Are there any Accurate Pictures of Christ?

Posted at Reformation Scotland:

A New York Museum is being sued for displaying “racist whitewashed” paintings of Christ. Justin Renel Joseph claims that the paintings are offensive. They “depict the historical and public figure of Hebrew descent, Jesus Christ, as a blonde haired, fair-skinned, Aryan adult male”. But a Hebrew born then would not be “genetically disposed” to have those features. To Joseph, it is cultural theft, racism and an “extreme case of discrimination”. It is a matter of accuracy to him. Yet what would an accurate picture of Christ look like? The only genuine standard of accuracy is God’s Word. How can we make use of that?

Joseph describes himself as a 33-year-old biracial male who is of Hebrew and African descent and is a Christian. He claims that Jesus had “black hair like wool and skin of bronze color” just like he himself has. The paintings caused him to feel “lowered self-esteem, discomfort, personal stress, emotional distress”. He also felt “rejected and unaccepted by society”. His lawsuit asks that the pieces of art be removed from public display.

Basic Accuracy


Joseph refers to “historical accounts” as confirming the features that Christ would have possessed. It is not clear which historical accounts are meant. Clearly, they do not include the primary sources of the Gospels or anything of that time. Would a picture of Christ with “black hair like wool and skin of bronze color” be accurate? No, because Scripture does not affirm this. More importantly, it does not tell us anything about any features whatsoever. Would it be accurate to paint a picture of Justin Renel Joseph and display it as though it was a picture of Christ? Not if accuracy means anything at all.

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