For those who believe in God and specifically follow Jesus there is one earth shattering foundation truth that can never be lost: everything must pass through the Cross.
All theologies must pass through the cross – our conservative theologies, our progressive theologies, our Western and American theologies ALL must pass through the great equalizer – the Cross of Jesus the Messiah.
All political ideologies – be they Left, Right, Alt or Indy – must pass through the Cross. All my fears, hatreds, prejudices and judgment must pass through the Cross.
So if my theology is prosperity based or married to the Republican or Democratic Party, my theology has become heretical for it veers sharply away from the very Cross that even Jesus himself had to pass through. If Jesus could not escape the Cross, then how in the hell can my theology avoid it? Preposterous and “unbiblical” at best, destructive and cultish at worst.
All denominational understandings must pass through the Cross. If I call myself Evangelical, Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodists, Anglican, Ecumenical or even a ‘None’ – all of these interpretations must pass through the Cross as well.
All my politics and prejudices must pass through the Cross as well – be they Republican, Green Party, Democrat, Libertarian, or Reform Party, Independent, Alt Right or Alt Left. For those who profess Jesus as Lord EVERYTHING must pass through the Cross. And if it makes through that, well then, go ahead and follow it.
If in our shortsightedness, our theologies, out politics, our prejudicial tendencies have NOT passed through the Cross, then we have in essence pissed on the Cross and its power. We have made human persuasion more powerful than God’s performance.
And here is the thing about all ideologies passing through the cross: the cross wins. The cross kills everything and everyone. Not even the Messiah escaped the permanency of the cross. In the time of Jesus the cross was an instrument for the death penalty imposed by an imperial empire to punish those convicted of sedition – for that is what the Roman Empire used the Crucifixion for historically.
But even more importantly and more powerfully than being an instrument of state execution, the cross was and IS an instrument of God’s Love not God’s punishment. And until people who profess Christianity understand that key point, we will continue to use the Cross to crucify everyone who does not agree with us, look like us, vote like us and believe like us.
So when we go spouting our theology, our politics, our cultural folkways and mores, it behooves us to remember this groundbreaking, ego-shattering truth: the Cross of Jesus was God’s tool for restoration not retribution.