Statues and paintings in church

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by bwallac2335, Apr 23, 2020.

  1. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I am ok with them in church and think that they can help to teach to those that can't read like my 4 year old. I am not ok with the line of veneration but not worship. I understand it but it is just to easy to fall into sin in my mind although I will not stop or condemn someone else for doing so.
     
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  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I can understand that, for sure. I don't have an issue with paintings or stained glass images (obviously, lol), but statues in church bug me. Probably that's because I grew up in a RC church where parishioners would go to the statue of Mary or Joseph, drop a coin or two in the slot, light a couple of candles in the bank at the base of the statue, then kneel and pray there. I really have a problem with that. At the very least, I think it has the appearance of impropriety. Thou shalt not bow down to any graven image, Exodus 20:5.

    When I first began attending the ACNA Anglican church near here, there was a small statue of Mary with the bank of candles and a kneeler over on one side of the nave. When the rector invited me to come and meet with him for a chat, I expressed my concern to him about this. Well, a remodel of the interior was just getting underway at that time. The Marian statue was removed for carpentry and whatnot, and now the remodel is complete but the statue never reappeared. The candles and kneeler are now close to the back of the nave, but no statue. :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2020
  3. PDL

    PDL Active Member Anglican

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    I have no problem with these in our churches. I definitely prefer them to icons. I think it was appalling how Eastern churches were made to westernise. Thankfully, many of them are re-discovering their patrimony. However, I think some things are going in the opposite direction. I do not think putting things right should involve easternising (is that an acceptable word?) the Western Church. That is why I do not like icons. I have nothing against them per se.

    All too often I can find myself distracted when praying. Perhaps hearing someone else moving around the church, or hearing that inexplicable slamming sound, etc. I find that kneeling before an image helps me to focus. I personally have no problem with asking Our Lady Mary or a saint to intercede for me. I know that is what I am doing and I do not feel I am worshipping either the image or the person it represents. I worship God only.

    Here, in the UK many would have no problem bowing to an empty throne representing the sovereign. People willingly bow to judges, et al. I have no problem showing such signs of respect to our lady sovereign. But, how much more worthy are Our Lady Mary and the saints. Therefore, I have no problem showing respect to an image that represents them.

    When I want to pray directly to God (and I often do) in a church I would not do so in front of any such image. I would kneel (depending on the location) in a pew, at an altar rail, in front of a cross/crucifix, etc. I am not superintelligent and I do know the difference between the worship of God and the honour shown to Our Lady Mary and the saints. I think we should accept the fact that adults can make this distinction.
     
  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    We believe that God is omnipresent and all-knowing; He sees all and hears every prayer of every person. He could hear 7 billion prayers at once and not be overloaded, for He is omnipotent, all-powerful.

    I would like to ask: do you think Mary is all-knowing, all-powerful, and able to be everywhere to hear every prayer to her simultaneously? Do you think the people who've died in Christ (the saints) possess these abilities? When we already have a "direct line" to our infinite God through prayer and we have Jesus Christ as our advocate nonpareil, how much value is there in praying to dead people versus praying to our Almighty King?

    If one may have an audience with Queen Elizabeth at any time, why would one ask the Queen's chauffeur for a boon from the Queen instead of asking the Queen personally? :dunno:
     
  5. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I understand the point you are making, within limits. Not all prayer is about asking for things, some prayer is about being in the presence of God, and indeed as one family of the redeemed with our brothers and sisters in faith, in every place, and every age. The particularities of Mary, the Mother of Lord, and her amazing role in the story of our salvation does mean that she holds a special place, and is one of the most prevalent dedications of Churches in England. Mary is not a dead Roman Catholic. Mary is the Mother of the Lord, Theotokos, and here co-operation in God's saving plan for the human race is significant, and something for which we should all give thanks, and provides an example we should all seek to emulate in some small way.

    I do but hope and trust that you are not trying to suggest that Mary is simply God's chauffeur, for that would not accord with the account of scripture, where Luke tells us of God going out of his way to ask Mary, who then declared the greatness of the Lord and rejoiced in his salvation. Mary has a choice and she responds 'let it be to me according to your word'.

    I do understand that Marian devotion and doctrine is overplayed in some parts of Christianity, and I think it is proper of Anglicans in our unique place and way to find a sensible space, to acknowledge her valuable contribution to the story of salvation, without over stepping the mark and elevating her to the Holy Trinity.

    Mary was the first to bear Christ into the world, and we in our mission follow in her footsteps as we seek to bear Christ into the world.
     
  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    That thought never crossed my mind, for I was only drawing a simile toward the deceased saints.

    Now that I think on your comment, though, it seems to me that Mary might be likened somewhat to God's chariot (vehicle), with God doing the driving. :p ;)

    But to be serious, isn't Mary a deceased saint? Didn't she 'rejoice in her Savior' like any follower of Christ who needed salvation? Or do you subscribe to the RC doctrine that Mary was so special, she was assumed alive and bodily into heaven?
     
  7. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    She is dead on earth but alive in heaven as are all the saints. I don't pray to saints but I don't find it scripturally wrong to ask a saint to pray for me. Just like I don't find it wrong to ask you to pray for me. Mary is special. She is first among the saints. I don't pray to saints and I understand the theology behind it but it just makes me uncomfortable probably because of my scrupulosity.
     
  8. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    Remember we are only against the Romanish doctrine of the Middle Ages not the ancient church doctrine of it.
     
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  9. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Luke 1:26-38
    In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.​

    What your suggestion lacks is the importance of the free-will of Mary. God neither rode nor drove Mary, but Mary participated in the plan God had for the salvation of humankind, and her YES expressed in the words ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ should echo in the ears of every Christian, firstly because by those words God's plan was enable and rolled onward into action, and to those words we should all ourselves desire to conform.

    My comment in relation to Mary was more the acknowledgement that she is not a member of that particular denomination, and in reality she was a Jew, and perhaps later a Jewish Christian. I make no claim as to a special knowledge of the Assumption or the Dormition of Mary Theotokos, however if you pushed me, I would probably favour the notion of Dormition as expressed in the East. I think some, eager not to venture into what has been described as the detestable enormities of Rome, have sought hard to tear down Mary, yet in reflecting on Holy Scripture and the place she has to play in the story of salvation, I think I would rather lift her up as a model for Christian life, seeking to Magnify the Lord, to rejoice in God, to lift the lowly, and to carry Christ into the world.

    The one great test of all things Marian is that Mary always points to Jesus. The moment you encounter Marian Dogmas that point simply to Mary and not to Jesus, the alarm bells should ring.
     
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  10. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Basically agreed with you. Nicely put.
     
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  11. PDL

    PDL Active Member Anglican

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    I don't think we should see honour of Mary as Romish. After all, the Eastern churches hold her in the same high esteem. It was the third Ecumenical Council (Ephesus), which Anglicans accept, at which the title Mother of God was confirmed. Mother of God in English because we lack anything as useful as the Greek Θεοτόκος. Mother of God because she is the mother of Christ, who is both God and man.

    The bodies of Our Lady and all the saints may be mortally dead but their souls, which are in heaven, are not. They are very much alive.

    You could even go to the extreme of arguing why pray at all. God knows what is in my mind without me having to even express it.
     
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  12. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Since "Mother of God" capitalizes the M, it seems to make this Mother almost Godlike. A mother brings a new life into the world, a life that never existed prior to the mother's conception. Yet God is eternal and without beginning, therefore God could never have a Mother. Since the third Ecumenical Council neither authorized nor ratified nor knew of such an English-language translation as "Mother of God," they could not have foreseen the gross error their title confirmation would bring about when Greek would be translated into Latin which in turn would be translated into English.

    "God-bearer" would be a far more appropriate translation of Theotokos, wouldn't it?

    I don't think you ever answered my earlier question: do you think Mary is all-knowing, all-powerful, and able to be everywhere to hear every prayer to her simultaneously? If you don't think this, what assurance do you have that Mary hears any (let alone all) of your prayers to her? (In contrast, we can be certain that our infinite and omniscient God hears every prayer, and even knew of the prayer before we prayed it! But I doubt that God serves as Mary's secretary, gathering and relaying messages to her.) Of course, it is the Romans who seem to imagine that Mary is now all-knowing like God; maybe that is why they often depict her wearing a royal crown.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
  13. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Yes! Mother of God is completely inappropriate, because God is uncreated, the Ancient of Days, the eternal and perfect Origin of existence. The idea that a human woman was his mother is so blasphemous that I can't even imagine how people allowed the name to stick. Theotokos in Greek has never meant "mother" but rather "bearer", an alternative which is appropriate, and without a tinge of something blasphemous in it. This wonderful maiden did indeed bear God within her, and carried him through to his appointed end.

    To me there is a huge difference between the two concepts, and I can't see how or why they got mixed up.
     
  14. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I suspect that the problem was that the Greek Theotokos was rendered in Latin Mater Dei. There was an amount of discussion and although a number of the Greeks didn't especially like it they recognised that Latin was a poor language when it came to theology and so it became the Western Term.

    This accounts for how it passed into English usage as Mother of God where the argument and the point of the title was not what it said about Mary, but rather what it said about Christ, namely that Christ is God.

    I have thought about this over the past 50 years, and for the most part I have concluded that we would be better to use the Greek word transliterated to express our real meaning. The difficulty with the simple english god-bearer is that it seemingly carries the same weight as Christopher.

    The other term I lean to with ease is Mary, Mother of the Lord, which is easy to use and doesn't endless end in some silly discussion.

    Those who freely use the term Mother of God will argue that those who deny it are denying the divinity of Jesus. In the ancient discourse this was a paramount matter for the argument against Arians, Adoptionists, Nestorians, and others who all tried to wriggle out of the essential truth of the prologue to the 4th Gospel, namely the Word became flesh and tabernacled in our midst
     
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  15. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I am not a Greek Scholar so I don't actually know how the word should be translated in English but we should refer to Mary as the Theotokos as that is what she is and the 3rd council affirms this and we as Anglicans affirm the 3rd council.
     
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  16. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with what you are saying 100% You talk on this subject better than I ever could
     
  17. PDL

    PDL Active Member Anglican

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    The Council did approve of Mary being called the Mother of God. That is an argument the Council settled. There were those who wanted a title that acknowledged Mary as being the mother of the man Jesus of Nazareth. However, this when to the nature of Christ. It was affirmed that he was both God and man. Mary, of course, only gave birth to the man and did not create God. However, Christ is both God and man and as his mother Mary is the Mother of God. The mother of one who is the God, but, obviously, not the creator of God.

    I do not think any of us can truly know what happens in heaven until perhaps one day, God willing, we are there. However, yes, I do believe that Mary, the saints and the angels can hear us when we seek their intercessions.
     
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  18. PDL

    PDL Active Member Anglican

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    I wish I could do as well as you seem to think. I see myself as a simple man in the pew. I do not have any great theological knowledge. I do, however, feel strongly that for many the mystery has gone out of faith. With our knowledge in the 21st century I think too many people rationalise religion and say this and that cannot happen because science says it cannot. I still believe in the mysteries of our faith and believe nothing is beyond the power of God and that miracles, etc. can and still do happen.
     
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  19. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I see myself as nothing more than a historian who has little theological aptitude. Miracles do indeed still happen and Christ is still sovereign. We have become to rationalistic for our own good.
     
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  20. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    Not sure I could put it any better so I am just going to like it and repost it. I agree with what you are saying about prayers to the saints but I still would not do it as I am not comfortable doing it and I think it is an easy line to cross. It is ok to do so but I just am not comfortable with it just like it is ok to venerate icons and statues but I am not going to do it but not think less of someone who does.