More excited about the theory of Gospel-centeredness than the God of the Gospel?

Our flesh and our enemy takes even the very best things in our lives and uses them against us. Doctrinal knowledge, for example, is a very good thing. Knowledge is how we grow in our understanding of who God is and what His plan is. We should study diligently to show ourselves approved in it. But Paul warns that our enemy takes that very knowledge and uses it to puff up our pride.
I’ve noticed recently that I have been more excited about the “theory of Gospel-centeredness” than I have been about the God of the Gospel. I get pretty good at identifying non-Gospel-centered preaching and theology, but the point of Gospel-centeredness is not the shrewd ability to critique others. The point is to adore God and worship His grace.
It seems that many of us who love to talk about Gospel-centeredness possess little of a true spirit of worship and awe of God and humbled gratefulness at His grace. You can hear that in how we talk, how self-promoting we are, and how ungracious we are with others. Ironically, many of the people we critique have a genuine passion for God and an acute awareness of His grace, even if they don’t know how to explain “Gospel-centeredness.”
Tragically, my mind has often burned hotter with the latest ministerial theories than it has with the passion for the God who gave Himself fully for me at the cross to satisfy His righteous, holy wrath against my sin. Paul would say that such knowledge to me is “worthless.” Only the love of God that true knowledge should produce counts.

Our flesh and our enemy takes even the very best things in our lives and uses them against us. Doctrinal knowledge, for example, is a very good thing. Knowledge is how we grow in our understanding of who God is and what His plan is. We should study diligently to show ourselves approved in it. But Paul warns that our enemy takes that very knowledge and uses it to puff up our pride.

I’ve noticed recently that I have been more excited about the “theory of Gospel-centeredness” than I have been about the God of the Gospel. I get pretty good at identifying non-Gospel-centered preaching and theology, but the point of Gospel-centeredness is not the shrewd ability to critique others. The point is to adore God and worship His grace.

It seems that many of us who love to talk about Gospel-centeredness possess little of a true spirit of worship and awe of God and humbled gratefulness at His grace. You can hear that in how we talk, how self-promoting we are, and how ungracious we are with others. Ironically, many of the people we critique have a genuine passion for God and an acute awareness of His grace, even if they don’t know how to explain “Gospel-centeredness.”

Tragically, my mind has often burned hotter with the latest ministerial theories than it has with the passion for the God who gave Himself fully for me at the cross to satisfy His righteous, holy wrath against my sin. Paul would say that such knowledge to me is “worthless.” Only the love of God that true knowledge should produce counts.

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  3Comments

  1. Christiane   •  

    In my Church we call it ‘Christo-centric’.

  2. Warren   •  

    J.D. – This confession is a challenge to me. Thanks.

  3. Brent Hobbs   •  

    Thanks for this reminder. It’s easy to forget and we need to keep it always in mind. Even when I try and remind myself to be encouraging and positive, sometimes my natural sarcastic, cynical side comes through before I bring it under control as I ought.

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