A man visited
for the first time and became turned around and confused. One evening during the rush hour, he stopped at a newsstand in the heart of New York City Times Square and asked the vendor which direction was north. “Look, buddy,” he replied in a loud and annoyed voice, “We got uptown, we got downtown, and we got cross-town. We don’t got north.”
While that is poor English, it does depict our modern religious scene in
. In far too many cases, religion has lost its bearing. Some churches seem like enterprises, and others seem like concerts. Still others seem caught up in ritualism or in displaying their righteousness before men. One has to wonder where the cross is in all this. Where is north? America
New Testament Christianity is first and foremost centered on Christ and him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2). Jesus said, “If I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (Jn. ). Crucifixion on a cross was meant by the Romans to be a horrible and shameful death, reserved for the vilest criminals. While the Lord’s crucifixion was the darkest moment in the annals of human history, it was the brightest moment in divine history in making human redemption possible. Without it we would have no hope, only gloom and despair.
We must go back to the cross and stand firm, not moved by the culture of our day or the pressure to compromise our faith for popularity. We must not give in to any substitution of the Christian faith. It is the death of Christ that should be emphasized, not entertainment, social reforms, political interests, or business ventures. It is the message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified that is the attraction force that brings men out of a life of sin into a life of righteousness. The Lord did not come to take men out of the slums, but to take the slum out of men.