Was the Cross Really Necessary?

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Editor’s note: Pictured above is a detail from “Crucifixion” painted by Gabriël Metsu in 1660-65.

By Regis Nicoll, Crisis Magazine, April 18, 2019

The cross. No doctrine is more central to the Christian faith and, yet, more of an offense to our human sensibilities. For the unbeliever, it represents everything that is wrong with Christianity. A wrathful God who must be appeased by the brutal murder of his own son is deserving of contempt not worship; any religion he inspires can’t help but promote violence and bloodshed. Remember the Crusades, Inquisition, and witch hunts.

Even people inclined to Jesus and his teachings have difficulties with the cross. In his book, Death on a Friday Afternoon, the late Richard John Neuhaus wrote of one person’s halt, just short of the cross,

“I have no doubts about God, and I completely agree with the Church’s moral teachings… I am a little embarrassed to say it, but my problem is with the cross. Why Jesus had to die, this whole business of blood and sacrifice, I just don’t get it. Since the cross is the main symbol of Christianity… I suppose that’s a pretty big problem, right?”

Yes, and it has been ever since Good Friday. As Paul put it, the cross is both foolishness and a stumbling block: foolishness to our intellect and a stumbling block to our faith. The root of our difficulty is our failure to understand what actually happened on Golgotha 2000 years ago….Read entire article…crisismagazine.com/2019/was-the-cross-really-necessary