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Puritan Board Sophomore
I don't think Michelangelo's Pietà (for example) does a disservice to the Christian religion. That said, I do think that this magnificent sculpture would be better off in a museum than a place of worship, strange as that may sound to some...

It should be destroyed. It should never have been made. Whatever cultural "loss" there may be in destroying such things is vanishing, when weighed against the righteousness of God and his truth.

Here's some excellent stuff on this from Fisher's Catechism on the Westminster Shorter Catechism:

Q. 1. What are the leading sins forbidden in this commandment?
A. Idolatry and will-worship.

Q. 2. What is the idolatry here condemned?
A. The worshipping of God by images: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image," &c.

Q. 3. What is an image?
A. It is a statue, picture, or likeness of any creature whatever.

Q. 4. Is it lawful to have images or pictures of mere creatures?
A. Yes, provided they be only for ornament; or the design be merely historical, to transmit the memory of persons and their actions to posterity.

Q. 5. Can any image or representation be made of God?
A. No; it is absolutely impossible; he being an infinite, incomprehensible Spirit, Isa. 40:18 -- "To whom will ye liken God? or, what likeness will ye compare unto him?" If we cannot delineate our own souls, much less the infinite God; Acts 17:29 -- "We ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device."

Q. 6. What judgment should we form of those who have devised images of God, or of the persons of the adorable Trinity?
A. We should adjudge their practice to be both unlawful and abominable.

Q. 26. Are our forefathers to be blamed for pulling down altars, images, and other monuments of idolatry, from places of public worship at the Reformation?
A. No; they had Scripture precept and warrant for what they did, Num. 33:52, and Deut. 7:5 -- "Ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire."


Puritan Board Freshman
It should be destroyed. It should never have been made. Whatever cultural "loss" there may be in destroying such things is vanishing, when weighed against the righteousness of God and his truth.

If the incarnation had taken place in our own times, would it be unlawful to take a photograph of Jesus?

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Moderator Note:

Advocating the making of representations related to Jesus Christ or any other member of the Godhead is contrary to the confessional basis of our site (Westminster Standards).

The making of representations of members of the Godhead is a violation of the second commandment. Anyone advocating contrariwise will be subject to moderation actions. This is not going to be a matter of debate.


Puritan Board Junior
The incarnation did not take place during our time. Hence the question about photographs is nonsense.

God is sovereign. He knows that He is doing. The disciples, by the way, wrote
Holy Scripture. They did not transmit "Holy paintings" of the God-Man. They certainly could have had them commissioned.

No, God made sure to communicate the Lord Jesus Christ, the Logos, the Word made Flesh through the Written Word. Not through carnal images.

Side note: I cannot believe for a moment that a Reformed person would like Michelangelo's Pietà. Beyond the blatant 2nd Commandment violation, it is designed to reflect the theology of the Roman Church: A towering Mary cradling a broken, and small Christ.


Puritanboard Clerk
When Solomon built the Temple, it had cherubim and lions and palm trees and pomegranates. The "sea" had bulls underneath which is interesting given Israel's past temptation to worship a golden calf.

I never heard of anybody against what you describe, like decoys or models

I saw it the other day on a Facebook Covenanter group. Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed and noted that while 2CV are out of the question, we shouldn't become Muslims and become holier than God.

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
Just wondering, what would you say/do if one of the parents came to you and said they are opposed to the drawing of Christ even in stick-figure?

I've never had it happen that someone was concerned about my stick figures, but if it did concern anyone I would gladly stop doing it (as I have altered my lessons due to all sorts of much odder concerns from parents over the years). Most of the time, it's easy to be accommodating.

Keep in mind, I don't draw stick figures of Jesus. That is, I don't draw a particular stick figure and say, "Look, this one is Jesus. Notice the long, flowing hair." I just draw a scene with a crowd and say, for instance, that Jesus was in there teaching the crowd. And most of the time my "stick figures" are nothing but hastily drawn straight vertical lines. That's a representation of a crowd, not really a picture of Jesus. No one is looking at my scrawl and saying, "That little mark there must be Jesus."
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Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
The incarnation did not take place during our time. Hence the question about photographs is nonsense.

In a sad attempt to circumvent the second commandment prohibitions, the arguments often center around a claim that images of Our Lord are but images of his humanity. This is rank Nestorianism, as if the Person in question can be divided into two persons, one human, one divine. Our Lord is one Person, fully divine and fully human united such that the union cannot be divided, mixed, separated, or confused.

The notion of a modern day means by which we could take a photograph of Our Lord fails to appreciate the fact that, erroneously assuming there is no second commandment violation, there is in fact a third commandment violation. The photograph is not Our Lord, but merely a pathetic representation of the Person to whom we owe worship and devotion. Moreover, given what our idol factories (our minds) are prone to, if in fact one claimed to have a photograph of Our Lord, what must be our natural inclination? Devotion and worship of the same...for after all, the reasoning goes, this photograph is Our Lord.

May it never be.

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