King's Business - 1922-11

Tke Cross of Ckrist Present Depression Due to Losing Sight o f “ Christ and Him Crucified” as Heart o f Gospel

By REV. A. G. LEE, China (In “ A Soul With"a Sword” )

Christianity is the Cross. It is being brought home to me more and more, that the Gospel which is being preached today is not the Gospel of the Cross. I find Christ held up as a leader in service and sacrifice, and as an inspirer of noble deeds. His death is like the death of a soldier, “ who lays down his life for his friends.” Peo­ ple like to hear sermons along these lines. It shows them how to build up their own characters, and it pleases them to feel that they have enough of goodness in them to admire such a hero as Jesus. But, surely, on the Cross if is not “ heroic man” which we see laying down his life for the world; it is “ God in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19). And it is not our admiration that is wanted, but our shame. Shame that it should have been necessary for the great God so to hum­ ble Himself, “ even unto the death of the Cross,” to save us from our own folly and wickedness! Shame that for so long our silly pride should have kept us at enmity with such a God, endeav­ oring to build our characters in our own way, rather than hand over the work to Him, and to recognize that our own righteousness is as “ filthy rags!” Yes, as we look at the Cross the last thing God wants is our admiration. It is shame and sorrow that should cover us, as we lift our eyes to Calvary^ and, therein lies the dynamite of the Cross. We are living in days of big phrases and “ enticing words of man’s wisdom.” “ We are at the beginning of a new age,” we are told. “ The, world is in the throes of a mighty revolution. The pil­ lars of old civilizations are falling.

T Is Impossible to deny that the Church today is under a cloud. Men and women are . not being converted to God

as they ought to be, and even the Chris­ tians of our congregations are sadly lacking in faith and fervor. For some reason the Gospel of Christ is not in these days' proving itself to be “ the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). What can be the reason for this weakness? True, there are slack­ ers in the ministry, men who ought not to be there, and there are also false professors of religion in the pews; but, in spite of all this, it is probably true that, taken as a whole, the amount of honest effort being put forward by the Church today, is as great as it has ever been. Indeed, the activity of devoted men and women in the cause of God today, especially in missionary enter­ prise, is one of the remarkable features of the age. Why then are the spiritual results not greater? After much prayerful thought, I have come, clearly and definitely, to this con­ viction, that the present depression in the Church has come about, because ministers are losing sight of the fact that the Gospel which they have to preach is “ Christ Crucified.” It is “ the preaching of the Cross,” which is the “ power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). By “ power” the Apostle meant just what he said— “ dynamite” ; that is the modern equivalent of the word he used— some­ thing to break up the hardness of men’s hearts, to stir their affections, and move their wills. Religion is of no use if it has no dynamite in it; it remains mere­ ly contemplative. Now the dynamite of

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