Cross vs. Crucifix

by Steve Ray on June 20, 2013

(From a letter Steve wrote to a Evangelical Protestant who asked about the Catholic Crucifix)

Dear Evangelical Friend:

You display a bare cross in your home; we display the cross and the crucifix. What is the difference and why? The cross is an upright post with a crossbeam in the shape of a “T”. A crucifix is the same, but it has Christ’s body (corpus) attached to the cross.

As an Evangelical Protestant I rejected the crucifix, as you do—Christ was no longer on the cross; he had ascended into heaven. So why do I now tremble in love and awe at the site of a crucifix? Let’s examine the history and issues surrounding the two.

I will provide a brief overview of the Cross and the Crucifix, the origin, the history, and the differing perspectives of Catholic and Protestant. It will try to catch the historical flow and include the pertinent points. The outline is as follows:
1. The Three Main Protestant Objections to the Crucifix
2. Images and Gods in the Old Testament
3. Images and Images of Christ in the New Testament
4. The Cross in the First Centuries
5. The Crucifix Enters the Picture
6. The “Reformation” and Iconoclasm
7. Modern Anti-Catholics and the Crucifix
8. Ecumenical Considerations

To read the whole article, click here.

To read Steve's other articles, click here.

For Steve's talk “The Pain of the Crucifixion,“ click here.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Deborah August 3, 2008 at 3:53 AM

I just want to say thank you for your article. It gave me all the answers I was looking for. I was Baptist for over 15 years and turned to Lutheran a couple years ago and was seeking answers to this same question. When I ware my crucifix it is a reminder of the pain and suffering of how christ died for me. I don’t think most people like to be reminded of this maybe that is why they reject it.

Thank You

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