Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Statues in the Church

In this Youtube video I saw someone posted via Facebook, Tim Staples shows that God commanded the making of statues. It is a good defense of the Catholic tradition of doing so.


Moonshadow said...

Do you think looking at a crucifix heals you?

I discussed images this past summer on a Baptist blog and they take God's specific commandments in the OT to create specific images for specific purposes very directly and literally.

Just because God commanded Moses to fashion a brazen serpent (and just because Jesus associates his "lifting up" with that Mosaic wilderness story) doesn't endorse statues of the saints in Catholic churches, etc. And it's very clear when those images become misused, as they almost always do, God calls for their destruction.

Now I take my direction from Nicaea II, as I understand it, and I think the gospel makes a difference in a person's life, but to a Baptist, statues are "playing with fire." Why even risk any "appearance of evil?" (1 Thess. 5:22)

Matt said...

Do you think looking at a crucifix heals you?

In some ways.

I think when discussing God's commandments with Baptists it is good to remember that their view of what God commanded for his Church isn't reliable. Would they believe that Baptism was commanded for very literal and specific circumstances but does not apply to us today? What about any of the Ten Commandments? Would a Baptist believe that Paul only wrote to the Ephesians but we shouldn't read that letter?

No of course not, they pick and choose. And if God commanded images once it means he doesn't oppose them unless they are worshiped as gods, since God is the same always.

The Baptist view of our use of statues is based on their misunderstanding why we have them. I wonder if they only keep photos of their living relatives, only to throw them out after the funeral so they don't "play with fire" or risk the "appearance of evil."

There is enough evidence in the "early Church" to see that statues and images were thought to be quite acceptable in the earliest times. Nicea II rather than creating a new doctrine merely affirmed what had always been the practice.

Moonshadow said...

it is good to remember that their view of what God commanded for his Church isn't reliable.

Case in point: the Baptist blog hostess admits to undergoing four baptisms: twice as an infant and twice as an adult. When I quoted Eph. 4:5 at her, she said she was convicted in her heart that the Lord wanted her to receive that second baptism as an adult so she acted out of obedience. I'm convicted in my heart, too, you know, about the Catholic church. But anyway ...

If I remember right, the "realness" of the Incarnation was the main argument put forth in defense of images during iconoclastic controversies ( St. John of Damascus).

IMO, it isn't so much the Baptist view of God as their view of (depraved) man that hamstrings them wrt the proper (Catholic) use of holy images. Whatever happened to Christian freedom: All things are lawful? They focus on Paul's chide: But not everything is beneficial.

So, I don't believe there's a compelling biblical argument for images, except for Romans 14. Peace.

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton