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Is Praying to the Cross Idolatry in the Name of Jesus?

Updated on February 24, 2012

I am friends with a Catholic couple who have a practice of praying to the crucifix. I pointed out to them that this is prohibited by the Ten Commandments:

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me". - Exodus 20:4, 5

However, my friends condone their practice of praying to the cross by saying it is in the name of Jesus. This is idolatry in the name of Jesus! They say that they do not actually pray to the cross; they pray "through" it to God. This helps them to visualize Jesus. This justification is a deception of the worst kind, because it leads people to believe that their violation of God's Word is acceptable to God because it is in Jesus' name.

The Golden God

This is not the first time that the devil has attempted this kind of trickery. In Exodus 32, as a result of Moses delaying to return from the top of Mt. Sinai, the Israelited became restless and convinced Aaron to join them in making an idol, a golden calf, to worship, in the name of the Lord. After making this idol, the people proclaimed: "These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt". Verse 4. Aaron even built an alter to the idol and proclaimed a feast to it, saying, "To morrow is a feat to the LORD." Verse 5.

Furthermore, the Israelites began making offerings to this man-made idol (verse 6). They performed some of the same religious ceremonies for this idol that they did for the Lord. How did the Lord respond to all of this?

"And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." - Verses 7, 8

I wonder what the idolaters rationale was for worshipping the golden calf? "We're not actually worshipping the calf, we are worshipping the Lord "through" the calf. It is just a symbol to give us a visual representation of the Lord." The devil has become more clever and less blatant over time. He has believers committing the same offense now as did the Israelites who made the golden calf; with the exception that they are not using a calf, they are using a cross. This is idolatry in the name of Jesus!

Our God is an Awesome God

What is the danger of committing idolatry in the name of Jesus? It lowers peoples' concept of God. Jesus is not to be comprehended by the cross. The cross is just man-made wood and metal. Jesus is greater than that. He says, "... The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?" Isaiah 66:1-3. In other words, no cross can give us a true conccept of our God; because our God is an awesome God! What's more, God will not hear the prayers of someone who knowingly violates His word: "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination." Proverbs 28:9.

The cross is an important symbol of the Christian faith. However, Praying to it in any way, shape or form is idolatry in the name of Jesus. This is just an old trick of the devil with a new twist. Jesus cannot be comprehended in the cross; and God will not hear the prayers of those who wiflully violate His word. If you have been praying to, or "through", the cross, I encourage to forsake this deceptive practice and worship God accordingly.

"... the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." John 4:23, 24

More Christian Hubs by Greg Sereda

Based on confrontational questions I encountered regarding the existence of God, and the need for God.

A list of five important reasons for the Ten Commandments.

A symbolic comparison of Leviticus 19:19 to the gospel, discussing the biblical symbolism of cattle, seeds and apparel. Deals with Christian associations, the importance of consistent theology and Christian character.

All Scripture references are from the King James Version Bible.


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    • Greg Sereda profile image

      Greg Sereda 6 years ago from Sandomierz, Poland

      L.R. - I agree with you about being offended by seeing Christ on the cross. He's not there anymore. We serve a risen Savior!

    • profile image

      Lone Ranger 6 years ago

      Greg, I appreciate your article and I agree with you.

      In fact, lately I have been wondering if the cross is more a symbol of Christ's victimization and death on the cross, than as a symbol of hope.

      What led to this train-of-thought is a few Roman Catholic families I know. Though they do not live according to God's word in any way, shape, of form, they do have many crucifixes and crosses in their home.

      I am offended seeing the dead body of Christ on the cross. It is a symbol of death! Only a risen Christ does us any good and Christ is alive and has beaten death brought by the cross of Calvary and has thusly ascended to His Father in heaven to sit at His right hand forever more!

      I also notice many Satanists and Heavy Metal bands wearing "the cross". I know they don't love God or keep His commandments, so I think they, too, see it as a symbol of Christ's victimization and death on the cross. But, unlike Christians, they believe Christ actually stayed defeated by death, having never left the cross.

      Best wishes and be well - L.R.

    • Greg Sereda profile image

      Greg Sereda 6 years ago from Sandomierz, Poland

      noturningback - sage advice.

    • noturningback profile image

      noturningback 6 years ago from Edgewater, MD. USA

      As followers of Christ, we must be careful about each believer and the way we interact with them.

      Let us consider what that cross means to us all; without that cross we would have no eternal life! I'm not advocating praying to an inanimate object, but I would really want to dig deeper with them on this.

      Let us all be humble in every way and even when we have varying opinions of scripture interpretations, let us be patient with one another.

    • Greg Sereda profile image

      Greg Sereda 6 years ago from Sandomierz, Poland

      Vladimir Uhri - Thanks, brother.

    • Vladimir Uhri profile image

      Vladimir Uhri 6 years ago from HubPages, FB

      Amen brother. Great Hub.

    • Greg Sereda profile image

      Greg Sereda 6 years ago from Sandomierz, Poland

      @Bronterae: Thanks for the encouraging remarks!

    • Bronterae profile image

      Bronterae 6 years ago from Nor Cal

      I appreciate this article too. I have been thinking a lot about the things certain churches do which are completely opposite from what Jesus taught. It was a clear revelation to me when I read about the Pharasees and who they reminded me of, hint hint...Keep writing!

    • felixtroll2 profile image

      felixtroll2 6 years ago from Manitowoc, WI


    • Greg Sereda profile image

      Greg Sereda 6 years ago from Sandomierz, Poland

      @hawkdad73: I think churches that are extremely lavish are trying to compensate for something they are lacking: the Holy Spirit.

    • hawkdad73 profile image

      hawkdad73 6 years ago from Riverside, Iowa


      You make a very good point about idolatry. Could you say the same thing about ornate churches? To have such lavish churches in the name of a God who does not encourage wealth for wealth's sake, it seems to be a double standard.