Updated: Jan 21
Modern idolatry exists within the church. Sure, we often look at the Old Testament, the complaints of the prophets about idol worship in the temple, and we poo-poo it saying “not in my church.” And yet, such gods (note the little “g”) do exist within our worship. God thundered and railed against the silent and deaf gods, the demonic forces that Israel, as God put it, whored after (starting in Exodus 34:16, and going on throughout the Old Testament). He punished a nation and rejected the worship of such people. And we do the same things. We may not put statues up or pay homage to mute idols, but our traditions, the vast majority of which that have nothing to do with sound doctrine, become as gods to us. It has become so prevalent in many churches that those who wish to find God have found themselves being driven out because they are treated as inferior because they don’t know the traditions of that body of believers. Ben Merold, who was the preacher at Eastside Christian Church in Fullerton California, and then Harvester Christian Church in Saint Charles, Missouri, took two churches that were dying (numerically and spiritually) and turned them both in to thriving centers of worship. How? He focused on “Majoring on the Majors” and he killed traditions in both churches every four years, or so. He focused on the Great Commission, raising up Kingdom Workers, not tradition bound church goers. This should be the heart of every believer, whether you’re a minister or not! So what if the music is not to your tastes, or the carpet is the wrong color (churches have split over such things)! So what if it’s in a house, and there’s no altar to call on (the early church did much of their services around a dining table), or things aren’t like the tradition you were brought up in! Is the preaching sound? Do they stand upon Sound Doctrine in accordance with the scriptures (if they are, they are probably removing heretical influences)? Are they fulfilling the great commandment and the great commission? THIS is what we should be focusing on! If we’re loving God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength and our neighbors as ourselves, if we are walking in the Spirit, then put the non-essentials aside, and worship God together!
Romans 12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.