Is The Jig Up For Preaching The Cross?
The Bible tells us in no uncertain terms that Jesus’ death on the cross is God’s only means of reconciling lost and sinful men back to Him. That has been an established fact within virtually everything that calls itself Christianity ever since Jesus died upon the cross. II Corinthians 5:17-21 makes that very clear. Vs. 21 says that “God made him (meaning Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” That is God’s way of reconciling mankind back to Him. What happened on the cross is so powerful, vs. 17 says, that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” Jesus does more than reconcile us to God—He literally changes us and our nature and makes us into the kind of people He wants us to be, if we’ll let Him. We in the church who have experienced this reconciling change are now commissioned to be “ambassadors for Christ” , vs. 20 says. He has “given to us (in the church) the ministry of reconciliation” , vs. 18 says. So, we who are still true to Christ and His Word unashamedly preach the cross, the blood and the reconciling power of Christ to change us into what we need to be. Those who aren’t true, don’t. It’s as simple as that! On Oct. 15-19, 2015, the Parliament of the World’s Religions met once again in Salt Lake City, Utah. Everyone from Hindus to Catholics to Buddhists to Mormons to New Agers to shamans from every kind of pagan cult, some 14,000 or so folks, gathered as they always do to celebrate each other’s religion and to basically work on a common, world religion. Diana Butler Bass was a featured speaker. She is the author of a book titled, Christianity After Religion: The End Of The Church And The Birth Of A New Spiritual Awakening. She was a big hit to many in attendance, unbelievably even to some who call themselves Christians. In her book she wrote this: “Conventional, comforting Christianity has failed. It does not work. For the churches that insist on preaching it, the jig is up. We cannot go back, and we should not want to…In earlier American awakenings, preachers extolled ‘old-time’ religion as the answer to questions about God, morality, and existence. This awakening is different…it is not about sawdust trails (a clear reference to revivals and camp meetings), mortification of sin (putting to death the old man), and being washed in the blood of the Lamb. The awakening going on around us is not an evangelical revival; it is not returning to the faith of our fathers or re-creating our grandparent’s church. Instead, it is a Great Returning to ancient understandings of the human quest for the divine.” Ouch! That last statement clearly smells of the New Age notion that we can become gods ourselves. It could not be any clearer to those who have eyes to see as to what is at stake here. When she says “the jig is up” she is more or less saying to those of us who still believe it, you’re not going to get away with preaching the cross and the blood of Christ any more. You would think that within the evangelical world there would be a united denunciation of what she had to say, but within her book one finds this kind of glowing endorsement from people you may have heard of. For instance, Rob Bell wrote this: “She’s spot-on prophetic, compelling and most important, hopeful!” Those are not the kind of words I would use to describe her words! How about this; Shane Claiborne, who was mentored by Tony Compolo, wrote this glowing endorsement: “She has a good nose to smell out crappy religion, but she also has eyes to see new life budding from the compost of Christendom.” In case you don’t get it, he is referring to the cross and the blood as “crappy religion”. Many other so-called “Christians” like Brian McLaren also endorsed her. They are not just wrong when it comes to the preaching about the cross— they are terribly and tragically wrong! The preaching of the cross does work and people are only reconciled to God when and if they are washed in the blood of the Lamb! A clear animosity toward biblical Christians is arising even within the church itself. But what choice do we have but to preach the cross and the blood since it is the only means by which men can be reconciled to God? That is our message! If we won’t preach it we might as well close the doors to the church and go home! Preaching the cross and the blood is not outdated or too old fashioned to work today. It worked for our grandparents and it will still work for any today that need delivered from sin and reconciled to God! I agree with Vance Havner, the beloved Southern Baptist evangelist. He said: “We need men of the cross, with the message of the cross, bearing the marks of the cross.” Is that still what is preached at your church these days?