-- Os Guinness
Here's an excerpt from a classic post by In the Clearing's Bob, back when he used to post as and at Mr. Standfast:
The cross. It offends. It causes us to glance aside, to go home by a different way, to change the subject. Even our churches are embarrassed by it. Although we were happy to flock to Gibson's filmic rendering, that was just another Christian fad, apparently. We reveled briefly, then forgot. If you don't think so, why is it that, one year later, Osteen is our best selling author?
A couple of Mormons came to the door last week. I had some friends over, and we were just getting ready to open our Bibles when the two LDS evangelists showed up. We heard them out more or less politely, asked them a few questions they couldn't (or wouldn't) answer, and then we prayed for them to know the truth. Sweet kids, making their folks proud. Deluded, but sweet. Incoherent theology, flaky history (i.e., Indians descended from runaway Jews). I wanted to say, "Children, Children, but where is the cross in all this? What ever made you decide that Golgotha just wasn't enough?"
The Cross. I'm sorry, but without the cross, nothing matters. On the other hand, in the light of the cross, everything else comes into perspective, takes on its proper hue and proportion.
And this is from Os Guinness's excellent little book Prophetic Untimeliness: A Challenge to the Idol of Relevance:
Overall the gospel is the grandest Yes to human aspirations in all history. But the gospel's No's are plain, unvarnished, and impossible to duck. There is challenge as well as promise, warning of costs as much as offers of rewards, and talk of sacrifice as common as invitations to the party. There is therefore a stern truth in Adlai Stevenson's quip about the distortions of positive thinking: "Paul I find appealing, but Peale I find appalling."
In an age when comfort and convenience are unspoken articles of our modern bill of rights, the Christian faith is not a license to entitlement, a prescription for an easy-going spirituality, or a how-to manual for self-improvement. The cross of Jesus runs crosswise to all our human ways of thinking. A rediscovery of the hard and the unpopular themes of the gospel will therefore be such a rediscovery of the whole gospel that the result may lead to reformation and revival.
"A rediscovery of the hard and the unpopular themes of the gospel will therefore be such a rediscovery of the whole gospel that the result may lead to reformation and revival."
Oh, that it would be so.
Have a great weekend. Go worship with people not like you.