An article published by the Canada Free Press yesterday, 11.3.2011, was written by Rev. Michael Bresciani, and titled: “Eight Reasons Why Today’s World Despises and Resists Christianity.” It was a well written article, and one I can be in general agreement upon, yet, with all due respect to Mr. Bresciani, these are mere symptoms of the root, which is found at the cross and are as ancient as that old serpent, the devil, who plied the three main reasons in the garden before the fall: pride, covetousness and uncleanness.
In my upcoming book, Christ and Him Crucified, I laid out these three reasons (I’ve been preaching about it quite a bit lately). The world hates Christians, and the world hates Christianity, because the world hates the scriptural Jesus, the second Person of the Triune God, who was manifested in the fullness of the time through His incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and coming consummation according to scripture.
The following is an excerpt from Christ and Him Crucified, which presents the three scenarios at the cross, which exemplify the three main reasons why the world hates true Biblical Christianity― it is foolishness to the perishing (1 Corinthians 1.18):
This foolishness among lost men is exemplified in three kinds of people at Golgotha in those hours the Son of God was crucified. First, it is seen in the pride of the religious leaders and the passersby. These were men with exalted hearts. They did not want Messiah unless the Messiah came on their terms, in the way acceptable to them, an avenue that did not include the bloody cross, neither a humble and obedient Servant:
And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save thyself, and come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him. Mark 15:29-32
This first group wanted nothing of the atoning substitute, neither the shed blood of forgiveness. They wanted Christ as long as He did not suffer the penalty of death that we rightly deserve (Come down from the cross and then we’ll believe). These are convicted by the implications of the suffering and death of the righteous Son of God. Christ’s suffering under God’s wrath is the revelation of the wrath due every rebellious man, woman, and child since, and including Adam and Eve. These receive the Word with gladness, like the Pharisees, but as the Word is seed sown among the rocks and in stony places, there is no root, no power to see the Word’s emphasis on Christ crucified. “Preach to us the Word,” they shout with joy, “but don’t proclaim the wrath of God.”
Second, we see the covetousness of the people near the cross when the Lord Jesus quotes the Word of God in Aramaic, from Psalms 22:1. These were men with divided hearts. God was not most precious to them, neither was His Word, His will, or His way, otherwise they would have seen the love of God in the perfect, substitutionary sacrifice of His one and only begotten Son. These had other interests for which they lusted after. These often clamor after sensation at the expense of salvation:
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. Mark 15:34-36
The second group knew nothing of the infinite value of Christ’s suffering and shame; and therefore wanted to enhance the cross with whatever fancy entertained their lusty desires. These live among thorns and thistles, with one foot in the world, and one foot in the Word. These are distracted easily, and as they are susceptible to the cares of the world, they are likewise lured by its temporal pleasures.
The third kind of foolishness exemplified at the cross of Christ is seen in the impurity and uncleanness of the thief who hung alongside Jesus. His heart was defiant and adulterous. He wanted nothing of repentance from sin and cared nothing for eternal truth. This thief believed that he was deserving of liberty as-is, and objected to his condemnation. Although this thief hung upon a Roman cross for his certain guilt, and though Jesus, the righteous Son of God hung upon a cross next to him, seeing the wrath of God from heaven revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,[i] God gave him over to uncleanness through the lusts of his own heart.[ii] The thief defiantly cast insults against the Christ of God:
And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. Luke 23:39
As the first group wants Christ and not the cross, and as the second group will keep the cross as long as they can have their worldly whims as well, the third group wants nothing of the Christ or His cross. The Word, and its living testimony by the cross in others, is as seed sown on the roadside where the fowls of the air snatch it away immediately.
When we stop to consider the hearts of fallen men and their perspective of the cross of Christ as foolish, it should be sobering, even startling to yet consider that there are many churches today, in the name of Jesus Christ, that either minimize or diminish the truth of Christ crucified, ignore or reject altogether Christ’s atoning death, or else teach it as historical fact, but must enhance the Christianity that comes from it, with “interesting” and “relevant” things of the world in order to make it appealing— in order for it not to appear foolish unto those who count the cross foolishness. Why? Because the leaders of these churches do not see the cross of Christ as the powerful truth to save men’s souls, sanctify redeemed hearts, and raise them ultimately in the last day:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Is this to say that every one of the church leaders today that are using methods and gimmicks to enhance the truth of the gospel are unsaved? Not at all. As John Bunyan points out in his treatise, Christian Behavior, the temptations of pride, covetousness and uncleanness, are the very same that plague the redeemed soul saved by God’s grace.
What we should ever keep in mind is that if these temptations rise in our flesh and wage war against the spirit of the new creation in Christ we have been made to be by the gospel truth of Christ crucified, then how much more susceptible are unbelievers to its allures and trappings?
If you would like to review a preliminary electronic copy (PDF) of Christ and Him Crucified,for the details.