False Worship

There are many aspects of false worship but one area that has
proliferated in more recent times has been that of the celebrity
culture. It has always been there, of course, but celebrity and hero
worship seems to have become embedded in a society where entertainment
and the media take center stage.

Recently in the UK we had the
spectacle of the funeral of an outstanding footballer [soccer player
for our American readers] who, by common consent, was one of the best
that the country had ever produced. He was just 59 years of age with a
chequered personal history of alcoholism and other problems, and yet he
was worshipped like a god. Hundreds of thousands of people lined the
funeral route, a motorcade escorted the hearse, and there was huge bill
for policing. A massive amount of flowers was laid outside his former
football club, and a minute’s silence was observed at football matches
throughout the land. Perhaps this was hardly surprising as
football is the new religion.

We had a similar outpouring of
grief when Princess Diana died a few years ago. One Church minister
said about this event: “Yes, ‘we all’ had shared the grief at Diana’s
death, ‘we all cried’, we all laid flowers, went to the funeral and
sang along to Elton John. But actually, by trying to pretend that Diana
was something other than human, we were guilty of ‘paganism’,
attributing the characteristics of holiness to an insufficiently worthy
vessel. We had worshipped the wrong thing, and worshipped in the wrong

Diana, it was implied, had been melted down and turned into
a golden calf. A former Prime Minister said that his perception was
that because we have become a secular society, the outpouring of grief
for Princess Diana was a manifestation of the worshipping of

These two events were linked in many people’s minds
here in the UK. One commentator wrote: “Not since that distant late
summer day when Princess Diana’s coffin was borne through the streets
of London have so many people turned out to demonstrate their surging
affection and sense of loss.”

And yet the Bible is very clear on
this issue: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3) and:
“You shall not bow down to them nor serve them (verse 5).” Although
specifically referring to carved images, the worship of anyone or
anything can be covered by this verse. Aren’t we most blessed to
understand that, while we can admire others, only the true Creator God
is to be worshipped, and not flawed human beings?

let us not forget the false worship that is currently in full swing
with the inevitable Christmas celebrations. Much has been
written about that matter over the years and the recent member letter
discussed the “spirit” of Christmas. But only God is to be worshipped,
and only in the way that He has prescribed, and nothing else will

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