Giving The Papists A Run For Their Money

Section 3, chapter 3 is entitled: “Consideration of the Reasonableness of Affections towards an invisible Being”:

“Now, an object, it is admitted, is brought into closer contact with its corresponding passion, by being seen and conversed with. This we grant is one way; but does it follow that there is no other? To assert this, would be something like maintaining, in contradiction to universal experience, that objects of vision alone are capable of attracting our regard. But nothing can be more unfounded than such a supposition” (Wilberforce).

Well, “such a supposition” is unfounded because God through the apostle Peter says it is:

“… Jesus Christ; whom having not seen, you love; in whom not yet seeing, but believing, you exult with joy unspeakable and being glorified, obtaining the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:7-9).

Droves upon droves of professing Christians have a serious problem with making graven images of someone they’re calling “Jesus Christ” — their insatiable desire to make the biblical Jesus Christ an idolatrous object of physical vision clearly reveals that they take issue with Scriptures such as Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 4:15-16, Isaiah 40:18, and Habakkuk 2:18-20. This is evident in their idolatrous picture books and also on their blogs and websites.

“What does an image profit, for its maker has carved it; a molten image, and a teacher of falsehood? For does the maker trust in his work on it, to make mute idols? Woe to him who says to the wood, Awake! To a mute stone, Rise up, it shall teach! Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, but no breath is in its midst. But Jehovah is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him” (Habakkuk 2:18-20).

John Piper’s “Desiring God” website is only one salient and sickening example of the disgusting pervasiveness among the Reformed and Calvinist world that is wholly given to idolatry. As certain of their own poets have said,

“To represent Him by a material, visible and palpable image or picture is a false representation. He is omnipresent. To draw or carve Him as bounded by an outline, and contained in a local form, belies this attribute. He is self-existent, and has no beginning. To represent Him by what His puny creature made, and what yesterday was not, belies His self-existence and eternity. He declares Himself utterly unlike all creatures, and incomprehensible by them. To liken Him to any of them is both a misrepresentation and insult. Hence, a material image of the Godhead, or of any Person thereof, is an utter falsehood. Papists used to be fond of saying: ‘Images are the books of the unlearned.’ We reply: they are books then, which teach lies only.”

As we survey the theological landscape, it appears that many Reformed and Calvinist persons are giving the Papists a run for their money.

More from Wilberforce:

“We find therefore that sight and personal intercourse do not seem necessary to the production or increase of attachment, where the means of close contact have been afforded; but on the other hand, if an object have been prevented from coming into close contact, sight and personal intercourse are not sufficient to give it the power of exciting the affections in proportion to its real magnitude. Suppose the case of a person whom we have often seen, and may have occasionally conversed with, and of whom we have been told in the general, that he possesses extraordinary merits. We assent to the assertion. But if we have no knowledge of particulars, no close acquaintance with him, nothing in short which brings his merits home to us, they interest us less than what we know to be a far inferior degree of the very same qualities in one of our common associates.

A parent has several children, all constantly under his eye, and equally dear to him. Yet if any one of them be taken ill, it is brought into so much closer contact than before, that it seems to absorb and engross the parent’s whole affection. Thus then, though it will not be denied that an object by being visible may thereby excite its corresponding affection with more facility; yet this is manifestly far from being the prime consideration.

And so far are we from being the slaves of the sense of vision, that a familiar acquaintance with the intrinsic excellences of an object, aided, it must be admitted, by the power of habit, will render us almost insensible to the impressions which its outward form conveys, and able entirely to lose the consciousness of an unsightly exterior” (Wilberforce).

And “it will not be denied that” the aforementioned idolaters who watch wicked “passion plays” (e.g., Mel Gibson’s “passion play”) seek to excite their affections “with more facility” by means of the visible object of a blasphemously sinful man pretending to be the sinless Son of God incarnate (cf. Next Page (10)

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