We have been discussing the abuse of the Second Commandment when it comes to portrayals of Christ and I couldn’t help but bring these two photos to light concerning the issue. The first is of Kenny Loggins, a singer-songwriter from the 1980s. Here he is portrayed on the cover of his album Keep the Fire.
Next, we have this picture I took in the lobby of a Seventh Day Adventist Church. Remember, the Seventh Day Adventist are fanatics about worshipping on the seventh day of the week, as opposed to the first day of the week along with the rest of Christendom. They are doing so in an attempt to keep the Fourth Commandment. However, they have no problem breaking Second Commandment with the following painting:
Do you see a strange resemblance between the two pictures? I don’t know about you, but something tells me the artist who drew the Jesus wannabe owes a big apology to Kenny Loggins for copyright infringement.
As for the issues concerning the Second Commandment, let me give you a quick review of why we should never paint pictures of Christ:
- Any portrayal of Christ is a lie because we don’t know what he looked like, except that he was nothing to really look at.
- If the portrayal is actually Christ, then we should worship the painting or sculpture.
- The writers of the New Testament knew what Jesus looked liked, but never gave us any physical description of His appearance, thereby showing that they were honoring Christ by keeping the Second Commandment.
- Any representation of Christ, regardless of good intentions, robs Christ of the honor and glory due to Him given that we can never represent Him in a drawing or sculpture adequately.
- There are no models or actors on earth that are worthy to play Him in a movie, play or photo, given that all actors are totally depraved and this disqualifies them for the role of Jesus.
- God said not to make images of Him, this “Him” includes Christ.
OK, hope this helps some of you think through the issues. Neither picture above is that of Jesus. It is a sin to portray Him in any manner. Below is the catechism questions concerning the Second Commandment from the Westminster Confession of Faith. If you don’t like my explanations, please read these and maybe that will be helpful.
Q. 107. Which is the second commandment?
A. The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven 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. 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 showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Q. 108. What are the duties required in the second commandment?
A. The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath instituted in his Word; particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the Word; the administration and receiving of the sacraments; church government and discipline; the ministry and maintainance thereof; religious fasting; swearing by the name of God; and vowing unto him; as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing all false worship; and, according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.
Q. 109. What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counselling, commanding, using, and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; tolerating a false religion; 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 pretence whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.
Q. 110. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it?
A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it, contained in these words, 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 showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments; are, besides God’s sovereignty over us, and propriety in us, his fervent zeal for his own worship, and his revengeful indignation against all false worship, as being a spiritual whoredom; accounting the breakers of this commandment such as hate him, and threatening to punish them unto divers generations; and esteeming the observers of it such as love him and keep his commandments, and promising mercy to them unto many generations.