Idolatry And Scholastic Distinctions

Gordon H. Clark commenting on the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 21, sections 1 and 2:

“Roman Catholics try to defend themselves from the charge of idolatry by saying that they do not confuse the image with the person represented and do not worship the image; they merely use the image to help them concentrate on Mary, a saint, or Christ. But if this is what it takes to have idolatry, and if idolatry can exist only when the worshipper confuses the image and the god, then we wonder whether the Ephesians who worshipped Diana were idolaters. Those pagans never thought that the silver images were Diana. Diana was in heaven; she had thrown down a wooden image of herself; and the silversmiths were making reasonable facsimiles. The Romanists therefore in defending themselves from the charge of idolatry have also defended the Ephesians. The worship of the two groups is essentially the same; they both do what the Scriptures prohibit. Similarly the Roman exaltation of Mary as immaculately conceived, as Queen of Heaven, and as co-redemptrix is not less than blasphemy. Again they defend themselves by making a scholastic distinction: they worship (latreuin) God alone, they give doulia to the saints and hyperdoulia to Mary. But the Scriptures make no such distinction. Doulos is the word Paul most frequently uses to express his relationship to God.

It is lamentable to note that Protestants are beginning to imitate Romish idolatry. One day I visited a Baptist seminary that makes some claim to being conservative and evangelical. In the building was a small prayer room. I saw there a railing, a kneeling pad in front of it, and on the wall behind it a large picture of Christ. The arrangements were such that the students were supposed to kneel facing the picture and pray to it.

One also wonders how many Protestants have accepted St. Christopher medals so that St. Christopher would protect them from accidents as they drive 80 mph over the turnpike”(Gordon H. Clark, What Do Presbyterians Believe?, pp. 195-196).

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