Dr. James A., PhD
Apparently, some movie is out about Christ in His youth. I won’t pretend to know anything about it, so I won’t comment on the movie. I won’t comment on eating rat poison either, but I have a feeling it’s bad for you. What I can comment on is James White’s erroneous view of the 2nd commandment. White states,
I do not think it is a violation of the 2nd Commandment to make a movie or the like about Jesus. I know many who do. However, I believe the making of images prohibited in that commandment is directly relevant to worship, first of all, and secondly, involves a human speculation about something God has not revealed. But the Son did, in fact, enter into human flesh, and I do not believe God would have struck a child dead for drawing a picture of Jesus on the ground. If you worship an image of Jesus, that is wrong. But portraying Him in the historical context of His own personal revelation is not. That’s my understanding.”
Now think about something. In early Greek and Roman culture, there were busts, statues, portraits made and imprints on currency of every major philosopher, Caesar, queen, you name it. Ever notice that none of the apostles nor any of their converts who saw Christ, nor anyone else EVER made any such portrait of Christ, the most popular Person of that day? Don’t think that was coincidence or accident.
Secondly, White makes an enormous category error. He opines that if a child saw Jesus and drew a picture of Him, He would not strike him dead and therefore the portrait wouldn’t violate the 2nd commandment. Here’s the flaw, the portrait the child drew in James’ scenario would be of the ACTUAL JESUS, whereas a movie or play is someone OTHER THAN the real Christ.
The other problem with these kinds of movies is the same problem with the Catholic crucifix, it gives a person an erroneous fixation on Christ based on a speculative and imaginative caricature. Every time a person prays, he or she will have that false image in their head of some Hollywood version of Jesus. In fact, in James White’s debate against Patrick Madrid, he attacked the crucifix, and in the second chapter of his Roman Catholic Controversy, he stated that the display of Christ on a crucifix leads one away from the truth of the gospel (and note, his comments on that were in spite of and collateral to their element of worship).
Scripture says there are those blessed who have NOT SEEN Christ and yet believed (John 20:29). Thus, having a false caricature of Christ is not only unnecessary, but blasphemous. If a professing Baptist can’t condemn a false caricature of Christ in a movie, then how is anyone supposed to take his critiques of paintings of Christ or crucifixes seriously? The second commandment (Exodus 20:4-5) didn’t simply say thou shalt not worship any graven image (that part’s in Exodus 20:5), but that you are not to MAKE any graven image, OR LIKENESS. So not only is the 2nd commandment against the worshiping of graven images, but against the very making of them, and creating a likeness. This is clearly why all of the disciples raised on Jewish law never left behind any sort of portrait of Christ. Nobody was concerned with the idea that they needed to prove the historicity of Christ by preserving it in a Polaroid instead of recording His words in Scripture. Any movie that attempts to portray Christ is an attempt at a creation of a likeness of the Son of God, and a false creation at that. To excuse this kind of caricature merely because Christ was in the flesh demeans His deity.
These are the kind of problems you have with a non discerning Calvinist who has no absolute authority other than some Greek original he’s never seen, and some Bible that he couldn’t tell you is THE word of God. Even the ones he does use are interpreted allegorically because he’s a staunch amillennialist. But ah, don’t want to offend the fellow Calvinist movie buffs. Gotta stay soft with the party line. That’s why he gets away with saying one thing to Catholics, and another to his followers. It’s the kind of mentality that will tell an unbeliever that the proof that the Bible has been preserved is that we have over 5,000 manuscripts to prove it (when he really means the TR has over 5,000 mss), and then criticize those very same mss as not being the most reliable when talking to professing believers (In other words, he needs the Textus Receptus and Majority Text to prove provenance to unbelievers, but when he needs to sell a book about King James Onlyism to professing believers, and get royalties from the Lockman Foundation as a critical consultant on the NASB, he will attack those same manuscripts as untrustworthy, unreliable, full or errors, and not the oldest).
I’d trust a blind man giving me directions down an elevator shaft before I’d trust this guy with the Bible.
For more White Lies, see my recent response to his Dividing Line diatribe. This response had numerous of White’s own followers questioning him, so much so that he threatened to block anyone for asking questions or mentioning it.