Friday, February 12, 2016

End of Discussion

The church's movement away from preaching about the cross is in some ways a strange thing since the crucified Christ is such an important part of the gospel message; yet, it is also understandable.  It becomes understandable as we consider how the church's sacred message is impacted by the prevailing views which reflect the consensus opinion of the secular society around it.  In the church's desire to be attractive to the world, it has embraced theological compromises, leadership models that exalt the CEO instead of the servant, and a mode of operation adopted from the world of big business.

The truth is the secular community around the church which pushes hard against it has no real interest in hearing about the cross.  It is the "what's-in-it-for-me" community.  It is also the "feel good" community.  The message of the cross does not really appeal to those immersed in either mindset.  The great proliferation of churches across the landscape is not so much about spirituality.  It often seems more an expression of the church's attempt to please people.  If folks do not hear what they want to hear at one church, or if one church does not cater to their perceived needs, there is always another church down the street.  And, as the leadership of a church begins to understand that pleasing the community is the way to getting bigger and better, it is a short step to making sure the message is not offensive.

And the cross is offensive.  It was raised not just as a sign of God's love, but also because of human sin.  Jesus' death on the cross is about our need for forgiveness, our need for reconciliation, our need for help in handling the mess we have made of our life because of our disobedience and sin.  The cross makes our arguments about the relativity of sin moot.  Sin is choosing our way instead of God's way.  End of discussion. 

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