Saturday, March 24, 2012

Archbishop of Canterbury says wearing a cross does not offend non-Christians

We thank the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, for providing us with a 'teachable moment' so urgently needed in our time, and right during the mid-period of Great Lent, when the Cross is brought out into the center of the Church for the faithful to venerate.

Actually, with due respect to Rev. Dr. Williams, the cross displayed anywhere — on a necklace, on a bumper sticker, on a wall (remember Obama requiring Georgetown University to cover the crosses when he delivered a speech there?), and especially the practice of reverently making the sign of the cross when one prays, blesses one's food, etc. — can and does and ought to offend non-Christians, because the display of a cross, and especially making the sign of the cross, is precisely a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. (We'll leave aside the profane display of the cross by pop-stars and rapper as mere "bling." That doesn't seem to offend anyone but us Christians!)

The Lord Jesus Christ warned his disciples — and us, through them, "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also" (Jn 15:20). And the Apostle Paul made it abundantly clear that the cross is a scandal (Greek: skandalon, stumbling block) and madness (Greek: moria, foolishness) to those who are perishing:

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God... For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor 1:18, 22-24).

Of course, many secular people today sneer at the cross and mock Christians, precisely because they see Christians failing to live as Christians (myself being the worst offender). They see the cross emptied of its power and therefore mock those who call themselves followers of Christ.

Yet the Cross itself is not bereft of power, and wherever there is one faithful Christian laboring to bear his or her cross and following Christ in faithfulness, there the foolishness of the cross becomes the power and wisdom of God.

There is one group which especially hates the cross, and is exceedingly offended by it, and that is the group whose prophet and founder prophesied that Jesus would return at the end of time to "break all the crosses." The Qur'an (proving its human origins) regurgitates an earlier heresy, claiming feverishly that Jesus was not crucified. The Qur'an explicitly denies the divinity of Christ, threatening Christians with eternal hellfire, claiming that the disciples of Christ corrupted his message, and even putting words into Jesus' mouth to that effect. Islam opposes itself against Jesus Christ and Him Crucified, because if Jesus truly is Who He said He is, if He is truly Who the Church has always taught Him to be, then Islam has no reason to exist, for the Cross is the end of all man-made religion.

We must remember that when we speak of the Cross of Christ, it is always inseparably joined to the worship of His resurrection. And His resurrection proves the finality of God's revelation, proves that Christ has conquered death, and proves that there is but one Way, one Truth, and one Life: Jesus Christ.

I am posting below the entire entry on this story from Jihad Watch, for the author (Marisol) makes some good points in the context of the purpose of the post. Yet we must never forget that if we are living an authentic and faithful Christian life, "acquiring the Holy Spirit" as St Seraphim of Sarov would say, then the cross will be manifest in our lives, and it will cause offense. Only those Christians for whom the cross is little more than an empty symbol — the form of religion without the power thereof — could erroneously say that the cross should not cause offense.

A sad 'thank you' to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams of the increasingly anemic and apostate Anglican communion, for giving us such a teachable moment.

Archbishop of Canterbury says wearing a cross does not offend non-Christians

Except when it does, and the display of crosses is forbidden under Sharia. In a country already struggling with the consequences of enabling creeping Sharia, and of a broader campaign of reckless multiculturalist social engineering, further concessions must be resisted. Those aspects of the issue must not be left out of the discussion, as they are here.
Williams is quite correct, however, that no one in British society ought to be treating the cross as something offensive. On so many levels, that is not in keeping with British tradition, culture, or civil society, and banning the display of crosses to avoid causing "offense" would simply validate the notion that going up the wall over a cross is somehow justified. That would set an awful precedent.
"Archbishop of Canterbury: wearing a cross does not offend non-Christians," by John-Paul Ford Rojas for the Telegraph, March 16:
In a candid interview Dr Rowan Williams said he did not believe that Christianity was losing the battle against secularisation in Britain but said that the arguments were being clouded by 'dim-witted prejudice.'
"What I think slightly shadows the whole thing is this sense that there are an awful lot of people now of a certain generation who don't really know how religion works, let alone Christianity in particular, and that leads to confusions, sensitivities in the wrong areas - 'does wearing a cross offend people who have no faith or non-Christians?' well I don't think it does.
"But people worry that it will. That is partly because there is a slight tone deafness about how religious belief works.
"I think there is also a lot of ignorance and rather dim-witted prejudice about the visible manifestations of Christianity, which sometimes clouds the discussion."...
It is not simply ignorance, however. Some people do know exactly what they want and exactly what they are doing, and they are finding common cause against Christianity in public life. The multiculturalist double standard in British society invites Sharia to fill the vacuum.