The second commandment in Reformed confessions

Belgic Confession, Article 32
We also believe that although it is useful and good for those who govern the churches to establish and set up a certain order among themselves for maintaining the body of the church, they ought always to guard against deviating from what Christ, our only Master, has ordained for us. Therefore we reject all human innovations and all laws imposed on us, in our worship of God, which bind and force our consciences in any way.

Heidelberg Catechism
96. Q. What does God require in the second commandment?
A. We are not to make an image of God in any way, nor to worship Him in any other manner than He has commanded in His Word.
97. Q. May we then not make any image at all?
A. God cannot and may not be visibly portrayed in any way. Creatures may be portrayed, but God forbids us to make or have any images of them in order to worship them or to serve God through them.
98. Q. But may images not be tolerated in the churches as “books for the laity”?
A. No, for we should not be wiser than God. He wants His people to be taught not by means of dumb images but by the living preaching of His Word.

Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XXI
I. … But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.

Westminster Shorter Catechism
50. Q. What is required in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his Word.
51. Q. What is forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment forbiddeth the worshiping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his Word.
52. Q. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment are, God’s sovereignty over us, his propriety in us, and the zeal he hath to his own worship.


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