There's an interesting discussion going on over at Dan's blog (Life on Wings), where Peter Day has posted a great piece called "Overturning the Tables of Legalism" about how much we should focus on the cross as believers. The argument on the cross-centered side seems to be that Paul was cross-centered and seemed to use 'the cross' as short-hand for the gospel message as a whole. There's also a quote saying we shouldn't move on from the Cross, however my thoughts on that are that since there is no Scripture saying the same, it doesn't have much authority. On the other side, some are arguing that the throne or empty tomb would be a better symbol for Christianity.
I was sitting playing a mindless computer game when a thought popped into my head. Maybe from God? I think so but you can judge for yourself. What popped into my head was the story of the Israelites in the wilderness with Moses, the time they all got bitten and poisened by serpents and God instructed Moses to raise up a bronze snake on a pole so the people could come and look at it and be healed. (Numbers 21:4-9) What did they do with this bronze snake on a pole afterward? Turns out they decided to worship it, turning it into an idol instead of worshipping the God who saved them... (see 2 Kings 18:4) And there's connection between this pole and Jesus in John 3 v. 14 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."
Now to be sure, Paul did sometimes refer to the cross as a kind of short-hand for the work of Christ, and so can we. But I think there can be a danger of turning 'the Cross' into some kind of entity, we can do exactly what the Israelites did with their snake pole--we can end up putting our focus on the means of salvation rather than the person who saved us. I talked about this in my previous post as well, " Not Clinging to the Cross". Yes, we should always remember the death of Jesus, as we do every time we break bread together, there's a right time and and right way to remember the work of Jesus on the cross. But we remember the cross in a way that is life-giving, partaking of the body and blood of Jesus, being renewed and healed by taking his eternal resurrection life into our bodies. The breaking of bread NEVER ministers shame, guilt, condemnation, death, fear, etc...but ALWAYS the life-giving power of God's loving grace.
Another argument is that we need to center our lives around the cross in order to remain humble, but this argument is rooted in the idea that the cross is a reminder of our sin. I'm very sorry to say this (and I've said it over and over) but IF THE CROSS REMINDS YOU OF YOUR SIN THEN YOU ARE DENYING THE VERY POWER OF THE FINISHED WORK OF JESUS, THE WORK OF THE CROSS. Once again, take a look at Hebrews 10 (which I also wrote about a while back in my post called "Knowing God Under the New Covenant" The work of Jesus on the cross totally washes all our sin away forever and we are no longer even conscious of it! That's right, if God has forgotten it, so should we. To the extent we live aware of and focused on our sin, to that extent are we living in unbelief, not trusting that the sacrifice of Jesus was enough to put us in right standing before our Father.
And out of curiosity, I went to Bible Gateway and did a few searches (not including the Gospels) just to give a basic idea of what the New Testament church might be centered on. I only found 13 references to 'the cross'. I found 89 references for "gospel", 470 references for "Christ", 345 references for "Jesus" (there is probably some overlap for "Christ" and "Jesus"), and 66 references for "Spirit" (with a capital 's'). In a general way, I think this leads me to believe that we should live Jesus centered lives, not cross centered lives. I think that by over using the phrase 'the cross' without clarying and teaching what we mean by it (we do the same thing with many many other words such as 'gospel', 'grace', etc...), we are not helping people to understand these doctrines well but are deceiving them into thinking that knowing the right terminology means they have adequate understanding and are well-taught.
[ I think it would be good for me to say, not necessarily in relation to this topic in particular, that I also think women need to be looking into these things and are not only qualified as well as men to do this, but are encouraged by their Father in the Spirit to do it! I am publicly, for my sake and for the sake of any and all daughters of the Kingdom of Heaven, renouncing the doctrines of demons in the church today that are trying to suppress, control, manipulate, and destroy women(just as their leader did in the garden many many years ago) and I'm specifically referring to the idea that women are not able to discern and study Scripture and doctrine for themselves by the Spirit, without any man. And we are released from the curse of Genesis 3 sisters! So be free!!!]