Quote of the day – Francis Turretin on Graven Images


1 John 5

nkjv

20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.


Bronner's Christmas Wonderland


“It is not sufficient to cast images out of the heart by the preaching of the word unless they are removed also from sacred places (where they cannot remain without danger of idolatry). . .”

Francis Turretin

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source

Christmas Series: Are Nativity Sets Biblical? Part 5, Francis Turretin

News Division, Pulpit & Pen

Read the article.


Photo: Bronner’s


 

The season of images – representations of Jesus, part 2


As a Catholic child I loved the large ornate crèche that our parish church always placed in front of Mary’s altar at the beginning of Advent. Around and above it, fir trees stood. We had our own small nativity set at home – its figures were small enough to place by hand in a little stable. 

If the Lord wanted us to worship using things like this, why did Jesus teach us,

23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God  is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 

John 4

A Nativity Scene isn’t a teaching tool or a seasonal decoration but a focus for our idolatry.

Bronner's Christmas Wonderland

Exodus 32:3-4

So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf.

Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!”


Christmas Series: Are Nativity Sets Biblical III? The Opinion of John Calvin

Pulpit & Pen, News DIVISION

John Calvin:

“. . . We must hold it as a first principle, that as often as any form is assigned to God, his glory is corrupted by an impious lie.” (Institutes, 1.11)

Pulpit & Pen:

“The Reformers weren’t having it. The early church fathers weren’t having it. We not only tolerate these images of Jesus, however, we put them on display.”


The Second Commandment, Westminster, and Images of Christ

Brian Cosby

Westminster’s Rationale

“By creating an image of Jesus (e.g., in a painting or a stained-glass window), a person is inserting his or her own ideas of what Jesus looked like. Because we do not know what he looked like, this image would not be a true image or representation of Christ. Rather, it would simply be an image of a man from the imagination of the artist that he or she has called ‘Jesus.’

“If these images, then, do not truly represent Christ, then they are put in the place of the true Christ. Evoking any sense of worship of that which is not Christ, but rather inserted in the place of Christ, is – by definition – idolatry. If an observer were to gaze upon that image with the intent to worship, by thoughts or emotions, then that observer would be worshipping a man-made image and not the true God-man, Jesus Christ. The same principle would also apply for images of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.”


Photo credit: Bronner’s


 

The season of images – representations of Jesus


Exodus 20:4-6

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.


Setting aside the issue of celebrating Christmas for now, I want to look at the evidence against images of the Lord, whether they’re representations of Him as an adult, child, or infant, because it is really all the same thing. The article from Pulpit & Pen motivated me to post about this once again. During this season this issue is especially important. 

Philippians 2:1-2

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  


Should You Display a Nativity Set this Christmas?

“The Commandment seems clear, but could use some exposition. You shall not make a carved image (or any likeness) of anything in heaven above, the earth beneath, or in the water. Does this then prohibit artistic representation of birds, flowers, fish, trees or stars? Well, the second clause clarifies it for us. ‘You shall not bow down to them or serve them.’ Simply put, you shall not make an image of anything that is considered God or god. Whether an idol of a false god or an image of the true God, these things ought not to be done. The second stipulation is that they are not to be worshipped, but the first stipulation is that they should not be made.”


Geerhardus Vos: On Idolatry

the old guys blog

“Beauty, irreligiously esteemed, infringes upon the glory of Jehovah.”


The Westminster Larger Catechism

Q. 109. What sins are forbidden in the second commandment?

A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and any wise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever; all worshiping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them; all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretense whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.


Heidelberg Catechism, Questions 96-98

Lord’s Day 35
Topics: Second Commandment, Image of God, Word, Preaching

96. Q. What does God require in the second commandment?

A. We are not to make an image of God in any way, 1.
nor to worship him in any other manner
than he has commanded in his Word. 2.

1. Deut. 4:15-19; Is. 40:18-25; Acts 17:29; Rom. 1:23.
2. Lev. 10:1-7; Deut. 12:30; 1 Sam. 15:22, 23; Mt. 15:9; Jn. 4:23, 24.

97. Q. May we then not make any image at all?

A. God cannot and may not be visibly portrayed in any way. Creatures may be portrayed, but God forbids us to make or have any images of them in order to worship them or to serve God through them. 1.

1. Ex. 34:13, 14, 17; Num. 33:52; 2 Kings 18:4, 5; Is 40:25.

98. Q. But may images not be tolerated in the churches as “books for the laity”?

A. No, for we should not be wiser than God. He wants his people to be taught not by means of dumb images 1.
but by the living preaching of his Word. 2.

1. Jer. 10:8; Hab. 2:18-20.
2. Rom. 10:14, 15, 17; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 2 Pet. 1:19.


Seeing Jesus: The Case Against Pictures of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Peter Barnes, Banner of Truth pamplet.

from

Summary, WorldCat

“All pictures of Christ are necessarily inaccurate and dependent upon imagination —

“Pictures of Christ are not only inaccurate but they are a means of introducing much error concerning Him . . .”


John Calvin, Calvin Against Images Of Christ – The Heidelblog

“The Papists . . . paint and portray ‘Jesus Christ’ – Who (as we know) is not only man but also God manifested in the flesh. He is God’s eternal Son, in Whom the fullness of the Godhead dwells – yes, even substantially . . . Should we have portraitures and images, whereby only the flesh may be represented? Is it not a wiping away of that which is chiefest in our Lord Jesus Christ – that is, to wit, of His Divine Majesty? Yes!”


playlist
Series of short videos
On God’s Covenant to Save His People From Idolatry

J. Virgil Dunbar

IDOLATRY CONDEMNED blogspot


 

Keeping informed – An accusation of heresy


It is likely that Christians in every age have felt that as sane men and women they were living in a madhouse. This seems to be the case for us today.


Jude 20,21

20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,  21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Revelation 17:1,2

17 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”


Luther's statue at the Vatican - 01

“Luther’s statue enthroned at the Vatican,” credit: Church Revolution in Pictures.


Roman Catholic Leaders Send Letter to Pope, Accusing Him of Heresies

Pulpit & Pen Newsroom

“A letter twenty-five pages long laid out the perceived heresies committed, taught or espoused by Pope Francis, was signed by 40 Roman Catholic Leaders and delivered to him to consider . . . Accusing Francis of being influenced by Luther, the document says…

‘In the second place, we feel compelled by conscience to advert to Your Holiness’s unprecedented sympathy for Martin Luther, and to the affinity between Luther’s ideas on law, justification, and marriage, and those taught or favoured by Your Holiness in Amoris laetitia and elsewhere necessary in order that our protest against the seven heretical propositions listed in this document may be complete; we wish to show, albeit in summary form, that these are not unrelated errors, but rather form part of a heretical system. . .’”

(Click title to read the article.) 


To download the letter Correctio Fillialis de Haeresibus Propogatus, in pdf format, click here. The letter translates ‘A filial correction concerning the propagation of heresies.’


Further reading:

62 Catholic scholars and clergy send letter to pope Francis accusing him of “propagating heresies”

Correctio Filialis De Haeresibus Propagatis website


 

Keeping informed – The “Evangelical Intelligentsia”

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“The EI [Evangelical Intelligentsia] is convinced that the answers to evangelicalism’s problems will not be found in the local church, but by academia and among the Intelligentsia, who then must give (or sell) those solutions to the local church…

“Lost on these sophisticated, self-assured and productive intellectuals might be that the term intelligentsia itself is one that reeks of classism and control, from the annals of the former Soviet Union. Beginning in Poland, the idea developed of an almost-mythical and protected class of citizens who were particularly enlightened and super smart who would help guide the direction of the rest of society and lead to a utopian paradise…

“Evangelicalism has awoken to our problem – we are in a state of noticeable decline. Unfortunately, we are looking to smart people (who, frankly, aren’t all that smart) instead of looking to that old, dusty book on the nightstand and the Spirit who inspired it.”

JD Hall, Pulpit & Pen

Who Are the Evangelical Intelligentsia?

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