David Powlison observes, “Idolatry is by far the most frequently discussed problem in the Scriptures.”
In the video below—just over an hour in length and well worth every minute—Mark Driscoll looks at idolatry and applies it especially (though not exclusively) to those in ministry. He defines idols as good things turned into God things—which is a bad thing.
He shows that idols lie to us by presenting themselves as Saviors and mediators who can give us identity and make us righteous. But in reality they dishonor God and destroy people.
Driscoll asks 11 questions about ministry idolatry in particular:
- Attendance idolatry: Does your joy change when your attendance does?
- Gift idolatry: Do you feel that God needs you and uses you because you are so skilled?
- Truth idolatry: Do you consider yourself more righteous than more simple Christians?
- Fruit idolatry: Do you point to your success as evidence of God’s approval of you?
- Method idolatry: Do you worship your method as your mediator?
- Tradition idolatry: What traditions are you upholding that are thwarting the forward progress of the gospel?
- Office idolatry: Are you motivated primarily by God’s glory or your title?
- Success idolatry: Is winning what motivates you at the deepest level?
- Ministry idolatry: Do you use the pressure of ministry to make you walk with God?
- Innovative idolatry: Does it matter to you that your ministry be considered unique?
- Leader idolatry: Who, other than Christ, are you imaging?
Here are the resources I’ve found most helpful in thinking through what the Bible says about idols and how to destroy them:
- David Clarkson, “Soul Idolatry Excludes Men out of Heaven” (1622-1686)
- David Powlison, “Idols of the Heart and Vanity Fair” (Journal of Biblical Counseling)
- Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods (watch his TGC talk here)
- G.K. Beale, We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry