Journey to the Cross: Reflection 19

“All unannounced and mostly undetected there has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles.  It is like the old cross, but different: the likeness are superficial; the differences are fundamental…This new evangelism employs the same as the old, but its content is not the same and its emphasis is not as before.”  “The cross in the new evangelism “does not slay the sinner; it redirects him.  It gears him into a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect.  To the self-assertive it says, ‘Come and assert yourself for Christ.’ To the egotist it says, ‘Come and do your boasting in the Lord.’ To the thrill seeker it says, ‘Come and enjoy the thrill of an abundant Christian life.’ The idea behind this kind of thing may be sincere, but its sincerity does not save it from being false.  It misses completely the whole meaning of the cross.  The cross is a symbol of death.  It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a person.  God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him in newness of life.  The corn of wheat must fall to the ground and die.  God then bestows life, but not an improved old life.  Whoever would possess it must pass under the rod.  He must repudiate himself and concur in God’s just sentence against him.  How can this theology be translated into life?  Simply, the non-Christian must repent and believe.  He must forsake his sins and then go on to forsake himself.  Let him cover nothing, defend nothing, excuse nothing.  Let him not seek to make terms with God, but let him bow his head before the stroke of God’s stern displeasure and acknowledge himself worthy to die.” – A. W. Tozer