[anzac] "OLD CROSS vs. THE NEW" - Tozer

Message: < previous - next > : Reply : Subscribe : Cleanse
Home   : December 2004 : Group Archive : Group : All Groups

From: "ANZAC Prophetic List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Wed, 01 Dec 2004 13:41:04 -0600
"The OLD CROSS and the NEW"
-by A.W. Tozer.

All unannounced and mostly undetected there has come in modern 
times 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. 

The old cross would have no truck 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 
plane morally if not intellectually. 

The new cross encourages a new and entirely different evangelistic 
approach. The evangelist does not demand abnegation of the old 
life before a 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 thing the world does, only on a higher level. Whatever 
the sin-mad world happens to be clamoring after at the moment 
is cleverly shown to be the very thing the gospel offers, only the 
religious product is better. 

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 egotist 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 Christian message is slanted in the direction of the 
current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public. 

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 the whole meaning of the cross. 

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 good-by to his 
friends. He was not coming back. 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 cruel and hard, 
and when it had finished its work, the man was no more. 

The race of Adam is under 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. 

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 its 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 business, the press, the world of sports 
or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and 
our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. 

God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life 
out of death. It stands always on the far side of the cross. Whoever 
would possess it must pass under the rod. He must repudiate 
himself and concur in God's just sentence against him. What does 
this mean to the individual, the condemned man who would find life 
in Christ Jesus? How can this theology be translated into life? 
Simply, he must repent and believe. He must forsake his sins and 
then go on to forsake himself. Let him cover nothing, defend nothing, 
excuse nothing. Let him not seek to make terms with God, but let 
him bow his head before the stroke of God's stern displeasure and 
acknowledge himself worthy to die. 

Having done this let him gaze with simple trust upon the risen 
Saviour, and from Him will come life and rebirth and cleansing and 
power. The cross that ended the earthly life of Jesus now puts an 
end to the sinner; and the power that raised Christ from the dead 
now raises him to a new life along with Christ. 

To any who may object to this or count it merely a narrow and 
private view of truth, let me say God has set His hallmark of 
approval upon this message from Paul's day to the present. 
Whether stated in these exact words or not, this has been the 
content of all preaching that has brought life and power to the world
through the centuries. The mystics, the reformers, the revivalists 
have put their emphasis here, and signs and wonders and mighty 
operations of the Holy Ghost gave witness to God's approval. 

Dare we, the heirs of such a legacy of power, tamper with the 
truth? Dare we with our stubby pencils erase the lines of the 
blueprint or alter the pattern shown us in the Mount? May God 
forbid. Let us preach the old cross and we will know the old power.