Like all the other books I have read by Rollins, in The Idolatry of God he once again challenges some of the most fundamental beliefs carried by Christians. For some this can be very threatening and even stop them from exploring his thoughts and reasoning, but if you’re able to approach his books with humility and an open mind, you’ll come away richer for it.
The premise of the book goes something like this:
“Today the ‘Good News’ of Christianity…is sold to us as that which can fulfill our desire rather than as that which evokes a transformation in the very way that we desire. Like every other product that promises us fulfillment, Christ becomes yet another object in the world that is offered to us as a way of gaining insight and ultimate satisfaction” (p. 02).
“…the idea of God today preached within much of the church is nothing more than an impotent Idol…God is treated as nothing more than a product, a product that promises certainty and satisfaction while delivering nothing but deception and dissatisfaction.”
Rollins’ explanation of this premise is thorough and complex (at least in my opinion). Rollins is never an easy read. He is a deep philosophical writer/thinker/storyteller and I personally find him to be challenging (and entertaining) to read and to listen to. That said, it’s totally worth it.
I would say that this book challenged me in two primary ways. First, it made me think through the messages that I preach. How do I represent Jesus and the Gospel in the context of a sermon? Do I present the same Gospel Jesus (scripture) does, or am I promising things He didn’t? The cost of presenting a false (even though attractive) Gospel is absolutely devastating to the Church and to culture. Secondly, it made me consider how intentional I am in building relationship, friendship, and conversation with people who don’t believe the things I do. Rollins explains ways in which the Church can do this through creating environments where we can ask questions, doubt, wrestle, hurt, and grow.
If you are looking for a challenging read that forces you to reevaluate things you may hold tightly to in your faith, this is a great read. Other books of his that I would recommend are: How (Not) to Speak of God and Insurrection.