The second commandment forbids using an image or likeness of God in worship. Does that mean we should take down our nativity sets?
Hello, everyone. Well, porcelain nativity sets are a popular choice for mantle décor in the Christian home this time of year. But are these sets forbidden from our places of worship by the second commandment? A great and timely question sent to us by a listener named Lisa. Lisa writes in to ask this. “Hello, Pastor John! I just started reading Knowing God by J.I. Packer. And in chapter four he discusses the second commandment. I’ve always assumed this referred to actual ‘objects of worship’ like crucifixes or pagan ‘idols,’ but Packer seems to say any material or even mental images of all or part of the Trinity is forbidden. Perhaps even a nativity set, I wonder? And even frescoes painted inside the Sistine Chapel? His argument made sense. In our finiteness, we can’t accurately represent him, so it would be inaccurate and essentially a lie. Having grown up in Baptist churches that lean pretty Reformed, I’m surprised I’ve never heard or thought of this before. Have you?”