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Book Release: The Skull and The Cross

Interview by V. Michelle Bernard
Published 11/6/2013

The skull and the cross have a lot in common argues Ohio Conference pastor Tom Hughes in a new book, The Skull and the Cross. Hughes, pastor of the Newark Community church, has ministered to motorcyclists for 40 years and says he wrote the book to show “skulls were originally Christian symbols.” Below he shares more:
Q: Do you remember what inspired you to study the similarities between the skull and cross symbolism?
A: A Christian biker approached me at a rally and said, “Tom, you have to get all those skulls off your motorcycle. They’re evil.”
I explained to him that skulls were actually Christian symbols at first, long before they were hijacked by pirates and bikers. I told him that my bike was covered with dozens of symbols of Calvary, which was quite a shock to him. After much research and a year of thinking about it, he now shares my opinion.
My study led me to the churches in Germany and Rome, to the catacombs in Italy and France, and to early Christian baptisteries. This was not only a fascinating journey, but it is also ongoing.
Almost every month I encounter more evidence, new pictures, or articles that prove without a doubt that both the skull and crossbones were originally Christian symbols that predate the modern use of them in an evil context by more than a thousand years. Centuries before any evil usage was documented, the skull and crossbones were used as a symbol of Calvary, resurrection, baptism, and of the Messiah—Jesus Christ.
Q: What surprised you most about what you found?
A: Everything! I was astounded to learn that the English word for “skull” is derived from the Latin word calvaria, which literally means skull. So calvary is just another word for skull! [I was also surprised to learn] that according to an ancient Jewish and Christian tradition, Adam is buried on Golgotha and it’s called the “hill of the skull” because he is buried there; that there’s a skull and crossbones over a representation of the baptistery in the oldest baptistery in Christendom AD 413 representing resurrection; and that medieval paintings have the skull and crossbones painted below the cross with the blood of Jesus dripping on the head of Adam.
Q: The world of bikers and Christians seems to be worlds apart. What can we learn from each other? 
A: They are worlds apart, but they are just people like us after all, and we need to not condemn, critique, criticize or condescend to them. Rather we need to cultivate relationships with [those of other] cultures we meet. Instead of looking down on them, we need to create new and arresting means of meeting their needs, getting to know them and then bid them to follow us as we follow Jesus.
Download The Skull and the Cross on Amazon or purchase a print copy from Remnant Publications at http://www.remnantpublications.com/default/index.php/the-skull-the-cross.html.

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