Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Christ-Centered Preaching

Proponents of "Christ-Centered Preaching" (such as Bryan Chapell, President of Covenant Seminary, and Michael Horton, Professor of Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California) argue that the Person and work of Jesus Christ is the central message of the Bible, and therefore any sermon that fails to do justice to Scripture's central message necessarily fails in its primary task.

The New Testament abounds with evidence for the Christ-centeredness of God's revelation; Luke 24:27, 44-45 is a characteristic example:

"And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.... Then he said to them, 'These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.' Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures."

But the matter is far from settled.

There are those who argue that, while Christ is certainly to be preached from passages where he is explicitly mentioned or typified, to force him into every text is an unnatural imposition that does damage to the message of that particular passage.

There are others who agree with Christ-centered preaching in theory, but have difficulty making the transition from the (perhaps obscure) text to Christ. The result is often an awkward jump from "Samuel hacked Agag into pieces" to "Sick of being 'hacked to pieces' by the world? Come to Jesus!"

And finally, evidence suggests that the majority of evangelical pastors consider messages focusing on the cross and resurrection to be irrelevant to modern church-goers. The Gospel is great for unbelievers, but once they're "in," they need practical messages that are useful in "the real world."

Into which category do you fit?