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Images of Jesus in the Presbyterian Church in America, Other Denominations

Discussion in 'Confessional, Covenantal, Creedal - Presbyterian' started by jinc1019, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    Hello,

    I know what the Westminster Shorter and Larger Catechisms teach about images of Jesus, but what do modern Presbyterian churches teach on this issue? I'm especially interested in the Presbyterian Church in America, but I'd like to hear about any and all denominations in the Presbyterian tradition. Thanks!
     
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  2. AMR

    AMR Presbyterian (PCA) - Bona Fide Reformed

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    It is quite simple.

    If the image causes us to worship the Lord it is a violation of the second commandment, and if it does not, it is a violation of the third. It is impossible to have images without transgression.

    It is sometimes argued that images of Christ are only depicting His humanity and are, therefore, not a violation of the 2nd Commandment. But to argue like this is a form of Nestorianism that fails to treat the Second Person of the Trinity as a single Person (not two where it's OK to depict one but not the other). In other words, we cannot depict the humanity of Christ and argue that we're not depicting the Son of God. We cannot depict His humanity and say: "...but that's not God."

    See:
    The Second Commandment, Westminster and Images of Jesus

    Unfortunately, and sadly, the PCA is not consistent with these issues, not having made a firm stand. See: Report on Pictures of Christ (1981)
     
  3. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    Thanks for your reply AMR, and for the helpful information. Would you say most pastors agree with your view or with an alternative view? I saw the report you cited, but it confused me. Is this an official position of PCA, or just the summary of a report?
     
  4. AMR

    AMR Presbyterian (PCA) - Bona Fide Reformed

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    As seen by the report, no action was taken by the PCA other than to call upon pastors to take notice of the issues.

    I have found that images are found in some of the PCA churches I have visited. But it is not widespread. I wish and continue to pray for things to be better within the PCA on this matter, but it appears to be an issue left to the presbytery or local session.
     
  5. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    Noted. Thanks for the insights. Do you think other Presbyterian churches are similar in that regard? Or are some more strict than others?
     
  6. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    In what context are you seeing images? The only common images of Jesus I've seen in PCUSA worship areas is in stained glass windows, where it's part of a scene from the NT. (There is one exception. Shadyside Presbyterian in Pittsburgh has a EO-style risen Christ as a mosaic at the front of the church.) It's more common in Sunday School areas, but it seems to be primarily for teaching purposes. I'm not aware of any pictures of Jesus in my own church, but probably a Sunday School room somewhere has it.
     
  7. AMR

    AMR Presbyterian (PCA) - Bona Fide Reformed

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