Saved from sacrifice: a theology of ... - Google Books
This is one of the books I'm currently reading.
This morning I was blessed with an art histoy lesson about the early church and their non-use of the the cross to express visually their faith.
Beginning around page 160 the author talks about the early church eschewing images of the cross for the first four centuries.
Their images, the visible art they employed, he argues represent the cross of Jesus, but hid it, if you will, because crucifixion was still an active practice in the political landscape. The cross was hid, in the anchor, in a ship's mast, in the Chi-Rho. Early Christians knew that while the cross of Christ was saving, what happened there was a great injustice. While they strongly identified with the cross when they faced persecution, they did not want to suggest to their persecuters that this was their chief desire. I'm reminded of the film, To End All Wars, a character who follows Jesus is crucified because of the artistic images present in a Bible snuck into a World War Two prison camp; the early Christians didn't desire to encourage replication. What they understood was that God came to save the world from death, and death is the result of sacrifice.