A question I’ve begun exploring this evening is: What is Christ-Centered Preaching? Although I don’t preach myself, I do have an interest in Christian communication. So as I’ve been exploring how to write in a more Christ-centred way I’ve become more curious about the public speaking equivalent.
One book which drew my attention was “Christ-Centered Preaching by Bryan Chappell”. Not having read the book before I checked out a few books reviews to see if I’d like to actually buy it. But I think the answer is no given comments from reviewers like this:
“Chappell argues that when Christian sermons offer mere moral instruction, they “present a faith indistinguishable from that of morally conscientious Muslims, Unitarians, Buddhists, or Hindus” (p. 294). To be distinctively Christian, says Chappell, a sermon must have a redemptive focus, meaning it must emphasize the sufficiency of Jesus Christ for both justification and sanctification. Appended material addresses a number of practical matters, such as how a preacher should dress, pulpit demeanor, messages for weddings and funerals, and recommended resources for a pastor’s library. “ (www.sharperiron.org)
Sorry, but this doesn’t sound like Christ-centered preaching to me. Cross-centered yes, but Christ-centered no. Who Jesus was, and is, and is to come cannot be reduced to one moment in history, no matter how significance that moment in history was. Christ was a person. For preaching to be truly Christ-centered it must take its bearings from Christ in a much more holistic way.
Indeed, to suggest Christ-centeredness can be reduced to atonement theology further suggests that ethics has nothing to do with Christ-Centeredness, which I don’t buy at all. So I’m going to think about this some more and look for more books. But while I do I am interested in your thoughts. What do you recognize as Christ-centered preaching?