Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Idolatry and the souls of men

In the opening address of the Gospel Coalition's National Conference Tim Keller made reference to the 17th century Puritan David Clarkson's sermon "Soul Idolatry Excludes Men Out of Heaven."

It is worth your reading...

David Clarkson (1621-1686)

"You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or covetous person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a such a person is really an idolater who worships the things of this world." Ephesians 5:5

A covetous man is an idolater. Not only the covetous, but the immoral, are idolaters. For the apostle, who here makes covetousness to be idolatry, considers voluptuous people to be idolaters also, where he speaks of some who make their belly their God (Phil. 3:19). Indeed, every reigning lust is an idol—and every person in whom it reigns is an idolater. "The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life." Pleasures, and riches, and honors are the carnal man's trinity. These are the three great idols of worldly men, to which they prostrate their souls! And giving that to them which is due only to God, they hereby become guilty of idolatry. That this may be more evident—that covetousness, immorality, and other lusts are idolatry—let us consider what it is and the several kinds of it.

Idolatry is to give that honor and worship to 'the creature', which is due to the Creator alone. When this worship is communicated to other things, whatever they are, we thereby make them idols, and commit idolatry. Now this worship due to God alone, is not only given by the savage heathen to their stick and stones—and by papists to angels, saints and images—but also by carnal men to their lusts.

There is a twofold worship due only to God–

1. External, which consists in acts and gestures of the body. When a man bows to or prostrates himself before a thing, this is the worship of the body. And when these gestures of bowing, prostration are used, not out of a civil, but a religious respect, with an intention to testify divine honor, then it is worship due only to God.

2. Internal, which consists in the acts of the soul and actions answerable thereto. When the mind is most taken up with an object and the heart and affections most set upon it, this is 'soul worship'—and this is due only to God. For He being the chief good and the chief end of intelligent creatures, it is His due, proper to Him alone, to be most minded and most loved. It is the honor due only to the Lord to have the first, the highest place, both in our minds and hearts and endeavors.

Read the entire sermon HERE.


toothdoc said...

Does reading this while eating a donut and drinking piping hot St. Arbucks brew negate my idolatry?

Bill Legge said...

Toothdoc? Assuming this is no misnomer, is it possible we’ve finally found the elusive, fifth, dentist? This would be fantastic!

Four out of five dentists recommend Trident; the fifth cat recommends Krispy Kreme.

(Todd, please forgive my use of the exclamation mark, but I think it applies. I am not yelling. If my suspicion is correct, this is exciting news. More people have heard from Bigfoot than the fifth dentist.)

As for that scary bit about idolatry; well, for me at least, it’s sobering. It’s a slightly more jarring wake-up call than an IV drip of toothdoc’s breakfast. Thanks for posting it.