Huguenot Cross and the 2nd Commandment

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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
So, watching Narnia is idolatry because Aslan is a Christ figure?

How about the triangles used to represent the Trinity - these too would be idols.
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
There's a secular French lady who's a customer of mine who wears one. The Maltese Cross, the Dove, and what's technically only supposed to be worn during times of persecution, a pearl hanging from the dove. If Christ is the Pearl of Great Price, then should all those ladies in church wear pearls?

I think it's a major cool cultural statement which honors our faith. It's true the nowadays most who wear it probably don't really honor it properly, but it's not the symbol's fault.

There may be OT examples in the Phylactery. And maybe not. But really, just think about it. A guy eats pork, shaves his beard, etc...etc...but puts his foot down and says a Huguenot Cross is wrong based on something in the OT?

Does anyone else see a contradiction it this?
5. The moral law doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof;
Eating pork, shaving, etc. is ceremonial law. The ten words are moral law and binding.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
The ten words are moral law and binding.
And most of us here have a view of these laws that is either more or less expanded. I remember in my first Reformed church a young woman who was the most godly I'd ever met had a pearl ring that she wore to remind her that Christ was the pearl of great price. And it's exactly the same thing with the HC, at least those versions with the pearl. A pearl, cross, dove, bush, grape vine, the Greek spelling of fish, a Bible logo on the family van etc...all represent Christ, but aren't necessarily graven images of God.
 

Tripel

Puritan Board Senior
"the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind..."
Perhaps I'm unconfessional on this matter, but I just don't see how a dove is a graven image or a representation of God. God is not a dove. The Holy Spirit is not a dove.
On the stain glass window in our church, we have several images. A cross, a crown, Easter lilies, a lamb, etc. I'm sure most of you think that the lamb is a graven image--I don't think so. Jesus is not a lamb. The lamb is symbolic. I am most confident that nobody has ever looked upon that lamb and thought "Wow--Jesus is so beautiful!"
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I have found this discussion interesting, since I spent some time as a missionary in France and wore a Huguenot cross (I still have it, but don't wear it much these days). In the small village where I lived and worked (this was in the 1980s), it separted the protestants from the catholics. Though I knew that the dove was to remind me of the Holy Spirit, it never occurred to me that what I had was a violation of the 2nd commandment. In fact, I thought of, and still think of the Huguenot cross as a symbol of French protestants who suffered horribly for their faith for generations in France and all over the world.
 

Brother John

Puritan Board Sophomore
My family and I visited a PCA church that had a large stain glass window with a cross on the wall behind the pulpit. Since the Lord has brought me to the reformed faith I have stayed away from all depicitons of Christ, doves, crosses, etc..... What do yall think of crosses in reformed churches and what positive purpose would they serve?
 

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
My family and I visited a PCA church that had a large stain glass window with a cross on the wall behind the pulpit. Since the Lord has brought me to the reformed faith I have stayed away from all depicitons of Christ, doves, crosses, etc..... What do yall think of crosses in reformed churches and what positive purpose would they serve?
I can understand the problem with a crucifix, but why would a cross present an obstacle?
 

Albatross

Puritan Board Freshman
If a lamb or a dove breaks the 2nd Commandment, which I don't think it does, I'd be more concerned that our God resembled the lamb/dove than the possibility that someone was worshipping the lamb/dove.
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
The ten words are moral law and binding.
And most of us here have a view of these laws that is either more or less expanded. I remember in my first Reformed church a young woman who was the most godly I'd ever met had a pearl ring that she wore to remind her that Christ was the pearl of great price. And it's exactly the same thing with the HC, at least those versions with the pearl. A pearl, cross, dove, bush, grape vine, the Greek spelling of fish, a Bible logo on the family van etc...all represent Christ, but aren't necessarily graven images of God.
One of the reasons I like confessional churches (and WCF, WLC, WSC in particular) is the expansion of the commandments. A lot of people hold to (more or less) the 9 commandments and give just a nod to the sabbath and totally ignore it. (I'm very pleased with PB closing off some of the forums during the Lord's day.)

Q109 of the WLC:
Q. 109. What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counselling, commanding, using, and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; tolerating a false religion; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever; all worshipping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them, all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretence whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.
I bolded the relevant parts, and because the section is part of an independent clause (set off by semicolons) it can be looked at fairly cleanly.

While the woman might be very godly, I would not wear such a ring, in a sense out of the knowledge it could easily be an idol. The pearl is not the creator, it is a creature (a created thing) so the ring as just a pretty ring is just that. When it takes on the meaning of a "representation of God" then it becomes an idol. It does not take worshipping it, it only takes the making of it. That someone can be godly and have an unintentional sin (Lev 4:1) and do what is not right. We all have sins that we do when temptation lures us away to what we know is wrong, how much easier to what we don't think is wrong but violates the law?
 

Brother John

Puritan Board Sophomore
My family and I visited a PCA church that had a large stain glass window with a cross on the wall behind the pulpit. Since the Lord has brought me to the reformed faith I have stayed away from all depicitons of Christ, doves, crosses, etc..... What do yall think of crosses in reformed churches and what positive purpose would they serve?
I can understand the problem with a crucifix, but why would a cross present an obstacle?
Everything I have read on the subject from a reformed perspective pointed to a clean and simple worship experience in the sanctuary. Simple architecture with no distractions. That is not to say that I have simply not read enough. That is why I asked. What benefit is there to have the means of Christ's death on display. I am open minded and teachable on this. Is there an instance of the apostolic church using crosses in worship or even as a symbol of christianity?
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
My family and I visited a PCA church that had a large stain glass window with a cross on the wall behind the pulpit. Since the Lord has brought me to the reformed faith I have stayed away from all depicitons of Christ, doves, crosses, etc..... What do yall think of crosses in reformed churches and what positive purpose would they serve?
Our building had one of those when we bought the facility. It was removed from the room when the structure underwent a major renovation.
 

Albatross

Puritan Board Freshman
My family and I visited a PCA church that had a large stain glass window with a cross on the wall behind the pulpit. Since the Lord has brought me to the reformed faith I have stayed away from all depicitons of Christ, doves, crosses, etc..... What do yall think of crosses in reformed churches and what positive purpose would they serve?
Our building had one of those when we bought the facility. It was removed from the room when the structure underwent a major renovation.
Were members worshipping the cross? A cross reminds me of the crucifixion, which is usually positive in worship.
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
Were members worshipping the cross? A cross reminds me of the crucifixion, which is usually positive in worship.
It might not be wrong ... a cross is not a depiction of God or any of the three persons of the trinity. But it could easily become an idol. The gold serpent had to be destroyed because the people started worshipping it. Do you really think we (the people of this day) any different morally than the people of that day?

It could be okay, but if it starts to be a problem, how do you determine when to take it down? If people would feel a sense of loss at it being removed, they are very close to attaching to it the reverence reserved for God alone. I personally feel it would certainly be like the golden snake.
 

Albatross

Puritan Board Freshman
Were members worshipping the cross? A cross reminds me of the crucifixion, which is usually positive in worship.
It might not be wrong ... a cross is not a depiction of God or any of the three persons of the trinity. But it could easily become an idol. The gold serpent had to be destroyed because the people started worshipping it. Do you really think we (the people of this day) any different morally than the people of that day?

It could be okay, but if it starts to be a problem, how do you determine when to take it down? If people would feel a sense of loss at it being removed, they are very close to attaching to it the reverence reserved for God alone. I personally feel it would certainly be like the golden snake.
Nope, probably not much different, but we are told the Israelites started worshipping the serpent, which is why asked if members were worshipping the cross.

Take the cross down when it is being worshiped. Feeling a sense of loss could easily be a sense of nostalgia. "This cross has been in the church since it was built and is a constant reminder......" Neither a sense of loss nor a sense of nostalgia constitute worship.
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Were members worshipping the cross? A cross reminds me of the crucifixion, which is usually positive in worship.
It might not be wrong ... a cross is not a depiction of God or any of the three persons of the trinity. But it could easily become an idol. The gold serpent had to be destroyed because the people started worshipping it. Do you really think we (the people of this day) any different morally than the people of that day?

It could be okay, but if it starts to be a problem, how do you determine when to take it down? If people would feel a sense of loss at it being removed, they are very close to attaching to it the reverence reserved for God alone. I personally feel it would certainly be like the golden snake.
The point is that there is a huge difference between saying that a thing could, if misused, have negative side affects, and saying that the mere construction of the object is idolatrous, which has been suggested. Take your own example: the serpent had to be destroyed because the people were worshipping it, but their misuse does not negative the positive purpose for which the staff was constructed.

The members of this board generally understand this concept when it comes to things like alcohol and (for some) tobacco.
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
Were members worshipping the cross? A cross reminds me of the crucifixion, which is usually positive in worship.
It might not be wrong ... a cross is not a depiction of God or any of the three persons of the trinity. But it could easily become an idol. The gold serpent had to be destroyed because the people started worshipping it. Do you really think we (the people of this day) any different morally than the people of that day?

It could be okay, but if it starts to be a problem, how do you determine when to take it down? If people would feel a sense of loss at it being removed, they are very close to attaching to it the reverence reserved for God alone. I personally feel it would certainly be like the golden snake.
The point is that there is a huge difference between saying that a thing could, if misused, have negative side affects, and saying that the mere construction of the object is idolatrous, which has been suggested. Take your own example: the serpent had to be destroyed because the people were worshipping it, but their misuse does not negative the positive purpose for which the staff was constructed.

The members of this board generally understand this concept when it comes to things like alcohol and (for some) tobacco.
That is the main reason I asked the question of when it could be determined that it is being misused. Of course some can easily tell the difference, and in general I would not want to limit their freedom for the sake of those that are weak. The question still remains, the staff with the snake was destroyed when some started worshipping it (the weak). At what point do those that don't have a problem with it, decide for the benefit of others, that it should be taken down?
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
The second commandment(Exodus 20:4-6 NIV):

"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments."

I'll admit that I still don't see how this is violated by imagery of a dove representing the Holy Spirit. The Israelites were commanded not to make graven images to bow down and worship them.

If God meant no graven images, period, then that either means the Israelites were disobeying when they set up the brass serpent, the seraphims on the ark, etc., or God gave two contradictory commands, which I don't think is possible.

What is addressed in the second commandment is making idols/graven images for worship. I don't see that this is the intention of stained-glass windows or pendants--though there certainly can be the temptation there to do so, I'm not denying that. I just don't see how they are a de facto breaking of the second commandment.

Sorry if I'm missing something. But if it's not in the Bible, even if it is in a highly-esteemed catechism, is it still wrong?
 

Jon 316

Puritan Board Sophomore
If the dove is used to portray a person in the Trinity then it would be idolatry.

The burning bush has never portrayed a person in the Trinity as far as i know... It was a theophany.
A theophany means revelation of God

Jesus is (the third person of the trinity) the revelation of God.

Is there really a difference?
 
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