Why Iconobaptist (the Purpose Statement for this Blog!)

29 Oct

Why Iconobaptist?

 

Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

 

The theme verse for my blog reminds us that Jesus is enough.  He has always been enough.  Theologically, I could take that into the Old Testament, when the Psalms were being written, but I won’t right now.

 

In the Middle Ages, there were two groups in opposition, like so many times in human history.  These groups were the iconophiles, who loved pictures, especially that illustrated the Bible (icons), and the iconoclasts, who hated such pictures and took every opportunity to tear them down in churches and break them to pieces.

 

The first group believed they were keeping the second commandment, about not making graven images, because they didn’t have statues in their churches like the Roman Catholics.  The second group believed that all such art broke the second commandment, whether it was statues or pictures.  Many of the second group ended up being attracted to the Muslim faith, which only allowed geometric figures in its places of worship (nothing with a face).

 

While we can certainly understand the confusion that reigned at the time (especially before the invention of the printing press brought the written word into the hands of the common man so he didn’t need quite so much art anymore to illustrate for him what he believed), we can also see that this created quite a division between people of faith back then. 

 

Ever since then, an iconoclast is someone who challenges the cherished rituals of society.

 

I may occasionally do something a bit along those lines in this blog, but I wish to balance that with the realization that it is usually not necessary to tear down things of beauty in my own life or anyone else’s.  The only time that may become necessary is if we realize that a created thing has become a substitute for God in our lives.  In that case, I will leave it up to you to tear down those things in your own life, as I will tear them down in mine.

 

Mostly I want to challenge us all to think purposefully about our faith and the things and people in our lives.    

 

I see several strands of our society that need to be discussed civilly.  First of all, do we have cherished rituals and traditions that we have incorporated into our Christian faith, inadvertently placing them alongside the Bible in importance without realizing they have no Biblical basis?  These may be good things, when used appropriately, but we may have given them more importance in our lives than they warrant.  

 

Have we, perhaps, made idols of these cherished rituals and traditions so that we can’t worship without them?  Maybe we even think they are essential to our faith, even though they are manmade rituals and traditions.

 

Do we perhaps think less of people who don’t hold to the same rituals and traditions as we do, even though they are only personal preferences and not Biblical commands at all?

 

Has all of the above led us to a place where we believe we have more control over our lives than God has actually given us?  Do we trust our rituals and traditions to regulate our lives and keep them from spinning out of control? 

 

Have we, perhaps, even believed our own P.R. so much that we have developed the belief that we are masters of our own universe?  Have we enthroned ourselves as gods in our own lives?

 

All of these things can happen to normal, God-fearing, God-loving people.  Calvin said the human heart is an idol factory.  That means that all of us make idols out of things and people around us, and maybe out of ourselves.  We want to be aware of the tendency so we can do something about it. 

 

In the midst of smashing the idols of our own hearts, and ridding ourselves of inner conflict, we also realize we are in churches where we worship alongside people who have different backgrounds than we do (and different idols).  That can cause conflict external to us.  One way this happens in every generation is when older people and younger people come together and use the same words to mean different things. 

 

This blog will try to untangle some of the communication gap between believers, too.

 

There is much we can do to hear the Lord Jesus Christ better.  There is much we can do to love His people better also.  Then, together, we can effectively reach a lost world. 

 

I want to start the dialogue because it is one that we need to have.  There are many hurt and isolated people everywhere, even in the Body of Christ.  And until we start to work through some of our issues, the hurt and isolation will remain and will perpetuate itself wherever we go.  We can’t fix this type of problem by changing churches because it is within us . . .

 

I look forward to dialoguing with you!

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