Kenny Loggins and Bad Pictures of Jesus Wannabes

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.

KLoggins

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:

BadJesus

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;[518] particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ;[519] the reading, preaching, and hearing of the Word;[520] the administration and receiving of the sacraments;[521] church government and discipline;[522] the ministry and maintainance thereof;[523] religious fasting;[524] swearing by the name of God;[525] and vowing unto him;[526] as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing all false worship;[527] and, according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.[528]

Q. 109. What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?

A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising,[529] counselling,[530] commanding,[531] using,[532] and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself;[533] 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;[534] all worshipping of it,[535] or God in it or by it;[536] the making of any representation of feigned deities,[537] and all worship of them, or service belonging to them,[538] all superstitious devices,[539] corrupting the worship of God,[540]adding to it, or taking from it,[541] whether invented and taken up of ourselves,[542] or received by tradition from others,[543] though under the title of antiquity,[544] custom,[545] devotion,[546] 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.

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22 thoughts on “Kenny Loggins and Bad Pictures of Jesus Wannabes

    1. Yes, I love my mother. But she has not commanded me not to make images of her, as God has done with Himself. The images I have of her, are also actually images of her, and not lies about her. The images of her accurately portray her and are not false representations. All images of Christ are false representations of Him. For someone so committed to the Truth as He was, you would think His followers would be as well.

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      1. I really don’t want to argue with you, Timothy, since I know we disagree. But God Himself gave us an image of Himself in the human face of the Lord. What makes you so sure that the images we have are “false”? They convey the Lord’s attributes — His Cross, His wounds, other essentials of the Gospel — and inspire faithful the world over to greater devotion to Him (the only purpose of devotional art). Are these things “false”? Art has not been concerned with photorealism until very recent centuries.

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      2. Joseph, you are right. We will not agree. You are using arguments to say the Second Commandment has no place in the life of a believer, a command in which God said not to make images.

        As for your question: if the art is to represent Jesus Christ, yes, it’s false. Why must you use false images to inspire greater devotion at all? Why must you use images at all for devotion? We are to be people of His word, not images. He gives us two images, that of baptism and the LORD’s supper, but all others are man’s inventions. Use His word and actions in history to inspire devotion. We need not break the Second Commandment to do that.

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      3. I think the problem is that you are trying to appeal to emotion and human reason for your position, instead of Scripture. In that regard, we will never agree. But you knew that.

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  1. The prohibition of the Ten Commandments is about *worshipping* images as gods, not *making* images in every case — since God Himself commanded the Israelites to make images on at several occasions: the cherubim on the mercy seat of the Ark, on the tabernacle, and in the temple, and the bronze serpent in the desert. Is God breaking His own commandment? No, the bronze serpent was a godly thing only *until* the people began to worship it. The same applies to Christians: we shall have no other gods before Him. An image not worshipped is not an idol.

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    1. Again, if you make an image of Christ, then it should be worshipped, since it is of Christ. And, I know of cases where Catholics have bowed down to a doll representing baby Jesus, in worship. But that is beside the case.

      The admonition of the Second Commandment is against making images of God Himself, and as I have pointed out, you rob glory when you make a image of Christ that does not represent Him accurately. It’s simple: God’s word says “don’t do x.” And you are arguing for case of why doing “x” might be good. As for the image of the temple, we are no longer worshipping in the temple given to Israel, so that no longer applies. However, the moral law does.

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      1. Again, do you *love* the image of your mother, or what the image represents? Why, then, should anybody *worship* an image of Christ — especially given the Commandment? You’re setting up a straw man: If you worship an image, then you’re an idolator, and if you make an image of Christ, then you must worship it. But that is not in fact what anybody who makes images of Christ believes. Unless you mean to argue that all art is idolatry (“thou shalt not make any graven image”) — and that God contradicts Himself (i.e
        the command to make an image of a bronze serpent, etc.) — then the Commandment not to “make a graven image” is to be taken in the full context of the verse, that is, not to “bow and worship” an image. If God Himself showed that the Commandment does not apply to *all* images, then you can’t in turn argue that it does (“don’t do it”). And if it does not apply to *all* images, then it only applies to those that are “bowed and worshipped,” as the Scripture itself reads. All the rest of your argument, about an image “robbing glory” from Christ, goes beyond anything taught in Scripture.

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      2. “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

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      3. Again, my love for my mother is irrelevant to the conversation. You are appealing to emotionalism again, not Scripture. Come up with Scripture at shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that making an image of Christ, apart from what is given in God’s word, is acceptable and right? Otherwise, your argument continues to be against the Second Commandment, not my application of it.

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      4. You are Joseph. If the commandment is good for worship, then why not always? BTW, you never address the countless Catholics who see an image of Christ, bow down and cross themselves? Nope, no worship there.

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      5. What I meant also to say, if the commandment is only for “worship” as you have said, does that mean adultery is OK as long as it is not done so in the confines of worship?

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      6. Do you really mean to argue that any making of any image is in prohibition of the Commandment? The commandment against adultery says nothing about worship; the one about idolatry explicitly does.

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      7. Goodness! They are of the same stone, given at the same time. So idolatry, or worshipping another god, is OK, as long as it is not done inside of worship? Do you really fail to see your logic breaking down here? You are saying that it is ok to break a commandment of God as long as it is done so outside the confines of worship. Is it OK to take His name in vain, if done so outside of worship?

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      8. … huh? The commandment is against idolatry, that is, worshipping another god, and that’s wrong in any case. The commandment is *not* against the mere making of an image. I am not saying that it is okay to break any commandment, ever. I am saying — and the Commandment itself says — that to break the Commandment is to create an image and worship it. I have not made any argument that the text of the commandments has not itself made.

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  2. I find Joseph’s assertion that he doesn’t “want to argue” extremely disingenuous. I would also ask Joseph what makes him “so sure” that the images he cherishes so much are accurate representations of Christ. The burden of proof rests on him, since he seeks to abrogate a clear command of God. If only one could compare Joseph’s idols with the actual “human face of the Lord,” or the cross, or Christ’s wounds…but God, in His wisdom, did not give us these tokens. And, if we had them, they would be tokens only. What God wants us to know, Who and how he wants us to worship, He has revealed to us in His Word alone. But, for some people, God’s Word is insufficient. May the LORD have mercy and grant us His grace.

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    1. “God does not give us” the Cross, or Christ’s wounds? Or representations of them? What, then, are the Gospels? Does God’s Word not itself represent those things to us?

      As for my being disingenuous, I’ve tried to walk away from this at least twice. I would like to try again.

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      1. Thank you, Joseph, for restating my point by asking “God does not give us” the Cross, or Christ’s wounds? Or representations of them? What, then, are the Gospels? Does God’s Word not itself represent those things to us? [my emphasis added].

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  3. Joseph,

    As Timothy pointed out, would not any image of Christ therefore be from someone’s imagination and not really what Christ looked like, but one of the artist’s making?

    My favorite analogy to make the point is this: If I carry a photo of a model in my wallet and tell everyone this photo represents my wife, would I be properly representing my wife? Would it be respectful of my wife or would it cause her to be jealous? God tells us that He is a jealous God, so would it not be insulting to Him to have a false representation being claimed as Jesus?

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