The Crucifix Why do Protestants have Such an aversion?

Hi, a short vent and then some questions. At Thanksgiving at my inlaws my sister-in-law showed me her new endeavor. She has become a rep for this Christian Jewelery Company called Grace Sterling. Here is a link to their Site on the web

Anyway She knows my family is attending a Catholic Church and I was confirmed a few weeks ago. The rest of the family will be following suit. Hubby is in RCIA and my boys will soon be baptised.

She also is aware of the pretty charm bracelet my sponsor gave me with a beautiful charm of Mother Mary miraculous medal in a heart charm on it. She didn’t comment on it but I know she saw it. Anyway she gave me the catalogue to look through. I chit chatted and said everything looks lovely being very polite. She had to point out to me that the company and the Lady who started it were Christian and showed me how they even had the “Plan of Salvation” in the back of every catalogue- You know the one that includes the sinners prayer etc. which has been discussed on here numerous times.

I told her I would buy the fish charm to go on my bracelet. I wanted to tell her I really wanted a crucifix necklace and of course there wasn’t a single one to be found in the catalogue. I didn’t have the courage to bring that up however.

I wanted to ask her why there were no crucifix’s in her catalogue, (although I already knew the answer) I guess I wanted to put her on the spot which I know isn’t nice. But I feel like she always puts me on the spot and I get the feeling she doesn’t think we are Christian and is always subtly hinting like bringing up the plan of salvation and that the sermon at her church was this or that but she does it in a way you know she is trying to do it for our benefit. I keep my mouth shut and just try to be as loving and gracious as possible. They will know we are Christians by our Love.

Ok That was the vent. To Keep this on topic for the Apologetics forum- What is the history of the Crucifix. When did they first appear in the church, when did they first appear in jewlery. What is a good argument for why we wear the crucifix. To me it is a reminder of Christs love and his ultimate sacrifice for our sins.

What arguments do the protestants (Not all protestants the Episcopal church I grew up in had a crucifix behind the altar) meaning Baptist and non denominational fundamentalist like my s-i-l use against it. What is a good defense or something I can say in its defense when asked about it. I so wanted to ask my sil (playing innocent like I didn’t already know) why there were no crucifixes in the catalogue and then give some testimony about Paul preached Christ crucified and how it is a wonderful symbol of Christ’s sacrifice and love. I want to be less timid about my faith and why I love the Church Christ founded the ancient church the Catholic church. I want to where my miraculous medal and crucifix around my husbands family with pride and conviction without feeling persecuted for it. Ok sorry back to venting. Ok that is the post before it gets any longer.

This is a mistake many people make. It is not necessarily a Christian or loving thing to do to let someone walk all over you. Even Jesus threw out the moneychangers in the temple, so we know that avoiding conflict at all costs is not an example that He set. The example that He set is the example that we all are to follow: to live out our faith, and to spread and defend the faith. In fact, this is our obligation as confirmed Catholics.

Why is it unChristian to ask where are the crucifixes? It’s not putting her on the spot, it’s a simply a question to a rep of a Christian company pointing out that an important CHRISTIAN symbol is not in their product line. I think the real reason you are hesitant to ask the question is that you’re afraid an argument will ensue.

But it doesn’t have to be an argument. It would have been a marvelous opportunity to explain our faith. Explain to your sister-in-law, in a kind and confident manner, what you said in your post…it is a wonderful symbol of Christ’s sacrifice and love. You know your faith! You demonstrated that in your post. Just give your explanation, and don’t get into a back and forth. If she gives a rebuttal, just tell her it’s an important Christian symbol and it’s too bad the company doesn’t carry it.

The point is, defending the faith doesn’t alway mean winning the “argument” (and neither will she win the “argument”). The goal here is to enlighten her. Defending and spreading the faith doesn’t alway result in a convert; it’s usually done bit by bit. A lot of people contribute a little bit, and all those little bits will finally add up to a point of understanding where the recipient will finally understand the Catholic faith (and hopefully decide to convert).

Hi Dean__,

Protestants are somewhat allergic to statues, and the crucifix is sort of a statue, isn’t it. Also they say that we should celebrate the resurrected Christ, not the dead Christ.

On the other hand, St. Paul was very adamant about celebrating the crucified Christ :

For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both
Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (Paul the apostle in 1 Corinthians 1:22-24).


Hi Dean__,

It’s Deana pronounced like Deena. Nickname Deeny
Thanks for the info and encouragement guys and thanks for letting me vent a little. I feel better now.

My understanding is that the Protestant focus is on the “risen Christ” i.e. he wouldn’t still be on the cross and the aversion to the “re-creation” of the suffering on the cross. Christ suffered and died once and for all, they might say.

Lest I forget Gethsemane,
Lest I forget thine agony,
Lest I forget thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary.

The Crucifix Why do Protestants have Such an aversion?

The simple answer: Because Protestants associate crucifixes with the Catholic Church.

I expect that is close to the truth! Around here, many Protestants wear t shirts with crucified Christ on them, and have decals on their cars of Christ in his passion. I mean very graphic images, but these are 2D images, not 3D.

So I don’t see any aversion to the passion or Christ’s death on the cross, just the three dimensional “statue” version of it.

Crucifixes started to be made as early as the late 500s. (source)

Some Protestants wrongly understand the commandment against making and adoring graven images, i.e. against making and adoring idols, mentioned in Exodus 20:3-5 and Deuteronomy 5:7-9, to be a prohibition against making and venerating even religious statuary, whose sole purpose is to raise our hearts and minds to the true God and whose prohibition is contrary to Exodus 25:18, Numbers 21:8, and 1 Kings 6:23-35.

But how many non-Catholic Christians who think the crucifix is a form of idolatry have nativity sets (creches) either at their homes or at their churches during the Christmas season?

Why are nativity sets not idolatrous but crucifixes are? Or do non-Catholic Christians think nativity sets are idolatrous too?

I hope this helps you in your conversation.

Matt. 10:38 - Jesus said, “he who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” Jesus defines discipleship as one’s willingness to suffer with Him. Being a disciple of Jesus not only means having faith in Him, but offering our sufferings to the Father as He did.

Matt. 16:24; Mark 8:34 - Jesus said, “if any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Jesus wants us to empty ourselves so that God can fill us. When we suffer, we can choose to seek consolation in God and become closer to Jesus.

Luke 9:23 - Jesus says we must take up this cross daily. He requires us to join our daily temporal sacrifices (pain, inconvenience, worry) with His eternal sacrifice.

Luke 14:27 - Jesus said, “whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” If we reject God because we suffer, we fail to apply the graces that Jesus won for us by His suffering.

The Crucifix has biblical history:

“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.” (Galatians 3:1)

Christ was not publicly crucified before the Galatians. He was publicly portrayed as crucified. Think about what that actually means :slight_smile:


That was going to be MY answer!

You are right. For an explanation of the fervor of the “Reformers” against all things Catholic, including the Crucifix, check out Eamon Duffy’s excellent “The Stripping of the Altars”. Do it on a strong stomach, though—the profanity of some of these acts overwhelms the unwary.

Did anyone else notice the Gospel reading today at Mass?

The people stood by and watched; the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, "He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Messiah of God."
Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine
they called out, "If you are King of the Jews, save yourself."
Above him there was an inscription that read, "This is the King of the Jews."
6 Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us."
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal."
Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:35-43

Some would think this is an unlikely reading to have at the feast of Christ the King. Most people would expect to hear about Him resurrected and glorified. But, no, the Church is telling us that Christ displayed His kingship during the crucifixion.

One of the many wonderful paradoxes of Christianity.

The cross did not save us, Christ dying on it did.


If Protestants wish to symbolize the Resurrection, images of the Risen Christ abounded in the Church the “Reformers” rejected. They are the ones which show Jesus with the wounds from the Crucifixion.

And yet Protestants rejected these too.

Protestantism from birth was far more about anti-Catholicism than about anything else, as demonstrated by the wildly inconsistent whittling down of the Church from Lutheran to Calvinist to Anabaptist.

One sign of Christian unity being restored will doubtless be Christ’s return to Christian imagery.

Uhhh, that would be on Good Friday! :smiley:

What is a good argument for why we wear the crucifix?

You answered it yourself just fine…

To me it is a reminder of Christs love and his ultimate sacrifice for our sins…and Paul preached Christ crucified and how it is a wonderful symbol of Christ’s sacrifice and love.

What arguments do the protestants have?

I had a very long debate with a Protestant usernamed Ozzie on this topic - you might want to read this thread:

It was a classic.
It is really pathetic, but their big argument against the Crucifix is that they think that by having Christ on the Cross that we dont realize that Christ is risen! How ridiculous - but its worse! How, exactly, did they improve on the Crucifix to demonstrate that Christ is risen? Well that’s easy - with an empty Cross! One little problem though, how exactly does an empty cross speak of the resurrection? :confused: It doesnt! Anyone who’s actually read Scripture knows that Christ was “taken down” from the Cross - the old fashioned way, he did not rise from the Cross producing an empty Cross. The actual symbol of the resurrection is the…EMPTY TOMB. Its too funny when you think about it, and it continues to get worse. So by removing Christ from the cross not only have they failed to demonstrate that he is risen, but now we’re not even sure which Cross it is anymore. Is it Christ’s Cross or one of the many others who were crucified throughout history?
Now I dont actually dislike an empty Cross or anything like that - I understand that its meaning is cultural. I only bring up how illogical the empty Cross is in the context of the Crucifix being attacked for failing to acknowledge that Christ is risen. Anyhow - you have it exactly right - preach Jesus Christ and him CRUCIFIED.

Here is the original thread on the topic - from 2005…

[quote=philthy]Ozzie - you are almost as stubborn as I am persistent! I told you when we started to pick your battles wisely - attempting to criticize Catholics for wearing Crucifixes is simply foolish. I’ll state it again: I don’t have a problem with people wearing crosses and you shouldn’t have a problem with Crucifixes. Criticism of the crucifix is (at least) foolish and (possibly) vengeful. I will, again, prove it from your own argument that your logic above fails.

The problem with your argument is that it is DERIVED ENTIRELY FROM CHRIST ON THE CROSS. “It was finished” with Christ **ON **the Cross. Here, let me quote you:“There on the cross HE FINISHED the work of redemption, reconciliation and propitiation…“once for all.” No more sacrifice is ever required!!” Exactly Ozzie - ALL ON THE CROSS. Nothing more perfectly represents ALL OF IT, because ON the Cross is where it happened. If, as you say, he finished it all ON the cross, why would you or I want to remember it any differently by removing Him from it?

“The cross is vacant, the tomb is empty” (see Rom. 4:25-5:1-2).

[quote=philthy]Even Paul has to edify the empty cross with the empty tomb because the empty cross doesn’t stand on it’s own. But Paul has no problem speaking of Christ crucified alone; " …I resolved to know nothing…except Jesus Christ, and him crucified" 1cor 2:2. Nothing you’ve said contributes one iota toward your illogical dislike of the Crucifix. In fact, the empty cross is looking more and more lacking.

You can add nothing to it, Phil, nor can you subtract from it, or you are quilty of violating it. And you must accept His FINISHED work by faith.

Well, for the record Ozzie I didn’t add anything to the Cross and I haven’t removed anything from it either - some might argue that you have, but I won’t. As I said, I don’t have a problem with the cross vs crucifix issue. But here in your statement , finally, we can get a glimpse of where your illogical, misplaced distaste for the crucifix comes from: you judge the faith of others - particularly Catholics. You inject theological disputes into every aspect of Christianity. It’s not good enough that they are choosing to proclaim their belief in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior by wearing a representation of Good Friday around their neck. Oh no, not good enough because you know their heart- they need to have the empty cross because, well, that just means so much more. Think about how rediculous that is. It seems distinctly uncharitable to me. I hope I am wrong, but I don’t think so; I’ve been guilty of the same, and as the saying goes, “It takes one to know one.” I realize I’m coming on a little strong here Oz, but we really should be striving for unity, not division, and I really sensed that somehow rather than looking at it objectively you have allowed pride or some other bias to cloud your mind and your heart.


Someone I heard giving testimony one time said that he got into that discussion with his mother, who was in tears because he was becoming Catholic. She said to him, But those crucifixes are so ugly!! And he said, But Momma, it was ugly, what Blessed Jesus had to do, to save little Mikey from his sins!! (His name was Mike; he was speaking of himself in the third person and using the child version of his name.) Whenever I look up at that big old crucifix, I know what He did for me - ain’t nobody got to give me a sermon about it, because the sermon’s all right there, up on the wall where everybody can see!!

The way he tells it, she never brought up the subject again. :slight_smile:

I’ve come very late to this post, but I only joined a short time ago.

jpjd is right: It is not at all Christian like to let people like this walk over you and it is your duty to stand up to them. Kneel when you are before the blessed sacrament, in Church and in prayer, but kneel to no man, in particular some pathetic protestant who so obviously seeks to assert herself in such a self righteous manner when it is she who is in error. Maybe you should point out to her that she’s not much of a business woman if she has no crucifixes, miraculous medals, rosaries, saints medals etc in her catalogue when there are over a billion Cathoilcs about.

Teflon93 is correct. These so called reformers were a bunch of iconoclastic vandals that smashed up countless churches containing images, statues, paintings, stained glass etc, of the risen Christ and now they moan about Catholics!!! GRRRR!!!

Janet S’s point is also well taken, to the point and completely true.These people’s aversion to crucifixes is nothing to do with the risen Christ but rather their hatred of and opposition to the Catholic Church, whom they fear.

Phiothy’s posts to the utterly illogical Ozzie are a delight to read, but I disagree on one point. He says Oxxie shouldn’t have a problem with people wearing crucifixes as he has no problem with people wearing crosses. I sort of do have a problem with people who wear crosses. If wearing an empty cross ever had a point (other than telling the world you weren’t a member of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church) it no longer has. You have only to look at pop stars, rappers, etc, wearing their bling, which inevitably includes some heavy golden, diamond studded, emerald embedded, empty cross, or go abroad ( Europe or UK) and see that the tourist and souveneir shops that all stock the Peace signs, signs of the zodiac, male, female signs, circles,
squares, crosses in an + shape or any shape, plus traditional shaped (empty) crosses, as just another trinket to buy. It is no longer a symbol of Christianity.

But, a crucifix is very different. Yes, crucifixes and rosaries are becoming more popular, but even those who wear them, perhaps for the wrong reasons, such as fashion, at least stand out and make people think. You can’t see a crucifix without thinking of Jesus. Crucifixes speak of Jesus! No doubt about that!

Apart from all that the argument you should not wear a crucifix as Chrisr rose from the dead is, as mentioned above, entirely specious. St Paul himself states, “if Christ did not rise from the dead we are of all men most miserable” Without the resurrection there would be no point in wearing a crucifix, indeed we wouldn’t wear any type of cross as there would be no Christian Religion. Christ redeemed us on the cross, but did not found his Church till after his resurrection, so the crucifix takes forgranted the fact that Christ rose. It has to, if he hadn’t risen there would be no crucifixes.

The great Catholic convert and apologist GK Chesterton writes about this in detail. He states that the Roman cross was the instrument of execution on which Cjrist died. Are we seriously adoring this insrument of torture, or are we adoring Christ our saviour, dying on the cross. If we were to honour St Paul or Saint James, would we wear a medal with their supposed resemblance on it, or would we wear a sword round our necks, to represent the way these martyrs died. Would we wear a medal of St Stephen the first Christian martyr, or a medal showing a pile of stones, etc, etc, etc.

The truth is we would not wear a crucifix, a rosary, a miraculous medal, a scapular showing the sacred heart of Jesus and Our lady of carmel with the infant Jesus (which I got from the nuns in the shop on top of St Peter’s in Rome) or any medal of a particular saint, if our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, had not died on the cross (as shown on the crucific we wear) and risen from the dead. FULL STOP!!!

God bless


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