Would someone help by way of clarification with this question>?

I have always been baffled by this and here is my chance to get CAF help. I apologise in advance if this is an easy and oft repeated question!

It has always baffled me why many Protestant Churches do not use the crucifix, since there is no question that He died on the Cross for all of us.
I understand the reason has been stated as idolatry.
But, unless I am misunderstanding the definition of idolatry, which I am not sure is the case (but maybe!), I am baffled.
On another thread, I noticed the phrase (“or cross, if Protestant”). (And by the way, aren’t all Crucifixes crosses, but not all crosses are crucifixes?!)

For as long as I can remember, I have never understood why no crucifix; it never made sense. We ‘both’ know that He died on the Cross, sooooo, what up??!!
What is idolatry? I ask also because laymen’s terms might permeate my brain better. :smiley:
I might even embarrasssingly tell you what I thought it was and why I am finally asking out loud.

Thank you.

Your help would be appreciated

Many Protestants favor simple aesthetics and functional worship spaces. When it comes to our crosses, we prefer to avoid images of the Savior on the cross because some would feel that it would be idolatry. Also, some may want to emphasize that Christ didn’t stay on the cross.

Depending on what sort of Protestant you’re considering, their concepts of what is idolatry would be stricter than Catholic concepts.

I have understoood the bolded to be true as well.
May I ask what, to you, is idolatry?

An idol is anything that displaces God’s rightful position in the heart. This could include images, even of Christ on the cross especially if such an object is treated in a superstitious manner.

I’m not the sort of Protestant that says that every church or person that has a crucifix is committing idolatry. But, I do think that such images and the way they may be displayed or treated have the potential to blur the lines.

Thank you!

Many Protestants, aside for confusing the corpus with idolatry, prefer to focus on the Resurrection. Hence, the bare cross. Catholics recognize that the only way we are redeemed ( not saved, that’s another issue ) was because Jesus died for our sins. The crucifix is a reminder of that. By the way, there is a Lutheran Seminary here in town and I was in their bookstore recently. You can imagine how surprised I was to find not just crosses but crucifixes available. They were done in a very modern style but there was no doubt as to what they were.

Many Lutheran churches have crucifixes - we preach Christ crucified. If you see a Lutheran church doesn’t have a crucifix - feel free to tell them that they need one!

I understand this preference as well. I think my issue is understanding just what Idolatry is.
Does anyone ‘worshp’ the Crucifix? I have never known anyone to do so and I get the impression that many believe that that is indeed what idolatry is, and as I have always understood it, idolatry does not equal worship.

A co-worker nearly shrieked heresy when I mentioned wanting to buy a picture of Jesus.
While she did not use the word idolatry, I could only think this was her reasoning.
I can only imagine her reaction had I mentioned the Crucifix.

(By the way, I miss Gettyburg. I used to climb Big Round Top with my Dad, and a very high tower on my own. :thumbsup:)

The cross did not save us. It was the One hanging on the cross that saved us. And we are very aware that Christ is risen from the dead. What we need to be reminded of, now and then, is that he also suffered and died for us. Do you want to spend a very meaningful moment with God. Stare at a crucifix and meditate on that for awhile. There is no resurrection without the crucifixion.

And there are no blurred lines as far as Catholics are concerned with confusing a crucifix with the Creator of the Universe. We worship God and God alone, not a piece of metal or wood. Idolatry? Please. :rolleyes:

I am tempted to tell all Christian Churches that they need one!!!

Idolatry’s definition is…?

All too often, people jump to conclusions when seeing something. They assume that we are worshipping something when in truth it is a visual aid. When I kneel and stare at a closed Bible or view a family photo - there is no worship involved - just a visual image that allows me to concentrate better.

That’s a long walk up BIG Round Top! You just have to wonder how they took those monuments up there!

I can only answer this from my own experiences. I am certainly no authority :slight_smile:

Whenever I go into a Catholic church I feel drawn to the beauty. The statues and the artwork draw me upwards toward God. It reminds me when I am at mass, for example, when I look at the different forms of artwork and the entire beauty of the church, that ths was done to glorify God. It often draws my wandering mind back to God and not to the funny hat of the lady 2 rows up :o

I have never thought of it as idolatry but simply works of art to glorify God. It is similar to pictures of my family in my house that make me think of them when I see them.

Just my 2 cents though


This is what I have maintained for years…
My reaction has always been, yes, He is Risen, and Praise!! Crosses are good!!
And look what He did for us!
Look what He did for us!!! And Praise!! Crucifixes are good, also!!!

I’ve been baffled by my own congregations for years!!! Their reasoning never made sense to me even though I was unaware of the Catholic Adoration of the Cross.
It took Good Friday 2010 for me to say out loud, "Why didn’t we do this? Why didn’t we *ever *do this? He died for us. ***He Died For Us!!! ***

Thank you.

Thank you. I have felt this way since, well, very long time ago. :smiley:
I am just mystified how idolatry equalled worship growing up. And I am still not sure what idolatry actually is!!

Again, thank you.

Peace, Carlan

I have heard Protestants prefer to focus on Christ’s Resurrection rather the Crucifixion.and will display an image of Christ Risen.

Growing up in the United Methodist Church, I never heard it claimed that the crucifixes were idolatrous. Instead the explanation I heard was that Catholics are gloomy people who focus on sin and punishment and the Crucifixion while Protestants are joyful people who focus on mercy and love and the Resurrection. Thus we used an empty cross because Christ is risen, not still suffering.


If you have a chance to visit Europe please please go visit the many magnificent Cathedrals there and if you do you will see in the windows and the walls the story of the Bible told in pictures/images and statues.
Back when so few could read they could non the less learn their faith even if “simple” with those images.
Also if you go to MLB hall of fame you will see pictures of the champions of that sport, go to the Congress and perhaps you can see “busts” (that is heads only statues) of the most influential persons of the country.

Well Saints are Catholics “Heroes” we put images and or statues of them where we can be remainded of what we need to aspire to.
TO PLEASE GOD instead of ourselves.
We do not Worship them and certainly we are NOT idolatrers. Because we HAVE NO idols. And by the way so many today make idols of money, power, sucess, social status etc etc.

We worship only GOD in His 3 Holy Persons.
It really bugs me that people will utter that word when if fact it seems they do not understand what they are saying.

Peace :thumbsup:

My husband and I were Evangelical Protestant for the first 47 years of our lives before converting to Catholicism.

The main reason why there are no crucifixes in Evangelical churches is that we serve a risen Savior. He’s no longer on the cross. Ask any Evangelical Protestant and they will give you some variation of that answer.

As for the “idolatry” issue–that’s not it at all. I’ve never heard that, and neither has my husband.

For some Evangelical Protestants, the issue with crucifixes is “graven images.” There are certain Evangelical Protestant sects and organizations that teach that ALL images of Christ are forbidden. J.I. Packer (RIP) was a highly-respected and popular Evangelical Protestant leader who taught this. He even went so far as to say “no pictures” of Jesus in children’s Sunday school and VBS material. And of course, no actors should ever portray Jesus–these groups would be opposed to movies like The Passion of the Christ or ANY play or movie in which a mere man portrayed Jesus.

Now don’t get the wrong idea. It’s not just a legalistic adherence to one of the Ten Commandments, although these verses are cited.

It’s far deeper than that. These “anti-God-image” Christians believe that any “image” of Christ is not worthy of Him, but rather, are mockeries of the Lord. So this mindset is actually extreme reverence for Jesus Christ.

It might be worth keeping this in mind if you are talking to Evangelical Protestants who seem offended by our images and artwork. Many Catholics are convinced that their beautiful church naves bring honor to the Lord Jesus through all the art work and sculptures. But this is not the mindset of certain Evangelical Protestants, who find these places offensive and insulting to the Lord Jesus Christ because of the images, including and especially the crucifix, which depicts a dead Christ instead of a living Christ.

And interestingly enough, I heard a priest speak once at a conference, and he said that images of God the Father are very rare, and the reason he gave is pretty much the same–that we can’t seem to create an image that is “worthy” of God the Father.

I hope that Catholics will respect the desire of these Protestants to be completely reverent to Jesus.

And I hope that this information helps answer the OP’s question.

Interestingly, more Evangelical Protestants ARE wearing or displaying crucifixes nowadays, as they learn about the theology of the Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus on the cross.

One last comment–back when our daughters were still at home and we were all happily Protestant, our older daughter, who was about 13 at the time, said, “I don’t think our church should display a cross. To me, it’s like displaying an electric chair or a hangman’s noose–eugh!” Boy, did that statement ever make her Daddy and Mommy think! That daughter has since converted to Catholicism, BTW.

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