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100 Years of "The Old Rugged Cross" John 18:1-19:42

100 Years of "The Old Rugged Cross"

The Cross is an invitation to a relationship with Christ.

At a Glance

One of the most well-known gospel hymns ever, along with "Amazing Grace," is "The Old Rugged Cross." It's a hymn that's been performed by countless recording stars. And it's 100 years old this year.

Editors' Pick

For material based on this same gospel text, see "Famous Last Words," April 18, 2003, at

It is "a monstrous blasphemy."

That's how Erik Routley, who some consider the greatest hymnologist of the last century, described the well-known hymn "The Old Rugged Cross." Routley, who was also a composer and minister, explained his comment by saying, "I believe it to be wrong, misleading and spiritually wicked to treat the Cross as affectionately as that lyric does."

Well! No cherishing the old rugged cross for him!

Routley made that comment in a 1967 publication, more than 50 years after the hymn had been introduced to the public. His opinion had little impact because by that time, "The...

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