Sunday, April 24, 2011

Statues of Jesus

Question Received: Is having a statue of Jesus wrong?

My Answer:

During the time of the Reformation in the 1500's Protestants, in their reaction to the excesses they saw in the Catholic church, removed most if not all art from church in places of worship. The Reformers saw abuse in how pictures and statues were used withe prayers, veneration and worship practices. Statues and icons are used to day in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and some Protestant churches. A scripture sited in support of removing art in worship is the second commandment-

Exodus 20:4-6 [ESV] 4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved 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. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Statues of Jesus, or any likeness of God or any creature are of course not to be worshiped. Moses warned the people about making objects of worship or even an object representing the Lord who they had not seen.
Deuteronomy 4:15-18 [ESV] "Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth."

Many Protestant churches have a picture of Jesus in them. Yes, there are some people who see this as wrong. Almost every church that has printed Sunday School material has a picture of Jesus in it. We of course should not worship or be superstitious towards or pray to a piece of art.
Is having a statue of Jesus wrong. No. Is worshiping the work of art wrong? Yes.
Is thinking there is power or superstition associated with the art wrong? Yes.
If you think their is something more to art than art you would be wrong and in sin.
We worship the Creator and not a creation.
One caution. A picture or statue can slant thinking in making assumptions that are nor true. Leonardo Di Vinci made a portrait of John that has led many people to view him as feminine, and led further art of John to do like wise. Art celebrating the Lord is not wrong. We do not worship it. However, I would be very discerning of any art work that declares to depict something unknown like the physical appearance of our Lord.

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