Exodus 20:1-6

A CCL interview with Tony Payne and Phillip Jensen on what idolatry is, and why it is still a danger to the Christian life today.


Tony Payne: I have to admit sometimes I get confused about the idea of idolatry. I’m not confused about it being wrong; obviously the Bible says that very clearly and often. Making some statue and falling down in front of it and worshipping it—as if it’s a representation of the true God or of any god—I get that that’s not good—not good at all. But when non-statue-type things become idols or available as idols, it all gets a bit fuzzier for me, I have to say. So with my family, for example, I—I love my family, I care for them very much, they’re the most important people in the world to me. But I’m told that my family can become an idol to me, which I think means that I can worship them instead of God.

But how do I know when I’ve done that? Is a certain amount of devotion to my family okay? When does my family become an idol? And is idolatry the best way to talk about the challenge of loving my family but not loving them more than God?

I can’t help but feeling the whole category of idolatry has become a bit fuzzy and broad, and that we fling the word around all over the place these days without really being clear about what idolatry really is and why the Bible regards it as so evil.

Well, to understand and see idolatry more clearly, that’s our task on this episode of the Centre for Christian Living podcast.

I started by asking Phillip about the foundational prohibition of idolatry in the Bible—that is, the second commandment. What does the second of the Ten Commandments tell us about what an idol is, and why making and worshipping idols is so wrong?

PJ: Well, one of the fundamental things about the second commandment is that it is the second commandment. I think a lot of the problem today comes from people confusing or conflating—is that the word?—the two commandments—first and second commandments.

Read the full transcript and hear the interview at the Moore College CCL podcast page

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