DesiringGod has posted an audio of John Piper on the many different racial portrayals of Jesus in paintings. Though I understand Dr. Piper’s sentiment that the different portraits communicate that Jesus is for everyone, I respectfully disagree with him on his point that we should make paintings of different races of Jesus, mainly for one reason– Jesus is not whatever we want Him to be. He is a historical Person, born of the Jews, and I believe that portraits that suggest otherwise take away from the historicity of Jesus.

In light of the present revisionist/postmodern culture, how we portray Jesus is vitally important. Jesus should not be painted as an African simply because He was not African. He should not be portrayed as European or Mexican or anything other than what He was. This may take away from artistic creativity (and I know that one should not find his/her theology in paintings), but we do not want to give the impression that Jesus is whatever we want Him to be. He did not leave that for us to decide. He is not imaginary. Let’s not do with our art what liberals do with their Christology.