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Crucifix 1412-13 Wood Santa Maria Novella, Florence

I was reading some comments a person made about what represents Christ’s love best in Lutheranism. He said: “Christ’s love in Lutheranism is represented by the empty Cross…” Ah, no. There’s nothing wrong with a plain cross symbol, but the plain or “empty” cross is not somehow a “Lutheran” symbol, as opposed to the crucifix. In fact, the crucifix enjoys a very long use in Lutheranism. Here’s more information from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s web site.

Q.  Question: Is the use of crucifixes a Roman Catholic practice? Doesn’t the empty cross provide a better symbol for Lutherans? How does the LCMS feel about using a crucifix in church? [Note: A crucifix is a cross with a statue of the crucified Christ on it].

A.  A common misunderstanding among some some Lutherans is the opinion that a crucifix, or the use of a crucifix, is a “Roman Catholic” practice. The history of Lutheranism demonstrates that the crucifix was a regular and routine feature of Lutheran worship and devotional life during Luther’s lifetime and during the period of Lutheran Orthdoxy. It was also the case among the founding fathers of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. If you were to visit most of the original congregations of the LCMS here in the United States you would find lovely crucifixes adorning their altars, and in addition, beautiful statues on the altar of Christ and the four evangelists, or other such scenes. There is nothing uniquely Roman Catholic about this.  Many Lutherans and Lutheran congregations use crucifixes. Crucifixes are used in the chapels of both of our seminaries.

Lutheranism has always considered the crucifix to be a powerful reminder of the sacrifice our Lord Jesus made for us and our salvation, on the cross. A crucifix vividly brings to mind the Apostle Paul’s divinely inspired words, “We preach Christ and Him crucified”  (1 Cor. 1:23).

Interestingly enough, while there is certainly nothing “wrong” with an “empty” cross, the practice of using an “empty cross” on a Lutheran congregation’s altar comes more from non-Lutheran sources. At the time of the Reformation there was conflict between Lutherans and Reformed Christians over the proper place of pictures, images, statues and the like in the church. Lutherans stood with historic Christendom in realizing that such art in the church was not wrong, and was a great aid for helping to focus devotional thoughts on the truths of the Word of God, no greater truth can be found that the death of Jesus Christ our Lord for the world’s salvation. (more…)

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confessional-359x500VATICAN CITY (AP) — A Vatican official is lamenting that many faithful no longer confess their sins, and says some confuse a psychologist’s couch for a confessional booth.

Archbishop Mauro Piacenza has told Vatican Radio the sacrament of penance has been experiencing a “deep crisis” for decades. Piacenza, an official for the Vatican office on clergy, says fewer people distinguish between good and evil, and as a result don’t go to confession.

The archbishop said in the interview Tuesday that if faithful don’t have a sense of sin, they might “confuse” confession with “the couch of a psychologist or a psychiatrist.”

He says the Vatican plans to publish this year a kind of handbook on confession to drum up enthusiasm among Catholics toward the sacrament.

 

Well I guess a manual will work AS LONG AS IT’S THE BIBLE!  If people don’t take the Bible seriously, how will they some manual that encourages one to confess?  If we don’t believe the admonition from scripture to confess, what will it take us to change our minds?  Just another “gimic” from the Vatican.

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Wow- Many Responses

I”ve received many emails about my post on the cross or crucifix.  Most of them have the following criticism.  I’ve also found an explanation from a Lutheran Pastor that might help.

Objection – Jesus isn’t on the Cross anymore, He is risen!

Objecting to the crucifixion because Christ is no longer on the cross implies that those of us who use crucifixes are idiots who do not possess this knowledge. The objectors know Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Coptic and Lutheran Christians celebrate the Lord’s resurrection on Easter and we can be certain that they deny that they ever intended to imply such an absurdity about us. Nevertheless, asserting such an argument without qualification or limitation makes the implication unavoidable.

The fact that the Redeemer is no longer nailed to the Cross does not make crucifixes wrong. If critics were to apply this reasoning behind this objection universally, it would be wrong to portray a Nativity scene, since Jesus is not a baby anymore. It would also be wrong to artistically depict the Lord teaching, healing, performing miracles, or to portray any Gospel event in His earthly life, since He is no longer doing these things in the flesh. Yet the very ones objecting to crucifixes because Christ is no longer hanging there have no problem with artistic portrayals of the life of Christ in art, Bibles, Sunday School classrooms, and Christmas cards. If those objecting on this basis were consistent they could not take or keep photographs or any depictions or pictorial representations whatsoever because photographs and all forms of graphic art depict persons, places and things as they no longer are. But this is the very reason we take photographs: to record how things were and no longer are. This is one of the reasons for displaying the Crucifix: to depict how Christ sacrificed Himself for fallen mankind.

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Crucifix or Cross?

6a00d8345168f369e20111689b7759970c-320wiI found this article today at cyberbrethren.  Since many ask me what I think, I’ve posted this article.  What do you think?

Q: Lutherans use the cross rather than a crucifix on literature & with church architecture. Why do Lutherans use a cross rather than a crucifix? My thought is that a crucifix has traditionally been used by Roman Catholics.

A: Thank youLutherans at the time of the Reformation and for long after commonly used crucifixes rather than empty crosses. This was true not only for chancel or altar crosses but also for altar paintings. One of the most famous paintings is by Lutheran artist Lucas Cranach (the Younger). Many images are available if you do a google image search on “Cranach altar.”

Here’s one from the Lutheran church in Weimar that shows the artist’s father (long beard) standing next to Martin Luther. A detailed description of the biblical-Lutheran symbolism of this life-sized painting is available on a Lutheran pastor’s blog. Here are a couple of quotes from that blog: (more…)

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dolanHere is a neat pic of archbishop Timothy Dolan.  Love the hat!!!!

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r3168727686VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday told U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic who supports abortion rights, that Catholic politicians have a duty to protect life “at all stages of its development,” the Vatican said.
Pelosi is the first top Democrat to meet with Benedict since the election of Barack Obama, who won a majority of the Catholic vote despite differences with the Vatican on abortion.

The Vatican released remarks by the pope to Pelosi, saying Benedict spoke of the church’s teaching “on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.” That is an expression often used by the pope when expressing opposition to abortion.

Benedict said all Catholics-especially legislators, jurists and political leaders-should work to create “a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development.”

Pelosi could not immediately be reached after the 15-minute meeting, which was closed to reporters and photographers. The two met in a small room of a Vatican auditorium after the pope’s weekly public audience.

A number of the bishops in the United States have questioned Pelosi’s stance on abortion, particularly her theological defense of her support for abortion rights.

Benedict has cautiously welcomed the new Democratic administration, although several American cardinals have sharply criticized its support of abortion rights in a break from former President George W. Bush.

Pelosi had meetings with Italian leaders the past few days, including Premier Silvio Berlusconi.

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Indulgences Back?

20indulgence_600Look at what I found today?  I thought the concept of indulgences was a thing of the past?  Check out this article.

Click here for article

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