Pilgrim, you said, “The point I was making was that the people addressed by Elijah were already guilty of idolatrous practices; externally expressing their corruption of heart.”

Ahab and Jezebel were obviously guilty of idolatrous practices (1 Kings 16:31-33), but how do you know that the other people there (1 Kings 18:19-21) besides Ahab and the prophets of Baal and Asherah were idolatrous? Who were the other people there? Was it every man, woman, and child of Israel, or was it heads and/or representatives? There were 7,000 people that were not idolatrous (1 Kings 19:18). Is the number 7,000 to be taken literally, or did it represent a very large number of people who formed a non-idolatrous remnant? I may be missing something here that you already know. I’m just wondering how you know for sure that everyone there besides Elijah was already guilty of idolatrous practices. I have seen no evidence of that.

As you know, Jesus said that no one can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). In other words, one cannot be totally committed to two Lords at the same time. Some people obviously try to “have their cake and eat it too,” but they are eventually revealed as people who never ultimately, finally surrendered their lives to Jesus in repentance and faith.

You said, “The text says that the people remained silent; i.e., they were unwilling to give up their sinful worship because they desired to have what they considered to be the best of both ‘gods’.”

Again, the text doesn’t say that they were ever involved in sinful worship. The people in fact wanted to know who was the true God. When Elijah made his proposal, the people said, “That is a good idea” (1 Kings 18:24). If they had been unwilling to give up their sinful worship, then I don’t think they would have been so eager to see the true God identified. Paul House, a professor at The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, commented on verses 22-25:

“Only Elijah and, ironically, the prophets of Baal have any conviction. Both Elijah and his counterparts believe their god to be the solution to Israel’s problems. . . . Elijah wants to eliminate Baal from consideration whenever Israel decides theological matters.”
(House, “1, 2 Kings,” The New American Commentary, page 219)