"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.IV No.VII Pg.13c
February 1942

Kneel At The Cross

W. Curtis Porter

In some sections criticism and objections have been made to singing "At The Cross," "Near The Cross," "Kneel At The Cross," and similar songs. Some seem to have an idea that such songs are suggestive of idolatry. The song, "Kneel At The Cross," has been criticized for suggesting such worship as Catholic engage in when they kneel before their crosses. To do what the song says, we are told, is to be guilty of idolatry; for if the Catholics are guilty of idolatry when they kneel before a cross, then our singing is idolatrous when we sing, "Kneel at the cross."

This criticism arises because brethren have not learned the difference between "the cross" and "a cross." The song does not suggest such a thing as kneeling at a cross. Certainly if one should kneel before a wooden cross, or a material cross of any other kind, he would be guilty of idolatry. But the song suggests no such idea. One line of the song begins like this: "Kneel at the cross, give your idols up." Surely the song would not, in the same sentence, both suggest and condemn idolatry. The song says, "Give your idols up." That would require the giving up of any image before which we might bow in worship. Even "kneeling, at a cross" would not be permitted by the words of the song. But there is a vast difference between "kneeling at the cross" and "kneeling at a cross."

A failure to distinguish this difference would condemn Paul for the language he used and the attitude he took in the long ago. Paul gloried in "the cross." He said: "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." Gal. 6:14. Certainly Paul did not glory in "a cross." In 1 Cor. 1:18 he spoke of "the preaching of the cross." In all such statements "the cross" is a symbol--it does not refer to a piece of wood or metal. To glory in the cross is to glory in that which the cross represented the suffering of Jesus for the redemption of man. And to preach "the cross" was simply to preach the gospel, among the fact of which is the death of Jesus, which is the power of God to save men. And to "kneel at the cross" simply means to bow in submission to the demands of the cross--to humble ourselves in obedience to the requirements of the gospel--and in no other way can any man be saved. If Paul could "preach the cross" and "glory in the cross" without being an idolater, then we can surely "kneel at the cross," bow in submission to its demands--and even sing about it--without being guilty of idolatry. Brethren, please learn the difference between "the cross" and "a cross." It will do you good to learn this lesson.