There can be only one reason for an anemic church–because she is malnourished. To be strong the church must continually feed upon the Word of God, nourishing herself with a balanced diet. I fear, however, that much of what the church has been consuming is junk food. We must return the cross to the place it deserves–as the main course of every meal.
I believe that the charismatic movement must chart a fresh course to the central point of Christian truth: the cross of Jesus. The remedy for any imbalance is precisely there, where those two crossbars remind us of the need to balance heaven’s requirements (vertical) with human need (horizontal).80
Only the cross can restore balance. It is the foundational truth of the Bible. We know that if a building’s foundation is faulty, then the whole structure will collapse. Jesus, His person and His work, must be returned as the chief cornerstone. Only then can the church be built properly, “a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5).
One recent study of the content of most charismatic worship music indicated that both Christ’s cross and His blood are scarcely mentioned. Does this drift from the biblical and historical center of Christian faith signal a warning? I think so. It’s hard to synchronize this tendency with the theme song of heaven, both now and eternally; “To Him [the Lamb] who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev. 1:5; see also 5:9).
The cross must command center stage in our lives, ever and always; and as participants in this revival, let us be certain it does in the charismatic movement as well. The cross is the fountainhead of all God’s wisdom, as well as the source of all His power (1 Cor 1:18-25; 2:1-4).
Let’s start singing again, “Jesus, keep me near the cross.” Humility is assured there, which will keep arrogance and pride from gaining ascendance. Holiness is assured there, which will keep presumption and ungodliness at bay. Love abounds there, which will help us to hear each other and to keep the teachable heart of a child. Finally, the power is there–for the fountainhead of all Christ’s glory-workings toward humankind was opened there. We must keep that fountainhead as our foundation–resting all our revelations and blessings on the footings that Calvary provides.81
E.W. Moore, a clergyman in the church of England in the early 1900’s, witnessed firsthand the historic Welsh revival. Upon observation of the amazing ministry of Evan Roberts, the primary human agent in that revival, Moore passionately wrote,
He has had a vision of Calvary .He has seen “One hanging on a tree, in agonies and blood,” and the sight has enthralled him .What we need is a fresh vision of the Cross. And may that mighty, all-embracing love of His be no longer a fitful, wavering influence in our lives, but the ruling passion of our souls.82
This book is only a primer on the greatest subject ever studied–the cross of Christ. My hope is that it will inspire ministers and lay-people alike to reevaluate everything that is done under the banner of Christianity. Let us return to the foundation of our faith. Let us once more place Christ’s cross where it belongs: in the center of everything we say and do. If we will, sermons will change, churches will change, lives will change, cities will change, and for multitudes, eternity will change
80 Jack Hayford, Charisma, Sept. 1990, p. 74
81 Jack Hayford, Charisma, Sept. 1990, p. 76.
82 E.W. Moore, The Story of the Welsh Revival, p. 82.