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Author Topic: If Protestants are so iconoclastic...  (Read 1085 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 01, 2013, 09:42:12 AM »

...how come Protestant children bibles are full of drawings of Christ, the Theotokos and the saints (such as the Apostles and St. Stephen the Protomartyr)? Isn't that a little strange? Why would they do this? Doesn't this basically go against their interpretation of the second commandment?
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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2013, 09:46:37 AM »

They would probably excuse it by saying such images are not being venerated or worshipped.
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« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2013, 09:50:46 AM »

They would probably excuse it by saying such images are not being venerated or worshipped.

Well how about their argument that images of Christ are either nestorian or monophysite?
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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2013, 11:40:31 AM »

I don't think they are, it is just another false claim thrown around without much proof.  They certainly use images for teaching and personal devotion even though they generally don't venerate them the way we do.  Liturgically, Anglicans and Lutherans usually have them and I have been in Presbyterian and Baptist Churches with statues and icons. And as far as that goes Armenian, Syrian and Assyrian Churches are pretty sparse on icons as well.
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« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2013, 11:49:48 AM »

The Reformed tend to be, from my experience, the most iconoclastic with many refusing to even have a bare cross in their church's sanctuary.

They do make a distinction between religious art and items of veneration, with the latter completely forbidden. I've even heard them speak against their use in instruction and education, but I'm not sure how this works in application.

They tend to view that physical things in general can't be sacred (and venerated). A Reformed professor of mine, for example, commented several times that particular physical Bibles aren't holy or sacred and could be used as a doorstopper since they're "just books" - and the holiness of the words is separate and exterior to the physical object.
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« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2013, 12:15:57 PM »

The Reformed tend to be, from my experience, the most iconoclastic with many refusing to even have a bare cross in their church's sanctuary.
And the Reformed are a small minority in the Protestant landscape, at least in American Christianity. Some of their ideas have traction in Evangelical circles, but most Evangelicals are not willing to take on the Reformed mindset full-bore — they like being able to watch The Passion of the Christ or raising their hands to rockband-style music in church. Not a condemnation, just an observation.
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« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2013, 12:22:06 PM »

And the Reformed are a small minority in the Protestant landscape, at least in American Christianity. Some of their ideas have traction in Evangelical circles, but most Evangelicals are not willing to take on the Reformed mindset full-bore — they like being able to watch The Passion of the Christ or raising their hands to rockband-style music in church. Not a condemnation, just an observation.

True enough, although they do have a strong presence here where I live. I think our largest church congregations are primarily Reformed, however they probably would watch the Passion and some (at least one for sure) do have rock music in their worship, but they don't have crosses or religious images in their sanctuaries.
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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2013, 12:24:56 PM »

True enough, although they do have a strong presence here where I live.

Same here. Almost every Protestant is reformed here.
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« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2013, 12:32:13 PM »

Lots of Reformed churches around here, too, including several "Orthodox Reformed Churches". A few are very traditional and more ethnic than any Orthodox Church, and some are - at least on the surface - indistinguishable from the run-of-the-mill Evangelicals.
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« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2013, 01:07:42 PM »

I don't think they are, it is just another false claim thrown around without much proof.  They certainly use images for teaching and personal devotion even though they generally don't venerate them the way we do.

Permitting the use of images as didactic tools, but refusing to venerate them is still heresy, as far as Orthodoxy is concerned. As we are taught during the Sunday of Orthodoxy, all of those who refuse to venerate and honor the holy icons are anathema.
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« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2013, 02:37:44 PM »

I don't think they are, it is just another false claim thrown around without much proof.  They certainly use images for teaching and personal devotion even though they generally don't venerate them the way we do.

Permitting the use of images as didactic tools, but refusing to venerate them is still heresy, as far as Orthodoxy is concerned. As we are taught during the Sunday of Orthodoxy, all of those who refuse to venerate and honor the holy icons are anathema.

True enough, but I think there is a difference between image destroyers, those who don't use them, and those who use, but don't venerate, but are respectful of them. 
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« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2013, 03:27:32 PM »

Lots of Reformed churches around here, too, including several "Orthodox Reformed Churches". A few are very traditional and more ethnic than any Orthodox Church, and some are - at least on the surface - indistinguishable from the run-of-the-mill Evangelicals.
In the case of the "Orthodox Presbyterian Church," the name is both a badge of honor amongst themselves and a polemical jab at the PCUSA and its predecessors. The same can be said for the Dutch Calvinist group in the U.S., the Orthodox Christian Reformed Church, which split from the Christian Reformed Churches.
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« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2013, 04:16:11 PM »

The iconoclastic tendencies of Protestants have been vastly exaggerated.
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« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2013, 04:24:14 PM »

The iconoclastic tendencies of Protestants has been vastly exaggerated.

Well....

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« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2013, 06:31:57 PM »

The iconoclastic tendencies of Protestants have been vastly exaggerated.

Speak for yourself

Coming from a low-Church Evangelical background, their reluctancy toward Iconography is probably THE biggest issue they have with Roman Catholicism/Eastern Orthodoxy.

EDIT: To answer the original question, I think the issue more so comes down to the veneration of religious images and/or Icons that bothers them--since they are not really capable of making the distinction between veneration and worship.
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« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2013, 08:53:40 PM »

You can't speak for all Protestants in a general manner.
 
In fact, my old church has plenty of religious imagery around it, including within the sanctuary. Not these aren't cute little simple images either, they are many of the traditional images of Christ you see in Protestant homes.

(actually the reason it is this way is actually because of me, since I have occasionally helped decorate and clean it, I've found many paintings and images in the church and put them up around the nave and narthex intentionally to no ones protest)
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« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2013, 09:52:24 PM »

...how come Protestant children bibles are full of drawings of Christ, the Theotokos and the saints (such as the Apostles and St. Stephen the Protomartyr)? Isn't that a little strange? Why would they do this? Doesn't this basically go against their interpretation of the second commandment?

Which Protestants? They're hardly all the same. Some are iconodules, some are iconoclasts, some have no idea one way or the other.
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« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2013, 09:53:24 PM »

They would probably excuse it by saying such images are not being venerated or worshipped.

Well how about their argument that images of Christ are either nestorian or monophysite?

Their argument makes no sense.
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« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2013, 09:59:12 PM »

The Protestant group I was a part of--or that particular parish anyway--was very anti-Catholic/Orthodox, and fairly iconoclastic as a reaction. The priest would point to the cross hanging up and say stuff like "He isn't up there! This isn't the Catholic Church! They took him down! Now he's risen from the dead!"  But the cross was just about the only thing of that type--no murals or pictures or statues or whatever. That would have been too Catholic/Orthodox. Catholicism is the anti-Christ, don't ya know?
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« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2013, 10:05:57 PM »

That was always why I never liked Protestant Churches--even when I was a little kid. They were always boring and ugly to me. But on the rare occassions that my grandmother would take me to her Roman Catholic parish, I always enjoyed it because of all the scenery. I used to think that Jesus was a physical guy who literally lived inside of the Church upstairs or something.
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« Reply #20 on: January 01, 2013, 10:15:39 PM »

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"He isn't up there! This isn't the Catholic Church! They took him down! Now he's risen from the dead!"

I spent more time as a Protestant than as a Catholic-in fact, I was born into a Baptist home. And I would hear this all the time. Always wondered what they had against crucifixes.  laugh No Catholic believes that Christ is still on the cross. Well, there may be some fringe groups out there. But other than that...oy vey. "Get my Jesus off that cross!" That kind of emotionalism was so awkward to watch.
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« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2013, 10:18:39 PM »

Yes, most Protestants I've heard of think it's okay to watch movies about the life of Christ, and I don't think they skip the Crucifixion. A crucifix is just a visible reminder of that moment in Our Lord's life.
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« Reply #22 on: January 01, 2013, 10:28:52 PM »

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"He isn't up there! This isn't the Catholic Church! They took him down! Now he's risen from the dead!"

I spent more time as a Protestant than as a Catholic-in fact, I was born into a Baptist home. And I would hear this all the time. Always wondered what they had against crucifixes.  laugh No Catholic believes that Christ is still on the cross. Well, there may be some fringe groups out there. But other than that...oy vey. "Get my Jesus off that cross!" That kind of emotionalism was so awkward to watch.

I've examined in my own circles that the aversion to an image of the crucified Christ also tends to have a lot to do with an aversion to an imitation of His death. Usually there have been complimentary comments such as: "He suffered so that we don't have to." "Why dwell on something so terrible that is finished?"

There is almost no notion of participating in the crucifixion ourselves, taking up our cross, dying to self, potential of martyrdom, etc. When we see the crucified Christ, we should see a king on his throne of glory. The gospels have an entire mocking coronation, procession to the throne room (Golgotha), and enthronement. The Jews wanted a military leader and a Davidic Warrior King. What they saw instead was total self-emptying prophet who was executed by his enemies.

The image of the crucified Christ is a great mystery to contemplate. It's so layered and meaningful. Those who scorn the image often scorn human suffering and have no notion of its salvific properties: "Jesus died to save us from religion; Jesus payed the price so we don't have to; Jesus fasted in the wilderness so that we don't have to; God wants us to have long lives and to be wealthy and prosperous, blah blah etc." I've heard it all many times.
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« Reply #23 on: January 01, 2013, 10:41:03 PM »

Quote
"He isn't up there! This isn't the Catholic Church! They took him down! Now he's risen from the dead!"

I spent more time as a Protestant than as a Catholic-in fact, I was born into a Baptist home. And I would hear this all the time. Always wondered what they had against crucifixes.  laugh No Catholic believes that Christ is still on the cross. Well, there may be some fringe groups out there. But other than that...oy vey. "Get my Jesus off that cross!" That kind of emotionalism was so awkward to watch.

I've examined in my own circles that the aversion to an image of the crucified Christ also tends to have a lot to do with an aversion to an imitation of His death. Usually there have been complimentary comments such as: "He suffered so that we don't have to." "Why dwell on something so terrible that is finished?"

There is almost no notion of participating in the crucifixion ourselves, taking up our cross, dying to self, potential of martyrdom, etc. When we see the crucified Christ, we should see a king on his throne of glory. The gospels have an entire mocking coronation, procession to the throne room (Golgotha), and enthronement. The Jews wanted a military leader and a Davidic Warrior King. What they saw instead was total self-emptying prophet who was executed by his enemies.

The image of the crucified Christ is a great mystery to contemplate. It's so layered and meaningful. Those who scorn the image often scorn human suffering and have no notion of its salvific properties: "Jesus died to save us from religion; Jesus payed the price so we don't have to; Jesus fasted in the wilderness so that we don't have to; God wants us to have long lives and to be wealthy and prosperous, blah blah etc." I've heard it all many times.

"Jesus died so we don't have to" reminds me of penal substitution. Also; Jesus died to save us from religion? Wow. Just wow.
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« Reply #24 on: January 01, 2013, 10:53:10 PM »

Jesus didn't die so that we wouldn't have to die and suffer, but so that we could be Resurrected with Him after participating in that same pain and suffering in our lives which is our own participation in His Crucifixion.
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« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2013, 10:55:27 PM »

"We preach Christ crucified." St. Paul said this. I can see this being a good rebuttal if someone shows disapproval of a crucifix Shocked)
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« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2013, 11:56:45 PM »

"Jesus died so we don't have to" reminds me of penal substitution. Also; Jesus died to save us from religion? Wow. Just wow.
Jesus did die so we don't have to - even in Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #27 on: January 02, 2013, 12:05:05 AM »

"Jesus died so we don't have to" reminds me of penal substitution. Also; Jesus died to save us from religion? Wow. Just wow.
Jesus did die so we don't have to - even in Orthodoxy.
"I die daily" (1st Cor. 15:31).
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« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2013, 12:09:15 AM »

But we die daily in Christ (through his work) so we don't have to die eternally  Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2013, 01:05:30 AM »

Well, the Church I grew up in had a huge picture of Christ in the garden, front and center. The Church I was in most recently before coming to the Orthodox Church had a cross in the front with a crown of thorns and a robe hanging on it. We had many images of Christ in our home used educationally, decoratively and to a lesser degree inspirationally.  I own a copy of the Passion of the Christ, and I did and do treat Bibles reverentially, ie don't lay it on the floor. But yes, there was a difference between all that and the veneration we do now, and that difference was what we had to overcome on the way to being Orthodox.

Edit: Oh yeah, and we definitely looked up to martyrs ancient and modern like Jim Elliot who died, with 5 others in the Amazon bringing Christianity to the natives there.
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« Reply #30 on: January 02, 2013, 08:16:15 AM »

The iconoclastic tendencies of Protestants has been vastly exaggerated.

Well....
Protestants have their own icons:

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« Reply #31 on: January 02, 2013, 10:45:08 AM »

"Jesus died so we don't have to" reminds me of penal substitution. Also; Jesus died to save us from religion? Wow. Just wow.
Jesus did die so we don't have to - even in Orthodoxy.

Yeah, that's true.
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« Reply #32 on: January 06, 2013, 04:21:41 PM »

Care Baptist Church in Spartanburg [South Carolina] recently alerted local media to the appearance of Christ’s image on a wooden door in the sanctuary. The image includes the face of Jesus, with others reporting also glimpsing the Savior’s flowing robes.
....
Baptist historian Bill Leonard said openness to the possibility of “the mysterious” as expressed in such sightings is not unheard of in Protestant churches.

“Fundamentalists tend to avoid this kind of image-oriented religious experience, in part because they are suspicious of the claims of Catholics over the years,” said Leonard, professor of Baptist studies and church history at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity. For some theological conservatives such claims also smack of Pentecostalism, Leonard said.

But the charismatic movement has paved the way for some traditional Protestants to believe the Holy Spirit may move in unconventional ways, Leonard said.
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