All Monuments Must Fall

I have an article ‘All Monuments Must Fall’, up at Mere Orthodoxy. Here’s a brief taste,

“It was with puritanical glee that I read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments on the portrayal of Jesus as white. Should that representation of him be rethought in light of recent events? Yes, “You go into [global] churches and you don’t see a White Jesus — you see a Black Jesus, or Chinese Jesus, or a Middle Eastern Jesus — which is of course the most accurate. You see a Fijian Jesus — you see Jesus portrayed in as many ways as there are cultures, languages and understandings.” We don’t worship these representations, but they are a “reminder of the universality of the God who became fully human.”

What Archbishop Welby intuited is precisely what the iconoclasts of Geneva and Black Lives Matter have been crying: All human-created celebrations of God are inextricably intertwined with the self-regard of the image-casters. This is precisely why some Reformed Christians have read the 2nd Commandment in the way that they have historically. The recently deceased Anglican divine J. I. Packer noted that the 2nd Commandment prohibits images of God because it is impossible to craft an image of God which does not fall into our likeness. God becomes conformed to us, not us to him, with our virtues and values (be they ethical or cultural) being imposed. This is not a reflection of the universality of God, but locating him in a man-created image of man. Human-crafted images of God are but inpourings of the self into our conception of the divine.”