Wednesday, June 23, 2010

4th Century Icons of St. Peter and St. Paul Found in Rome / Ironies of Reformed Anti-Catholic Antipathy to Statues and Icons

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_FOIrYyQawGI/TCJEY0NDhZI/AAAAAAAAC3k/_bbMtsd8bh0/s1600/Icons-4thCentury.jpg
[AP Photo / Pier Paolo Cito]

These are the earliest known images of any of the apostles. They were part of a square ceiling painting that also included St. Andrew and St. John: all around an image of Christ as the Good Shepherd. Special laser techniques were used to uncover them.

See the complete story from Associated Press / Fox News.

We Catholics are happy to find this evidence of the biblical practice of veneration of the apostles and saints (including the Protestants' favorite saint, the Apostle Paul) from the 4th century, while certain extreme anti-Catholic Calvinists rail against all icons (even statues of Christ), while at the same time inexplicably praising and posting on their websites photographs of large statues of four 16th-century Calvinists (example).

Ironically, one of the sculptors of the aforementioned "Reformation Wall" in Geneva (built in 1909) was Paul Landowski (1875-1961): a Frenchman of Polish descent, who also collaborated in designing the famous 1931 Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro: one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The other sculptor was Frenchman Henri Bouchard (1875-1960).

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_FOIrYyQawGI/TCI_M0HLg3I/AAAAAAAAC3c/6pLu4ajy-Ww/s1600/ReformationWall.jpg

Yet some of the anti-Catholics would have us believe that the statue of Christ is an evil idol, while the statues of Calvin, Farel, Beza, and Knox (made in part by the same sculptor) are glorious wonderworks of Protestant devotion and most fitting for the purpose of thankful appreciation for the Protestant Revolution.

Go figure . . .

22 comments:

Ronnie said...

Dave,

For a man like you that likes to make nuanced arguments I can’t for the life of me figure out why you think the following is a valid critique:

Yet some of the anti-Catholics would have us believe that the statue of Christ is an evil idol, while the statues of Calvin, Farel, Beza, and Knox (made in part by the same sculptor) are glorious wonderworks of Protestant devotion and most fitting for the purpose of thankful appreciation for the Protestant Revolution.

Go figure . . .


It is a simple point. God forbid images of himself not of creatures. Now you may disagree with that rationale but to present it as some major inconsistency or irony is to miss that glaring distinction.

Dave Armstrong said...

Why did Calvin forbid bare crosses and organs as idolatry, then? Do you think he would have approved of a huge statue of himself?

Turretinfan said...

He would never have approved of a huge statue of himself.

Dave Armstrong said...

Thank you. Then why do his followers like it and broadcast it on their sites?

Ronnie said...

Dave said:

Why did Calvin forbid bare crosses and organs as idolatry, then? Do you think he would have approved of a huge statue of himself?


I didn't say other things couldn't become idols( obviously Calvin thought those other things could).

I'm making the point that your argument is a basic non-sequitur and you keep touting it as if you are making such a great and strong point. But yet you accuse Protestants of not being able to follow a nuanced argument and this one is about as simple and basic as can be made.

Ronnie

Ben M said...

Ronnie and Turretinfan,

Have either of you kept the commandment against idolatry perfectly?

Just wondering.

Turretinfan said...

Ben:

No one keeps the law of God perfectly - with the single exception of Christ.

Dave:

Why not ask them, rather than me? I don't do that, as I think you know. Perhaps some of Calvin's "followers" (your description) don't insist that Calvin remain in as much personal obscurity as Calvin would have wished. I'm just speculating about what these "followers" may be thinking.

-TurretinFan

Ronnie said...


Ronnie and Turretinfan,

Have either of you kept the commandment against idolatry perfectly?

Just wondering.

Well you should know what we Reformed folks think about human sin(e.g. read Romans 7:14-25) and this should make the answer obvious to you. But how is this germane to point I made?

Ben M said...

Turretinfan: No one keeps the law of God perfectly - with the single exception of Christ.

Ben: So what are you saying, TF, that you do therefor worship idols??

Ronnie: But how is this germane to point I made?

Ben: Just curious, Ronnie, that's all.

And same question to you as to TF.

Thanks.

Ronnie said...


So what are you saying, TF, that you do therefor worship idols?


Not explicit idol worship in the sense of praying to them or bowing to them, but in an implicit sense anytime you put something before God you are creating an idol out of that thing.

Ben M said...

Not explicit idol worship in the sense of praying to them or bowing to them

I understand. But Ronnie, assuming you have actually never bowed or prayed to any idol, wouldn't that constitute proof that it is possible to keep at least certain aspects of the commandment perfectly?

But aside from that, surely there must be some Reformed folks (pastors included) who bow to idols? Or are we to believe that all the "Reformed" are perfectly and perpetually sinless in this regard?

but in an implicit sense anytime you put something before God you are creating an idol out of that thing.

Disobedience for example:

"Because it is like the sin of witchcraft, to rebel: and like the crime of idolatry, to refuse to obey." 1 Samuel 15:23

So two questons:

1. Will that form of idolatry (1 Sam) result in the loss of one’s salvation if not repented of?

2. Weren’t the Reformers themselves guilty of idolatry the moment they made their own “authority” supreme in all matters of faith and morals (the idol of "private interpretation") along with their consequent disobedience to their Church superiors?

Peace.

I.M Fletcher said...

God forbid images of himself not of creatures.
And where in the Bible does it say that?

And as I have said before, if you believe in the Shroud of Turin, then you believe that Jesus himself left an image of himself behind.

Ronnie said...


I understand. But Ronnie, assuming you have actually never bowed or prayed to any idol, wouldn't that constitute proof that it is possible to keep at least certain aspects of the commandment perfectly?


If only God judged by external conformity to the law then the Pharisees wouldn’t have been condemned by Jesus, because they kept the law externally. The Apostle Paul before his conversion said he kept the law blamelessly, but of course once he realized what true law keeping was(i.e. Romans 7 ) he had a totally different opinion about his law keeping.


But aside from that, surely there must be some Reformed folks (pastors included) who bow to idols? Or are we to believe that all the "Reformed" are perfectly and perpetually sinless in this regard?


Don’t know where you are heading with this. I don’t know of Reformed Pastors that bow to idols, but so what if there are? Once again, what is your point?


but in an implicit sense anytime you put something before God you are creating an idol out of that thing.

Disobedience for example:

"Because it is like the sin of witchcraft, to rebel: and like the crime of idolatry, to refuse to obey." 1 Samuel 15:23

So two questons:

1. Will that form of idolatry (1 Sam) result in the loss of one’s salvation if not repented of?


Obviously you are not familiar with Reformed theology. We don’t believe you lose your salvation.


2. Weren’t the Reformers themselves guilty of idolatry the moment they made their own “authority” supreme in all matters of faith and morals (the idol of "private interpretation") along with their consequent disobedience to their Church superiors?


Oh boy, here you go … but I’m not following :)

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ronnie said...


I said:
If only God judged by external conformity to the law then the Pharisees wouldn’t have been condemned by Jesus, because they kept the law externally.

Ben responded:
Christ NEVER condemned anyone for keeping the commandments! On the contrary, he praised such persons!

This is a waste of time. It should be obvious to anyone who is familiar with the Scriptures and my point that I was saying he condemned anyone for “keeping the commandments”, but instead only keeping it externally. This is basic biblical teaching(i.e. Matt. 5:28; Mark 7:6; Luke 16:15; Gal. 2:6, et als ). In reference to the Apostle Paul’s evaluation of his law keeping as a Pharisee read Phil 3:4-6 where he was blameless. However, read him again after he understood there is more to law keeping then external conformity, but there is an internal heart issue(i.e. Romans 7 ). It is after that understanding he could say, “Oh what a wretched man I am”

Dave Armstrong said...

This is a waste of time.

Now there is one thing you've said that I totally agree with!

Ronnie said...


Now there is one thing you've said that I totally agree with!


LOL .. I bet you do after I showed how you failed to grasp the most basic point. Which is probably why you didn't have much to say, but instead Ben M comes in starts rambling about all kinds of rabbit trails that he doesn't even begin to understand.

Dave Armstrong said...

Right. ZZZZzzzzzzzzzz.......

cuttone10 said...

I think the original article point of the Icons of St. Peter and St. Paul is a really cool discovery. I'ts crazy to see how a debate got created from this. I have read some of Dave's debates as well as others and it's great to see Christ followers show their knowledge in these talks. I too love to debate, but to me the most important thing whether your a Protestant Christian and or a Roman Catholic Christian is to keep and show the love of Christ. The Greatest Commandment is to Love God, Matthew 22:37, and Jesus tells us to love one another, 1 Corinthians 13:1-4 "you can have the gift of prophecy, all the knowledge in the world, but if you don't have love you are nothing", So just like before praying when everyone should calm their heart, ask for forgiveness, and fill their hearts with love, people who debate should do this as well.
Jesus Christ last prayer on earth was for his believers to be one as he and the father where one. John 17:20-21
Exploring others knowledge to find meaning and truth is great, but showing anger, hatred, etc against a brother in Christ is not what God wants from us, but that of the ambitions of the devil.

Cuttone
cuttone.blogspot.com

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jae said...

Where in the Scripture did God forbid images of Himself?....NONE!

For Pete's sake, Jesus Himself was made man - a physical, tangible matter made of atoms which is by definition an "image" by itself yet He didn't prohibit His people to worship Him or say contradicted His own commandment.

The mere fact God Himself ORDAINED and COMMANDED Moses to make the Ark of the Covenant (aside from images inside King Solomon's Temple) which plays a big part in their "cultus" ritual in where they paid deep respect, reverence and veneration demanded by God is already a GLARING INDICATION that it pleases Him.

Peace.

Emerson said...

Excellent post, Dave. I agree with you. On the Reformation Wall, which I have to say is that since the first time I saw her, it seemed dark and cold. It is like a pale imitation of the beautiful sculptures Catholic.
Even being run by Landowski, who made Christ the Redeemer here in Brazil, I feel that the work lacks charisma and sympathy. I did not like these sculptures.

Again, Catholic art (which does not aim to worship ANY image, but to show how God is beautiful, including through the art of sculpture) comes out ahead.