Christ-centered and gospel-centered are terms that are in vogue right now. Is it possible to be too Christ-centered or too gospel-centered?
Before we answer that question, it’s good to define what we mean. Let’s start by defining Christ-centered. In his book Christ-Centered Preaching, Bryan Chapell argues that every portion of Scripture must be understood in relation to “the redeeming work of God that all Scripture ultimately purposes to disclose.” He writes:
In this sense, the entire Bible is Christ-centered because his redemptive work in all of its incarnational, atoning, rising, interceding, and reigning dimensions is the capstone of all of God’s revelation of his dealings with his people. Thus, no aspect of revelation can be thoroughly understood or explained in isolation from some aspect of Christ’s redeeming work. (p.276)
So, Chapell says, “Christ-centered preaching rightly understood does not seek to discover where Christ is mentioned in every text but to disclose where every text stands in relation to Christ” (p.279).
I think that’s as good a definition as I’ve read. According to Chapell, being Christ-centered preaching means that we relate all of Scripture to God’s saving work. There are many ways that this can happen.
Tomorrow, we’ll examine if, when it comes to Christ-centered preaching, you can have too much of a good thing.