The name “Christ” means “Anointed One”. Theologians have pointed out that in the OT, prophets, priests and kings were all anointed for their offices. As the Anointed One, Christ is our prophet, priest and king. This suggests a helpful way to evaluate whether a ministry is “Christ-centered”.
Christ’s work as a priest focuses especially on His saving work on the cross. A properly Christ-centered ministry will clearly proclaim and steadfastly maintain that Christ’s work, and His work alone saves sinners. We must not tolerate the notion that saving merit comes from any other source than from Christ, not even from the sinner’s own heart in his exercise of faith. Furthermore, such a ministry will emphasize the Christian’s continuing absolute dependence on Christ. Since every believer is a redeemed sinner, he will be constantly reminded to abide in Christ by confessing his sins and placing his trust in Christ for forgiveness and strength to obey (Matthew 6:12; 1 John 1:9). As the well-known hymn reminds us, “Every hour I need Thee”.
A Scripturally Christ-centered ministry will teach clearly, carefully, and unashamedly about our Lord’s saving work, including such important subjects as reconciliation and propitiation. Such teaching may not be welcomed with open arms by the MTV generation, but it is vital if we wish to prevent the gospel from being watered down to the point that it becomes meaningless. Thus will the church avoid producing Christians who mindlessly repeat “in Jesus’ name”, but she will beget a generation who intelligently and truly “glory in the cross”.
Further, a Christ-centered ministry, even when it is more directly concentrating on the Christian’s duties of obedience and mortification of sin, will always be guided, motivated and empowered by the crosswork of Jesus Christ. Moreover, its goal will always be the glory of Christ and the urging of every guilty conscience to flee to Christ for forgiveness and cleansing. As the apostle wrote, “God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14).Dave Chanski, Pastor Trinity Baptist Church Montville, NJ