Edmond pastor tells of the perils of modern-day idolatry
In his new book “No Gods But God,” the Rev. Dennis Newkirk, senior pastor of Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond, identifies modern-day idolatry and tells how believers can confront it and rid themselves of it to return God to His rightful place in their hearts.
The people and objects we turn into idols are not necessarily bad or evil. We can turn perfectly good things into idols simply by wanting them too much.”
Q: Why do you think idolatry is a problem in society these days?
A: I think it's because we've got so much to idolize. God has called us to be worshippers. We are worshippers of something, so we have focused that worship on the thing we think is going to give us that desire but you know the idea that we can control our own lives is really just an illusion. God calls us away from that illusion to the only One who can control our destiny, which is Him.
I think that the wealth of our society, the relative peace that's in our society and our opportunities to seemingly control our own lives and destiny has caused us to draw away from God. Jesus said it is as hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God as it is a camel to go through the eye of a needle. I think that the biblical concept of rich was that we have become dependent and trusting in things that we possess. In our modern technological society in which we have more than what we need, it's very easy for us to trust that instead of God.
I think for many people in our society, family has become an idol and the result of that is that the family begins to take the place of God in our lives and the family is hurt by that and we're hurt by that.
Q: In the book, you share steps on how God confronts modern-day idolatry. How does God let someone know that idolatry is a problem in his or her life?
A: I think the history of the Bible is to say here's how God disciplines His children and He does this to gain our attention and draw us back away from our idolatry and to single-hearted devotion to Christ. The Bible says God disciplines those that He loves. A lot of Christians have no idea how He does that. It's like a parent disciplining his or her child and that child not knowing how or why he's being treated that way so the benefit of that discipline is lost.
Well, Scripture teaches us a lot about how God disciplines us and why. We are insensitive to it and I think often times we wonder why is it that God doesn't seem to be answering my prayer, why does God let this happen to me or what's going on in my life? We don't connect it with the fact that a loving God is redemptively drawing us away from the things that we put in front of Him and calling us to deep devotion to Him.
Q: What is your hope with the book?
A: My first purpose in writing it was just to fulfill the sense of calling that God wanted this, and also to call the church to see our preoccupation with idolatry. I think it is as severe today as it has ever been before but the Lord is calling us out of that and to Himself.
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