Monday, November 27, 2017

The Centrality of Jesus Christ: Comments from Andrew Sandlin

The current issue of Jubilee (Fall 2017) contains an article by Andrew Sandlin entitled "Solus Christus: Redemption & the Trouble with Being 'Cross-Centered'."  Here is one particularly poignant piece:

Jesus Christ’s work in history is the intersecting point of what I call the four segments of the Christian quadrilateral: history, doctrine, experience, and community. You can’t take away one of these factors and still have Christianity, but more important than any of them is the One around whom the entire scheme revolves — our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. When we lose this Christocentric (Christ-centered) focus, we begin to lose the Faith itself. We then think, for example, that the Faith is mainly about abstract theological propositions; if we can just dot our theological t’s and cross our dogmatic i’s, we will be all right. Or, on the other hand, if we can just capture that “greater experience” — that feeling closeness to God, that lling of the Spirit, or what have you — we will have reached the Christian summit. Or, if we can just get into the right (perfect) church, with the right community of saints who love and care for God and for each other, we will have arrived. History, doctrine, experience, and community are essential to the Faith, but they are not the Faith. Jesus Christ Himself is the Faith. Intelligent people often get sucked into a dogmatically-centered faith. Emotional people often get sucked into an experience-centered faith. Relational people often get sucked into a community-centered faith. Dogma, experience and community are good in their place, and those places are essential — there can be no true Christianity without them.

But they are not the foundation of our Faith. Jesus Christ in his Person and Work is the foundation of our Faith (Eph. 2:20). is is why the New Testament apostles so relentlessly preached faith in the crucified and risen Lord as man’s only hope (1 Cor. 2:2; 15:1-4; 1 Jn. 5:12). From this Christocentricity flows changed individuals, families, churches, societies, nations, and civilizations.  The worldwide transformation predicted by the Old Testament prophets is the result of a
worldwide Christ-centeredness (Phil. 2:5- 11). The answer to the world’s evil and sin, therefore, is not more shrewd, glossy evangelistic or political strategies; or more precise, academic theology; or greater Christian emotion and experience. A changed world is a result of changing the focus of the entire world to the One by Whom it consists, or is held together (Col. 1:15-17).

For man made in the image of God, solus Christus (Christ alone) will — and must — suffice. (p. 13)