Written in collaboration with Michael Sullivan
“The Cross splits the world. Either you look at it and think – that’s pathetic or you look at it and you think – that’s powerful. If you think it’s pathetic, Paul says you are perishing. But if you think it’s the ‘Power of God’, you are being saved. But it’s one or the other” ~ Billy Graham
“Our faith must begin and end at the Cross. The trouble is that many Christians have bypassed the Cross and are trying to be moral by their willpower and self-effort rather than trusting in the indwelling power of Christ to transform them (Galatians 3:3) But if we attempt to build our spiritual life by any other foundation than Christ crucified, we are doing so by our natural strength.” (Newman, Peter, “The Meaning of the Cross”, 11)
“Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” Galatians 3:3 (NIV)
“’We preach Christ crucified.’ This is the focal point of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a picture of blood flowing from Christ’s veins as He hung on the cross. The message of shed blood is repugnant to many, and they turn from such a gory sight, feeling that their delicate sensibilities have been outraged. Many people will accept Christ’s character, but they reject His crucifixion.” (Decision Magazine; April 2007)
“For the message of the cross is foolishness [absurd and illogical] to those who are perishing and spiritually dead [because they reject it], but to us who are being saved [by God’s grace] it is [the manifestation of] the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 AMP
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.