A catechism for icons

1. Should icons be used in worship as a means by which God ministers to us?

Yes, we should find God’s presence and blessing mediated to us through true icons.

2. So then should icons be brought into public worship?

Not only should they, but they must be brought into worship on the Lord’s day. Those who do not bring their icons to worship need to repent of their behavior.

3. What are true icons?

True icons are images of God through whom he ordinarily acts and speaks and works. They are to be revered for the sake of the One whose image is stamped upon them.

4. Is it proper to bow to true icons?

Upon appropriate occasion it is fitting and right to bow to icons.

5. Is it proper to confess one’s sin to a true icon?

Upon appropriate occasion it is fitting and right to confess one’s sin to an icon.

6. How does one lawfully produce a true icon?

A husband and wife must have sex to produce a true icon, and God must bless them with conception.

7. Where in the Bible are icons first made?

Genesis 1.26-27

8. How are Christians taught to use icons in the Church?

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”

“Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.”

“Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”

“Greet one another with a holy kiss.”

Etc.

17 thoughts on “A catechism for icons

  1. Pingback: alastair.adversaria » So it has come to this…

  2. WTM

    I’m glad to see this question being engaged. However, I’m a little disappointed in that you don’t offer a single argument for why your position is correct. It seems to me that if you are going to write something as strong as thins, “2. So then should icons be brought into public worship? Not only should they, but they must be brought into worship on the Lord’s day. Those who do not bring their icons to worship need to repent of their behavior”, then you are morally obligated to deal with the reasons that these people you are condemning put forth for not agreeing with you.

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  3. pentamom

    WTM, read #2 in light of #6 and #7, and then find me anyone who actually disagrees with #2. In reality, there are no Christians condemned for disagreement with Mark’s catechism.

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  4. WTM

    Assigning a ‘sacramental’ quality to children in worship, and speaking of this quality in terms of “icon” and iconography, is quite a stretch – albeit an altruistic stretch – for the sacramental theology of many Protestants.

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  5. pentamom

    Also, “icon” is not a stretch, unless “icon” means something significantly different from “image” — which I don’t think it does.

    Reply
  6. mark Post author

    Anyone, Wade, not just children.

    The point is that God is known to us through other people. I would be more likely to make the sacramental personal than the personal sacramental. Not that we need to choose….

    Reply
  7. Sue

    That was great, with much to think about. Guess I don’t see much to argue with here, although it did take me a minute to get what you are saying. Are you familiar with John Paul II’s Theology of the Body?

    Reply
  8. RRoC

    Wonderful stuff. Really.

    Now I’m just wondering…

    “A husband and wife must have sex to produce a true icon…”

    Is the child of unwed parents not an icon?

    Reply
  9. mark Post author

    Wait, no. I knew I had accounted for that. The question is how one may “lawfully” make an icon. So that provisio governs the answer.

    See?

    Reply
  10. byron

    Very good. Thanks for this. Made me smile.
    Reminded me a great passage in City of God Book 22, where Augustine ponders whether the final vision of God mightn’t be mediated through our neighbour. See here for a discussion and some thoughts.

    Reply

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