Inaccurate Jesus?

“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).

Droves of professing Christians have a serious problem with making graven images of someone they’re calling “Jesus Christ.” The insatiable desire to make Jesus Christ an idolatrous object of physical vision reveals an obedience problem with 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.

Here’s John Piper answering the question, “What do you think of pictures of Jesus?” (paragraphing and transcription are mine):

“I’m a little hesitant about portraits of Jesus at all. And there’s an argument about whether that’s breaking the first commandment…you know…don’t make any graven images…don’t have any pictures of Jesus in your house. The reason I’m not a stickler on that is because Jesus became incarnate…and therefore we know He had a face. God the Father didn’t have a face except insofar He and the Son are One…Jesus had a face and so even though we don’t know what it looked like, I think renderings of it to show various things are okay.

And if we’re gonna do that they should be real diverse. I think they should be real diverse…cause…you lock in on that famous one…I don’t know what it’s called…the long-hair…the idyllic face…blue eyes…that’s absolutely absurd. But I think there should probably be black portrayals of Jesus and white portrayals of Jesus and Chinese portrayals of Jesus.

And everybody knows that they’re not accurate…there isn’t one that’s accurate. That’s why it’s legitimate to do lots of inaccurate ones…cause you just say we all know…that we don’t know what He looked like. So what we want to say with our inaccurate Jesus is something true about Jesus. Namely, He’s there for everybody” (John Piper,

Piper piped:

“So what we want to say with our inaccurate Jesus is something true about Jesus.”

God through Habakkuk said the image is

“a teacher of falsehood.”

It is true that the “inaccurate Jesus” is a teacher of falsehood. Hebrews 1:3 speaks this of Christ:

“… who being the shining splendor of His glory, and the express image of His essence, and upholding all things by the Word of His power, having made purification of our sins through Himself, He sat down on the right of the Majesty on high.”

Apparently to Piper, the “image” described in Hebrews 1:3 is “just a little bit different” than the “image” denounced in Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 4:15-16, Isaiah 40:18, and Habakkuk 2:18-20.