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Author claims art depicting Godís Son is sinful
The Times and Democrat ^ | June 22, 2007 | WENDY JEFFCOAT CRIDER

Posted on 06/22/2007 11:44:00 AM PDT by Alex Murphy

Justin Griffin of Columbia started losing his vision as a senior in high school, the same year he professed his faith in the Lord.

“My plans for me in high school were to graduate, join the military and become a professional soldier,” he said. “I had no love of God. I had no love of people.

“Basically, I was my own God.”

A victim of retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary disease of the retina of the eye, Griffin said he didn’t view his failing vision as a curse.

“When the blindness came, I looked on it as a blessing,” said the 35-year-old married father of one. “I thought I had the power, and obviously it failed. There are things that happen in life we have no control over.”

As do most plans in life, Griffin’s changed, not only because he lost his eyesight, but he felt the call of the Lord leading him into the ministry. To become a minister, his denomination – the Presbyterian Church in America – required him to get a master’s degree in theology and write a paper on a controversial topic.

Griffin, ironically, chose to investigate whether or not images, pictures, statues and other art forms depicting Jesus Christ are in violation of the Second Commandment.

His conclusion? It can be found in Griffin’s first book, “The Truth About Images of Jesus and the 2nd Commandment” (Tate Publishing, 145 pages, $11.99).

Written in a conversational tone – Griffin dictated the project to his computer – that’s thorough and thought-provoking, “Images” attempts to blow open every argument claiming the images of Jesus are not a violation of the Second Commandment handed down to Moses on Mount Sinai: “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.” (Exodus 20:4-5)

Compiling as many different angles of attack and arguments as he could, Griffin said the conclusion always came up the same – that the images many Protestant Evangelicals hold dear are sinful.

“There are mountains and mountains of historical information surrounding the images of Jesus,” Griffin said. He enlisted the help of seminary pal Andrew Morrison, who also helped transcribe Hebrew passages, to dig up and dredge through research for the book.

In his book, Griffin examines the origins of images of Jesus, the mandate for those images and, ultimately, the consequences of their display.

“The images violate the Second Commandment,” Griffin said. “It’s one of those things you want to prove wrong, but the facts kept piling up and piling up.

“Finally, I said, ‘Let’s just ask the question and see what the conclusion is.’”

He knows the view is unpopular. In fact, he says he was forced to resign as a church youth director because of the nature of the book and because his family refused to portray Jesus, Mary and Joseph in a Nativity display.

Griffin, who holds a master’s degree in theology from Columbia International University, is currently writing a book about evangelism and is working on a Christian fantasy novel. He said he’s not looking to become famous from sales of “Images” because of the narrow Christian book market and his book’s topic.

“It’s not a safe topic because people have strong-held beliefs about the images,” Griffin said. “Some Christian book stores won’t even stock the book, which I understand because there is a little hypocrisy.

“(But) I don’t regret writing this book. The only thing I would say I regret is I didn’t write this faster.”

While there have been those who have tried to dispute his findings, Griffin said he has had no one come up with a good argument to prove him wrong.

“It’s really hard because it’s not a lukewarm book,” he said. “Because it’s not a wishy-washy book, it’s going to upset a lot of people.”

“Some people don’t get mad about the book – they’ve never thought about it,” Griffin said.

General comments from people who have read “Images,” however, have been positive, he said.

“I really wanted to write the book so that anyone could pick it up and get to the conclusion and know how it got there – and understand it,” Griffin said. “I wrote the book for the everyday Christian.”

Copies of “The Truth About the Images of Jesus and the 2nd Commandment” can purchased at the Happy Bookseller and Barnes & Noble locations in Columbia and online at www.tatepublishing.com.

Local pastors respond

Pastors surveyed Thursday disagree that images of Jesus are a sin.

Olin Whitener, interim pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Orangeburg, said there is nothing sinful about famous works of art depicting Jesus rescuing a lamb or embracing children.

“How can images like that be sinful?” he said. “We have images of Jesus in the scriptures. They are painted for us by the words themselves.

“(Images) help us to put a face on what’s going on. We see it in our mind’s eye anyway. It’s not something we worship. It’s not something sinful.”

Whitener said there is no passage in the Bible that says pictures, paintings and other art depicting Jesus is sinful.

“It’s when we worship images we get in trouble,” he said.

The Rev. Paul Hamilton, director of pastoral care at the Regional Medical Center, said people do not bow down to images of Jesus, which he said create an atmosphere conducive to church worship.

“It’s not a sin,” he said. “We have physical things to remind us of spiritual things. We experience the world as humans through our five senses. The images and pictures remind us of very spiritual realities.”

Images of Jesus are used more as a reference point about Jesus’ works and ministry, said the Rev. D. Edward Chaney of Orangeburg’s Mount Pisgah Baptist Church.

“When you see a picture of Jesus, it allows you to look back in retrospect at who He is, what He has done,” he said. And, Chaney said, there’s nothing sinful about that.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: iconoclasm; icons; idolatry; idols; pca; presbyterian; sacredimages
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1 posted on 06/22/2007 11:44:02 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy
I wonder what he thinks about 'Buddy Christ'?


2 posted on 06/22/2007 11:47:10 AM PDT by mnehring (Virtus Junxit Mors Non Separabit)
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To: Alex Murphy
He seems to be endorsing the heresy condemned by the seventh Ecumenical Council.

-A8

3 posted on 06/22/2007 11:50:53 AM PDT by adiaireton8 ("There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse." - Plato, Phaedo 89d)
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To: Alex Murphy

He ought to have studied the Second Ecumenical Council of Nicaea 787AD.

Iconoclasm is a heresy!


4 posted on 06/22/2007 11:52:04 AM PDT by Macoraba
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To: Macoraba

Iconoclasm appears in all heresies. It was a fundamental feature of Mohammed’s heretical syncretist cult.


5 posted on 06/22/2007 12:00:03 PM PDT by livius
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To: Alex Murphy
Even these guys were late coming to the iconoclast party:


Soldiers destroying church fittings at York Minster

6 posted on 06/22/2007 12:15:55 PM PDT by siunevada (If we learn nothing from history, what's the point of having one? - Peggy Hill)
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To: siunevada

The Huguenot pirates ranged up and down the coast of Spain, destroying all church art and statuary in the little unprotected village churches they found. Well, after stealing anything of value, that is. Same with the Brits.


7 posted on 06/22/2007 12:46:57 PM PDT by livius
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To: Alex Murphy

Here’s a site about II Nicaea —>

Second Council of Nicaea - 787
Address:http://www.piar.hu/councils/ecum07.htm Changed:12:36 PM on Friday, June 22, 2007


8 posted on 06/22/2007 12:49:49 PM PDT by Macoraba
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To: Alex Murphy

Here’s the amazon dot com link —>

Amazon.com: The Truth about Images of Jesus and the 2nd Commandment: Books: Justin Griffin
Address:http://www.amazon.com/Truth-about-Images-Jesus-Commandment/dp/1598865544/ref=sr_1_1/002-6522323-1604017?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1182541939&sr=1-1

I may just order it to see how ridiculous it really is!


9 posted on 06/22/2007 1:00:22 PM PDT by Macoraba
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To: Alex Murphy
Compiling as many different angles of attack and arguments as he could, Griffin said the conclusion always came up the same – that the images many Protestant Evangelicals hold dear are sinful.

It would eliminate a lot of schmaltzy Christian kitch.

“How can images like that be sinful?” he said. “We have images of Jesus in the scriptures. They are painted for us by the words themselves.

Uhhh, no. Not the same at all.

10 posted on 06/22/2007 4:28:31 PM PDT by Lee N. Field
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To: Macoraba

You wrote:

“I may just order it to see how ridiculous it really is!”

If you do please tells what you discover about the book!


11 posted on 06/22/2007 4:54:42 PM PDT by vladimir998 (Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. St. Jerome)
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To: livius

I conoclasm seem historically to have been a response to Islam. It seems not have had any currency before the 8th Century. But theologically it goes hand in hand with a denial of the Incarnation.


12 posted on 06/22/2007 5:04:41 PM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHOa)
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To: AnAmericanMother

On better days, I could drop the name of that Flannery O’Connor story, without cheating by looking at the book.


13 posted on 06/22/2007 5:24:13 PM PDT by dighton
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To: dighton

“Parker’s Back”?


14 posted on 06/22/2007 5:45:22 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: AnAmericanMother

YES, thank you.


15 posted on 06/22/2007 5:48:50 PM PDT by dighton
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To: dighton

They should make this fellow read that story.


16 posted on 06/22/2007 5:49:27 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: AnAmericanMother

By the way, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the submerged item will shoot to the surface a moment after posting. This was the exception.


17 posted on 06/22/2007 5:52:59 PM PDT by dighton
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To: dighton
That tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon is common with me too.

It's just like I always think of the perfect rejoinder 5 minutes after the conversation is over . . . .

18 posted on 06/22/2007 5:56:55 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: AnAmericanMother
L’esprit de l’escalier.
19 posted on 06/22/2007 6:03:50 PM PDT by dighton
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To: dighton
Que?

Je ne parle pas français.

Ich spreche ein bißl Deutsch, paululum linguae Latinae, mikroteroV ellhnisti.

20 posted on 06/22/2007 6:20:49 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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