Calvin Against Images Of Christ

God has forbidden two things [ cf. Exodus 20:4-5]. First, the making of any picture of Him…. The other is, that no image may be worshipped….

The setting up of images in churches, is a defiling . . . By and by, folk go and kneel down to it. . . . The Papists . . . paint and portray ‘Jesus Christ’ – Who (as we know) is not only man but also God manifested in the flesh. He is God’s eternal Son, in Whom the fullness of the Godhead dwells – yes, even 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 moping and mowing in the church – it is all one as if the Devil had defaced the Son of God. You see, then, that the Papists are destitute of all excuse . . . They abuse their puppets and pictures, after that fashion.

John Calvin | Sermons on Deuteronomy (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, repr. in 1987), 138a51–55 and 138b3–48). Online here (footnote reference no. 69).


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  1. Well, I stayed tuned and have my answer.

    In the case of Sproul v. Godfrey, Calvin finds in favor of the defendant.

    Many thanks!

  2. I know that to which Jesse refers. I was actually disappointed in the panel, except for Dr. Godfrey. It was refreshing to hear him speak unambiguously.

    Is there something wrong with me to think that we should very disturbed when people are willing to accept images of God? Should we just be quiet among Christians when we hear them praising art which depicts God? Many of those men would speak out firmly and clearly on issues relating to sexual immorality, like Al Mohler. If some Christians speak about accepting immorality, everyone seems to speak out to correct. But when it comes to the commandment concerning images, they actually defend the use of images!

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