The Remnant

BEWARE OF THE

MODERN SMOOTH CROSS

By DR. A.W. Tozermodern cross

ALL unannounced and mostly undetected there has come in moderntimes a new cross into popular evangelical circles. It is like the old cross, but different; the likenesses are superficial, the differences fundamental. From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy of the Christian life; and from that new philosophy has come a new evangelical technique, a new type of meeting and a new kind of preaching. This new evangelism employs the same language as the old, but its content is not the same and its emphasis not as before.

FRIENDS WITH THE WORLD

The old cross would have no dealings with the world. For Adam’s proud flesh it meant the end of the journey. It carried into effect the sentence imposed by the law of Sinai. The new cross is not opposed to the human race; rather it is a friendly pal, and if understood aright, it is the source of oceans of good clean fun and innocent enjoyment. It lets Adam live without interference. His life motivation is unchanged; he still lives for his own pleasure, only now he takes delight in singing choruses and watching religious movies instead of singing bawdy songs and drinking hard liquor. The accent is still on enjoyment, though the fun is now on a higher plan morally, if not intellectually.

AN EASY CROSS

The new cross encourages a new and entierly different
evangelistic approach. The evangelist does not demand abnegation of the old life before the new life can be received. He preaches not contrasts but similarities. He seeks to key into public interest by showing that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands; rather it offers the same things the world does, only on a higher level. Whatever the sin mad world happens to be clamouring after at the moment is cleverly shown to be the very thing the gospel offers; only the religious product is better.

 

PLEASANT CROSS

The new cross 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 egoist it says, “Come and do your boasting in the Lord.” To the thrill seeker it says, “Come and enjoy the thrill of Christian fellowship.” The modern message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue, thereby catering to human taste and reasoning.
The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere, but its sincerity does not save it from being false. It is false because it is blind. It misses completely all the meaning of the cross.

SYMBOL OF DEATH

The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said goodbye to his friends. He was not coming back. He was not going out to have his life redirected; he was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing; it slew all of the man, completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck swift and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more.

The race of Adam is under a death sentence. There is no commutation, and no escape. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear, or beautiful to the eyes of men. God salvages the individual by liquidating him, and then raising him again to newness of life.

PUBLIC REATIONS AGENTS?

That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of the hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world; it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die.

We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to Big Businessmen, or to the Press, or the World of Sports, or Modern Education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise, but an ultimatum.

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