History is replete with the uses of many forms of crosses and the uses to which they were put, together with their significances, Some crosses carried memories of Glory won in battle; others again bore significance of moral values to which successive generations subscribed their support, while others again had a religious or scientific background of reference, while yet again others were used as a means of torture or death (in the name of Justice) by Pagan powers. Powers, whose histories stink with their heartless inhumanity to their fellows, whose guilt, in most cases, seems to have been that their intellectual status was much higher than that of their persecutors, or perhaps that their religious Faith was such that they chose to suffer, even the most undeserved and cruel of deaths, rather than renounce their Faith in the living God, whom they had learned to love and adore.
Amongst the various forms of crosses alluded to might be mentioned the Papal cross, the Eastern cross, the Greek cross, the Maltese cross, St. Andrew’s cross, Saint Anthony’s cross, Saint Patrick’s cross, and the Latin cross, or the Cross of Rome on which our Lord was shamefully tortured to death. So were several of His followers, in the Centuries that followed His sacrifice, and for no other cause than that they dared to seal their Faith in their blood, for the same cause for which their Lord and Master died.
Our purpose in this article is not to discuss crosses in general, but merely to bring to the notice of Christians as a whole, what appears to the writer to be a gross misconception in the attitude so commonly attributed to the cross of Rome (Pagan Rome) in so much of our religious worship. Does the fact that our Lord, as the Redeemer of Israel and as the Saviour of the world, having died, as did millions of His followers in later years, on the cross of pagan Rome, entitle that pagan cross to the place of honour, in which it is held, in so many of our most sacred places of worship, as is the practice and accord given to it today?
May I state before I proceed further in this discussion, that I have tried hard to discover, anywhere in the Bible, the slightest reference to the cross of Rome, or the Latin cross, as an object of veneration.. We have found reference to it as a cross of shame, as in Romans 6:6, Hebrews 12:2, and we can readily enter into the concept that this pagan cross was purposely devised for its cruelty and racking pain (an example of Pagan cruelty) but to ascribe to it the reverence and the worshipful place that it holds today in the minds of many Christians (except perhaps Roman Christians) I can find not the slightest trace of support in the Word of God.
As a background for further consideration, let us quote a couple or more passages of Scripture, almost at random amongst many: I Cor. 1:17, 18 “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel: not with wisdom of words lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us that are saved, it is the Power of God.” Then continuing in verse 23: “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness”, and yet again read Philippians 2:5 8: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto Death, even the Death of the cross”.
Please do not think that we have exhausted our references, but this should be enough to satisfy honest investigation. Do these Scripture references, in any way, make it appear that the Cross of Christ is a material cross? Is it not manifestly clear, rather, that the Cross of Christ was one of humiliation and service to humanity for which there can be no symbol in material form?
Because the Redeemer of Israel, in His humiliation, submitted Himself to be murdered on a Pagan instrument of torture; does that fact for any reason, emulate the instrument of torture to a place of sacred veneration, on the part of the followers of Israel’s Messiah? Because Saint Andrew suffered martyrdom on Saint Andrew’s cross (one particular form of constructed torture) does that mean that Christendom should venerate that wooden form of torture as a religious form of observance? Or because Saint Anthony suffered martyrdom on Saint Anthony’s cross (another form of torture invented for the same diabolical purpose) does that justify future generations of Christians to look with reverence and even Worship on that unholy instrument of death? Yet this is what is actually taking place in the Christian world today. Millions of devout worshippers bow before, and even prostrate themselves before a cross (crucifix) of wood, or other material believing by so doing that they are thereby offering service to Him, Whom they love above all others. Yes, they even think that because He submitted to the most inhuman of all tortures on a pagan cross, that therefore the cross has thus assumed a sacred place of reverence in their lives. Can this instrument, of torture be the Cross of Christ? Surely this cannot constitute the “True Religion and undefiled”, of which the Scriptures speak. (James 1:27).