Christ Centered is first in CoG7’s Vision of a Vibrant 21st Century Church. Does this rob God of His glory? Shouldn’t we be God centered instead?
To answer this vital question, let’s explore the meaning of Christ Centered.
- It does not mean that Jesus is greater than His Father. A kind of solitary ascendancy and supremacy belongs to God as Father. The Son shares most of the Father’s attributes (and may be called God), but only the Father begets the Son. And only the Father is fully transcendent — enveloped in majesty past finding out (Isaiah 55:8, 9; Romans 11:33-36). Christ taught us to pray to our heavenly Father: “Hallowed be thy name. . . . thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever. Amen” (Matthew 6:9, 13, KJV).
- Christ Centered means that Jesus plays a central role in salvation. The Father’s transcendence implies that between earth and heaven, a great chasm is fixed, an uncrossable gap. Jesus bridges that gap. He stands alone at the center — the middle Man between God and us, between heaven and earth (1 Timothy 2:5).
- Christ Centered means that Christ is the heart and focus of all that we are and do as Christians. He is the hub and the main point of our faith. All other points of faith converge in Him (Galatians 2:20).
- Christ Centered means that if all days and details of our existence are seen as so many points on or inside a circle, then Christ is the very center of that circle, connected to all the rest by invisible cords of faith and love (Philippians 1:21).
- To affirm Christ centeredness does not diminish God as our Father. When Christ is lifted up, He draws all men to Himself and, by extension, to the Father also. “He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (John 5:23b; 12:32).
- Christ Centered is not opposed to God centered. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are perfect manifestations of the one true God, with the Father first in all things. The Father sent the Son to reveal Himself and to be the world’s Savior. Then the Spirit came to provide the constant presence of Christ. In this we see Christ at the center, pointing to God’s eternal supremacy above all.
The heavenly Father holds the universe’s highest rank, and His divine Son is the magnetic center of our faith. Jesus became human so that we may be more easily attracted to Him. Christ has the personal experience of being made a little lower than the angels (like us), of taking on a servant’s form — like His brethren — of being touched with the feelings of our infirmities, of being tested in all points as we are, of suffering death on our behalf, and of calling us brethren. We identify closely with Him (Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 2:9-18; 4:15). Among Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Jesus is God’s choice to serve at His right hand as our advocate, our intercessor. He who knows us best loves us most.
No, being Christ centered does not take away from the glory of God. Devotion to Father and Son is not a zero-sum game in which more honor to one means less to the other. Rather, bowing before Christ and calling Him the name above every name — Lord — glorifies God the Father. We make Christ the focus of our faith and devotion precisely because doing so honors God (Philippians 2:9-11). Since God has highly exalted His Son (v. 9; cf. Colossians 1:13-27), we may gladly do the same!
— Elder Calvin Burrell
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