Protestantism's 500-Year-Old  Bitter Root Judgment and Inner Vow

I believe that when Protestantism protested and left the Roman Catholic Church, they reacted against Catholicism's use of imagery. I believe Protestants have held an ungodly belief that all use of images constitutes a graven image. Their corresponding inner vow was that they would reject all uses of imagery in their Christian lives. The result is that most Protestant books on systematic theology do not even include a section on dream, vision, imagination, or any other application of the eyes of one's heart. This is startling considering that the biblical stories and actions which came as a result of dreams and visions form a section of Scripture equal in size to the entire New Testament! Their ungodly belief has given them the right to ignore one-third of the Bible.

Another fruit is that Protestants do not lead in drama, theater or the arts. Protestants have great conservative political think tanks (i.e., a left-brain function), but few great Christian performing or visual arts (i.e., a right-brain function). We need to repent of this ungodly belief and inner vow for ourselves and our forefathers, and receive all that the Bible says is ours.

The Negative Judgment: All use of images constitutes a graven image.
The Inner Vow: Therefore, I will reject all uses of images in my Christian life.
The Result: Many Protestant books on systematic theology do not even include a section on dream, vision, imagination, or any other application of the use of the eyes of one’s heart. This is startling considering that the biblical stories and actions which came as a result of dreams and visions form a section of Scripture equal to the entire New Testament!

On the Positive Side 

On the positive side of this question of man's capacity to think visually, I would like to make two points. 

  1. All of the children and two-thirds of the adults I have polled usually picture Bible scenes as they read them. As we are picturing these Bible stories and praying for a spirit of revelation (Eph. 1:17), God causes the story to come alive and speaks to us out of it. This is essentially the same process we are describing, of setting scenes in our minds and asking God to grant us revelation, then tuning to the flow of the Holy Spirit and watching the scene come alive as God speaks to us. 
     
  2. One-fourth of the adults I have polled normally picture the scenes of songs when they worship. As God inhabits our praises, the scenes come alive and move with a life generated from the throne of God. Both of these illustrate the very process I am describing. 

Man's ability to think visually is currently being used unknowingly by many Christians, particularly those who are intuitive and visionary by nature. In reality, visual thinking is not a new thing. We are just defining and clarifying what has been happening naturally for some. As a result of this clear definition and statement, all believers can now be taught to become more sensitive to the divine flow within us.

Summary: Why Is Using the Eyes of Our Hearts Important? 

  1. God gave Abraham a vision of the stars of the sky and told him he would have that many children (Gen. 15:5), and that produced faith in Abraham’s heart (Gen. 15:6). So here we have an example of godly imagery which produced faith in the man who is called "the Father of Faith" (Rom. 4:11). That is a powerful concept. That would indicate that if I wanted faith in my heart which moves mountains, then I would need the same ingredients which God gave to Abraham. These are:
    • A spoken promise (Gen. 12:1,2)
    • A divine picture (Gen. 15:1,5,6)
    • Then as I hold this promise and picture in my heart, meditate on it and ponder it, God produces a miracle in the fullness of time. For Abraham, a child was born 25 years later. 
  2. God has created us with eyes in our hearts with which we can see, picture and visualize.
  3. God wants to fill these eyes with His dreams, visions and images (Acts 2:17).
  4. Jesus lived in pictures constantly (Jn. 5:19,20,30).
  5. Jesus filled the eyes of His listeners by constantly teaching with parables (Matt. 13:34).
  6. We are commanded to meditate on the Word, which involves prayerfully rolling it around in our hearts and minds. Since the Bible is full of picture stories, we will by necessity be picturing as we meditate upon Scripture (Josh. 1:8).
  7. When we reason together with God, He uses imagery (Isa. 1:18).
  8. A picture is worth 1000 words, so when I see something, it has the power to change me much more greatly than when I simply think a thought. That is why God says we are transformed (changed) "while we look" (2 Cor. 3:17,18; 4:16 -18). When I see myself clothed with Christ's robe of righteousness (Gal. 3:27), it appears to influence me more greatly than when I simply recall the Scripture verse that "I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:9).
  9. God counsels us at night through our dreams (Ps. 16:7).
  10. Even the Lord's supper utilizes imagery. As Jesus broke the bread, He said, "This is My body" and as they drank the wine, He said, "This is My blood" (Matt. 26:26-28). I see this imagery as I partake of the Lord's supper, and by doing so, it impacts me greatly every time I do it.
  11. The Bible is absolutely full of dreams, visions, pictures, images, and parables from cover to cover, so obviously God is big on imagery.
  12. When David prayed, he used imagery (Ps. 23).
  13. When David worshipped, he used imagery (Ps. 36:5,6).
  14. In the Tabernacle in the wilderness, God establised much imagery that was an integral part of approaching Him (Ex. 25:8-22).
  15. In the New Testament, we are told that Jesus is the Image of the invisible God, and we are to "fix our eyes upon Him" (Heb. 12:1,2).  So in both Old and New Testaments, God has ordained imagery as part of our approach to Him

Differences Between Idolatry and 
Setting an Image in One’s Mind

  IDOLATRY IMAGE
Authorized by: Man (Ex. 32:1) God (Ex. 25:9-22; Col. 1:15; Heb. 12:2)
The Goal: Worship the idol (Ex. 32:8) Never worship the image; use the image as stepping stone into divine flow (Rev. 4:1)
The Action: The idol remains dead (Is. 44:19) Divine flow is prompted (Rev. 4:2)
The Prayer: Pray to the idol (Is. 44:17) Never pray to the image; as divine flow is activated, communication with God is established (Rev. 4 - 22)
The Purpose: To worship the thing (Is. 44:15) To focus one’s heart before God (II Cor. 3:18; 4:18)
The Attitude of the Heart: Stiff-necked; proud (Ex. 32:9) Seeking God humbly (Prov. 2:1-5)
The Control Issue: Manipulating God; magic 
(I Kings 22:20-23)
Watching God in action; Christianity (Rev. 4 - 22)

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Additional Resources Which Relate to Using the Eyes of Your Heart as You Approach God

  1. What Does the Bible Teach about Visualization?
  2. You Can See Visions! They Are a Pathway to God
  3. Poised Before Almighty God
  4. Lord, When Is “Priming The Pump” Acceptable and Unacceptable?
  5. Initiative - Should I Take It? by Charity Kayembe
  6. Help! I Have Trouble Seeing Vision!
  7. Training Your Child to Encounter Jesus - Godly Imagination & Visions
  8. Training Package - 4 Keys To Hearing God's Voice (One key is to use vision)
  9. Training Package - Hear God Through Your Dreams (Dreams utilize imagery)
  10. Book - Am I Being Deceived? (Difference between New Agers and Christians)
  11. Book  - Secret Place (Examples of God painting beautiful scenes during prayer times)
  12. Divine Healing Toolbox CD/DVD Set (using vision while praying for healing)
  13. Protestantism's 500-Year-Old  Bitter Root Judgment and Inner Vow (a chance to repent)
  14. Training Package - Prayers That Heal the Heart (Inner healing prayer utilizes vision)
  15. Western Study Verses Biblical Meditation
  16. Also related to this topic: How to Receive Revelation Knowledge