Some prominent Christians have spoken out against Christ-centered interpretation. They believe it is a form of eisegesis (reading your own interpretation into the text), irresponsible or simply fanciful. For example, Rick Warren recently tweeted that the “fad of finding the Cross in every verse is eisegesis.”
In general, and in Warren’s case in particular, these criticisms attack straw men. They are attacking a belief that no one actually believes. I don’t believe that the cross is in every verse. Tim Keller doesn’t believe that Jesus is present in every passage. Bryan Chappel doesn’t believe that Jesus is present, as he famously says, “in every mud puddle and camel track.”
The following excerpt is from Christ-Centered Bible Study and directly responds to Warren’s statement:
What Christ-centered Bible Study Isn’t
Christ-centered Bible study does not assume that Jesus is physically present in every verse of the Bible. Neither does it teach that every verse has a direct reference to Jesus. Nor does it assume that every passage has a symbol of Jesus.
While Jesus is physically present in some passages, is directly referenced in others and there are many symbols that point to him, it is irresponsible and simply wrong to assume that Jesus is present everywhere in the Bible.
What Christ-centered Bible Study Is
Christ-centered Bible study assumes that every passage in the Bible is in some way connected to the gospel. Further, it assumes that we need to explore that connection to fully understand and apply each passage.
The gospel-centered hermeneutics doesn’t inject the cross everywhere. It seeks to understand how each passage relates to redemption. Is Warren wrong? Absolutely. He’s attacking a straw man – an argument that doesn’t represent his foes.
But we need to be just as careful: Do we engage someone’s position or simply a caricature of it? What straw men have you attacked?
My Twitter response to Rick Warren