A Cross?


Posted by Matt Postiff November 19, 2007 on Matt Postiff's Blog under FBC 

In yesterday's entry, I mentioned the issue of the cross as a decoration in our church. We do not have a cross upon the front wall or on the outside of the building. There are some historical reasons why this was the case up to the time I started the pastorate at Fellowship Bible. So what is wrong with putting a cross up in the front now?

The way some folks have talked, they might be surprised to hear my answer. NOTHING!

There have been some pragmatic concerns that have led me to ignore putting up a cross. Some of them include preparation for preaching, counseling, teaching, transitional work from the previous pastor, managing all the infrastructure projects around the church, spending large amounts of money to install major new HVAC systems in our building, and many other small details. In short, there have been many more important issues with which to concern myself. Further, those folks to whom the task could be delegated are also busy with other things around the church or just don't have time for other reasons. But at this point there is a far more important reason that the cross-decoration is not high on my priority list.

And that reason is that we have a great "teachable moment" going on here. What might also be surprising is that the push for a cross tells me more about the theology and heart desires of the folks doing the pushing than they might at first realize. It demonstrates a misunderstanding of the doctrine of Ecclesiology, the Church. It also demonstrates a focus on the external, the visible, the unimportant. Some have said that people don't come to our church because it doesn't "look like" a church. To which I respond, "What is a church, anyway? And what does a church look like? Did they have crosses in the churches in the first century? Did they even have church buildings?" I have tried to remind folks that the church is not the building, it is the believers. Further, it is there, among the believers, where the Bible is preached. People still come to our church, not because we have a cross as decoration, but because we preach the cross as the way of salvation. Unfortunately, there are many well-decorated churches that are not well in their doctrine. And as far as decoration goes, I'm far more concerned that our lives make the gospel attractive (Titus 2:10), not that we first make the church attractive!

So, maybe I should modify my answer to the question, "What is wrong with putting up a cross?" The answer is "NOTHING--as long as we understand decoration does not make a church, and decoration is not important when set over against how we decorate our lives with the practice of the gospel."

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