Crosses, on the wall, or on the body

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christiana

Puritan Board Senior
In reading another thread about whether a cross in the church would be in error, I'm wondering whether crosses on the wall or as jewelry are considered in error. My reason for wondering is that I have what could be called a 'cross wall' in my home, a collection of different type crosses, mostly came to me as gifts. To me they are reminders, certainly never thought of as iidolatrous but then I'm now just wondering at the thoughts of others here on PB,

Then too, what about cross jewelry. I dont wear such but do wonder if it could be considered to be in error regarding the second commandment?

I wont be surprised to learn this has been addressed here before. If so, sorry!
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Personally, I'm not much of a friend of symbolic personal religious statements worn on the body, such as crosses. But while I think both a WWJD bracelet and a cross around the neck are equally trivial, that's as far as it goes. And I think many folks' religious life is pretty much those symbols. That's the whole of it; it affirms them.

A crucifix, one of those roman devices with a dying man on it, is sinful.
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
In reading another thread about whether a cross in the church would be in error, I'm wondering whether crosses on the wall or as jewelry are considered in error. My reason for wondering is that I have what could be called a 'cross wall' in my home, a collection of different type crosses, mostly came to me as gifts. To me they are reminders, certainly never thought of as iidolatrous but then I'm now just wondering at the thoughts of others here on PB.

The issue is not really the cross but whether there is an image of Christ upon it. If so, then it is the image of Christ that violates the 2nd Commandment not the cross itself. :2cents:
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Kevin Reed, Biblical Worship:

The Sign of the Cross

It is appropriate for us to offer a few comments on the placement of crosses in edifices of worship. When we speak of the cross, or crosses, we are referring to the visible symbol called a cross, not the sufferings of the Saviour. When the apostle Paul exclaimed, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Gal. 6:14), he uttered a precious truth. But the apostle's expression is obviously a synecdoche, by which he exalts the saving work of Christ. Paul's statement has no reference to visible symbols, known among us as crosses.

The direct adoration or worship of crosses is plainly forbidden by the scriptures, in the first and second commandments, which prohibit worshipping anyone or anything besides the Lord. Historically, Protestants condemned the adoration of crosses; for example, the Scottish Confession of 1580 specifically lists the "worshipping of images, relics and crosses," among the deplorable practices of "the Roman Antichrist." (This condemnation was extended to the superstitious gesture of "crossing," which is also employed within Romish rites and ceremonies.)

Most Protestants still acknowledge that the direct worship of crosses is sinful. But a dispute results when many professing Protestants defend the use of the cross as a symbol.

Now, what is a symbol? It is a visible representation of something. If they say that the cross is a symbol of deity, then they again violate the second commandment, which prohibits making or using representations of the Lord (Cf. Deut. 4:15-16; Acts 17:29). Of course, most Protestants would not claim that the cross is a representation of God. Therefore, cross-keepers must explain it as a symbol of something else; so they shift the argument to say that a cross is a symbol of redemption, or of the work of Christ.

In this situation, the cross now becomes a man-made rival to the sacraments. As we have noted, baptism and the Lord's Supper serve as visible signs and seals of Christ's redemptive work; the sacraments are a visible word to testify of redemption. "For as oft as ye eat this bread, and drink of this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come" (1 Cor. 11:26).

Cross-keepers implicitly impugn the wisdom of Christ by supplementing the sacraments with the cross as an accessory sign. It is an inescapable implication, that the cross, employed as a symbol or as an aid to devotion, partakes of a sacramental characteristic as a sign.

Some will claim that the posting of a cross in a home, or on a church building, is an incidental thing, much as the arrangement of chairs, carpet, and wallpaper. But such incidental elements of decor do not possess the symbolic character of the cross. Cross-keepers must contend with the undeniable fact that the placement of a cross within an edifice of worship is not a merely indifferent aspect of architectural design. The only incidentals in a place of worship are those "circumstances concerning the worship of God, and the government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the word, which are always to be observed. "[10]

One must also consider the evil associations of the cross. The cross, as a symbol or gesture, is not found in the scriptures. For centuries, the cross has been * and continues to be * a prominent implement of Popish worship and superstition. No sane man can deny these facts. Since the cross has no biblical warrant for its use, why should it have any place among those who worship "in spirit and in truth"? (John 4:23-24). The people of God have been commanded to purge from their midst the implements of corrupt worship used by false religions (Deut. 12:2-3, 30-31).

Moreover, even if the cross had possessed a noble origin, the superstition now linked with it would argue for its abolition. Consider the example of Hezekiah in reference to the brazen serpent. The brazen serpent was originally constructed at God's command, yet it was destroyed when it became a snare to the people of God (2 Kings 18:4). How much more quickly, then, should we discard a man-made symbol which continues to be an ensign of the Roman Antichrist?

In summary, there is no scriptural warrant to designate the cross as a symbol (or gesture) to adorn the assemblies of God's people. Until cross-keepers can produce such a warrant, the use of crosses stands condemned on this basis alone, since the regulative principle of worship forbids all human additions to God's appointed rites and symbols in worship. Further, the superstition fostered by crosses demands that they be purged from among the people of God.
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
Regarding crosses, a few churches I've been to have a cross at the front of the sanctuary. Draped across the cross from one "arm" to the other is a white piece of material (kind of like a white scarf). Any idea what the white material represents?
 

Kim G

Puritan Board Junior
Regarding crosses, a few churches I've been to have a cross at the front of the sanctuary. Draped across the cross from one "arm" to the other is a white piece of material (kind of like a white scarf). Any idea what the white material represents?

My former church always had purple cloth. I assumed it had to do with the "royal robe" given to Christ before His crucifixion.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
Regarding crosses, a few churches I've been to have a cross at the front of the sanctuary. Draped across the cross from one "arm" to the other is a white piece of material (kind of like a white scarf). Any idea what the white material represents?

My former church always had purple cloth. I assumed it had to do with the "royal robe" given to Christ before His crucifixion.

The cloth drapery on the cross is usually connected to the liturgical period of the church calendar - green is most of the year I think, white from easter to pentecost, red on pentecost, white again until advent (green may come in again, I forget)... then advent is dark blue. Purple goes on during lent, too, if I recall correctly.

Some churches not particularly wedded to the church year may just put whatever color up they want, I suppose.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Maybe it belies a lack of sensitivity on my part, but since a physical cross (minus a human figure) means nothing more to me than a distinguishing sign designating "associated with Christians", I can't get worked up about one, even on a church. A barren cross excites in me zero reverence, zero passion, and zero concern for others who might be offended (which last is probably blameworthy in some degree).

BUT, it is a sign on a building which even a casual glance indicates a Christian house of worship, and not a temple to something else. Around someone's neck, I would read it as a silent profession of faith. Doesn't really tell me anything about the person, what use or abuse he makes with it of his profession.

So, can such a cross be a "symbol" out of place? I guess. I just don't get the message. I suspect that the roman laity didn't get the message either, which is why they stuck a human on it. Which only made it worse, of course.
 

etexas

Puritan Board Doctor
Maybe it belies a lack of sensitivity on my part, but since a physical cross (minus a human figure) means nothing more to me than a distinguishing sign designating "associated with Christians", I can't get worked up about one, even on a church. A barren cross excites in me zero reverence, zero passion, and zero concern for others who might be offended (which last is probably blameworthy in some degree).

BUT, it is a sign on a building which even a casual glance indicates a Christian house of worship, and not a temple to something else. Around someone's neck, I would read it as a silent profession of faith. Doesn't really tell me anything about the person, what use or abuse he makes with it of his profession.

So, can such a cross be a "symbol" out of place? I guess. I just don't get the message. I suspect that the roman laity didn't get the message either, which is why they stuck a human on it. Which only made it worse, of course.
It is indeed hard to "read" what is meant by a Cross on the neck (for example) a lot of (unbelieving) Pop-Stars wear them, go figure. I have a small silver one my Wife gave me, to me it i just a simple reminder of my faith.:2cents:
 

christiana

Puritan Board Senior
Thanks for the opinions! I guess my mistake might be when I put the first one, which was a gift on the wall. Seems thereafter I kept receiving them and it grew to near cover the wall with all colors, types crosses. They have no bodies and I certainly would be strongly opposed to such. I strongly object to cross earrings and yet in the past I have worn a cross on a chain at my neck. I also strongly object to supposed art or images of 'Christ'. This being my living room I'm sure it must send a message but I'm not sure even what people sense from it! I have said in the past that they are reminders but not an aid to worship nor are they worshipped. I'm sure people draw conclusions, but then those who know me I would doubt have unanswered questions as to my intent. At times it might serve as a conversation piece even! LOL I once received a gift T shirt from a family member who bought it in Ephesus and on the front was the image of Diana in front of the temple! I did wear it a time or two and loved getting a conversation going about Paul and his message to the Ephesians about them not knowing who they worshipped! I then wondered if an opinion might be drawn without any questions asked so I wore it no more!
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Kevin Reed, Biblical Worship:

The Sign of the Cross

Would this include the ichthys symbol often found in the catacombs and other meeting places of the early church?


Apparently, it would include any object that would have "symbolic significance" - whatever that is. Thus Reed's comment is a good example of modern Phariseeism, which seeks to put a protective hedge around God's law to make sure we do not break it. The second commandment does not apply to "symbolic images" that are not images or representations of God (any of the three Persons) or else the bronze serpent would have been a violation of the Law of God. So would the ark. So would the cherubim.
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The question would be Rev. Greco is that are we anywhere commanded by Scripture to create symbolic images that are worshiped by those who wear them?
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
The question would be Rev. Greco is that are we anywhere commanded by Scripture to create symbolic images that are worshiped by those who wear them?

That's actually not the question. If any object is a means of worship, it is a violation of the 2nd commandment. If any object is a depiction of God it is a violation. If it is a symbol, it is not by that fact alone a violation.
 

Calvin'scuz

Puritan Board Freshman
Personally, I have no problem with people wearing crosses around their necks or as earrings.

But what I do have a problem with are those who choose to wear their Christianity in the form of T-shirts and baseball caps - e.g., appearal you see in so-called "Christian stores" that say things like, "Jesus is my home-boy" or "Jesus: Can't keep a God-man down". At worst, they are blasphemous; at best, they make Christians look like buffoons to the unbelieving masses. These are the trappings of a modern american church that has fostered a sense of familiarity with God to such an extent that no one (rhetorically speaking) fears Him anymore.
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Regarding crosses, a few churches I've been to have a cross at the front of the sanctuary. Draped across the cross from one "arm" to the other is a white piece of material (kind of like a white scarf). Any idea what the white material represents?

The clothe signifies the robes left in the tomb when Christ arose from the dead and an empty cross (in contrast to the RC cross which depicts Christ).
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I don't think there is anything wrong with a cross appearing in a church or elsewhere (such as around a person's neck). After all, it has been the major symbol of Christianity for 20 centuries now, and points to the most important historical and theological fact of our faith.

A crucifix, on the other hand, is both heretical and blasphemous, as it denotes the false theology of the Roman Catholic Church. In the Mass, they refuse to let our Savior off the cross - even though He Himself said, "It is finished!"
 

Carolyn

Puritan Board Freshman
Many years ago my parents returned from a tour of the Scandinavian countries. My mother brought back a necklace for me that had a crucifix pendant. Even though I was a mainliner at the time, I expressed some uneasiness at wearing a crucifix. My mom replied something to the effect of, "Oh that's ok, I think the figure on the cross is actually Odin."

Now, what to do with that??

I didn't wear the necklace much and now I'm not sure where it even is.

I know this is a serious thread, but thank you for the humorous memory!
 
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