I have always felt an attachment to wearing a cross necklace, one in particular that my sister gave me. As a believer in Christ I like wearing it not to show that I’m Christian, but it is like a security blanket sort of and a reminder that Christ is my Savior. Does it ever become idolatry to wear or display a cross or to decorate with pictures depicting Jesus. I often cringe when I see houses or churches with pictures depicting Christ, but recently I came across a painting of the depiction of Christ reaching in the water to pull Peter out of the water. That struck a personal chord with me, so I display it beside my bed.
The glorification of God through the arts was the driving force in Europe for hundreds of years. That would include music and the visual arts, painting and sculptures. You could make the argument that the glorification of God drove most of the worlds advancements in all fields. Sadly that is not the case anymore.
That’s a very good way to look at that Jimmy. I love the arts and what better way to glorify God than with a talent of painting or sculpture, etc. I love the work of modern Christian artists like Daniel Gerhartz who paint scenes from the Bible and just the simple everyday life that evokes so much feeling.
I remember my youth leader at my church having no problem with displaying a cross on the wall or wearing one as a necklace, but he really had a problem, especially with the Catholics, with crosses that still had Jesus on it. He says that Jesus rose from the dead, he is not on the cross anymore. Get him off there! he’d say. I like to agree with that as it makes sense to me, but what do you think?
@tabby68, I think cross as a reminder for Christ is fine. Here’s a link to an inspiring testimony of Christopher Lapel who came to Christ from Buddhism while under Khmer Rouge’s power in Cambodia. Its an amazing story of God’s grace and its started with a little ivory cross that he got as a boy.
Wow Lakshmi, what an amazing story of grace and redemption . Christopher’s whole life, although full of all the bad things that happened, was a testament to the might power of the Holy Spirit already at work, even before he knew the story of Christ. And then to be able to testify during the trial in front all of those international people was incredible. Not only did he plant the seed of the gospel, but he had to opportunity to tell the killer of his family that he forgave him.
Thank you for the link Lakshmi. It makes me appreciate my cross necklace even more.
@tabby68, yes, it is an incredible story of providence and grace that brings me to tears. I first came across this in Lee Strobel’s - Case for Grace. There are many more testimonies in that book of God’s magnificent reach. I am glad it removed any doubt you may have about wearing a cross. It can be a tool of evangelism!
I just get a little concerned when people tend to uphold an image or symbol of Christ more than Christ himself.
I come from a Pentecostal background where more focus (and faith) was put on the annointing oil, and the person annointing rather than Jesus himself. Case in point, a friend of mine recently told me that a Christian bookstore in a nearby town was selling annointing oil. People line up to buy the oil. That to me seems to be idolatry.
To me the cross is very precious. I do feel like people hold me to a higher moral standard when I wear it around them.
thanks for sharing that amazing story
i read it 2-3 times…specially the story of transformation of the military general
it once again testifies and proves that the message of cross the is the most effective message which can change even a hardcore criminal’s heart and can also give a person the will to forgive and forget revenge
Really!!! the other methods like 'campaign to end violence ’ ,motivational messages ,yoga,etc are least effective…when compared to the transforming power of gospel.
Thank you for that article. What a great God we serve!
My grandmother had the same contention with the crucifixes that had Jesus on them. She’d say the same thing: Jesus ain’t on the cross, anymore. He is risen!
I also have no issue with someone who chooses to wear a cross. The only instance that when I see it and the image hits me like nails on a chalkboard, is when the person wearing it is doing or saying some of the most unchristian, un-Christlike, unloving things. It’s like, ugh!
Wearing a cross only becomes an idol when you believe the necklace is the source of power. If the necklace is a reminder of what Christ did for us there is nothing wrong but if you forget to wear it one day and feel that you will have bad luck or things won’t go your way that may be a good indication that the necklace is more then a reminder.
There is nothing wrong with art. Art has special meanings to different people. I am a fan of Rembrandt etchings of Jesus teaching or the woman by the well and a few others. Someday I plan on buying one.
This is a great question.
I use to have many religious articles in my home crosses, pictures of Jesus and winged angels statues. At the time I was not really reading the bible but I wandered to various churches and even some new age practices. I find it amazing now reading the bible and being delivered from the wide road just how narrow the path really is. While I love art as an artist, I find at times an attachment may need prayer, why did that cross have so much value to you? This you may ask your self.
One day I got out of the shower and I was looking in the mirror and I noted the cross I had on… it was very sparkly, it was radiant but in my heart I heard a still small voice say “it wasn’t that pretty”. At the time I was truly seeking the LORD with all my heart and reading the Word. I drew into the mirror and looked at the cross. The thoughts of what Jesus did on the cross and how the “tree (cross) was a symbol of the curse which Jesus bore for me came to mind”. Later that day a friend and I were praying and she asked me “where did you get that cross?” I said “Funny you asked and told her the story”. See when I was seeking GOD I went to a book store and grabbed that cross. The place was not Christian. I decided to throw that cross away after that. I also decided to get rid of other religious symbols as well as the GQ pictures of Jesus I had because frankly the bible states Jesus was not comely/ handsome. And I got rid of winged female looking angels which were promoted in the new age.
I came to this position I believe in the Most High GOD. I do not need any symbols to feel close to HIM. With that said, this is my own walk. We have the Spirit of truth to guide our every step. May HE continue to guide you in your walk with Jesus.
Blessings to all,
Thank you for your reply Flint and your testimony. I agree that all of our walks with Christ is different. Like the story of Christopher Lapel, the symbol of the cross came to represent something personal and special for him.
Maybe a little off topic, but I remember once I put a new testament under my step-mom’s pillow hoping for some kind of miracle (or maybe exorcism ). Today God’s word has a different meaning in my life.
@tabby68 I think this is a good sign that Christ has touched your heart. No idolatry there! The tradition of the icons began, I think, as reminders of the same kind that you have mentioned. I don’t often display paintings or wear jewelry, but I have a Thomas Kinkade painting above my fireplace of Christ. It struck a chord with me because it is rough and doesn’t depict Christ as particularly handsome. It’s a bit gritty, like a man who had to go to battle for me.
Thank you Benjamin. It’s great to hear so many different viewpoints and really shows how personal and meaningful our walk with Christ is. I’m studying the old testament and am in Leviticus now so idolatry is such a huge subject there.
The Thomas Kinkaide painting you have sounds very beautiful. I love the fact that Christian artists use their talents for God. (I hope this is not too off-topic, but )…I’m not sure of the life of Renoir, but I love his impressionistic style and found an art book in a local Goodwill and framed some of his art. But, yes, I do feel that God gives us art for our enjoyment.
Thanks again Benjamin.
I don’t think it’s too off topic. In fact, Renoir’s style is very similar to the Kinkade painting I have.
I’ll try to attach a picture of it here.
Yes that’s nice . It is different from Kinkade’s usual style.
I think that this is a great question and the fact that it concerns you, I believe, shows that you are viewing it the right way. Intent is always the first and greatest thing to look at in these situations. There are some who become so focused on presenting religious symbols that I think it becomes more about the symbol, rather than what the symbol represents. The cross is a very important symbol to our faith as Christians. It is because of what Jesus did at the cross that we have the saving grace that He intended for us. It is also a phenomenal reminder of the sacrifice that He made for us. So, while I do believe that there is always a situation where even those things which have good meaning can be abused, I do not believe that is what you are doing. Always remember that your true safety lies in Christ who has defeated death for us through the cross, but I see nothing wrong with wearing one as a reminder of that act. As for the art, God gave us the ability to create and appreciate things like art. As with the cross, intent is always important, but I see nothing wrong with anything you have described. There is a quote that I always loved which I think applies to this which is from Susanna Wesley that says
“If anything weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes away your relish for spiritual things; in short if anything increases the authority and the power of the flesh over the spirit, that to you becomes sin, however good it may be in itself.”
I hope that this helps and God bless.