The Third Day

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Ex 20: 4-6

‘The Third Day’ is a booklet in cartoon format with glossy cover intended to graphically depict, using the Gospel of Luke, the period surrounding the eternally planned, specifically focused (and applied) substitutionary death and resurrection of the God-man, Jesus of Nazareth, the One Who died for our sins and was raised again for our justification. The target audience appears to be in the 8 – 13 year old range.

On a positive note, I believe the the authors (commendably) intended to be God-honoring in their production and use of Scripture. However the execution of this booklet was troubling, appearing to violate the eternally binding commandment quoted above in depicting the God-man in a manner that fails to capture, and so dishonors, his divinity and likewise distorts his humanity (as any such depiction cannot help but doing).

An except from a recent article in ‘Modern Reformation’ magazine about this very issue pretty much nails it: “Contrary to the practice in some churches, Christian worship is inherently verbal, not visual… Images give a biased (and inescapably distorted) impression of God based on the artist’s creative abilities and theological proclivities… No image of Christ can communicate his divinity, and so every image necessarily separates Christ’s two natures… (Christ) took his image back to heaven and gave us the Word that must now form our impressions of God. Instead of crucifixes, paintings, (statues,) or candles, out of loving sensitivity to our physicality, God gives us the (two) sacraments (sometimes also called ordinances).”

For me, this review was a hard one, as I truly wanted to do a positive review. But in good conscience, as informed by Scripture, I am unable to do so.

Pros: Sticks close to some Scripture in its presentation. Much effort and thought clearly went into its production.

Cons: Sadly the authors likely ignore the implications of the 2nd commandment in attempting to depict the divine, heaven-sent God-man in visual form. I believe that our children would be far better served by the winsome, age-appropriate teaching of Christian truth found in the classical ecumenical and Protestant creeds and catechisms, in spiritual truth imparted through clearly delineated, faithful preaching of law and gospel in the midst of all his saints, and in the demonstration of the law / gospel in the twin sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The well-intended but deeply misguided, shallow, and often counter-productive gimmicks we have come to rely upon as substitutes for these time-honored, genuinely effective, scriptural methods have a tendency to produce, in both our covenant children and our adults, atheists, agnostics, and / or weak, shallow Christians.

This booklet was provided gratis by TheGoodBookCompany through Cross-Focused Reviews in exchange for an unbiased review – thank you.

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