Tuesday, 28 October 2014

(SERMON) Acts 19.21-41 A Sermon Against Idolatry

Looking at the anti-idol Christians of Ephesus who caused a riot by threatening the idol-makers profit and religion. We also see in Ephesus the importance of having Christians in all levels and areas of society - and of course the importance of reaching out to them all too. Thinking about the making of idols this sermon considers how the early church was emphatically iconoclastic -they destroyed and opposed religious images, statues, amulets, icons etc. Whilst the influx of unconverted pagans in slowly changed this, at the Reformation the Church of England took a stark Iconoclastic stance and ensured that all images and statues and idols were destroyed. Our confession of faith (39 Articles) explicitly rejects worship or honouring/reverencing images, statues, and relics whilst the "godly and wholesome doctrine" of the longest Homily (Against Idolatry in three parts) in depth destroys the arguments for religious images from Bible and history. Likewise the old injunctions and canons enjoined such things to be destroyed. Whilst today the church has changed and opinions have swayed we must be careful to always be on guard against idolatry.

(I personally believe the Reformers were correct in removing religious art, shrines, icons, statues, relics, and images from churches though think it possible with great care to use some religious art for educational purposes yet even this is to risk a unhealthy legacy so must be sparse at best.  Given the current state of canon law, the views of many in the congregation, and the fact I am only a curate I did not feel able to as strongly and categorically condemn Christian Idolatry in our church as I would have liked but pray my warning would lead to personal reformations.)

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