Paul's Passing Thoughts

What in the World is Up With Christocentrism?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 25, 2019

ppt-jpeg4A major theme of church orthodoxy that has completely taken over the evangelical church is the supremacy of Christ. Of course, Christ is central to salvation, but this view clearly relegates the Father and the Spirit to insignificant roles for salvation and even reality itself, at least when compared to Christ. Even the mainline modern-day prince of preachers, John MacArthur, has suggested that preaching about “anyone” or “anything” other than Christ takes away from sanctification. Indeed, the historical-redemptive hermeneutic used by easily 95%+ of all evangelical pastors posits the idea that every verse in the Bible is about Christ directly or indirectly. Ten to fifteen years ago, this idea was even getting significant pushback within evangelical circles, but when the church is fundamentally seen as having authority over salvation on earth, those who pound the pulpit the hardest within the church community are eventually going to win the argument. This is because the audience is captive; where else are they going to get salvation? And if the John MacArthurs of the world don’t capitulate, they would have to get a real job, so….

Yes, Solus Christus, or “Christ alone,” one of the 5 solas, really means just that; Christ alone…period. The specifics of what makes the Father and the Spirit insignificant is left to anyone’s guess as the method used for making Christ the only relevant soteriological figure is the out of sight out of mind communication technique. Clearly, it’s everything Jesus. The answer to every question in church is, “Jesus.” Somewhere around eight years ago, I wrote an article suggesting that the Father and the Spirit had a role in salvation and was labeled as “totally off the reservation.” Indeed. In addition, I could make millions being a Christian song writer. Watch: “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, oh Jesus. Jesus wow, and wow Jesus.”

The idea came from Martin Luther, there is no doubt about that,  but what links it to the progressive justification tenets of double imputation, mortification and vivification, and the vital union? I don’t know.  At least part of it is linked to the Neo-Platonist/Gnostic ideas of bad gods and good gods. God the Father created the material world and is the god of wrath, and Jesus is the good god of grace that comes and saves us from the god of wrath; so obviously, in that scenario Jesus is who we would want to focus on. This idea was specifically endorsed in Rick Holland’s book, Uneclipsing The Son; a book forwarded by John Macarthur and endorsed by the who’s who of evangelicalism. Though no one wants to face up to it, most of the church fathers were unabashed Gnostics and the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.

However, there is at least one safe bet: Christocentrism is probably the largest block in the wall against a literal biblical new birth in which all three members of the Trinity are efficacious. The biblical new birth infuses the righteousness of God into humanity resulting in a new state of being which is anathema to the Platonist worldview and antithetical to John Calvin’s total depravity.

Of course, proponents of solus Christus have a myriad of Bible verses that “prove” their point. And of course, verses that prove the contrary point can be supplied as well, but there is irony here that must be pointed out. Christocentrism, even in a cursory observation, is really law-centrist. The overt logical conclusion is that the law is a fourth member of the Trinity. In other words, Christocentrism strikes at the very heart of what the apostle Paul spent his whole ministry fighting against; a justification by the law. Paul argued that there is only “one seed,” but if there is a law than can give life, that would be more than one seed. A primary tenet of double imputation is Jesus came and obtained his righteousness through perfect law-keeping which qualified him to be an acceptable substitution for the penalty of sin. Furthermore, his perfect law-keeping must also be progressively imputed to the Christian life in order to maintain justification. No law, no salvation. Doesn’t that make the law more important than Jesus? Sure it does.

Protestantism is perhaps the most ironic religion in the world; while claiming to be the antithesis of a justification by the law, it is the epitome of such and the overt anti-Pauline soteriology of the ages.

paul

 

 

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  1. lydia00 said, on November 25, 2019 at 2:10 PM

    “However, there is at least one safe bet: Christocentrism is probably the largest block in the wall against a literal biblical new birth in which all three members of the Trinity are efficacious. The biblical new birth infuses the righteousness of God into humanity resulting in a new state of being which is anathema to the Platonist worldview and antithetical to John Calvin’s total depravity.”

    During the big ESS controversy years ago, where Jesus was subordinate to the Father And no one could tell me who the Holy Spirit reported it to, I did quite a dive on the Trinity. I learned a lot but one thing stood out for me in some of my reading of Protestant orthodoxy: Anti Semitism. It’s quietly there. And it fits in with the new birth problem. How could Jews be saved before Jesus? By doing the right thing? (Keeping the law)? But even Jesus pointed out they didn’t understand the law and added to it.

    The fullness of the Trinity cannot support the dualism that is necessary for Protestant Orthodoxy. John 5 was a big wake up for me in that respect.

    “16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” 18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God”

    That last sentence says it all.

    Thing is, I became more convinced we can’t really separate the Trinity the way so many do to promote their various agendas.

    Like


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