I invite you to take a closer look at the term “Christ-centred” (Christocentric). The first step should be to look at what this term entail. According to Keeney (2011) many “who say they study the Bible inductively, actually ignore the biggest presupposition they have – that the ultimate purpose of the Bible is to provide us with a set of principles to live by”. Keathley (2013) compare and equal this to the term “in Christ”. He says that it is a fact that believers are complete in Christ and to be Christ-centred is to be positioned in Christ and also to be Christ orientated in their thinking. This supports point four of being Christ-centred as in the core values of SATS, that the nature of God as revealed in the words and works of the Lord Jesus Christ is a lens for interpreting God’s word and discerning his will, and more.
I believe that this is not just to “discern God’s nature, will, and purposes” (Smith 2012:158), but to reveal God’s salvation, redemption and reconciliation through love, healing and care, up to the point of Christ-likeness. I view this not just as a Christ-centred hermeneutic approach to the interpretation of the scriptures (Peppler 2012:117), but to save, love, redeem, heal, deliver, reconcile and care for each and everyone in the congregation. We need to have Christ Jesus as the centre of our lives like an axis allowing our lives to revolve around Him – His words, His works and His way, because He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Thus not just understanding the Bible through Christ, but also practically living it daily.
The truth is that all congregations are not Christ orientated. This cause the number of attendance to be more important than the well-being of the attenders or the message preached more important than the truth of God. This then becomes a search for acceptance rather than accepting people. Programmes and courses seem to be taking pre-eminence above the will and purposes of what Christ would have us do at a given time. This then turns into a power-centred and not Christ-centred church.
I therefore believe that looking at a church or rather a congregation in the light of being Christ-centred means that this congregation will follow the Bible as a set of principles guiding them into that which God wants them to achieve (Keeney 2011). They will look at Jesus Christ as their example and follow his teachings and actions. Focusing more on the portions of scripture and sermons related to Christ and who He is whereby these truths can be implemented in believer’s lives. This will allow them to look at every person and not see their sin, but see people struggling to choose between life and death. I believe that this is the church’s responsible in building a Christ-centred community of God’s people. The beatitudes will probably be a good place to start and then to follow up with Paul’s teachings regarding attitude and character like in Romans 12 and Colossians 3. Imagine how great it would be when everybody lives in the true love of God and Christ. Their will be no more fear and pain because everyone will be looking out for one another.
In conclusion Christocentric is to look at both the “Bible as a revelation of Jesus Christ” and “Jesus as the ‘revealer’ of what the Bible teaches” (Peppler 2012), not forgetting the fact that we need to be transformed by it into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
Keathley JH 2011. ABCs for Christian Growth–Laying the Foundation: The Christ-Centered Life http://bible.org/gsearch?search=The%20Christ-Centered%20Life
Keeney L 2011. Towards A Christocentric Hermeneutic Part 1: Against Principlizing.
Keeney L 2012. Towards A Christocentric Hermeneutic Part 2: Can a Narrative Be Authoritative?
Peppler CL 2012. The christocentric principle: a Jesus-centred hermeneutic. Conspectus: The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary. v13:117–135.
Smith C 2012. The Christocentric Principle: Promise, Pitfalls, and Proposal. Conspectus: The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary. v13:157-170.