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A Heart For God: On A Pole and A Piece of Cloth

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

On A Pole and A Piece of Cloth

"[King Hezekiah] removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan." (2 Kings 18:4)

To rescue the Israelites from biting serpents, Moses was told to put a snake on a pole. (John 3:14; 12:32) If the people looked to the pole after having been bitten, they would be healed. The problem arose later, however, when the people began to worship the pole.

It happens with pieces of cloth, too.

The Shroud of Turin, that burial cloth of Jesus (purported to be), is "venerated" by the Catholic Church and others. "Veneration" (according to and/or "to venerate" means: "1. to hold in deep respect; revere 2. to honor in recognition of qualities of holiness, excellence, wisdom, etc." It's a form of worship. Notwithstanding the fact that carbon dating has placed the Shroud of Turin between approximately 1260 and 1390 A.D. How could it have then wrapped the body of our Lord in the first century?

The Shroud of Turin is not genuine no matter what those who stand to make a buck on it tell you. It's amazing how far even the most learned scientists and scholars will go to sell something ~ a documentary, a picture of Christ? (It's done with politicians and global warming, too?!)

The conclusion: We don't worship (venerate) a piece of cloth (the Shroud of Turin), pole (Nehushtan of old), political figure, painting, place, Pope or preacher/pastor (it happens in bigger churches) ~ or whatever else kind of "p" you can come up with (principality, power). We worship a Person. (Exodus 20:4a; Matthew 4:10)

(Both pictures above are in the public domain: HERE and HERE.)

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Anonymous George Vogt said...

Pastor Mike, greetings. Just want to say I enjoy your posts but that secular definition of veneration is not the same Catholic veneration nor the assumption that Catholics automatically (or worse, "must") believe in the authenticity of the shroud. First to be as short as possible, The Catholic Church at present has no official declaration for or against authenticity of the shroud. I could further explain however this is really ONLY something of contention if it were true that the shroud (or any other image, relic, icon, etc for that matter) is something to be worshiped. Absolutely and emphatically not. ONLY God is to be worshiped. Which brings us to the concept of "veneration". To Catholics, the veneration of, say an image, is not worship of the image or the object upon which the image resides, but directs the heart an mind toward whose image it is. IF the image is of God, then such veneration leads to the worship and adoration of God, NOT the image. Just as we may have pictures of our loved ones, it is not the actual picture or paper it is on that is important to us, but the thoughts of those loved ones in our hearts and minds. The Catholic understanding of the true nature of veneration goes back some 1,700 years to the writings of St. Basil and the Council of Nicea and affirmed by the Council of Trent and Vatican II. Current written instruction (founded by the aforementioned) reads as follows: "The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, "the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype," and "whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it." An additional reference of St Thomas Aquinas (about 750 years ago)is included: "The honor paid to sacred images is a "respectful veneration," not the adoration due to God alone".
There are MANY misunderstandings of the Catholic Faith, sadly held by many Catholics themselves.
That said, we Christians have a huge battle against the culture of death and the relativism of today's society. We are at our best when we find common ground to stand firm against such while charitably trying to better understand how God is calling each of us, using our individual abilities and the ways He is working in our respective churches toward communion with Him and each other, and most importantly for the salvation of souls.
May God continue to bless you.
George Vogt

10:20 AM  

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