Depictions of Jesus Immoral?

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by GraceSaves, Oct 27, 2003.

  1. GraceSaves

    GraceSaves
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    I was strolling through the General Baptist Discussion Board and came upon the thread about lightning striking Jim Caviezel and the assistant director (twice) while filming The Passion of Christ.

    One poster, Mark Ogalthorp (sorry if that is spelled wrong - this computer is too slow to go back and double check right now) stated that this was without a doubt God punishing these people for depicting Jesus Christ in an artistic/dramatic form. He went on to condemn any artistic/dramatic rendition of Jesus, including Christmas/Easter cantatas, documentaries or Gospel stories about Jesus (i.e., children's programs), and even having a visual image of Jesus in your mind when praying (which he says the Lord has mercy on him for having these since these images of Jesus have been forced upon him throughout his life).

    He calls any images blasphemous and idolatrous.

    Is this a general Baptist distinctive? He seemed to be getting some opposition, but I don't know if they were Baptists or not. If its not a Baptist distinctive, is it nonetheless allowed/acceptable to hold this belief and remain Baptist? If so, how does one reconcile his belief with another Baptist's belief that such images are okay, and even enhance ones spiritual/prayer life?

    Thanks in advance to all peacable responses from my Baptist brothers and sisters!
     
  2. MikeS

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    As a Catholic I obviously can't comment on Baptist beliefs, but it did occur to me that if God wants to punish people by striking them with lightning then I would expect them to suffer some serious effects, up to and including death. The fact that they were struck (twice, you say?) and did not suffer any serious effects suggests more to me that God is telling them that He will watch over them during the coming attacks on this movie by the forces of ignorance and evil.

    Man, I cannot wait for this movie! [​IMG]
     
  3. Mike McK

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    To say that God struck Caveziel for portraying Jesus is not only what the Bible calles "vain superstition", it's also Biblically untenable.

    Caveziel is a believer and the Bible clearly tells us that, not only is there no condemnation in Christ, but that God has taken our chastisement out on Christ on the cross.

    Second, I don't know where the Bible tells us that images are wrong. It's wrong to make an image to a false god and it's wrong to idolize an image, but an image, in and of itself, is not wrong.

    And I would challenge him to show where in the Bible this is found.

    Now, many of the images we have of Jesus are grossly inaccurate. Aryanising Jesus and making him look like some hippie with long hair and blue eyes (when was the last time you saw a Palestinian Jew with blond hair and blue eyes?) is a form of idolotry because, basically, they have created Him in their own image for the sake of a political agenda. Those images may be historically and anthropologically wrong, but I don't believe that they're morally wrong.

    No. I don't know anywhere that this is taught in any baptist teaching or any baptists who believe it.

    Sure. This is a peripheral issue. A trivial one, really.

    Easy: "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity." - St. Augustine

    It's a non-essential issue that believers of conscience have the liberty to believe or disbelieve.
     
  4. neal4christ

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    No, it is not. It is more of a knee-jerk reaction.

    It would make more sense to me that if God was judging people with regards this movie he would have gone for Mel Gibson himself. [​IMG] I mean, come on, go for the director, not an assistant or actor. :D

    In Christ,
    Neal
     
  5. GraceSaves

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    Thank you for the responses!

    This is my only concern. Mark claims to be a Baptist, and you said with his belief, you can still both be Baptists and in unity with one another.

    Maybe so, but how do you reconcile the fact that he would say you are blaspheming the Lord or worshipping an idol by using such images? How can you be in spiritual unity with someone who would effectively believe you to be an active rejector of the Lord?
     
  6. Johnv

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    No. It's not a Baptist Distinctive. In fact, none of the BD's cover how the Commandments should be interpreted.

    The BD's allow churches to interpret the Bible as they feel led, so long as the interpretation remains within the scope of the Distinctives.

    Simple: "This is my interpretation, and this is your interpretation." The answer is not "my interpretation is the only acceptible interpretation". Such as stance violates the Baptist Distinctive of Autonomy.

    The same goes for creation/evolution, open/closed communion, pre/a/post millenilaism, worshipping on Sat or Sun, etc etc etc.

    Items not open for interpretation among Baptists are things like the believer's baptism, the institution of two sacraments (communion & baptism), and separation of church and state.
     
  7. Bro. Curtis

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    A touchy subject. I would rather not see pictures of Christ. We don't know what he looked like, and to assign an image to him makes me uncomfortable. I'm not saying those who do are sinning, but it's just my opinion.

    I will watch the movie, when it comes out. And I'll save my opinion 'till then.

    But you gotta wonder about lightning striking twice. I think it's pure coincidence, but it makes for some good discussions.
     
  8. GraceSaves

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    This is something I've been thinking about since posting this thread...

    When I read a novel, for instance, I form images of the characters in my mind. That's how stories work: we develop mental images, because that's what the words we read translate into. Words are meaningless unless they are associated with a mental image. Sometimes we get physical descriptions of people, sometimes we don't. We don't get physical descriptions of Jesus in the Bible. However, when they are lacking, our mind still makes up something to fill the void. There are times that, even when given a physical description of a character, I envision him differently. I.E., if I'm reading a book, and halway through it I learn that a man has blonde hair, I usually keep envisioning him as I previously did to provide continuity in my own vision of what I'm reading.

    My point? That if we read the Gospel, we will assign some "figure" to Jesus as we envision it in our heads; it is unescapable. Based on that, I can't see how such images in our mind can at all be sinful; it's actually quite subconscious.
     
  9. Abiyah

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    Good night, Mike McK! Wow! Amein!
     
  10. Mike McK

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    Curtis, you're an artist. What would you say to a visual artist who wants to use an image of Jesus to illustrate the Gospel?

    In all honesty, I'm as brainwashed as anyone. When someone says "Jesus" I immediately think of the Sunday School picture of Jesus we all saw as children as the hippie with the long, flowing blond hair and blue eyes, even though I know, intellectually, that He didn't look like that.

    But, to be honest, I'm not nearly concerned with what He looked like as I am with what He did on the cross.
     
  11. Mike McK

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    Thanks. I really wasn't sure "Aryanising" was a word.
     
  12. dianetavegia

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    Oh that is a good post Mike!

    GraceSaves, we have a few who feel you shouldn't wear a cross or even wear charm bracelets (mine is jingling as I type) because they were originally, a bazillion years ago, supposed to ward off evil spirits.

    No, this is NOT a Baptist distinctive. The 'graven images' warned about were being worshipped. If we were to go as far the original poster is insisting we go, no one could have a knickknack of an owl, a wall hanging of a bird, a wooden duck, etc.......

    Just because a Christian is hit by a car or a church burns down is NOT a clear sign that God is angry with their actions. The mere fact that this man is not dead says loads!

    Diane
     
  13. GraceSaves

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    Just want to say that I greatly appreciate the kindness and good will in everyone's replies. [​IMG]
     

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