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Controversy Surrounding The Cross Christ Was Crucified Upon

Cheryl is a licensed, ordained minister and has a BA in Psychology and Church ministry.

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A different point of view

Shortly before the entertainer, Prince Rogers Nelson passed away, I happened upon a video where he discussed his faith as a Jehovah's Witness. He said something quite profound that has come to me in this season where the crucifixion of Christ is acknowledged. Prince held his hands out at his side, the way people do when they are referencing the cross and said, "Somebody lied." He then placed his hands straight over his head and added, "about how somebody died." In a different video where the singer makes the same statement, the word Stauros is erected behind him on the stage. Stauros (σταυρός) is a Greek word which describes an upright pole or stake. It was described as being T shaped, but most Christians have come to know the cross of the crucifixion as a long wooden beam with a smaller one nailed near, but not at the top. Catholics make the sign of this cross over their foreheads, and exorcists indicate that demons don't like the cross, but is Prince correct? Have we been promoting an inaccurate symbol of how the Lord died? I know some will say it does not matter what He was crucified on because the point is that He rose. While that may be true as the bottom line, accuracy in what we promote is always best.

The power of the cross

The first believers were afraid to express their respect for the cross out of fear of being mocked or persecute. Once the Emperor Constantine became a Christian, he abolished crucifixions and designated the cross as the symbol of Christianity. Over the decades it had come to represent the power of good over evil. In the old black and white vampire movies, the undead recoiled in fear and were defeated when they saw a crucifix. Exorcists say the cross causes demons agony. There are many people who say they have received miracles because of the cross and what it stands for. The T shaped cross as we know it today began being utilized around the sixth century AD.

In 1660, Bishop John Pearson, of Chester, wrote a commentary on the Apostles' Creed which concurs with what Prince and other Jehovah's witness believe. Pearson said that the Greek word stauros was originally identified a straight standing Palisador, pale or stake. He also concluded that when Christ was crucified, the cross was not only a straight and erected piece of wood placed in the earth but there was also a transverse beam fastened near the top. Whatever He was nailed to, the true power lies in the fact of the resurrection. He conquered all the power of evil, that Satan has brought upon the world.

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Is it wrong to honor the cross?

Most Christians have at some point heard or sung the hymn The Old Rugged Cross. Millions wear necklaces and earrings that are shaped like a cross. I recall in 2008 my husband and I along with our sons went to Holy Land USA in Bedford, Va. At one point our tour guide said that the cross upon which the Savior was crucified was gnarled wood and was ugly. She said the cross was not bright and shiny like the jewelry people wear. From that moment I never again wore the symbol of the cross. A question that is put fourth by Jehovah’s Witness and other Christians is whether or not it’s wrong to put so much focus on the cross? The Israelites were told not to make any graven images or to worship them, but can a cross be considered an image that is worshipped? These are just some issues to consider as we head towards the Sunday when the Resurrection is celebrated. We serve a risen Savior, who defeated death and hell. He has commanded us to worship in spirit and in truth, therefore symbols are not necessary. They do however strengthen the faith of some believers. Was the cross the symbol we have come to know and love or was it a pole? There will always likely be controversy and there is no way to prove anything one way or the other. What matters most is that believers spread the word that He lives and will soon return. The tomb is empty and those who choose Him will not have to face the second death. This is the good new of the gospel.

© 2020 Cheryl E Preston

Comments

Lorna Lamon on April 08, 2020:

It's always good to know the truth, however, personally it is not that important to me. I wear a cross which has been in my family for generations and was put around my neck when I was christened. It is a reminder to me of the price he paid and I never take it off. I enjoyed reading this enlightening article Cheryl.