CT: Why the 9/11 Cross Should Offend Us All

Labarum Cross


The improperly named publication Christianity Today (CT) currently has the following headline and subheadline at its website:

Why the 9/11 Cross Should Offend All of Us
The symbol might actually cause ‘dyspepsia, symptoms of depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish.’

Ryan Holladay

Essentially, the article states that the atheists complain that the cross is an offensive symbol, and that in the Apostle Paul’s time it “was a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.”  Hence people have a hard time with it.

Of course, CT should be offended by the use of a cross for many reasons that the article does not go into.  The main reason is that it was not something original Christians carried or put up in displays.

The one known as Saint Jude wrote the following:

3…contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

Notice that the Apostle Jude was advocating not changing the Christian faith from that which the apostles were given.

No Christian in the New Testament is ever described as having or wearing a cross. This is not to say that all who own a cross are active idolators, but that the historical facts should give people pause to ask themselves if they should own or wear one.

Perhaps it should be noted that the Greek word commonly translated as “cross” in the New Testament is stauros, which means pole or stake.

stauros (stow-ros’); from the base of NT:2476; a stake or post (as set upright), i.e. (specifically) a pole…(Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

The Bible simply does not teach that Jesus had to have been killed on a cross

Even though this is known, most translators seem to use the word “cross” based upon their particular religious traditions, as opposed to the literal Greek. And while it is possible that Jesus was crucified on some type of a cross as opposed to simply a pole, that does not mean that a symbol of torture (which also has pagan religious origins) should necessarily be worn or revered by those who profess Christ.

Notice an interesting accusation against those who professed Christ in the second/third century (date uncertain):

Why have they no altars, no temples, no acknowledged images? (Minucius. Octavius. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 4. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

So, if the cross had been an object of public display by then, the above accusation would not have been made.  Hence, the display of crosses is clearly a non-biblical innovation that some apostates introduced.

It should be noted that no Christian prior to the late second or early third century is ever described as wearing a cross.  However, some apostates started to discuss them by then. Clement of Alexandria Egypt probably got the cross from Egyptian paganism, according to Catholic sources:

Early in the third century Clement of Alexandria (“Strom.”, VI, in P. G., IX, 305) speaks of the Cross as tou Kyriakou semeiou typon, i.e. signum Christi, “the symbol of the Lord” (St. Augustine, Tract. cxvii, “In Joan.”; De Rossi, “Bull. d’arch. crist”, 1863, 35, and “De titulis christianis Carthaginiensibus” in Pitra, “Spicilegium Solesmense”, IV, 503). The cross, therefore, appears at an early date as an element of the liturgical life of the faithful … In conclusion it may be noted that the custom of placing the crucifix over the altar does not date from earlier than the eleventh century. (Marucchi O. Transcribed by Wm Stuart French, Jr. Archæology of the Cross and Crucifix. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

The sign of the cross , represented in its simplest form by a crossing of two lines at right angles, greatly antedates, in both the East and the West , the introduction of Christianity….Another symbol which has been connected with the cross is the ansated cross (ankh or crux ansata) of the ancient Egyptians , wrongly called the “ansated key of the Nile”. It often appears as a symbolic sign in the hands of the goddess Sekhet. From the earliest times also it appears among the hieroglyphic signs symbolic of life or of the living, and was transliterated into Greek as Anse (Ansa). But the meaning of this sign is very obscure (Da Morgan , Recherches sur les origines de l’Egypte, 1896-98); perhaps it was originally, like the swastika, an astronomical sign. The ansated cross is found on many and various monuments of Egypt (Prisse d’Avennes, L’art Egyptien , 404). In later times the Egyptian Christians (Copts), attracted by its form , and perhaps by its symbolism , adopted it as the emblem of the cross (Gayet, “Les monuments coptes du Musée de Boulaq” in “Mémoires de le mission française du Caire”, VIII, fasc. III, 1889, p. 18, pl. XXXI-XXXII and LXX-LXXI) (Marucchi, Orazio. “Archæology of the Cross and Crucifix.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 22 Dec. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04517a.htm>)

While The Catholic Encyclopedia states that the cross “appears at an early date as an element of the liturgical life of the faithful”–actually the fact that it does not appear until close to two centuries after Jesus was crucified should show all that will think about it that this obviously was NOT an original Christian practice.

Crosses have been around for a long time, and as The Catholic Encyclopedia correctly states, they existed before “the introduction of Christianity”, hence they were often pagan symbols.

Over a thousand years ago, some true Christians were known as Paulicians by their opponents (note: all called Paulicians were not true Christians).  The Catholic Encyclopedia calls the Paulicians heretics because they were basically against idolatry and Roman Catholic ritualism:

The Paulicians, as part of their heresy held that …To honour the Cross was especially reprehensible (Fortescue A. Iconoclasm. Transcribed by Michael C. Tinkler.The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

The following is apparently from the work History of Armenia by Chamich and is from a 1054-1058 A.D. letter written by Gregory Magistros against the Manichaean (note I have left out additions by the editor/translator F. Conybeare):

…they represent our worship of God as worship of idol. As if we, who honour the sign of the cross and the holy pictures, were still engaged in worshiping devils (Conybeare F.C. Addend ix III in: The Key of Truth: A Manual of the Paulician Church of Armenia. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1898, p. 149).

In Italy, and elsewhere, others (whether truly faithful Christians or not is unclear) objected to crosses:

About the year 1040, the Paterines had become very numerous at Milan, which was their principal residence, and here they flourished at least two hundred years. They…they rejected not only Jerome of Syria, Augustine of Africa, and Gregory of Rome, but Ambrose of Milan ; considering them, and other pretended fathers, as corrupters of Christianity…They called [the adoration of] the cross the mark of the beast (Jones W. The history of the Christian church from the birth of Christ to the xviii. century, Volumes 1-2, 3rd edition. R.W. Pomeroy, 1832. Original from Harvard University, Digitized, Feb 6, 2009, p. 289).

…the Cathari also renounced priestly vestments, altars, and crosses as idolatrous. They called the cross the mark of the beast, and declared it had no more virtue than a ribbon for binding the hair (Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, Chapter X).

So, history shows that there were those who opposed the use of the cross as a “Christian” symbol.

Now, the  Chi-Rho (Labarum Cross), to mention one, existed from at least the time of Plato (a pagan philosopher).   It was adopted by Emperor Constantine centuries after Christ died (312 A.D.). The heretic Justin was probably one who originally encouraged its adoption, and he apparently got it from Plato.  Use of crosses by Christians was not part of the original faith that the Apostle Jude said to contend for.

Lest the idea of the cross being a “mark of the beast” be considered as Catholic-bashing, let me point out that there is a Catholic writer who indicates that the image or perhaps mark of the beast may be something that resembles that Constantinian cross:

Priest P. Huchedé (19th century): Antichrist will further make all men, great and small, rich and poor, freemen and bondmen, bear a sign on their right arm or their forehead. (Apoc. 13:16). What this sign shall be time alone will reveal. Yet there are some {Catholic} commentators of the Holt Writ, who, according to a special revelation pretend to say that it shall be formed out of the Greek letters X and P, interlaced…which resembles the number of Christ. (Cornelius a Lapide in Epis. 2 to Thes.). No one can either buy or sell without this mark, as specified in the Apocalypse (13:17). (Huchedé, P. Translated by JBD. History of Antichrist. Imprimatur: Edward Charles Fabre, Bishop of Montreal. English edition 1884, Reprint 1976. TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p. 24).

If the cross is a symbol of the future Antichrist/Beast power as Roman Catholic Priest P. Huchedé indicates it will be (and it is in a book with an official imprimatur), perhaps those who come from faiths descended from Emperor Constantine should be concerned about their religion now–before it becomes even further removed from the original faith. The Bible indicates that the true Christians will NOT have the symbol/mark needed to buy or sell when the two beasts of Revelation 13 are in power, but only those that will follow those beasts will (Revelation 13:16-17)–and while crosses may not necessarily be required everywhere, other Catholic writings suggest that in certain places, they will be.

CT is correct that all should be offended about using the cross as a 9/11 symbol.  Idolatry is a serious problem and many today do not realize that most who profess Christianity practice it.  Some type of cross possibly could be related to the mark of the beast.  All of this was all left out of the CT article, so I thought that those interested in the truth may find this of value.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? What about the use of the cross, by the early Church?
Who Were the Paulicians? Were any Paulicians faithful Christians? What happened to them? Why might they have developed the papal-antichrist theory?
The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D. An especially persecuted Church.
The Thyatira Church Era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D. The Church during the Inquisition.
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity?
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

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