Monday, August 16, 2010

Fisher's Catechism on the Second Commandment

James Fisher, Ralph Erskine, and Ebenezer Erskine produced a meta-catechism, a catechism designed to explain and explicate the Westminster Shorter Catechism. It was originally released in 1753, though it was revised and ultimately released in the form below by James Fisher in 1765. As explained in the introduction, while these three men were involved, they were not alone in preparing the materials that ultimately were compiled into what has become known as "Fisher's Catechism" (link to intro). Without further ado, here's Fisher's Catechism on the Second Commandment:

QUESTION 49. Which is the Second Commandment?

ANSWER: The Second Commandment is, 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.

QUESTION 50. What is required in the Second Commandment?

ANSWER: The Second Commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his word.

Q. 1. What is the opinion of the Papists respecting this commandment?

A. They allege that it is not a distinct precept from the first, but only an appendix, or supplement to it, by way of illustration.

Q. 2. What is their practice, in consequence of this opinion?

A. They constantly leave it out in their mass books and other liturgies of their church, lest the people should observe the manifest contrariety of their image worship, to what is here so expressly forbidden.

Q. 3. In what then does the Second Commandment differ from the first?

A. The First Commandment respects the object, and requires that we worship the true God for our God, and no other: the second respects the means of worship, and requires that the true God be worshipped in such a way only, and by such ordinances as he has appointed in his word, in opposition to all human inventions.

Q. 4. What is meant by religious worship?

A. That homage and respect we owe to a gracious God, as a God of infinite perfection; by which we profess subjection to, and confidence in him, as our God in Christ, for the supply of all our wants; and ascribe the praise and glory that is due to him, as our chief good, and only happiness, Psalm 95:6, 7.

Q. 5. What are these religious ordinances, which God has appointed in his word?

A. They are "prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the word, the administration and receiving of the sacraments; church government and discipline; the ministry and maintenance thereof; religious fasting; swearing by the name of God; and vowing to him."[59]

Q. 6. Is prayer a moral duty founded in the law of nature?

A. It certainly is; the necessary dependence of the rational creature upon its Creator, plainly proves it to be so. Hence we find the very Heathens practising it, when reduced to straits, Jonah 1:14.

Q. 7. How does it appear to be an instituted means of worship?

A. From a variety of scripture texts enjoining the practice of it, in all cases and circumstances, Psalm 50:15; Phil. 4:6; 1 Thess. 5:17.

Q. 8. What is acceptable prayer?

A. It is an asking in Christ's name, what God has promised to give, John 14:13; with a full persuasion that he hears, and will answer, Mark 11:24; James 1:6.

Q. 9. How manifold is religious thanksgiving?

A. TWOFOLD; stated and occasional.

Q. 10. What is stated thanksgiving?

A. It is not only the thankful acknowledgment of mercies daily received, which is a branch of prayer; but likewise the singing the praises of God with the voice, which is a stated act of worship, distinct from prayer, though ejaculatory prayer ought always to be joined with it, Psalm 57:7.

Q. 11. How do you prove that singing with the voice is a stated act of worship appointed under the New Testament?

A. From the example of Christ and his apostles, who, after the first supper, sang a hymn, (or psalm, as on the margin,) Matt. 26:30; and from the injunction laid upon all Christians to be employed in this exercise, as a stated duty, Eph. 5:18, 19; James 5:13.

Q. 12. What should be the subject matter of our praises to God?[60]

A. The psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, which are dictated by the Spirit of God in scripture; and not any human composure whatever, Eph. 5:19.

Q. 13. In what manner should these be sung?

A. "With grace in our hearts to the Lord," Col. 3:16.

Q. 14. What is it to sing with grace in our hearts to the Lord?

A. It is to have our hearts going along with our voice, in suitable acts of faith, and elevated affections, Psalm 57:7.

Q. 15. Are not the Psalms of David, as we sing them in our language, of human composure?

A. The translation in metre is human, but the sense and meaning are the same as the original.

Q. 16. What is occasional thanksgiving?

A. It is the setting some time apart for giving thanks to God, on account of some remarkable mercy and deliverance, respecting either churches and nations in general, Neh. 12:27; or ourselves and families in particular, Eph. 5:20.

Q. 17. How ought we to engage in this duty?

A. With an humble sense of our utter unworthiness of the least of all God's favours, 2 Sam. 7:18.

Q. 18. Are reading, hearing, and preaching of the word, acts of worship?

A. Although they are not acts of such immediate worship as prayer and praise, in which God is immediately addressed; yet being the instituted and ordinary means of salvation, they ought to be practised and attended with that reverence and regard which is due to the great God our Saviour, who is present in them, Matt. 28:20; Acts 10:33.

Q. 19. How are the administration and receiving of the sacraments acts of worship?

A. As in them, by the sensible signs of divine appointment, Christ, and his benefits, are represented, sealed, and applied to believers, Gal. 3:26; 1 Cor. 11:26.

Q. 20. In what sense are church government and discipline to be ranked among the ordinances of divine worship?

A. In as far as they are exercised in the name of the Lord Jesus, the alone head of the church, according to the rule of his word, by church judicatories lawfully constituted, Matt. 18:20.

Q. 21. Why are the ministry and the maintenance of it placed among religious ordinances?

A. Because, as a standing ministry in the church, till the end of time, is of express divine institution, Eph. 4:11-13; so the suitable and comfortable maintenance of it, is as expressly appointed, not only in the Old Testament, Num. 18:21, 24; but likewise in the New, 1 Cor. 9:13, 14 -- "Do ye not know, that they which minister about holy things, live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar, are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel."

Q. 22. What is religious fasting?

A. "A religious fast requires total abstinence, not only from all food, (unless bodily weakness do manifestly disable from holding out, till the fast be ended,) but also from all worldly labour, discourses, and thoughts, and from all bodily delights."[61] Josh. 7:6; Judges 20:26.

Q. 23. Is bodily fasting, or bare abstinence from food, any part of religious worship?

A. Not properly in itself; but as it is a mean of divine appointment, for fitting and disposing us for more spiritual and solemn exercises.

Q. 24. How does fasting appear to be a mean of divine appointment?

A. From the practice of the saints under the Old Testament, Esth. 4:16; Dan. 10:2, 3; from the testimony of Christ, Matt. 6:17, 18, and 17:21; and the example of his apostles under the New, Acts 13:3; and 14:23.

Q. 25. What are those spiritual and solemn exercises for which fasting is designed to dispose us?

A. Deep humiliation of soul before the Lord on account of sin, Ezra 9:6; free confession of it, Dan. 9:20, and turning from it, Joel 2:12, as the genuine fruits of our taking hold of God's covenant, Jer. 50:4, 5; together with an importunate requesting of our gracious God, for that which is the particular occasion of the fast, Psalm 35:13.

Q. 26. Is religious fasting an occasional or a stated duty?

A. It is merely occasional and extraordinary, to be observed as the call of Providence may require and direct.

Q. 27. What are the occurrences in providence, which are a call to this extraordinary duty?

A. "When some great and notable judgments are either inflicted upon a people," Dan. 9:3, 12-14, "or apparently imminent," 2 Chron. 20:2-4; "or, by some extraordinary provocations notoriously deserved," 1 Sam. 7:3, 6; "as also when some special blessing is to be sought and obtained,"[62] ver. 5, 8, 10.

Q. 28. Is swearing by the name of God an act of immediate and instituted worship?

A. It is undoubtedly: and that either when we devote ourselves to God in a covenant of duties, Deut. 6:13, or declare the truth upon oath, when called thereto: because, in both cases the name of God is solemnly interposed and invoked, Jer. 4:2.

Q. 29. To whom are vows to be made?

A. To God alone, as the only party and witness in the making and performing of them, Psalm 76:11 -- "Vow and pay unto the LORD your GOD."

Q. 30. What should be the subject matter of our vows to God?

A. Nothing except what may tend either to promote the practice of commanded duty, Psalm 119:57, or prevent the commission of any sin to which we are more ordinarily inclined and addicted, verse 106.

Q. 31. What does this commandment require, with respect to all those ordinances, and parts of worship, which God has appointed in his word?

A. The receiving and observing them; and keeping them pure and entire.

Q. 32. What is it to receive God's ordinances?

A. It is to approve of, and embrace them, as bearing the stamp of his authority upon them, Psalm 84:1, 2.

Q. 33. What is it to observe them?

A. It is to set about the practice of them, or to be actually employed in them, Psalm 55:17, and 119:164; Luke 2:37.

Q. 34. What is it to keep the ordinances of God pure?

A. It is to contribute our utmost endeavour to preserve them from all mixture of human invention, Deut. 12:32.

Q. 35. What is it to keep them entire?

A. It is, in the exercise of faith, to attend upon each of them in its proper season, so as that one duty may not jostle out another, Luke 1:6.

Q. 36. What does God require of us in this command, with reference to all false worship?

A. He requires "the disapproving, detesting, opposing all false worship, Psalm 16:4; and according to each one's place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry, Deut. 7:5."[63]

QUESTION 51. What is forbidden in the Second Commandment?

ANSWER: The Second Commandment forbiddeth the worshipping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his word.

Q. 1. What are the leading sins forbidden in this commandment?

A. Idolatry and will-worship.

Q. 2. What is the idolatry here condemned?

A. The worshipping of God by images: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image," &c.

Q. 3. What is an image?

A. It is a statue, picture, or likeness of any creature whatever.

Q. 4. Is it lawful to have images or pictures of mere creatures?

A. Yes, provided they be only for ornament; or the design be merely historical, to transmit the memory of persons and their actions to posterity.

Q. 5. Can any image or representation be made of God?

A. No; it is absolutely impossible; he being an infinite, incomprehensible Spirit, Isa. 40:18 -- "To whom will ye liken God? or, what likeness will ye compare unto him?" If we cannot delineate our own souls, much less the infinite God; Acts 17:29 -- "We ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device."

Q. 6. What judgment should we form of those who have devised images of God, or of the persons of the adorable Trinity?

A. We should adjudge their practice to be both unlawful and abominable.

Q. 7. Why unlawful?

A. Because directly contrary to the express letter of the law in this commandment, and many other scriptures, such as, Jer. 10:14, 15; Hos. 13:2, and particularly Deut. 4:15-19, 23 -- "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," &c.

Q. 8. How is it abominable?

A. As debasing the Creator of heaven and earth to the rank of his own creatures; and a practical denial of all his infinite perfections, Psalm 50:21.

Q. 9. May we not have a picture of Christ, who has a true body?

A. By no means; because, though he has a true body and a reasonable soul, John 1:14, yet his human nature subsists in his divine person, which no picture can represent, Psalm 45:2.

Q. 10. Why ought all pictures of Christ to be abominated by Christians?

A. Because they are downright lies, representing no more than the picture of a mere man: whereas, the true Christ is God-man; "Immanuel, God with us," 1 Tim. 3:16; Matt. 1:23.

Q. 11. Is it lawful to form any inward representation of God, or of Christ, upon our fancy, bearing a resemblance to any creature whatever?

A. By no means; because this is the very inlet to gross outward idolatry: for, when once the Heathens "became vain in their imaginations, they presently changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things," Rom. 1:21, 23.

Q. 12. What is it to worship God by images, according to the idolatrous practice of Papists?

A. It is either to make use of images, as pretended helps to devotion; or, to worship God before the images of saints, as intercessors with him.

Q. 13. Can any feigned image of God, or of Christ, be helpful in devotion?

A. No; it is the Spirit only who helpeth our infirmities in all acts of spiritual devotion, Rom. 8:26; and that faith which is necessary for acceptance in duty, fixes upon the word of the living God, as its sole foundation, and not upon dead images, Luke 16:31.

Q. 14. Will it excuse any from the charge of idolatry, that they pretend to worship the true God before images, or by them, as means of worship, and not the very images themselves?

A. Not at all; because this is a mean of worship expressly forbidden in this commandment, which prohibits all bowing down before images, upon whatever pretext it be -- "Thou shalt not BOW DOWN thyself to them, nor serve them."

Q. 15. Do they worship images who bow down before them, even though it be the true God they intend to worship by them?

A. In scripture reckoning they do; Isa. 2:8, 9 -- "Their land is full of idols: they worship the work of their own hands. The mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself."

Q. 16. Was it the ultimate intention of the Israelites in the wilderness to pay divine worship to the golden calf itself; or, to JEHOVAH, by it, and before it?

A. It was undoubtedly their ultimate intention to worship JEHOVAH, the true God, before that image; as appears from Ex. 32:5 -- "When Aaron saw it, he built an altar BEFORE IT; -- and said, "To-morrow is a feast to the Lord," (or JEHOVAH, as it is in the original.) And yet, because they did this, so directly contrary to the very letter of this commandment, they are charged with worshipping the image itself, verse 8:-- "They have made them a golden calf, and have worshipped IT," &c.

Q. 17. Do not they who honour the picture of a prince, honour the prince himself?

A. If the prince forbid the making of his picture, it is a contempt of his authority to have it. God has strictly prohibited all images for religious purposes, and therefore it is impious to have or use them for these ends, Lev. 26:1, 30.

Q. 18. May images be worshipped at all, upon their own account?

A. No; because they are the work of man's hands: far inferior in dignity to man himself, Isa. 45:9-18.

Q. 19. May they be worshipped on account of their ORIGINALS; or those whom they are designed to represent?

A. They may not; whether designed to represent God, or the saints.

Q. 20. Why may they not be worshipped as they are designed to represent God?

A. Because he never put his name in them; but declares his greatest hatred and detestation of them, Jer. 44:2-9.

Q. 21. Why may they not be worshipped as they are designed to represent eminent saints?

A. Because saints, however eminent, are only mere creatures; and therefore cannot be the objects of worship, either in themselves, or by their images, Acts 14:14, 15.

Q. 22. Can saints in heaven be intercessors for sinners on earth?

A. No; because intercession being founded on satisfaction, none but CHRIST can be the intercessor, as none but he is the propitiation for our sins, 1 John 2:1, 2.

Q. 23. Is it lawful, as some plead, to have images or pictures in churches, though not for worship, yet for instruction, and raising the affections?

A. No; because God has expressly prohibited not only the worshipping but the MAKING of any image whatever on a religious account; and the setting them up in churches, cannot but have a natural tendency to beget a sacred veneration for them; and therefore ought to be abstained from, as having at least an "appearance of evil," Isa. 45:9-18. 1 Thess. 5:22.

Q. 24. May they not be placed in churches for beauty and ornament?

A. No; the proper ornament of churches is the sound preaching of the gospel, and the pure dispensation of the sacraments, and other ordinances of divine institution.

Q. 25. Were not the images of the cherubims placed in the tabernacle and temple, by the command of God himself?

A. Yes; but out of all hazard of any abuse, being placed in the holy of holies, where none of the people ever came: they were instituted by God himself, which images are not; and they belonged to the typical and ceremonial worship, which is now quite abolished.

Q. 26. Are our forefathers to be blamed for pulling down altars, images, and other monuments of idolatry, from places of public worship at the Reformation?

A. No; they had Scripture precept and warrant for what they did, Num. 33:52, and Deut. 7:5 -- "Ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire."

Q. 27. What do you understand by will-worship, the other leading sin forbidden in this command?

A. It is the worshipping God in any other way not appointed in his word.

Q. 28. Should there be an express appointment in the word for every part of divine worship in which we engage?

A. Undoubtedly there should; otherwise we are guilty of innovating upon the worship of God, and prescribing rules to the Almighty, which is both displeasing to him, and unprofitable to ourselves, Matt. 15:9.

Q. 29. Who are they that are guilty of innovating upon the worship of God?

A. All they who presumptuously annex their own superstitious inventions to the divine institutions, under pretence of their being teaching significant ceremonies; as they of the Popish and Episcopal persuasions do.

Q. 30. What are these significant ceremonies which they add to the instituted ordinances of God's worship?

A. The sign of the cross in baptism; kneeling at receiving the sacrament of the supper; erecting altars in churches; and bowing at the name of Jesus, are a few of many.

Q. 31. Why may not such ceremonies be used, when they are designed for exciting devotion, and beautifying the worship of God?

A. Because God has expressly forbidden the least addition to or abatement from the order and directions he himself has given in his word concerning his own worship, Deut. 12:30-32 -- "What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not ADD thereunto, nor DIMINISH from it."

Q. 32. Were there not significant ceremonies in the Jewish worship, under the Old Testament?

A. Yes; but they were of express divine appointment; and by the same appointment abolished in the death and resurrection of Christ, Heb. 9:1-15.

Q. 33. May not significant ceremonies be founded on 1 Cor. 14:40 -- "Let all things be done decently and in order?"

A. No; because that text speaks only of the decent and orderly observance of the ordinances of God already instituted, and not in the least of any thing new to be added as a part of worship.

Q. 34. Is reading of sermons or discourses from the pulpit an ordinance of God appointed in his word?

A. So far from it, that we find the contrary practised by our Lord while he was here upon earth, Luke 4:16, 23; where, after reading his text out of the prophet Esaias, it is said, he CLOSED the book, and "began to say unto them, This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears," &c.

Q. 35. How may we be further guilty of a breach of his commandment, than by idolatry and will-worship?

A. When we neglect, Heb. 10:25, contemn, Matt. 22:5, hinder, chap. 23:13, or oppose the worship and ordinances which God has appointed in his word, 1 Thess. 2:16; or tolerate those who publish and maintain erroneous opinions or practices, Rev. 2:14, 15, 20.

Q. 36. What is the doctrine of our Confession concerning the tolerating of those who publish and maintain erroneous opinions or practices?

A. That "for their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of nature, or the known principles of Christianity, whether concerning faith, worship, or conversation, or to the power of godliness, they may lawfully be called to account, and proceeded against by the censures of the church, and by the power of the civil magistrates."[64]

[59] See Larger Catechism, Question 108.

[60] It is scarcely necessary to say that the Presbyterian Church in the United States, under the sanction of the General Assembly, celebrate the praises of God in hymns of human composure, expressing evangelical sentiments, and there are convincing arguments in favour of this practice and against the restricted one recommended in the following answer.

[61] Directory for the public worship of God, in the article, Concerning public solemn Fasting.

[62] Ibid.

[63] Larger Catechism, Question 108.

[64] See Confession of Faith, chapter 20 § 4, and the Scriptures there quoted.

8 comments:

Coram Deo said...

A wonderful resource! Thanks TF!

In Him,
CD

natamllc said...

TF,

there is just something I am not getting or understanding here.

Under: QUESTION 51. What is forbidden in the Second Commandment?

ANSWER: The Second Commandment forbiddeth the worshipping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his word.


and to point/question eleven:

Q. 11. Is it lawful to form any inward representation of God, or of Christ, upon our fancy, bearing a resemblance to any creature whatever?

A. By no means; because this is the very inlet to gross outward idolatry:


What does this mean? "....form any inward representation of God...."

Whenever I write, read or speak of God, I first have had to have formed an inward representation of God the Father, Son or Holy Spirit to communicate one of Them or two or all three to the listener or reader just as I am right now.

So, I am stupid here and am not making the proper distinction. Maybe you can elucidate what it is this point is as it is here, again, repeated similarly as it is in the last thread where I highlighted a similar wording and intent from the Westminster larger catechism?

thanks

sd said...

Reformed apologists will often attack Catholic doctrine on the Blessed Virgin Mary by pointing out the behavior of individual Catholics whose attitude and behavior toward the BVM crosses the line into worship due properly only to God.

This is, in my opinion, not an especially useful way of critiquing Catholic teaching. Theology makes distinctions, and I think you can hardly hold a belief system accountable for every last act of its adherents if they fail to fully and completely grasp those distinctions.

But even if its not especially helpful, its not completely indefensible.

But if that's the case, I think this passage illustrates a case where a Reformed writer is flirting with the edges of heresy, and if Catholicism is to be held to account for every theological mis-step made in its name, then the Reformed tradition should surely be held accountable for the error here.

Namely, the idea that its somehow a violation of The Commandments* to create images of Jesus. Newsflash people - there was an Incarnation. The Word became Flesh. Flesh can be seen. It can be touched. It can be represented in art. Once the Incarnation happened then it ceased to be "idolatrous" to create images of Jesus because Jesus existed as a real flesh-and-blood human being. To suggest that several thousand people in first century Palestine were able to look at Jesus walking around, but that its somehow sinful to create images of him today, is a violation of common sense but, more importantly, about as close as you can get to the heresy of Nestorianism without moving to a suburb of Tehran with several hundred of your closest friends and followers.

But leaving theological concerns aside this idea is loony on a merely practical level. Walk around a typical "papist" church and you'll see dozens of images of Our Lord. But here's the thing - they don't look alike! They have different facial features, different builds, etc. If Catholics were "worshiping" "graven images" don't you think they'd try to make all of those paintings, windows and statues look alike?


* And yes, the use of the phrase "The Commandments" rather than a specific number, is intentional. Pointing out the flat-out stupidity of the Protestant cannard that "Catholics deleted the Second Commandment!!!!" is like shotting fish in a barrel.

Turretinfan said...

"Reformed apologists will often attack Catholic doctrine on the Blessed Virgin Mary by pointing out the behavior of individual Catholics whose attitude and behavior toward the BVM crosses the line into worship due properly only to God."

You mean, individuals like Pope Pius IX (link) or Pope Benedict XVI (link)?

"This is, in my opinion, not an especially useful way of critiquing Catholic teaching. Theology makes distinctions, and I think you can hardly hold a belief system accountable for every last act of its adherents if they fail to fully and completely grasp those distinctions."

One would expect that at least Pius IX and Benedict XVI might fully and completely grasp the distinctions, if anyone does.

"But even if its not especially helpful, its not completely indefensible."

ok...

"But if that's the case, I think this passage illustrates a case where a Reformed writer is flirting with the edges of heresy, and if Catholicism is to be held to account for every theological mis-step made in its name, then the Reformed tradition should surely be held accountable for the error here."

Well, let's see the errors!

"Namely, the idea that its somehow a violation of The Commandments* to create images of Jesus."

Why is that an error?

"Newsflash people - there was an Incarnation."

Indeed, there was. We do not deny this.

"The Word became Flesh."

Nor do we deny this.

"Flesh can be seen."

Nor do we deny this.

"It can be touched."

Nor do we deny this.

"It can be represented in art."

Nor do we deny this.

"Once the Incarnation happened then it ceased to be 'idolatrous' to create images of Jesus because Jesus existed as a real flesh-and-blood human being."

That does not follow. There were theophanies before the Incarnation. Jacob saw, touched, and wrestled with God. Yet, making images was not permitted. It was only ever prohibited in Scripture.

[cont'd in part 2]

Turretinfan said...

[cont'd from part 1]

"To suggest that several thousand people in first century Palestine were able to look at Jesus walking around, but that its somehow sinful to create images of him today, is a violation of common sense but, more importantly, about as close as you can get to the heresy of Nestorianism without moving to a suburb of Tehran with several hundred of your closest friends and followers."

There's another item that doesn't follow. Nestorianism has to do with dividing Christ into two persons - affirming that images may lawfully be created of Christ comes far closer the than the opposite.

"But leaving theological concerns aside this idea is loony on a merely practical level."

It's not just impractical but absolute lunacy not to have images of Christ? Funny that this matter of such great practical importance was omitted from the Scriptures and the writings of the earliest fathers.

"Walk around a typical 'papist' church and you'll see dozens of images of Our Lord. But here's the thing - they don't look alike! They have different facial features, different builds, etc. If Catholics were "worshiping" "graven images" don't you think they'd try to make all of those paintings, windows and statues look alike?"

a) Why is that? No one really knows what Jesus looked like, so they are just guesses.

b) And the variety of images helps to prove what we are saying, namely that there is no apostolic tradition on this - the apostles did not hand down images of Jesus, notwithstanding legends to the contrary.

"* And yes, the use of the phrase "The Commandments" rather than a specific number, is intentional. Pointing out the flat-out stupidity of the Protestant cannard that "Catholics deleted the Second Commandment!!!!" is like shotting fish in a barrel."

Really? How's your knowledge of the 18th century liturgical practices of your church? Please, since it's shooting fish in a barrel, by all means point us to a copy of the liturgy in use in England in the 1750's.

I mean - Fisher may be wrong, but I have to believe it takes more than a quick google search to find the documentation to prove that (if, in fact, he's wrong).

- TurretinFan

natamllc said...

Please TF, don't let sd sidetrack you so that overlook my inquiry?

Turretinfan said...

NatAmLLC:

You wrote: "Whenever I write, read or speak of God, I first have had to have formed an inward representation of God the Father, Son or Holy Spirit to communicate one of Them or two or all three to the listener or reader just as I am right now."

My dear brother, your experience and mine is different. I pray to God the Father knowing that He is a formless Spirit - relying on the Holy Spirit in the same way. While I recognize that Jesus has a true body, I don't know what it looks like, and I don't feel the need to imagine a body to pray to Him.

Now, of course, there are other senses of representation in which I might have a representation. For example, I (like everyone who comes to God in prayer) believe that God exists and that he hears the prayers of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him that way.

Of God's power and wisdom, the whole earth speaks - and I know God in that way - but with particular facial features, skin tone, etc. I do not imagine either God the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit.

Does that make sense?

I hope, by the way, in these coming weeks to provide a more detailed explanation for why Fisher's catechism says what it says on this point.

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

TF,

neither do I. And I sit in the Presence of God quite a bit each day! I am continually in the Sanctuary blessing God while I worship Him with my spirit:

Luk 24:50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.
Luk 24:51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.
Luk 24:52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
Luk 24:53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.



That's not my question so I am struggling to put over my intent.

When I pray, I always begin with His Names.


Pro 18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

But, when I read Scripture as those I cited in the earlier posts, I imagine what I am reading.

Jesus did say when you see me you see the Father. He said that to those who had all their senses functioning. So, while I agree that God is a Spirit and weigh heavily upon both the Old and New Testaments what is written and the fact that Our formless Spirit, the Triune God made everything that is visible and invisible out of "nothing", I still marvel that Christ was incarnate and a "body" was prepared for Him just like the body we abide in.

Thank you for your insight.