I want to know if Protestant churches and chapels in Germany have crucifixes with Jesus depicted on them, or just empty crosses.

Correct me if I am mistaken, because I am ignorant of christian theology and practice: a cross is not an object of worship, and is preferred by many Protestants because it is not an "idol", whereas a crucifix is considered by many Protestants to be an idol, and is therefore objectionable.

I am asking all this because someone wishes to visit a Protestant church/chapel in Southern Germany (Karlsbad), but objects to the presence of "idols".

  • Welcome! Thanks for your question. If you haven't already done so, I hope you'll take a minute to take the tour and learn how this site is different from others. If you have any more details, such as the denomination of the church (i.e., more specific than Protestant), or even its name, that would be very helpful. Thanks! Dec 12, 2015 at 22:53

1 Answer 1


A cursory review of images posted on the internet shows that there are indeed some Protestant churches and chapels that contain one or more crucifixes. An example of this is in the Stiftskirche in Stuttgart, Baden-Wuertemberg, as shown.


I would say though, that in my experience is that the reason Protestants tend to prefer an empty cross to a crucifix, is that the Gospel (that is, the "Good News") that we are called to proclaim is not the suffering represented by many Crucifixes, but rather, the Easter message that "The Lord is Risen". Further, whether or not a particular object, whether a cross with or without a corpus, is an idol is not so much the presence of absence of a body, but the degree to which a person considers some particular object to be in and of itself, god, as opposed to the person who knows that some object is being used as an assist to worship of the True God.

If the person you are writing about wants to find Protestant Churches without crucifixes, I suspect they exist, though I can't give specific locations. Those who belong to the churches which do happen to have crucifixes as part of the religious decor, though, do not consider them idols.

  • That's a pious explanation, but it's thoroughly modern. In the Reformation era, empty crosses were preferred to crucifixes because crucifixes were seen as idolatrous. (And the empty cross seems like a very weak symbol of the Resurrection to me – it was empty at dusk on Good Friday, after all.) Mar 21, 2016 at 16:38
  • @lonesomeday Many of the German protestant churches and crucifixes are pre-reformatorian. So (except of some radicals) the German reformators / protestant churches used crucifixes during their whole history. (Maybe the "radicals" I was talking about where the ones later emigrating to America.)
    – K-HB
    May 24, 2019 at 21:40
  • @K-HB American protestants broadly speaking were of British origin, and British (and indeed Reformed) protestantism was much more iconoclastic than German (and Lutheran). May 24, 2019 at 22:15

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