Are Evangelical Churches Neglecting the Cross of Christ?

Roger E. Olson, a well-known Arminian theologian, has written a blog post that has me wondering. The post is titled “Whatever Became of the Cross?” and may be found here.

Olson gets lots of opportunities to attend evangelical church services throughout the United States (and elsewhere). He says (1) the cross of Christ — as a physical symbol — is disappearing from evangelical churches, (2) the cross of Christ and the atonement of Christ for our sins are disappearing from “Worship and Praise” music, and (3) the cross of Christ is disappearing from evangelical preaching and is being replaced by practical solutions to life problems and an emphasis on the love of God. If true, this situation is serious!

Hey, I lead a sheltered life! I attend one church (Christ Fellowship in McKinney, Texas) and have not been in another church in three years. We have a large cross that hangs over the general area where our pastor stands to preach. Our pastor, Bruce B. Miller, presents the gospel in some form during every sermon. Our worship and praise music may or may not mention the cross, but we have the other areas covered so well that I have not noticed. Also, I really like our music and singing; it neatly bypasses my analytical tendencies.

So, tell me — are other evangelical churches trying so hard to blend in with the culture that the cross is getting lesser emphasis? What about Olson’s observation about “worship and praise” music failing to mention the cross or the death of Christ for our sins? I would like to hear some opinions about whether the cross of Christ is getting less emphasis over time.

One thing is sure: just mentioning “Jesus” in song or sermon is not enough. The Jesus Seminar mentions Jesus all the time, but they certainly do not believe in him or his atonement for our sins on the cross! If the trend Olson sees is real, then I condemn any decreased focus on the cross. The cross of Christ and his substitutionary atonement for our sins are central to Christian faith (1 Cor. 1:18–24 and 15:3–4).

Copyright © 2011 by Barry Applewhite. All rights reserved worldwide.

6 thoughts on “Are Evangelical Churches Neglecting the Cross of Christ?”

  1. Yes, the cross, the centre of Christianity, and indeed atonement, justification, and sanctification with their rich meaning, are indeed disappearing. For a time, I stopped attendeing a small church in our community, upon my return, the first thing I noticed was the large wooden crsoos that was centre stage, had been removed in favor of homemade wall hangings featuring doves and a small cross on the left and right walls of the stage. My spirit sank and grieved.

    1. Churches change — like everything else. My advice is to find another church where Jesus is honored as the resurrected Son of God, who died for our sins. Such a church would honor the Bible as God’s infallible Word. I urge you not to stop looking until you find such a church and then go there regularly! May God bless your search.


    1. Thank you, Earica. I agree that this trend is upsetting, but Christians have faced much worse before and still thrived, by the grace of God. Corinth is a good example, and Rome is another, both in the first century.
      Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  2. I believe the reason for the disappearance of the cross on display in our churches is because the Cross is being neglected in our Christian life we have forgotten “The Way of the Cross leads home”

    1. You make a good point, Dana! In the final analysis, each Christian is personally responsible to Christ. At the same time, our various Christian assemblies must remember that apart from Jesus Christ, crucified for us and resurrected for us is the only message worth living for. Without the cross of Christ, there is nothing left of the Christian faith.

      Thanks for your comment.

Do you have an opinion or a different interpretation? Let me know!

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