The friend that sent me this text writes: “this article shows the point of view of an evangelical on icons and the use of icons. I think there are a lot of things in movement in the western, and especially protestant, world concerning Church Tradition, as if there was a look back into the past and the East for guidance. If the return of the protestants into the full communion of the Church isn’t happening anytime soon, any step in the right direction should certainly be welcome. The author also lists a few questions on the theology of icons (in the “critique” section), would you mind sharing your point of view on those?”

Before I publish my opinion on this “critique” of the Orthodox tradition, I would like first to read yourselves Dirksen’s text to have some idea.

Icons in Worship

From Dale B. H. Dirksen’s Icons for Evangelicals: the theology and use of icons in Orthodox Churches and potential applications for the use of symbol in contemporary Evangelical Churches

A survey of various ideas around the use of icons in worship. Included is a discussion around the historical Orthodox theology of icon and a related critique. Practical suggestions are given regarding the possibility of inclusion of icon in contemporary evangelical worship contexts. Included is a glossary of related terms.

Table of Contents

A Brief Overview Of The Use Of Icon In The Orthodox Church
The Understanding of Tradition in the Orthodox Church
Origins of the Use of Icons
The Development Of The Theology of Icons
The Edict of Milan
Image as Equal to Word
The Kenosis of God
Icons Represent the “Person” Of The Subject
Latreia vs Proskinesis
Iconoclastic Controversies and The Defense of Icons
The Seventh Ecumenical Council
Themes and Examples of Icons
Some Physical Features of Icons
Transcendence In Icons
Some Examples of Icons
The Iconostasis
Practical Uses of Icons

A Brief Critique of The Orthodox Theology of Icons

The Implications of A Theology of Equality Between Image And Word, Contradictions in the Theology of Icons, Orthodoxy And The Other Arts, The Dangers of Veneration as Idolatry, Problems In The Idea of Beauty, Eliminating the Personality of the Icon Painter, Problems Related to the Iconostasis, Symbol In Contemporary Evangelical Churches, Differences Between Western and Eastern Theological Perspectives, Anti-image Sentiment in the Post Reformation Church, A Healthy Understanding of Symbol, The Possibility of Veneration In The Evangelical Church, The Proper Introduction of Icon, Practical Applications For The Use Of Symbol In Evangelical Churches, Teaching on Images, Images on PowerPoint, Icons for the Home, Seriousness of The Arts As They Relate To Faith, Conclusion

Glossary and Bibliography


This project begins with a brief overview of the theology and use of icon in the Orthodox Church. Aspects of the icon that will be considered include: the understanding of Tradition in the Orthodox Church; origins of the use of icons; the development of the theology of icons; the iconoclastic controversies and the defense of icons; an understanding of veneration; image as authoritatively equal to Word; and some themes, examples and practical use of icons. Following this overview will be a brief critique of Orthodox doctrine and use of the icon. This critique will be primarily helpful toward the third section of the project, which will be to draw potential applications for the use of symbol in the evangelical church today. In fact, the evangelical church already uses symbol, but often without a great deal of thought. This study is significant in that the thoughtful use of symbol, and potentially, some kind of use of icon, is essential for effective ministry during the postmodern era. This project will seek to develop a healthy theology of the use of image in worship that can be applied to an evangelical context.