Extreme Christocentric hermeneutics

Gravey

Member
Hi all.
I'm wanting to clarify for myself what I regard as extreme Christocentric hermeneutics, that is the need to find Jesus behind every rock of scripture, so to speak.

Firstly I am fully committed to a Christocentric reading of the bible, that is I believe all things point to Him when their place is realised in redemptive history. But I don't think that necessitates Jesus being ultimately in every verse or chapter. I'm all for redemptive historical preaching but it needs to be just that, redemptive AND historical...

For example: some preachers see Songs of Solomon as Christ as the church only. But I think that's just preaching at a macro level and doing complete injustice to the details of the relationship Solomon is writing about...we must balance the forest from the trees.

While much is to be admired for the esteem these extreme hermeneutics have for Christ and the gospel, aren't they really just allegorising Jesus into the text, thereby doing injustice to its plain and normal interpretation?

As I've been thinking about this I've come to see that many who preach this way don't see the bible as progressively revealed, but rather have a reinterpretive hermeneutic that reads the OT through the grid of the NT. (I think their advocacy of typology can be overstepped here, in that the NT antitype somehow means the OT type has no significance, as in the case of Israel and the church)

From what ive read some examples of this reinterpretive hermeneutic are G Ladd, G Goldsworthy, G Vos...all men who hold dogmatically to amill/replacement theology.

What do you all think?
Has anyone written on this that you can recommend?
 

acceptedinthebeloved

Well-Known Member
["What do you all think?"]
If I may, just wanted to say that I have had brief (and fuzzy/incomplete) thoughts along these same lines. Thank you for posting.

I don't have any answers to your question (I have no recommendations to offer), but will (or hope to) follow this thread with interest.

And, "welcome!" :hat
 
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Gravey

Member
To clarify...
The reference to Ladd/Vos/Goldsworthy etc was more with their proposing the OT must be read through the NT grid, and that, so far as my studies have revealed, seems to be the underlying hermeneutical issue that leads to 'extreme Christocentric hermeneutics'. So i'm wondering really if this is where the challenge needs to be made.

Taking Goldsworthy as an example:

"We begin with the New Testament because it is there that we encounter the Christ of the gospel, through whom by faith we are made God’s children
(“Gospel and Kingdom,” in The Goldsworthy Trilogy, 48)

"…hermeneutics aims at showing the significance of the text in the light of the gospel. To interpret an Old Testament text we establish its relationship to the revelation of God in Jesus Christ…Our whole study of progressive revelation goes to show that the Gospel event is the reality which determines all that goes before and after it."
(Ibid, 123, 125.)

I don't strictly deny that per se, but to the extremes that it leads to that's where I have issue (sitting under preaching in this manner for 8 years was a tough gig). Again, this problem stems from thinking that, just because we understand the relation of the OT type to its NT antitype, either the OT figure has no meaning other than the meaning of the antitype in the NT, or the meaning of the type in its own context is simply to be neglected. Consider the example again of Songs of Solomon as Jesus and the church...That smells more of allegory than anything else to me...Or consider ethnic Israel and the church...Or another example would be the eschatological views that insist Christ has fulfilled every single OT promise at his first advent...Many of the Amill boys conceit that a plain reading of the OT leads one to be a premill, and only when the NT comes along do they import that understanding back to quote-unquote change the meaning of those prophecies to tie them into the cross, because that's where the cream is, when it seems to me it's entirely possible that some of them are reserved for the second advent...Why insist on jamming it all into the cross?

(With that last comment, I want to assure I'm a firm believer in reformed soteriology)
 
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twit

Well-Known Member
Some verses to ponder....

27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. Lk 24.

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Gal 3.

5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. Heb 8.

1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 1 Cor 10.
 

Any Minute

Tetelestai !!
What do you all think?
Has anyone written on this that you can recommend?

You may or may not be familiar with George Gunn of Shasta Bible College.
http://www.shasta.edu/dr-george-gunn.html


Here is a direct link to the article; he addresses briefly your mention of Song of Solomon (page 3).

http://ftp.shasta.edu/admin/userfiles/resourceDocuments/Christocentricity_Lk24v27.pdf

Conclusion:

Excessive appeal to the christocentric principle has gone far beyond the practice of Jesus and has provided a faulty basis for an allegorical interpretation of many portions of Scripture. May we be careful to follow the balanced approach to exegesis modeled by our Lord on the Emmaus Road, adhering to a literal hermeneutic, and proclaiming the Word in such a way as to set the hearts of Jesus‘ disciples ablaze with a burning desire to spread the good news of our risen and returning Lord!


I normally wouldn’t post anything with a direct leaning towards Calvinism, Reformed, Covenant Theology or any other position in opposition to this boards doctrinal position. I personally didn’t see any direct leaning in that article but if so, the Mods can delete.

Though I strongly disagree with his soteriological position, along with disagreement on several of his other writings, I do agree with you both on your points about having to stretch so far with being Christocentric that you end up allegorizing, forcing meaning beyond the context or intent of the passage, trying to find mention in every jot and tittle.

My opinion; a more balanced approach should be taken. In a broad sense beyond having to torture individual words, verses or employing eisegesis, I see Christ from cover to cover. From the Word speaking all into existence, His revealing of Himself to us throughout scripture, His plan of redemption, to His Revelation; it’s all about Him.

With that I’ll bow out of this thread, though I’ll follow with interest.

Welcome To RF! :welcome2I look forward to reading more from you and possibly interacting in other threads.
 

Hol

Worships Him
Interesting thoughts...I will revisit after service tonight.
Watching for Jon & Adrian (mattfivefour) to respond :beagle

Personally, I think both views are close to the mark. As Any minute said , "I see Christ from cover to cover," and "...forcing meaning beyond the context and intent of the passage, trying to find mention in every jot and tittle."

Perhaps I'm off on this, but as the Holy Spirit leads me in study I do see all scripture inspires my baby steps to understand Him ❤ Sometimes I think of how Mary of Magdala viewed Christ after He was resurrected, as the gardener. He gently revealed Himself. Just imagine the Apostle Paul rejoicing in faith as he studied from Proverbs 30:3-4, "And I have not learned wisdom, neither have I the knowledge of the Holy One. Who hath ascended up into heaven, and descended? Who hath gathered the wind in His fists? Who hath bound the waters in His garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name, and what is His Son's name, if thou knowest?"❤
Now in Ephesians 4, Apostle Paul building up our oneness and gratitude for hope, our Heavenly Father, serving in peace filled unity, very step-by-step, until verses 8 - 10 (here is where I may be off). Suddenly a burst of praise! I think now that he knows the Son's name it is in uncontainable joy that he breaks his instructing stride with this core pause where a 'this is all Christ❤' delight fills him. "Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he captured captives; he gave giftsto men.” 9Now what is the meaning of “he ascended,” except that he also descended to the lower regions, namely, the earth? 10 He, the very one who descended, is also the one who ascended above all the heavens, in order to fill all things."❤
 

Hol

Worships Him
Sorry, have to post to clarify my post! If we try to force Christ's presence in all scripture I find it has lost the sheer joy of revelation that He is all in all.

And maybe I should simply wait for Pastors Jonshaff & Adrian to clarify...
 

Jan51

Well-Known Member
I think much of the Bible has meaning on several different levels, all of which are true and do not contradict each other. There is the literal historical context: what happened or what was said to whom? when? why? and what did it mean to them? When that has been determined, then we can determine how it applies to us. If it is Old Testament, it had meaning and application to Israel and those under the dispensation of Law, but it also may have some application to the church. The Old Testament was a historical record, but within that history, somehow God built in spiritual principles for us. It may have meaning to our general understanding of the rest of Scripture as we see how it confirms, expands, contrasts with, or sheds light on other passages or doctrines. I think the Bible is like an onion, with many layers of meaning and application.
 

mattfivefour

Administrator
Staff member
I think much of the Bible has meaning on several different levels, all of which are true and do not contradict each other. There is the literal historical context: what happened or what was said to whom? when? why? and what did it mean to them? When that has been determined, then we can determine how it applies to us. If it is Old Testament, it had meaning and application to Israel and those under the dispensation of Law, but it also may have some application to the church. The Old Testament was a historical record, but within that history, somehow God built in spiritual principles for us. It may have meaning to our general understanding of the rest of Scripture as we see how it confirms, expands, contrasts with, or sheds light on other passages or doctrines. I think the Bible is like an onion, with many layers of meaning and application.
:thumbup
 

jonshaff

Fellow Servant
Thing is, the written Word of God is in essence the revelation of God Himself to us. He continues to reveal Himself to us through His Word, always has always will. Our God is not mute.

Jesus Christ came to communicate truth...the Word became Flesh and He is, was, and always will be RELATIONAL.

Also, if we seek to read and study scripture for any other reason then wanting to Get to know our Lord, we've begun to study in vain. Hence all the philosophical jargon preachers have manufactured by using the bible.

As Jan said, there are many different layers to truth, as there are many different layers in our Lord. HE is a person, infinitely God, thus understanding who He is means we must endeavor to communicate with HIM, for no other reason then to get to Know HIM.
 

Hol

Worships Him
Thing is, the written Word of God is in essence the revelation of God Himself to us. He continues to reveal Himself to us through His Word, always has always will. Our God is not mute.

Jesus Christ came to communicate truth...the Word became Flesh and He is, was, and always will be RELATIONAL.

Also, if we seek to read and study scripture for any other reason then wanting to Get to know our Lord, we've begun to study in vain. Hence all the philosophical jargon preachers have manufactured by using the bible.

As Jan said, there are many different layers to truth, as there are many different layers in our Lord. HE is a person, infinitely God, thus understanding who He is means we must endeavor to communicate with HIM, for no other reason then to get to Know HIM.
So true Jon!

Could you please let me know, when you get a chance, if I had misunderstood the OP? In my limited experience, there are some who teach an almost 'secret decoding' that they say is Christ in scripture, for example, some teach that each item in the tabernacle (even cords & pegs) is a type of Christ, and that's what I thought Gravey was asking about.

Thanks & prayers for your ministry!
 

jonshaff

Fellow Servant
Thanks for the prayers sister!

To be completely christocentric, IMHO, is to simply (and it's not always simple) allow scripture, along with the illumination of truth through the Holy Ghost, to reveal the intended meaning of the passage and how it relates to the person/s of God and the response of the un/believer.

When it is intended to be a type of Christ or something that is to reveal the nature of Christ or the purpose of Christ's life, then allow it to be so.

For example, Noah's ark. The situation in and of itself is a microcosm of humanity in relationship to the HOLY, Just God of the universe; and the Love HE has extended to those that desire to trust Him is a layer of that, as well has His grace and mercy. His nature is revealed in a few chapters which serves the purpose of CONSTRAINING us, and compels us to love, trust and obey Him.

So, I'd like to have an example of "extreme" christocentric hermeneutics to be able to cipher what would be consider extreme to begin with. ;)
 

Hol

Worships Him
I love what your thinking is on this Jonshaff! I have little idea of any examples myself, but sounds like something I should avoid if I ever figure out where in scripture I misinterpret because I tend to find all of scripture truly revolves around Christ, and how we interact with our God❤

Thanks again!
 

jonshaff

Fellow Servant
I love what your thinking is on this Jonshaff! I have little idea of any examples myself, but sounds like something I should avoid if I ever figure out where in scripture I misinterpret because I tend to find all of scripture truly revolves around Christ, and how we interact with our God❤

Thanks again!
There are deep truths, such as the tabernacle and it's components and how they Relate or can be paralleled with the Person of Christ. That is absolutely healthy to dive into and allow the Holy Spirit to fill your cup.

Other examples are the feasts, Levitical laws, persons who are a type of Christ, etc...
 
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