Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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From a sermon at Grandma’s house by Preacher Clark, October 4, 1970.
Old Meeting Reel 11, CD-33, Track 7
I have often thought on why, after the New Testament began, men gradually ceased from making idols in the shape of men and women to worship. I have some good ideas about that, I think, but I probably never would have thought of the one Preacher Clark gave in his sermon in 1970. His idea was that people used to make idols in the form of other people because they held the human race as a whole in great esteem. That view is not unsupported. Many scholars point to a development in ancient society which they term “the Greek Miracle”. This social development is the exaltation of the human race to the point of becoming the center of all thought and purpose. Greek statuary idealizes the naked human form while it idolizes it, and is ashamed of none of it. The Greeks invented their gods to imitate men, even with their faults and weakness, though on a far grander scale. The Greeks made mankind the center of the universe, and that was what scholars call “the Greek Miracle”.
Preacher Clark may never have even heard of “the Greek Miracle”, but his message would confirm it. Men used to make idols in the shape of humans, he said, because they thought so much of humans, “but they don’t care enough about each other any more to do that.” Nevertheless, he went on to say, “The world is more full of idolatry than ever.”
The idols men make may look different now, but the ungodly spirit of idolatry is still here among us. Men may hate each other, but they still love themselves more than God.