Introduction: Preaching Christ Crucified No Matter What!
The message of Christ crucified will always be foolishness to the world. It will take resolve to remain steadfast in exalting Christ in the pulpit and the public square. Along with resolve, ministers of the gospel must cultivate a growing skill in seeing and savoring Christ in all of Scripture. That is the aim of this journal. Tom Hicks considers the need to love Christ for without such love we will not preach him as we ought. Fred Malone provides instruction and examples for preaching Christ in various parts of the Scripture. Finally, Jared Longshore reviews a book on puritan meditation for without such unhurried time considering the Word of Christ, we will not be able to proclaim our crucified and risen Savior to the people of God. I hope that you are served by this journal to preach Christ first and last.
Why don’t men preach Christ crucified? John Stott offers some profound insights on this question with his analysis of the offense of the cross, from his commentary on Galatians. I am humbled and challenged by this reminder:
What is there about the cross of Christ which angers the world and stirs them up to persecute those who preach it? Just this: Christ died on the cross for us sinners, becoming a curse for us (Gal. 3:13). So the cross tells us some very unpalatable truths about ourselves, namely that we are sinners under the righteous curse of God’s law and we cannot save ourselves. Christ bore our sin and curse precisely because we could gain release from them in no other way. If we could have been forgiven by our own good works, by being circumcised and keeping the law, we may be quite sure that there would have been no cross. Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to say to us, ‘I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.’ Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size. And of course men do not like it. They resent the humiliation of seeing themselves as God sees them and as they really are. They prefer their comfortable illusions. So they steer clear of the cross. They construct a Christianity without the cross, which relies for salvation on their works and not on Jesus Christ’s. They do not object to Christianity so long as it is not the faith of Christ crucified. But Christ crucified they detest. And if preachers preach Christ crucified, they are opposed, ridiculed, persecuted. Why? Because of the wounds which they inflict on men’s pride.