“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List.
Service to an Idol is Worship
I am not ignorant of common Roman Catholic arguments used in favor of images. One in particular is especially subtle. They draw a distinction between being a image-servant and an image-worshipper. This enables them to speak of the service given to the image, without insult to God. Therefore, they believe themselves to be blameless if they are only servants of the idols and not worshippers of them–as if it were a light matter to only serve an image.
This distinction cannot hold. Essentially, they claim that they can worship an image without worshipping it! The plain fact is that they only claim to be smart while throwing dust in the eyes of the uneducated. But no matter how eloquent they think they are being, they can never prove that the same things are two different things! How can explain away what they’re doing when they would condemn ancient idolaters of idolatry if they merely claimed to “serve” the idols. You cannot escape conviction by trying to rename murder or adultery. It is equally absurd to believe that serving an idol is different than worshipping an idol. They cannot escape the fact that their idolatry is akin to the idolatry of pagans. It all stems of the same root: trying to depict God through images.