Notes to an Iconoclast

Turretinfanhas taken some shots at some Catholic apologist regarding icons and John of Damascus. I don’t know this particular Catholic apologist andI am not particularly interested to know or how legitimate his particular arguments may or may not be. What I do find worth noting is Turretinfan’s arguments defending the heresy of iconoclasm by proping up the iconoclast council of Hieria(754) as somehow out manning John of Damascus. As an aside, I highly recommend Amrosios Giakalis’, Images of the Divine: The Theology of Icons at the Seventh Ecumenical Council, Revised Ed.Brill, 2005. It is a very short book and quite expensive, but it is probably one of the best pieces of secondary literature I have to date come across. It is a good one stop shopping point for reading on the subject. What follows are some of my notes.

Eucharist as the only acceptable form or figure. What is at play here is the notion of a figure. Christ uses lots of images for himself in the Gospels-Vine, lamb, Son, etc. so strictly speaking the Eucharist isn’t the only acceptable image. What is important though is the notion of a figure that the iconoclasts are using. They are averse to any created “shape” and it is precisely because they take the Eucharist to transcend shape or created form that they deem it acceptable. 

“The sanctified bread is ‘the true image of the economy of the incarnation of Christ’ not of Christ himself. With such a conception of ‘form’, the iconoclasts depart radically from the biblical, especially Pauline, terminology which regards the form ‘form’ as synonymous with’nature’ or substance (Phil. 2:6-7). By interpreting the bread as the unique form or type (typos) with the power to represent his incarnation, but without the power to represent the actual humanity of his person, the iconoclasts believe that they have found a satisfactory solution to the problem of idolatry, since in their view the problem consists precisely in the worship of ‘forms’, whereas the bread is ‘formless.'” Giakalis, 70. Informed matter in the Aristotelian sense that the iconoclasts employed and endorsed was not capable of bearing the divine power andso no icon was permissible. It was only because they took the Eucharist to transcend matter qua type that it was deemed acceptable. The basis then for their aversion to icons is grounded in a Greek pagan denigration of matter as opposed to God. Giakalis, 69,ff.

This is why they spoke of the Eucharistic bread as “formless” or “without shape” (amorphous) and as a type (typos) of the work of Christ, rather than an image of his humanity. And becauseof this, they essentially denied the physicality of Christ’s resurrection body, endorsing a kind of Docetism. The iconoclasts are essentially Origenists.

“The matter that they keep repeating is lifeless, dead and ignoble reflects their conviction that matter has no place in the resurrection, and will not be glorified in the life to come at the end of the ages. Most probably this is their deepest reason for calling images ‘false’ and ‘spurious.’ Since neither Christ nor the saints are to have material bodies in the life to come, it follows that the material likenesses of the iconophiles are falsely and spuriously called icons of Christ or the saints.” Giakalis, 71-72

“The important thing for them is that every attempt to ‘raise up’ the material bodies of the saints as icons is blasphemous since such bodies will not exist in the final resurrection. Besides, sanctity is regarded as a ‘dignity’ and it is clear that this dignity does not refer to an actual participation n the deifying energy of God, but simply to an attainment of a contemplative prelapsarian state of perfection.” Giakalis, 73

 “Sanctification and dematerialization are parallel processes and it is almost impossible for iconoclasts to distinguish between them.” Giakalis, 74

The problem with matter-Iconoclasts there spoke of matter as evil, as  “common and dishonourable matter” As 2nd Nicea makes clear “The usefulness of matter should not be overlooked just because it is vilified or shown to be base though being used for various contrary purposes.” 2ndNicea upholds a biblical view of creation over against the Platonism of the iconoclasts.

Ecumenicity of Heirara

Practically any council convened by the emperor was deemed ecumenical since the term denoted the imperial authority by which it was convoked. To be ecumenical in the theological sense it would require per canon law an invitation to other sees, specifically apostolic ones and their presence by delegation, by letter or deference. The fact that Heirara thought of itself as “ecumenical” is of little argumentative value. What Turretinfan needs is a council that meets the appropriate canonical conditions, but the one he’s picked doesn’t do so.

Condemnation of John of Damascusper se is irrelevant-Even if its true that John of Damascus stood directly  under the condemnation of Heirara, that by itself is irrelevant since Athanasius for example stood under similar condemnations, which weren’t valid judgments in the first place since they violated church law and tradition and so like them they were simply manifestations of imperial policy. Emperors were precluded form directing the debates in councils, let alone setting forth their theological destinations before hand as Constantine V did at Heirara.

Moreover, prior to 754 other patriartchates, specifically apostolic sees had already denounced the emperor prior to his council so any claim to ecclesiastical normativity is further weakened.

Even according to the council and the emperor, the issue was Christological-the iconoclastic objections depended on a rather Nestorian/Eutychian confusion which took the hypostasis of the incarnate Christ to be the product of the union. If the hypostasisis composite in that way, then surely to make an image of Christ would be to either confuse or separate the natures. But that is not Chalcedonian Christology, but Nestorian and Eutychian Christology. What about thosewho saw Christ? Is vision essentially idolatrous? Taking a picture of me doesn’t abstract my soul from my body or my person from either or both. Last I checked my soul and my hypostasis weren’t empirically detectable so that no image of my body could separate them from my body in any case. Further, at best, the only way to make that old canard of an argument work is to suppose that the persona of Christ is the product of the union of the two natures. An attempt then to portray one will entail portraying the other since the persona per se is constituted by the two natures. But of course that isn’t Chalcedon, so the objection depends on the objector assuming a Nestorian Christology. Besides, if the reality of Christ’s death, separating his human soul from his body didn’t separate either of them from his divine person, a picture certainly can’t. And beyondthat why suppose that an attempt is made to separate the matter of Christ’s body from his divine person and put into the painting? It certainly isn’t the case when someone takes a picture of me. So why can’t the humanity of Christ stay where it is so to speak and still be represented in a picture? Unless of course Jesus no longer has a genuine physical body as the iconoclasts supposed.(Does Turretinfanwish to agree with this?) This is why they spoke of Christ’s humanity as “uncircumscribed” during the incarnation and after the ascension. The problem is the Reformed departure from Chalcedon’s teaching with their notion of the persona mediatoris. This departure is documented in Richard Muller’s Christ and the Decree: Christology and Predestination in Reformed Theology from Calvin to Perkins.

Also to attribute to the iconophiles the same position as the pagans in thinking of the relation of prototype to image is historically incorrect.

“By contrast, the mentality of the iconoclasts, who wish to attribute to their opponents the essential identification of the icon with the prototype, is purely Greek and reflects pre-Christian conceptions regarding idols.” Giakalis, 86.

It was the iconoclasts who identified prototype with image by essence, which is why they accused the iconophilesof making idols initially. It was because the iconoclasts assumed the pagan identification between prototype and image that they imputed idolatry to the iconophiles. So the pagan shoe is on the other foot here.

As for John of D’s statements, the question is what the text says and not what the translation says. The term employed is proskuneo. What fixes John’s use of proskuneo is not a specific translator’s judgment but how he says he understands it, and he says explicitly so as to deny worship except to God alone. Older translations often use “worship” according to older English usage which permitted obeisance or veneration to be covered under the single term.

Supposed Silence-There are no references to women taking communion either. There are no prescriptions regarding wedding ceremonies, funeral rites, the celebration of Paschaor Christ’s Mass. Protestants of Scottish variety in the Second Reformation chucked these things on the basis you give against images. Why then do you seem to accept these but not images? Secondly, one should take Galatians 3:1 to mind as well. What was the act of portraying to the church in Galatia of Christ portrayed?  What it merely a verbal depiction? Christ gives lots of figures of himself in the NT-Lamb, vine, etc.

Jesus doesn’t say please write books about me either. You also don’t have Jesus saying to pass around anointed clothes form the apostles and other relics, but it was done in the NT church, seemingly approvingly in the book of Acts.

The Apostolic Fathers don’t mention lots of things, due to their direct concerns or the shortness of their writings. And even if they did, you probably wouldn’t take it as supporting evidence but would dismiss it as yet more proof of an early apostasy. It is rather fallacious to infer that the images weren’t present simply on that basis alone, considering we have archaeological data that seems to indicate otherwise. Excavations at Nazareth under the chapel of the Annunciation reveal images of Mary and John the Baptist with inscriptions indicating venerating their image. No secure date can be given but it is likely that the images go back to at least the third century and possibly to the 2nd century.

Even the iconoclasts in their later polemical works agreed that icons weren’t idols. Second, the minor iconoclastic controversy in the 4th century motivated likewise by Origenism indicates the presence of images in churches as do the archaeological excavations as Duros Europas which pre-date the Nicene period. How far back is this pagan influence theory going to take us? Secondly, paganism could just as easily influenced against images in terms of a rejection of matter, as was the case with Origen and Origenism, which had a pervasive influence. And third, we’d need proof that the introduction of images was the result of pagan syncretism and not a speculation that this is in fact happened.

“…it was from such a philosophical andspeculative background that the iconoclasts derived their attitudes towards ‘image worship’ considering it in purely Platonic and Neoplatonic terms to be idolatry.” Giakalis, 96.

Depiction of God. Icons don’t depict the divine nature and this was agreed upon by the iconoclasts and iconodules so to say that icons attempt to depict God is something of misrepresentation. 

“Accordingly they refuse to represent the first person of the Holy Trinity, the Father, since he totally transcends every sensory experience: ‘Why do we not describe andpaint the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ? Because we do not know who he is, and it is impossible for the nature of God to be described and painted.” Giakalis, 76, from Mansi 12, 963D:13, 101A

Addendum

 

I have to wonder where Turretinfan’s outrage and condemnation is for Lutheran adoration/veneration of statues. I have to wonder if he consider’s Lutherans guilty of idolatry as well.

24 Responses to Notes to an Iconoclast

  1. Another simple set of questions is:
    1. Is it okay for a coach to kiss his superbowl trophy?
    2. Is it okay for a father to kiss his children?
    3. Is it okay for a soldier to kiss a photo of his wife while away on duty?
    4. Is it okay for a president to place His hand on the scriptures when being sworn in?
    5. Is it okay for us to kiss the scriptures before we read them?
    6. Is it okay to great one another with a holy kiss?

    What about the inverse of those questions?
    1. Is it okay for a father to abuse his children?
    etc…

    We already *do* venerate everything around us. Why leave out the things we cherish the most: the scriptures, one another, the church, the saints, etc…

  2. RiverC,

    Ask your friend to give you an example of anything in this world which cannot lead us astray. The answer is no. Why? Because it is in the rebellion of our own heart that we despise the things of God. Everything He has created is good, it is we who use them for evil. Such is fundamental Christian ontology.

    Since this is true, why in the world would God give us the second commandment? Why would God say “no images” and then explicitly instruct them to create images for the temple and other areas of life (cherubim, snake on a pole, etc)? The answer is simple: “the law is a tutor of Christ.” The prohibition against images is so that when the True Image of the Father, Christ Himself, is revealed we would know him. Does the golden calf reveal Christ? Does the serpent lifted up? Which one is instructed against? Which one does God command?

    Thus, we see that the purpose for the prohibition on images is so that we might know Christ in his coming, Himself being the True Image of the Father. This is why we put aside the law after Christ, it is not effective to save aside from bringing us to Christ, in whom the law is fulfilled. In this sense, how do we dare *not* make images of Christ since he is the True Image of the Father? This is why Nicea II not only allows the usage of icons, but requires their veneration.

  3. RiverC says:

    I think the core objection is the use of icons as part of worship.

    Beyond that, possibly his objection to them being in the church is cultural – shock factor. I think, however, his nascent Westminsterism might take hold if he realizes this; he read ‘On the Divine Images’ by John of Damascus and seemed unconvinced. Not that I expected he would be given to a sudden change of mind, but hoped it might give him an understanding of what is going on. (He can still choose to disagree with the practice.)

    In this sense, I feel I ought to be very careful; a point of decision will undoubtedly arise where he will choose to agree with the WC and the implications of the more-or-less Monergist/quasi Nestorian position, or he will recognize the worship/veneration distinction and the reality of the image of God being made plainly visible in Jesus Christ.

    Both would be some trouble for him, I think.

    What strikes me as strange is in how many believers, who have the intelligence, the fullness of their beliefs remains unformed. So when I talk to Protestants, I find most often that what I assume their position to be is not it, not because it is not where their beliefs will take them, but because they are either ignorant of this, or have yet to think it through.

    I am reminded of my schooling; we basically learned nothing in 12 years. We more or less went over the same surface stuff over and over again, in slightly more detail each time around. It is odd, but my experience in Protestant Bible studies, camps and seminars was similar. You would get bits of the ‘deeper’ but it was on account of God working, and you needed no particularly Christian atmosphere to bring it on.

    I get the feeling our current ‘ecumenical’ atmosphere is brought about mostly by ignorance… I hope I’m wrong.

    Any idea of a plainspeak way to explain the whole thing?

  4. River,

    So their argument would be it is permissable to have images in churches without veneration or only outside the church for artistic purposes?

    If the former, then why doesn’t that contravene the regulative principle? Where is the command to make images used in worship according to them?

    If the latter, what would be its purpose in art if not religious?

  5. photios says:

    “Emperors were precluded form directing the debates in councils, let alone setting forth their theological destinations before hand as Constantine V did at Heirara.”

    Perry,
    What do you do when your best theologian also happens to be your emperor?

    Photios

  6. RiverC says:

    Perry & Co, my roommate, who is PCA, gave me the same argument – that he didn’t have any problem with all of the icons in and of themselves, but that his concern was that they could (or – as he seemed to imply, would) lead some astray.

    I told him that (and my argumentation is notoriously spotty) for anything in the church or even something from the scripture one could be led astray. I.e. reading just some select Old Testament passages about the wrath and curses of God, etc.

    Is there a good, sound, loving refutation to this? I disagree strongly with the perspective, both from experience and scripture – but cannot think of a way to explain the 2nd commandment to him such that he could understand that icons – as employed by the Church – are not breaking it, and that simply having them around for this purpose is not an invitation to idolatry.

    photios & matt: Would you say that the seizing (or receiving) of power both ecclesiastical and political by Rome might have created a tension that gave birth to an opposite reaction – pushing church and state apart? Or is that too much of a gross simplification?

  7. And it seems to me that if we can venerate secular things, but not religous things (granting the distinction because though there ought not be such a distinction there is in practice) we venerate earthly power more than heavenly. Which is to say, we treasure earthly power more than heavenly–or to use Jesus’ language, we lay up treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal.

  8. photios says:

    The only reason you have this religious and secular context of veneration is because of the relation of opposition between Church and State formed by Protestant ideology. That distinction does not exist for the Hebrew.

  9. Kenny,

    Either way, Jesus is not a human person. The Athanasian Creed is really neither since it isn’t Athanasian or from him and it is a later western document never having ecumenical status. It says only Jesus is God and man, which refers to his two natures. I am not concerned with English usage which on an every day level is imprecise. Shall we use it for the Trinity too? An individual in terms of something like a substance is not sufficient to pick out Christ qua hypostasis.

    As for Calvin, I’d just continue on up the historical trail to Knox and then into the age of Protestant scholasticism. What do the churches from those periods look like do you think?

    Calvin speaks on the matter in a number of places, but you can take a quick romp through his work on the need to reform the church and its pretty clear there as well as other places.

  10. Kenny says:

    On ‘human person’ – I didn’t say there was a human person in Christ, I said Christ is a human person. The use of ‘human person’ in many contexts in the English language is equivalent to the ordinary use of anthropos in ancient Greek or ‘homo’ in classical Latin. I used it in this sense without considering the technical meanings of the English word ‘person’ in theological contexts. The so-called ‘Athanasian’ Creed explicitly endorses my claim, so interpreted:

    30. Est ergo fides recta, ut creadamus et confiteamur: quod Dominus noster Jesus christus Dei Filius, Deus et homo est

    I am not an expert on dogmatics, so I don’t know whether the enanthropeo in the Nicene Creed is standardly interpreted as meaning something other than “was made man” as in the traditional English text (“was in-manned?”), so it is less clear to me whether the Nicene Creed directly supports this claim.

    Are you claiming that ‘human person’ never has this sort of meaning in English? If so, I am sure I can produce lexicographic evidence to the contrary. If you are claiming that it doesn’t take this meaning in technical theological discourse, I immediately admitted as much, when the confusion was pointed out. If, on the other hand, you are claiming that the view that Christ is now (an individual) anthropos or homo is heterodox, I cannot understand how that could possibly be so.

    On PCA vs. OPC – it is my understanding that OPC is more traditional/conservative across the board than PCA, but I am not directly familiar with OPC. There have been disputes about the interpretation both of the Bible itself and of confessional documents, and the PCA has been serious about remaining faithful to both, but has come to more liberal conclusions on their meanings then the OPC (though still much more conservative than mainline Protestant bodies). I also have the impression (but I’m again not sure if it’s true) that the OPC requires more in terms of the beliefs of its members. I think there is some variation by congregation, but my PCA congregation only requires members to affirm the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed; only elders are required to agree with the Westminster Confession.

    On rejection of images – I certainly believe you that Calvin rejects the distinction between veneration and worship, but this doesn’t amount to a rejection of the practice of making images of Christ or saints or angels. Furthermore, I doubt if Calvin thinks it is idolatrous when, e.g., a Lutheran minister bows to the altar as part of the liturgy, or when someone kneels in the presence of a civil sovereign. If I’m right about this, then the ‘veneration’ Calvin rejects must be something stronger. I would really like to know where the actual text on the subject is to be found.

  11. Kenny,

    what the PCA does seems different than say what the OPC does. Why is that do you think?

    Calvin, Knox and plenty of others on the Reformed side rejected images altogether. Calvin for example specifically rejects the distinction between veneration and worship.

  12. Turretinfan,

    So when the commandment speaks of not making images of things in heaven you think it is permissable to do so, just so long as they aren’t used in the church service? Is that correct?

  13. Kenny,

    Speaking of a human person in Christ isn’t confusing. Its clear, but heterodox.

  14. Kenny says:

    I suppose ‘human person’ (or, for that matter, ‘human being’) is confusing because of the technical terminology of trinitarian theology. I only use the term to emphasize humanness over maleness.

    Yes, I suppose the actual texts of the prophetic visions are ambiguous and there are good theological reasons (and reasons in other texts) to interpret the prophets as seeing Christ rather than the Father.

  15. photios says:

    Well the prophets never saw the Father. They saw the Lord of glory who is Christ. Christ revealed that there is a Father.

    There ya go using Christ is a human person again. Just say Christ is a man (the general).

    Photios

  16. Kenny says:

    TurretinFan – Presumably you refer to the following:

    Q. 109. What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?
    A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment [include] … 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…

    It is clear to me that this would prohibit, for instance, representing the Holy Spirit as a dove. (I should say that this is a little odd, since God Himself represented Himself in such a way, but I’ll let that go.) It would also prohibit (even in a mental image) representing the Father as a human person (despite the fact that he gave the prophets visions of Himself in this fashion). However, it is not at all clear to me that this prohibits representing Christ as a human person since, after all, Christ is a human person (though, of course, not merely a human person). As such, this wouldn’t seem to be representing God in the image or likeness of a creature: rather it would be an attempt to represent God as he genuinely is. The assumption that, e.g., the Father, has an appearance to be imitated is blasphemous in itself, but God the Son certainly (now) has an image that can be imitated. Accordingly, it is not clear that the Catechism does forbid this sort of thing, and if it did it seems it would be on shaky theological ground.

    Now, the next prohibition, against “worshipping of [images], or God in [images] or by [images]” is another matter entirely, which seems to me to rest on much firmer ground.

  17. TurretinFan says:

    Perry,

    1) I’m not granting your claims about the iconoclasts, just pointing out what I reject. Perhaps at another time I’ll address the “Origenism” claim.

    2) It would not be permissible to make paintings of Jesus for either purpose.

    Kenny,

    1) Pictures purporting to be of angels would be ok, although not if used for worship.

    2) See the Westminster Larger Catechism’s discussion on the 2nd commandment for the fullest exposition of the sense of the Westminster Confession of Faith on the issue of images purporting to be of God.

    -TurretinFan

  18. Turretinfan,

    1. The “some” icnoclasts” that are motivated by Origenism are the ones in the council you seem to favor. As I noted, their collapsing of prototype and image was the basis of their objections, which you ustilize. Without that I do not see how most of them will go through.

    2. So why would it be permissable to make a painting of Jesus for artb but not in church?

  19. Kenny says:

    1) Tenth Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, a conservative PCA congregation, has representative art depicting angels in their sanctuary (though I don’t recall seeing any depictions of Christ there), and has sponsored local art shows and things, and I am not familiar with any restriction on representative art in these shows. Pacific Crossroads Church, the PCA congregation of which I am currently a member, printed a depiction of Christ in the Easter Sunday bulletin yesterday.

    2) Where in the Westminster Confession are images discussed? I have not been able to locate the discussion. I am not an expert on Reformation history, but I was always under the impression that the Reformers’ objections were primarily to the use of images in worship, rather than to the existence of images. If it was indeed the latter could you (or TurretinFan) direct me to some documentation of this fact?

    3) In the post on my blog which I linked in my last comment, I quote two Orthodox sources which suggest a use of icons that goes beyond the sort of treatment that I have said is acceptable:

    The veneration of the holy icons is based not merely on the nature of the subjects represented in them, but also on the faith in that gracious presence which the Church calls forth by the power of the sanctification of the icon. The rite of the blessing of the icon establishes a connection between the image and its prototype, between that which is represented and the representation itself. (Sergius Bulgakov, The Orthodox Church, p. 163)

    Finally, the icon has a liturgical function, it is a means of worship and veneration. This is one of its primary functions, more important than the first. Like sacred hymns and music, the icon is used as a means of worshipping God and venerating His saints. As such, it is essentially symbolic, leading the soul from the visible to the invisible, from the material to the spiritual, from the symbol to the prototype or original which it represents. (Constantine Cavarnos, “The Function of Icons”)

    I don’t have any problem with having such symbols, and I agree that if we have them we ought to treat them with respect, but both of these quotes indicate something that goes beyond this. Whatever this additional ‘something’ is, I freely acknowledge that I don’t understand it very well, but insofar as I do understand it, it seems objectionable to me.

    Also, I’m not sure these quotes line up with what you say about the relationship between image and prototype above (but I didn’t understand that part very well either – I’m really rather beyond my expertise here).

  20. TurretinFan says:

    A couple of points of clarification:

    1) Obviously, to the extent that some of the iconoclasts may have indulged in a Manichean and/or Gnostic opposition to created matter, I would oppose their position.

    2) But yes, I would and do oppose Lutheran, modern Anglican, and liberal Presbyterian use of representations of Christ (i.e. paintings, statues, actors in movies,etc.).

    3) I tried, to some extent, to distinguish between mere painting and statues, since the latter form of practice seems to have been traditionally condemned even by the iconodules.

    4) I apologize that I may not stop back here regularly to check on comments, although I will gladly consider posting some follow-up comments on my blog.

    -TurretinFan

  21. Kenny,

    The contemporary position varies from presbytery to presbytery. And this is in large measure dueto the weakening of the Westminster standards in the last century. The Reformed have claimed not that it merely could lead to idolatry but that it is idolatry.

    I am not clear as to your question as to how Orthodoxy goes beyond veneration. Perhaps you mean the inclusion of the idea that participants receive or can receive a sanctifying energy in their devotional practices with icons. Hence iconography is influenced by or constructed on the basis of the doctrine of energies. We believe God’s power is not antithetical to working in and thru his created objects.

  22. Kenny says:

    (That last comment was accidentally submitted before I was done; apologies.)

    Most Protestant churches, including most conservative ‘Reformed’ churches, contain representative artwork, often including depictions of Christ, angels, or believers of past ages. There are many reasons why everyone should agree that it is permissible to make such depictions. Furthermore, any argument against hanging them up in a sanctuary would have to be of the same sort as an argument against serving alcohol at a church picnic: you would have to be claiming not that it is a sin in itself, but that it might tempt someone to a sin.

    What’s really at issue between reasonable and well-informed Protestant and Orthodox believers, it seems to me, ought not to be the making of such images, but the use or treatment of them. Here you at one point gloss proskuneo as ‘obeisance’ which suggests an argument I have heard before on this subject: that when Nicaea II and John of Damascus talk about veneration, they just mean the sort of respectful treatment we traditionally give to, e.g., the American flag. Of course, customs of this sort are rather muted in the modern US, but they have been much more extravagant in other times and places without necessarily falling into idolatry.

    I’m willing to accept this, but doesn’t the Orthodox conception of the veneration of saints and icons go beyond this? Most of the material on icons in modern Orthodoxy that I’ve read suggest that veneration involves some sort of idea of worshipping God through the icon with some sort of mystical connection, and there seem to be other sorts of liturgical/mystical practices. This is the point where it seems to me I have to part ways with Orthodoxy. Furthermore, it isn’t clear (at least to me) that Nicaea II actually supports these stronger claims. However, I don’t think I have understood the Orthodox position very clearly, so perhaps you can enlighten me further.

    (I discussed these issues at greater length on my own blog a while back.)

  23. Kenny says:

    So, I don’t follow turretinfan regularly, and the post you link doesn’t exactly give his position on this subject. However, the position you are arguing against here is a radical one that no one should accept, so I hope it’s a strawman. (If turretinfan accepts it, so much the worse for him.)

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