N. B. Hardeman – Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth at the Cross

         As one reads the Hardeman Tabernacle Sermons[1] he or she can see that brother Hardeman believed in the power and place of the cross in preaching. In his address titled, “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth” (Vol. 1, 1922), brother Hardeman asked, “Upon what basis shall we proceed?” He suggested the faulty basis many have taken which has long resulted in confusion:

Much of the confusion that exists in the religious realm is due to the fact that we have planted our tripod, our Jacob’s staff, if you please, at different places from which to take our bearing; and so long as that custom and that idea prevails, confusion on the part of honest, earnest, sincere people will evermore characterize our labors and our endeavors.

            Brother Hardeman stressed that in the Bible we have two great divisions: the Old and New Testaments (Covenants), the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ. He urged that the former is not the place to begin rightly dividing the word of truth for the following reasons: (1) The Law of Moses was inaugurated for a special people and for a definite period of time (Deut. 5:2-3; Heb. 8:8-9). (2) The Law was given “because of transgressions, till the seed should come” (Gal. 3:19), that “seed” being Christ. (3) Christ bore the relationship to the law as fulfiller (Matt. 5:17). That is, he fulfilled at the cross that theocratic form of government, that system which reigned from Sinai to Calvary.

            In part two of this sermon, brother Hardeman continued to emphasize the cross. In it he showed that the New Testament was dedicated by the atoning blood of Christ (Heb. 10:9-10).

N. B. Hardeman – The Blood of Christ at the Cross

            When one thinks of the old rugged cross his mind must center upon the blood that was shed on that instrument of death. In his sermon, “The Blood of Christ” (Vol. 2, 1923), Brother Hardeman recognized the power and efficacy of the blood of Jesus. Hardeman pointed out some of the primary benefits of that wonderful sacrifice on the cross: (1) It is the ransom for all of lost and ruined humanity (Matt. 26:28; Acts 20:28; 1 Jn. 2:2). (2) In it is to be found the remission of sins (Matt. 26:28; Heb. 9:22). (3) It sealed the law of the New Testament and purchased the church of God (Heb. 8:6-12; Acts 20:28).

            It was to this point that brother Hardeman laid stress, when he asked, “For what was Christ’s blood expended?” His answer was:

            The church of the living God…So, then, it stands axiomatic that if you and I get any of the benefits of the blood of Christ, we must get it by virtue of our relationship to that institution into which Christ’s blood went…Jesus Christ, our Lord, purchased the church of God with his blood. Therefore it follows beyond the shadow of a doubt that if you and I ever become beneficiaries of Christ’s blood it will be due to the fact that we have become members of his church.

N. B. Hardeman – A New Religion at the Cross

            In 1942, the final year of the Tabernacle meetings in Nashville, Tennessee, N. B. Hardeman pictured the cross as that which ushered in “Christianity, A New Religion.” In his sermon by this title he set forth the many unique features of Christianity as a new and different religion:

  1. Christianity is a new religion because of the forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness is obtained in the blood of Christ shed on the cross.
  2. Christianity is a new religion because it is the only religion the world has ever known that offers eternal life to man because of the cross.
  3. Christianity is a new religion because it recognized the Father of God – “Our Father who art in heaven.”
  4. Christianity is a new religion because it teaches the real standard of greatness – humility.
  5. Christianity is a new religion because it is positive rather than negative – finding authority for every act of worship.
  6. Christianity is a new religion because it is the only religion ever known that proposes to make man a “new creature” because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.


            The evangelists of the past knew the power and place of the cross of Christ in their preaching. They were not ashamed of the cross. Neither were they intimidated by contemporary opinions as to what preaching ought to be or not be. They gloried in the cross and it flavored their messages from pen and pulpit. Shame on us today if our preaching is any less Christ-centered and cross-directed!


[1] This was a series of gospel meetings conducted by N. B. Hardeman at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN between 1922 and 1942. Those sermons were published in a series of five volumes.