Icons in Worship and Church History....

For those who have followed the discussion over the meaning of the second commandment on this site over the past several years, here is a typically helpful post by Doug Wilson on the current and ancient debate over icons in worship.


Dear David:

Reading Pastor Wilson's post reminded me that the more I read the church fathers, the more I like Calvin and the Puritans.

Why is that?

The author makes a good point that the early fathers were far from monolithic on this or most any other issue, and so can't be the sole arbiter of what constitutes sacred tradition. However, this highlights the biggest divide between Protestantism and the Catholic and Orthodox churches.

The Second Nicene Council weighed the writings of the various fathers in light of the Bible and rendered a decision. Catholics and Orthodox believe that once an ecumencial council rules, the matter is settled, and that God expects us to abide by it. (We disagree between ourselves on whether the later councils were validly convened, but not on whether the decision of a valid council is final.) Protestants seem willing to accept this when they agree with that ruling (as at the First Nicene Council) but consider it open to debate when they don't. That's the part that Pr. Wilson doesn't address in this article.

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