Christmas Series: Are Nativity Sets Biblical Part IV…The 5 Worst Nativity Sets (Maybe)
Legalism, in theological parlance, is either (A) making up laws where they do not already exist in the Bible or (B) believing one is saved by following Biblical laws. For example, demanding that cullotes be the Biblical standard of modesty (when other garments are also modest) is legalism. Calling adultery a sin, on the other hand, is not legalistic because the Seventh Commandment prohibits it. Such a command, from the Bible, is neither contrived nor created by man, therefore the charge of “legalism” does not fit.
This is the fourth in a series on Nativity sets, in which we seek to inform discerning Christians regarding the wrongness of portraying God by graven images. If we (that is, virtually all Reformed believers who hold to historic, Protestant Confessions) are right, that the Second Commandment forbids not only the worship but also the creation of images meant to represent deity, then our insistence that Nativity sets are unbiblical is not legalism any more than saying you shouldn’t cheat on your wife is legalism.
In our first post in this series, we explained the Second Commandment and gave a historical survey of Christian thought on the topic of icons – or images – of God the Son. In the second post, we discussed the opinion of early church pastor and historian, Eusebius. In our third post, we gave the opinion of John Calvin and the Heidelberg and Westminster catechisms. We went to great pains to demonstrate that both early church fathers and the reformers unanimously condemned images of any person of the Godhood, including the incarnate Christ.
In this post, we will provide some examples of Nativity sets that are clearly blasphemous. While we recognize that these are extreme examples, we pray that you will consider carefully why the Second Commandment forbids images of God (and these Nativity sets are a part of the reason why).
#5. Hipster Jesus
This Nativity set is on display at Belleville’s Cathedral of St. Peter. They write, “This nativity proves there is a set for every culture and time.” As the expression goes, “God hath created man in his own image, and man hath returned the favor.”
#4. Gay Joseph
This was placed in the yard of a comedian’s neighbor, who took it to Twitter. He wrote, “Our neighbors’ two Joseph nativity is up & I’m beaming.” You can read about it here.
#3. Pork Jesus
Gregg’s – the largest bakery chain in England – posted this nativity set. It includes Jesus as a sausage roll. You can read about it here.
#2. Pervert Scumbag Jesus
This is sexual and spiritual predator, Clayton Jennings, who we have been reporting about for about two years. This is Clayton Jennings playing Jesus at Harbor Shores Baptist Church in Indiana, a play directed by his mother. Gross. You can read more about Clayton Jennings here.
#1. Kardashian Jesus
Bringing celebrity worship to a whole new level, this Nativity Set was digitally created by Lyst, a large fashion website. You can read more about it (warning, photos on this website may not be wholesome) here.
But your nativity set isn’t an intentionally false image of Jesus, is it? Consider the standard-fare nativity set below.
The wise men are present with the shepherds who were attending their fields earlier that night (that’s an inaccurate representation). The people (at least the ladies) are clearly Caucasian (that’s an inaccurate representation). The angels are women (that’s an inaccurate representation). The babe is not in swaddling clothes (that’s an inaccurate representation). That baby, if its parents are Caucasian, is Caucasian (that’s an inaccurate representation).
It is safe to say, then, that even if artistic representations of God the Son were allowed (and they are not), at least inaccurate representations of God would not be allowed, right? And yet, that’s exactly what nativity sets are. They are, by default, because of the lack of information we have regarding Christ’s incarnate appearance – inaccurate representations of God, wrong on at least one count.
Next, we bring to you the opinion of the Puritans.