Should We Display a Cross in the Church Building?
What Does the Bible Say About the Cross of Christ versus the Body of Christ?
The cross of Christ occurs 22 times (tree, 4 times) in the New Testament:
Mat 27:32, 40, 42
Mark 15:21, 30, 32
John 19:17, 19, 25, 31
Acts 5:30 (tree); 10:39 (tree); 13:29 (tree)
1 Cor. 1:17, 18
Gal. 5:11; 6:12, 14
Phil. 2:8; 3:18
Col. 1:20; 2:14
1 Pet. 2:24 (tree)
The physical body of Christ occurs 26 times in New Testament:
Mat. 26:12, 26; 27:59
Mark 14:8, 22; 15:43, 45
Luke 22:19; 23:52, 55; 24:3, 23
John 2:21, 19:38 (twice); 19:40; 20:12
1 Cor. 10:16; 11:24, 27, 29
Heb. 10:5, 10
1 Pet. 2:24
What does Scripture command us to remember, reflect upon, or discern as an act of worship?
We are told to remember Christ’s body and blood in Luke 22:19 and 1 Cor. 11:24-29.
Nowhere in the Bible are we told to remember the cross, or tree, on which Christ’s body hung, as an act of worship.
Therefore, if there were a need to display a physical symbol during worship, logic would make it a crucifix, which has the body of Christ on it, not just a bare wooden cross.
But we are not left to guess what physical symbols we should use in worship.
What physical symbols of remembrance do the Scriptures specify?
The Bible already specifies the physical symbols that we are to use in worship to help us remember Christ’s death on the cross.
The Bread, representing Christ’s body (Mat. 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 10:16; 1 Cor. 11:24, 26-29).
The Cup, representing Christ’s blood (Mat 26:27-28; Mark 14:23-24; Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:25-29).
Do any Scriptures authorize the display or use of physical symbols other than these during worship to help us remember Christ’s death on the cross?
There are none. Therefore, adding any additional physical symbols would be going beyond the authority of the word of God.
Some passages that address this are:
Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Deuteronomy 12:32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
Romans 10:17 …faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
And Romans 14:23 …whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
-The Elders, Austinville Church of Christ, 2833 Danville Road SW Decatur, Alabama 35603