“When I view a particular possibility as threatening, it imperils some value important to me.  That is what I mean by threat.  But suppose this threat is directed not to some modest finite value I love but to the very center of my value system, that focal value by which all my other values are viewed as valuable.  Suppose my god is sex or my own physical health or the Democratic Party.  If I experience one of these as under genuine threat, then I feel myself shake to the depths.  In this way, idolatry intensifies anxiety.”

Thomas C. Oden, Two Worlds: Notes on the Death of Modernity in America & Russia (Downers Grove, 1992), page 97.

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Ray Ortlund


Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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