John Piper and the 2nd Commandment

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Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
If you have time today listen to this MP3 and hear what John Piper says concerning pictures of Jesus and the 2nd Commandment.

About 5 minutes and 30 seconds in he says, "God broke the Second Commandment when he became incarnate".

This is troubling in a number of ways, but give a listen and tell me what you think about his explanation. Before the John Piper apologists get on me I know he is not saying God sinned. But listen to it.
 

larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
Christ was not the work of an artisan's hand, therefore He was not an image in an idolatrous sense.
 

JohnGill

Puritan Board Senior
Yet another reason not to listen to Piper

Apparently Piper doesn't understand the nature of God or his law. (God does not sin, nor does he break his word.) He also does not seem to understand the Biblical usage of 'seeing' & 'hearing' which do not refer to the physical organs or else the deaf cannot receive faith. (See Rom 10:17)

Seems like he's justifying.
 

the particular baptist

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi Chris please understand i mean no disrespect when i say i have a problem with your first sentence.
Apparently Piper doesn't understand the nature of God or his law
A man that does not understand the nature of God or His law is not only unfit for ministry but most likely a lost man. I would hope you extend Dr Piper the benefit of the doubt.

flavio


**edit**
Listened to the piece and I would hope Dr Piper would re-phrase that if given the chance b/c i disagree with his statement that "God broke the 2nd commandment"
 
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FrielWatcher

Puritan Board Sophomore
John Piper is huge and usually correct of theology and the justification of God. I just re-listened to the file because I had listened to it earlier. When he states, at 5m40s, there are panel members with him that give the statement an "amen".

Now, that begs then - Christ is a graven image, an idol?

Ex. 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. 5 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, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

God then breaks His own law? I don't think so when He sends Himself. He is not sending a depiction of Himself or an affection that is like God, but not Him. Bowing down before Christ is then not bowing down before the God YHWH?

Piper does understand the nature of God and His law so I find this a troubling statement from the Dr.
 

JohnGill

Puritan Board Senior
Hi Chris please understand i mean no disrespect when i say i have a problem with your first sentence.
Apparently Piper doesn't understand the nature of God or his law
A man that does not understand the nature of God or His law is not only unfit for ministry but most likely a lost man. I would hope you extend Dr Piper the benefit of the doubt.

flavio


**edit**
Listened to the piece and I would hope Dr Piper would re-phrase that if given the chance b/c i disagree with his statement that "God broke the 2nd commandment"

Rereading what I posted I realize I should have more fully explained myself before I posted it. I apologize for that.

There are men who are saved and do not fully understand the nature of God or his law and some of these faithfully serve, and many serve well. So, no, I am not saying he is lost or necessarily unfit for the ministry. Nor did I mean to imply that. Based upon what I heard, if he honestly believes that God, who instituted the law which is a reflection of his holiness, broke the second commandment, then I must now consider Piper to lack understanding about God and his law. And to claim that God broke his law by sending Jesus, to me, is akin to saying Jesus was born by sin.

If I were to affirm that Piper does not lack this understanding, then I must conclude that Piper is saying something he knows to be wrong. I'd rather assume ignorance on his part than deliberate deceit. For me, to not assume a lack of understanding here is more troubling.

I too hope he would rephrase it if given the chance.
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Hi:

I thought that Adam was made in the image of God as well? Piper is equivocating on the word "image."

Comment removed by Administrator. WAY out of line.

-CH
 
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Brian Bosse

"The Brain"
CalvinandHodges said:
Comment removed by Administrator. WAY out of line.

This seems rather uncharitable coming from someone who in his signature says "in...all things Charity." I need to go cool off. :mad:
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
By "equivocating" do you mean he deliberately using terms in dual-senses to confuse his audience? Or do you think it might be a hasty generalization to say that Piper is a pretty careless fellow with central elements of his theological program?

I have to agree with Brian's note re. "charity". I think some is due here.
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
This might be a little off topic, but it relates to the 2nd commandment. Are pictures of Christ wrong? If so, why? If the pictures aren't used for worship or for making Christ "more real", what is wrong with a picture of Christ?

From what I understand, the idea from the second commandment was "worshipping" the graven image.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Every orthodox Christological book I have ever read maintains that there was no confusion of natures when the second person of the Godhead became incarnate.
 

Honor

de-cool
I'm sorry but I don't get it.... How do ya'll get that from?....4 “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. 5 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, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments."
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them;

JP was wrong, but images of Christ, if not worshiped or created with the intent to worship, do not inherently break the commandment.

That is - v5 qualifies v4.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
A thought - I can consider the "Man-ness" of Christ via an image or likeness and appreciate His struggles as a Man, His interaction with people or His torture on the Cross - there is no way that any image of Christ can capture nor manifest His "God-ness" - which is why I could, nor would, never worship a caricature of Christ.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
A thought - I can consider the "Man-ness" of Christ via an image or likeness and appreciate His struggles as a Man, His interaction with people or His torture on the Cross - there is no way that any image of Christ can capture nor manifest His "God-ness" - which is why I could, nor would, never worship a caricature of Christ.

The unio personalis makes this an impossibility. Just as the natures cannot be confused, neither can they be divided.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
The unio personalis makes this an impossibility. Just as the natures cannot be confused, neither can they be divided.

Not divided - considered characteristically - Christ is fully Man, thus His "Man-ness" and life as a Man is important as He is the second Adam.

His complete "Man-ness" requires us to consider and comprehend Him as a Man, with the understanding that He is also fully God. His "God-ness" is incomprehensible, His "Man-ness" is - perhaps not fully, but substantially.
 
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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Not divided - considered characteristically - Christ was fully Man, thus His "Man-ness" and life as a Man is important as He is the second Adam.

His complete "Man-ness" requires us to consider and comprehend Him as a Man, with the understanding that He was also fully God. His "God-ness" is incomprehensible, His "Man-ness" is - perhaps not fully, but substantially.

Every time you use the personal pronoun "His," you are referring to the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, not to a distinct nature.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
For what it's worth, folks can believe what they want in this matter, but as for the Puritan Board, there should be no advocacy of images.

(And I know you're merely fleshing things out, but it doesn't need to get to advocacy)

No advocacy of images for worship, right? Is there a confessional prohibition of all images in all circumstances?
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
For reference:

Q. 49. Which is the second commandment?
A. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.[126]

Q. 50. What is required in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his Word.[127]

Q. 51. What is forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment forbiddeth the worshipping of God by images,[128] or any other way not appointed in his Word.[129]
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Every time you use the personal pronoun "His," you are referring to the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, not to a distinct nature.

Is there a confessional prohibition for considering Christ's "Man-ness"?

He is self-described as a Son of Man...

WCF 7:2, "So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man."
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
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 worshipping 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.

Still qualified to worship.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
Every time you use the personal pronoun "His," you are referring to the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, not to a distinct nature.

Is there a confessional prohibition for considering Christ's "Man-ness"?

He is self-described as a Son of Man...

WCF 7:2, "So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man."

I'll respond to this, then abandon the discussion, as I know how this invariably ends :).

Let me say first, that I never, ever, ever propose segregating the natures of Christ - this I profess and confess. Amen.

"Very man" - means something - how is that realized in Christ? We know he had a body, with a face, hands, etc... We know he interacted with people, suffered on a cross, bled and died as very man. It is the "very man-ness" I am proposing may be understood in those contexts. Not for worship, certainly, but for context.

That is - when I read Scripture and Christ is described teaching - I imagine Him in His human body standing before a group of people in the cultural context. It is an aid for consideration - I do not worship that mental image, but it does make the Scripture "come alive" to me and see Christ as a real person in a real context.
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
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 worshipping 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.
Still qualified to worship.

*sigh*

"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"

The word making means just that. Making.

*************REGARDLESS*************

This is both a Puritanesque and Reformed board, and there will be no defenses and or advocacy of images.

To make an image that purports to represent Christ is to lie about God's very being, whether it be intentional or unintentional. We do not know what Christ looked like, nor can He be divided.

End of Discussion.

Calling someone a liar is rather rude and obnoxious
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
*sigh*

"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"

The word making means just that. Making.

*************REGARDLESS*************

This is both a Puritanesque and Reformed board, and there will be no defenses and or advocacy of images.

To make an image that purports to represent Christ is to lie about God's very being, whether it be intentional or unintentional. We do not know what Christ looked like, nor can He be divided.

End of Discussion.

Calling someone a liar is rather rude and obnoxious
:candle:

So? You delete my post, but you engage in the same activity? Hmmm. Some here are not Epistemologically Self-Conscious.

Grace and Peace, brother,

Rob
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
That is - when I read Scripture and Christ is described teaching - I imagine Him in His human body standing before a group of people in the cultural context. It is an aid for consideration - I do not worship that mental image, but it does make the Scripture "come alive" to me and see Christ as a real person in a real context.

Whereas I am different. I find visual representations minimising in that the idea becomes associated with the image and thereby distorts the fulness of the idea.
 

kalawine

Puritan Board Junior
I think Piper is giving the Passion movie a fluff job here. I guess I'm sort of off topic but there is something that really bothers me. I'm not a Piper fan nor am I a Piper enemy. I think he's written some good stuff but what bothers me so much is that it seems that no matter what the man says people are in total shock when he is wrong. Many people get defensive of him too. Let's face it. He made some stupid, uncalled for statements on this mp3. I get so tired of seeing people defend their heroes. I love reading Gordon Clark but I realize that he got way off course on some things. I refuse to defend his mistakes. But any time someone goes after Piper or Sproul or McArthur (the list goes on) people try to gloss it over. Face it: the man made some disturbing comments. I mean, "God broke the Second Commandment when he became incarnate?!?!?!" Not only is this an outrageous statement but it calls for rebuke and correction that he would receive if he wasn't one of the "Untouchables." If I were a Baptist I would call him on it.
 
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