Have you had anyone ever attack you for being a Catholic? Claiming you worship statues and images.
Does kneeling and or praying with a statue constitutes worship of that image?
Recently, an anti-Catholic, Ren Bar (I call the chicken man) is known for making such accusations and runs when challenged to back up his attacks.
This has been a tactic of the anti-Catholic in general for a long time. They want to use Exodus 20:4, “You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them.”
Is that really what is happening here in this picture? No this is not what Exodus 20:4 is addressing.
First of all, none of these people are worshiping this image. This image simply is a tool being used by the faithful in praying to the Lord.
It is no different from a woman in childbirth using something to focus on what helps her concentrate away from her pain. A cross is a great example.
To better understand Exodus 20:4, it is in relation to the false gods that the nations surrounding God’s people worshiped. The golden calf (Exodus 32) is a great example as well as Dagon (Judges 16:23) whom Samson destroyed. These images themselves were worshiped or they represented demons such as the god “Baal”.
Are these people here worshiping the bible? Are they worshiping the podium? Are they worshiping the speaker?
If I took advantage of what people look like they are doing verse what I know they are doing. It would be dishonest for me to say they are worshiping anything other than God.
Anti-Catholics go to great lengths to accuse Catholics of worshiping statues. This is part of the anti-Catholic playbook 101 series. They really do not take much responsibility for what they say.
There are thousands of examples that Protestants do that are outward expressions of worship. This picture you could think they were worshiping the stage and anything on it.
Is that what they are doing? I do not believe so, but if I used the kind of lens that Ren Bar uses, you can say anything and not be responsible or accountable for his accusation. This is really a serious issue because sometimes Catholics do not know their faith and when they are challenged like this, they sometimes fall for the misinformation.
This is another example where people will make false accusations based from a bitter hatred. I would not be showing love for these people by purposely misrepresenting them.
It is important to understand what is taking place in all four of these event. Idol worship is not being done in any of these examples. What is the real issue of Exodus 20:4?
A tactic they will employ concerns their misrepresentation of Scripture and our lack of knowledge of it. Case in point: Martin Luther changed the emphasis of the 1st and 2nd Commandments of the Lord.
Exodus 20 begins “Then God delivered all these commandments: I the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall have no other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them”.
The Protestants take the first commandment: “I, the Lord, am your God. You shall not have other gods besides me” and cut it in two commandments. Obviously, creating gods made out of wood or plaster breaks the first Commandment. We are being accused for making “graven” images when in fact, they are not “graven” images.
The Scripture is clear that the Lord is addressing images that are the object of worship or the representation of the objects of worship that are not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Exodus 25 and 1 Kings, God instructs the Israelites to put angels on the Ark of the Old Covenant and in the Temple Solomon built.
With the completion of the Temple which included the statues of the angels that spanned the complete width of the Sanctuary, God says, “I have heard the prayer of petition which you offered in my presence. I have consecrated this Temple which you have built; I confer my name upon it forever, and my eyes and heart shall be there always”.
Of the Catholic Church, Jesus says, “Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me” (Luke 10:16). Jesus warns that if we do not listen to His Church, but reject the teaching of the Church, you not only reject Jesus, but also the Lord who made His promise to Solomon (1 Kings 9:3).
The issue regarding the “graven” images that God is originally addressing concerns the surrounding nations who worshiped idols made by men, and fashioned false gods, and adored objects which is against the 1st Commandment.
The Philistines worshiped a half-man, half-fish idol they called “Dagon” which Samson destroyed in their temple (Judges 16:23-31).
The story of the golden calf, the story of Solomon allowing his wives to bring in all their gods into Israel, the disobedience of the people of God was adultery to God. This all breaks the 1st Commandment.
A crucifix that depicts the death of the Lord on the cross is not an object of worship as was the object of “Dagon”.
Because of the people complaining against God and Moses, the Lord punished the people with ‘saraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of them died.
With repentance, the Lord instructed that a bronze serpent be made and had it mounted it on a pole so that who ever looks upon it will recover.
It’s interesting that the Lord used a serpent on a pole for a means of healing. This foreshadows the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus on the cross became sin so that through his death we might find healing. Jesus states, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me”.St. Paul states, “but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
The crucifix represents our healing through his sacrificial death through His Resurrection.
Like the Nehustan (2 Kings 18:4) we are not to worship these objects, but like the angels on the Ark and in the Holy of the Holies in the temple, sacred objects are used to enhance the worship of the unseen God.
The Lord never intended that artist could never paint or sculptors could never create, but that these gifts be given back to him for his glory!
What Christians have believed for 1500 years before Martin Luther has not changed in 2,000 years. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever”.
Do we think that first century Christians sinned because they painted objects of crosses, loaves of bread, fish, Jesus as Shepherd, Mary, and the other Apostles and Saints found on the walls of ancient catacombs?
Not at all! Many of those attacking the Catholic Church would never put this standard upon themselves as most will have pictures of family members and loved ones in their homes.
Consider the image found on the Shroud of Turin, this is possibly a miracle. Many believe that it is a miracle, here God is giving us an important image.
The Catholic Church is a family record going back to Jesus. I have a great family album!
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