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#55790 Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:59 AM
Joined: Sep 2003
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Annie Oakley
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Annie Oakley
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…it is always quite impossible not only to make an image of God, but even to make an image of Christ incarnate. The Catechism contrasts the use of images in the churches with the lively preaching of the Word. And that is undoubtedly correct. Suppose you have images of all the phases of the historical Jesus, as He sojourned on earth in the years 1 to 33 A. D. Would all those images together be a true representation of the Christ of the Scriptures? They would not; and they never could be. You may make an image of the Babe of Bethlehem lying in the manger; but that image could never represent the Son of God incarnate. You can make images of all the phases of the suffering of Christ on the Via Dolorosa in its different stages — images that are usually set up in the Roman Catholic Churches; but can an image of the cross possibly represent the Word of the Cross, the logos tou staurou, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them? That is forever impossible. Such an image cannot possibly serve as a book for the laity, but can only serve to cover up the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord. God was not only in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself when the Son of God in the human nature died on the accursed tree, but He also put the Word of the cross in the apostles. And the apostles proclaimed that Word of the cross. If it had not been for that revelation of God Himself, we could never have understood the cross. And that cross, arrested in one of its moments by a dumb image, is deprived of all its glory and power. And what to say of an image of the Christ in His resurrection, and in His ascension, and in His exaltation at the right hand of God? It is evident that a dumb image in wood or stone can only serve to deprive the exalted Christ of His glory and power. Hence, we must not have images in the churches, not even as books of the laity. For they can never represent the glorious gospel of God revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord. But we must have the lively preaching of the Word of God, which brings unto us the complete Christ of the Scriptures, the Son of God in the flesh, conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary, Who suffered and died for our sins, and in Whom God reconciled us unto Himself, Who rose for our justification in the glory of immortality, and Who is exalted at the right hand of God, there to make intercession for all His people. Hence, the Heidelberg Catechism is certainly correct when it states in the answer to Question 98: “We must not pretend to be wiser than God, who will have his people taught, not by dumb images, but by the lively preaching of his word.
~ Herman Hoeksema

chestnutmare #55793 Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:14 AM
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Thank you. Always an aficionado of Hoeksema! Even if I don't agree with this 100%, his words are to be studied.


Grace is not common.

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