Scroll down for 19 free MP3s (and many other free Reformation resources) on Puritan worship and the use of pictures of Christ (and other idols) for teaching, in worship, etc. Moreover, after all these free resources, don't miss the informative quotations on the topic of pictures of Christ.
"We must hold it as a first principle, that as often as any form is assigned to God, his glory is corrupted by an impious lie. In the Law, accordingly, after God had claimed the glory of divinity for himself alone, when he comes to show what kind of worship he approves and rejects, he immediately adds, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth," (Exod. 20:4). By these words he curbs any licentious attempt we might make to represent him by a visible shape, and briefly enumerates all the forms by which superstition had begun, even long before, to turn his truth into a lie... God makes no comparison between images, as if one were more, and another less befitting; he rejects, without exception, all shapes and pictures, and other symbols by which the superstitious imagine they can bring him near to them." - John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1.11.1, "Impiety Of Attributing A Visible Form To God. The Setting Up Of Idols A Defection From The True God."
"Calvin's argument is that there is no such thing as an 'innocent' religious image. Their acceptance alone is an act of idolatry, so that as soon as images appear, religion is corrupted and adulterated."- Carlos Eire, War Against the Idols: The Reformation of Worship from Erasmus to Calvin, p. 226 (cf. Institutes, 2.8.17).
"Take heed of all occasions of idolatry, for idolatry is devil-worship. Psalm 106: 37. If you search through the whole Bible, there is not one sin that God has more followed with plagues than idolatry. The Jews have a saying, that in every evil that befalls them, there is uncia aurei vituli, an ounce of the golden calf in it. Hell is a place for idolaters. 'For without are idolaters.' Rev 22: 15. Senesius calls the devil a rejoicer at idols, because the image-worshippers help to fill hell." - Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments (emphases added)
"Question 51: What is forbidden in the Second Commandment?
Answer 51: The Second Commandment forbiddeth the worshipping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in His Word." - Westminster Shorter Catechism (emphases added)
"Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves, (for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb, out of the midst of the fire), lest you corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image." - Deut. 4:15 (emphases added)
Amazing 54 Second Puritan Hard Drive Video Review by Pastor Scott Brown, Director of the National Center For Family Integrated Churches
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- Transcript from the Puritan Hard Drive review video above, by Pastor Scott Brown (Director of the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches)
The Master Search Index is where some of the greatest search and research opportunities exist on the Puritan Hard Drive. For example, a search for "idolatry" using the Master Search Index on the Puritan Hard Drive returns 15,613 results in 993 documents, and a search for "idol," using the Master Search Index on the Puritan Hard Drive returns 46,994 results in 1,232 documents. Additionally, a Master Search Index search for "image," on the Puritan Hard Drive returns 37,160 results in 1,484 documents and a Master Search Index search for "second commandment," returns 1,430 results in 266 documents. Moreover, all these search results are available in the context of one line and listed alphabetically by book title, including the author of each book.
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The Lord Jesus Christ said, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." - John 14:21
Puritan Worship and Pictures of Christ
(Free Reformation MP3s)
Pictures of Christ and Idolatry by Greg Price
This free MP3 defends the biblical position of the Protestant Reformation against the use of pictures and images of Christ, in opposition to the idolatry of Roman Catholicism and the first century Gnostics.
A powerful message exposing and rebuking "Evangelical" and "Reformed" compromisers and apostates in our day. In this message Richard Bennett names names, so you do not have to guess who it is you need to separate from, rebuke and expose. "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (2 Corinthians 6:17). "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" ( Ephesians 5:11).
Regarding John Calvin's On the Necessity of Reforming the Church Eire notes, "Calvin speaks about the nature of worship and about the seriousness of the sin of idolatry in his 1543 treatise, On the Necessity of Reforming the Church, where he concentrates on the significance of worship for the Christian religion. Calvin's argument, as indicated by the title of the treatise, is that the Church had reached such a corrupt state that its reform could wait no longer (just like the church in our time - ed.). The most significant aspect of corruption singled out by Calvin is the perversion of worship, and it is in explaining this issue that he set forth the basis for his attack on idolatry. Calvin begins by studying the place that worship holds in the Christian faith, and he concludes that it is one of the two elements that define Christianity: 'If it be asked, then, by what things chiefly the Christian religion has a standing amongst us, and maintains its truth, it will be found that the following two not only occupy the principal place, but comprehend under them all the other parts, and consequently the whole substance of Christianity, viz., a knowledge first, of the right way to worship God; and secondly of the source from which salvation is to be sought. When these are kept out of view, though we may glory in the name of Christians, our profession is empty and vain.'"
VIDEOS, BOOKS, ARTICLES, ETC., ON PICTURES OF CHRIST, IMAGES, THE SECOND COMMANDMENT (THE REGULATIVE PRINCIPLE OF WORSHIP) AND IDOLATRY
There are 637 Reformation resources (books, MP3s and videos) under the category "God's Law, The Ten Commandments, etc.," 6,401 Reformation resources (books, MP3s and videos) under the category "Sanctification, Prayer and Holiness" and 574 Reformation resources (books, MP3s and videos) under the category "Reformed Worship, The Regulative Principle, etc.," on the Puritan Hard Drive -- three categories that directly concern our understanding of our duties before God, as they are revealed in Scripture, regarding family, marriage, raising children and many other related topics.
There are 60 Reformation resources with the word "Idol" in the title on the Puritan Hard Drive. The word "idol" also occurs 170 times in the Puritan Hard Drive resource descriptions. Moreover, it takes just the click of a button (and less than a second, once you have added your search word or phrase) to look up any other words related to the family, on the Puritan Hard Drive.
RELATED FREE MP3s ON THE SECOND COMMANDMENT
The Ten Commandments (Westminster Larger Catechism, 1648) God's Law: Duties & Sins by the Westminster Divines
RELATED BOOKS AND WEB PAGES ON THE SECOND COMMANDMENT
God is Not to Be Worshipped as Represented By an Image (1675, reprinted 1845) by Benjamin Needler
A Protestant Antidote Against the Poison of Popery by Christopher Ness
Idolatry by J. C. Ryle
Soul Idolatry Excludes Men Out of Heaven by David Clarkson
The Ten Commandments (Exposition of the Shorter Catechism Drawn Up By the Westminster Assembly) by Thomas Watson
Worshipping God in Spirit and Truth by Hugh Binning
The Nature and Beauty of Gospel Worship by John Owen
Commentary on the Westminster Shorter Catechism (2 Volume Set) by Thomas Boston
WESTMINSTER LARGER CATECHISM ON THE SECOND COMMANDMENT
Question 107: Which is the second commandment?
Answer: 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.
Question 108: What are the duties required in the second commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God has instituted in his Word; particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the Word; the administration and receiving of the sacraments; church government and discipline; the ministry and maintenance thereof; religious fasting; swearing by the name of God, and vowing unto him: as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing, all false worship; and, according to each one's place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.
Question 109: What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; 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; all worshiping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them; all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretense: Whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God has appointed.
Question 110: What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it?
Answer: 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.
- The Westminster Larger Catechism, found in the printed book The Westminster Confession of Faith, 1647 (Original Edition, Free Presbyterian Publications, emphases added).
PAUL WASHER ON THE PURITAN HARD DRIVE
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The Classic Puritan And Reformed Position On Pictures Of Christ And The Second Commandment
"The majesty of God is defiled by an absurd and indecorous fiction, when he who is incorporeal is assimilated to corporeal matter; he who is invisible to a visible image; he who is spirit to an inanimate object; and he who fills all space to a bit of paltry wood, or stone, or gold
.... Hence it is manifest, that whatever statues are set up or pictures painted to represent God, are utterly displeasing to him, as a kind of insult to his majesty
- John Calvin
, Institutes of the Christian Religion
, Book 1, XI (emphases added)
The final section looks at four eras of church history. (1) It is a surprise, and contrary to popular opinion, to find that the Early Church rejected pictures to represent Christ. (2) It was several hundred years before the church started to use such images, but they finally became so popular that it became Roman Catholic doctrine to require their usage. (3) Then the Reformation churches got rid of these forbidden images -- and the reformation spread. (4) But now the modern Protestant churches use pictures to represent Christ like the Catholics do. Why? This study identifies a number of reasons why such pictures are used in today's church. None justify the pictures.
"I am shocked to see others who call themselves Biblical Christians make and laud illustrations, videos, wall pictures and children's instruction books portraying Christ
. This book is necessary to bring Christians to their senses
- Richard Bennett commenting on Christ Can't Be Pictured: God is Not Like Art
, emphases added (Richard Bennett is a converted Roman Catholic who served as parish priest for 22 years. See Berean Beacon
for more on Richard Bennett's ministry.)
In 1550, Calvin proudly wrote to Melancthon: "many, in order to avoid idolatry, are fleeing France and are coming to us in voluntary exile."1 Calvin often refers to idolatry as if were a plague: Once an area becomes infected with this virus, the only way the residents can escape contagion is by fleeing. Those who remain behind, surrounded by the disease, risk infection every day as long as they come into contact with its victims. Calvin was aware that not everyone was free to emigrate, but he continually stressed that for those who found it possible, it was the wisest course to follow:
Now, consider whether you can have peace with God and your own conscience while you persevere in your present state . . . We have no direct revelation commanding us to leave the country, but since we have the commandment to honor God in body and soul, wherever we may be, what else could we do? It is certainly to us, then, that these words are also addressed, 'Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred' [Gen. 12:1]; as long as we are there constrained to act against our conscience, and cannot live for the glory of God.2
Calvin adds that one should regard as "filth and dung" everything which hinders one from being a good Christian; if anything separates one from God, who is the true life, then it can only lead to death.3
- Carlos Eire, War Against the Idols: The Reformation of Worship from Erasmus to Calvin (Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 260-261 (emphases added).
1. Corpus Reformatorum: Joannis Calvini Opera quae supersuntomnia (CR hereafter), edited by W. Baum, E. Cunitz, and E. Reuss (Brunswick, 1863-80), 6.576. Also CR 55.280, CR 45.770.
2. CR 11.629-30
3. "Quatrieme Sermon," CR 8.437.
Pictures of "Jesus" corrupt true worship of Christ.
People who use pictures of "Christ" deny that they worship the pictures, but rather that the pictures help them to worship Christ. This is essentially justifying the use of a medium, a practice well established in the Roman Catholic Church. In rationalizing her setting aside of the Second Commandment, the RCC states clearly and heretically, "...the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype, and whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it."11 While in fact the pictures do help to form a concept of "Christ" for those who use them in worship, the basis of their worship is not the written word of God but rather becomes the visual depiction before them. Rather than drink from the fountain of living water, they have turned for their knowledge of God to broken cisterns, which they have hewn out with their own hands. Pictures of Christ corrupt the meanings of many Biblical words. The definition of idolatry is changed so that the category will exclude pictures of "Christ", pictures of the Father, and representations of the Holy Spirit. To so redefine idolatry is an attempt, however sincerely undertaken, to corrupt what man is to believe concerning God as given to us through the Scriptures. The pictures eventually impact and change the meaning of "salvation" and the "church". First, we accept the false pictures to "know" Christ (Gnosticism again). These Gnostic pictures serve as mediators for knowing Christ. Using the pictures serves as mediators for knowing Christ. Using the pictures rituals are developed. The representative pictures need a special priesthood to officiate in the development and performance of a suitable liturgy. The Roman Catholic Mass is a classical example of such go-between priesthood. In the Mass, the highest point of Rome's liturgy she claims "worship which is due to the true God" for the Communion bread.12 All this, in Roman Catholicism is claimed to be done in His name. The end result is that Christ is replaced, as people look to the image. Thus, the evangelical world with similar reasoning tries to justify the false pictures of Christ. These pictures corrupt evangelism, the Christian education, and true worship of the Church. The Bible accepts no man-made picture as being a picture of Christ. Neither should we.
The Bible is sufficient.
In the sixteenth century when the great Reformers preached, there was a return to Biblical truth. The Bible was seen to be the ultimate authority, the words of the Bible were all sufficient to show the transcendent character and person of God, Who He is, that He is Spirit, infinite, eternal, unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth. The words of the Bible and the power of God unto salvation in the Gospel message were paramount. Until quite recently, this was still the case in the evangelical world. There were no pictures of "Christ", no giving in to the worldly ways of mankind on this issue, but rather the truth of God was explained in God's way, in written words of propositional truth. The punishment of idolatry is severe, as the Second Commandment and the Old Testament make clear. The temptation to visualize Christ, the Father, or the Holy Spirit must be repented of, for God is holy and the Bible is sufficient. "And we know that the son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols." (I John 5:20-21)
- Idolatry in the Evangelical Camp Pictures of "Christ" or the Glory of God? (free PDF) by J. Virgil Dunbar & Richard Bennett (emphases added)
"Moreover, that the images of Christ, of the Virgin Mother of God, and of the other saints, are to be had and retained particularly in temples, and that due honour and veneration are to be given them... because the honour which is shown them is referred to the prototypes which those images represent; in such wise that by the images which we kiss, and before which we uncover the head, and prostrate ourselves, we adore Christ; and we venerate the saints, whose similitude they bear: as, by the decrees of Councils."
- The Council of Trent, Session 25, Second Decree, ON THE INVOCATION, VENERATION, AND RELICS, OF SAINTS, AND ON SACRED IMAGES (emphases added)
"Lastly something must be said about Catholic principles concerning the worship of sacred images.
The Latin Cultus sacrarum imaginum
may quite well be translated (as it always was in the past) "worship of holy images
", and "image-worshipper
" is a convenient term for cultor imaginum - eikonodoulos, as opposed to eikonoklastes (image-breaker). Worship by no means implies only the supreme adoration that may be given only to God
... It is this relative worship that is to be paid to the cross, images of Christ and the saints, while the intention directs it all really to the persons these things represent
. ... That is still the standpoint of the Catholic Church. The question was settled for us by the Seventh ecumenical Council; nothing has since been added to that definition. The customs by which we show our "respect and worshipful honour" for holy images
naturally vary in different countries and at different times... We should give to relics, crucifixes and holy pictures
a relative honour, as they relate to Christ and his saints and are memorials of them."
- Catholic Encyclopedia, Veneration of Images
Since men have turned aside from pure and holy obedience to God, they have discovered that good intention was sufficient to approve everything. This was to open a door to all superstitions
. It has been the origin of the worship of images,
the purchase of masses, the filling of churches with pomp and parade, the running about on pilgrimages, the making of vows by each at his own hand. But the abyss here is so profound that it is good enough for us to have touched some examples. So far is it from being permitted to honour God by human inventions, that there would be no firmness nor certainty, neither bottom nor shore in religion: every thing would go to wreck, and Christianity differ in nothing from the idolatries of the heathen
. (Cited from John Calvin's Tracts and Treatises
, vol. 2).
Does this position reflect a simple-minded reactionism to Rome? Again, we hate to belabor the point, but Mr. (James - ed.) Jordan has clouded the issue. Perhaps we are beginning to see that the issue really concerns some fundamental differences of opinion between the Tyler assembly and a vast array of witnesses for the Reformed faith. Mr. Jordan complained as though the advocates of the regulative principle were unconcerned with "finding the large, overarching principles of worship in scripture, and noting particulars in that context" (Geneva Papers, #25). Yet, the overarching presupposition is precisely the point at issue. The regulative principle is the grand presupposition in the consideration of the means of worship. Once this principle is recognized, the evaluation of particulars is placed in that context. "Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it" (Deut. 12:32).
The issue is really very simple. In its basic form, the matter is summarized in the Heidelberg Catechism. Question 96 reads, "What is God's will for us in the second commandment?" The answer: "That we in no way make any image of God nor worship him in any other way than he has commanded in his word" (emphases added).
As noted earlier, the Westminster Standards
teach the same doctrine (see Confession, 20:1; Larger Catechism
, numbers 108 and 109). The problem seems to be that Mr. Jordan does not agree with the position of these doctrinal standards, especially in some of the ordinary applications of the confessional principles of worship.
But how has he handled this dispute? Sadly, by a false representation of the regulative principle, with an unfounded association of the Reformed position with Anabaptist notions, and by a failure to honestly confront the exegetical position of the reformers and major Reformed confessions
. Tragically, this is not honorable Christian dialogue. Besides, it sidesteps the really crucial issues.
The main issues here are not simply academic differences. As the reformers noted, innovations in worship are violations of the law of God; yet, such innovations are being promoted by the Tyler congregation a group that purportedly has a preeminent concern for the law of God. In other words, we are dealing with a serious moral issue: corrupting the worship of God.
The founders of the Christian Church were Jews. The religion of the Old Testament in which they had been educated forbade the use of images in divine worship
. All the heathen were worshippers of idols. Idol-worship, therefore, was an abomination to the Jews
. . . . It was not until three centuries after the introduction of Christianity that the influence of the heathen element introduced into the Church was strong enough to overcome the natural opposition to their use in the service of the sanctuary
. Three parties soon developed themselves in connection with this subject.
adhered to the teachings of the Old Testament and the usage of the Apostolic Churches, and repudiated the religious use of images in any form.
The second allowed the use of images and pictures for the purpose of instruction, but not for worship. The common people could not read, and therefore it was argued that visible representations of Scriptural persons and incidents were allowable for their benefit
contended for their use not only a means of instruction, but also for worship.
As early as A.D. 305, the Council of Elvira in Spain condemned the use of pictures in the Church. In A.D. 726 the Emperor Leo Ill issued an ordinance forbidding the use of images in churches as heathenish and heretical. To support his action a council was called, which met in Constantinople A.D. 754, and which gave ecclesiastical sanction to this condemnation. In A.D. 787, however, the Empress Irene, under Roman influence, called a council, which Romanists of the Italian school consider ecumenical, at Nice, by which image-worship was fully sanctioned.... This Council, therefore, declared the previous Council, called by Leo 111, heretical, and ordained the worship of pictures in the churches; not indeed with latreia
, or the reverence due to God, but with aspasmos kai timatika proskunasis
(with salutations and reverent prostrations). The Council announced the principle on which image-worship, whether among the heathen or Christians, has generally been defended, i.e., that the worship paid the image terminates on the object which it represents. The decisions of this Council, although sanctioned by the Pope, gave offense to the Western Churches. The Emperor Charlemagne not only caused a book to be written (entitled 'Libri Carolini') to refute the doctrines inculcated, but also summoned a council to meet . . . where the decrees of the so-called General Council of Nice were "rejected," "despised," and "condemned." All worshipping of pictures and images was forbidden, but their presence in the churches for instruction and ornament was allowed. The friends of image-worship, however, rapidly gained the ascendancy, so that Thomas Aquinas, one of the best as well as the greatest of the Romish theologians in the thirteenth century, held the extreme doctrine on this subject. He taught that images were to be used in the churches for three purposes, first, for the instruction of the masses who could not read; secondly, that the mystery of the incarnation and the examples of the saints may be excited, as men are more easily moved by what they see than by what they hear. He taught that to the image in itself and for itself no reverence is due, but that if it represents Christ, the reverence due to Christ is due to the image
- Charles Hodge's, Systematic Theology
, Vol. 3, pp. 296-298 (emphases added), on the Puritan Hard Drive
Pictures of Christ are lies of the imagination that pervert and degrade the Scriptural doctrine of our Lord. We are to remember our precious Saviour not by crass artistic fantasies but by celebrating the Lord's supper, attending the means of grace and meditating on Scripture. Paul says that "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17). Jesus tells us that sanctification comes by means of God's word. "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth" (Jn. 17:17). Artistic impressions of God's Son may stir the emotions. They may bring a tear to the eye or joy to the heart. But, since they are the figments of man's mind, they cannot sanctify or increase our faith. Indeed, as non-commanded violations of the express teaching of the Bible they are destructive of faith and sanctification. "Little children, keep yourselves from idols" (1 Jn. 5:21).
Pictures of our Lord cannot sanctify because: (a) They flow from the imagination of the artist and thus are fiction; and, (b) They pervert the biblical teaching regarding the theonthropic Saviour by robbing Him of His glory, by separating the two natures- the divine from the human. This fact has important implications for those who want to retain pictures for educational purposes (e.g., children's Sunday school materials). We ask those in favor of pictures of God's Son for educational purposes the following questions.
How can you teach the truth by setting a lie (i.e., a human fantasy, a fictional rendering) before the eyes of children?
How many children grow up thinking of the Messiah as a blue eyed, effeminate, long-haired, hippie wimp because of the ignorance and incompetence of Sunday school teachers?
How do you expect children to be sanctified by something that has no basis in Scripture and therefore is an invention of man's mind?(Keep in mind the Bible gives no physical description of our Lord other than some passages which can not possibly be actually rendered by an artist, e.g., Mt. 17:2; Rev. 1:13 ff.)
Paul says that human philosophies and autonomous rules and regulations are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh (Col. 2:8, 21-23). Pictures of Jesus for educational or devotional use are man-made inventions that have no basis in Scripture and thus are human traditions that fall under the condemnation of God.
Fourth, both the Bible and church history teach that religious images invented by men for educational or devotional use are snares of the devil that corrupt the people of God with idolatry and declension. Because of our sinful natures the hearts of men are easily and sadly frequently drawn toward sensual, corrupt forms of worship. In 2 Kings 18:4 we read that godly king Hezekiah broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made because the people of Israel were burning incense to it. The bronze serpent (unlike pictures of Christ) was a lawful image because it was commanded by God. Yet as soon as it became a religious devotional object Jehovah wanted it destroyed as an item of superstition and idolatry.
In the ancient church, pictures were made to honor the saints, the virgin Mary and Jesus. This practice led to all sorts of superstitious, corrupt idolatrous practices: prayer to dead saints; the adoration and worship of Mary; kissing the feet of statues of the saints; keeping and worshiping of relics; saints days; pilgrimages; the dressing up of statues in different clothes for different holy days; parades with statues and pictures in honor of saints, the virgin mother and Christ; cathedrals built to honor the relics of dead saints and so on. There is no question that many of the poor deluded souls who led the church down the dark demonic path of Romanism were sincere. They probably were very pious and had the best of motives. But their love of human devices, their additions to the worship that God had authorized led to the full blown damnable religion of popery. "But say the Papists, images are laymen's books, and they are good to put them in the mind of God. One of the Popish Councils affirmed, that we might learn more by an image than by a long study of the Scriptures.... For Papists to say they make use of an image to put them in mind of God, is as if a woman should say she keeps company with another man to put her in mind of her husband."
For modern Protestants to ignore the clear teaching of Scripture and history as if they were immune to the dangers of superstition and idolatry is arrogant, foolish and deadly. The papal church did not develop into the demonic monstrosity it now is overnight. But, as Paul warned, "a little leaven leavens the whole lump" (1 Cor. 5:6). The rather common practice today (even in conservative Presbyterian churches) of using pictures of Jesus in educational materials (e.g., books, videos, Sunday school materials) violates the second commandment, teaches a false doctrine of the Messiah, corrupts the worship of God, is blatantly disrespectful to the second person of the trinity and thus should be hated and shunned by all Bible believing Christians.
The forefathers of the Calvinistic wing of the Reformation scrupulously refrained, as a matter of principle, from the use of pictures of Christ. Note the words of John Knox from the "Book of Discipline, Third Head" (1560): "For let your Honours be assuredly persuaded, that there shall God's wrath reign, not only upon the blind and obstinate idolater, but also up on the negligent sufferers of the same; especially if God have armed their hands with power to suppress such abominations. By idolatry we understand, the Mass, invocation of saints, adoration of images, and the keeping and retaining of the same; and, finally, all honouring of God not contained in his holy Word."
Let us do likewise and return to the strict conscientious adherence to the second commandment by our spiritual forefathers. The fact that the use of pictures of Christ is widespread among professing Christians in our day does not make it right. It sadly is another sign of the widespread declension and apostasy among many modern churches. May God enable us to worship our precious Saviour only in a manner authorized by His infallible word.
- Brian Schwertley, Are Pictures of Christ Unbiblical? (emphases added)
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If funds are tight, remember that you can purchase the Puritan Hard Drive using interest free deferred monthly payments as low as $50.00 per month. We also ship your Puritan Hard Drive as soon as your deferred monthly payments have reached $100.00. You may also pay $100.00 down, for faster shipping, then $50.00 per month thereafter. Call us at 780-450-3730 for more details about our interest free deferred monthly payments offer, or to get started today. You may also place an interest free deferred monthly payments order for the Puritan Hard Drive by using our Secure Online Order form. If you use our Secure Online Order Form, please make sure to enter your shipping address, phone number, email address and payment information (credit or debit card and expiry date). Also mention if you need the Single Platform Edition (Windows or Mac) or Dual Platform Edition (Windows and Mac) of the Puritan Hard Drive, and what size of Puritan Hard Drive you are ordering (size options, and the cost for each, are above the "Add to Cart" button at the SWRB Puritan Hard Drive page). Interest free deferred monthly payments orders must be placed by calling 780-450-3730 (in Canada) or using our Secure Online Order Form (click here). Scroll down at Phone/Contact Us to find the exact phone number to use from your country. We are open for calls six days a week (we are closed on the Lord's Day [Sunday]) and often cover the phones 24 hours a day. However, if you call and get our answering machine, it is safe to leave your order on the answering machine, or to leave us your phone number, with a message about why you are calling, and the best time to call you back, and we will call you when it is convenient for you. This applies to all nations worldwide.
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The Puritan Hard Drive is an exquisite piece of work.
The purchaser of this fine product will have at his fingertips more of the best Reformed literature than he can probably ever get around to reading.
Truly, if a Christian wants to invest wisely in his own growth, this is the best investment he can make at this time.
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- Justin Rawson
Gospel Covenant Publications
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Would you like to volunteer some of your time to read classic Puritan and Reformed books and sermons to MP3, to make permanent digital audio versions of the best Puritan and Reformed books for our generation and for posterity? If so, we then list the Puritan and Reformed MP3s you have read on the Web, to give them away for free to people in every nation of the world - and, by God's grace, we reach between 45,000 to over 100,000 people each month with these free Puritan and Reformation MP3s! You may listen to other readings, by people just like yourself (who love the Lord and want to reach others with the love of the Lord Jesus Christ and the truth of His holy Word, the Bible) at FREE PURITAN & REFORMATION MP3 AUDIO SERMONS/BOOKS and from our "Audio Book" section on SWRB's sermonaudio site. You may also use the FREE SWRB iPHONE, iPAD, iPOD (Touch) APP to listen. It is very easy to get started with your new international Reformation reading ministry, just email us at [email protected] requesting our "PURITAN and REFORMED BOOK READER INSTRUCTIONS." Thank you!
It may also be of interest to you to know that at SWRB we strive to use as much of the proceeds from sales, as is possible, to produce more free and discounted Puritan books, Reformation MP3s and Calvinistic videos. This is how, by God's grace, we have published so many books, MP3s and videos over the years (with a relatively small staff and the help of volunteers) and why we are able to distribute so much material for free and at such low prices - may our Lord get all the glory! With your continued prayers, support and purchases we will be able to reach even more people, in the future, all around the world with the truth of the Scriptures - using the latest and best technologies available, in the service of the Lord, to greatly multiply all the good that can be done, and aiming to fill the world with the best Christian (Puritan and Reformation) resources available (Acts 17:6).
Your Servant in Christ (for the Third Reformation),
Dr. Reg Barrow
Still Waters Revival Books
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