On Images

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image…  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;”

Ex. 20:4-5

“What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?”

Hab. 2:18

“And they brought it.  And He saith unto them, ‘Whose is this image and superscription?’ And they said unto Him, ‘Caesar’s.'”

Mk. 12:16




Images Simply: Lawful
Historical Images from Bible: Lawful
Of God
Images of Burning Bush: Unlawful
Of Christ
In Worship

Expositions of 2nd Commandment



Order of Contents

Articles  15+
Confessions  12
Latin  25+





Beza, Theodore & Jacob Andreas – ch. 4, ‘On the Reformation of Temples, Images & Organs’  in Lutheranism vs. Calvinism: The Classic Debate at the Colloquy of Montbeliard 1586  Buy  (Concordia Publishing House, 2017), pp. 455-500

In 1586, six years after the Book of Concord was published, Lutheran theologian Jakob Andreas and the French reformed theologian Theodore Beza met to debate the differences between the two confessions.

Perkins, William – Point 9, ‘Of Images’  in A Reformed Catholic…  ([Cambridge] 1598), pp. 170-84

Perkins (1558-1602) was a father of puritanism in England.



Wotton, Anthony – Point 9, ‘Of Images’  in A Defence of Mr. Perkins’ book, called, A Reformed Catholic, Against the Cavils of a Popish Writer…  (London, 1606), pp. 524-600

Wotton (c.1561-1626) was a reformed puritan and a professor of theology in Gresham College, England.

Abbot, Robert – ch. 9, ‘Of Images’ of The Second Part of the Defence of the Reformed Catholic…  (London, 1607), pp. 1105-1239

Abbot (1560-1617) was a reformed Anglican and a professor of divinity at Oxford.

Guild, William – §2. ‘That No Adoration is to be Given to Images (as the Papists teach: See Bellarmine, bk. 2, de Reliq., ch. 21) nor No Sign Thereof’  in A Compend of the Controversies of Religion…  (Aberdeen, 1627)

Ames, William – ‘Concerning Images’  (1633)  20 pp.  being Ch. 3, Section 7  of A Fresh Suit against Human Ceremonies in God’s Worship, pp. 284-304

Owen, John

The Chamber of Imagery in the Church of Rome Laid Open, or an Antidote Against Popery, a Sermon  (1652)  47 pp.

Owen was an Independent, English puritan.

ch. 21,‘Images’ in A Vindication of the Animadversions on Fiat Lux [‘Let there be Light’, a Romanist publication], wherein the Principles of the Roman Church, as to…  Images, etc. Discussed  (London, 1664), pp. 477-526

Ussher, James – ‘Of Images’  in Answer to a Jesuit with Other Tracts on Popery  (d. 1656; Cambridge: Pitt Press, 1835), pp. 430-45

Hall, Joseph – ch. 10, ‘The Newness of Image-Worship’  in The Old Religion, a Treatise wherein is Laid Down the True State of the Difference
betwixt the Reformed & Roman Church  in The Contemplations upon the History of the New Testament.  The Second Tome…  (London: Flesher, 1661), pp. 394-97

Ferne, Henry – ch. 3, ‘Of Images’  in An Appeal to Scripture & Antiquity in the Questions of…  2. the Worship of Images…  (London, 1665), pp. 55-87

Ferne (1602–1662) was an Anglican bishop, a doctor of divinity, an academic and a chaplain to Charles I.

Owen, John – Question 14, ‘May not the Church find out and appoint to be observed such religious rites as being adjoined unto the celebration of God’s instituted worship, may farther the devotion of the worshippers, and render the worship itself in its performance more decent, beautiful and orderly, as the appointing of Images, and the like?’  in A Brief Instruction in the Worship of God… (London: 1667), pp. 54-65

A Minister – section 13, ‘Of Images’  in No Popery, or a Catechism Against Popery, wherein the Heretical Doctrines, Idolatrous Worship & Superstitious Practices of the Roman Church are Briefly yet Plainly Refuted & the Protestant Principles Proved by Testimonies of Holy Scripture & Evidence of Reason  (London, 1682), pp. 45-47

Jurieu, Pierre – A Preservative Against the Change of Religion, or a Just & True Idea of the Roman Catholic Religion...  (London: Roycroft, 1683)

Article 4, ‘That the Worship Forbidden of God cannot Terminate in Him’, pp. 53-56

Article 6, ‘Of Images & Relics’, pp. 78-86

Turretin, Francis – Institutes of Elenctic Theology  (P&R), vol. 2, 11th Topic, ‘The Law of God’

Q. 9, ‘Is it Lawful to Religiously Worship Images of God, the Holy Trinity, Christ, the Virgin & Other Deceased Saints?  We Deny Against the Papists.’, pp. 51-62

Q. 10, ‘Whether Not Only the Worship but also the Formation and Use of Religious Images in Sacred Places is Prohibited by the Second Commandment.  We Affirm Against the Lutherans.’, pp. 62-66

Burnet, Gilbert – section 3, ‘Image Worship’  in An Impartial Survey & Comparison of the Protestant Religion as by Law Established, with the Main Doctrines of Popery…  (London: Chiswell, 1685), pp. 10-14

Gibson, Edmund & John Cumming – A Preservative Against Popery, in Several Select Discourses upon the Principal Heads of Controversy Between Protestants & Papists, being written & Published by the Most Eminent Divines of the Church of England, Chiefly in the Reign of King James II [1685-1688]  (1685-1688; London, 1848)

vol. 7, bk. 5

Whitby, Daniel – 1. ‘The Fallibility of the Roman Church Demonstrated, from the manifest errors of the Second Nicene and Trent Councils; which assert the veneration and honorary worship of Images is a Tradition primitive and apostolical’, pp. 281-373

Whitby (1638–1726)

Comber, Thomas – 2. ‘A Discourse concerning the Second Council of Nice, which first introduced and established image worship in the Christian Church, A.D. 787, pt. 1’, pp. 373-97

Comber (1645-1699)

vol. 8, bk. 5

Comber, Thomas – 2. ‘A Discourse concerning the Second Council of Nice, which first introduced & established image worship in the Christian Church, A.D. 787, pt. 2’, pp. 1-29

Gee, Edward – 3. ‘The texts examined, which Papists cite out of the Bible, for the proof of their doctrine concerning the worship of images and relics’, pp. 30-48

Gee (1657-1730)

Sherlock, William – Section 5, ‘Images’  in An Answer to a Discourse entitled, Papists Protesting Against Protestant-Popery…  & Containing a Particular Examination of Monsieur de Meaux, late Bishop of Condom, his Exposition of the Doctrine of the Church of Rome in the Articles of Invocation of Saints, & the Worship of Images occasioned by that discourse  (London, 1686)

Sherlock (1641-1707) was a prominent Anglican clergyman.  During the reign of the Romanist, king James II (1685-88), in 1686, he was reproved for his antipapal preaching and his controversy with the king’s chaplain; his pension was taken away.



Confessions, Catechisms, etc. on Images  Major references



Zwingli’s Short Christian Instruction (1523) – 7. ‘Concerning Images’  in ed. James Dennison, Jr., Reformed Confessions…  (RHB, 2008), vol. 1, pp. 31-35

Tetrapolitan Confession (1530) – ch. 22, ‘Of Statues & Images’  in ed. James Dennison, Jr., Reformed Confessions…  (RHB, 2008), vol. 1, pp. 163-65

1st Confession of Basel (1534) – Article 11, ‘Of Illicit Papal Permissions &…  the Making & Worshipping of Images’  in ed. James Dennison, Jr., Reformed Confessions…  (RHB, 2008), vol. 1, p. 294

Calvin’s Catechism (1545) – II. The Law, #144-49  in ed. James Dennison, Jr., Reformed Confessions…  (RHB, 2008), vol. 1, pp. 487-88

Large Emden Catechism (1551) – Q. 24-31  in ed. James Dennison, Jr., Reformed Confessions…  (RHB, 2008), vol. 1, pp. 594-96

Hungarian Catholic Confession (1562) – ‘Second Commandment’  in ed. James Dennison, Jr., Reformed Confessions…  (RHB, 2010), vol. 2, pp. 639-40

Heidelberg Catechism (1563) – Q. 95-98

2nd Helvetic Confession (1564) – ch. 4, ‘Of Idols, or Images of God, of Christ & of Saints’

Sandomirez Confession (1570) – 4. ‘On Idols, or on Images of God, Christ & the Saints’  in ed. James Dennison, Jr., Reformed Confessions…  (RHB, 2012), vol. 3, pp. 184-85

Nassau Confession (1578) – in ed. James Dennison, Jr., Reformed Confessions…  (RHB, 2012), vol. 3, pp. 521-32

‘The Removal of Pictures & Idols from the Churches’
‘Whether One may Depict God’
‘Depiction of the Creatures’
‘The Magistrate Not Only has the Power to Remove Idolatrous
.      Images, but is Obliged to do so on Account of his Office’



Confession of the Synod of Cassel (1607) – 2. ‘The Extirpation of Images’  in ed. James Dennison, Jr., Reformed Confessions…  (RHB, 2014), vol. 4, p. 10



Confession of Sueveland – Article 22, ‘Of Images’



Latin Articles


Bullinger, Henry – 4. ‘Of Idols, or Images of God, Christ or gods’  in A Simple Confession & Exposition of the Orthodox Faith & Catholic Doctrines of the Sincere Christian Religion  (1566; Bern, 1676), pp. 8-10

Beza, Theodore – The Response of Theodore Beza to the Acts of the Colloquy of Montisbelgard, the Tubingen Edition  Parts 1 (2nd ed.) & 2 (1st ed.) bound together  (Geneva, 1588), pt. 2

On Papal Church Buildings, on Images, on Musical Instruments in the Church Building & of their Reformation  17

On Images which Represent Historical & Sacred Things  18  Theses 2-7

On the Use of Papal Church Buildings & Images  145

Zanchi, Jerome – 15. ‘Of Images’  in Of the Fall of the First Man, of Sin & of the Law in The Theological Works  (1590; 1618; n.d.), vol. 4, pp. 379-411



Bachoff, Reinhard – Catechism of the Christian Religion, which is Taught in the Churches & Schools of the Palitinate  (Hanau, 1603), pp. 423-30

Q. 95,‘What is Idolatry?’
Q. 96,‘What does the 2nd Commandment Postulate?’
Q. 97
Q. 98,‘Whether indeed images, which are for books for the ignorant multitude, are not able to be tolerated?’

Bachoff (1544-1614)

Pareus, David – Theological Collections of Universal Orthodox Theology, where also All of the Present Theological Controversies are Clearly & Variously Explained  (1611/20), vol. 2

Collection 8, 7. ’Intercession & Prayer to Saints; & of Purgatory & Images’, pp. 352-54

Collection 9, Contra Bellarmine, 19. ‘Of the Vanities of Bellarmine about the Controversy of the Veneration of Relics & Images, Books 2-3’, pp. 487-92

Pareus (1548-1622)

Waser, Kaspar – Four Theological Problems on Images  (Zurich: Wolfius, 1612)

Hommius, Festus – Disputation 37, ‘Of Worship of Images & of the Sign of the Cross’  in 70 Theological Disputations Against Papists  (Leiden, 1614), pp. 221-31

Scharpius, Johann – Controversy 2, ‘On the Worship of Images’  in A Course of Theology…  (Geneva: Chovet, 1618), vol. 2, cols. 1523-43

Alsted, Johann H. – Polemical Theology, Exhibiting the Principal Eternal Things of Religion in Navigating Controversies  (Hanau, 1620; 1627),

pt. 4, Controversies with Romanists

‘Of Relics, Images & the Worship of Things’, pp. 451-61

pt. 5, Controversies with Lutherans, Class 2, Controversies about the Decalogue

III. ‘Whether the command about images may be an appendix to the First Commandment?  [Lutherans: Yes; Reformed: No]’  588

V. ‘Whether beneficial images are able to be tolerated by the conscience?  [Lutherans: Yes; Reformed: No]’   591

VI. ‘Whether images in church-buildings are to be relinquished?  [Lutherans: No; Reformed: Yes]’  594-95

Beck, Sebastian – Theological Theses on Images  (Basil, 1620)

Beck (1583-1654)

Scultetus, Abraham – A Sermon on Idolatrous Images…  (Frankfurt, 1620)

Chamier, Daniel – Panstratiae Catholicae, or a Body of the Controversies of Religion Against the Papists  (Geneva: Roverian, 1626), vol. 2, pt. 2, ‘Of Worship’, Inquiry 4, ‘Of Images’

bk. 21,‘Of Images’, pp. 814-63

ch. 1, ‘State of the Question on Images of God’, pp. 814-15
ch. 2, ‘Concerning that God ought to be Pictured, the Arguments of the Papists’, pp. 815-17
ch. 3, ‘That God ought Not to be Pictured’, pp. 817-22
ch. 4, ‘State of the Controversy on the Veneration of Images’, pp. 822-23
ch. 5, ‘Whether the Scriptures teach to Adore Images’, pp. 823-26
ch. 6, ‘Whether it is proved by reasons that images ought to be adored’, pp. 826-31
ch. 7, ‘Whether Ancient Christians Taught to Adore Images’, pp. 831-33
ch. 8, ‘Of the Dividing of the Precepts of the Decalogue’, pp. 833-36
ch. 9, ‘On the Difference between an Idol, an Image & a Similitude’, pp. 836-41
ch. 10, ‘Whether All Images are Prohibited by the Second Commandment’, pp. 841-44
ch. 11, ‘On the Specific Difference of Idolatry’, pp. 844-47
ch. 12, ‘Images are Not to be Adored, neither for the thing, nor for the exemplar’, pp. 847-51
ch. 13, ‘On Councils Prohibiting Images’, pp. 851-55
ch. 14, ‘The Exceptions of Papists Against the Preceding Synods’, pp. 855-59
ch. 15, ‘Testimonies of the Fathers Against the Adoration of Images’, pp. 859-63

bk. 22,‘Of the Cross & Images in Church Buildings’, pp. 864-89

ch. 1, ‘Whether Images of the Cross were in Use before Constantine’, pp. 864-67
ch. 2, ‘On the Adoration which the Papists bestow on the Cross’, pp. 867-68
ch. 3, ‘Arguments of Papists from Scripture for the Adoration of the Cross’, pp. 869-71
ch. 4, ‘Arguments of Papists besides Scripture for the Adoration of the Cross’, pp. 871-75
ch. 5, ‘Of Adoring Images of the Cross’, pp. 875-78
ch. 6, ‘Of the Adoration of the Sign of the Cross’, pp. 878-79
ch. 7, ‘On Setting up Images in Church Buildings: Arguments of the Papists’, pp. 879-82
ch. 8, ‘Images are Not to be Set up in Church Buildings’, pp. 882-85
ch. 9, ‘Of Epiphanius’ [d. 403, a leading iconoclast], pp. 885-89

Alting, J. Henricus –  3. ’Of the Furnishing [Images & Organs] of Church Buildings’  in A Logical & Theological Exegesis of the Augsburg Confession with an Appendix of the Problems Involved  (Amsterdam, 1647), A Syllabus of Controversies with the Lutherans, pt. 2, pp. 278-81

Alting (1583-1644)

Rivet, Andrew – Theological Works  (Rotterdam: Leers, 1651), vol. 1, Commentary on Exodus 20:4-6, 2nd Commandment

‘Whether the precept on images may be moral and perpetual?’, pp. 1251-53
‘Which images are prohibited by the precept?’, pp. 1253-54
‘Whether it may be lawful to picture God?’, pp. 1254-57
‘Whether it may be lawful to place images in church buildings, even outside of worship?’, pp. 1257-60
‘Whether and which religious images it may be lawful to break?’, pp. 1260-61
‘Dissertation on the Worship of Images’, pp. 1261-72
‘Appendix on the Worship of Images’, pp. 1272-74

Wendelin, Marcus Friedrich – Vindicatory Theological Exercises for Christian Theology…  Opposite the Anti-Wendeliana Collection by Johann Gerhard & Other Festering Writings of Recent Lutherans Against the Orthodox…  (Cassell, 1652)

Exercise 135, ‘The Orthodox Doctrine on Prohibited Images is Asserted & Vindicated, & first, indeed, the first & second assertions are defended, where is vindicated arguments opposite images of God’, pp. 222-29

Exercise 136, ‘The Third, Fourth & Fifth Assertion on Images is vindicated, & especially the arguments of the Orthodox are defended which prove images of God, human saints and angels in church buildings are not to be borne’, pp. 229-39

Exercise 137, ‘Dissolutions of Arguments for retaining idols of Christians & religious images in church buildings are vindicated & defended’, pp. 239-43

Voet, Gisbert – 59. ‘The Stained State of the Question on the Worship of Images in the Papacy’  in Select Theological Disputations  (Utrecht, 1659), vol. 3, pp. 870-84

Maccovius, Johannes – Johannes Maccovius Revived, or Manuscripts of his…  ed. Nicolaas Arnoldi  (Amsterdam, 1659), ‘Anti-Eckhardus’ [Heinrich Eckhardi 1580-1624], 11. Law

2. ‘Whether it may be a sacriligious thing that Luther, in his Smaller Catechism, left out the words on images?’  658

4. ‘Whether in the command on images, besides adoration, it may further prohibit making them?  I respond: it ought to be affirmed…’  658

Du Moulin, Pierre – A Collection of the Theological Disputations held at Various Times in the Academy of Sedan  (Geneva, 1661), vol. 1

30. Of Images & Idols, & their Worship, part 1: Of the Origin & Use of Images, & is it Divine Law unto God to Put Down an Idol?, pp. 262-75

31. Part 2, Are Images to be in Church Buildings? & What is the Pontiff’s Declaration about the Adoration of Them?, pp. 275-82

32. Part 3, Of Idol-Worship & the Adoration of Images, & of the Contentious & Uncertain Declaration of the Pontiffs about it, pp. 282-92

33. Part 4, Of the Authority of Scripture Against the Adoration of Images & the Testimony of the Ancients Against them, pp. 292-300

34. Part 5, Of the Doctrine & Discord of the Pontiffs about the Adoration of Images & of the True Declaration of Scripture with the Confirmation of the Testimonies of the Ancients, pp. 300-9

35. Part 6, Where the Arguments of the Pontiffs for the Worship of Images are Shaken Off & Refelled, pp. 309-19

van Mastricht, Peter – An Exposition of Catholic Doctrine, 7th Diatribe, on the Worship of Images & Relics.  Second.  (Utrecht, 1680)

Florin, Johann Henric – A Philological Disputation on the Distinction of the Terms ‘Image’, ‘Idol’ & ‘Similitude’  (Herborn, 1690)

Heidegger, Johann H. – Session 25, Question 4, ‘Whether Images of God, Christ, the Virgin Mary alongside God, & other Saints are to be had in Church Buildings, & Honor & Veneration to be Imparted to Them?’  in The Mound of the Council of Trent…  where is a Historical-Theological Anatomy of the Council of Trent...  (Zurich: Gessner, 1690), vol. 2, pp. 864-928



Strimesius, Samuel – Annotation 4, ‘On Rites Figuring & Not Wholly Indifferent; on the Use of Sacred Images in Churches’  in A Hexad of Annotations, Comprehending Controversies Between Protestants on the Person of Christ, God-Man, of Baptism, & of Rites which are Not Wholly Indifferent  (Frankfurt, 1706), pp. 32-48

Strimesius (1648-1730) was a reformed professor of philosophy, physics and theology at Frankfurt, Germany.



Latin Books


Viret, Pierre – On the Origin of the Old & New Idolatry…  by which is Displayed…  which Images & Relics are True or False…  (Geneva, 1552)

Rainolds, John – Of the Idolatry of the Roman Church, in the Worship of the Saints, of Relics, of Images, of Water, Salt, Oil & other things, of Consecrated Things & of the Sacrament of the Eucharist   (Geneva: Stoer, 1596)  646 pp.  ToC



Daille, Jean – Of Images  (Leiden: Elzevir, 1642)  552 pp.  Extended ToC  Errata  bound to Defense for the Reformed Churches

Table of Contents

Dedicatory Epistle
To the Reader
Bk. 1  1  9 Reasons Against Images
Bk. 2  124  Historical Testimonies
Bk. 3  245  Objections through the 500’s Answered
Bk. 4  355-552  Objections from the 700’s to the Romanists Answered

Hoornbeeck, Johannes – Bulls of Pope Urban VIII on the Jesuits, Images & Feasts, one with Annotations…  (Utrecht, 1653)  278 pp.

Hoornbeeck (1617-1666)

Spanheim, Jr., Frederic – The History of Images Restored, being especially Against the New French Writers Ludwig Maimburg & Nat. Alexander  (Leiden: Verbessel, 1686)  635 pp.  ToC

Spanheim, Jr (1632-1701)

Table of Contents

Dedicatory Epistle
To the Reader

Section 1  1
Section 2  43
Section 3  131
Section 4  207
Section 5  305
Section 6  350
Section 7  443
Section 8  529
Section 9  604-35



“For they provoked Him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.”

Ps. 78:58

“By faith he [Moses]…  endured, as seeing Him who is invisible.”

Heb. 11:27

“And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet…  and them that worshipped his image.  These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”

Rev. 19:20




Related Pages

Images of God

Images of Christ

Images in Worship

Expositions of the 2nd Commandment

On Idolatry