‘Here are your gods!’ Faithful discipleship in idolatrous times

‘Here are your gods!’ Faithful discipleship in idolatrous times
Mark Richards Mark Richards is Pastor of Newtown Baptist Church, Chesham.
21 December, 2021 1 min read

‘Here are your gods!’ was written in the aftermath of three events that left Chris Wright angry and depressed: the Brexit vote and the elections of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson.

Part One explores perceptively the subject of idolatry. Wright elucidates from Scripture (especially the Old Testament) the nature of idolatry and exposes some of the similar idols of our own times. He believes that Paul was more direct in confronting idolatry in the church than in the world.

Part Two deals with ‘Political idolatry then and now’. The author mentions colonialism, genocide, poverty and inequality, populism and nationalism, sexual confusion and family breakdown, ecological devastation, and ‘the war on truth’. Referencing The Guardian, he points out that you could fill a minibus with the men whose wealth equals that of the poorest half of the world. Because the judgment of God operates in history, he believes that these evils will lead to national collapse.

Part Three concerns how Christians are to live in an idolatrous world, and suggests that prayers for those in authority should include lament, protest, and a longing for justice. However, the present reviewer feels that, by defining the church’s mission broadly enough to include compassion, justice, and creation care alongside evangelism and teaching, the author is confusing the callings of Christians personally with the task of the church. He sees that the idea of Christendom is a mistake, and also the politicisation of evangelicals in the US – but the state church in the UK is curiously passed over.

Not everyone will concur with Wright that social and economic evils are more serious biblically than sexual misconduct, and there is little concern about the size and reach of the modern state or government debt.

But much is on target. The book will be of most benefit to those who hold a different political position to the author.

Mark Richards

Chesham, Buckinghamshires

Mark Richards is Pastor of Newtown Baptist Church, Chesham.
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