Iconoclastic Calvinism may never recover from Randall Zachman’s Image and Word in the Theology of John Calvin, which culminates decades of Reformation scholarship to reveal how imagery is central – indeed constituent – to the Reformer’s thought (hat tip for the book rec. to the bensonian). And this is not even to mention William Dyrness’ magisterial Reformed Theology and Visual Culture, which further upends previous assumptions about Calvinism and imagery. And yet, as one makes the case for post-iconoclastic Calvinism, one does well to limit oneself to smaller studies, just to keep the sport in it. The following is from a nice little article by Rev. David J. C. Cooper, The Theology of the Image in Eastern Orthodoxy and John Calvin, Scottish Journal of Theology:
It is historically ironic that Calvin’s rejection of self-seeking artists and sensual art, in favour of the pure ‘Word’, has now issued in a parallel degeneration of the verbal medium. Modern Protestant preaching, as ‘entertainment’, with its emphasis on style, persuasive power, emotional impact, and the so-called ‘charisma’ of the individual preacher, is as distracting in relation to the Gospel as the art it was intended to replace.
Because such abuse is happening, why don’t we remove preachers altogether? No wait, that would be silly. Preaching, rightly understood, has its proper place in worship, as does… you guessed it.