The Practice of Idolatry within the Church by Richard Bennett and Randall Paquette


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II Corinthians 5:16

“Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.”

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Berean Beacon logo

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Used by permission; see note below.

November 16, 2015

Praise for Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” resounded from pulpit to pew.  It is evident that there are many Christians who, without reservation, are prepared to accept movies about “Christ,” even one in the Catholic tradition.  The question, therefore, that must be asked is this: In the light of Scripture, is the position defendable of the people in accepting movies with Christ being portrayed, or do they fall under the condemnation of Almighty God?

No Revival Without the True Gospel and a Righteous Anger Against Images

Evangelicals have discovered themselves confronting crisis upon crisis.  After decades of endeavor and aggregate growth, moral turpitude and the apparent demise of marriage, like corrupt weeds, blossom before their faces.  The modus vivendi embodied in the 1994 “Evangelicals & Catholics Together” (ECT) still confuses and deceives.  Its ecclesiastical endorsement has further led many Evangelical churches to believe that there is no essential difference between Catholicism and biblical Christianity.  The dramatic “Passion” movie perpetuates the lie.  In the Evangelical camp, the carnal pandering of “seeker sensitive” churches loiters unquestioned.  The unregenerate fill the pews and silence the pulpits.  There is no conviction of sin, because the Gospel is not openly admitted or acknowledged.  Within the Reformed churches there is division, contention, and strife caused by the “Auburn Avenue controversy” and the “New Perspective on Justification.”  Revival has been preached, pursued, and prayed for and still remains aloof.  “We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were, brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.”[1] 

In the soil of “another” Gospel no revival can spring!  In the temple of images and pictures can come no renewal!  From Moses unto Hosea, those who sought to revive the spirit of the nation and would have hearts return to a true worship of God, condemned images.  And that which is condemned in the Old Testament is not justified in the New Testament.[2]   The great revivals in Christian history have flourished under the true Gospel and the denunciation of idolatry.  So it was with the Vaudois, the Waldenses, the Lollards, the Bohemians, and the Reformers.  In the Dark Ages, luminaries such as John Wycliffe and John Huss attacked the corruption of idolatry and preached the Gospel.

In the USA during the Great Awakening, preachers inspired by George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, and William Law, sought to glorify God in the Gospel by uniting veracious worship with the censuring of images.  “If Jesse Lee had not come into Massachusetts, some one else pressed in spirit, like Paul at Athens ‘when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry’, would have found utterance and would have had followers.”[3]  Following Jonathan Edwards’ publication of the journal of David Brainerd,

“The revival had greatest impact when Brainerd emphasised the compassion of the Saviour, the provisions of the gospel, and the free offer of divine grace.  Idolatry was abandoned, marriages repaired, drunkenness practically disappeared….Their communities were filled with love.”[4]  

The witness of this testimony must not remain unheeded if we are to receive the blessing we long for from On High, for “what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?”[5]

Christ’s Divine Person is Revealed Only in One Human Body

Christians reason within themselves that since God became a man in the person of Christ, a picture of Jesus is but an image of an image.  Their rationalization is that the Incarnation is justification, if not authorization, for us to depict Christ in human form.  They argue further that no portrait can display a man’s soul, thus Christ’s body can be legitimately pictured distinct from His Divinity.  Poor deluded Christians, unwilling to sever the last vestiges of carnal thinking, averse to bringing “every thought to the obedience of Christ.”  Amongst humanity, Christ remains unique.  Any attempt to represent this uniqueness in human form (an achievement that God alone could do in the Incarnation) destroys it.  The multiplicity of depictions with various facial features, hues and expressions, denies it.  A man has but one nature, and thus he can be legitimately portrayed with no offense to what he is, but not so Christ who is also Divine; and to make Him into an “image like unto corruptible man” is to transgress the Law and insult the Godhead.  Those who saw Christ upon this earth had before their eyes “God manifest in the flesh.”  What animistic artist or photographer could claim such for his effort?  What do we have then?  Is it not an attempt to create a likeness of the One of Whom we have no likeness?  This then is the very essence of idolatry – the false representation of God.  In the silence of our chambers we should reverently pray, “Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?”,[6] and lo, the answer thunders down through the ages, “I am God, and there is none like me.”[7]

The Person of Christ consists of two indivisible natures – the perfectly “Human” and the perfectly “Divine.”  He who was manifested in the flesh was really and truly God.[8]  And yet, He had real human flesh.  “Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same.[9]  Pictures or movies of Christ are merely portraits of a human body.  It is totally impossible to show forth the divinity of Christ; this only His body in heaven can now do, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”[10]  The fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ, and not figuratively, for he is both God and Man.  This “fullness” can never be found in types, figures, or likenesses of Him.  Any such replication is utter deceit.  Whenever a bodily form is ascribed to Christ Jesus, it remains a gross lie.  This fact—that Christ Jesus is both God and Man—is a great and central doctrine of Christian faith.  What Evangelicals fail to comprehend in making portrayals of Him is that by so representing Christ, they are perjuring themselves before the All Holy God because all depictions of Him succeed in showing humanity bereft of divinity.  “What profiteth the graven image…a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?”[11]  The words of Scripture alone patently present the divinity of Christ.

Christ Jesus in His Person and perfect human nature is the express image of God.  Whoever has seen Him has seen the Father.[12]  If Jesus were only a man, albeit the best of men, it would be quite acceptable to portray Him.  But Christ is not!  He is the express image of God, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.”[13]  This image involves His eternal essence and as such is singular and cannot not replicated or reproduced.  Those who accept pictures and movies of Christ fail to comprehend that they have reduced Christ’s incarnation to humanity alone.  These representations ignore the unique character of Christ Jesus as the unexampled “express image” of God.  While He is truly Man, yet Christ’s perfect humanity cannot be separated from His divinity.  Such practice perpetuates the heresy of Nestorius who taught that Jesus was two distinct “persons,” one human and one divine.[14]  The uniqueness of Christ Jesus coupled with the command not to practice idolatry is given in the strongest terms in the New Testament.  “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God, and eternal life.  Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”[15]    

There can be no doubt that it is He of whom it is said, “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” … “all things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made”; Who Himself declared “I and my Father are one,” was worshiped as “my Lord and my God”!  He is very God of very God.

Do we imagine that God in His omniscience did not foresee portraits, pictures, canvas, or cameras?  Are we wiser than He?  There beats within the heart of every man a craving for visible forms conjured up in the human mind to give expression to religious beliefs.  Because of this evil desire, the Lord God has forbidden idolatry, warning of its corrupting influence.  If believers have been deceived in this matter, it is our desire and prayer that they see the truth of God’s Word and understand that they have been feeding upon ashes and say, “For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain.”[16]

Presentations That Confuse the Distinction Between God and His Created World

A picture or movie of Christ, because of inherent limitations, resides in the world of created things from imaginations.  Whatever aspirations may be intended, it can rise no higher than that which it is.  Hence, it blurs the distinctness between God and man, confusing the Creator with the creation.  The Apostle Paul reveals the cause of this confusion,  “Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”[17]  This digression, the Apostle tells us, continues because, “professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man….”[18]  The problem is this: “to whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto Him?”[19]  The Scriptural answer is clear: “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”[20]

Any attempted portrayal of Christ transforms the medium itself into a mediator between God and man.  The viewer, restricted within the confines of this humanistic plane, imagines that he knows the Lord, at least in some measure.  With this instilled image of Christ throbbing within his mind, the viewer is allowed to wander, silently thinking his own thoughts, constrained by an impression that is not Christ.  Thus, the viewer’s mind continues to be conformed to the world by the created image and by his own subjectivity.  Although such visual presentations appeal strongly to the sensual impulses, they do not explicitly present to any man the objective truth concerning the Lord. 

Our knowledge of Jesus Christ must be formed from the truths in Scripture and not by subjective impressions of artistic interpretation.  In the latter, the artist and the viewer combine God and His creation into a single entity within the picture, and this is the visible expression of idolatry.  This spurious image lays the foundation for a pantheistic concept of God.  Marvel not then that, “Soaring pagan numbers have churches worrying and calling for stricter controls on cult TV programs and films that celebrate sorcery like “Harry Potter,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.”[21]  The command given in Scripture is to choose God’s way so as to know and follow Christ in His Word!  When obeyed, upon the pages of Scripture, in the words of the Law, in the grace of the Gospel, we know Him in spirit and truth. 

We do not see Jesus Christ with the physical eye.  This is the whole meaning of faith.  The excellence of the object of faith is the unseen Jesus.  While sense deals with things that are seen, reason is a higher plane.  Faith, however, ascends further still, and assures us of abundance of particulars that sense and reason could never have found.  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”[22]  Faith nourishes itself upon the power and promises of the Unseen, “I had fainted unless I had believed to see.”[23]  We can understand, then, the logic and consistent purpose of why the Lord God forbids images. 

Pictures and Movies That Break God’s Law and Defile God’s Grace

Evangelical churches demonstrate an ignorance of the meaning of the Second Commandment, which forbids using images to represent God. 

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”[24] 

This commandment prohibits the creation and use of graven images.  It essentially brings to mind that God is Spirit, not to be conceived of or fashioned in man’s image or any other creature’s image.  In Deuteronomy 4:12-16 is found a parallel passage,

“And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.  And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.  And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.  Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:  Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female.”

What is forbidden is the similitude of the Lord Himself.  No similitude of the Divine was given to the people and none was to be made.  In the New Testament we see that no “similitude” of Christ Jesus was given, and the commandment must remain unabridged.  Any similitude or image of Father, Son, or Holy Spirit is sinful and insulting to the majesty of the Lord God.  And what of those who seek balm for their conscience in preferring pictures over statues, as if the lack of one dimension, depth, transforms the image into a thing acceptable unto God?  They well imagine that they have acted more nobly toward the Lord because theirs is not a “graven image.”  It comforts them not to be upon the Roman road of idolatry, oblivious to the fact that they parallel it upon the Greek route.[25]  God forbids the making of a likeness of anything.  Therefore, it is a transgression of God’s law to make a “representation” or “semblance” of anything in heaven or upon the earth, to delineate God.  He calls those who break this commandment “those who hate me,”[26] and those who keep the commandment, “those who love me.”[27]  Punishment for iniquity is promised to the transgressors, while blessing is pledged to its adherents.  From God’s perspective, idolatry is spiritual adultery; so, with the indignant reaction of a betrayed husband, He continues, “for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”[28]

The Lesson of the Golden Calf

The children of Israel languished in impatience and unbelief at the base of Mount Sinai, waiting for Moses, who seemingly would not return.  Impatience grew into murmuring, murmuring into loud complaining.  They had never seen God with their eyes; and now His anointed, “this Moses, . .we wot [know] not what is become of him.”  He too, it appeared, had vanished, never to return.  “Up,” they enjoined Aaron, “make us gods.”  The natural yearning of their hearts demanded visible forms for religious expression and someone or something to lead them now that they believed Moses was gone.  But there is a price to be paid; the pure must be forfeited to produce the crass.  They must part with their gold and bring it to Aaron; he took it, “and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods (Elohim), O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.  And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD.”  The children of Israel looked upon this idol and called it “Elohim …which brought thee up out of Egypt.”  Aaron ratified this designation, for with the image as centerpiece, tomorrow would be a feast to Jehovah.  But what did God see?  The answer is given in Scripture, “They made a calf in Horeb and worshipped the molten image.  Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass; they forgat God their Savior, which had done great things in Egypt.”[29]

The Apostle Paul tells us that idolatry is changing, “the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like unto corruptible man, and to birds, and to fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.[30]  What was their glory, and is the Church’s glory, is in truth the glory of God Himself; and it cannot, and must not, be represented by an image of a man or a beast.  God, knowing the evil inclinations of men, and their struggle to justify their ungodly deeds, especially those done in the name of religion has declared, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”[31]  Whatever theologians may debate concerning this verse, one thing is clear, if you give a physical representation to Christ’s face, then you have defined and defiled the glory of God.  Whether a “man” or an “ox that eateth grass,” any attempt to replicate that glory, save that which God does Himself, is idolatry.

An Overview of the Christian History of Idolatry

The Apostles, whose gospels and epistles are the very oracles of God, are men who could say, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life,”[32] never give a physical description of Christ.  Rather, they proclaimed what He said and what He did.  They emphasize His death and resurrection, explaining the significance of these events, and the necessity of faith in them in order to be saved.  The Apostle Paul pointedly states that we know Jesus no longer after the flesh,[33] He is now known through faith.  Peter says of Christ, Whom having not seen, ye love, in Whom though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.  And men and women, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, exulted in the unseen Christ just as the Patriarchs had done in the unseen Jehovah; neither did they clamor for a description of the Lord.  The New Testament’s muteness on this point is an essential compliance with the dictates of the Old Testament.  Any other existing source claiming to provide a description of Christ is extracanonical.[34]

In the first two centuries of the Church, Christians did not use images to represent Christ.  During this infancy of the Church, the early Christians would not bow to the image of Caesar or to any work of man’s hands.  They had no images, statues, or pictures; they well understood that the God they worshiped would never have accepted such an affront, for He alone is God.  How then did idolatry come into the Church?  It was through a process of time, indifference, ignorance, and deceit.  In the year 313 A.D., when the Roman Emperor Constantine declared Christianity to be the official religion of the Empire, pagans by governmental edict, and not regeneration, found themselves to being called “Christians.”  Not knowing God or the Gospel, they flooded the Church, idols in their arms, in their homes, in their minds, and in their hearts.  True believers, however, opposed pictures and statues as representing Christ.  The controversy raged back and forth for several centuries, and there was much turmoil over the matter.  In the midst of this battle, Pope Gregory the Great I (604) presented a seemingly innocent and compellingly plausible argument in their favor.  He wrote to Bishop Serenus of Marseilles, who had destroyed the images in his diocese, “What books are to those who can read, that is a picture to the ignorant who look at it; in a picture even the unlearned may see what example they should follow; in a picture they who know no letters may yet read.  Hence, for barbarians especially a picture takes the place of a book.”[35]  Such carnal reasoning usurps authority from the Word of God.  But in truth, if the illiterate cannot read, they can certainly “hear,” and “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,” because “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”  Then, in the year 754 A.D., a large council of bishops declared that such pictures are not biblical and therefore are not acceptable in the Church.  Twenty-three years later, however, another council of bishops reversed that teaching.  The Second Council of Nicea, which met in 787 A.D, required the use of pictures and statues as signifying Christ.  This inexcusable idolatry of the Roman Catholic Church led into what is called the Dark Ages.  When the Reformation came, and with it the true Gospel, there was also a condemnation of the evils of idolatry.  To escape idolatry, many people left the Catholic Church, and Bible-based churches sprang up in many countries.  At the time of the Reformation, both pastors and people realized that everything respecting God that is learned from images is both false and futile.

“O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths.”[36] 

How did it come to this?  It may well be argued that the spirit of Jezebel is alive in the Catholic Church, and that the Church is teaching God’s servants “to eat things sacrificed unto idols.”[37]  As with any education, this one commences in the elementary grades:  the decorative “religious” pictures, the carnal reasoning, the excuses and justification, and the assurance that the incipient deed will go no further.  But the Catholic Church knows that every man is at heart an idolater, and it takes but a blink of the eye to go from hanging an image to bowing the knee.  Thus, once the rudimentary lessons are learned and accepted, her students are almost certain to progress into a papal form of idolatry.  Unless vigilance is exercised in guarding against that initial step, the conclusion is inevitable.  Because Christ is the focus of true Christianity, any picture that attempts to portray Him becomes special in comparison to all others.  Although the picture is not Christ, nor is it an honest replication of Him, eventually in the mind of observer it will be both.  It must certainly be the latter initially, else why hang a picture of an unknown stranger upon the wall?  Ask the owner of that picture, “Who is this?” and he shall answer without hesitation, and with no more proof than general consensus, “It is Jesus,” when in fact it is not, and thus it fulfills all the criteria necessary to qualify as an idol—a false representation of God.  And because he is certain that this image is Jesus, he is bound by his respect for Christ to honor the picture, but “honor” will eventually give way to “reverence,” and “reverence” shall cede to “veneration.”  Surely this is the curse that he binds about the necks of his children’s children’s children.  It is to be feared that this warning will fall upon deaf ears.  Many who call themselves Christian have a cavalier attitude toward the issue of idolatry.  They rationalize using circular reasoning along these lines, “I am saved and I use pictures, movies, and videos of Christ; therefore, pictures, movies, and videos of Christ cannot be wrong for Christians.”  Hence, God no longer is adjudicator of what is right and what is wrong; the creature is, while presuming upon the holy gift of salvation as a license to do his own pleasure.  God’s Word ceases to be the basis for what is believed, but rather what is believed becomes the interpreter of God’s Word.  In effect, the “Christian’s will” becomes the arbitrator that reins in and corrals, or confines, the truth of Scripture.  How much easier is it then to relegate the Word of the Lord to the status of a “silent partner” when one adopts Catholicism’s official teaching, “By becoming incarnate, the Son of God introduced a new ‘economy’ of images”?[38]  Sadly, it becomes much easier.

It seems that none of us is ever far from the taint of Egyptian idolatry.  It cleaves to our garments, and it beckons us back during the night watches.  Unless prayerful and vigilant, we succumb, perhaps not at once, but by moments and by steps.  That which was an object of our indifference becomes a focus of our need.  Mark this well: the pictures that this generation hangs in the temple will be the idols that the next generation shall worship.  There is little hesitation to insert the adjective “sacred” before the word “picture,” and this provides the rationale for veneration.  How many Christians have defended the concocted image of Christ adorning their wall by saying that they worship not the image but that which the image represents.  Do they honestly believe by this false argument they honor God?  Indeed, they speculate as the papists do today, and assume as the pagans did many centuries ago.  The ancient pagans lived in societies awash with statues and shrines dedicated to each of their gods.  These idolaters also believed that when they knelt before their effigies, they were worshipping the gods, which the image represented.  No doubt this association, allied with natural superstition, imparted a conscious quality to the idol for the worshipper, but let this fact be counted a warning rather than a distinction.  Does not the Church of Rome, where truth once again bows to superstition, claiming “miracles of animation” regarding their idols?  Her votaries [public vows] have testified of statues that move, weep, and bleed.[39]  This is the legacy of all idolatry. 

What Then Should One Do?  

As we read of the “high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,”[40] and “the better promises”[41] that He has for His people in the New Covenant than in the Old, we have a great well-founded hope for true conviction on this fundamental issue.  The promise given is explicit and most encouraging:  “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”[42]  The efficacy of Christ Jesus’ blood is very great.  It is sufficient to reach to the very soul and conscience.  A soul defiled with idolatry can be purged, its conscience relieved and enabled to serve the living God.  The blood of Christ not only convicts through the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit, but it also absolves the true believer, enabling him to serve the living God in a worthy manner.

The Apostle Paul proceeded most strongly, calling on all to repent from the absurdity of idolatry.  This is meant not simply those who knew it indeed was idolatry, but those who in ignorance did so:  “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.”[43]  Men greatly dishonor God if they make Him after the likeness of a mere human body.  It is like unto the sin of apostasy, in that it puts Christ Jesus to open shame.  Most beloved, to think that it is acceptable to present the Lord in imagined human flesh that is not His own glorified flesh is to engage in idolatry.                     

There is no higher obligation than to obey the command of God.  It can be done.  God does not expect the impossible.  It is a fearful thing to think that some have concluded that this matter of idolatry is inconsequential.  There will be no revival in the absence of the true Gospel.  There will be no revival without sincere repentance for making and using images, which is the predominant sin of movies and pictures that portray the Lord Jesus Christ. ♦

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”[44] 

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Permission is given by the authors to copy this article if it is done in its entirety without any changes.

Permission is also given post this article in its entirety on Internet WebPages. Our Website is: http://www.bereanbeacon.org

Pastor Randall Paquette may be contacted for preaching or speaking engagements at:

paquette@tds.net

[1] Isaiah 26:18

[2] God will cast all idolaters into “the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:1-8; Acts 17:29-30; and Romans 1:22-25

[3] http://216.239.37.104/search?q=cache:l4a0QsT5bn8J  3/12/04

[4] http://www.pastornet.net.au/renewal/fire/ff-1700.htm  3/12/04

[5] II Corinthians 6:16

[6] Exodus 15:11

[7] Isaiah 46:9

[8] I Timothy 3:16

[9] Hebrews 2:14

[10] Colossians 2:9

[11] Habakkuk 2:18

[12] John 1:14; 14:9

[13] Hebrews 1:3

[14] Nestorianism is the heresy named after Nestorius who was born in Syria and died in 451 AD.  He advocated the doctrine that Jesus had two distinct persons.  The biblical solution to that controversy was stated at the Council of Ephesus (431 AD) when it was shown that Christ has two natures in His one person.  On questions about whether the two natures can be merged into one, confused or separated, a later the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD) showed biblically that the two natures can never be confused with each other, nor can they be separated from each other.

[15] I John 5:20-21

[16] Zechariah 10:2

[17] Romans 1:21

[18] Romans 1: 22-23

[19] Isaiah 40:18

[20] Romans 12:2

[21] 2003 Reuters Limited 6/20/03

[22] Hebrews 11:1

[23] Psalm 27:13

[24] Exodus 20:4-6

[25] The Greek Orthodox honor and kiss icons.  These are pictures and not statues.  They state “use of icons was defended and upheld at the Seventh Ecumenical Council.  The end of that council is still celebrated as the ‘Triumph of Orthodoxy’ in today, and icons remain a central part of Orthodox faith and practice.” 

http://www.fact-index.com/e/ea/eastern_orthodoxy.html

[26] Exodus 20:5

[27] Exodus 20:6

[28] Exodus 20: 5

[29] Psalm.106: 19-21

[30] Roman 1:23

[31] II Corinthians 4:6

[32] I John 1:1

[33] II Corinthians 5:16“Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.”

[34] Not included in the canon of Scripture.  Ex.: The Apocrypha is not included in the Protestant Bibles.

[35] Ep. ix, 105, in P. L., LXXVII, 1027 http://landru.i-link-2.net/shnyves/Catholic_Tradition_art.html 3/15/04

[36] Isaiah 3:12

[37] Revelation 2:20 She has plied her trade with unparalleled success, from Babylon to India.  But her greatest achievement, the Church of Rome today, has its adherents kneel before a crucifix (which is an idol) whilst the priest raises before it an Eucharist, the oblation of the “bloodless” sacrifice of the Mass—and then amidst the orchestration of this solemn act, her votaries, in their turn, eat this thing sacrificed unto idols precisely as Rev.2:20 charges.  But how did this come about?  Not over night.  Jezebel taught in stages commencing their education with the primary lessons: pictures hanging in homes to inspire, used to teach the illiterate, and statues used to represent, the “saints,” Christ, et al., and all to be pious ornaments in the churches, etc.  But the end was inevitable.  Rest assured, should the Lord tarry, the same Evangelical churches, which today tolerate pictures, will one day be having their communion with one on the table in front of the elements (perhaps some already do) and eventually will place it in a predella and bow before it and eat their bread.  Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.  It is that same Jezebel who was “suffered” [tolerated] by the elders at Thyatira that is being tolerated in Evangelicalism today, and the result is assured.

[38] Catechism, Para 2131

[39] US News & World Report 3/ 29/ 93.  “The case of the Weeping Madonna,” pp. 46-50

[40] Hebrews 8:1

[41] Hebrews 8:6 “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”

[42] Hebrews 9:14

[43] Acts 17:30

[44] I John 5:21

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20 thoughts on “The Practice of Idolatry within the Church by Richard Bennett and Randall Paquette

  1. Such a lengthy explanation of the unrepentant sin of idolatry shouldn’t even be necessary to Christians. That God said not to break His Holy Commandment should be enough. Why do they not understand? Why do otherwise good Christians commit this sin and insult their Creator?
    Thank you Maria for posting these messages. Perhaps they will help people to open their eyes to the truth.

    Liked by 2 people

      • What you say is very true , sister….many listen to “what they are being taught” rather than going to the scriptures. One of the gravest errors is that of following man made doctrines and traditions of men that make the Word of the Lord of none effect.
        I admire Richard Bennett and his testimony and articles. You were the one who introduced me to him.
        Jesus bless you sister Maria…you ARE a blessing to me, and to many others.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Scarlett, thank you for encouraging me in the way the Lord would have me go! God bless you! Someday in the Lord’s presence you’ll know what He accomplished through your faithful posts, words, and deeds done in faith.
          We just bought Richard Bennett’s book about Catholicism being “east of Eden” – it looks good and I hope to do a short write-up or give excerpts. Plus do my testimony for this blog. Plus finish posting from The Pilgrim Church (some much in that!).
          Faithful is He Who has called you, Scarlett, and He will do it – getting you and all of – hi, sister Sherry! – ready for His coming!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Maria, that would be very edifying to have a review of Richard Bennnett’s book, plus excerpts from time to time. I believe the Internet has been a gift of the Lord to witness the truth of His Word and His Precious Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to many people who have been caught up in errant teachings such as Catholicism. My reward, and I know yours as well, is the joy of being able to reach out to others in the Name of Jesus,. He is my Life and my constant Companion.
            Lord bless and prosper you in this new year in all ways

            Liked by 1 person

  2. From the footnotes:
    Rest assured, should the Lord tarry, the same Evangelical churches, which today tolerate pictures, will one day be having their communion with one on the table in front of the elements (perhaps some already do) and eventually will place it in a predella and bow before it and eat their bread. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. It is that same Jezebel who was “suffered” [tolerated] by the elders at Thyatira that is being tolerated in Evangelicalism today, and the result is assured.
    ~heartbreaking…I have just a few moments ago read a post by a dear brother in Christ who says that we are still saved no matter how we live…but the scriptures say, Believe on the LORD Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. Antinomian theology says we can live any way we want-that Jesus has to forgive us. They have no desire to live a holy life and, to me, that tells me the person is not saved but only giving mental assent. Why do I say this? Because he is one who sees nothing wrong with images of Christ or the Tammuz tree. It is true, discernment leaves those who willfully, after being warned by a servant of God against the idols, continue in breaking God’s command against it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Sherry! a blessed new year to you and to Scarlett!

      A couple of things. Our church places its statuettes of the Nativity (about 18″ tall) on the same table they put the Lord’s Supper upon. So, this author is right – and it is already happening. In the parish Catholic church where I grew up, the nativity scene – 1/2 scale to lifesize (about) stood at the side altar devoted to the “Blessed Virgin”. The consecrated host was at the main central altar – there we worshipped “Christ” in the bread. Some have said that some Catholic theologians believe that this will be His presence during His millennial reign – this kind of presence will be His second coming – as the consecrated host. This is something I need to research cause it is very important in relation to what is happening now and soon.

      Also, about the friend you spoke of, I finally understood the following verses when I realized who the Lord Jesus was rejecting, that it wasn’t Christians who sin and fail and repent, but the lawless. Knowing this brings peace as we are in Him Who is true and cannot ever lie!

      Matthew 7:22-24
      22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
      24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes! That verse echos much in my mind concerning those who celebrate X Mass and Easter since it is another “Jesus” being worshiped. I should say, I wonder if that verse applies and that is what grieves me so. False brethren aren’t always so out there obvious.

        About the presence of Jesus, it reminded me of what I have said before, that a brother in Christ had surmised: The Anti-Christ may very well look just like the handsome, white man hippy “Jesus.” Maybe that is why he will be so readily believed…? I’m still a bit of a novice on the end times things.

        Liked by 1 person

        • To be frank, sis, I don’t understand how the Lord will deal with disobedient brethren yet. This would be a good study. He speaks of servants receiving stripes, more or less stripes depending on their knowledge of their Master’s will. I don’t know what to make of this aspect at all but only know that people need to be warned.
          You probably are wise in admitting the hugeness and difficulty of the subject of the last days. I need help with this too. We know some critical things, right? That the Lord Jesus Christ will return, to rescue His children and judge the wicked, avenging us.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Very instructive, and powerful. I had written some posts concerning that particular film, “Passion….”. At the time my concern was with the foolishness of aspiring to be constrained to feel more, provided the movie inspired this. I was very upset about this wish in folks, sentiment, guilt, emotions led. Folks are always doing this, looking for a sincerity, they think will be found in sentiment. So that was my objectivity in those posts to criticize them for such foolishness and aspirations. When repentance itself has nothing to do with emotions, as Dwight Pentecost puts it; “Repentance is a change of mind and a change of direction”.
    This man hit the nail on the head with the danger of images and idols.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miguel, what you’ve said makes sense. When emotion is genuine it happens – we feel things because we’re humans made in God’s holy image – He feels and speaks to us about His feelings for us and for the unrepentant and for many things, such as His glory. Thank you for your insight into the inner workings of the heart that need to stay simple and not be manipulated to achieve we know not what.
      Yes, repentance is a pretty simple thing, turning away from sin to God through Christ – though simple very beautiful.
      God bless you for visiting and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

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