Monday, December 3, 2012

"No Graven Images" A Sermon By Dr. Alan Cairns

Download and listen to "No Graven Images" (a sermon by Alan Cairns) here. Also, here is a my transcription of part of the sermon:
Rome's idolatry is in every hand. Her crucifixes are breaches of the Second Commandment. Her 'holy pictures' are breaches of the Second Commandment. Her images of saints and of Mary and, most blasphemous of all, even of the blessed Son of God Himself are breaches of the Second Commandment. Though She denies it, there is no escape.

But even Protestants are far from guiltless. What shall we say of all those crosses? Look around you. As long as I'm the minister here, you'll see no popish cross. Look around you coming up to this Easter time, and look at your Baptist churches, and your Presbyterian churches, and various other supposedly Protestant churches. The Good Friday they have a cross, with a black veil, and on Easter Sunday a cross with a white veil. What are these crosses? What are these 'holy pictures'? Of Jesus... of angels... Most ludicrous man! The Devil must be laughing! Most ludicrous when the mighty angels of God are painted as nude little babies, with dimpled cheeks and fat buttocks. An insult to God! What are these things? What are the manger scenes? Sheer rank, rampant idolatry.

Now, I'm a Puritan. I suppose if I had lived in ancient times I would have been an iconoclast. It's a big word for those who believed you go in and you destroy out of your churches all of the remnants of popish idolatry. I do believe that 'religious art' has the freedom to represent many scenes from Scripture. As I pointed out, this is not a prohibition of all sculpture, all painting, all art. It is no such prohibition. Were I an artist, I would see no grave, or indeed no real difficulty at all in my representing Moses leading the children of Israel, or Elijah on Mount Carmel, or some such thing. Though I think it would be better kept out of Church, given the propensity of man to turn anything artistic into more than it ever should be allowed to become. So then, let's grant, let's grant, that 'religious art' may represent many scenes from Biblical history.

Let me ask a question: Can a Christian look on any representation of His Lord, in His birth, in His death, in His resurrection, in His ascension, or in His return? Can he look at any representation of His Lord without reference to worship? Can a Christian think of Christ apart from all context of worship? Indeed, should a Christian ever be invited to think of Christ apart from any context of worship! And I would defy any man to take God's Word... And remember what I said about will-worship? Let's keep it in mind now. I would defy any man to take God's Word and find me the slightest evidence from Scripture that I am ever meant to contemplate Christ apart from worshiping Him! When God brought His Son into the world He said even to the angels 'Worship Him!' How could we do less? When you have a picture of Jesus Christ... And I don't care who the artist is or who the sculptor is... When you have a representation of Jesus Christ, you have an object, not only the statement of a man's opinion, but you have an object that is deliberately intended to bring your mind into the channels of worship. And, in this connection, God has said, no matter what the logic of man says, no matter what the value of the artwork may be, God says 'Thou shalt not make unto thee any image, male or female, in heaven, earth, or under earth.' Any image! No images, pictures, or icons, of any place in the public or private worship of the people of God.