Images, Icons and Idolatry-What’s the Big Deal?

Back in Greece, people would ask me what the differences are between Evangelical Christianity and the Greek Orthodox religion. I’d start with the issue of images, and they would say “Yeah, I know about that. What else?”

What else? As though that’s not a big deal. Isn’t idolatry enough?

If a person agreed with me on every biblical doctrine, except on the matter of images, I still would not consider him a brother in Christ.

I’m reading through the book of Exodus (chapter 32), and the people have just bowed down to the golden calf (which represented the LORD). God speaks to Moses and says: the people are bowing down to an idol, that’s it, I’m going to kill them!

WOW. Hey calm down! Isn’t that a little harsh? They just made an image, they didn’t murder anyone!

Moses talks to Him and God decides not to kill them.

Next chapter God says to the people: go to the land I promised you, but I’m not coming with you because if I come with you, I’ll end up killing you for what you did.

WOW. Hey, I thought you got over that little incident. Relax, what’s the big deal?

Another chapter later. God speaks to Moses about His glory. God gives Moses another set of the Ten Commandments, and then, Moses, slowly, cautiously, reluctantly says: um… I’d like to go to the land you told us about. Can you forgive us for what we did?

Are we still on that? Come on LORD; get over it already!

Is God being weird? Is He a little mean? Is He being kind of extreme? What is it?

Idolatry WILL NOT be tolerated. That’s what.