Not For Carvers Or Artists

Although Christ assumed human nature, yet he did not on that account assume it in order to provide a model for carvers and painters. He denied that he had come “to abolish the law and the prophets” (Matt. 5:17). But images are forbidden by the law and the prophets” (Deut. 4:15; Isa. 44:9). He denied that his bodily presence would be profitable for the Church, and promised that he would be near us by his Spirit forever (John 16:7). Who, therefore, would believe that a shadow or likeness of his body would contribute any benefit to the pious? (II Cor. 5:5). Since he abides in us by his Spirit, we are therefore the temple of God (I Cor. 3:16). But “what agreement has the temple of God with idols?” (II Cor. 6:16)

—Heinrich Bullinger, Second Helvetic Confession(1566), ch. 4.


  1. 1. Is it possible to read out His words without projecting an oral/aural impression of His voice?

    2. What about the images presented by film actors (Surely no reasonable person will think that the actor is a likeness of Him)?

  2. Aside from the rule against making images, every time someone tells you they have the freedom to make an image of Christ, tell them you have the freedom to ridicule, criticize, or reject such an image. It isn’t Jesus and we have no obligation to respect it. As long as I have the freedom to criticize/reject images that attempt to portray God, no one has the right to tell me I have a duty to respect any particular image. We have a duty to love our neighbor, who is made in the image of God; we don’t have a duty to love an image of God.

  3. There are Dutch Reformed Churches with stained-glass “Jesus” images. Much of the CRC literature has portrayals of “Jesus” on them and they are not the only ones.
    Whenever I have objected in the past I was told that it’s OK because Jesus “was” fully man while on earth. Palm to head! Or in the word of my paratrooper unit in the army, DUH!

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