Tue May 21, 2013
by Amanda Edmondson
From prison to ReTrain: Russell’s story
Mon May 20, 2013
9 types of leaders in Scripture
Mon May 20, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
5 bits of wisdom for the professional Christian woman
Sun May 19, 2013
by Shandel Slaten
Sat May 18, 2013
by Hugh Whelchel
Notes from the Gospel Coalition: Tim Keller
The audio and video of this message is available free at The Gospel Coalition. The Gospel Coalition National Conference 2009 Session 1 - Tim Keller "The Grand Demythologizer: The Gospel and Idolatry" Paul's preaching was effective: it changed people's lives to such an extent that it even changed the culture. The reason for this is that Paul confronted idols.
Confront IdolsYou can't preach the gospel effectively if you don't challenge idols. Paul always challenged people's idols in his preaching. In Acts 17, Paul went to the Agora, the marketplace, which is where the idols of that culture were formed. In our culture, the marketplace is not shops and busy streets, because that's no longer where culture is formed. For us, challenging idols in the marketplace means going to Hollywood, Harvard, and the New York Times—the places where ideas and beliefs are shaped. Every culture, gender, class, city, field of work, etc., has its own idols. Idolatry is anything I look at and say, "If I have that, my life has value." Anything that is so central to your life that you feel you can't live without it is an idol. Idolatry is making a good thing an ultimate thing. Because Paul saw idols everywhere, he was a really effective preacher. Like Paul, we need to discern, expose, and destroy idols in order to preach the gospel.
3 Kinds of Idols You Have to Expose to Preach the Gospel:
- Personal Idols
- Religious Idols
- Cultural Idols
- Money can be an idol, especially in the business world. Everyone recognizes this as the idol of Wall Street. (All over New York City, child sacrifice is going on. If you want to succeed, you have to sacrifice your family. If you're going to get the money and power, you must sacrifice your children. Jobs are set up that way.) How do you do your job without bowing down to it—how do you demythologize money? Only by living in the gospel.
- Romance is another idol. This is when you look to your lover or spouse for worth. Only they can make you feel valuable. You cannot lose this person. People who have a good marriage must constantly fight this idol, constantly looking to Jesus and finding their satisfaction in Jesus more than their spouse.
- Self-expression is an idol of the artistic community.
- Children can be idolized when you find your significance and meaning in your children. You know you're worth something if your children turn out well.
Religious IdolsThose who worship religious idols think they are devoted to God, but they're not.
- Truth can be made an idol. Are you resting in the rightness of your doctrine rather than the work of Jesus? If so, the Bible calls you a fool. In Proverbs, "the scoffer" is a person like this. The scoffer is always sure he is right, and always disrespectful, disdainful, and mocking toward his opponents. The internet breeds scoffers, because if you're a scoffer you get more traffic to your blog.
- Gifts can be an idol. You can mistake spiritual gifts for spiritual fruit. Especially if you are successful in ministry, you can begin believing in justification by ministry: "I know I'm in God's will because my ministry is going well." Many of us in the Reformed world make an idol out of being a great preacher: "If I could just be a great preacher, then my life would have significance."
- Morality is a religious idol. It's typical for Christians to feel that God loves them and will bless them because of their moral record.
Cultural IdolsEvangelicals love to talk about cultural idols. We look back at the idols of the Enlightenment: the elevation of human reason, the belief that reason/science will solve all the world's problems. Today we see the idol of individualism. We attack Western individualism, but in many traditional cultures family is an idol—so you have honor killings, women treated as property, etc. In individualistic cultures like our own, the individual is an idol. No one can tell anyone else they're wrong, no one can impose their beliefs about God on anyone else. Any ideology can be an idol: free-market economics, communism, socialism, democracy, liberalism, etc.
Confronting Idols Is DangerousWhen idols are opposed, it's dangerous. Idols are violent. Through idols, the powers and principalities control us. If you oppose them, you take your life in your hands. Paul risked his life to oppose them; he rested in Jesus, who had already given his life to defeat the principalities and powers. Jesus defeated the idols both objectively and subjectively through the cross:
- Objectively: Punishment for our adultery and reconciliation with God were fulfilled in Jesus.
- Subjectively: We remember that none of our idols can die for our sins. Our idols will always crumble under the weight of our expectations. Only by living in the power of the cross, exulting in the cross, and proclaiming the cross can we be fearless and free from the power of idols. You must learn how to take the gospel to the idols.