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Featured Does My Avatar Violate the Second Commandment?

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by HereIStand, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. HereIStand

    HereIStand Regular Member Supporter

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    It has been pointed out to me that my avatar is a violation of the second commandment against idolatry and images, based on the Presbyterian Westminster Catechism (Questions 108-110). This seems to be a misapplication of the Westminster standards and a misinterpretation of the second commandment. Am I wrong? If so, how?
     
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  2. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    I don't know anything about the Westminster Catechism, but it has zero to do with the second commandment unless you have created an idol of it that you think to be actually a god, worship, bow down to, and serve.

    It is impossible that the commandments given through Moses are a blanket prohibition against images in all cases, because through the same revelation, the Tabernacle and Temples contained images both 2- and 3-dimensional, commanded by God.

    Also Christ has appeared to us in the flesh, so the understanding that we cannot portray God the Father in any sense because we have never seen Him is moot in this case.
     
  3. Stanfordella

    Stanfordella The will to do, the soul to dare

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    I don't think it is in violation of the second commandment, but it does always, without fail, make that old song with the lyrics "I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride, I'm wanted, wanted, dead or alive" start rocking out in my mind. Always. I'm not complaining about this, I'm just saying it doesn't really have the effect I'm assuming you desired when you chose it, unless you were wanting to depict Jesus as an outlaw who is wanted dead or alive. I don't think it's the best choice for an avatar picture because it's very difficult to read the bulk of it.
     
  4. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't see how. Presbyterians (some of them at least) traditionally seem to be against images used in worship, not all religious images.

    Lutherans are definitely OK with religious images used in worship, it isn't an issue for us. But we number the commandments differently and we don't consider it idolatry to have images in worship.

    A picture of Jesus is not an idol, as far as I'm concerned. I've got one too as my avatar. I like that school of German religious painting, and I think it's good subject matter that expresses my faith.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
  5. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Yeah I can't even comment on the actual impression given. I can only read "Wanted" which gives an odd impression but the rest is too fuzzy to make out.

    I was commenting only on portraying Christ in an image.
     
  6. HereIStand

    HereIStand Regular Member Supporter

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    LOL. I'm not the best graphic artist. I did my best. The image was taken from the Hollywood Free Paper -- an influential Jesus People publication at one time. As I understand from the book, God's Forever Family, the image was meant to be a provocative Christian counter to the secular counter-culture of the day.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
  7. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Reformed Catholic, Puritan

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    Your avatar is a violation of the Westminster Standards. Whether or not its actually a violation of the second commandment, I'm not sure.
     
  8. HereIStand

    HereIStand Regular Member Supporter

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    Thank you for the response. In what way does it violate the Westminster Standards? In another thread, I've received a link and a cut-and-paste, but no explanation.
     
  9. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Reformed Catholic, Puritan

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    Check out the Westminster Larger Catechism Question 109. It's fairly straightforward. I'll copy it here with the relevant sections bolded:

    Q. 109. What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?

    A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising,[529] counselling,[530] commanding,[531] using,[532] and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself;[533] 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;[534] all worshipping of it,[535] or God in it or by it;[536] the making of any representation of feigned deities,[537] and all worship of them, or service belonging to them,[538] all superstitious devices,[539] corrupting the worship of God,[540] adding to it, or taking from it,[541] whether invented and taken up of ourselves,[542] or received by tradition from others,[543] though under the title of antiquity,[544] custom,[545] devotion,[546] good intent, or any other pretence whatsoever;[547] simony;[548] sacrilege;[549] all neglect,[550] contempt,[551] hindering,[552] and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.[553].
     
  10. HereIStand

    HereIStand Regular Member Supporter

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    Sigh. Another copy-and-paste. But the bulk of the answer applies to worship, not art in general. By this logic, no image of Christ of any kind could be used in Sunday School or in a museum. This seems to go well beyond the intent of the second commandment -- to prohibit worship of images representing other gods.
     
  11. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    Well,
    as observed by those who believe Scripture literally, yes, by being directly disobedient to Yahweh. (see or search online, as there is no agreement on this forum).
     
  12. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Reformed Catholic, Puritan

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    Worship is mentioned but the scope is broader. The Westminster Standards forbid the making of an image period. This would include for educational purposes or for art.

    Many do think that the Standards go beyond the intent of the second commandment. Many coming for ordination take exception to this section of the Standards.
     
  13. obsolete

    obsolete Quench not Love

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    What the avatar looks like is the zigzag guy :kumbaya:
     
  14. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    Good.
    This is in line with all Scripture and the early church (1st and most of 2nd century),
    and the persecuted believers after the 2nd century, right ?
    The faithful to Yeshua Jews especially were aware of this, having been granted TORAH from Yahweh.
     
  15. HereIStand

    HereIStand Regular Member Supporter

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    Careful now. A guy with a 70s Tiger Beat icon doesn't have much room to talk. :D
     
  16. HereIStand

    HereIStand Regular Member Supporter

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    I can understand the exception, especially as it relates to prohibitions against "the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons...inwardly in our mind." It would seem natural for one to read the Gospels and form a mental image of Christ healing the sick, being nailed to the cross, and having Thomas touch his nail pierced hands. Based on the Westminster Standards, such mental images would be idolatrous. It seems an example of well intentioned theology gone awry.
     
  17. ewq1938

    ewq1938 Chewbacca kree! Supporter

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    JFB commentary:

    Exodus 20:4-5

    Thou shalt not make ... any graven image ... thou shalt not bow down thyself to them — that is, “make in order to bow.” Under the auspices of Moses himself, figures of cherubim, brazen serpents, oxen, and many other things in the earth beneath, were made and never condemned. The mere making was no sin - it was the making with the intent to give idolatrous worship.
     
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  18. gordonhooker

    gordonhooker Franciscan tssf Supporter

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    No I would not say that or think it for that matter, it is a great avatar and proclaims the Gospel in a good way. I would ignore those types of small minded comments.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
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  19. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    Idolatry is idolatry no matter what year, (thousands of years b.c. or a.d.)
    a graven image is a graven image no matter what men say.
    It is determined and stated by God in His Word.
     
  20. gordonhooker

    gordonhooker Franciscan tssf Supporter

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    Well there you go...
     
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