The Words of Christ should lead to higher thoughts of Him; not to making images of Him

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Staff member
I have a Facebook post I keep in rotation when for some reason a lot of friends think nothing of posting idolatrous pictures. I post it here as a resource; you will recognize a couple of PB names cited. The below is most of it; some FB exclusive content didn't make the cut as it is not set public.

"Behold, they paint and portray Jesus Christ, who (as we know) is not only man, but also God manifested in the flesh: and what a representation is that? He is God’s eternal Son in whom dwells the fullness of the God head, yea even substantially. Seeing it is said, 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: and therefore whensoever a Crucifix stands mopping & mowing in the Church, it is all one as if the Devil had defaced the Son of God." (John Calvin, Sermon 23 on Deuteronomy, 23 May, 1555).
" Vermigli indicated, the depiction of his human nature is an attempt to tear Christ from heaven and replace the Spirit in our hearts with a painting on our walls." From The Confessional Presbyterian 14 (2018) issue, Images of Christ and the Vitals of the Reformed System, by Harrison Perkins. Harrison Perkins, "Images of Christ and the Vitals of the Reformed System, The Confessional Presbyterian journal (2019): 212.

"It is striking the way imagination becomes active in a matter of anticipation. On the other hand, where the object is a matter of possession there is cause for reflection. I find this relevant in light of two things. 1. Christ is given in possession to the believer, Eph. 3:17. The imagination should cease and reflection should be active. 2. The visible and sensible elements of bread and wine are specifically given to us for the purpose of remembrance, which should invoke reflection. To speak pastorally, the way to cure a sensual imagination is to ‘see’ Christ as the apostles ‘remembered’ Him, full of grace and truth; and in His offices as our complete Saviour; and as He is made of God to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; and to reflect with a trusting heart on the present enjoyment of Christ so as to rest in Him. Where the soul rests and reflects, the imagination has no cause to stir. " The Rev. Matthew Winzer, Australian Free Church. Source:

LC 109

Does LC 109 really teach not to make an image of Christ, even in one’s mind?

This is also a helpful thought on this question of actual image making.

"The problem can be analyzed several different ways, but one that I think is profitable is to understand that whenever we make an image of Jesus, we are ‘going the wrong direction’ in our thinking about him. It is not hard to think of Jesus in human terms. The Bible's descriptions do that admirably. The fact was (and is) that those encounters by the disciples and the crowds were meant to reveal to them that Jesus wasn't ‘just a man’ at all, but was God incarnate.

When we make a representation of Jesus' human body — beside the implicit nestorian heresy involved (that his two natures may be separated) — we are reducing Jesus; we are trying in effect to ‘know him after the flesh’ once again, when we are supposed to ‘know him thus no more.’ ALL (!) our encounters with Jesus, in every authorized presentation, are supposed to lead us — as they led the first disciples — to higher and higher thoughts of him.

The Bible is abundantly clear on this point (just read your Old Testament, to say nothing of the New):

IMAGES DO THE VERY OPPOSITE." The Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan (OPC). Source:

The Reformed and Presbyterian Confessional position:

Pictures of Jesus and the Sovereignty of Divine Revelation. By David VanDrunen.

This video in just a couple of minutes I think makes the implications clear of the idolatrous nature of pictures of Christ



Puritan Board Freshman
The imagination;seldom investigated but the place where idols are lodged which war against reason. Imagination must be subservient to rationality, and when it is not ,lust and confusion emerges. Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. As Christians we should picture the narrative of the bible, the bronze serpent, the dove, the priestly garments, the ark of the covenant, the lamp stands, the tree of life, the garden, the angel with flaming sword, the seraphim, the cherubim etc for the sake of memory and the Spirit using such items which then bring to remembrance the word of God to our minds, the Spirit through word implanting faith. 2 Corinthians 5:16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. How could one make pictorial representations of Christ without regarding him according to the flesh?; we often forget that Christ is a King. No one could reasonably suppose that Christ has bronze feet or eyes that are flames of fire, but these picture-symbols point to something greater than what we see with the imagination, accessible only by faith and the Spirit, and that by reason and not without it.
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