The Cross of Christ
(Excerpted from, Christian Heritage News newsletter,
Vol. 4, No. 3, Fall, 1992, copyright 1992 by Catherine Millard.)
What is the cross? What does it represent, and whose “superscription” does it bear? What is its importance biblically; historically, and symbolically in America? The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is literally interwoven with references to the cross of Christ. Here are but a few of these: Jesus Christ, Son of God, the founder of Christianity, tells us that “He who does not take up his cross daily and follow after Me, is not worthy of Me.” (Matthew 10:38.)
What is He referring to? Again, the answer is found in John’s Gospel, chapter 19, verses 17-19, relating the most cataclysmic event in the history of the world:
“They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of the Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him, two other men, one on either side, and Jesus
inbetween. And Pilate wrote an inscription also, and put it on the cross. And it was written, JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
The above is a direct fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in the Old Testament, Isaiah, Chapter 53, verses 8-9; 11-12, foretells, 800 years prior to Christ’s birth:
By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, Who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living. For the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. As a result the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews relates:
Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own Blood, suffered outside the gate, Hence let us go out to Him outside the Camp, bearing His reproach (His cross.)
The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians elaborates upon the true meaning of the cross of Christ in each believer’s life:
I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I Live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and delivered Himself Up for
me. Galatians 2:20.
This great Apostle to the gentiles, chosen by Jesus Christ to bring the life-saving Gospel to those perishing under the darkness of false religions, also affirms:
But may it never be that I should boast except in the cross of Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Thus we read the biblical mandate, that we, as Christians, are to boast only in the cross of Christ and what the Son of God accomplished for us on His cross in the Year of our Lord, 33 A.D., i.e. salvation for all who would believe in Him and follow His words.
Under the word “symbol” in Noah Webster’s dictionary, we read that the cross is the foremost symbol of Christianity. Thus, as Christians, it is a sacred symbol, continually reminding us of Christ’s sacrificial death and shed Blood for our salvation from sin, death and the world.
Today in America, the cross of Christ is under fierce assault by the enemies of Christianity. Thus, our identity as a Christian nation is seriously in jeopardy. How is this, you may ask?
THE CITY OF ZION, Illinois, is a graphic example of this assault on the cross of Christ. While in Wisconsin for her first Christian Heritage Week, an afternoon was spent researching the Christian heritage of this famous city. It was truly one of the great high lights of my ministry. The streets bear biblical names, beginning with “A” and culminating with “Z.” Street names include “Galilee,” “Gabriel,” “Elizabeth,” “Elisha,”
“Emmaus,” “Carmel,” etc.
Zion, Illinois radiates America’s Christian heritage and history. John Alexander Dowie, a Christian minister in Australia, was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel without a license. He founded this city in 1902 as an example to the world of a biblical way of life. To the present day there are no taverns – nor is alcohol sold in Zion. An Ordinance providing for the Corporate Seal for the City of Zion is reprinted
It was a great joy to see this seal affixed with pride and confidence upon all the street signs bearing biblical names. The seal of Zion also flies high upon the city flag. It is displayed upon city vehicles; upon uniforms; upon the City of Zion letterhead, envelopes, business cards and stationery. It is stamped upon wall and ceiling of the buildings and historic sites of this magnificently laid-out town. However, great sorrow has encompassed the 19,500 peaceful residents of Zion, Illinois. The official documents, letters and legal papers which I acquired from the Mayor’s office give the following accurate account of the cause for their grief. A letter dated June 30, 1992, sent by the attorney representing the Defendant (City of Zion) against the Plaintiff (Clint Harris, of the American Atheists) is quoted below for the reader to understand the insidious course of action adopted by Robert Sherman, a non-resident of Zion. Since 1986, Sherman has waged war against the citizens of Zion, Illinois, in order to remove the cross of Christ and “God Reigns” from their beautiful city corporate seal:
“June 10, 1992
Mrs. Millie Andromidas
Office of the Mayor
Zion City Hall
2828 Sheridan Road
Zion, Illinois 60099
Re: Harris v. Zion
In accordance with your request, following is a chronology of events in this case.
1986. Robert Sherman saw Zion’s logo on the city’s water tower as he was driving by it.
Between March 1986 and July 1987, Sherman talked with several people about being a
potential plaintiff in a lawsuit against Zion. They all declined. Sherman also brought Zion’s
symbols to the public’s attention in radio, television and newspaper interviews hoping to
attract the attention of a Zion resident who would want to seek recourse against the city.
1987. In early 1987, Sherman met Clint Harris through a local chapter of the American
Harris joined the American Atheists in May 1987. During the May 1987 chapter meeting
of the American Atheists, which Harris attended, Sherman discussed Zion and its
symbols. During the first week of July 1987, Sherman took Harris through Zion. They
spent approximately two hours there. On July 7, Harris moved to Zion and rented a room
in a “dorm-like” building in Zion on a weekly basis. His room was for sleeping purposes
only. This lawsuit was filed approximately one month later. Prior to the suit’s being filed,
Harris spoke to no attorneys and he never saw the Complaint.
1988-89. The case was pending in the district court while the parties undertook discovery and
prepared and filed cross-motions for summary judgment.
1990. On February 9, 1990, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of the
Plaintiffs against the City, its Mayor and City Council and permanently enjoined the seal,
emblem and logo in their present forms. The City appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court
of Appeals. Briefs were prepared and filed, and the appeal was argued on September 17,
1991. On March 19, 1991, the Court of Appeals, in a 2 to 1 decision, affirmed the district
court. The Court of Appeals found that the City’s use of its current seal, emblem, and
logo must be discontinued due to their unconstitutional endorsement of Christianity. The
City petitioned for a rehearing en banc and on June 10, 1991, the Court of Appeals, by a
vote of 6 to 5, denied the petition. The city then petitioned the Supreme Court of the
United States for a writ of certiorari.
1992. On June 29, 1992, the Supreme Court denied the petition for a writ of certiorari. Three
Justices voted to grant the petition, which was on short of the four needed.
If you have any questions, please advise.
Very truly yours,
Charles F. Marino”
We were told by the Mayor’s Assistant at City Hall that on October 1, 1992 at 6:00 p.m. a final Council meeting would be held to deliberate its fate; and that the Plaintiff had requested a reversal of his court costs onto the taxpayer citizens of Zion. The United States Supreme Court refused to hear this case in June, 1991; and again in September, 1992 (only 3 out of the
4 justices’ votes having been received to hear it, namely:
White, O’Connor, and Thomas.) Furthermore, the taxpayer citizens of Zion would have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to literally expunge the cross of Jesus Christ and “God Reigns” from every vestige of their historic heritage and culture – Zion being a living monument to America’s identity as a nation under God.
A photocopy of the city of Austin, Texas’ corporate seal was also given to us by the Mayor’s office. This seal features in prominence the cross of Christ, which anti-Christian, anti-American, anti-patriotic forces waged war against in a similar manner. However, in this case, they did not prevail, the City of Austin having won the case due to the historicity of its magnificent seal (being the Coat of Arms of Stephen Austin), glorifying God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
I urge all God-loving, God-honoring Americans to petition the United States Supreme court to hear the case of the City of Zion, et al., Petitioners, versus Clint W. Harris, et al., Respondents, documented above.
As it stands as of September, 1992, these God-honoring American citizens have been given a 60-day ultimatum to remove Christ’s cross and “God Reigns” from the historic preservation of their own city.
Should these two members of the American Atheists prevail in removing the cross of Christ and “God Reigns” from the City of Zion’s historic foundations, the Mayor’s office has affirmed that this is merely a beginning – a precedent for the entire nation. Robert Sherman is now waging war against the city of Arlington Heights, Illinois and also Wawatosa, near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is demanding that all street church signs be categorically removed from the streets of these cities.
Fellow Americans, this is a Christian nation, with irrefutable, tangible historic evidence to prove the fact, as in the City of Zion, Illinois. Are we so weak or so timid as to allow another atheist to remove the foremost symbol of Christianity from historic cities, streets and landmarks – just one step further from allowing one woman, an avowed atheist, to walk into the United States Supreme Court in 1963, demanding the removal of prayer to Almighty God from millions of public classrooms in America?
It may be a time for civil disobedience, in lieu of allowing the precious cross of Christ and “God Reigns” to be stripped from America’s historic heritage. Let us pray and act
in obedience to God’s first Commandment:
I am the Lord your god, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving-kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My
commandments. Exodus 20:2-4.