Faith and Christianity, Regulative Principle

Questions about False Worship and Idols

I’m strugggling today to catch up on my reading. I will post on that later.

But here is a side trip. I’ve been focusing lately on how I see and react to the use of popular songs from groups like Hillsong and Bethel Redding in our Sunday morning worship services. And if anyone actually cares or even knows about these and the backgrounds behind these churches and movements. And is it worth my time to rise the issue to our pastors and elders?

I found two interesting discussions about aspects of this here and here.

I actually comment in the first of these about my own situation and received two good additional references specific to the issue.

Glenn E. Chatfield said…

I’ve actually posted quite a bit about Bethel and their apostasy, even abject heresy. One post I did two years ago was JUST regarding Bethel:

Since that time I continue to address their false teachings in my “Random Aberrations, Apostasies, and Heresies” posts, and later in my “Good, Bad, and Ugly” posts.

I wrote an open letter to pastors regarding using music from Bethel (and others); that we shouldn’t use any regardless of whether the lyrics my be satisfactory:

Your observations fit right in with my warnings.

There are many more articles of concern I’ve read over the past few years. Some driven by the observation that a few people I know seem to have been attracted to them. If you take the time to inform yourself you can make your own discernment conclusion about them.

The second link above is about the Roman church and Hinduism which potential offers another dimension of a broader issue extending outside just music. I mention it because our Pastor and his wife just returned from a trip to India.

But it also represents an even broader issue of where to draw the line in ecumenicalism which seems to be quite popular today. I don’t have time to look into that today, but it is a frequent topic I run across.

For my own sake I tried to look at what appears to be relevant passages Paul writes. See below. This is by no means definitive, but does give some perspective. The broader Biblical position might be looked at from an understanding of God’s Word from the beginning and the serpent’s temptation in the garden. Speaking about just what are and who makes the rules!

Gen 3:1  Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

Gen 3:2  And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

Gen 3:3  But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

Gen 3:4  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

Gen 3:5  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Or even…

Exo 20:1  And God spake all these words, saying,

Exo 20:2  I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Exo 20:3  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Exo 20:4  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

Exo 20:5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

Surprisingly the context that I noticed our church singing the Bethel Songs, is in the time the pastors are teach through Moses and the golden calf and the reviving of the law. Exodus 32-34.

Exo 32:7  And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:

Exo 32:8  They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

Exo 34:13  But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:

Exo 34:14  For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

Exo 34:15  Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice;

Exo 34:16  And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.

Exo 34:17  Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.

I wrote a bit about that earlier. But it is sitting in a draft post. I have to decide if I will publish it.

I did look up these texts in 1 Corinthians and some of Old John Gill’s commentary. I will let you decide if they are relevant.

1 Corinthians 10:20  But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

1 Corinthians 10:21  Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.

1 Corinthians 10:20 Gill

But I say

that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice unto devils, and not to God

and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils

It seems the concern above directly relates to what we might today call shared ecumenical bonds illustrated by ties of common worship and activities. It appears later Paul makes room for some practical sense in not overly condemning eating meat that was sacrificed to idols/false gods, being purchased in the market and eaten by believes. But even here a believers personal free to do so should not be exercised if others raise concern about the practice.

And particular attention is to be placed on the awareness of weak or immature believers and even unbelievers. In the end we are to do all for God’s glory.

1 Corinthians 10:23

1Co 10:24

1 Corinthians 10:25  Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:

1 Corinthians 10:25 Gill

Whatsoever is sold in the shambles,…. the word μακελλον, rendered “shambles”, here used, is a Latin word, and is made use of by Latin writers in the same sense as here, for a place where food was sold (i). The original of the name is said (k) to be this; one Macellus, a very wicked and profane man, being for his robberies and filthy life condemned to die, a place was built in his house by Aemylius and Fulvius, censors, for selling of provisions, and which from his name was called “Macellum”. The Syriac version retains the word here, and so do the Talmudists, and Rabbins (l) frequently; who say (m),

“Nylwqm, the “shambles”, and the butchers of Israel, though flesh of them is found in the hand of a stranger, it is free:”

into these places the priests sent to be sold what was offered to their idols, which they could not dispense with themselves, or thought not lawful to make use of; for the Egyptians, as Herodotus says (n), used to cut off the heads of their beasts that were sacrificed, and carry them into the market and sell them to the Greeks, and if there were no buyers they cast them into the river. Now the apostle allows, that such meat that was sold in the shambles might be bought and eat of, but not in an idol’s temple; there was a difference between an idol’s temple, and eating things sacrificed to idols there, and buying them in shambles or meat market, and eating them at home:

that eat; buy, carry home, dress and eat, in your own houses:

asking no question; whether it was sacrificed to idols, or not:

for conscience sake; either a man’s own, which may be hurt, wounded, and defiled, by eating contrary to it, should he know that what he eats had been offered to an idol; whereas if he asks no questions, and knows nothing of the matter, his conscience will not be afflicted: or else another man’s that may stand by whilst the meat is bought, and sold; and who hearing questions asked and answered, and yet observes the meat, though sacrificed to idols, dressed and ate by the buyer, his conscience being weak, may be offended and grieved.

(i) Vid. Suet. Vita Jul. Caesar, c. 43. & Tiber. Nero, c. 34. (k) Alex. ab Alex Genial Diet. l. 3. c. 23. (l) T. Hieros. Chagiga, fol. 76. 2. T. Bab. Menachot, fol. 29. 2. Bereshit Rabba, fol. 75. 3. (m) T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 95. 1. (n) L. 2. c. 39.

1 Corinthians 10:24 Gill

Let no man seek his own

but every man another’s wealth

1Co 10:25

1Co 10:27

1Co 10:28

1Co 10:29

1Co 10:30

1Co 10:31

1Co 10:32

1Co 10:33

A fitting ending.

Shorter Catechism

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

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