Images of Jesus

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TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
Jesus is a person with a divine and a human nature. To attempt to show him in a picture is to attempt to show a divine person in a picture.

I'll add that humanity, or human nature, cannot be pictured.
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
So I have been on the side of seeing images of Christ as being wrong. Last night I read this short post from I believe Sproul, and it seemed interesting. What do you think about the stance that God is invisible and cannot be portrayed, therefore a picture of Jesus is only portraying His humanity?

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/images-worship/
Christ is a Person, not a nature. The depiction is of the Person. The depiction of "his human nature" is by the very act a depiction of a divine Person. I have always wondered why Rev. Sproul forgets this when using his argument.
 

Berean

Puritanboard Commissioner
Josh needs a tutorial on how to reasonably resize images so as not to SHOUT.

3112_ccc283a0d9479c7fc48fc47a7b6c0b57.jpg
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
Note also that we never read of Jesus, during his earthly ministry, drawing back from any of his worshipers, and saying, "Don't worship my humanity!" He, after his Divine nature, was/is omnipresent and invisible; it was his finite human location to which people directed their worship, yet they were worshipping a divine person. We will do the same when we see him.

That's the correct response when we see the God-Man bodily--to worship.
 
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TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
I just want to add one more thing that often gets ignored in this discussion. this is to be tacked onto my other post (#8).

The correct response when we see a legitimate visible representation of any divine person is to worship. That was John's response when he saw Christ in a vision. That was Isaiah's response when he "saw the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up."

Because the correct response to legitimate representations of God is worship, unsanctioned representations of God (including images of the God-Man) are necessarily idolatrous. God reserves to himself the right to represent himself visibly, and he requires worship when he does so.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Exactly; the puritan argument has always been to point out you either must break the second or the third commandment; only position that is possible is not to have them.catch 22. An image of Christ CANNOT be mere instruction without violating the third commandment.
I just want to add one more thing that often gets ignored in this discussion. this is to be tacked onto my other post (#8).

The correct response when we see a legitimate visible representation of any divine person is to worship. That was John's response when he saw Christ in a vision. That was Isaiah's response when he "saw the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up."

Because the correct response to legitimate representations of God is worship, unsanctioned representations of God (including images of the God-Man) are necessarily idolatrous. God reserves to himself the right to represent himself visibly, and he requires worship when he does so.
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Senior
Exactly; the puritan argument has always been to point out you either must break the second or the third commandment; only position that is possible is not to have them.catch 22. An image of Christ CANNOT be mere instruction without violating the third commandment.

That's interesting. Where does the 3rd Commandment come in if I might ask? Thanks!
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Where does the 3rd Commandment come in if I might ask?

If you call the image "Christ", then it better be Him and you better be worshipping Him. However, if it isn't Christ (all images are not Christ) than you are breaking the 3rd commandment in speaking an untruth - blasphemy. Calling something God/Christ that is not.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
These images of our Lord are pop culture images. I had to be educated and informed by the reformed faith to see the error of such portraits.The image I came to know and to love was one that in my youth I used to see in Christian book stores, and in some Baptist church offices.
A profile view of a man in a white robe with long flowing straight brown hair. Very handsome yet manly. At that time I did not know Isaiah 53, that,"He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him."
Nor 1 Corinthians 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you , that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
It also offends me when I see belt buckles, bumper stickers and such. To treat the name that is above every name in such a way seems to me to be bordering on disrespectful, though those that do so obviously don't see it that way.
 

jw

Administrator
Now, images of Jimmy the Shepherd (hat tip to Bob Vigneault), on the other hand . . . well, that's an altogether different matter. He was one agreeable-looking European shepherd!
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
That's interesting. Where does the 3rd Commandment come in if I might ask? Thanks!
"It is not lawful to have pictures of Jesus Christ, because his divine nature cannot be pictured at all, and because his body, as it is now glorified, cannot be pictured as it is, and because, if it do not stir up devotion, it is in vain; if it do stir up devotion, it is a worshipping by an image or picture, and so a palpable breach of the second commandment." (Vincent, Exposition of the Westminster Assembly’s Shorter Catechism.)
 

Held Fast

Puritan Board Freshman
How might this apply to dramatic presentations of the Church for Christmas or Resurrection Day, where a human being may portray Jesus?
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
What do you all think about during the Lord's Supper? Many people that hold to the RPW on images, break the same principle by pondering the crucifixion during the meditation time of the LS. We must train our minds not to build mental images as well.
 

Gforce9

Puritan Board Junior
What do you all think about during the Lord's Supper? Many people that hold to the RPW on images, break the same principle by pondering the crucifixion during the meditation time of the LS. We must train our minds not to build mental images as well.

I would assert that those folks don't hold as closely to the RPW as they believe themselves to. I am reminded often just how large my idol factory has become. Production numbers are at an all-time high. Business is good. I need to review WCF Chapter 21 often:

I. The light of nature shows that there is a God, who has lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and does good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might.[1] But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.[2]
 
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Parakaleo

Puritan Board Sophomore
So I have been on the side of seeing images of Christ as being wrong.

Now, come to the "Dark Side" where images of Christ are not just seen as wrong, but abhorrent idols. I promise you won't gain many friends, but there may be persecution for Christ's sake.

How might this apply to dramatic presentations of the Church for Christmas or Resurrection Day, where a human being may portray Jesus?

A person portraying Christ in a drama during a holiday-themed worship service is engaged in breaking the Second Commandment in at least three ways.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
At the front end of all worship must be the frightful consideration that God does not change and in the past has killed people for illicit worship; hence, any doubtful considerations, when it comes to worship must be dealt with in prudence for the sake of one's livelihood. If one cannot say with absolute certainty that one's treatment of any particular doctrine of scripture to be completely clear, it would be much safer to take the high road, less one doubt God's past treatments for those that assault his commands.

Gen 10:31
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
You can only love God in comparison to what you know of God:

"Here the reader may possibly object, that love to God is really increased in proportion as the knowledge of God is increased; and therefore how should an increase of knowledge in a saint make his love appear less, in comparison of what is known? To which I answer, that although grace and the love of God in the saints, be answerable to the degree of knowledge or sight of God; yet it is not in proportion to the object seen and known. The soul of a saint, by having something of God opened to sight, is convinced of much more than is seen. There is something that is seen, that is wonderful; and that sight brings with it a strong conviction of something vastly beyond, that is not immediately seen. So that the soul, at the same time, is astonished at its ignorance, and that it knows so little, as well as that it loves so little. And as the soul, in a spiritual view, is convinced of infinitely more in the object, yet beyond sight; so it is convinced of the capacity of the soul, of knowing vastly more, if the clouds and darkness were but removed. Which causes the soul, in the enjoyment of a spiritual view, to complain greatly of spiritual ignorance, and want of love, and to long and reach after more knowledge and more love."

J. Edwards-Religious Affections

Anyone reading the scriptures, creeds and our beloved confession would have to come to, at least an approach of prudence. As Edwards shows, the knowledge one has of God is reflected in our love for Him & vice versa.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
So I have been on the side of seeing images of Christ as being wrong. Last night I read this short post from I believe Sproul, and it seemed interesting. What do you think about the stance that God is invisible and cannot be portrayed, therefore a picture of Jesus is only portraying His humanity?

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/images-worship/

As others have pointed out, Christ's two natures are not separable. They are in a hypostatic union. The human nature does not exist without the divine. It is impossible to represent a hypostatic union faithfully on canvas. As has also been pointed out, Christ's humanity also exists in a glorified state now, which also cannot be pictured. Halos simply don't cut it.

Danny Hyde's book In Living Color is the best defense of the confessional Reformed position on images of Jesus. His argument against the pedagogical use of images of Christ is perfect: it attacks the sufficiency of Scripture. Is Scripture sufficient to tell us what we need to know about Jesus? Or do we need images, too? I would also point to David Van Drunen's article in CPJ 5 on the question is a very able defense of the confessional position as well.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
Now, images of Jimmy the Shepherd (hat tip to Bob Vigneault), on the other hand . . . well, that's an altogether different matter. He was one agreeable-looking European shepherd!

I've often wondered why so many churches have pictures of Kenny Loggins on the wall :think:.
 
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