The bible regularly condemns idolatry, yet many Christians do not think it is an issue in the 21st century. Cape Town contains no shrines to Baal, Molech, Artemis or Caesar. How are we to understand idolatry?
In Acts 17 Paul visits one of the cultural centres of the known world with its unparalleled architecture, art and philosophy. Rather than being over-awed by the Athens’ beauty, Paul is provoked to anger by the fact that the city is submerged in idols.
Anger, by the way, is a very Christian emotion as God and Jesus were provoked to anger by the golden calf and the phony worship in Jerusalem’s temple. Ephesians 4:26 tells us to be angry (at the things God is angry with), but not to sin in that anger.
If Paul had walked around our city, he would have the same reaction. Here are some of our idols that are worshipped as gods:
Continue reading Capetonian idols
In Acts 17.1-15 Paul deals with and destroys 9 popular myths that we are prone to believe:
1. Religiosity can save you
If religiosity could save anyone, it would have been first century Jewish people. Many lived in Gentile cities and held fast to their traditions and distinctives. It is interesting to note that Paul went to these religious types first to tell them about Jesus (v1). Jesus saves, not religion.
2. The Old Testament is irrelevant
Paul explained from the Old Testament scriptures that Jesus was the promised king (v2). The OT people, practises and prophecies prepare us for Jesus and elsewhere in the New Testament Paul explained that the OT was written for Christians (Romans 15.4). The whole bible is God’s word to us.
3. Christianity is an irrational leap of faith
Many of our friends equate believe in Jesus with belief in unicorns. However, v2 tells us that Paul reasoned, explained and proved that Jesus was the promised king. Christianity is a rational, logical, historically-verifiable belief in a supernatural God.
Continue reading the first mythbusters
This past Friday was especially good. We remembered specifically Jesus’ death to secure our ultimate good. For the first time ever I preached from the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament. What was I smoking you may ask? What drew me to Leviticus was the recent popular denial of Jesus’ death as a sacrifice to appease the wrath of God. Jesus is seen as an enlightened teacher from the realm of light, or a good moral example for our children to follow or even the ultimate chinese ying-yang who restores balance to the universe.
Continue reading The definitive sacrifice and scapegoat