It's Still The Cross

03.27.12 | Cecil Van Houten | Comments[10]

imps-2

I haven’t posted a new blog in several weeks.  Early in February we began following the controversy over the Obama administration’s health care mandate and the response by Christians to this threat to religious liberty.  It doesn’t matter if you’re an evangelical Christian or a Jew, a Muslim or a Catholic, the word ‘threat’ is entirely appropriate.  We have updated that blog several times as events have unfolded in the last six weeks.  We will continue to bring you significant information as it develops.

I have enough material for several blogs in the file but I still feel a need to focus on some of the key issues that have engulfed the church recently.  In the last year we have seen a number of challenges to the core beliefs Christians have held for centuries.  From Rob Bell’s flirting with universalism in his book “Love Wins” to the increasing antagonism shown toward people of faith when they engage others in the public square, attacks have come from within and without.  Even though the noisy atheism of Christopher Hitchens has been silenced, there are many others like him.  The growing animosity toward people of the Christian faith is reflected in arguments about same-sex marriage, hiring practices and the health care mandate. 

Is this anything new?  No.  But the proliferation of instantaneous worldwide communication has increased the rate of decline.  Combine that with growing Biblical illiteracy and the consumerist mindset assumed by many Christians and it’s no wonder the church struggles to defend itself and is prone to damage from attacks.  Add to that the fact that this is an election year and too often the voice of the gospel is lost in the din of partisan politics and self-righteous rhetoric.  Everyone has the answer and no one has the answer. 

That’s why I was struck the other day by a song I put on my iPod by The Imperials.  When I saw the title I remembered liking it but I hadn’t listened to it in a couple years and couldn’t remember all the lyrics.  When I hit play the message came through so clearly I felt it needed to be heard.  (It was never a radio song.)  Actually, I first heard it a number of years ago when it was half-written and in demo form.  It was a Niles Borop, Buddy Mullins, Luke Garrett and Mike Harland collaboration and like hundreds of songs written and pitched every year, it hadn’t yet found a home.  Then, about three years ago, I heard it on a new Imperials record.   

I hope you’ll take four minutes and twenty-four seconds to listen to it.  It describes well the situation we’re in as followers of Christ living in this nation at this time.  Most importantly, it clearly states that the Answer to all of life’s questions has not changed – it’s still the cross.

IT’S STILL THE CROSS

It's not conservative or liberal,
However they're defined;
It's not about interpretation,
Or the judgment of the mind;

It's the opposite of politics,
Power or prestige;
It's about a simple message,
And whether we believe.

Chorus:
It's still the cross,
It's still the blood of Calvary;
That cleanses sins,
And sets the captives free.
It's still the name,
The name of Jesus,
That has power to save the lost;
It's still the cross.

We can water down theology,
And preach a word to suit our needs;
We can justify sweet subtle lies,
That are wrapped in noble deeds;

We can alter our convictions,
To adapt to social whims;
But we cannot change the gospel,
Or the truth contained within.

It's still the cross,
It's still the blood of Calvary;
That cleanses sins,
And sets the captives free.
It's still the name,
The name of Jesus,
That has power to save the lost;
It's still the cross.

Though some may say it's man's religion,
Or ancient history;
The cross of Jesus still remains,
The price for sin that sets us free.

Chorus:
It's still the cross,
It's still the blood of Calvary;
That cleanses sins,
And sets the captives free.
It's still the name,
The name of Jesus,
That has power to save the lost;
It's still the cross.

Music and Lyrics © Centergy Music and Niles Borop Music (ASCAP) (BMI)  All rights reserved.

There's really nothing more to say except maybe, amen.

Comments

Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 03.15.12 Lance Ostman commented

Amen!

on 03.16.12 Lana Todd commented

What a beautiful message and YES, It is still the cross! AMEN!!

on 03.16.12 Randy Negley commented

Thank you Jesus for your work on the Cross for me and all of mankind.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

And Thank you Lord for that !!

on 03.17.12 Carrie commented

Every day I thank God for the blessings we have in our country and I pray that the church will wake up and get serious about being salt and light. I love the Imperials. I didn't realize they were still around.

on 03.20.12 Jerry Spencer commented

I agree with your commentary. The question to me is, how do we communicate that to a world that only sees the negative side of Christianity? What's on TV? TBN and the Crystal Cathedral scandal? On radio, all due respect, most of the music is shallow and a non-Christian wouldn't relate to it at all. A lot of our churches are turning into religious cafeterias where you pick and choose what you want to believe. I don't think the answer is to go back to some Puritan way of living but unless we make the message of the cross real to people, we're not fulfilling the Great Commission.

on 03.21.12 Linda commented

I have always loved the Imperials but I never heard this song before. It's powerful. Are you going to play it on the radio?

on 03.22.12 Erin commented

My friends and I were talking about this the other night. We need to take our walk with the Lord seriously and take ourselves less seriously. I never heard this song before but it's awesome. I like your radio show too.

on 03.26.12 Jeff Graham commented

I heard several times this weekend about keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing-this works as my Main Thing...

on 03.26.12 Laurie commented

I agree with Jerry that many Christians don't know what to do. We're concerned with fitting in and not looking like we're religious bigots so we end up standing for nothing. But we don't want to be so rigid that we turn people off. It didn't used to be so hard. Why is that?

on 03.27.12 Randy Negley commented

Jerry and Laurie,
I agree with you that in many Christian circles these days, the tendency is to "not offend", become witnesses that are palatable to the world scene, and making sure that we "fit in" and be "tolerant" .

Two verses come to mind that we (which includes me) should remind ourselves when we tend to let these reactions influence our actions and intentions to further the gospel message of Jesus Christ.

We have been bought with the price of the cross and what Christ did for us on that cross , thus we are children of God and HIS kingdom's possessions and because Jesus saves; the instruction for us is to "be not conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of our mind." (Rom. 12:2)

The harsh reality is that we should as the Family of God not expect to be accepted and "fit in" to this fallen world. The fall of morality in our sin filled world is getting worse and worse and the satanic influenced agendas are becoming more and more "normal" and acceptable behavior in today's world.

It goes back to what Cecil has written here about Christians and their beliefs are under a "threat".

John 15:19
King James Version (KJV)

19If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.


However, we are in the world and not "of " the world.. for now anyway. So in my opinion, we take on the role that Paul did and become bold in our testimony, speak up against evil and build relationships with those in our sphere of influence for the express purpose of spreading the gospel message.
Many times we need to remind ourselves that we may be called to be seed planters and not be revealed of the harvest of our efforts here on earth till God rewards in His timing for His purposes and His Glory.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23

New King James Version (NKJV)
Serving All Men

19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more;
20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law;
21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law;
22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.

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