Note: This article is reprinted in it’s entirety with the express permission of the author, Reverend Nolan Harkness. For more information about Reverend Harkness Ministry please go to: www.verticalsound.org .
A Crossless Christianity Is the Real Issue
By Rev. Nolan J Harkness
I was sitting on the beautiful St. Lawrence River in a small rowboat fishing just as the sun was setting over Canada. A vibrant mix of reds and oranges with scattered patches of various shades of sky blue created a breathtakingly magnificent sky scape to my North. Majestic mountains of great white and grey thunderhead cloud formations towered to the south over Goose Bay. Just as I felt I was going to be raptured out of there in a Heavenly experience, the sun broke through the fresh rain mix, creating a full seven colored rainbow, reaching out what seemed like miles from end to end. As I was in the middle of praising God for the beauty of his handiwork, His still small voice interrupted in a clear and somber tone and said to my heart: “Nolan, unless the cross of Jesus Christ becomes the most beautiful thing you have ever seen, you will never complete all that I have called you to do!” My head and heart dropped in immediate repentance saying, “Yes, Lord by your grace may it one day be!”
Hanging on the wall of my home are several crosses, from different acquisitions at separate times in my life. My favorite is one I just call “The Old Wooden Cross”. Soon after I rededicated my life to the Lord in my early twenties the Holy Spirit began to clean up my life. I had in my season away from God been a bartender and a bouncer in a nightclub near Williamsport, Pa. From there I moved to Jacksonville Florida in 1979. One night at Diamond Head Night Club in Jacksonville, I met the sister of a member from a internationally known rock band. We dated for about six months. It was during the highs and lows of that relationship that I finally came to the end of myself. It was while I was struggling with suicidal thoughts that I gave my life fully to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. In addition, I was also very powerfully filled with God’s Holy Spirit.
God began to speak to my heart very clearly about things such as casual drinking with my former friends. I politely explained my newfound faith to them and they understood. Hanging on the wall of my apartment was this huge Anheuser Bush mirror. As the Holy Spirit began to prick my heart about it, I asked Him if he wanted me to throw it away. His answer was very unusual, but I was sure it was God, so as instructed, I gave the mirror away to a guy at my work. I shared with him my testimony of finding Christ. I went home that night and said: “Lord now I need something new to hang on my wall.”
At that time I was living on the St. Johns River and decided to take a walk down to the water’s edge. All the way down, the words to the hymn “The Old Rugged Cross resounded over and over again in my spirit and on my lips. As I reached the waters edge, I noticed two pieces of wood floating there. As I picked them up I noticed they interlocked perfectly. It dawned on me they would make a nice cross wall hanging. That is the history of the cross that still hangs on my wall. It is a silent reminder of the cross where Jesus hung suspended for six hours on three nails on the day he died for your sins and mine.
Paul said, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified”. 1 Corinthians 2:2 (KJV) Perhaps Paul spoke these words out of a full revelation of the words of Jesus himself who said, “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me”. (Matthew 10:38.)
My Revivalist ministry grew out of an intercessory prayer closet, God by His Holy Spirit began to reveal many things concerning this last day’s church in America. As this post revival society began to grow into a post Christian society over the past several decades, we created for ourselves our own flavor of doctrine. As we did this we did not realize that the master deceiver of the cauldrons of Hell was only prepping us. Because he recognizes his time is short, Satan is preparing for a time when his full wrath will be poured out. He began to formulate a recipe for a very “easy to swallow” form of Christianity. It starts without a cross and ends up without a Christ.
Even as I write this, articles are coming out in The Christian Post and other media outlets, of some pastors who are proclaiming from their pulpits that Jesus is not the only way to heaven! As shocking as that is for some of us to hear, this is not where this Satan inspired doctrine all started! It all started a few decades ago as we made God our “grandpa God”. We not only stopped preaching about the cross but the doctrines of Hell and the fear of the Lord. We created a more palatable message designed to reach the masses and pull MORE people into our churches. I’m not sure how we justified it in our hearts but as we did it we conveniently also eliminated any preaching exposing hirelings and heretics.
Paul said in 1st Corinthians 1:18; “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but to us who are saved it is the power of God”! I sometimes ask in churches where I am invited to speak; “Why do we go about creating for ourselves a Christianity that we do not need God to make work?
Modern day churches are being filled with cross less preaching and a faith that does not need daily prayer, Bible study, and consecrated lives. Someone wisely said, “The church does not need revival. It needs resurrection. Lord start the work in me!”
Rev Nolan J Harkness is the President and CEO of Nolan Harkness Evangelistic Ministries Inc. since 1985. He spent most of his adult life working in youth ministry. He also felt the calling of Evangelist/Revivalist and traveled as the door was open holding evangelistic meetings in churches throughout the Northeast. His website is www.verticalsound.org.