Protestants and Icons

DennyB

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In my disscussions with open-minded Protestants about the Orthodox Faith,the one thing that seems to be a hang-up with them are the use of Icons,I've been disscussing with one,who quotes Early Church Fathers,such as Irenaeus,in such a way as to condemn their use,I've read the quotes and I take from the quotes that He is condemning their mis-use,not an outright condemnation. Any suggestions on how to better explain their use in the Early Church?
 

jayjay

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DennyB

I am no exert on Orthodoxy, nor do I claim to be!!

Being a former Protestant (Baptist, then Fundamentalist, Happy Clapper (Pentecostal), then back and forward, this seminary, then that seminary - you get my drift - when I also started being interested in Orthodoxy, it was when I was given a Russian Icon by my father - a devout Protestant minister, after he went to Russia on a trip.

I too struggled with having an icon, let alone praying before one. There is a great write up in the book "The Law of God", and many others on the internet (type in 'icons/icon corners'). The understanding I have is that they are not idols, and they are not idols we pray to - they are a reminder of the faith of these people, and they are no more an idol than having a photo of a loved one with you, and when you look at it, you say 'I love you'. We don't adore or worship/pray to the piece of wood/plastic, but the image is a reminder of that person (ie Jesus/Mary/a saint), and we use the icon as a symbol! Look, I am no Orthodox theologian, and I may be wrong here, but when I pray in front of an icon, it's not to the icon, but to whom it represents. The icon just makes me feel closer to God, Jesus, and the saints whom I pray to to intercede for me.

Read 'Becoming Orthodox' by Peter Gillquist, an ex Protestant who overcame this and many other "orthodox theologies" and joined the Church.

If I have erred in my understanding, I apologise, and am open to correction.
 

stewie

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at its simplest, the idea is that these are pictures of family members, the family of the church.

then explain the difference between worship and veneration.  and how inanimate objects were routinely made sacred in the Bible. 

I am convinced at the power of icons as I watch my nephew, who is not even a year old, be mesmerized by them in church and in our homes. 
 
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On a personal basis, since I became Orthodox I have found the passage in Matthew 2:11 (as the wise men approached the Theotokos & Christ child) to really illuminate my understanding of the icons. "And when they came into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him." The icon of this passage is our most preeminent & it almost seems to instruct us to proper worship & veneration. Since the wise men gentiles knew to worship Him and our Saviour later instructed us to venerate His (& our) mother per John 19:27. St. Paul clarifies that He "Who is the image (icon) of the invisible God,the first born of every creature." (Colossians 1:15) & Christ instructs us knowing & seeing the Father per Him in John 14:7. As a catechism (c. 1949) from the Antiochian OC, then under Met. Antony Bashir, stated, "We are not allowed to pray to the holy Ikons but we may pray before them, that they may serve to remind us of God and increase our devotion to Him."
 

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In teacher terms, all students begin learning in what is called concrete operations. They need the wood blocks to work out simple math problems. Then, as they grow and develop, they no longer need the blocks because they become more adept at abstract thinking. Some end up being supremely skilled at abstract thinking (Einstein), and others always remain somewhat in the concrete stage, and everything in between.

Some people find it easy to remember God, the Saints, and significant events without any assistance. But for others, that real, tangible chunk of wood with a picture makes all the difference in being able to remember and understand God, the saints, and events. It is something like the illustrations in a book. Many books will have an illustration at each chapter heading.
 

Papist

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I don't think the OP is concerned about the theology of the matter. I think he's more concerned with the fact that certain Church Fathers seem to condemn the use of images. Does anyone have a good response to this?
 

Riddikulus

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DennyB said:
In my disscussions with open-minded Protestants about the Orthodox Faith,the one thing that seems to be a hang-up with them are the use of Icons,I've been disscussing with one,who quotes Early Church Fathers,such as Irenaeus,in such a way as to condemn their use,I've read the quotes and I take from the quotes that He is condemning their mis-use,not an outright condemnation. Any suggestions on how to better explain their use in the Early Church?
You are right. St Irenaeus speaks against the Gnostic misuse of icons, not their use. It might pay to get the names of the other Early Church Fathers your friends are quoting and thoroughly check what they are saying. People do have a tendancy to find "proof texts" in the fathers without going into context.

The Catholic Encyclopaedia has an interesting article at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07664a.htm

Hope this helps.
 

Aristocles

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Hey, Brother DennyB
Seems the folks on that "other forum" are a bit testy:
Dear Aristokles,

You have received a warning at CARM.ORG - Christian Discussion Forums.

Reason:
-------
Signature, Link or Image Rule Violation: 20 Points Within 30 days Results in Suspension

Link to RCC dogma
-------

Original Post:
Link removed to conform to OUR rules
Quote:
DennyB,
To quote Han Solo, "Let the wooki win". It matters not.
However, for YOU, see: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis...us-images.html

Log off, read it, say your prayers, and go to sleep secure.

Αριστοκλἠς
Warnings serve as a reminder to you of the forum's rules, which you are expected to understand and follow.

All the best,
CARM.ORG - Christian Discussion Forums
Ain't that a hoot! CAFism is spreading. Link to RCC dogma...clueless.
 

Aristocles

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Schultz said:
Hang on here.  At that forum you can't even link to an explanation of your position if it's at a Roman Catholic site?
The site is neither EO nor RC. I guess the content police are involved.





{Edited before our grammar marms notice}
 

SolEX01

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The Protestant issues towards icons stem from the use of 3D images by the Catholic Church.  No Orthodox icon is 3D; hence, not a solid image.  Orthodox icons depict saints who lived and continue to live in the eternal kingdom.

Some Catholics are slowly reintroducing 2D icons vs. 3D statues.
 

Schultz

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Regardless of its official or unofficial religious affiliation, how the heckfire are you supposed to have discourse on a topic if you can't put forth an explanation for your position by providing a link to information that might explain your position better than you could?
 
 

Schultz

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SolEX01 said:
The Protestant issues towards icons stem from the use of 3D images by the Catholic Church.  No Orthodox icon is 3D; hence, not a solid image.  Orthodox icons depict saints who lived and continue to live in the eternal kingdom.

Some Catholics are slowly reintroducing 2D icons vs. 3D statues.
Why are you trying to frame this as a Catholic vs. Orthodox concept?  Protestant opposition to iconography transcends East vs. West/statues vs. icons.  It's the depiction itself, 3D or 2D, that gives them the willies and makes them think of God's proscription against graven images.
 

SolEX01

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Schultz said:
Why are you trying to frame this as a Catholic vs. Orthodox concept?  Protestant opposition to iconography transcends East vs. West/statues vs. icons.  It's the depiction itself, 3D or 2D, that gives them the willies and makes them think of God's proscription against graven images.
The lack of icons in Protestant churches is counter to the restoration of icons by the 7th Ecumenical Council - which the Protestants (along with Holy Tradition and everything else) threw out with their Reformation.  Simple answer.
 

Schultz

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SolEX01 said:
The lack of icons in Protestant churches is counter to the restoration of icons by the 7th Ecumenical Council - which the Protestants (along with Holy Tradition and everything else) threw out with their Reformation.  Simple answer.
True, but your post made it sound as if Western Catholicism used more 2d images instead of 3d images then Protestant iconoclasm would never have happened. 
 

Aristocles

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Schultz said:
Regardless of its official or unofficial religious affiliation, how the heckfire are you supposed to have discourse on a topic if you can't put forth an explanation for your position by providing a link to information that might explain your position better than you could?
 
Exactly. I guess a 43 page refutation of iconoclasm by our saint doesn't qualify as fair?
 

Schultz

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Αριστοκλής said:
Exactly. I guess a 43 page refutation of iconoclasm by our saint doesn't qualify as fair?
I suppose they want you to use up their bandwidth with the ol' cut & paste (so long as you cite it properly)! ;)
 

Aristocles

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Oh yes
Here's the link they minced:

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/johndamascus-images.html


Dangerous stuff  ::)
 
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