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Tag: Idolatry

Cut Flower Future

Wolfhart Pannenberg predicted the social fractures we now see thirty years ago when he announced that “Western society will not survive the entire emancipation of the self.” Godless secularism provides no integrative center for a society and no rationale for self-denial in the service of a higher good. Unhinged from the transcendent God, unbridled self-interest rules. What a fairy tale it is to think that we all can bow to that Molech and somehow magically an orderly and prosperous society will result. Such a people lack the equipment necessary for freedom and responsible citizenship. You cannot even get a healthy family that way. Experience will show us that a revived paganism is not the benign entity it portrays itself to…

Woo the Strumpet

Those who would save the Church through achieving popularity with the world “woo an aging and decayed strumpet.” (Donne) The status before God of the world’s religions is an important consideration and we dare not make light of it, but the matter comes down to this: the only salvation that the Church knows is salvation in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is “no other name…” (Acts 4:12) Of the status before God of those who, through no fault of their own, have never had the opportunity to hear but have lived up to the best that they know, we remain agnostic. However, those who confound salvation in Christ with other salvations construct an evil peace by joining together…

Solomon’s Concession

I watched part of a documentary recently, until my stomach turned, on Bronislaw Malinowski, one of the founders of Cultural Anthropology. The discussion of his book The Sexual Life of Savages, reminded me of my Cultural Anthropology professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. His favorite dismissal term was “puritanical”. No reasons needed trouble us wherever he applied that term. He claimed to want discussion, so every time the p-word, I raised my hand. “Surely the Puritans deserved a “value neutral” ethnography,” I argued, but that would have meant letting go a pet Social Science hypocrisy. He grew weary of seeing my hand, but carried on unphased otherwise.  (It was a time when I had done well to heed…

From Many to the One

One thing Paul did not say as he gazed at the the variety of gods honored in Athens:”Isn’t religious diversity wonderful!” Growth in wisdom means unlearning what’s not so.

Departed Glory

The most potent enemy of the gospel is not aggressive atheism, but calm, cool, deliberate counterfeits. Honest atheism might at least awaken us to God’s absence. Counterfeit gospels lull us to sleep with false security as they apply spiritual Novocain to the pain of God’s voice shouting at us. It’s a bad physician that only prescribes pain killers. One of the most frightening passages in scripture is when God withdraws his presence from the temple and only Ezekiel sees (Ezek. 10-11). There was no absence of spirituality. In every corner of the temple the people practiced a different idolatry, never rejecting God outright, just crowding him out of his dwelling place. They were dead before they died when God became…