Catholic devotees stage processions, light candles, carry them on their shoulders, kiss them, and bow down and pray before them. What Catholics perform before these images are indubitably acts of worship.
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Instruments to remember the Lord
or, objects of worship?

Letter to the Editor:
GOD'S MESSAGE, November 2005,  p.4

I  ALWAYS    READ    the   God's Message    (Pasugo)    though     I am not yet a member  of the Iglesia ni  Cristo.  I've noticed that in your articles that tackle image-worship,  you  always quote Exodus 20:3-5 and assert that   Catholics    violate    God's  commandment  expressed      in these verses.   But one seminarian  explained to me that Catholics  do not in fact worship images;  rather, they make use of them  as instruments   to   remember our Lord God  and  the saints.   According to him, some of them  regard these images as religious  souvenirs   that   prevent  them from doing evil. What can you say about this explanation?

Lian R. Vasquez
Queensland, Australia

Editor's reply:

The explanation of the seminarian you mentioned is understandable, considering that many Catholics believe that they do not worship the images of the so-called saints, which are found in their chapels and homes. However, what Catholics perform before these images are indubitably acts of worship. In predominantly Catholic countries such as the Philippines, Catholic devotees stage processions, light candles, and other flowers in honor of these images. They carry them on their shoulders, kiss them, and bow down and pray before them. In observance of the Catholic teaching as taught in the Catholic catechism:

“Ought we to worship holy images?

“We should have, particularly in our churches, images of Our Lord, as also of the Blessed Virgin and the saints, and we should pay them due honor and veneration….

“Is the worship of the saints confined to their persons?

 “No; it extends also to their relics and images.” (Catechism of Christian Doctrine, p. 87, emphasis ours) )

Note that Catholic authorities require Catholics not just to render “due honor” and “veneration” to images but also to “worship” them. James Gibbons, a Catholic Cardinal, confirms this further, thus:

     “…the act which is called the worship of an image is really the worship of Christ Himself, through and in the presence of the image and by occasion of it;…” (The Faith of Our Fathers, pp. 164-165, emphasis ours)

But the Holy Scriptures, on the other hand, has these pronouncements regarding image-worship:

 “What profit is the image, that its maker should carve it, The molded image, a teacher of lies, That the maker of its mold should trust in it, To make mute idols? Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awake!’ To silent stone, ‘Arise! It shall teach!’ Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, Yet in it there is no breath at all.” (Hab. 2:18-19, New King James Version)

“And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” (Rom. 1:23-25, Ibid.)

 It is for this reason that we are against the Catholic teaching and practice of worshiping images. By quoting verses of the Bible to show that such a practice is a violation of God’s commandment, we also expound the right manner of worshiping God as taught by our Lord Jesus Christ.

 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24, New International Version)

Worshiping God in spirit is by worshiping His name, and worshiping God in truth is by obeying—not going against—His will (Matt. 6:9-10).


Bible Study Suggestion: If you have further questions, please feel free to visit the Iglesia ni Cristo congregation nearest you. A minister or an evangelical worker would be happy to answer any biblical question you have in mind. For the latest Worship Service Directory of Iglesia ni Cristo Locales and Congregations outside the Philippines, please visit www.iglesianicristoworshipservice.com or just click link at home page.

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