Why is Murder a Crime but Idolatry Isn’t?

Published May 2, 2022

WORLD Opinions

Why do we criminalize murder but not idolatry? Answering that question sets the stage for evangelicals to think clearly about the purpose of the state and the unity of our witness concerning politics.

Last week, Pastor Tim Keller posted a thread on Twitter calling for evangelicals to maintain unity and not to divide over politics.

Before I register my disagreement, let me state my admiration for Pastor Keller. His book The Reason for God was profoundly influential on me as a college student, opening my mind to the intellectual coherence of the Christian faith. As the news was shared of his cancer diagnosis, I was deeply saddened. I regularly pray for his healing and comfort.

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Andrew T. Walker is the managing editor of WORLD Opinions and serves as associate professor of Christian ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also a fellow with The Ethics and Public Policy Center. He resides with his family in Louisville, Ky.

EPPC Fellow Andrew T. Walker, Ph.D., researches and writes about the intersection of Christian ethics, public theology, and the moral principles that support civil society and sound government. A sought-after speaker and cultural commentator, Dr. Walker’s academic research interests and areas of expertise include natural law, human dignity, family stability, social conservatism, and church-state studies. The author or editor of more than ten books, he is passionate about helping Christians understand the moral demands of the gospel and their contributions to human flourishing and the common good. His most recent book, out in May 2021 from Brazos Press, is titled Liberty for All: Defending Everyone’s Religious Freedom in a Secular Age.

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