Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
One of the major pressure points in morality today is same-sex marriage. Those who affirm it and claim the Bible teaches it, or at least does not teach against it, engage in progressive, revisionist hermeneutics. The hermeneutical principles embraced follow a general pattern.
At the end of the day, the Scriptures are reinterpreted to affirm contemporary mores, contrary to how they have been understood by the church for thousands of years. Granted, the church could have gotten it wrong in the past, and only now the true meaning is grasped. But in this case, it is not only unlikely, it requires hermeneutical gymnastics to get there.
In reflecting this progressive, revisionist hermeneutic, Andrew Wilson writes a parody (“imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect”) with idolatry as his ploy: The Case for Idolatry: Why Evangelical Christians can Worship Idols
This is how Wilson begins:
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to worship idols. It’s not that my parents raised me that way, because they didn’t; I was brought up in a loving, secure, Christian home. But from childhood until today, my heart has been drawn to idolatry. In fact, if I’m honest, one of the defining features of my identity has been my desire to put something else – popularity, money, influence, sex, success – in place of God.
That’s just who I am.
For many years, I was taught that idolatry was sinful. As a good Christian, I fought the desire to commit idolatry, and repented when I got it wrong. But the desire to worship idols never went away.
I wanted it to, but it didn’t.
So it has been such a blessing to discover that worshipping one God, and him alone, isn’t for everyone. There are thousands of Christians out there who have found faithful, loving ways of expressing worship both to God and to idols, without compromising either their faith or their view of Scripture. In recent years, I have finally summoned the courage to admit that I am one of them. Let me give you a few reasons why I believe that idolatry and Christianity are compatible.
Wilson’s brief parody conveys a powerful message about the problems of revisionist hermeneutics as applied to one of the major moral issues of our day. I encourage you to read it.