Lest We Too Fall
Yesterday, I went with a group of friends to the Getty Art Museum. Their current special exhibit was a large collection of Byzantine art usually housed at Saint Cathrine Monestary in Sinai Peninsula. There were probably forty or so icons on display at the Getty—paintings of the life of Christ, His death, and the lives of the saints, all dating from as early as 400 through the fifteenth century.
It was a display chronicling the growth of the church from the times of the healthy churches in Acts and the subsequent straying from the truth. The tragedy which was depicted on the wooden panels outlined the theological infidelity of the church to stand for Scripture and Scripture alone. The icons represent a church which had grown to worship its own traditions, and like Israel had left the true and living God to worship the symbols of that God. Jeremiah broke up the bronze serpent of Moses when he witnessed the idol worship of his countrymen. For him, worshipping the instrument used by God to save thousands was not enough. He worshipped the LORD. But, despite that very explicit example of icon worship in the Scriptures, the early church did the same.
Christ Jesus became inaccessible in their eyes and they elevated the virgin Mary as the intercessor to the Intercessor. Instead of worshipping the true God, they worshipped likenesses of Him, assumed these likenesses to be bringers of good luck. Christ Jesus is not a lucky rabbit’s foot. So many people believed themselves to be going to heaven for their faith in Christ, but were disappointed, as their faith was not in the Christ Himself, but in the objects used in their worship of Him. How tragic! To believe you are worshipping God rightly, but instead have been deceived by Satan.
This served once again to remind me of the need for godly leaders in the church. Sunday, Scott Ardavanis preached on Titus 1:9. An elder in the church–a man who is called by God to defend the Word of God and to teach the Word of God–must be a man who whole-heartedly is committed to the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture. The Evangelical Church today has moved on from the dangerous mantra of “doctrine divides” to the inexcusable belief of “doctrine doesn’t matter.” The Lord has no use for those who care so little about the truth that everything becomes negotiable. Pick your hills to die on, yes, but stand ready to die on certain hills! It is only through raising up men as leaders, and women as helpers, that the cherished institutions of our days will remain committed to the truth. The Master’s College, Grace Community Church, Southern Baptist Seminary will all fall to the corrosive nature of error without future leaders being raised up now, committed to the Word of God.