Friday, September 24, 2010

On Burning Books and Demolishing Idols: Part 2: God does not share His glory with another

Protestant Reformers demolishing a
Roman Catholic idol.  Destruction of
idols is a crucial aspect of true reformation. 
While we are not calling on Christians to
destroy other people's property, we are
calling on everyone to willfully destroy
their own idols.
(posts in this series: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4)
Anyone who professes to submit to the Lordship of Christ must abhor idols and “holy” books that promote non-Christian religions.  

Religious pluralism is not an option because Jesus Christ is “the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15b).  King Jesus is seated “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named”; He is “head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:20-22).

His sovereign rule extends throughout all of heaven and earth, and therefore all nations must submit to Him and Him alone:
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20a).
Notice how Jesus has “all” authority in heaven and on earth—not “partial” authority, which religious pluralism would have us believe.  Jesus did not call for making pluralists of all nations, but disciples of all nations.

Since Jesus is sovereign over all, religious pluralism—which considers rival deities on a par with Jesus Christ Himself—should not be recognized:
“I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols” (Isaiah 42:8).
God does not share His glory with idols and thereby non-Christian religions in any circumstance—not even in sociopolitical matters. Thus to the Israelites God makes the following anti-pluralistic statements:
“When my angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, and I blot them out, you shall not bow down to their gods nor serve them, nor do as they do, but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their pillars in pieces” (Exodus 23:23, 24).

“But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire” (Deuteronomy 7:5).

“You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place” (Deuteronomy 12:3).
Since God does not share His glory with false religions, He does visit His wrath on religiously pluralistic societies (societies that take offense at burning non-Christian “holy” books and the demolishing of idols):
Jehovah, the only God, the Lord of the universe, hates religious pluralism. To Assyria God said, “Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hand is My indignation.... As my hand has found the kingdoms of the idols, whose carved image excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria, as I have done to Samaria and her idols, shall I not do also to Jerusalem and her idols” (Is. 10:5, 10, 11)? God proclaimed judgment against Moab for idolatry. “‘Moreover,’ says the LORD, ‘I will cause to cease in Moab the one who offers sacrifices in the high places and burns incense to his gods’” (Jer. 48:35). Jehovah also crushed the idols of Babylon. “Declare among the nations, proclaim, and set up a standard; proclaim, and do not conceal it, say, ‘Babylon is taken, Bel is shamed. Merodach [or Marduk, a Babylonian god] is broken in pieces; her idols are humiliated, her images are broken in pieces.... A drought is against her waters, and they will be dried up. For it is the land of carved images and they are insane with their idols’” (Jer. 50:1, 2, 38). “Everyone is dull-hearted, without knowledge, every metalsmith is put to shame by the carved image; for his molded image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are futile, a work of errors; in the time of their punishment they shall perish.... Therefore behold, the days are coming that I will bring judgment on the carved images of Babylon; her whole land shall be ashamed, and all her slain shall fall in her midst.... ‘Therefore, behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will bring judgment on her carved images, and throughout all her land the wounded shall groan’” (Jer. 51:17, 18, 47, 52). If God so hated the idolatry of the Assyrians, Moabites, Egyptians, Babylonians and the inhabitants of Canaan that He poured out His wrath upon them, why should He exempt the inhabitants of America, Canada, or Great Britain, etc., for their idolatries?”  Brian M. Schwertley, Political Polytheism (Lansing, MI: Brian Schwertley, 1999).
And so we must ask the religious pluralists, i.e., political polytheists, this: how can religious pluralism foster freedom if it brings destruction upon society? And not only temporal destruction, but eternal destruction as well, since unrepentant idolaters are going to hell:
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).
As the saying goes, “Religious freedom is letting man choose his own way to go to hell.”  Thus a healthy society is one that longs for the destruction of idols and “holy” books that promote false religions.  Better that these are burned than those who would be led astray by them burn in hell for all eternity.

Listen to the entire “Political Polytheism” series here.

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