Author Topic: New Testament Support for Icons?  (Read 2886 times)

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Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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New Testament Support for Icons?
« on: August 15, 2012, 05:38:09 AM »
I am pretty familiar with most of the arguments and defenses of iconography, but for those fundamentalist evangelicals who demand New Testament support for the veneration of icons, can you guys provide me with some verses?

Thanks.



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« Last Edit: August 15, 2012, 05:38:28 AM by Gebre Menfes Kidus »
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Offline genesisone

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Re: New Testament Support for Icons?
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2012, 07:47:18 AM »
I'm a bit surprised you're asking this question. You're not going to find a NT verse that says, "Thou must venerate icons."

Part of the problem is the Sola Scriptura issue - why must there be a verse for everything?

Also, it might be helpful to determine what you mean by "the veneration of icons". Really, it isn't the icon as such that is venerated, i.e. the paint and wood, but rather the person depicted on the icon. Even most Evangelical Protestants will agree that honour should be shown to persons as a matter of respect. The problem arises with the particular cultural form of showing this honour (which we call veneration). Ask them how they honour other Christians - not only those they see face to face, but those who have gone before.

1 Peter 2:17 "Honor all people...." Ask them what would be a proper way to show honour. You won't likely convince anyone of that mindset, but you may at least calm things down.

Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Re: New Testament Support for Icons?
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2012, 08:10:28 AM »
I'm a bit surprised you're asking this question. You're not going to find a NT verse that says, "Thou must venerate icons."

Part of the problem is the Sola Scriptura issue - why must there be a verse for everything?

Also, it might be helpful to determine what you mean by "the veneration of icons". Really, it isn't the icon as such that is venerated, i.e. the paint and wood, but rather the person depicted on the icon. Even most Evangelical Protestants will agree that honour should be shown to persons as a matter of respect. The problem arises with the particular cultural form of showing this honour (which we call veneration). Ask them how they honour other Christians - not only those they see face to face, but those who have gone before.

1 Peter 2:17 "Honor all people...." Ask them what would be a proper way to show honour. You won't likely convince anyone of that mindset, but you may at least calm things down.


Yes, I agree with you. I make the same points routinely when discussing this issue with Protestants. But I was just wondering if there was a passage or verse from the NT that we might be able to use in our defense. I know that much precedent for our Liturgical worship is derived from Revelation. I wonder if there is also something in there that could support iconography.


Selam
"Whether it’s the guillotine, the hangman’s noose, or reciprocal endeavors of militaristic horror, radical evil will never be recompensed with radical punishment. The only answer, the only remedy, and the only truly effective response to radical evil is radical love."
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: New Testament Support for Icons?
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2012, 08:33:50 AM »
This may seem irrelevant to those who would ask such a question, but really the following verses strike at the heart of the matter...

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (Jn. 1:14)

"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9)

"For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:" (Eph. 2:14-16)
« Last Edit: August 15, 2012, 08:34:15 AM by Asteriktos »

Offline Monk Vasyl

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Re: New Testament Support for Icons?
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2012, 08:34:58 AM »
This may seem irrelevant to those who would ask such a question, but really the following verses strike at the heart of the matter (pun intended)...

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (Jn. 1:14)

"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9)

"For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:" (Eph. 2:14-16)

Thanks for saving me from posting...lol  I was ready to quote Jn.1:14.
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Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Re: New Testament Support for Icons?
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2012, 08:45:02 AM »
Thanks. Yes, it will take a little explaining to them, but indeed these verses do strike at the heart of the issue. Creation is sanctified.

I wonder if these verses would be applicable as well:

"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse."  [Romans 1:20]

"For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer." [I Timothy 4:4]



Selam
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Offline Shiny

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Re: New Testament Support for Icons?
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2012, 09:25:22 AM »
Quote
Part of the problem is the Sola Scriptura issue - why must there be a verse for everything?
But they can say everything that God wanted to say is in the Bible.
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: New Testament Support for Icons?
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2012, 09:33:32 AM »
Thanks. Yes, it will take a little explaining to them, but indeed these verses do strike at the heart of the issue. Creation is sanctified.

I wonder if these verses would be applicable as well:


Yes, I think those verses would also be helpful. I think this is one of those areas where it's much easier in written discussion as well, but I guess we don't always get to choose that.

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: New Testament Support for Icons?
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2012, 09:42:40 AM »
Quote
Part of the problem is the Sola Scriptura issue - why must there be a verse for everything?
But they can say everything that God wanted to say is in the Bible.

If this is true then we should find these things in the Bible: 1) A list of books to be included in the Bible; and 2) Verses saying that everything that God wanted to say is in the Bible. What we find is the opposite, IMO. The Holy Spirit guided the Church to write the Bible, often generations after Jesus died, and then it also guided the early Church to form the canon, sometimes with vigorous debate about what to include or exclude. And different groups ended up coming to different conclusions in the end about which books should be in there. And that's ok. As long as you don't trust only (or almost only) in the Bible for your faith and practices. As for verses saying that everything that God wanted to say is in the Bible, I think we have evidence to the contrary. At the end of the Gospel of John does it not speak about how Jesus did many other deeds that haven't been written down? And in a letter to the Thessalonians didn't Paul speak of unwritten traditions? Didn't the apostles preach "the faith once delivered to the saints," not "give Bibles outs"? Now the Jews (e.g. the Bereans) checked their Bibles, but that meant the Old Testament. The early Christians (up through the 4th century and later) did not rely on the Bible as we have it today, exactly because there was no single Bible like we have today. Or, I should say, like Protestants think we (or they) have today.

Um... I just realised that this is coming off very anti-Protestant, which isn't my intention. I just don't think scripture alone, or even scripture as the final criterion, is a tenable position to hold to.

Offline LBK

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Re: New Testament Support for Icons?
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2012, 07:14:07 PM »
Quote
Part of the problem is the Sola Scriptura issue - why must there be a verse for everything?
But they can say everything that God wanted to say is in the Bible.

Then all you need to do is to invoke John 21:25 to them:

And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.


This is the pin which best bursts the sola scriptura bubble.
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Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: New Testament Support for Icons?
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2012, 07:20:41 PM »
Quote
Part of the problem is the Sola Scriptura issue - why must there be a verse for everything?
But they can say everything that God wanted to say is in the Bible.

Then all you need to do is to invoke John 21:25 to them:

And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.


This is the pin which best bursts the sola scriptura bubble.

Actually I don't know about this one.  This can run into a lot of assumption.  What if a mormon said "He hid the book of mormon in America"?  This scripture is one of their arguments.

There are no examples of icon veneration in the New Testament OP.   They either believe in sola scriptura and won't budge or not.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: New Testament Support for Icons?
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2012, 07:28:55 PM »
I'm a bit surprised you're asking this question. You're not going to find a NT verse that says, "Thou must venerate icons."

Part of the problem is the Sola Scriptura issue - why must there be a verse for everything?

Also, it might be helpful to determine what you mean by "the veneration of icons". Really, it isn't the icon as such that is venerated, i.e. the paint and wood, but rather the person depicted on the icon. Even most Evangelical Protestants will agree that honour should be shown to persons as a matter of respect. The problem arises with the particular cultural form of showing this honour (which we call veneration). Ask them how they honour other Christians - not only those they see face to face, but those who have gone before.

1 Peter 2:17 "Honor all people...." Ask them what would be a proper way to show honour. You won't likely convince anyone of that mindset, but you may at least calm things down.


Yes, I agree with you. I make the same points routinely when discussing this issue with Protestants. But I was just wondering if there was a passage or verse from the NT that we might be able to use in our defense. I know that much precedent for our Liturgical worship is derived from Revelation. I wonder if there is also something in there that could support iconography.


Selam
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44 Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.[ 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe,I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

24 So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.” 25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?” 28 Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.” 30 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.” 34 They answered and said to him, “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?” And they cast him out. 35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” 36 He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” 37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.”
38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him. 39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.” 40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?”
41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains."

He speaks to us through His Church.

Luke 10:16 He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”

Because what they received, what they taught, what they passed on, what we stand firm in, what raditions we hold which were taught by the Apostles, whether by word, or by letter (II Thessalonians 2:15), what we-remembering them in all things, receiving their praise-hold firm, what traditions, even as the Apostles delivered to us (I Corinthians 11:2), because THAT differs from what those who walketh disorderly millennia after, and not after the Tradition which he received of the Apostles-Or rather, such novelties differ from the 'Faith of the Apostles-because of that differnce we are to hide our eyes from the unbroken cloud of witness which surround the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church, so we can don the veil of Moses and walk in the way of the Pharisees? So we can follow someone who not only has not seen the light of Christ, but refuses to behold the radience of God's glory and look in the face of Christ, the icon of the invisible God and the express image of His person, and see the Father? (John 14:9; 2Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3)?

No thank you.

Mat. 15:14  "Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." Or into hellfire, whose gates shall never, by the divine word of God the Word, prevail against the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church.

2Cor. 4:4But even if our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the icon of God, should shine on them. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

So, for us who have received the Apostles, we withdraw, as the Apostles commanded, from those that walk disorderly, and from those who do not walk after the Tradition which were received of the Apostles. II Thessalonians 3:6.
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Offline Kerdy

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Re: New Testament Support for Icons?
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2012, 07:30:50 PM »
Quote
Part of the problem is the Sola Scriptura issue - why must there be a verse for everything?
But they can say everything that God wanted to say is in the Bible.

Then all you need to do is to invoke John 21:25 to them:

And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.


This is the pin which best bursts the sola scriptura bubble.
It worked for me.

Offline LBK

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Re: New Testament Support for Icons?
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2012, 08:12:44 PM »
Quote
What if a mormon said "He hid the book of mormon in America"?

Yesh, would a mainstream Christian (let alone Orthodox Christian) regard the Book of Mormon as scripture??  ::)

Try again.
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Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: New Testament Support for Icons?
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2012, 08:51:47 PM »
Quote
What if a mormon said "He hid the book of mormon in America"?

Yesh, would a mainstream Christian (let alone Orthodox Christian) regard the Book of Mormon as scripture??  ::)

Try again.

No, what I meant was that if you are going to justify iconography by citing that scripture, they sola's could easily say "but that's how they justify the book of Mormon".

Honestly, in my opinion, I don't entirely know about iconography.   In some ways I can view it as a correct teaching, then I hear the other side of the story and it trips me up.  But I know the Orthodox church   absolutely is for them, which is a very strong argument for the case in my mind.   This argument of course has existed long before we were here and probably will long after.
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Offline LBK

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Re: New Testament Support for Icons?
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2012, 08:57:24 PM »
Quote
Honestly, in my opinion, I don't entirely know about iconography.

Hang around me long enough, and you'll learn a lot.  :)
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Offline Golgotha

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Re: New Testament Support for Icons?
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2012, 09:00:07 PM »
The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. Numbers 21:8-9
« Last Edit: August 15, 2012, 09:04:45 PM by Golgotha »

Offline LBK

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Re: New Testament Support for Icons?
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2012, 09:02:38 PM »
The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. Numbers 21:8-9


The OP is asking for NT, not OT, references.  :)
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Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: New Testament Support for Icons?
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2012, 09:33:43 PM »
The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. Numbers 21:8-9

Of course the argument is about the NT, but one could also say that they were not worshiping the snake nor venerating. 
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Offline Iconodule

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Re: New Testament Support for Icons?
« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2012, 10:35:24 PM »
Quote
Part of the problem is the Sola Scriptura issue - why must there be a verse for everything?
But they can say everything that God wanted to say is in the Bible.

If this is true then we should find these things in the Bible: 1) A list of books to be included in the Bible;

The Holy Table of Contents, obviously.
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