During this week at the mid-point of Great Lent, during which the Cross is brought out into the middle of the Church for the faithful to venerate, it seemed right to share this article I originally posted a couple of years ago.
+ + +
For the Veneration of the Cross, I'd like to share a selection from my book, Facing Islam. This is taken from the conclusion of the chapter on Muhammad, 'Prophet Motives - Was Muhammad a Man of God?'.
Beyond the Cross
By far the most compelling, overarching point to emphasize as we close this chapter is the Person and Mission of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the absolute, incontestable finality and divine pre-eminence of the Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, through Whom God the Father has wrought salvation for mankind.
Fr. Thomas Hopko expresses the essence of the Christian message through the centrality of Christ and the Cross as follows:
Beyond the Cross there is nothing more God can do. Beyond the Cross there is nothing more God can say. Beyond the Cross there is nothing more to be revealed. (Fr. Thomas Hopko, The Word of the Cross, SVS Press, emphasis added.)
The working out of salvation in each of our lives through our cooperation (synergia) with the Holy Spirit is “just details” as Fr. Hopko succinctly puts it, but God’s Act of Salvation—the Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension of Christ (and of course, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost)—is without any doubt the central event in all of history.
Thus there is no need for a subsequent revelation after Christ, least of all one which seeks to enslave the world to a barbaric legalistic system of belief and practice (i.e. Islam and sharia law) after we have embraced and been embraced by the grace of God, “for [we] are not under law, but under grace” (Rom 6:14).
In short, after Christ, Islam has no place, no relevance, no raison d’etre. If we stand firm on the rock of our confession, on Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (cf. Mt 16:16-18), then we will never be shaken by the assaults against our Faith...
The spiritual forces behind Islam know this, that Islam has no reason for its existence because of Christ and the Cross. It is the centrality of Jesus Christ and His Cross against which Islam wages its desperate war.