The depths of anti-Christian depravity found among some of the intelligentsia in our post-Christian culture has reached a new low. As if that were possible.
Just in time for Christmas, a season of joy and giving spawned by the birth of Christ, one can now buy a gold necklace fashioned by a fancy designer, celebrating male genitalia, in the form of a cross.
Can you imagine a gold crescent mocking Islam in some sort of perverted way or the same for a Star of David? Neither can I. But those in our culture’s elite who are ever sensitive to not offend in any politically incorrect way seem to have no compunctions at mocking Jesus.
But it’s always Jesus and only Jesus. Why is that? Do they all know deep down that it is to Him we shall all give an account for our lives one day?
I have traveled in many parts of the world – including India, Pakistan, Africa and Europe. I find that besides the names “God” and “Lord,” the main name used in profanity is “Jesus” or “Christ.” You don’t hear people say, “Oh Buddha!”
But you do hear people take the name of Jesus in vain. You don’t hear people swear, “Oh Allah!” or “Oh Muhammad!” But you do hear the name of Christ as blasphemy. Could this be a backhanded commentary on His deity? I have heard fallen-away Hindus in Allahabad, India say, “Jesus Christ” as profanity. Not so the name of Brahma or Vishnu or Krishna.
There’s something awfully powerful about the name of Jesus. And His cross.
Mockery of Christ Himself is not new. When working on a TV special on the cross of Jesus for what is now called D. James Kennedy Ministries, I remember being struck by the notion that historically it is possible that the earliest image we have of Jesus is one of a mocking nature.
Dr. Michael Haykin, professor at Southern Theological Seminary of Louisville, noted in that special, “There is an example of graffiti found in what was once the stable of the imperial pageboys in the palace in Rome, in which it’s late 2nd century, in which you have a stick figure on a cross with a donkey’s head, and under it scratched the words, ‘Alexamenos worships his God.'”
The reality is that the cross was a symbol of shame. I once spoke with Dr. Edwin Yamauchi, retired professor of Miami University (in Ohio), who specialized in ancient history. He contrasted the Christian movement with those of other would-be messiahs that died out after their leaders were killed.
Said Dr. Yamauchi: “Christians, on the other hand, in spite of the fact that they were persecuted, continued to flourish and expand, and eventually conquer the Roman Empire. Now, the fact that their leader was someone who was crucified was a great stumbling block, as even Paul recognized in I Corinthians 1.”
Yamauchi added, “… many Christians were embarrassed by this fact [that Jesus was crucified], because in art we don’t have Jesus represented on the cross until the Byzantine Period. Now, how can you explain the expansion of this religion that exalted a Man who suffered the ignominious death, the worst possible death reserved for criminals and slaves, crucifixion, how can you explain the growth and expansion of this religion without the resurrection? You cannot. Now, some scholars have tried to do that, but they do not offer any convincing explanation.”
This is not a mere battle over symbols. The cross and resurrection of Jesus is the difference between life and death.
In this last half year, I have just personally experienced three deaths of close relatives. That they were all in Christ gives me hope that I will see them again.
The “fashionable world” may mock Christ all they want. But they should recognize one thing – there is a day when His grace will no longer be extended. And then comes the judgment.
There’s a popular Christian song, “In Christ Alone” (words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend) that says: “In Christ alone, Who took on flesh, / Fullness of God in helpless babe! / This gift of love and righteousness, / Scorned by the ones He came to save. / Till on that cross as Jesus died, / The wrath of God was satisfied. …”
“Scorned by the ones He came to save.” That’s what the war on Christmas boils down to.
As Franklin Graham noted, “Unfortunately, the United States in the last few decades has witnessed increased hostility toward the sacred nature of Christmas, erupting into what has become a blatant war on Christmas. That’s because at its root and core the war on Christmas isn’t really about Christmas – it’s about the Son of God. The war on Christmas is a war on Christ and His followers. It’s the hatred of our culture for the exclusive claims that Christ made.”
Dr. Gary Cass of defendchristians.org says of our anti-Christian culture today: “Like a spoiled child who reaches up to slap his own mother, so rebellious man who exists and is sustained only by God’s common grace, arrogantly defies God and His Christ.”