Skip to comments.The cross: A symbol, but of what?
Posted on 03/16/2002 6:42:19 AM PST by LarryLied
It's the most familiar symbol you can imagine, but ponder for a moment how odd it is that Christians display an "emblem of suffering and shame," as the hymn says.
The cross reminds us that Jesus was executed as a common criminal, hardly the upbeat message a publicist might choose.
Yet two decades after Calvary, the Apostle Paul wrote, "Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Galatians 6:14). Under this mysterious emblem, the early Christians vanquished the empire that had crucified Jesus.
The symbol holds 21st-century power. Two days after the World Trade Center attack, a rescue worker wept as he discovered a 20-foot cross -- two fused metal beams buried in the rubble. This cross provided comfort to impromptu worshippers amid the mourning.
Yet the cross is spurned by Christian liberals Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker. They find belief in Jesus' saving death repellent, saying this sanctifies violence and submission to evil.
"To say that Jesus' executioners did what was historically necessary for salvation is to say that state terrorism is a good thing, that torture and murder are the will of God," they say in their book Proverbs of Ashes (Beacon).
Brock, a Harvard Divinity researcher, has chaired the joint global ministries board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ, and was a theology speaker at the Disciples's national assembly last year. Parker is a United Methodist Church minister and president of the Unitarian Universalist seminary in Berkeley, Calif.
Roman Catholic leftist John Dominic Crossan has joined in, hailing the authors' attack upon what he considers "the most unfortunately successful idea in the history of Christian thought." And the current Unitarian Universalist magazine features Brock and Parker in a cover story headlined "Violence and Doctrine: How Christianity Twists the Meaning of Jesus' Death."
"Perfect . . . sacrifice"
By contrast, another current author joins Paul in glorying in the cross. Fleming Rutledge, a traveling Episcopal preacher who lives in Port Chester, N.Y., embraces the Book of Common Prayer's Communion affirmation that Jesus Christ made "a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world."
Rutledge has collected seasonal meditations in her book The Undoing of Death (Eerdmans). Though sermons often fall flat on the printed page, this book is unusually readable devotional fare.
She believes the cross is misunderstood if we forget that Jesus the Son is equally God along with the Father (which liberal Christians and Unitarians deny). And some conservatives portray "a wrathful Father piling condemnation on an innocent, victimized Son. This mistake must be strenuously resisted," she writes.
The heart of the atoning sacrifice on the cross, Rutledge insists, is "the fact that the Father's will and the Son's will are one. This is an action that the Father and the Son are taking together." They are "accomplishing our redemption together," acting in united love for humanity.
However, her Good Friday sermons worry less about such liberal or conservative theories than about people's inclination to pretend their sins aren't all that bad so they have no need of a Savior.
"We do not like to believe that we deserve condemnation," she says.
Some seek to justify themselves by the kind of people they like to think they are -- more moral, sensitive, loving, intelligent, thoughtful, patriotic, fashionable or socially aware than others. Then there's the opposite, people who tell themselves they're more misunderstood, long-suffering and deserving than anyone else.
But Christianity says we're all sinners in the light of God's holiness. Despite sin, Rutledge believes, when Christ looks at someone "he sees a person that he loves more than life, more than glory, more than power, more than riches, more than divinity itself."
She also contends that the cross shows us Christianity is true. The reason? Mere human imagination or wishful thinking would never have concocted "a despised and rejected Messiah."
No, the baptismal dates are not shown, but if you do a search and click on one of the names you find, you get to that person's Individual Record. If you then scroll down and look at the source for that record, you may find a film number to click on, and the title of the film will tell you whether that record is there because Temple work was done, or because that person's name appeared in a parish register long ago, or because somebody submitted that person's name.
So don't assume that Temple work was done unless you see the evidence of it.
... never did either. lmp claimed that he did a while ago also, posting some vague allegations from a website, but never did substantiate anything.
I told you the truth, and you make no response other than to call me a liar in big, bold letters. I see no point in discussing this further since your responses will surely be similar.
You owe me an apology.
Not at all. Quoting the Catholic Encyclopedia article (emphasis mine):
Purgatory (Lat., "purgare", to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God's grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults ...Hell is where unrepentant sinners go who reject the Gospel and fight against God.
The Catholic notion of purgatory is for the faithful who still need to do a little extra penance.
OP, as you have been so kind to post the TULIP for my digestion, so let me probe with a few questions. Please understand my own history consists of Catholcism and Free Methodism. I have no experience with Calvinism or the constructs of it, so please be patient while I put forth some simple questions.
As I do this, bear in mind the parameters of the discussion NO ARMINIAN BASHING or the conversation is finished. I know full well the contentions of holes in Arminianism, but to a layman, the Synod of Dort means little. Please explain what exactly transpired and why that issue is key (without too much cut and paste).
I asked Calvinists on this thread to put forth Calvins theology as if I were a new Christian. Make me want to be a Calvin. You were kind enough to do that in posting the five primary points.
Some initial thoughts come to mind as I look into this. I put forth these issues not to color the discussion, rather to investigate some core foundational issues.
Was Michael Servetus really put to death on a green pyre by Calvin for not adhering to doctrine? What is the present Calvinist position on the death of Servetus? Note: I am aware of Arminian transgressions. Did they pre or post date the issue of Servetus? Does the elimination of heretics (both in Calvin, Arminian and Catholic regards) approach the targets with the same zealousness of radical Islam?- At what point are they justified and at what point not?
Given that, how can man purely discern Gods doctrine when we are prone to such vile corruption and blaspheme of Gods most basic commandments?
I am also curious as to why Catholicism is frowned upon given the contribution of St. Augustine of Hippo to Calvinism. Please explain.
Im also intrigued (as a Free Methodist) Spurgeons comments regarding Wesley and Whitefield, the foundation of which is established here.
And what is the heresy of Arminianism but the addition of something to the work of the Redeemer? Every heresy, if brought to the touchstone, will discover itself here. I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else
Given Calvinist posts here, I understand this as the Calvinist position.
"Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord" (Jude 3,4, NIV).
Here where I get confused
"Most atrocious things have been spoken about the character and spiritual condition of John Wesley, the modern prince of Arminians. I can only say concerning him that, while I detest many of the doctrines that he preached, yet for the man himself I have a reverence second to no Wesleyan; and if there were wanted two apostles to be added to the number of the twelve, I do not believe that there could be found two men more fit to be so added than George Whitfield and John Wesley"
Now before a comparison is made between Judas and Wesley (and Whitefield for that matter) Im under the assumption the remaining Apostles taught doctrine. With Arminianism a supposed heresy and Wesley a modern prince of same Im faced with a conflict in Spurgeons thought. "You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine" (Titus 2:1, NIV). How could he then suggest (if a position were available) Wesley could possibly contend for the position of apostle?
What are your thoughts concerning what at face value seems a conflict?
Also, while on the subject of Wesley I am noticing shades of Arminianism in Methodism rather than a theology constructed strictly adherent to it as Calvinism is to O.P. - Comments.
Id like to focus next on infant Baptism
Please delve into Calvins and Spurgeons position
Also, please address the position of both (Calvin & Spurgeon) regarding the death of newborns. Do they reach Heaven?
I have to tell you I am conflicted in that while T.U.L.I.P. makes excellent scriptural points, I also come across passages, which indicate to me that free will and prevenient grace exists in the scriptures. Which is true? Am I misinterpreting them?
Again, Id like to start with these simple questions and as you clarify this stuff for me hopefully we can progress (in a civil manner) into scriptural points. I put these forth, again not to cloud the issue. Rather as foundational to the most basic aspects of what Calvin (and Spurgeon) stood for.
thanks for listening.
rdb3 that was unkind-
And if you take the same route, then you too are a liar.
Period. Point blank. Like it or not. Doesn't matter to me one bit either way.
So, you can take your so-called faith and it's belief (former or not doesn't matter to me at all) that black people and other people of color are/were somehow "cursed" and SHOVE IT.
I ain't buyin' your brand.
And I never will.
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
--Galatians 1:8 & 9
Get behind me, Satan. Take your strange fire with you and stay there!
I apologized for the gray matter quip, it just you are so unpleasant to talk to.
BTW, simple question, when Christ walked the earth was He then Almighty God or was he just a man, the firstborn of Elohiem, waiting to be exhalted to the status of God?
Do you still beat your wife?
Your questions make as about as much since!
For the life of me I don't understand you folks
Its unpleasant to dialogue with your crass spirit?
There so much manure to plow through,
that to answer is senseless,
for the Spirit of the Lord is not present.
You ask question like vipers.
6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
- we should be discussing red hots and summer picnics ;)