Pastor J.D. Greear has named the commandment that Christians of every generation break the most.
"People sometimes think the second commandment (don't make carved images) is just a restatement of the first commandment (don't have other gods before God). There is some overlap, but there is also a shade of difference," Greear, who heads Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, wrote on his website Monday.
"While the first commandment focuses on worshiping the wrong gods, the second commandment is actually about worshiping the right God in the wrong way," he added.
"We break this command and 'make carved images' not just by having golden statues but whenever we define God as we want him to be rather than as He is."
The pastor warned that "there is probably no command we more consistently and routinely break than this one," noting that people like to interpret God in their own way.
He wrote, however, that God "is who He is" regardless of the ideas people have.
"It's an insult to God when we have to reshape Him into something else in order for us to love Him," the pastor warned.
"I have a litmus test to help you determine whether or not you are doing this: How often does God contradict you, confuse you, or make you mad? Because if He's not doing any of those things, chances are you are not really letting God be God — you are only re-imagining Him as you want Him to be," he challenged.
Greear said that Americans often assume they are at an "advanced moral stage" that reflects God, but he pointed out that previous generations are all now considered flawed in their morality and what they considered to be right.
"We know, for example, it felt right to some of our grandparents that the races be kept separate. It may have 'felt right' to them, but today, we know that's wrong. It feels right in certain cultures for women to not be educated and instead be kept in the home," he added.
"We say, 'That may 'feel right' to you, but that is wrong.' In Viking days, they conducted honor killings because it 'felt like' the only way to even the score if someone insulted them. Today we say, 'But that feeling was wrong.'"
He questioned why the current generation believes its instincts are "100 percent reliable."
"Do we really think that our great-grandchildren will admire us for our moral foresight? Is that what we think about the worldview of our great-grandparents? Hardly," he added.
"The Bible offends every culture and every generation, just in different ways. It is an equal opportunity offender — and that's what we should expect if the Bible really is the Word of God and we are a fallen people."
Florida Pastor Ken Whitten of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz recently announced that Greear will be nominated for Southern Baptist Convention president in Dallas in June, two years after the 44-year-old megachurch pastor withdrew from the race in 2016.
Greear said following the news that one of the main things he would look to focus on as SBC president is cultural and racial diversity, along with putting the Gospel "above all."
Ken Hemphill, a former Southern Baptist Convention seminary president, will also be nominated for SBC president.