Christ Centered

Christ-Centered

Jesus Christ revealed in scripture, is the Lord of the Church and the only Savior of the world

 

What does it mean to be Christ- centered? Christ-centered means to “keep the main thing the main thing,” which is, Jesus Christ, the second person in the Holy Trinity who is the “way, the truth and the life,” the exclusive Savior of the world, and as the object of our faith, our greatest source for hope. Therefore, in “keeping the main thing, the main thing” we first and foremost honor Jesus Christ for who he is as revealed in scripture over against any distortions.

One prominent and intended distortion is that Jesus is “one of many” who brings us to God and offers salvation. This distortion has been popularized with the “Co-exist” bumper sticker which is stylized with the different symbols of the various faiths across the world. To be clear, seeking to live in harmony with those of other faiths is right and noteworthy, but that does not mean even for a second that we ignore the biblical revelation of Jesus and simply talk about him as just “one among many.”  He is indeed the “way, the truth and the life,” and we are not ashamed as Christians to witness to his sheer uniqueness as the only true Savior of us all.

There are, however, other distortions of Jesus that may not be quite so prominent or intended but are nevertheless pertinent to discuss. Indeed, sometimes we Christians can distort who Jesus is quite unintentionally. Many of you will remember the “WWJD” bracelets which stood for, “What would Jesus do?” Asking ourselves, “what would Jesus do,” is problematic in that it orients us towards works and holds potential to make Jesus exclusively a moral guide who sets the example for us to follow. Many prominent men throughout history have held Jesus in high regard without honoring him as Lord and Savior. They could have asked themselves, “What would Jesus do,” as a means to access their own moral character. As Christians we certainly do not ignore Jesus as an example, but we recall, first and foremost, that Jesus is our Savior and Lord who saves us out of sheer grace apart from anything we do or ever will do.  Martin Luther will help us out here. He writes: “If you have Christ as the foundation and chief blessing of your salvation, then the other part follows. Then you take him as your example…”

Indeed, “keeping the main thing the main thing” is about honoring Christ for who he is as revealed in scriptures and being mindful of intended and unintended distortions. In addition, “keeping the main thing, the main thing,” Jesus Christ at the center of our faith and life means prioritizing as individuals and as a congregation. Martin Luther once said that he was “so busy” that he needed to “spend the first three hours” of his day, “in prayer.” Developing daily routine of prayer and having an intentional time set aside jut for faith development may be something to work towards. In addition, as a congregation, we keep the “main thing the main thing” when we prioritize worship above all else. Worship is how we are formed and molded as disciples of Jesus Christ, and it is the catalyst to all the ways in which we give our time and talents.

Lastly, in “keeping the main thing the main thing,” Christ as the center of our faith and life, we pray. We pray to God and trust in the Holy Spirit to raise up leaders who will nurture and orient the faith of congregations to Jesus Christ alone, taking great care to fulfill the responsibility “to preach the word purely and administer the sacraments rightly” over against any other agenda contrary to the gospel. With full confidence I can assure you that the NALC Seminary in Ambridge, PA and Gordon Conwell in Charlotte are two such places committed to forming future pastors who will execute their responsibilities faithfully.

Thanks, and God bless,

Pr. Metze

Congregationally Focused
Mission Driven
Traditionally Grounded