By Paul R. Blake
Angels are religiously fashionable, more than at any other time in recent memory. One cannot enter a “Christian” bookstore without encountering entire displays and several shelves filled with books, pamphlets, statuary, cards, bookmarks, pictures, and jewelry dedicated to angels. We have witnessed the advent of an angel worshiping religious culture, or angel idolatry.
Members of the church are being swept up in fascination of this fad. On a weekly basis, I receive articles about angels from various Internet Bible discussion groups -- some good, most speculative, and many rife with error and denominational myths about angels. Christians must discipline themselves to avoid being tempted by intellectual curiosity that leads so many into accepting erring fables. One should not allow the Adversary to distract him away from the things about which God has said much, and instead doggedly pursue an interest in those things about which God has said little. “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29).
Angelolatry, like any other form of idolatry, is based on non-biblically based desires for and adoration of concepts or gods that do not exist, at least not in the forms imagined by the believer. In the case of angelolatry, as opposed to idolatry, angels do exist. However, they exist neither in the form nor for the purpose that many misguided contemporary persons believe.
Our present culture is saturated with angelolatry, the voluntary adoration, even worship, of guardian angels (that do not exist), and the vivid imagining of activities and purposes of angels that are not addressed in the Bible. There are two primary reasons for this fascination with angels:
1) People have always been enamored with the mysterious and unknown, often inculcating it with an air of romance and longing. To them, this world and the people who inhabit it are corrupt and ugly; therefore, they choose to believe that there must be a plane of existence accessible to this world that is pure and beautiful, inhabited by beings that are innocent and attractive. Not satisfied with the Bible description of the spiritual realm of God in heaven, they invent an invisible world coexisting in this world that is populated by altruistic angels that live just outside of our five senses.
2) In addition, people are afraid of the world around them, and to cope with this fear they invent for themselves powerful, invisible friends that somehow watch over them and protect them from harm. Not satisfied with the protection God promises in scripture, they want something more; they want guardian angels, a concept never addressed in the Bible. Somehow, just the thought that there is an invisible power shielding them is enough to enable fearful folks to go about the business of daily living. Sadly, such confidence has no more basis in truth and reality that a rabbit’s foot charm or whistling past the graveyard. Little children invent invisible friends, perhaps out of loneliness or anxiety. My Mother tells me that I had invisible friends when I was three or four years old. According to her, I even named them: Shiggey and Moe. Obviously, I outgrew them. However, adult Christians should be mature enough to be content with their relationships with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as these relationships are scripturally supported.
Christians must learn to be satisfied with what the Bible really says about angels, and avoid becoming caught up in the seductive fairy tales told about angels by medieval Roman Catholic priests who were accommodating the doctrines of the pagans they were absorbing. Christians must be very careful to avoid giving more regard to angels that the Bible authorizes.
“Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God” (Col. 2:18-19).
A Moments Wisdom
--He is the best speaker who can turn the ear into an eye.
--The paradox of the pulpit is that its occupant is a sinner whose chief right to be there is his perpetual sense that he has no right to be there, and is there only by grace and always under a spotlight of divine judgment. (A. C. Craig, Preaching in a Scientific Age, 1954)
--Speaking of the Bible, Abraham Lincoln said, “This great book … is the best gift God has given to man … But for it we would not know right from wrong.” (To a delegation that presented him with a Bible, August, 1864)
--We say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion that they commit murder and will have to give an account to God for the abortion. (Athenagoras of Athens, Apologia, 177 A. D.)
--Prayer should be the key of the morning and the lock of the night. (Owen Felltham, Resolves, 1620)
--Work as if you were to live 100 years. Pray as if you were to die tomorrow. (Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1758)
--Virtue consists, not in abstaining from vice, but in not desiring it. (George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, 1903)
--One of our greatest tasks is to demonstrate to the young people of this generation that there is nothing stupid about righteousness.
--Anxiety springs from the desire that things should happen as we wish rather than as God wills.
--It is not the business of a follower of Christ to provide an organization for the world, but to infuse the Spirit of Christ into the organizations of the world.
--Lord, fill my mouth with worthwhile stuff and shut it when I've said enough.
--Rely more on the power of God and less on the power of money. (J. C. Penney)
Test Your Bible Knowledge: Finish the Verse
1. “There is a _____ that seems right to a _____, But its _____ is the way of _____.”
2. “A soft _____ turns away _____, But a harsh _____ stirs up _____.”
3. “The _____ of the LORD is the beginning of _____, But _____ despise _____ and _____.”
4. “Your _____ is a _____ to my feet and a _____ to my _____.”
5. “In the _____ God _____ the _____ and the _____.”
6. “So then _____ comes by _____, and _____ by the _____ of God.”
5/1/22 AM - A World without Jesus; PM - Singing Service: Congregational Choice of Songs
5/8/22 AM - What is a Sound Church? (Following the Bible Pattern in the Organization of the Church); PM - What is a Sound Church? (Following the Bible Pattern in the Work of the Church)
5/15/22 AM - What is a Sound Church? (Following the Bible Pattern in Worship as a Church); PM - What is a Sound Church? (The Nature of the New Testament Church)
5/22/22 AM - Guest Speaker; PM - Doug Sanders
5/29/22 AM - What is a Sound Church? (Straying from the Bible Pattern for the Church); PM - What is a Sound Church? (Scriptural Fellowship in a Local Church)