CHOOSE THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE -IDOLATRY

“Man’s mind is like a store of idolatry and superstition; so much so that if a man believes his own mind it is certain that he will forsake God and forge some idol in his own brain.” -John Calvin

“Grace will save a man, but it will not save a man and his idol.” -A.W. Tozer

As Christians we need to always be examining ourselves. We do not want sin to take hold of our lives because we want to be slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:18) not to sin.  Yes, Christians can and do sin, but we know that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

GCMers, let us look at the sin called idolatry. If anything is as important as God (or more so), then it has become an idol. Please take time to examine your heart in this matter. You might not like what you find and it might not be pleasant, but God’s Word says, “put to death therefore what is earthly in you…” (Colossians 3:5).

Has graced based discipline (GBD) and gentlechristianmothers.com (GCM) displaced God in your life?

Is it of greater value to you than God Himself?

Has GBD become your gospel?

Has it interfered with your relationships, causing division where there should be none?

Does it lead to arguments between you and your husband?

Is everyone who does not practice GBD evil (or really bad) in your eyes?

Do you only want to interact with people on the site and not with others (including your church) who may have a different view than yours?

Has it become everything to you?

Scripture to meditate on:

“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3 ESV

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 1 Corinthians 10:14 ESV

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:20-21 ESV

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3 ESV

 

 

 

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19 responses to “CHOOSE THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE -IDOLATRY

  1. Has graced based discipline (GBD) and gentlechristianmothers.com (GCM) displaced God in your life?
    >No. God is God. GCM is words on a screen.

    Is it of greater value to you than God Himself?
    >No. God is my Creator, my Redeemer and my constant companion.

    Has GBD become your gospel?
    >No. That would be impossible. Do you know the meaning of the word ‘gospel’?

    Has it interfered with your relationships, causing division where there should be none?
    >No. It has brought learning, help, grace and peace.

    Does it lead to arguments between you and your husband?
    >No. Respect is foundational to my married life.

    Is everyone who does not practice GBD evil (or really bad) in your eyes?
    >No. They are no more bad, evil, sinful or broken than every other person in the world. However, anyone who would consider disciplining our children will be expected to abide by the values my husband and I adhere to. It would be wrong of them to disregard our wishes for our own children.

    Do you only want to interact with people on the site and not with others (including your church) who may have a different view than yours?
    >Sometimes. When I am around children, I am most comfortable around people who treat them with discipline, mercy and kindness. I don’t like to watch people hit or shame other people, if I can help it.

    Has it become everything to you?
    >No. It’s words on a screen, an interesting conversation, nothing more.

    • I am glad you were able to answer those questions in the negative. Unfortunately, it appears that GBD has replaced the good news of Christ crucified for our sins for some GCMers. It is important for all Christians to examine themselves and make sure there is nothing competing with God for first place in our lives.

  2. I’m surprised that you think so. The Gospel is incredibly powerful and its message is deeply transformative. The idea that parenting ideas can “replace” it is absurd. Those of us who are parents have to decide how to ‘do parenting’ — making parenting decisions (or talking about parenting options online) in no way compromises the gospel. Discussing theology online does not “replace” the gospel. Giving and recieiving practical life advice does not “replace” the gospel. I really don’t understand the connection you are trying to make.

  3. The first commandment talks about not having any other gods before God. Anything can take over our lives and displace God. For some it might be food, for others money, and for others it might be parenting style. Talking about parenting decisions does not have to compromise the gospel, but for many it may become a point of obsession. I have a post started on this but I am slow at writing. I can’t even keep up with your comments! I feel I am responding too quickly to adequately say what I want to say.

  4. I don’t think that “anything” can displace God in the life of the beliver. God is the divine Creator of all of us. Either we worship Him, love Him, and trust Him… or we don’t, but how we parent isn’t a “worship choice” (unless one actually worships one’s children?).

    Obsessions are unhealthy, but they are not idolatry. I believe you are misuderstanding what the Bible means when it speaks of idols.

    I do think that many people have encountered unhealthy obsessions, becoming fascinated with a variety of topics of interest — both on and off the internet. That would be something worth exploring as far as one’s life-focus and priorites as a Christian… but we can’t do that eploration if you keep putting out the idea that idolatry should be defined as ‘an obsession or problem with prioritization in Christian life’… which just isn’t a definition that’s consistant with the Bible’s use of the word.

    • 1 John 5:21 warns us to keep ourselves from idols. Why would John warn Christians of this if it was something that doesn’t affect us? We can set up idols in our hearts, see Ezekiel 14:1-8. Ez 14:6 says to repent and to turn away from our idols.

      • Idols are were a very real part if first century life: actual false gods which people worshiped, honored, loved or feared, trusted, and relied on. These are how a Christan can be drawn by idolatry — by worshiping, trusting etc. It does happen to Christans, and it is worth being concerned about… But it is not what you are talking about regarding GCM. Having an excessive level of interest (if someone does become obsessive) about a mundane topic is not idolatry. Idolatry is an act of worship (and the ‘parts’ of a worship relationship). Its not that idolatry isn’t real or that obsessions aren’t real — just that they are completely different things.

        And, I will say, that I don’t think there is reason to believe athat GCM is populated largely by members who are unhealthfully “obsessed” with parenting ideas. They are just normal people talking with each other about something that interests them.

  5. Webster’s Original 1828: Idol – Any thing on which we set our affections; that to which we indulge an excessive and sinful attachment. An idol is any thing which usurps the place of God in the hearts of his rational creatures.
    Idolatry: Excessive attachment or veneration for any thing, or that which borders on adoration.
    Idolize: To love to excess; to love or reverence to adoration; …to idolize children…

  6. I let the Bible tell me what idolatry actually is. Webster just tells us how that word is used in everyday English. The key words of this definition that are also true of the way the Bible uses the word ‘idol’ are “usurps the place of God” – “veneration” – “adoration” – “reverence”.

    I can see you have a strong urge to truly understand the Bible and apply it to your life, but using an English dictionary to define a Hebrew word (and a Greek one) is a rookie mistake. It never leads to insight on Biblical issues.

    To idolize a child is to *worship* the child him- or her-self. Meaning: to venerate, to consider a child to be the ‘divine being’ worthy of religious adoration, to trust your eternal soul into a child’s hands. There are ways of worshiping children, and people who do it. There are also people who worship (trust, venerate, adore) money, and I’m sure there are other situations where idolatry is real… but what is not real is the idea that *worshiping* is what people are doing on GCM. What they are doing is reading, learning, thinking and writing. Those are normal non-worship activities that do not displace God in the Christian life.

    Are you honestly asserting that your sister, and many other people, consider a *website* to be a divine being worthy to receive their worship? That they have entrusted their eternal souls to a website for salvation? I don’t understand why you think this word make sense as a term for the real situation that seems to concern you about GCM. You seem to think it’s some sort of online occult seance or something.

    • I was thinking I should have said more. I too don’t like it when someone goes to a dictionary to look up a Biblical word. I first went to Strong’s Concordance which defines the Hebrew and Greek words. It said the Hebrew and Greek words for idolatry/idols were idols and images (lit. or fig.). I then went to Webster’s original because Noah Webster had a phenomenal grasp of languages. He knew many different languages including Hebrew and Greek. He was a man of faith and used the Scripture to help define words. So since the Hebrew and Greek meant idol, I wanted to look up the definition of idol.

      Greed and covetousness are defined as idols in the Bible (Col 3:5, Eph 5:5). People make money into idols, but you don’t see them consciously thinking they are worshipping a divine being, yet the Bible says that greed is idolatry.

      I have little doubt that some of the people on GCM use the site to help them in a good way. But it also looks like some on the website hold graced based discipline or attachment parenting in such high standing that it becomes the focus of their lives instead of Christ. I have seen more talk of psychology than I have of the Bible and Christ on the forums.

      P.S. I am very confused by what you wrote. You said that I shouldn’t use the dictionary to define the word, and yet you say that what Webster wrote is the correct Biblical usage of the word: “The key words of this definition that are also true of the way the Bible uses the word ‘idol’ are “usurps the place of God” – “veneration” – “adoration” – “reverence”.” Which only validates my point. Idols usurp the place of God. Idols come first. You then go onto define idolize, but where did you get your definition?

  7. Some of the Webster’s definition is correct to Biblical usage. I identified those words which were correct and used them, There were other parts of his definition which were not correct to Biblical usage (even though they might be correct in describing ‘how people tend to use this word in everyday life’). Idols do usurp the place of God ONLY when they receive worship, adoration or trust. It’s not about “coming first” (that’s a silly modern catch phrase) it’s about the things a person has in their heart that rightfully should be given to God alone. (This definition comes from Biblical investigation and original language word study.)

    In Col 3:5, Eph 5:5, greed is as idolatrous behaviour because it is the worship of one’s own self: treating yourself like a god, serving yourself as you would serve a god, trusting in your own power instead of depending on the power of God. Lots of people do that — it’s not a matter of “excessive focus” it’s a matter of entrusting your self, your sense of safety and salvation into the accumulation of wealth and goods to “save” you, to “keep you safe”.

    Excessive focus is not called idolatry in the Bible. I don’t think excessive focus is mentioned in the Bible at all. An appropriate current word for excessive focus is “obsession” — so there is no need for you to keep on misusing the Biblical word “idolatry”. I suppose it is possible to become obsessed with anything, and it’s not healthy… but it’s not idolatry.

    GCM is a website that has practical parenting tips. It’s not ‘biblegateway.com’ — people come there to read and share about the things they would like to learn about parenting. There are reasons that gentle parenting is considered to be consistent with what the Bible teaches, but it doesn’t need to be said all the time. People who are members know that they all share a Christian worldview and a respect for Scripture. They don’t need to repeat to each other the things they already know.

    • I don’t believe “coming first” is a silly modern catch phrase. It describes commandment one: You shall have no other gods before me. If something comes before then it is coming first. I use excessive focus and obsession much the same way. If you are extremely focused on something other than God, then you have a god before Him.

      • I think you have mixed ancient Hebrew ideas together with a modern worldview and come up with an inaccurate result — which results in your strong desire to apply the Biblical word “idolatry” to situations of “being extremely focused on something other than God”.

        However, the Bible only ever uses the word “idolatry” to refer to a worship relationship, where the idol is adored, served, venerated and trusted as God Himself should be trusted, venerated, served and adored. That is all it ever means in the Bible, so if want to use the word more broadly, you are moving beyond what is written and God breathed.

        God is Someone who seeks personal relationship… Thinking that a mere topic of thought can “usurp His place” just by being thought about too frequently really makes “His place” seem awfully small. He deserves much more than our mere ‘focus’ — and it takes much more than mis-focus to put something “in His place”. It’s bad to be distracted or obsessed… it’s not that I think it’s fine-and-dandy, it’s just not within the Biblical word usage to call that problem an issue of idolatry.

        However — this, exactly, is the definition of “arguing about semantics”. Just because the Bible doesn’t use the word “idolatry” the way you would prefer doesn’t mean you aren’t free to choose your own terms and define them the way you want to. I understand that what you think GCM is doing is (aparently) encouraging obsessive focus on parenting techniques among Christians. That might be true in some cases… But it is not true that GCM encourages people to worship a website instead of the God of the universe. Which isn’t what you were trying to say, so… No real problem, I guess.

      • I do think some GCMers, although they will probably never admit this, do treat attachment parenting, graced based discipline/GCM/psychology as something (a god) to be adored, served and trusted. They have created an idol in their hearts as Ezekiel 14 mentions. The heart is where it always starts. God knows our hearts better than we do (Psalm 139:1-4, Hebrews 4:12-13, Jeremiah 17:10 to name just a few). The greatest commandment was summed up to love God with all your HEART, SOUL, and MIND. Some GCMers are trying to share that space with their ideologies. He does not have other gods beside Him (Is 44:6; 45:5). He is a jealous God (Ex 34:14).

        But much like some Catholics who pray to Mary (or other saints) or have her statue will never admit they are making idols and bowing down to them, so the GCMers that are making idols in their hearts will never admit to it (I am not saying every single GCMer does this). They will have their excuses like Catholics have their excuses. Catholics say they aren’t worshipping Mary just revering her. Same thing, but they still say it isn’t. GCMers will say it is just a website not a god, but to some it has become a god they put before God (Exodus 20:3). They will say the website is not a divine being so therefore it is not an idol even though the Bible says greed is an idol. Nobody ever says greed is a divine being. You don’t have to literally bow down to something made by human hands for it to be considered a god or an idol. GCMers will say they worship the one true God so they can’t be worshipping idols. But people try to do both. In Exodus 32 they set up their golden calf, but Aaron said that tomorrow would be a feast to the LORD. They didn’t forget God. They twisted their worship to include the calf. Their false god made God angry. Some GCMers will say they aren’t worshipping their ideologies, but I think they are lying to themselves (making excuses). They are serving those ideologies just as much if not more than God Himself. As I said in another post, there is more psychology being talked about than Scriptures in the forums.

        Again, I am not saying everyone on GCM does this, but it is important for every person who calls themselves a Christian to examine themselves. It is important to see where we aren’t loving God with all our hearts, souls and minds and then confess that sin.

        If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
        (1 John 1:8 ESV)

  8. As a GCM, I don’t worship GBD. I think what you are seeing as a paradigm shift taking place. Realizing that God is not a punitive monster with a lightning stick ready to zap me when I step out of line, has transformed the way I live my whole life, how I worship and relate to my Father etc.

    As far as GCM’s flaws, they are there. I am very uncomfortable with the marriage advice and dynamics. I am also a member of a forum which tells people to hit their kids.

    I don’t go to GCM for marriage advice, and I don’t go to The other one for parenting advice. My husband is my go to person, and I also talk regularly with people in my local church.

    To blame a website for being a cult, because some members hold different doctrines than you do and advise from those doctrines is absurd. As a conservative, I know from the feel of the board that discussing what *I* believe is sound doctrine will leave me frustrated, because there are literally hundreds of denominations represented, as well as those who are not believers at all. It’s a message board, that’s how it works.

    But there is tons of good on GCM. I have met probably 20 members in real life, and have developed close friendships with a few who are more like minded long distance. My husband has met many of them as well.

    The truth is you can filter what is and is not helpfull. I stay out of marriage discussions, so I can’t comment on those, but I have posted about family related issues, and have stepped back, sought counsel from those who know everyone personally, and have used GCM as a tool, not a doctrine.

    Fwiw, in my case, my in real life support who knows the situation, including my conservative pastor, has in general agreed with many of the GCM posters conclusion.

    • The opposite of GBD is not a god who is a punitive monster with a lightening stick.

      I am glad that a current GCMer can admit that there are flaws at GCM!

      I have not stated that all of GCM is a cult. But when a group within GCM encourages isolation from family and other friends, it is hard to believe everything is on the up and up.

    • If you can be an unbeliever on gentle CHRISTIAN mothers, can you be a father on it too? Why are unbelievers on a site labeling itself as Christian mothers if they aren’t all Christian? I am curious.

  9. “Everything is on the Up and UP…” Truly, you would hold a group of people discussing, comforting and ARGUING with each other to a standard of PERFECTION? Of not having missed the mark in any way whatsoever? Not even Christ expects us not to miss the mark. He just offers us Forgiveness for when he knows we WILL. You speak out of both sides of your mouth. ‘you know not all GCM’s are this way’ then saying that all have sinned, then saying any and every thing you can think of that sounds good. We are a group of people. No more. No less. You do not read the books, you pick and choose what you will decry, and you pull random scriptures entirely out of context to support your snap conclusions. There’s a word for that- it’s called Prooftexting. Perhaps you should look that one up. and get it tattooed on you somewhere.

    • If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 I have quoted this verse in many of my posts even in this one. So is it wrong to call myself and others to confess our sins since we all know everyone sins (James 5:20)? Should we just ignore them in ourselves and others? Are we to continue in sin (Romans 6:1)?

      Please give me examples of what you consider prooftexting on my part.

      I hope we can both agree that Christ went to the cross willingly, died upon the cross and took our punishment on Himself. He did all this so we might have eternal life instead of eternal damnation which we deserve for breaking His laws. Then He rose victorious over sin and death.

      “The true Christian loves his Savior with his whole heart and wants nothing to do with the sin that nailed his redeemer to the cross.” – Kirk Cameron

      And can it be that I should gain
      An interest in the Savior’s blood?
      Died He for me, who caused His pain—
      For me, who Him to death pursued?
      Amazing love! How can it be,
      That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
      Amazing love! How can it be,
      That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
      My chains fell off, my heart was free,
      I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
      -Charles Wesley

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