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    Denomination & Faith Movement Discussions - Thread: Crucifix Vs. Empty Cross

    1. #1
      Josiah's Avatar
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      Question Crucifix Vs. Empty Cross

      .


      In my Catholic days, online and with Christian friends, I OFTEN encountered "debates" between Catholics and "Evangelicals" that I considered silly. This was just one of them. Some thoughts.


      1. I don't think there is a "verses." It's not "either/or." It's a false dichotomy


      2. The most common "Evangelical" rebuke/condemnation of the "Crucifix" is that it's Catholic and therefore to be shunned. Always find this argument ("it's Catholic") to be amazing. They worship typically on Sunday, they may pray the Lord's Prayer and read Scripture in the worship service, they celebrate Christmas and Easter... which are all Catholic and yet that's not rebuked/condemned/shunned. Why the Crucifix but not ALL the things that Evangelicals do that Catholics also do (maybe long before Evangelicals started doing it)?


      3. It's not JUST Catholics that use the Crucifix. And Catholics use the "Empty Cross" too Look at the typical Catholic facility... from the outside, you'll probably only see "empty" Crosses. In Catholicism, it's not "either/or". And Protestants don't JUST use the "empty Cross." In fact, in the two largest Protestant communities, encompassing more Protestants than all "Evangelicals" combined (Lutheran and Anglican), the Crucifix is used often as much as in Catholicism. And then there are the Orthodox. The use of the Crucifix is not just "Catholic" (even if THAT, per se, automatically made it sinful, heretical and condemnable). Perhaps half a billion NON-Catholics use it just as much... and Catholics don't always use it.


      4. The other (lesser used) "Evangelical" argument is that it is a "graven image" and "idol." I think that requires a weird definition of "idol." I know of no one (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical or otherwise) who worships anything AS God. They may respect a symbol of something (in the USA, it is illegal to burn an American flag or to treat it with disrespect, and it is customary to stand for it and to swear allegience to the flag, but the flag is NOT the USA, just a symbol). An idol is something regarded AS God. I don't think any regard the Crucifix to be God anymore than any regard the "empty Cross" to be God.


      5. SOME say the "empty" Cross reminds of us Easter. Okay. Some say that Crucifix reminds us of Good Friday. Alright. They are inseparable. Jesus died for us (they'd be no justification without that) and He rose for us (they'd be no justification without it). But actually, Jesus didn't rise from the Cross..... so if a symbol of the resurrection is desired, perhaps a tomb with the stone rolled away would be far more appropriate - Jesus did not rise from the Cross but from the Tomb. But in any case, noting Jesus' death for us is not denying His Resurrection for us anymore than the "empty" Cross is a denial of His death for us.


      6. I like the Crucifix simply for the symbolism that connects Christ with the Cross.... to seperate this, to strip the Cross of Christ, to me at least implies a Crossless theology, a bloodless theology. And indeed, I think there is a lot of that going around. Witness how few newer hymns and "contemporary songs" say nothing of "blood" anymore? Notice how few show up for Good Friday worship in some circles? The Cross was a bloody mess, the loving Sacrifice was bloody and painful... and it was so because ME and you and all who "fall short of God's mark". The modern world perhaps likes a prettier, nicer, cleaner version of Christianity that just skips over everything between Christmas and Easter, that sees no consequence for our sin and failure, that sees Jesus doing nothing but smiling. The "EMPTY" Cross..... hum..... was it?


      7. Again, I see no conflict and no reason to condemn either. I PERSONALLY like the theology better of the crucifix, but that's me. MY counsel: If you prefer to wear an Empty Cross - do. If your church's theology leans more toward "Empty Cross" (or simply doesn't want to LOOK "too Catholic") then do that. And if you prefer to wear a Crucifix - do. And if your parish's theology leans more toward a Christ on the Cross theology or doesn't mind looking like the vast majority of Christian churches in the world - do. Nothin' fundamentally wrong, either way. In fact, both have been used for many centuries,



      Blessings!



      - Josiah



      PS Someday, I'm going to post about the day the Youth Pastor of a MEGA Baptist church (and the leader of my home school group) asked me to bring in my Rosary and teach the group how it works.




      .
      Last edited by Josiah; 09-22-2018 at 12:47 PM.
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

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    3. #2
      MennoSota is offline Expert Member
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      I like Jewish synagogues. No graven images.

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      Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
      I like Jewish synagogues. No graven images.
      No images in mosques either.
      Pope Gregory I was well known for his alms to the poor, and he gave quite generously of the riches donated to the Church by the wealthy people of Rome. Everything from money to land was given to the poor in some fashion. He made clear to his subordinates that their duty was to relieve the distress faced by the poor.

      He ordered his clergy to go out into the streets to find and care for the poor in person.

    5. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by MoreCoffee View Post
      No images in mosques either.
      Yep, those two get at least one thing right.

    6. #5
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      I agree that whatever you like but to me the cross is empty and has been for 2000 years
      Isaiah 40:31

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      I don't believe a 'cross' is considered an idol as defined in scripture, no one worships the cross, the cross is not a god.
      The "cross" is something we are to take up personally, so the image of a cross (empty) in my opinion is as typical as the fish, we don't worship the fish logo.
      The crucifix seems to be a focus piece among Catholics of Christ suffering, they aren't worshipping his suffering or worshipping the cross either, but its still technically a statue because it bares the image of a man (Jesus of course) but Christ is universal and to identify him as having long hair for example, seems to idolise him and personify him. If I had a crucifix of Christ with a mohawk im sure people would find it offensive and ask that I fix it lol so what about a mullet?
      I don't shun the focal piece so by all means if you have a crucifix don't let anyone take it away, you know you aren't bowing down to any image made by man, some do tho... Some actually believe that they bleed and cry too :/

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      grav·en im·age
      noun
      noun: graven image; plural noun: graven images

      a carved idol or representation of a god used as an object of worship.

      No cross (empty of Christ or not) is worship as God. And while I'll admit that Christians often see Jesus AS GOD, they don't see any Cross as God nor do they worship any cross as God.




      .
      Last edited by Josiah; 09-22-2018 at 04:52 PM.
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

    9. Pray DHoffmann prayed
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      The cross (empty or crucifix) isn't an idol. It's a reminder. It reminds us that Jesus died for our sins and we have forgiveness through Him.
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus

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      How about that we demonstrate by our lives that we understand what the cross means instead of making it a piece of jewelry? Just saying

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      Presumably, it's not an "either-or" problem.

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