All sin is idolatry because every sin is an exercise in trust of something or someone other than the one true God to satisfy, fulfill, or bless.
.. We must take great care, then, not to assume that even in our religious environments, where we put the Scriptures under so many noses, that it is Jesus the exalted Christ who is being worshiped.
.. Once upon a time, I sat through a little ditty in a church service in which the congregation was led to sing, “I can change the world with these two hands,” and the question struck me like a lightning bolt: “Who exactly am I worshiping right now?”
Likewise, every weekend men and women file into church buildings in order to exult in the rhetorical skill of their preacher, to admire him and think of their church as his church, not Christ’s church.
.. We worship the worship experience; we tithe with expectation of return from heaven’s slot machine; we dress to impress
.. We see in Exodus 32:5 that even the worshipers of the golden calf ascribed their worship to the covenant Lord Yahweh.
.. Tim Keller elaborates: “So Luther says that even after you are converted by the gospel your heart will go back to operating on other principles unless you deliberately, repeatedly set it to gospel-mode.”
.. The proclamation of the good news of Jesus and the extolling of his eternal excellencies is always an interruption, always a disruption.
Knowing the careful and introspective thought that has gone into his writing on Christianity and the Christian ministry, I’d be surprised if Peterson could make no attempt at exegetical reasons for his views. But the reality is that he offered none. He only offered that he has over the last several years met gay folks who “seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do,” and this has changed his mind.
.. Certainly knowing gay people—spiritually-minded or otherwise—will change the demeanor and tenor of many people’s speaking and thinking on same-sex attraction and their ministry toward the LGBTQ community, but as a justification for rejecting traditional views on sexuality it hardly seems to suffice.
.. it actually seems to undercut what Peterson has been carefully teaching so many of his devotees all along—that God’s word holds the wisdom that runs counter to the seasonally shifting whims of the world, that faithful ministry means, among many other things, enduring steadfast while the trends and fads of the culture swirl around us, that what really and ultimately counts is “a long obedience in the same direction.”
.. the fallout of his announcement pushes us to face a cultural crisis in evangelicalism many have not yet faced. For instance, how many more Jen Hatmakers and Eugene Petersons are out there?
.. “There are pastors all across this country who call me weekly that are thinking the same thoughts, trying to find the courage to do the same thing in evangelical churches.”
I have no doubt this is true, and I have long suspected this is the case.
.. One hallmark of the attractional ministry so dominant in American evangelicalism is the reluctance to speak out on many cultural hot topics. The attractional paradigm is a populist strategy, so its ministers rarely if ever speak up about, for instance, government corruption or civil rights abuses.
.. Tackling that or any culturally controversial matter would violate one of the attractional church’s cardinal rules: Keeping the customer satisfied.
.. Peterson has never shared much in common with the leadership-industrial complex of attractional Christianity.
.. many attractional leaders are likely to maintain their popularity and their profitability. Many have built their ministries on sentimental religion and pop-spirituality; echoing the cultural zeitgeist on homosexuality isn’t likely to feel so jarring to their most ardent supporters.
.. Jonathan Merritt’s father), tweeted shortly after the news broke: “I’ll change my mind when God changes his