“Without hindrance!” These two words (one word in Greek) are the last words of The Acts of the Apostles. They capture the indomitable advancement of the gospel as recorded in Acts, even as they assure Christ’s witnesses of the ultimate success of the gospel among the nations. Though Christ’s witnesses would meet with social divisions in the church, demon-possessed soothsayers, mob violence from zealous followers of local deities, imprisonment, ship-wreck, stoning, and beheading, the gospel would not, indeed, could not, be stopped. As our Apostle would say during his final imprisonment which ended in his execution, “I am suffering for the gospel, bound with chains as a criminal. But the Word of God is not bound!” (2 Timothy 2:9). This is a message that the church needs to hear today. We do not face any obstacles that the early Christians did not face. Like us, they too were confronted with ungodly superstition, atheism, and empty philosophies. They faced false prophets and false teachers who were determined to lead the church astray. They faced zealots, like Saul of Tarsus, who “persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it” (Galatians 1:13). They faced the hostility of a government that either took no notice of the church, and therefore disregarded it, or that feared the church as subversive and seditious, and therefore outlawed it. Yet, rather than bemoaning their circumstances and discouraging the heart of their comrades with stories of giants in the land, they faithfully proclaimed the gospel, finding that it could not be hindered by all the forces of hell. In fact, Paul seems to indicate that the only hindrance to the gospel is the Church’s reluctance to proclaim it (Ephesians 6:19-20).
This is the message that we hope to communicate by our new church logo. The Celtic Cross combines two elements, the sun and the cross of Christ. The sun represents the pagans’ worship of the natural order, and their fear of capricious deities and ancestral spirits. The cross represents the sacrifice of Christ that cancelled “the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands” and “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14-15). These symbols are set with the cross superimposed on the sun to indicate the triumph of Christ over the false gods of the pagans—the triumph of the gospel over paganism. This generation in the West has seen a rise in an aggressive neo-paganism and new atheism. Islam and Eastern religions are no longer “over there.” They are right here in our own backyard. We must not retreat into holy conclaves, sinfully cowering in the face of these contrary worldviews. We must meet them with the untamed gospel of the kingdom, proclaiming the Word that cannot be chained.
The intricate designs inside the cross are called Celtic knots. There is no discernible beginning or ending to these lines, which speaks of the eternality of God, as does the circle which connects the arms of the cross interiorly.
This form of the cross is commonly found in Ireland and Scotland. Some traditions suggest that this symbol dates back to Patrick in the fifth century. At that time, this would have been considered the “ends of the earth” as the western extremity of the Roman Empire. Our use of this symbol connects us to the early centuries of the church and to a missionary heritage that is a hallmark of the Presbyterian Church in America.
The wave was added to soften the appearance and compliment the “creek” in Cross Creek. Cross Creek was an area settled in the eighteenth century by the Highland Scots, who brought the Presbyterian faith to the Cape Fear region of North Carolina.
Our logo connects us to our Scottish Presbyterian fathers as well as to the missionary expansion of the church in the early centuries. It expresses our desire to see the triumph of the gospel in our lives, in our communities, in our country, and among the nations, for the glory of God.