So, What's Wrong With A Crucifix?

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A few days ago, I was traveling around in Quito, Ecuador. In one of the Taxis, the driver was sporting a crucifix on his odometer. Roman Catholic influence is pervasive here, and normally I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. It struck me though, that having an image of Christ bloodied and hanging there on his odometer was his way of always looking to the cross. Displaying the crucifix is not limited to Roman Catholicism, but is practiced by many within Christendom. I’ve heard many objections as to why this might be wrong including, but not limited to:

 

        • It’s a violation of the Second Commandment.
        • It signifies that Jesus is still hanging there.
        • Jesus continues to be punished for our sins.
        • There was no resurrection.
        • It’s not the way we’re supposed to remember Him.  
        • It’s idol worship.
The Second Commandment is, “You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:4
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A further commentary by Moses on this passage states, “You saw no form of any kind the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. But as for you, the Lord took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of his inheritance, as you now are.  Deuteronomy 4:15-20
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Perhaps when Paul the Apostle said, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”  1 Corinthians 2:2 it justifies using the crucifix as a way to remember Christ’s work.  Perhaps not.  None the less, here are a few questions:
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1.  What’s wrong with the crucifix?
2.  Is it idol worship?
3.  Of the reasons you state for the crucifix being anti-biblical or wrong, are you practicing anything similar?

 

 

 

 

0 thoughts on “So, What's Wrong With A Crucifix?

  1. Amanda says:

    Let me add to your question – aside from the “unresurrected” Christ hanging on the cross, what difference is there between the Crucifix and the empty cross? Is the empty cross also a graven image?

    • David Woods says:

      The graven images are those of animals and humans, and imaginary living things (such as Buddha). The empty cross is a reminder of sacrifice made–without being gory or unresurrected.

  2. David Woods says:

    IMHO…..
    I would venture to say that when most non-Catholics view a crucifix, their first thought is that of Catholicism, not that of Christ’s suffering or sacrifice. The crucifix has become a symbol of Catholicism, and Catholicism is a false religion for obvious reasons (that’s a whole other post).

    When one views a crucifix, their spirit is “checked” (at least mine is), and the feeling that follows is one of foreboding, the same as when one views a masonic square and compass, or a picture of Joseph Smith’s golden plates. It’s a symbol of a false religion, and is quickly recognized as such by everyone outside that religion (and, I suspect, plenty on the inside).

    It’s the spirit behind it that’s wrong. It’s this lack of affirmation by the Holy Spirit that makes it wrong. It’s the fact that God Himself refuses to endorse it as a symbol of His love for us that tells us we shouldn’t be displaying it.
    Again, IMHO

  3. Laurie Norris says:

    What’s wrong with fish bumper stickers and WWJD teeshirts?

  4. Tom Schultz says:

    Your particular take in a predominantly RC country may well be different, like a former alcoholic being strongly in favor of total abstinence. To whip out an Old Covenant ‘graven image’ argument is to miss the New Covenant, where each servant is accountable to his own master (Jesus). To make it a law or rule is to go beyond Scripture in just the way we condemn in the pharisees.

    By the way, I saw a cartoon go by on the internet where a priest(?) ordered a crucifix from Ikea (?) and was shown holding a hammer and nails as he realized it came disassembled. It could fit with the song, “It was my sin that held him there…until it was accomplished.” Who can define the devotional value of objects?

  5. Laurie Norris says:

    I’m encouraged that only one person took this post as an opportunity to take a pot shot at Catholics

  6. Katie Mather says:

    An object that reminds is one thing, But when an object becomes woshiped it is a replacement for the real thing. Catholics are big at worshiping objects, but so are evangelicals. The Bible is a book of paper that contains the written Word of God. But when we worship the book it is an idol. I had a woman once gasp in horror that I had placed a can of soda on top of my Bible. She scolded me for not treating the book like it was a holy object. That is superstition. Many items, crosses, statues, Bibles we use in a superstitious manner. It is idolatry.

    • Jan says:

      “The Bible is a book of paper that contains the written Word of God…”!? Nope, that is not true… Even that is superstition my dear friend. Your identifying idols and idolatry in the actions of others are spot on. You are also right in identifying the Bible as a (mere) book of paper. But your suggestion that the Bible ‘contains’ the written Word of God (capitalization and all) is a lie that was born in hell. Your reference to the Bible as the WRITTEN Word, seems to suggest that you are well aware that Jesus is the Word of God (as per John 1), but that somehow the Bible fulfills a role that Jesus can’t? That, dear Katie, is an EVIL thought – repent of it (i.e., change your mind bout it).

      Why do you think Jesus is called the Alpha and Omega (letters of the Greek alphabet)? He is the Father’s letter of Love to us. Everything that He wanted to say to us he said in The Word – Jesus. And on top of it, John spells it out: not even if the whole world were to be covered in books would we even begin to ‘contain’ all that Christ is. A book can never be The Word of God.

      When Jesus told His disciples that He was leaving, He promised us the Comforter – the Holy Spirit. He did not promise them a book of instructions, but the Holy, in-living Spirit of God. The Mohammedans (Islamites) would suggest that we are so-called ‘People of The Book’… what utter, utter rubbish! Of course, being what they are they are liars… we are indeed People of the Spirit.

      What is the bible then? Remember the story about the copper snake on the stick – where the people were facing death in the wilderness having been bitten by poisonous snakes? That snake on the stick was a foreshadow of a much greater reality – Jesus the Christ. We learn that later on – when this stick and snake was placed in the Temple, people started to worship it; it become an idol, so much so, that Hezekiah -the righteous king – destroyed it. Indeed, they worshiped the pointer, like they do with the bible today.

      Note that I’m not suggesting that the bible is not precious – as a pointer to The Word of God, I hold in high regard, much like I hold T. Austin Sparks’ ‘The School of Christ’ in high regard. The bible is a book containing the writings of some very blessed holy men of old; men that clearly had the testimony of God. How do I know all of this – because the Spirit that lives in me attests to this. From what they wrote I can affirm that the same Spirit that dwells in me, was also their Companion when they still walked this earth.

      Do you think that Paul, when he wrote his letters of encouragement to the churches that he was ministering to, intended these letters to become worshiped, put on par with Christ Jesus? I’m sure he would have personally burnt each and every one, at the mere thought of it become religious icons of distraction from The Word…

  7. Peter says:

    I would say that most anything can simultaneously be a stumbling block towards a deeper walk with God *and* be a stepping stone to a greater walk with Him, depending upon the person involved. Thus meats sacrificed to idols are nothing and can be a affirmation of our freedom in Christ and yet cause another believer to sin. We see also that God Himself told Moses in Numbers 21:8 to make a bronze snake on a pole to save the people. Yet that same bronze snake later became an idol (2 Kings 18:4).

    So a crucifix is neither here nor there. In your culture I would expect it would generally be an object that would be misinterpreted as an idol and lead to doubt and thus should be avoided by believers, yet not criticized by believers. Note that Paul in Acts 17:23 used a Greek idol as an introduction to the Gospel message! To the pure all things are pure.

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