Christianity Without the Cross is Not Christianity
"But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,"
-1 Corinthians 1:23
What do you get if you remove the offense of the cross (Galatians 5:11) from Christianity?
You no longer have Christianity.
Why is this an important question?
It is important because we are tragically seeing a great falling away from the historic, once and for all faith, among American evangelicals, in the face of the emerging culture.
As our culture embraces woke ideology, intersectionality and critical race theory and many other new ideologies (all of which are contrary to the Scriptures), there is an emerging trend in many of our once 'fairly conservative' churches: trying to blend these ideologies that are contrary to Scripture, with the faith, and in that, producing an all together different faith that is not Christianity, even though adherents may claim it to be Christianity.
I have been studying these issues and writing (hopefully I will be able to publish what is written this summer), on them for some time now. The ideologies that the culture embrace fit neatly within a neo-secular worldview, but not historic Christianity. These ideologies also fit within an animistic or neo-pagan worldview, but not Christianity.
This is not to cast dispersions on those who believe such things or have these emerging worldviews. As Christians we are called to love, and to speak the Truth in love. We are no better than anyone. We are simply sinners saved by grace and we have nothing to boast in but Christ and His cross.
And herein is the issue: as some evangelicals seek to be approved by the culture, the centrallity of the cross is being replaced with many other things. Why? Put simply, the cross is offensive. The cross reminds me of the seriousness of my sin, of the holiness and righteousness of God, and of the unbelievable penalty Jesus paid for sinners like me. If the cross is removed, it is possible for a pastor to 'preach' a message that is 'culturally relevant' but absolutely useless in terms of addressing our problem: we are sinners separated from a Holy God and we cannot save ourselves.
If the cross is removed, the gospel (at best) is reduced to a moralistic gospel that is 'flexible' enough to fit right in with any new emerging ideology, allowing adherents to have a 'sense of spirituality' without ever having to address sin.
The cross calls me to repent. The culture does not like such words. However, unless I repent and come to faith in Christ, I have no hope, nor does any person.
The church cannot abandon words like 'repent' or 'repentance' for they are from the very words of God. We cannot remove the cross from the equation because Jesus came to us for that reason: to die on the cross for our sins.
As I hear more and more stories of churches that are abandoning the historic faith to embrace woke ideology, my heart is heavy because the very issues our culture wants to address and to fix are actually addressed completely by the gospel. The gospel changes everthing. Does the gospel address racism? Absolutely. Does the gospel address caring for the outsider? Yes! Does the gospel address my root problem-YES!
The great error of the social justice church is that it mistakes symptoms for the root problem. The root problem is sin, and the great need is for redemption and for the heart to be changed and only Christ can do that.
Please hear me: I am not saying that Christians are to be obnoxious and hateful for that would be completely contrary to not only the second greatest commandment, but to Christ's teachings on how we are to live. What I am saying is that Christians, pastors and churches must choose whom they are going to seek to please, and who and what the message is that will be proclaimed.
We cannot please both God and man (Galatians 1:10). If we seek to please man more than God, we are not servants of Christ. If we think we can follow Jesus and have the world like us and approve of us at the same time, we have bought a lie (John 15:18).
These are criticial times for evangelicals in America. Our culture desperately needs the Jesus Who Is. The only Hope for our culture is the Lord Jesus Christ and we cannot offer Him without the cross.
Pray for our nation. Pray for our culture. Pray for pastors in churches. Pray that professing Christians would not be ashamed of Christ. Pray that we would love the world enough to speak the Truth. Pray that we would do so graciously. Pray for an awakening and revival.
Christ alone is our Hope.
Grace and Peace,
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