry is either an image of a false god or a false image of the true God; which essentially has the same result….. Gods righteous anger. And John is addressing the latter form of idolatry.
God hates idolatry.
He especially hates idolatry in the temple, amongst His people.
For those religious organizations that claim the name “christian” and defile their temples with statues and images to be worshipped, it would be advisable to re-read the second of the ten commandments..and changing the term idol to icon doesn’t grant a reprieve from Yahweh’s clear command.
But amongst the so-called protestant churches, many of whom stopped protesting a long time ago, the other form of idolatry holds sway. False images of the true and living God.
When preachers focus entirely on God’s love, for example, they are inadvertently (or deliberately) presenting a view of God which is essentially an idol.
While it is true of course that God is love, it doesn’t follow that Love is God, and the fact is most heresy is truth pushed to an extreme.
Robert Schuller and his Crystal Cathedral ministry, for instance, have been promoting idolatry for many years now. The god whose ultimate concern is our self-esteem may be the god of the this glass temple but it isn’t the God of the Bible. God is the One to be esteemed and it’s only in exalting Him that paradoxically we discover what life is really all about.
Apparently Crystal Cathedral has declared bankruptcy. They are in $55 million dollars debt and looks like possibly closing the doors.
It saddens me that it has come to this. I would much rather there had been repentance and a committment to preach truth in the place, but that’s not to be, it seems.
And now what to do with this memorial to man’s ego?
It could perhaps be a greenhouse to grow exotic plants. There have been a few exotic doctrines grown in the place over the years.
Or perhaps a tanning salon for celebrities, it seems a few religious celebrities have already been burned.
Or maybe, it could be maintained as a reminder to God’s people what happens when they sit under a scripture twisting, universalistic freemason.
Whatever, I just hope the small businesses that are owed money get paid ( the window cleaner must be owed a fortune) and this idol takes it’s place in history as a very expensive bad idea.
Other “ministries” that have taken their cues from Bob would do well to take warning. God will not tolerate idolatry, especially when it’s done in His name. Judgement begins in the house of the LORD and those who believe God and turn a blind eye to the manipulation of His word and His people are in for a shock. Ultimately, God is love and in His love He will demolish every pretension and every argument that sets itself up against the knowledge of Him, so that people may come to the place of submission to His grace.
And the people of God need to take warning also.
God does not want us unequally yoked to heretics, backsliders, or apostates. To give support to these kinds of “ministries’ may well result in a greater loss than just financial pain. We will be held to account for our support of idolatry.
God’s word is clear and we have no excuse. When Bob Schuller blatantly edits the Bible and we sit and say nothing, we are as guilty as him.
When Rick Warren downplays the word of God and teaches pagan and un-Christian groups how to build larger mosques or synagogues without presenting the saving truth of Christ, he is promoting idolatry and as sure as day follows night judgement will come.
When others submerge their hearers under a tsunami of prosperity, seeker friendly, or emerging heresies we are not to sit idly by and allow the precious people of God to be defiled by idolatry. We are to sound the trumpet.
We are to lift up our voices in warning.
We are to lift up our hands in prayer.
The only right biblical response to wolves is to do all we can to rescue the little flock.
We are not to align with the wolf.
We are not to reason with him, (not till the flock is safe at least).
We certainly are not to aid and abet the enemy.
It looks like God has written Ichabod over this particular “cathedral” and I have no doubt more will follow.
The only temple that God accepts is the temple He is building with the living stones of His blood-bought people.
The only ministry that He endorses is the Spirit-filled and Spirit -led ministry of His covenanted congregation.
And the only image we are to reverence is the Lord Jesus Christ “who is the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person” Heb 1:3
Little children, keep yourselves from idols.