Saturday, July 23, 2016

American Idols

Best-selling author and professional provocateur, Ann Coulter, is soon to release a book entitled, “In Trump We Trust;” obviously hijacking our national motto and substituting God with Trump.

We may wonder why someone who self-identifies as a Christian would write such a thing.

But I have an infinitely more important question: how many folks do in their heart what Ms. Coulter does in her title—supplant God with something or someone else. 

You see, replacing God with anything or anyone is called idolatry. It’s the breaking of the first of the 10 Commandments: You shall have no other gods before me.

Thankfully, most of us aren’t as crass as Ms. Coulter, but sadly, idolatry is more common than we may think.

John Calvin observes,

 . . . the human mind is, so to speak, a perpetual forge of idols . . . it substitutes vanity and an empty phantom in the place of God.

What are some common idols?

Obviously, people come to mind. Worship of the self and other humans is always popular. Entertainers (sports personalities, TV and movie stars, Country and Rock musicians, etc.) are often the objects of adoration and praise. The “cult of personality” reaches even into the church.

Ideas may be idols. Think of things such as liberty, socialism, atheism, love, conservatism, environmentalism, liberalism, capitalism, racialism, feminism, patriarchy, humanism, equality, scientism, nationalism, patriotism, and tolerance. All concepts and “isms” are dangerous when absolutized.

Our aforementioned national motto appears on our currency and sure enough…one of the most powerful idols in the world is money. People will—quite 
literally—sacrifice just about anything for it.

Surely there isn’t a more potent idol than sex. The amorphous god of sex saturates our world. How many marriages, families, and friends are slain on its altars?

The god of sports is a perennial top contender for hearts and minds. Few things spark tantrums and tempers, rantings and rudeness, like sports.

And now a “curve ball” for my Christian friends…

I think doctrine—even if it’s correct—can become an idol. Doctrine is not God. If we aren’t careful, we may love the doctrine of God more than the Son of God. The Apostle Paul and many subsequent theologians have pointed out that the knowledge of God—without the love of God—is sure to go bad on us.

These are just a few American idols. Our pantheon of gods is practically innumerable—an unbounded witness to the emptiness within.

Yet Jesus beckons us to follow a different Way. He says, “You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.”

So let us love and pursue the only living and true God and ask Christ to make us holy and wholly His.


  1. Thanks Pastor Steve, good word. And idols rise up so Suttle and insnare us if we are not watchful.

    1. Absolutely. Thanks for reading and thinking, Lance.