Crucifix Christ Church Wall

It seems that every once in a while, the church decides to re-invent itself. To shift its focus or try to re-state, re-organize, or just try to do a makeover in order to appear more acceptable, more relevant, and more hip to the surrounding culture.  

The reason for this is often blamed on the church’s ineffectual ministry to the surrounding world. Therefore, there is no end to all the books and ministries seeking to lead the church down a new path to become more effective or more “contextual”.

And, of course, there is no end to all the rhetoric telling us how to do this. How we must become a “New Kind of Christian”. Or even how “Everything must change”!

And always, without fail, the one thing that is constantly emphasized in all of these “methods” is how we must become more “loving”. 

Always, always, “love” is lifted up as the great answer.

In effect, “love” has become the New Idol of this church age. 

A New Idol 

Popular Christian authors go to great lengths telling us how the modern church is filled with idols. And how the average Christian is drawn away with worshipping these idols. 

Their list of hated “idols” includes sex, money, power, success, doctrinal accuracy, moral rectitude, traditional worship styles, political activism, traditional family values, the American Dream, the Republican party, the Conservative party, Fox News, Tucker Carlson, and the Boy Scouts.

Just about anything that the average Bible believer might actually enjoy doing, pursuing, or thinking about.

Strangely, however, they somehow overlook the obvious idol — the rampant physical idolatry of our age.

This is clearly evident in those churches that erect statues and create icons that they “revere”. Or, as a teacher from my own church once praised saying how these images “help people to focus on spiritual things”!

This same reasoning is applied by Catholic apologists who claim that “We do not worship idols. Nor do we worship Mary. We ‘revere’ them. Or we use these images and statues to help us pray and to think about spiritual things”.


What is the practical difference between “revere” and “worship”?

The answer: Nothing.

There isn’t any difference.

It’s all the same. But this practice is justified by clever Catholic teachers and ignorant Evangelicals that are determined to break down the differences between those that put idols in their churches and what the Bible actually says.

A Bias Revealed

In other words, true idolatry has been overlooked in pursuit of idolatry of the heart.

Or to condense this whole discussion down a bit more, there is a general wringing of the hands among church leaders today with just about everything and anything except obvious idolatry.

And that idol is “love”.

Yeah. “Love”, so called.

The total Evangelical fixation on “Love” somehow gets a pass in the idolatry list.

Even the need to zealously maintain proper doctrine and biblically-sound teaching is called out as an “idol” by Tim Keller and other similar teachers. 

Oh, yes. They will always qualify their statements. They will always try to sound like they are Not against the solidly good things.

But their consistent harping on the “good things” we seek to be zealous about reveals their bias. Which is all too obvious to many of us that feel the shift of our churches away from solid, Conservative thinking. A shifting away from taking a clear stand against immorality. Or a shifting away from teaching deep doctrinal truth and the defending of that truth.

Telling us that churches focusing on doctrinal accuracy and defense is “idolatry”.

AS IF, there are still some churches today, in this modern age, who could actually be charged with putting too much emphasis on doctrinal soundness.

Such churches, sadly, are few and far between. Most having already begun the slow and steady slide away from fervent teaching, preaching, and defense of “the faith once delivered unto the saints”. 

So why then are we watching this crafty shifting of focus away from good and necessary things that the church has practiced over the millenia? What is the real reason behind it all?

“Love” is not the Answer

The answer is that the church cannot survive today with just a Bible and a hymnbook. For one thing, it’s questionable that most churches even have a true Bible.

At least not an accurate one. 

And second, how often do they crack a hymnbook open in church anymore?

Most services are a hip mix of contemporary sounds and instruments with music that bears little resemblance to the amazing hymns of old. With few of the modern worship songs having anywhere near the depth of beauty and teaching of those that fed the church for generations. 

Those old hymns that actually taught us truth and doctrine. And helped us to keep our minds focused on Christ and His word.

In contrast, what we do have is an increased emphasis on service, “love”, fellowship, community, outreaches, initiatives, good deeds, and lots of other stuff; which, although these aren’t necessarily bad things, they just cannot take the place of solid grounding in biblical truth. 

Which is why we are witnessing the shift from a biblical church to something else. 

This shift is toward something religious, something humanistic, something exhibiting a “kinder and gentler orthodoxy”.

A New Orthodoxy where “love” has is the new idol. Stripping away the defenses of our people and opening them up to the errors rampant in popular Christian teaching.

Moving us away from biblical soundness.

And, therefore, making us ultimately irrelevant to the world we are trying to reach. And to the Lord we seek to glorify.

Image by Hands off my tags! Michael Gaida from Pixabay