Book Burning


Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver.” –Acts 19:18-19

Contrast this good ol’ fashion book burning with what a man says later about the Christians to angry Ephesian businessmen whose finances have been threatened by the decline in Artemis worship.

“For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess.” –Acts 19:37

The believers of Ephesus apparently remained respectful toward the religions of others. They never succumbed to picketing idol shops or zealous bombings of their clinics. Nor did it seem did they even slander these “so-called gods,” (1Co 8:4-6).

Perhaps we need to be reminded that God is not an idol that needs to be propped up (ex: 1Sa 5:2-4). He needs no defense and will see to it Himself to bring all idols to shame and destruction (Num 33:4; Rev 19:20).

Furthermore, what business do we have judging those on the outside (1Co 5:9-13). Jesus never upset the tables of foreign temples but sought only to cleanse His own (Mat 21:12-13). Therefore, our duty then is not to cleanse the nations of this world of their iniquity, but merely to purify (Jos 3:5; Rev 22:14) our brothers and sisters in the faith (Mat 7:5; 18:15-17; Gal 6:1; 2Th 3:13-15; Heb 10:24) who bear that same eternal citizenship of Heaven (Phi 3:20).

So let us boldly topple idols (Judges 6:25-26) among hearts that have been conquered for God (Deut. 7:5)—especially our own. Idolatry is spiritual adultery (Jer. 3:9; 13:27; Eze. 16:15-22), and we should take seriously God’s warning of life (Deut. 32:47). Therefore, we have great need to severe their hold, and gouge out their influence (Mat. 18:8-9). As Amy Carmichael told the Indian Christians to burn their idols, may we be like those who once practiced magic arts, and so eagerly cast all our former trades and leisure pursuits to the fire of destruction, before these powerless gods weigh us down into captivity (Isa 46:1-2).

Billy Neal

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