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Author Topic: Should Christians Have Pictures of Christ?  (Read 17064 times)

cindyw

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Re: Should Christians Have Pictures of Christ?
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2004, 03:08:57 PM »
I know some people feel real passionately about this topic, but here's my take:   the second commandment command not to make graven images is linked by the second part-----for the purpose of WORSHIPPING.   

Here's the question. What is the purpose of a picture (graven Image) of Christ? Can we have an image of God and not worship it?

I mean really, some people sound like the Roman Catholics rationalizing having images of God. They also say they are not worshipping it, and they also are wrong.

For me, it's not about "rationalizing it", it's more about taking the WHOLE word of God and rightly discerning it's meaning.   In the context of the times, OT peoples WERE bowing down and worshipping idols made of stone, wood, clay, etc.   They were giving offerings to them.   The purpose, I believe of the second commandment was NOT to forbid the making of artwork, etc-----it was to forbid the making of likenesses in heaven AND on the earth for WORSHIP.  ONLY God, in Spirit, is to be worshipped.   Everything else made is nothing more than the material it is made out of.........

For those who think having a picture of a likeness of Jesus is wrong, or a crucifix with a "symbol" of Jesus on it, or a movie with an actor portraying Jesus, or a play, etc is EVIL and is against the 2nd commandment-----then also, if we are to take that commandment and all it says applying it the same exact way to LIKENESSES of things on the earth-----we are to have nothing..........absolutely nothing which is a likeness of anything created----in both heaven AND on the earth.    It seems to me, that the prohibition that people cling to is only concerning 1 thing in heaven----Jesus, but everything else created in heaven and earth can be made into a likeness and that is fine.   I think the whole meaning of that commandment is being lost.   Do you understand my point???   Blessings in Jesus, Cindy

Carol

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Re: Should Christians Have Pictures of Christ?
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2004, 04:41:38 PM »
I heard a favorite pastor of mine, Henry Mahan say this in a sermon once and thought it worth sharing here:

It is utterly impossible to put on canvas or in a statue anything that resembles the unspeakable glory of our God.  You can’t capture the glory of God on canvas or in a statue.  The best that a mortal man could produce would be dishonoring to the Lord.  Can a statue contain him who the heavens can’t contain?  In pertaining to David building a house for the Lord:

2 Chron 2:6   But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him?

Christ Jesus, our Savior is called the exact image of God.  Can you put the exact image of God on a canvas?  Christ Jesus the Lord is called the brightness of God’s glory.  That cannot be captured on a picture.  What  folly to even think of reducing the Lord of Glory to a picture.

Paint the spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters in creation. 

Paint Melchizedec, King of Peace, priest of the most high God blessing Abraham.

Paint the voice speaking from the burning bush to Moses. “I am that I am!”

Paint the Shikinah Glory, the presence of God that rested between the cherubims on the mercy seat.

Paint the son of man walking in the firey furnace with the Hebrew children.

Paint Jacob’s ladder reaching to heaven.

Paint the rock that followed them, the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day.

Paint the angel of the Lord that wrestled with Jacob.

Paint the glorified son of God on the Mount of Transfiguration.

Paint the soul agony of Christ.  They’ve got pictures of Christ on the cross.  They are offensive. You cannot see the soul agony of the son of God who walked the winepress of God’s wrath alone bearing our sins in his body on the tree.   His countenance was so marred. His visage.  He didn’t even look like a human being.

Paint the exalted Christ that met Paul on the road to Damascus.  “Who art thou Lord?  I am Jesus whom thou persecuteth.”  It struck Paul blind.  And you’re going to hang one on your wall?

Paint the coming king whom we shall see and be transformed into his likeness.  We shall see him and be like him.  We shall see him as he is.  Until we can, put away your canvas, put away your paintbrush and do what everyone else has done who has truly seen the Lord:

Moses: Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground!

Job: I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.   Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

Isaiah: I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, his train filled the temple.  His glory filled the heavens and I cried, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

John: When I saw him, I fell at his feet as a dead man.

When we truly see the Lord, we’re overcome with two things, our sinfulness and his holiness.  And it’s sinful to present him to any lower than he is, I believe.


The head that once was crowned with thorns is crowned with glory now,
The royal diadem adorns the mighty victor’s brow.

The highest place that deity affords is his and his by right.
The king of kings, Lord of Lords is heaven’s only light.

He, who on earth, as man was known and bore our sin and shame,
Now is seated on his eternal throne.
The God of Glory reigns!


Many Blessings in Christ,
Carol
Run, John, run! The Law commands!
But gives me neither feet nor hands.
Far grander news the Gospel brings:
It bids me fly and gives me wings!"
                                 – John Bunyan

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cindyw

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Re: Should Christians Have Pictures of Christ?
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2004, 05:08:51 PM »
I agree that no piece of artwork can ever hope to rightly capture the fullness of God----whether through the image of Christ the man or in any other manner.........however, that still does not answer my question.   Why is it sinful to present a likeness of God while He walked in human form, but not other creatures.   The commandment is not limited to the likeness of God-------it is much broader.

Chris

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Re: Should Christians Have Pictures of Christ?
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2004, 06:29:19 PM »
Cindyw, I was hoping that you would answer my question but you bypassed it. What would be the purpose of having a picture (graven image) of God?

cindyw

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Re: Should Christians Have Pictures of Christ?
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2004, 08:45:40 PM »
Cindyw, I was hoping that you would answer my question but you bypassed it. What would be the purpose of having a picture (graven image) of God?

I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to not answer you.   I guess it would depend on each person's motive.   For me, it is "artwork" with meaning.   I have one framed piece of art that has a "likeness" of a seated Jesus' hooded side profile with the scripture below:  Rev. 22:13-----I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last..........

Does that picture mean an inordinate amount to me?   No.  I'm thankful for my husband's thoughfulness in buying it for me several years ago, but I do not stop and kneel down, worship that "likeness".   Actually the scripture means much more to me.

I suppose some people give pictures/paintings/carvings much more adoration than they should----but I'm sure that wrongly placed adoration can be found in relatives pictures, valuable paintings, etc,etc.

My point which still hasn't been answered is this:   if we are to take "part" of the commandment and apply it in a particular way, why don't we take ALL of the commandment and apply it the same.   For example, do any of us have problems with taking photographs and displaying those photographs of our loved ones or of nature?   Same thing:   a likeness of something on the earth...............

Carol

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Re: Should Christians Have Pictures of Christ?
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2004, 10:08:17 PM »
Hi Cindy,

I was just posting something that I liked about this subject.  It wasnt directed at you or your question.

But as for your question, I believe the 2nd commandment DOES mean --do not make any graven image of anything in heaven above or earth beneath 'for worship'.  We are not to worship any picture or statue of anyone.  I just dont see how anyone could have a picture of Christ and not look at it adoringly, if they truly believe it represents him.  And if they don't, then why have it at all?

I personally find pictures of 'what people believe to be Christ' rather repulsive, and an insult to God.  I dont like them at all and am offended by them because it seems to me they are trying to bring him down to our human level.

And since there are so many people that do bow down to or worship pictures and statues of Christ, why should we, as christians propagate such?

I have to drive by a 'huge supposed picture of Christ' with water fountains, an alter, flowers and such everyday on my way to work.  I am just so offended by it.  I think its an abomination.  That's not a picture of my Lord and I hate that people say it is.

So for me, I just dont want any pictures like that.

Many Blessings in Christ,
Carol




Run, John, run! The Law commands!
But gives me neither feet nor hands.
Far grander news the Gospel brings:
It bids me fly and gives me wings!"
                                 – John Bunyan

http://members.cox.net/ckizzz/index

cindyw

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Re: Should Christians Have Pictures of Christ?
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2004, 11:59:46 PM »
Hi Carol,

Well, I am glad to see that you believe the 2nd commandment refers to worship, not the making of "art" objects.   I can understand your offense at representations of Christ.   Many representations of a Jewish Jesus do not even come close to what a physical Jew would look like anyways.   Though I find it amusing to see a light haired, blued eyed Jesus, I'm not so offended personally.   Jesus came to the earth in the form of a man.   Many people try to imagine what Jesus----the man----looked like, hence the many different representations of Him.   I think much of that is derived from people's love of Jesus and desire to put a face to the one they love, since they didn't get to see Him as those of the 1st century did.    I don't think the problem is in the imagining and putting into artform what people think Jesus would look like physically, it's that some people then worship that object of someone's imagination.  That is what is forbidden.   All else is just personal offense/conviction in my opinion.


Apostolic

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Re: Should Christians Have Pictures of Christ?
« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2004, 04:31:04 AM »
The reformed and biblical position is that having images of Christ is an unbiblical practice usually sanctioned by groups like the Roman Catholics who don't understand the error of idolatry. That's not to say there aren't protestant churches that have images of Christ, that is to say they are not doing so on a biblical basis.

The reformed position is not held by all reformed Christians. In fact I was just reading where R.C.  Sproul teaches that images of Jesus are completely acceptable in our day and the reformers who taught against it were wrong. And in fact one of the latest of issues I saw of his magazine Tabletalk, had a picture of Jesus Christ in it. So you better get use to the changes in the church. The old guard is falling fast and many of you need to come out of the old ancient puritanical beliefs and move into the 20th century. Beliefs like images, miracles, and amazing grace for those whose preferences are not as your own, are being accepted now. I at least respect R.C. Sproul because he's changing and not stuck in the writings of dead guys of the past. Nothing wrong with pictures of Christ.

 Luke 6:37  Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven

Don't tell people they cannot worship god through images, because you don't know. There is reported in south america of images moving and crying but I guess you don't believe that either. Maybe that's why there are more miracles in south america. Because americans have no more faith.


Reformer

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Re: Should Christians Have Pictures of Christ?
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2004, 05:05:49 AM »
Quote
The reformed position is not held by all reformed Christians. In fact I was just reading where R.C.  Sproul teaches that images of Jesus are completely acceptable in our day and the reformers who taught against it were wrong. And in fact one of the latest of issues I saw of his magazine Tabletalk, had a picture of Jesus Christ in it. So you better get use to the changes in the church.


I am so sick and tired of hearing about what RC Sproul says, thinks and teaches. Is this man the god of the fallen Church? You know, there is a reason why he is so popular around the country and so well liked by almost everyone. Is it because he so compromises with the world.

 Luke 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

 While other reformed theologians like Michael Horton are ignored, hated, and railed against, ol RC Sproul is one of the most popular theologians in Christiandom. It's because he wavers on almost eveerything in scripture he talks about.

So in case you didn't read the rules, this forum doesn't accept the teachings of men as authoritative. Use scripture to prove your false doctrines, not RC Sproul.

Reformer

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Re: Should Christians Have Pictures of Christ?
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2004, 05:19:52 AM »
Many representations of a Jewish Jesus do not even come close to what a physical Jew would look like anyways.   Though I find it amusing to see a light haired, blued eyed Jesus, I'm not so offended personally.


I don't think that amusing is the term that I would use for blatant lies. A blue-eyed, light haired Christ is a lie. It's not amusing it's a misrepresentation. Any picture of Christ is a lie because it's an arbitrary photograph of a person and claiming this person represents Christ.

 Roman 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

 Just as if you were to take a picture of me with a wig and a long robe and say that's Christ. No, it would be a lie. I don't find that amusing at all.

Apostolic

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Re: Should Christians Have Pictures of Christ?
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2004, 01:36:28 PM »
Or maybe he's popular because he's not following the traditional reformed lines and living in the past like so many others. He's somewhat open minded about things like eschatology, miracles, pictures, and what constitutes a good christian. He's not as judgmental as most reformed theologians. And what's wrong with that? There is nothing wrong with having statues, images and pictures of Christ because they are helps and we are saved by grace, not works. Loosten Up!

cindyw

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Re: Should Christians Have Pictures of Christ?
« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2004, 02:38:32 PM »
Many representations of a Jewish Jesus do not even come close to what a physical Jew would look like anyways.   Though I find it amusing to see a light haired, blued eyed Jesus, I'm not so offended personally.

I don't think that amusing is the term that I would use for blatant lies. A blue-eyed, light haired Christ is a lie. It's not amusing it's a misrepresentation. Any picture of Christ is a lie because it's an arbitrary photograph of a person and claiming this person represents Christ.

 Roman 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

 Just as if you were to take a picture of me with a wig and a long robe and say that's Christ. No, it would be a lie. I don't find that amusing at all.

As I said, some people feel adamantly about this issue.   I don't.  Sorry.   If this truly is an issue of disobeying the 2nd commandment, then why doesn't anyone against likenesses of Jesus, expound on the full meaning of the second commandment.   I find quite a bit of hypocrisy.   Unless you never take photos of any of your beloved, display them, have paintings in your home, have any type of sculpture, etc, etc, the point of having a likeness of Christ being sinful, is just not believeable.   I know there are certain sects of Christians who are against ALL artforms and all photography.   Them, I see as consistant in their practice.   

The second commandment forbids ALL likenesses of ANYTHING in heaven OR on the earth.   Do you abide by the whole commandment or only pick ONE being in heaven and forbid likenesses of Him?   I think my point is being lost here.

Reformer

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Re: Should Christians Have Pictures of Christ?
« Reply #27 on: July 11, 2004, 01:41:45 AM »
As I said, some people feel adamantly about this issue.   I don't.  Sorry.   If this truly is an issue of disobeying the 2nd commandment, then why doesn't anyone against likenesses of Jesus, expound on the full meaning of the second commandment.   I find quite a bit of hypocrisy.

Well I find it quite hypocrisy for anyone to imagine that they could have a likeness of God without having ever seen a picture of God. In fact, it's downright ridiculous. I don't think that Christians even understand what they are doing. You have spoken about the "likeness of Christ" as if such an image could exist today. That's a complete fabrication and an abandonment of biblical principles. There is no physical likeness of Christ anywhere, and so the picture you have is plainly a lie. I don't know why you cannot understand that. But if someone gave you a picture and you want to pretend that it's a image of Christ, that's your business. But it's also a lie and it's wrong and it's an attempt to bring God down to man's level. But God is not a man though you want to bring him down to a human level. And it's not a picture of Christ, and that makes it idolatry. It's as simple as that. Like everyone else, you want to rationalize it, but you can't escape the lie that this picture is of Christ.


Quote
Unless you never take photos of any of your beloved, display them, have paintings in your home, have any type of sculpture, etc, etc, the point of having a likeness of Christ being sinful, is just not believeable.

It's not believable to you because you have a picture you think is the likeness of Christ. You're not objective because you obviously want to keep that picture, and it means a lot to you. That's your right. But don't tell me it's not a lie, because it is.

Photos of my family are not lies. They are the true representations of the people. And unless I were to think of my family as God as you do your picture, then you are comparing apples and oranges. I don't say pictures of my family are a likeness of God as you do. Because I know God is holy. If I were to claim I had a picture of some scraggly man in a robe, and I thought it was a likeness of God, that would be dishonoring to God.

It really doesn't surprise me your take on this, what surprises me is that the way the Church is going we haven't had more posts of Christians saying they believe as you do.


Quote
   I know there are certain sects of Christians who are against ALL artforms and all photography.

Artwork has nothing to do with this question. It's a question of the common denominator faith that is not by sight, and biblical truth weighed against this lie that you have a picture of God. The question is, "can we have a picture of God and should we have a picture of God." That's all this discussion is about. What are the biblical reasons why, or why not. Not pictures of my family, but pictures that christians want to believe is the God of eternity.


Quote
The second commandment forbids ALL likenesses of ANYTHING in heaven OR on the earth.

That's not true. It forbids making a likeness of anything in heaven or earth as a God that we would worship it. You have made an image that you think is a likeness of God, and that's what is forbidden.



Chris

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Re: Should Christians Have Pictures of Christ?
« Reply #28 on: July 11, 2004, 05:42:34 AM »
I don't really understand it either. We can't make pictures of God so why are we trying? Why are we trying to do something that we can't do? It makes no sense. Like trying to jump accross the ocean, why would you do that? The kingdom of God is not in the physical, but spiritual

 Romans 14:17 "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."

cindyw

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Re: Should Christians Have Pictures of Christ?
« Reply #29 on: July 11, 2004, 09:18:35 AM »
Photos of my family are not lies. They are the true representations of the people. And unless I were to think of my family as God as you do your picture, then you are comparing apples and oranges. I don't say pictures of my family are a likeness of God as you do. Because I know God is holy. If I were to claim I had a picture of some scraggly man in a robe, and I thought it was a likeness of God, that would be dishonoring to God.

It really doesn't surprise me your take on this, what surprises me is that the way the Church is going we haven't had more posts of Christians saying they believe as you do.

Artwork has nothing to do with this question. It's a question of the common denominator faith that is not by sight, and biblical truth weighed against this lie that you have a picture of God. The question is, "can we have a picture of God and should we have a picture of God." That's all this discussion is about. What are the biblical reasons why, or why not. Not pictures of my family, but pictures that christians want to believe is the God of eternity.


Quote
The second commandment forbids ALL likenesses of ANYTHING in heaven OR on the earth.

That's not true. It forbids making a likeness of anything in heaven or earth as a God that we would worship it. You have made an image that you think is a likeness of God, and that's what is forbidden.

Reformer, for the first point, I do not believe the artist's rendering is an exact representation of Jesus.    I don't believe any artist has made the comment that their art is the EXACT representation of Jesus either----nor do most people believe such.   So in my opinion, it is not a lie.   Artists do what THEY believe is a representation, as wrong as most are, in what they see in their subjects---be it Jesus, a painting of a family member (which by the way is not an EXACT likeness in most cases) or a piece of fruit.    To me, this is more a case of personal offense at someone making/having a representation of the Man Jesus (who was God incarnate), than it is a breaking of the second commandment-----especially since most of us would never bow down to a piece of art.    I would ask you this:    since it appears the "lie" and not breaking of the second commandment is your issue, do you then object to art that is say..........modernistic, abstract:   since it is not the EXACT representation of the subject painted?   Wouldn't that be a "lie" also?   Thanks for your response.   Blessings in Jesus, Cindy

 


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