“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List.
Idolatry in the Church is Hypocrisy
You can’t deny that the worship of idols still happens. Why do people bow down before images? Why do they turn to them while praying as if they were an ear to God? Augustine makes the point that every time people pray or worship while looking at an image, they believe the image is “hearing” them and will accomplish what they are praying for. Why do Catholics disregard some images while paying great attention to others? Why do they wear themselves out going on pilgrimages to see certain images while they have similar ones at home? Why do they fight and shed blood over these images? They seem more willing to part with the one true God than with their images!
I haven’t even begun to go into detail about the worst errors that the human heart conceives of. I am only pointing out the hypocrisy of those who engage in such behaviors and yet want to be cleared of the charge of idolatry. They claim that they do not call these images “gods.” The Jews or the Gentile idolaters didn’t either! Yet, the prophets never ceased to charge the people of committing spiritual adultery with idols of wood and stone. Ironically, the very acts that the prophets criticized are done every day by those who call themselves Christians, because they worship God with images.