A statue of the crucifixion has been taken down from its perch on a church in Sussex because it was scaring local children and deterring worshippers, a vicar admitted today.
The Rev Ewen Souter, the vicar at St John's Church in Horsham, West Sussex, ordered the removal of the 10-foot sculpture of Jesus on the cross just before Christmas, branding it "unsuitable" and "a horrifying depiction of pain and suffering".
"It wasn't a suitable image for the outside of a church wanting to welcome worshippers. In fact, it was a real put-off.
"We're all about hope, encouragement and the joy of the Christian faith. We want to communicate good news, not bad news, so we need a more uplifting and inspiring symbol than execution on a cross."
O foolish Anglicans! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified, and yet you now refuse that image--not because you fear it may be blasphemous, idolatry, or too close to Catholicism, but because it might frighten, shock, or disturb someone? Did you receive the Spirit by observing positivism? Or by believing what you heard from God's word? Are you so foolish? Having been offered the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the world's expectations (Galatians 3)?
It seems that some churches today demand signs and others demand kindness be supreme, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block and folly to these, but to those who are called, in any denomination or none, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (1 Corinthians 1).
Without an execution on the cross, we have no good news, nothing that can uplift us and inspire us (Galatians 6:14). It is only through the cross--and the suffering that occurred upon it, which was much worse than a statue could ever depict--that we can be reconciled to God (Ephesians 2:12-18). We must not refuse to "look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2).
St. John's church, see with what strong words I write to you with my own hand! It is those want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to remove such a symbol of suffering, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even those who are ordained vicars do not themselves keep the word, but they desire to have the most meaningful aspects of it stripped away from your church meeting places. But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither symbols nor a lack of symbols count for anything, nor denominational ordination, but a new creation (Galatians 6:11-15).
See also: the crucifix in question.