During a recent conversation, a prominent seminary professor made to me what seemed to be an outlandish claim: that the many problems plaguing the Roman Catholic Church could be traced back to their use of the crucifix -- a symbol of a powerless Christ for a powerless church. Such rhetoric was shocking to me -- the likes of which I haven't encountered since the Catholic-bashing that was common among evangelicals during the 70's and 80's.
My personal view concerning the crucifix and it's appropriateness is certainly different. Although I concede that the message conveyed by an empty cross (i.e.post-resurrection) is powerful and important, evangelicals have long distanced themselves from the suffering and cost inextricably connected to the cross of Christ. The crucifix therefore represents a helpful corrective in this sense.
Apart from this, I have noticed in recent years, a growing appreciation among evangelical believers for the crucifix. It's as if they recognize that Protestant representations of Jesus have lacked something that the image of our crucified Savior seems to fill-in.
I'd love hearing your thoughts on this topic. Is the crucifix a powerful and helpful symbol of our faith? Or is my professor friend correct in asserting that the image of the crucifix amounts to a clever ploy of the Enemy -- one designed to keep an enormous segment of the Church relatively powerless?