It is Not Lawful to Have Picture of Jesus Christ

“It is not lawful to have pictures of Jesus Christ, because his divine nature cannot be pictured at all, and because his body, as it is now glorified, cannot be pictured as it is, and because, if it do not stir up devotion, it is in vain; if it do stir up devotion, it is a worshipping by an image or picture, and so a palpable breach of the second commandment.”

(Vincent, Exposition of the Westminster Assembly’s Shorter Catechism.)

Source:, Comment 16


The Sense In Which His Glory Is Robbed

Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan:

If we reduce the question to (alleged) pictures of “Jesus,”

1) It is, necessarily, a false representation, since he provided us no portrait. Nor the Apostles any description.
2) If the picture is intended to inspire devotion unto its “true representation,” then it is a manifest idolatry of the kind, being a human invention.
3) If the picture is not intended to inspire devotion, it is a vain imagination. It presents “Christ” in such a way as not to inspire adoration.
4) If the picture is intended to picture only the human nature of Jesus, then it partakes of the Nestorian heresy that divides the hypostatic union, seeking to separate what is forever and unchangeably united

2Cor.5:16 is an important text to this discussion. “Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.” Regarding Christ solely according to the flesh is an essentially humanistic apprehension of Christ. But he was not so, and is not so. He is not to be regarded in any kind of divided sense, but as the theanthropos, the God-man; and any reduction or division of our apprehension of him is a step backward. This is the sense in which his glory is robbed.

Source:, Comment #2

Movies of Jesus?

Reformed Apologist has this to say about Christians watching movies of Jesus:

If they’re looking for spiritual edification, then the accompanying sin is that of false worship through the mediation of an image of Christ, which is forbidden under the second commandment. If the aim is not spiritual edification, then the pursuit is a vain thing and, therefore, forbidden under the third commandment. If the commandment refers only to false gods and not the living God, then the second commandment collapses into the first commandment leaving us with nine commandments, (which although is theoretically possible it would raise a question regarding redundancy over two in light of the remaining eight, very distinct commandments).

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