Against Iconoclasts

In a culture filled with idols the Ante-Nicene fathers were right to distrust pictures and statues. But to make their distrust into a principle for all times and places is to over-react. This wouldn’t be the first issue which Tertullian and Jerome carried to an extreme in their laudable austerity.  As Protestants, we have the freedom to critique the Fathers’ iconoclasm. (:-) I take special pleasure in that sentence.)

The Orthodox are right, as well, that “venerating” an image is not necessarily worship, and can be a good and healthy prompt for the memory and affections.

I have a picture of my wife. I may be found with it at times, sighing with affection and even kissing the image. This is not worship; this is veneration. I don’t think God is threatened or offended.

I am a Protestant.  I have a painting of the Christ Pantocrator ikon in my study. I may, at times, be found in a profound bow to the picture.  This is an expression of my affection for Jesus.  If this is my worst offense on His Great Day,  I will have done well.

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