Truth Baptist Church
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness;
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   Home      What's Wrong With Venerating Images?

What's Wrong With Venerating Images?

Isn't it just a way of honoring the persons they represent?

     One day, as a second grader in school, I was told the story of "Saint Herman".   According to legend, he was a poor, but devout little boy who lived in the city of Cologne.   Every day on his way to school, he would stop by the church of Saint Mary to pray before an image of the "Blessed Virgin".   One day, after his prayer, he offered to "her" his lunch: a big shiny apple. Supposedly, the "image" came to life and reached down and received the apple from him.
     Well; this story just impressed me so much that; the first chance I had (which was during the morning recess), I ran over to the church and offered to Mary (her statue) part of my lunch.   I didn't have an apple, but I figured that she would like my cookies just as well.   After waiting a while, I was finally persuaded by a fourth grader who came looking for me to go out and play.
     From this experience as a second grader, I think I can understand why there are news reports of crowds of people who will flock to a place that may boast of a "weeping" or "bleeding" statue.
     Although the statue never came " alive" for me, there were still many times when I would kneel down before it and talk to it as if Mary could really hear me.   Now, after having seen what the Bible says, I realize that such a practice is strictly forbidden by the second commandment: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in earth beneath, or that is in the water that is under the earth.   Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them..." (Exodus 20:4,5)   Of course, this was never listed as one of the commandments in my catechism and I was never encouraged to see for myself what the Scriptures said about it.
     Really, the whole idea of "venerating" images in religious devotions is contrary to the Scriptures and must be considered IDOLATRY.   There are no exceptions, no matter what person the image may represent.
     Consider the warning that was given to the Israelites after the Lord had spoken the ten commandments to them from the mountain.   "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,..." (Deuteronomy 4:15,16)   God would not even tolerate man to make an image representing Himself because: first of all, it would never do Him justice; and secondly, it would lead to idolatry.
     Unfortunately, there are many religious people of today who have been taught by their leaders to ignore God's commandment, professing to know more than what the Scriptures teach.   "Professing themselves to be wise, they became as fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man,..." (Romans 1:22,23)
     Jesus Christ, whose physical body is the "image of the invisible God" said that: "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24)
     Some say that "church tradition" allows for the practice of venerating images regardless of what the Scriptures say. However, it is common knowledge that the early churches FORBADE the use of images in there services.   As a matter of fact, as late as 306 A.D.; there was a council of churches held in Elvira, Spain, that condemned the use of images.
     The early catacombs show only symbolic designs such as a lamb, fish, anchor, palm branch, etc.   It wasn't until later when some of the churches committed "spiritual adultery " with the Roman state that this pagan concept became identified with Christianity.
     People who "venerate" images deny that they are committing idolatry and claim that they are doing nothing wrong any more than when one would honor a loved one or historic hero with a picture or statue.   They claim that the image is just a "help" to remind them of that person.
     Some claim that this practice is no different than using a Bible storybook to teach the young or illiterate.   However, their actions prove to the contrary.   For when they "venerate" an image, they believe that they are actually "communicating" to the person that the image represents.   They kneel before, bow to, talk to, and even kiss the image with the belief that the person it represents somehow receives these physical acts of affection.
     Of course, some of you will contend that this is no different than kissing a picture of your mother who may live a thousand miles away.   But surely you don't expect that your mother feels your kiss or hears you talking to her picture.   However, WHEN YOU VENERATE AN IMAGE, YOU DO.
     Any honest person will have to admit that VENERATING IMAGES IS NOTHING LESS THAN IDOLATRY!   Some images of the same person are even given distinctive names and personal traits depending on what country they are exhibited in, as though there is a "power" in the image itself.  Otherwise, why would crowds flock to certain shrines that are many miles away when they can "venerate" the same person at an image in their own community.
     Friend, if your church sanctions the practice of venerating images, maybe you had better examine what other unscriptural teachings it holds to, also.
     This is especially important when it comes to the matter of where your soul is going to spend eternity.   For the last book of the Bible says that IDOLATERS "...shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone..." (Revelation 21:8)
     Just because your church claims to be "christian" doesn't mean that they truly are.   Remember, Jesus said: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)
     What is God's will concerning the salvation of your soul?   According to the Scriptures, you must truthfully admit to God that you are a guilty, helpless sinner, and by faith rely upon Jesus Christ ALONE for your salvation.   "And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:40)   At that point, you will IMMEDIATELY pass from spiritual death to divine EVERLASTING LIFE.   "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." (John 5:24)
     Remember, the very moment that you completely trust Jesus Christ alone to save your soul from Hell,... THAT VERY MOMENT, YOU ARE SAVED... FOREVER!
     Your body will then become a temple of the Holy Spirit, and you should be willing to come out from any group who defends the practice of venerating images.   For the Bible says: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?   and what communion hath light with darkness... And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?   For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.    Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord ..." (ll Corinthians 6:14,16,17)
     You should then pray that God will lead you to a good, fundamental, Bible-believing church.