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Posted: 2/14/2006 9:10:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/15/2006 5:34:41 AM EDT by Wdsman]
AGAIN, the Spong post got me thinking. Spong and others are ready to completely discard the cross as a hopeless relic from a forgotten era. Even preachers who say they believe in the cross often neglect preaching on it and instead focus on "5 tips to a better marriage."

Is the cross central to Christianity or not?

ETA: OK, I can tell this thread is going in a different direction than what I expected. My original question was not about the hunk of wood Jesus was nailed to but about the crucifixion. It might be better stated "Is Jesus' crucifixion central to Christianity or not?"
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 12:10:50 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/14/2006 12:15:08 PM EDT by Aerospace_Engineer]
Do you need to believe there was a physical cross in order to be a Christian? I've never thought about this before and that is an EXCELLENT question, Wdsman!

My initial thought is yes and here is why I think that:

The KJV Bible uses the word "cross" 28 times to identify the manner and place in which Jesus Christ was killed: crucifixion. If we were to simply assume that Jesus Christ was killed and we decide that the manner in which he was killed really doesn't matter, then we are saying that the details provided in the Bible really don't matter. And when we start down that road, or that line of thinking, we open the door to dispute everything in the Bible.

So, is God going to send you to hell if you believe Jesus Christ was the Son of God and killed and was resurrected in 3 days to atone for the sins of all mankind, but you don't think he was killed on the cross? I would hope not, but this belief begs the question; "If you don't believe he was killed on the cross, why do you believe he was killed at all? or lived at all? or resurrected at all?"

I find it doubtful a Christian could truly defend their belief that there was no cross.

YES, the cross is central to Christianity.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 1:58:59 PM EDT
The cross was an essential step in the path to salvation. Jesus when to the cross, died on it for us... but we must not forget, he didn't stay there. He was resurrected and now sits at the right hand of the Father.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 5:27:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wdsman:
AGAIN, the Spong post got me thinking. Spong and others are ready to completely discard the cross as a hopeless relic from a forgotten era. Even preachers who say they believe in the cross often neglect preaching on it and instead focus on "5 tips to a better marriage."

Is the cross central to Christianity or not?




OK . . . let's step back from the physical cross of the physical crucifixion for a minute and look at another time the cross comes up. Let's look at Matthew 16:

Mat 16:13 ¶ When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
21 ¶ From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
24 ¶ Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.


OK, everybody read that? No, well go back and read it . . .

OK, what happened?

1.) Peter listens to the leading of God and recognizes Jesus as the christ
2.) Peter listens to his old "self" and denies what Jesus is telling him.
3.) Jesus corrects him for valuing the things of man and goes on to say that a man must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Jesus.

Now, at this point Jesus had not been to the natural cross. This cross must mean something else. It means the choice that Peter was facing: new man/old man, God's word/man's ideas and opinions, good/evil.

A cross is an intersection, a crossroads, if you will. In this case it's the crossroads of good and evil.

So, does the cross matter? Heck yes, it matters. It's what it's all about . . .
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 6:48:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Bladeswitcher:

Now, at this point Jesus had not been to the natural cross. This cross must mean something else. It means the choice that Peter was facing: new man/old man, God's word/man's ideas and opinions, good/evil.


Jesus was not the first, the only, or the last to be crusified. Therefore, to proclaim that the cross CANNOT mean two chunks of wood attached to each other is more than a little arrogant, don't you think?


A cross is an intersection, a crossroads, if you will. In this case it's the crossroads of good and evil.


Interesting take, but its only ONE possibility of what jesus might have been referring to.


So, does the cross matter? Heck yes, it matters. It's what it's all about . . .


No argument there. Every religion has its icons. Remove those icons, and you diminish the religion as a whole. Why do you think some of the stricter regimes though history have tried removing EVERYTHING to do with an unwanted religion? Its simple, really. You remove the image associated with a religion from people's lives, and there's fewer reminders for those people that they even have a religion.

Does christianity "need" the cross? Yes. Will christianity survive without it? Probably, but most likely not in the same form as we think of it today.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 12:40:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/15/2006 12:41:14 PM EDT by scuba_ed]
Will Jews still survive as Jews should they, as they choose to wear, a Magen David?

Would anything ethical survive?

You betcha!!

Symbolism to the degree often practiced by other faiths is idolatry.


Link Posted: 2/15/2006 2:59:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By scuba_ed:
Will Jews still survive as Jews should they, as they choose to wear, a Magen David?

Would anything ethical survive?

You betcha!!

Symbolism to the degree often practiced by other faiths is idolatry.





I agree. I have no problem with churches displaying a cross or people wearing them. Its when folks think the little gold symbol on their neck brings them luck of favor from God that it turns to idolatry IMHO.

I dont think folks should focus on the symbol of the cross. They should focus on its impact of Who was nailed to it and what it means to their faith. Many forget they deserved to be up there, not Jesus. I deserve is, I deserve the very worst God has to offer. I do not haven any icons or religious symbols in my house or on my body as it goes against my convictions. I wont condem others for doing so though.

As a Christian I do find it sad , yet typical many turn their services int a self help seminar with the trappings of Christianity. I call it Wal Mart Christianity because all their junk is in the checkout aisle at WallyWorld. I went to a United Methodist service (not slammin them all, just this one church) and not once did they preach Gods Sovereignty, Holiness, or the Gospel. It was a big seminar about divorce.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 4:25:10 PM EDT
The cross is an idol that people pray to.

The cross was a marketing tactic and like car accidents on the side of the road, the bloodier the story, the more people rubberneck to see.

I don't think the cross is necessary
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 4:31:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By gunchyck:
The cross is an idol that people pray to.

The cross was a marketing tactic and like car accidents on the side of the road, the bloodier the story, the more people rubberneck to see.

I don't think the cross is necessary



Ahhhh, I never heard of anyone praying to the cross!?

Do you think Jesus is necessary?
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 4:39:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/15/2006 4:40:32 PM EDT by gunchyck]

Originally Posted By Aerospace_Engineer:

Originally Posted By gunchyck:
The cross is an idol that people pray to.

The cross was a marketing tactic and like car accidents on the side of the road, the bloodier the story, the more people rubberneck to see.

I don't think the cross is necessary



Ahhhh, I never heard of anyone praying to the cross!?

Do you think Jesus is necessary?



People kneel in front of the cross on the alter and pray.

People hold their crucifix necklaces, bend their head to them and pray.

It's an idol. I don't think it's necessary.

Jesus, yes, He is necessary. But not idolotry of Him.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 4:44:30 PM EDT
Yes but I don't pray to Jesus. Hammer
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 4:52:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JCHammer:
Yes but I don't pray to Jesus. Hammer




HMMMM... are you Christian? Do you pray to God?
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 5:22:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/15/2006 5:28:18 PM EDT by JCHammer]
Our Father which art in Heaven, HALLOWED be thy Name.... Jesus was and is our brother and our Master. He showed us it can be done. Hammer
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 5:28:05 PM EDT
I think the real question is do we need Christianity?
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 5:32:14 PM EDT
YES, We need it. We don't need the people who pose as Christians and use the word to gain and sanction there deeds!
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 5:51:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By RoseMech:
I think the real question is do we need Christianity?



I'm not going to comment other than to say I hope ya have your asbestos underwear on.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 5:57:28 PM EDT
Hammer, you didn't answer my questions.

Are you Christian? Do you pray to God?
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 8:21:37 PM EDT
absolutely.
Link Posted: 2/16/2006 3:59:22 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 5:11:56 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Wdsman:
ETA: OK, I can tell this thread is going in a different direction than what I expected. My original question was not about the hunk of wood Jesus was nailed to but about the crucifixion. It might be better stated "Is Jesus' crucifixion central to Christianity or not?"



The answer depends on one's definition of "Christian":

If a "Christian" is defined as one who follows the basic teachings and example of Christ, but allows that the Bible was written by people who were influenced by legends and myth and not litterally true and open to interpretation, then Jesus' crucifixion is not essential. (These people don't necessarily need to believe in miracles to find the good in the Bible).

If a "Christian" is defined as one who believes that Jesus Christ is the literal son of God, then yes, the crucificition is essential. (These people must believe in miracles to find the good in the Bible).
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 5:18:41 AM EDT
I don't particularly like the cross, it is a symbol of Christ's death, and Christianity is about his RESURRECTION, his death having only happened to atone for OUR sins......


I guess it is easily identifiable though, I no-longer wear crosses myself, I find carrying Christ in my heart is better than around my neck
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 6:42:29 AM EDT
I believe the cross is central to Christianity because:

1. The Four Gospels spend more time on Jesus' teaching about His coming crucifixion, the events leading up to the crucifixion and the crucifixion itself than anything else.
2. We believe Jesus is our Savior. What did He save us from? Sin and death. How? By dying in our place. If Jesus did not die on the cross, our sins are not paid for and we are not saved.
3. The new command Jesus gave us was not to love one another (that's found in the Torah). The new command was to "love one another as I have loved you." Without the demonstration of Christ's love on the cross this command makes no sense.

I know this is simplistic, I'll try and flesh it out later.
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