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Re: Christ, Art, and the Second Commandment

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  • gmw
    I did some research with my own children, to whom I show NO pictures of Christ. I asked if Christ had a true body. They said yes. I asked, are you sure,
    Message 1 of 7 , Feb 24, 2004
      I did some research with my own children, to whom I show NO pictures
      of Christ. I asked if Christ had a true body. They said yes. I
      asked, "are you sure, since daddy never shows you pictures of His
      body?" and they said "yes" (they're sure). So much for the "what
      you're inadvertently teaching your children" theory.

      Things in this article that appear to me to be decidedly UNreformed:

      1. The idea that images that are religious in nature are allowed,
      just not for use in worship, because God commanded that some images be
      used, ignores the (Reformed) regulative principle of worship, which
      says that if God commands the use of an image, we use an image, but if
      He doesn't... then we don't. We are not commanded to use images of
      Christ, so we don't. That God commanded the use of this or that, is
      no defense for man inventing this or that of his own imagination.
      That Christ came in the flesh and was seen of men, is no defense for
      men who have never seen Christ in the flesh making images of what they
      think part of his human nature looked like, and calling that image an
      image of "Christ" who is God in the flesh.

      2. The idea that not only may we use pictures of Christ to teach
      about Christ, but (by strong implication) if we forbid them we are
      denying that Christ had a body, is beyond unReformed, it's just flat
      out stupid.

      3. The Reformed Churches and their divines had it all (dangerously)
      wrong, Gentry, however, has figured it out. Yeah, ok.

      gmw.
    • Colin
      ... pictures ... Dr. Gentry only made that statement by *contrasting* it with pictures of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Jesus Disciples . Gentry wasn t
      Message 2 of 7 , Feb 25, 2004
        --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "gmw"
        <raging.calvinist@v...> wrote:
        >
        > I did some research with my own children, to whom I show NO
        pictures
        > of Christ. I asked if Christ had a true body. They said yes. I
        > asked, "are you sure, since daddy never shows you pictures of His
        > body?" and they said "yes" (they're sure). So much for the "what
        > you're inadvertently teaching your children" theory.

        Dr. Gentry only made that statement by *contrasting* it with
        pictures of "Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" and Jesus' "Disciples".
        Gentry wasn't talking about whether any child knows about the
        existence of Christ's body from another source (such as the Bible
        and catechisms). His point was that if you have pictures of Christ's
        disciples, but never of the *incarnate* Christ himself, the danger
        is that you are teaching that Christ had no *physical* presence
        while on earth (hence, the Docetist heresy).

        So Gerry,if you are going to critcise a lawfully ordained reformed
        presbyterian minister like Dr. Gentry, at least try and keep the
        context of his comments straight.

        >
        > Things in this article that appear to me to be decidedly
        > UNreformed:
        >
        > 1. The idea that images that are religious in nature are allowed,
        > just not for use in worship, because God commanded that some
        > images be used, ignores the (Reformed) regulative principle of
        > worship, which says that if God commands the use of an image, we
        use an image, but if
        > He doesn't... then we don't.

        Are you saying that the RPW applies to *outside* of worship too?

        > We are not commanded to use images of
        > Christ, so we don't.

        In *worship* services yes, but how does that relate to outside the
        church sanctuary? You know, the rest of God's World?

        > That God commanded the use of this or that, is
        > no defense for man inventing this or that of his own imagination.

        So is all art then sinful?

        > That Christ came in the flesh and was seen of men, is no defense
        > for men who have never seen Christ in the flesh making images of
        > what they think part of his human nature looked like, and calling
        > that image an image of "Christ" who is God in the flesh.

        Why not? You are only begging the question here.

        > 2. The idea that not only may we use pictures of Christ to teach
        > about Christ, but (by strong implication) if we forbid them we are
        > denying that Christ had a body, is beyond unReformed, it's just
        > flat out stupid.

        No, its serious heresy to deny the physical incarnation of Christ,
        either directly or by implication. "Pictures of Christ" are not
        guilty of that heresy, or of breaking the second commandment if no
        one worships the image. But the *forbidding* of making pictures of
        the incarnate Christ is no different from Baptists who equally
        forbid drinking beer and smoking cigars under the false guise of
        being "holy" or obeying God. IOW its a manmade law and
        therefore "unreformed".

        BTW your comment about calling Dr. Gentry's argument as, "flat out
        stupid" is clearly an attempt to compensate for your lack of ability
        to answers his arguments (similar to the polemics employed by Peter
        Ruckman).

        > 3. The Reformed Churches and their divines had it all
        > (dangerously)
        > wrong, Gentry, however, has figured it out. Yeah, ok.

        Newsflash! Reformed Churches and "their divines" are fallible! (cf.
        WCF XXXI:4) Thus, it is possible that on certain cultural matters
        outside of corporate church worship, they just *might* have been
        wrong on occasion. Its a historical fact that the English Puritans
        were the *least* artistic of all religious cultures. This was quite
        probably due to some of their overreactions to Popery (just as hyper-
        Calvinists tend to over-reaction to Arminianism).

        And why do you think Baptists think that it is a sin to drink Beer
        and smoking cigars? Because of an epistemological over reaction to
        those cultural habits (which are practiced by most Modernists
        and "worldly men" in their thinking).

        BTW Gerry I do appreciate the several reformed quotations that you
        have provided here recently. They were very informative and
        edifying, though most of them seemed to refer to second commandment
        issues *within* corporate worship. But we shouldn't assume that just
        because we greatly admire the puritans and their many precious
        writings, that they were always right about everything.

        For example, you cited puritan, Thomas Vincent's Exposition on the
        Shorter Catechism. Vincent has a slightly erroneous view of the
        ninth commandment. He believes that all lies and deception are
        unlawful. Thus, any military strategy based on deceiving the enemy
        are "sinful". Or any deception used by a sports team (like in
        football) is seen as sinful. Any deception used to save a human life
        (like Rahab the Harlot did with Joshua) is seen by Vincent as
        sinful. The same too, with the deception practiced by the Hebrew
        midwives, and the deception practiced by Joseph and Mary against
        King Herod when they deliberately left the city by *night* (to avoid
        Herod's men). Thus, Vincent's *moralistic* and *absolutist* approach
        to the ninth commandment is open to serious question.

        This of course is not meant as a refutation of Vincent's great book
        on the Catechism, but only a critical observation in light of him
        and his Godly peers known fallibility.

        Colin
      • gmw
        ... Right, and then I tested his theory on my children, and we all laughed and thought the theory stupid. ... I m saying that the 2nd commandment condemns...
        Message 3 of 7 , Feb 26, 2004
          --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Colin "
          <cbx292000@y...> wrote:

          > His point was that if you have pictures of Christ's
          > disciples, but never of the *incarnate* Christ himself, the danger
          > is that you are teaching that Christ had no *physical* presence
          > while on earth (hence, the Docetist heresy).

          Right, and then I tested his theory on my children, and we all laughed
          and thought the theory stupid.

          > Are you saying that the RPW applies to *outside* of worship too?

          I'm saying that the 2nd commandment condemns...

          1. Images of God, regardless of which Person of the Godhead, as the
          command forbids not only the serving of and bowing down to them, but
          also the MAKING of them. Images of Christ ARE religious in nature, as
          Christ was the God-Man, and He SHOULD provoke devotion from us. He
          was not a merely an historical figure, like Lincoln or Freud, and we
          may not view Christ that way. And if the images do provoke devotion,
          then they are indeed images, and forbidden in this commandment.

          2. Images of fishes, birds, cows, and any other creature, as present
          or used in worship. Unlike Christ, with fish, cows, birds, or any
          other creature, we may view them with no religious significance
          whatsoever, but when we have these images present in worship, they
          provoke idolatry. We may not make them for religious purposes, we may
          not serve them, we may not worship them.

          So, no, I am not attempting to apply the RPW outside of worship, but
          neither am I trying to remove Jesus as an object of worship.

          > So is all art then sinful?

          See Calvin's Institutes Book 1, and the Heidelberg Catechism on the
          2nd Commandment. I can't believe I'm having to go over this pretty
          basic stuff with you.

          > > That Christ came in the flesh and was seen of men, is no defense
          > > for men who have never seen Christ in the flesh making images of
          > > what they think part of his human nature looked like, and calling
          > > that image an image of "Christ" who is God in the flesh.
          >
          > Why not? You are only begging the question here.

          Again, this is pretty standard stuff from anyone writing on this from
          a Reformed perspective.

          First, because the image is NOT Christ, why shall you call it Christ?
          We do not know what Christ looked like, whether our model should be
          more of the guy Mel Gibson used, or a Danny DeVito type -- we don't
          know. Anyone's attempt of portraying Christ then becomes not an
          actual portraying of Christ, but an idealization of man. It may come
          close, it may miss by a mile, we simply have no way of checking. I
          remember a JW coming to my door, wanting to hand me a book called "Who
          was Jesus" with a picture of a bearded man sitting on a rock with
          children on his lap. I asked, "who is that supposed to be?" She
          said, "what do you mean"? I said is that Jesus? She said "No one
          knows what Jesus looked like." I answered, well then who is that on
          your book? "It's Jesus." But it's NOT Jesus, it's some JW's guess at
          what he may have looked something like. Christians want Christ, not
          best guesses at Christ, but Christ. And second, because God's doing
          something cannot automatically excuse us to do the same... God may
          present his backside to Moses, shall we paint the Father's backside?
          We have a commandment forbiding images of God, so the answer is no.

          > No, its serious heresy to deny the physical incarnation of Christ,
          > either directly or by implication.

          Colin, we do not disagree that it is a serious heresy. Were I
          disagree is that I think the suggestion that not showing my children
          pictures of Christ is inadvertantly teaching them Docetism is stupid.
          And I also find the implication that all the Reformed Churches until
          guys like Gentry came along to correct us have been inadvertant
          Docetists to be stupid.

          > "Pictures of Christ" are not guilty of that heresy,

          The stupidness lies in this... that you (and unbelievably, apparently
          others) will accuse reformed folks, who strongly affirm that Christ
          came in the flesh, of being dangerously close to teaching Docetism (if
          not doing it outright, as your 2nd post in this serious suggested)
          because we believe that Christ the God-man is to be understood in the
          2nd Commandment, but I can hear the crying and moaning in my head
          already, if someone accuses you, who strongly affirms the divinity of
          Christ, of being an Arian, because of your desire to portray only His
          humanness calling it Christ. This is stupid, this is not the issue,
          let's move on.

          > But the *forbidding* of making pictures of
          > the incarnate Christ is no different from Baptists who equally
          > forbid drinking beer and smoking cigars under the false guise of
          > being "holy" or obeying God. IOW its a manmade law and
          > therefore "unreformed".

          No, there is a difference as one has a commandment, the other does
          not. (sigh... weary of hearing the defense of idols being called
          Reformed.... how far we've fallen... how far we have yet to fall!)

          > BTW your comment about calling Dr. Gentry's argument as, "flat out
          > stupid" is clearly an attempt to compensate for your lack of ability
          > to answers his arguments (similar to the polemics employed by Peter
          > Ruckman).

          Give me a break. The argument was stupid, and should be declared by
          all to be stupid. Gentry is better than that, he's not stupid, and so
          he does not need to use stupid arguments. As for my lack of ability
          to answer his arguments.... they have been answered... a long long
          time ago. I'm not a doctor of the Church, and I've not been called to
          take on other doctors of the Church. I must rely on the people God
          did call to do that, many of which were quoted here in the past few
          days as warning us AGAINST the teachings Gentry is now resuscitating.
          And not all arguments (i.e. stupid ones) require an answer,
          regardless of the author.

          Turn the tables just a second... what about your inability to answer
          the arguments posted here by people actually defending the Reformed
          position against images, throwing out not the term stupid, but
          DOCETISM? (if you think to yourself, hey! I said more than just
          that... then you may taste some of the frustration I'm experiencing
          when you make comments like this).

          > Newsflash! Reformed Churches and "their divines" are fallible!

          Here we go with this stuff again. Keep this bullet by your bedside in
          case anyone breaks in defending historic Reformed Protestantism! lol.

          Once again, and I recall seeing this written to you by not just one
          person over the time you've been here, that the were fallible does not
          prove that therefore they were in error on this or that matter. What
          you need to do is to show why they were in error, and telling us they
          they were ALL TO THE MAN closet Docetists is not cutting it.

          > This was quite probably due to some of their overreactions to Popery
          >(just as hyper-Calvinists tend to over-reaction to Arminianism).

          Except hyper-calvinism is demonstrably wrong when compared to
          Scripture and to those historic Calvinists who faithfully expounded
          and applied those Scriptures.

          > But we shouldn't assume that just
          > because we greatly admire the puritans and their many precious
          > writings, that they were always right about everything.

          This is never the case, and shouldn't have to be explained every
          single time someone comes in here espousing a view contrary to the
          historic Reformed Faith.

          > For example, you cited puritan, Thomas Vincent's Exposition on the
          > Shorter Catechism. Vincent has a slightly erroneous view of the
          > ninth commandment. He believes that all lies and deception are
          > unlawful. Thus, any military strategy based on deceiving the enemy
          > are "sinful". Or any deception used by a sports team (like in
          > football) is seen as sinful.

          If you could supply the quote where he condemns the use of strategy in
          war and footbal, or where he condemns the midwives, that would be
          helpful... I briefly skimmed over my copy and missed it. If you can't
          find it, or don't want to take the time to find it and post it, that's
          ok, as I think it's taking us off topic.

          gmw.
        • gmw
          Forgive the typos, please. Typed with a migraine. gmw.
          Message 4 of 7 , Feb 26, 2004
            Forgive the typos, please. Typed with a migraine.

            gmw.
          • Colin
            ... Gerry, the test on your children was not properly applied since it was not based on the *context* of Gentry s argument. Obviously one is going to find
            Message 5 of 7 , Feb 27, 2004
              --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "gmw"
              <raging.calvinist@v...> wrote:
              > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Colin "
              > <cbx292000@y...> wrote:
              >
              > > His point was that if you have pictures of Christ's
              > > disciples, but never of the *incarnate* Christ himself, the
              > > danger is that you are teaching that Christ had no *physical*
              > > presence while on earth (hence, the Docetist heresy).
              >
              > Right, and then I tested his theory on my children, and we all
              > laughed and thought the theory stupid.

              Gerry, the "test" on your children was not properly applied since it
              was not based on the *context* of Gentry's argument. Obviously
              one is going to find some "stupidity" from "strawman* versions of
              an opponent's arguments, rather than from the actual argument
              itself.

              Furthermore, you only undermine your own *credibility* by
              dismissing another person's argument as "stupid" (especially
              when you *misrepresent* the actual argument itself).

              Now I could equally label all your puritan "copy and paste"
              quotations as "stupid" too, but I doubt that you or anyone else
              would be impressed with that tactic. LIkewise, I am not at all
              impressed (nor should anyone else be) of your derogatory and
              childish rhetoric employed against Gentry's article.

              > > Are you saying that the RPW applies to *outside* of worship
              > > too?
              >
              > I'm saying that the 2nd commandment condemns...
              >
              > 1. Images of God, regardless of which Person of the
              > Godhead, as the command forbids not only the serving of and
              > bowing down to them, but also the MAKING of them.

              No one disputes this, not me, not Dr. Gentry either, because no
              one is talking about making "images of God".

              > Images of Christ ARE religious in nature, as
              > Christ was the God-Man, and He SHOULD provoke devotion
              > from us.

              So if you have a mental "image" of Christ in your mind, are you
              breaking the 2nd commandment? Were the Apostles who had
              seen Christ and had *remembered* him (especially during
              Communion) breaking the 2nd commandment by their *image*
              memory of Him? Or where they only to *remember* Him as a
              mere mental proposition?

              > He was not a merely an historical figure, like Lincoln or Freud,
              > and we may not view Christ that way.

              Jesus was a *historical* figure, the greatest historical figure the
              world has ever had. That he wasn't *only* a historical figure is a
              given. But there is no scriptural prohibition against viewing Christ
              as a "historical figure", since He was very much a part of human
              history.

              > And if the images do provoke devotion,
              > then they are indeed images, and forbidden in this
              > commandment.

              Yet they are only "images" of His *humanity* and not of His deity,
              therefore, such images are not forbidden in the second
              commandment. The historic orthodox creeds and confessions
              all *forbid* the "mixing" and "confusing" his two distinct natures.

              > 2. Images of fishes, birds, cows, and any other creature, as
              > present or used in worship.
              > Unlike Christ, with fish, cows, birds, or any other creature, we
              > may view them with no religious significance whatsoever, but
              > when we have these images present in worship, they
              > provoke idolatry.

              Agreed. The key phrase here is "present in worship".

              > We may not make them for religious purposes, we may
              > not serve them, we may not worship them.

              Again agreed

              > So, no, I am not attempting to apply the RPW outside of
              > worship, but neither am I trying to remove Jesus as an object
              > of worship.

              Neither does Gentry's article.

              > > So is all art then sinful?
              >
              > See Calvin's Institutes Book 1, and the Heidelberg Catechism
              > on the 2nd Commandment. I can't believe I'm having to go
              > over this pretty basic stuff with you.

              Dr. Gentry *cites* Calvin's Institutes on the use and misuse of
              images. Perhaps you need to *reread* Calvin since you have
              obviously missed some "pretty basic stuff" about his views.

              >
              > Again, this is pretty standard stuff from anyone writing on this
              > from a Reformed perspective.

              Ken Gentry wrote his article from a distinctly "Reformed
              perspective" and cited from Calvin and the WLC. Perhaps you
              are not as familar with "pretty standard stuff" as you think you are.

              >
              > First, because the image is NOT Christ, why shall you call it
              > Christ?

              Communion bread is not "Christ", yet Christ said it was His Body
              and Blood at one time. An "image of Christ" is just an *image* of
              Christ and not Christ Himself, just as much as a painting of your
              family is merely a *painting* (an artist's rendering) of your family.
              So if you had a painting of your wife and kids, would you not call it
              "your wife and kids" even though its a mere painted portrait? Do
              you not do that with photographs of your family too?

              > We do not know what Christ looked like, whether our model
              > should be more of the guy Mel Gibson used, or a Danny DeVito
              > type -- we don't know. Anyone's attempt of portraying Christ
              > then becomes not an actual portraying of Christ, but an
              > idealization of man. It may come close, it may miss by a mile,
              > we simply have no way of checking.

              Gerry, you ought to know that for many years I had held to your
              position on images of Christ. In fact, I even appealed to the
              *ninth* commmandment against images of Christ for the very
              reasons you mention above.

              But the fact is that we all *create* images of historical events in
              our minds when we turn to think about them. I'm sure you make
              images in your mind about how the scottish covenanters were
              tortured and martyred, even though you don't know *exactly* how
              the events were physically occurred since there are no
              photographs of those tragic events. Thus, you rely on your own
              mental "portraits" of those events when reading about them in
              history books.

              And if we are honest, we would admit to doing the same thing
              with the historical events in the Bible, *including* the life and
              death and resurrection of Christ. Christ was not a mere mental
              proposition as I mentioned before, He was a real human
              historical person on earth. And the Apostles all had mental
              images of Him in their memories.

              > Christians want Christ, not best guesses at Christ, but Christ.

              Granted, but since He is *physically* absent, all we have now are
              "best guesses" of His real humanity in our minds, as well as His
              real *spiritual* presence with us. Also, you may have only a "best
              guess" of what your great, great, great grandfather once looked
              like, but he is still your real grand father nevertheless.

              When we are told in the Bible to "remember" Christ's death
              during communion, that would necessarily involve "best guess
              "mental images of Christ's crucifixion, even though for us, it is
              not based on actual memory like the Apostles had.

              > And second, because God's doing something cannot
              > automatically excuse us to do the same... God may
              > present his backside to Moses, shall we paint the Father's
              > backside?

              Does not the very mention of this passage create a mental
              "image" for you? What then is the difference between a created
              mental image and a created painted image? And did Moses sin
              when he actually *saw* that "backside"? And did He sin when he
              subsequently recalled in his mind the image of that "backside"?
              (obviously a visual experience that one is not likely to ever forget!)

              > We have a commandment forbiding images of God, so the
              > answer is no.

              The incident in Exodus 33 does not specifically forbid images of
              "backsides", only images of God's *face* which Moses was
              *specifically* forbidden to see. However, one could make a case
              against making painted images of God's "backside", but that
              would not be the same thing as painted images of the
              *incarnate* Christ.

              To be continued....

              Colin
            • gmw
              You still have the last word. gmw. ... the ... all ... it ... the ... Christ ... this ... of ... this ... are. ... family. ... it ... Christ ... an ...
              Message 6 of 7 , Feb 27, 2004
                You still have the last word.

                gmw.

                --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Colin "
                <cbx292000@y...> wrote:
                > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "gmw"
                > <raging.calvinist@v...> wrote:
                > > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Colin "
                > > <cbx292000@y...> wrote:
                > >
                > > > His point was that if you have pictures of Christ's
                > > > disciples, but never of the *incarnate* Christ himself,
                the
                > > > danger is that you are teaching that Christ had no *physical*
                > > > presence while on earth (hence, the Docetist heresy).
                > >
                > > Right, and then I tested his theory on my children, and we
                all
                > > laughed and thought the theory stupid.
                >
                > Gerry, the "test" on your children was not properly applied since
                it
                > was not based on the *context* of Gentry's argument. Obviously
                > one is going to find some "stupidity" from "strawman* versions of
                > an opponent's arguments, rather than from the actual argument
                > itself.
                >
                > Furthermore, you only undermine your own *credibility* by
                > dismissing another person's argument as "stupid" (especially
                > when you *misrepresent* the actual argument itself).
                >
                > Now I could equally label all your puritan "copy and paste"
                > quotations as "stupid" too, but I doubt that you or anyone else
                > would be impressed with that tactic. LIkewise, I am not at all
                > impressed (nor should anyone else be) of your derogatory and
                > childish rhetoric employed against Gentry's article.
                >
                > > > Are you saying that the RPW applies to *outside* of worship
                > > > too?
                > >
                > > I'm saying that the 2nd commandment condemns...
                > >
                > > 1. Images of God, regardless of which Person of
                the
                > > Godhead, as the command forbids not only the serving of and
                > > bowing down to them, but also the MAKING of them.
                >
                > No one disputes this, not me, not Dr. Gentry either, because no
                > one is talking about making "images of God".
                >
                > > Images of Christ ARE religious in nature, as
                > > Christ was the God-Man, and He SHOULD provoke devotion
                > > from us.
                >
                > So if you have a mental "image" of Christ in your mind, are you
                > breaking the 2nd commandment? Were the Apostles who had
                > seen Christ and had *remembered* him (especially during
                > Communion) breaking the 2nd commandment by their *image*
                > memory of Him? Or where they only to *remember* Him as a
                > mere mental proposition?
                >
                > > He was not a merely an historical figure, like Lincoln or Freud,
                > > and we may not view Christ that way.
                >
                > Jesus was a *historical* figure, the greatest historical figure the
                > world has ever had. That he wasn't *only* a historical figure is a
                > given. But there is no scriptural prohibition against viewing
                Christ
                > as a "historical figure", since He was very much a part of human
                > history.
                >
                > > And if the images do provoke devotion,
                > > then they are indeed images, and forbidden in
                this
                > > commandment.
                >
                > Yet they are only "images" of His *humanity* and not of His deity,
                > therefore, such images are not forbidden in the second
                > commandment. The historic orthodox creeds and confessions
                > all *forbid* the "mixing" and "confusing" his two distinct natures.
                >
                > > 2. Images of fishes, birds, cows, and any other creature, as
                > > present or used in worship.
                > > Unlike Christ, with fish, cows, birds, or any other creature, we
                > > may view them with no religious significance whatsoever, but
                > > when we have these images present in worship, they
                > > provoke idolatry.
                >
                > Agreed. The key phrase here is "present in worship".
                >
                > > We may not make them for religious purposes, we may
                > > not serve them, we may not worship them.
                >
                > Again agreed
                >
                > > So, no, I am not attempting to apply the RPW outside
                of
                > > worship, but neither am I trying to remove Jesus as an object
                > > of worship.
                >
                > Neither does Gentry's article.
                >
                > > > So is all art then sinful?
                > >
                > > See Calvin's Institutes Book 1, and the Heidelberg Catechism
                > > on the 2nd Commandment. I can't believe I'm having to go
                > > over this pretty basic stuff with you.
                >
                > Dr. Gentry *cites* Calvin's Institutes on the use and misuse of
                > images. Perhaps you need to *reread* Calvin since you have
                > obviously missed some "pretty basic stuff" about his views.
                >
                > >
                > > Again, this is pretty standard stuff from anyone writing on
                this
                > > from a Reformed perspective.
                >
                > Ken Gentry wrote his article from a distinctly "Reformed
                > perspective" and cited from Calvin and the WLC. Perhaps you
                > are not as familar with "pretty standard stuff" as you think you
                are.
                >
                > >
                > > First, because the image is NOT Christ, why shall you call it
                > > Christ?
                >
                > Communion bread is not "Christ", yet Christ said it was His Body
                > and Blood at one time. An "image of Christ" is just an *image* of
                > Christ and not Christ Himself, just as much as a painting of your
                > family is merely a *painting* (an artist's rendering) of your
                family.
                > So if you had a painting of your wife and kids, would you not call
                it
                > "your wife and kids" even though its a mere painted portrait? Do
                > you not do that with photographs of your family too?
                >
                > > We do not know what Christ looked like, whether our model
                > > should be more of the guy Mel Gibson used, or a Danny DeVito
                > > type -- we don't know. Anyone's attempt of portraying
                Christ
                > > then becomes not an actual portraying of Christ, but
                an
                > > idealization of man. It may come close, it may miss by a mile,
                > > we simply have no way of checking.
                >
                > Gerry, you ought to know that for many years I had held to your
                > position on images of Christ. In fact, I even appealed to the
                > *ninth* commmandment against images of Christ for the very
                > reasons you mention above.
                >
                > But the fact is that we all *create* images of historical events in
                > our minds when we turn to think about them. I'm sure you make
                > images in your mind about how the scottish covenanters were
                > tortured and martyred, even though you don't know *exactly* how
                > the events were physically occurred since there are no
                > photographs of those tragic events. Thus, you rely on your own
                > mental "portraits" of those events when reading about them in
                > history books.
                >
                > And if we are honest, we would admit to doing the same thing
                > with the historical events in the Bible, *including* the life and
                > death and resurrection of Christ. Christ was not a mere mental
                > proposition as I mentioned before, He was a real human
                > historical person on earth. And the Apostles all had mental
                > images of Him in their memories.
                >
                > > Christians want Christ, not best guesses at Christ, but Christ.
                >
                > Granted, but since He is *physically* absent, all we have now are
                > "best guesses" of His real humanity in our minds, as well as His
                > real *spiritual* presence with us. Also, you may have only a "best
                > guess" of what your great, great, great grandfather once looked
                > like, but he is still your real grand father nevertheless.
                >
                > When we are told in the Bible to "remember" Christ's death
                > during communion, that would necessarily involve "best guess
                > "mental images of Christ's crucifixion, even though for us, it is
                > not based on actual memory like the Apostles had.
                >
                > > And second, because God's doing something cannot
                > > automatically excuse us to do the same... God may
                > > present his backside to Moses, shall we paint the Father's
                > > backside?
                >
                > Does not the very mention of this passage create a mental
                > "image" for you? What then is the difference between a created
                > mental image and a created painted image? And did Moses sin
                > when he actually *saw* that "backside"? And did He sin when he
                > subsequently recalled in his mind the image of that "backside"?
                > (obviously a visual experience that one is not likely to ever
                forget!)
                >
                > > We have a commandment forbiding images of God, so the
                > > answer is no.
                >
                > The incident in Exodus 33 does not specifically forbid images of
                > "backsides", only images of God's *face* which Moses was
                > *specifically* forbidden to see. However, one could make a case
                > against making painted images of God's "backside", but that
                > would not be the same thing as painted images of the
                > *incarnate* Christ.
                >
                > To be continued....
                >
                > Colin
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