The use of the crucifix

Discussion in 'Non-Anglican Discussion' started by charles happold, Aug 24, 2019.

  1. charles happold

    charles happold New Member

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    Does iconoclasm forbid having a crucifix in Reformed/ Calvistist as well as Methodist churches? I noticed some very liturgical looking churches among some Protestant denominations such as the free-standing altar and centrality of the altar. Even the use of eucharistic vestments in some Methodist and United Church of Christ churches. But I have never seen a crucifix or statue of Christ or an icon in these churches such as one would find in Anglican/ Lutheran churches.

    Is this the result of iconoclasm?

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Anglo-cracker

    Anglo-cracker Member Anglican

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    Among Baptists it certainly is iconoclasm, with Presbyterians as well.
     
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  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    In the Protestant churches I attended previously (Assemblies of God and some non-denoms), the empty cross was certainly accepted (no image of Christ still hanging on it, for He is no longer there). But that is as far as they went. No other statues or icons.
     
  4. charles happold

    charles happold New Member

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    Wouldn't an icon of Christ and/ or the Madonna and Child be acceptable in Methodist and Presybertarian churches since they often have sainted glass window depicting the same? Icons seem to be a favorite addition to Lutheran churches over the past many years.
     
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  5. charles happold

    charles happold New Member

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  6. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The Methodist church I grew up in had stunningly beautiful iconographic stained glass windows. My grandparents told me we did not use a crucifix because Christ is risen. This is also true of the Oriental Orthodox churches and the Assyrian Church of the East, who instead use elaborate hand crosses and altar crosses, for example, the St. Thomas Cross used by Syriac Orthodox in India.

    The Eastern Orthodox use both crosses and crucifixes; the former are ubiquitous, whereas a parish will have a crucifix on the altar, on which our Lord is a two dimensional painted icon; one will also be displayed in Holy Week in the nave in some parishes.

    Even Roman Catholics use plain crosses, especially in procession.
     
  7. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Of the RC parish I grew up in, as well as those I attended during college and afterward, either most or all had a gigantic crucifix with Christ hanging on it adorning the wall behind the altar. This was during the '60s, '70s and mid '80s. Things have changed since then, perhaps.

    This reminds me of the new church they built in my home town to replace the dilapidated, drafty structure dating from about 1920. The new parish contained a statue of Jesus at the rear of the sanctuary, and one couldn't help but gaze at it as one exited to the vestibule. It was a darkened bronze sculpture. A couple of aged congregants positively threw a fit over that statue. Oh, not because of iconoclasm, but because the bronze was so dark. To them, Jesus looked African! Oh, the horror of it, to have a black Jesus! One of them actually left the parish over that statue. :no:
     
  8. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The silliness of that objection aside, I would note that most new churches are hideous, and most churches from the 1920s are beautiful. This includes Catholic parishes.

    In Camarillo, the RCC was forced to keep the old church because the Camarillo family was buried in the basement crypt. It now accomodates a Philipino mass and a Traditional Latin Mass, which has an average Sunday attendance of 80%, every Sunday; I havent seen so many people in a Western church except on Christmas Eve and Holy Week.

    [​IMG]

    Compare with the new church:

    [​IMG]

    The old church is especially impressive inside, with polished white marble reredos.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
  9. charles happold

    charles happold New Member

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    The crucifix at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in downtown LA is black.
     

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  10. Anglo-cracker

    Anglo-cracker Member Anglican

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    Utilitarian architecture is prevalent among baptists these days. Partly because many parishes grew so rapidly (good problem to have) and a steel building was the most expedient way to accomodate. The other part is theological. Baptists elevate preaching to an importance that deminishes the Table to a sentimental add on. This view of things leads to designing church buildings like auditoriums.
     
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  11. Juliana

    Juliana Member Anglican

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    All of the Open Brethren assemblies we have been in and also many of the Independent Baptists wouldn't even accept an empty cross.
     
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  12. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Interesting. I had no idea the Plymouth Brethren were that iconoclastic. We can thank them for the premillenial dispensationalist wackiness peddled in Left Behind, et cetera; most people are unaware that ideas like the Rapture and so on were all the fruit of Nelson Darby’s imagination.
     
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  13. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    The military is utterly pragmatic with these sorts of issues. I attended a couple of weddings at the old base chapel on Parris Island. They had a rotating back wall on the stage. It had three sides: a bare cross, a crucifix, and a star of David. On the ship they had stained glass that was backlit and could be turned on and off depending on who was using the chapel (although, all the well attended services were moved to the foc'sle since only about 40 people could pack into the chapel itself).
     
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  14. Juliana

    Juliana Member Anglican

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    Not completely the fruit of Derby's imagination. There were some church fathers who believed it, and one or two Pritans and some Church of Scotland ministers too (for example Andrew Bonar). But they are definitely iconoclastic!
     
  15. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Chiliasm, yes, for example, even my beloved St. Irenaeus of Lyons, ironically given his status as the first great heresiology, as well as St. Justin Martyr, subscribed to Chiliasm, which was a view at the time still acceptable before the Second Council of Constantinople, which precluded it primarily because of its association with Apollinarius, IIRC and also owing to its carnality, and various compelling reasons which related to the process by which Christian theology had differentiated from its Judaic roots both in Alexandria and in Antioch, under thinkers like Origen, St. Athanasius, St. Ephrem the Syrian, the Cappadocians, and later St. Chrysostom and even Mar Theodore of Mopsuestia, in which we all see this trend away from what one might call overly carnal interpretations, even as Gnosticism continued to be anathematized with ever-increasing vigour, especially in the grotesque new forums it had spawned since the repose of St. Irenaeus, before his torch was collected by the great post-Nicene heresiologist St. Epiphanius of Salamis, who in his classic treatise the Panarion takes the morbidly curious on a grand tour of the myriad forms of Gnosticism that had emerged by the fourth century, including that which posed the great danger to Christianity, the counterfeit faith of the Manichaeans.

    But the specific modern, somewhat Wagnerian eschatology that you see in films like Left Behind, with the faithful being removed, and so on, that originated with Darby. Which is not to say that aspects of it are not impossible; its mainly the chiliastic aspect which is contradicted by the current version of the Nicene Creed as adopted at the Council of Constantinople in 381, which proclaims that the Kingdom of our Lord shall have no end.
     
  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Rev 20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
    Rev 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
    Rev 20:3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
    Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
    Rev 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
    Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
    Rev 20:7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
    Rev 20:8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
    Rev 20:9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
    Rev 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
    Rev 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
    Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
    Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
    Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
    Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

    It says right there that Jesus will reign for 1,000 years, and the martyrs reign with Him for those 1,000 years. After this time, a great battle takes place and then God conducts the white throne judgment of all people. What part of that is confusing? Since when is it heretical or heterodox to believe something which is plainly foretold in the Bible? Clearly, Christ will reign on this earth as King for 1,000 years, and then heaven and earth are destroyed and the new heaven and earth are created, and Christ will reign there forever. It's plainly spelled out for us in the Word.
     
  17. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    @Rexlion , we have to consider that this prophecy is not actually plainly foretold; 2 Peter 1:20 clearly applies. Thus, since St. John the Beloved Apostle did not tell us which of the divergent expositions of his Apocalypse on the Island of Patmos should be the one followed, it was decided by the Church as a whole and became an uncontroversial matter for much longer than many other things among most Christians.

    There are three major divergent interpretations of the text you quote, the Premillenial, Postmillenial and Amillenial, with the first being popular mainly among non-denominational non-creedal churches like the Plymouth Brethren, the second being less popular than it once was, but there is a nasty related heresy the exact name of which I forgot, but basically it goes along the lines that all prophecies in scripture were already fulfilled, and woe be unto the person who meets one of those (Hard Preterism, I think its called), and the last generally the prevailing sentiment in the creedal, liturgical churches.

    So the actual interpretation of this verse as understood by Nicene Christians, for example, St. Augustine in the City of God, Book 20, Chapter 7, is more compelling and integrates more cohesively into a consistent exegetical interpretation of the entire Bible than the narrow, literal pre-millenial Chiliasm.
     
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  18. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Here is the problem with quoting verses like this simply, without larger context: our Lord also teaches us that we are to forgive 7 x 77 times. When you forgive someone, are you meticulously keeping count, winding down to when you finally won't have to forgive anyone? Or should His teaching be looked at in the larger context?
     
  19. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Indeed so. And rest assured, we can find people, aided by the Net, who refuse on religious grounds to forgive someone more than 539 times. If someone knows people of the Levant; Greek people, Syriac people, Israelis, Arabs, Copts, Armenians, Persians, Kurds, one will notice a tendency, a beautiful poetic tendency, to use expressions like “a thousand” or “seven times seventy seven” in the context of intimate conversation, to refer to quantities which might not be infinite but which are incomprehensible, or which else are vast but elude precise definition, and our Lord speaks in this manner, which is visible through the Aramaic substrate of his words visible in the Greek translation (which is the principle source of study for some Aramaic scholars like Dr. Steve Caruso).

    Which is not to say that I cannot understand Chiliasm also being literally interpreted in the early church. St. Justin Martyr was heavily connected with the Roman Church, and St. Irenaeus was one of its bishops, who like his colleagues wrote in Greek, this, Syriac, and various other Aramaic dialects such as Judean and Gallilean, which would soon vanish, being the languages of the church in the second century before Bishop Victor of Rome decided to introduce Latin as a liturgical language to improve vernacular comprehension of the divine services.
     
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  20. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    "...not actually plainly foretold"????? The language used in Rev. 20 and 21 is as plain as the nose on my face (and I have a generous proboscis, I assure you).

    "2 Peter 1:20 clearly applies"? That seems like a cheap cop-out if I ever heard one. For one thing, no interpretation is needed if one can read :news: and comprehend what is written in the English language, and that is the only thing necessary to understand Rev. 20 & 21. For another thing, saying that premillenialism is 'just my private interpretation' ignores the work of many Bible scholars and countless Christians who have had no trouble understanding what these chapters plainly say; I see no reason to consider the RCC's corporate, agenda-driven interpretation as being better than the corporate interpretation of those who can read and comprehend Rev. 20 & 21 without an agenda. Since when do we accept the Roman interpretation of anything, without reading the Bible for ourselves and seeing what it says? Let's remember that the early church practices inform us regarding scripture, but they do not override the plain words of scripture.

    One of the most basic rules of hermeneutics is, if the literal, on-its-face meaning of scripture makes sense, there is no need to look further, no need to 'spiritualize' it or to pull a muscle in seeking for some figurative or allegorical hidden message. Premillenialism isn't an interpretation of the prophecy, it's the clear and obvious words of the Bible, speaking to us. Rev. 20 & 21 rise to the level of "prima facie evidence." Using a dual hermeneutic (interpreting most scriptures literally but spiritualizing all prophecies) is much more dangerous methodology, for it is the method that enables and encourages any number of 'private interpretations' (maybe it means this, maybe that, maybe some other thing... all without evidentiary basis... they can make it mean whatever fits their desire); meanwhile, a unified hermeneutic assumes no need to "interpret" unless the plain words don't make sense. Anyone who opposes "private interpretations" of prophecy should firmly oppose the dual hermeneutics which the Roman church has inflicted upon the clear words of these two chapters. :no:

    If I were to disbelieve what those words say, then I may as well get a sharp blade and neatly cut those pages out of my Bible, because I can't see any cause for doubt or equivocation on what these chapters are saying. Obviously this is not a crucial doctrinal matter, and there's no cause for us to fall out of fellowship or anything like that, but I can scarcely find words to convey how amazed and puzzled I am that anyone in this day and age could read those words and conclude that Jesus Christ in the flesh will not rule and reign on this earth for 1,000 years. O_o