When Idolatry Inverts Our Identity
The new issue of Credo Magazine has been released: Idolatry. The following is an excerpt from Stuart Bell’s book review of Identity and Idolatry: The Image of God and Its Inversion authored by Richard Lints. Dr. Stuart Bell is a North American Mission Board church planter in downtown Seattle, where he has served since October 2016. He and his wife Lisa have served in ministry for 34 years, most recently as pastor at First Baptist Church, Centerton, AR (1998-2016).
At least four strengths make Identity and Idolatry a valuable read for the serious Bible student. First, the timing of the book is significant. As our culture continues to redefine human identity through an inner, subjective searching, the church must be able to counter with God’s original intent of identity. As our culture continues to redefine human identity through an inner, subjective searching, the church must be able to counter with God’s original intent of identity. We were meant to reflect his character.
Second, Lints is thoroughly biblical in dealing with human identity. He faithfully reminds the church that mankind’s true identity is still found in reflecting the character of God. The liturgy of the creation story helps the church to excel in the worship of God, who perfectly designed our complementary identities. The expositor trains his ear to listen for the echo of this imago Dei through the Old Testament, setting the stage for Christ Jesus’ perfect reflection of God.
Third, Lints’ summary of the Enlightenment-era skeptics’ effective use of the Old Testament prophets rebuke of idolatry is well done. In particular, the overview of Kant’s division “of intellectual inquiry into two separate domains, the sacred and the secular” (132), strengthens the expositor in the ongoing battle for truth.
Fourth, the final chapter of Identity and Idolatry helps the modern church in confronting our own idols while offering a way of escape: “Christians need to make the apologetic case that not all our desires are worth satisfying and many of them are conflicting ones. The greatest and deepest desires, for significance, for security, for eternity, can be satisfied only by being found in God’s redemptive grace in Christ” (171).