Crucifix vs Cross

I was just wondering why (some) protestants believe that a crucifix is a graven image but not a cross. When I told my brother (Baptist) that a crucifix represents Jesus and that I don’t worship a piece of metal he said it is still a graven image, yet when I asked him what a cross represented he said “Jesus” but that it is not a graven image because Christ is not on the cross. Can anyone Catholic or protestant please elaborate. Thanks and God bless!

I am not sure the distinction is valid whatsoever. In our Lutheran tradition both crosses and crucifixes are common. We may prefer crosses to symbolize that Christ is risen; personally, I prefer crucifixes.

That’s what I told him but he always says the same thing (see above post) thanks for your post and God bless

I was just wondering why (some) protestants believe that a crucifix is a graven image but not a cross. When I told my brother (Baptist) that a crucifix represents Jesus and that I don’t worship a piece of metal he said it is still a graven image, yet when I asked him what a cross represented he said “Jesus” but that it is not a graven image because Christ is not on the cross. Can anyone Catholic or protestant please elaborate. Thanks and God bless!

I do not understand this logic.

I like to give this (hypothetical) response:
Say there were cameras around when Christ was alive and one of the disciples took a picture of Jesus on the cross. Would it be wrong to keep the picture?

I can sympathize with where they are coming from. They take the graven images commandment seriously. Honestly, it’s an issue of adiaphora. We should not command crucifixes nor forbid them. The person should always follow their conscience. But since it is an issue of Christian freedom, it also means they should not demand we not have crucifixes.

I can sympathize with where they are coming from. They take the graven images commandment seriously. Honestly, it’s an issue of adiaphora. We should not command crucifixes nor forbid them. The person should always follow their conscience. But since it is an issue of Christian freedom, it also means they should not demand we not have crucifixes.

Great wisdom as usual Triune!

We could also say an image of a dove is a graven image then too.

Maybe this will help. My brother believes that since a cross is “just a shape of representation” and not something that claims to know what Jesus looks like (i.e. shoulder length hair, beard, fairly skinny etc.) that it is “okay.” And when I try to point out to him that; 1. “with that logic a cross is a graven image too because you don’t no if the lateral wood was curved or straight”

And; 2. "No Catholic doctrine I’ve ever read said Jesus had specific features as far as being skinny or tall or anything else"
we (Catholics) only put a representative figure of Christ on the cross, he says it is “still a graven image”

With the logic he is using, it sounds like he might come back and say that “We do not have a picture of Jesus and if it is not an exact image of Him, then it does not count”

You might want to bring up that maybe he should consider not using the name Jesus, since that is not how to actually pronounce His real name “Yeshua”.

You could also say that since it is not the ACTUAL cross then it is graven.

So, then does he not like the movie “Passion of the Christ”?
I would guess he could never have watched it with his line of reasoning.

My mom, a Baptist, says that the crucifix is evil because it has Jesus on it (I’m not kidding about the evil thing; she threw my rosary down when she saw the crucifix as if it was covered in acid and was burning her hands). When I asked her why she thought it was bad, her reasoning was that Jesus is alive in heaven now and isn’t on the cross anymore.

I asked her why then, was a cross, a tool of torture and execution, without Jesus perfectly acceptable. (My personal opinion is that it’s worse and it makes me feel like her denomination is represented by an object of torture and incredible pain, as opposed to the greatest sacrifice ever.) She had no response to my question, but still told me that I wasn’t supposed to have any crucifixes and I should dispose of my rosary right away.

LoL! I have said both of those things to him and I have also said “the word “Trinity” is not in the bible but you do believe in it don’t you” to which I have never gotten a reply. And one other thing, my mother has a kjv version of the bible that has a Big picture of Jesus on the front and when I asked him what was up with that he replied “that’s not my version of the king james” And good Lord are you accurate! He refuses to watch that movie because of that very reasoning

She had no response to my question, but still told me that I wasn’t supposed to have any crucifixes and I should dispose of my rosary right away.

She wants you to throw away Jesus? How sad!!!

With your mother’s reasoning…then we should get rid of the parts of the Bible that talk about Jesus dying on the cross. We should only have the parts of the Bible that speak of His life and His life after His Resurrection.

LoL! I have said both of those things to him and I have also said “the word “Trinity” is not in the bible but you do believe in it don’t you” to which I have never gotten a reply. And one other thing, my mother has a kjv version of the bible that has a Big picture of Jesus on the front and when I asked him what was up with that he replied “that’s not my version of the king james” And good Lord are you accurate! He refuses to watch that movie because of that very reasoning

I guess, just continue to pray for him.

I copied this from a webpage…but it is helpful: I guess the webpage copied it from the Bible: (I knew in the Bible it said something…just did not know where specifically.)

Look at Exodus 26:1. In God’s commands to Moses concerning the tabernacle, given just a few chapters after the giving of the Ten Commandments, is this instruction: "Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twisted linen and blue and purple and scarlet; you shall make them with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman."
A similar command with respect to the Ark of the Covenant instructed Moses to have two cherubim of hammered gold at the ends of the mercy seat. God said, “And there I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel” (Exodus 25:22).

(Translations obviously vary…same concept)

Clearly…God commanded images to be used on the tabernacle. Yes, the image of a cherubim angel!

I think you said you have told him this, but remember that the crucifix is meant as a reminder of what Christ did for us and to aid in meditation on that. Now if you worshipped the actual crucifix…that would be wrong.

Hi Josh, welcome to the forums. Read this post, at the Deacon’s Bench blog, maybe it will help you with your brother. I had a similar discussions in the past.

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