What’s the purpose of your blog?
This blog reflects my own personal journey into Jesus Christ and his eternal purpose through the church. I have discovered that an individual goes through many seasons in their relationship with Jesus in conjunction with their experiences in the church and the world. Therefore, my writings glaringly reflect those many seasons.
As a young academic and an aspiring Christian mystic, this blog is unashamedly a reflection of my pursuit of Christ in spirit, soul, and body—the realm of the intellect as well as spiritual imagination. It is my desire that this blog would contribute to biblical academic dialogue, encourage humble Christ-followers, and challenge honest skeptics.
Primarily, this blog is dedicated to those who are loving Jesus with all of their heart, soul, strength, and mind. The Centrality and Supremacy of Jesus Christ is about a worldview. Welcome to a world where Jesus of Nazareth has called us to celebrate salvation by living and praying his kingdom come to earth—so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
What do you believe about the Scriptures?
The Bible (Old & New Testaments) is the inspired, infallible word of God (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21). I believe that the Scriptures are trustworthy in conveying God’s progressive revelation through the history of Israel, culminating in the life of Jesus of Nazareth—who is the exact representation of God in the fullness of divine, incarnational revelation (Matt 16:16, 21:33-40; Jn 1:1-14, 5:39, 8:58, 10:33, 14:9; Col 1:15-20; Heb 1:3).
I believe that “inspired” (God-breathed) does not mean that all of the Bible should be read literally, but according to its original ancient context and genres. To affirm that the OT is inspired isn’t to say that the Hebrews saw God in his fullness, or that all portions of Scripture are equally authoritative. All Scripture is subordinate to Christ. He is the reality of the OT shadows (Col 2:17). Jesus sorts out all misconceptions of God in the OT.
All Scripture should be read using a Christocentric hermeneutic (interpretation). This means that Christ is not only the center of the salvific story told in the Scriptures, but that all Hebrew perceptions of God in the OT should be understood in light of Christ, the final self-revelation of God.
Wherever OT portraits of God do not look like Christ, I see God taking on the sins of Israel and accommodating himself to their limited vision and partial revelation. A renewed understanding of inspiration is found in a true Christocentric interpretation of the Holy Scriptures.
Inspiration testifies to the Spirit’s activity in the lives of the prophets and apostles who penned what in time became celebrated as sacred Scripture (2 Peter 1:20-21). The testimony handed down to us in the text is reliable in its transmission, and it is trustworthy in what it intends to communicate to the ancient and modern reader about God in Christ.
Interpretation is another matter that requires a responsible handling of the biblical text, “rightly dividing” it in Christian community. This should be done in a spirit of grace and humility. As the church, we must recognize the difference between the Scriptures, and our interpretations.
The highest view of the Scriptures is not the one that seeks to make an idol of the Bible (biblicism), but the one that allows the biblical text to exalt Christ as the living Word over all creation. The Word became flesh, not ink.
Read more on my views here.
What is an Anabaptist? Are you one?
The Anabaptists were a scattered and diverse group of 16th century separatists who first originated in Switzerland. The self-identified “Swiss Brethren” called for a “radical reformation” of the church that went far beyond the reform movements known as Protestantism.
The early Anabaptists rejected infant baptism as a civil rite, which denied the church’s relationship to the state, and called for strict adherence to the teachings of Jesus following a believer’s baptism.
Since it appeared they were being baptized a second time, their opponents called them Ana-baptists (re-baptizers).
These radicals claimed that Protestants only wanted a “half-way” reform because they refused to put down the sword and follow Christ in non-violence. They posited that the Reformers only rested in grace, but did not walk in resurrection life. Obeying Christ is the evidence of a changed life.
The Anabaptists denounced the emperor Constantine as “the great dragon” for fusing the cross and the sword in the 4th century. They called for a restoration of NT church life. This undermined the very foundations of Christendom (church militant and triumphant), and made them enemies of both Protestants and Catholics who held to the power of the sword.
Many Anabaptists were martyred during the 16th century. Their ideas would live on in the Mennonites, the Amish, and the Brethren in Christ.
I grew up a Southern Baptist, was in vocational ministry for 7 years, and left the SBC in 2006 after clashing with the church over nationalism and non-violence. I often say, “I was becoming Anabaptist and just didn’t know it.” Over the next 7 years I grew into an Anabaptist thinker and practician.
Finally, after a journey of healing and discovery, I began pastoring a Mennonite congregation in Virginia (2013), and then made my way to central PA (2016), where I currently pastor a church within the Brethren in Christ US.
Today, Anabaptism is increasingly being embraced by many Christians who are not affiliated with a historic Anabaptist denomination. They have come to be known as Neo-Anabaptists.
Read more about Anabaptism here at the blog.
March 2nd, 2013 at 9:49 pm
I’m unclear as to how you take a very limited set of Christ’s teachings, assembled for a purpose other than giving us a complete picture of God revealed in Christ and think that creates a complete hermeneutic from which to alter what the Old Testament tells us in its exegetical and cultural context.
March 2nd, 2013 at 10:05 pm
Hey Michael, what do you mean by “limited” set of teachings?
I would say that the Gospels (particularly Matt 5-7), and the teaching of the apostles expounding on what Jesus taught them, is plenty reason to come to a Christocentric hermeneutic. There is clear evidence that Jesus radically interpreted the Hebrew Scriptures (OT) in a way that both shocked and bewildered his audience, especially his idea of Messiah and his mission to reveal what God is like. Notice how Jesus doesn’t read all of Isaiah 61 v.2 in Luke 4:18 at Nazareth. He stopped reading in the middle of a verse, right before the part about vengeance.
And since the apostles followed his teachings and example to death, instead of reverting back to OT belief and practices, it’s evident they also utilized a Christocentric reading of Scripture. Therefore, I’m convinced they were doing the same thing I’m advocating.
January 9th, 2016 at 3:51 pm
July 19th, 2018 at 4:40 pm
Very accurate! Amen!
March 5th, 2014 at 7:40 pm
“The Bible (Old & New Testaments) is the inspired, infallible word of God (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21).”
How could they claim infallibility for books that had not yet been written and for books they had no clue would one day accompany their own? Hmmm…
I fail to see how anyone with an understanding of Church history and canonization can use “proof-texting” in this way. It’s far too simplistic, naive, and historically uninformed.
March 5th, 2014 at 10:56 pm
Hey Daniel, thanks for commenting.
I don’t know if I entirely understand your question and comments.
I think you may be assuming that I haven’t given any thought to what it means to claim inspiration and infallibility of the biblical text, or how the NT came to be canonized over the first few generations of the church. I didn’t go into that in this brief outline of my beliefs, since I’m primarily writing to a Christian audience. I’m familiar with form criticism and the process that led to the official canon. I can recommend a few books if you like.
I’m also aware that 2 Tim 3:16 is referring to the OT, though Peter does seem to indicate that Paul’s letters were already being placed alongside Scripture in his own day (2 Pet 3:14-16). As for the whole of NT inspiration, the early church Fathers reveal what was being accepted as Holy writ, used in worship, preaching, and carried the authority of Christ and the apostles.
I believe in keeping it simple, but that’s not being simplistic, naïve, or historically uninformed. That would be a premature judgment call based on a very brief description of my view of the Scriptures. This was written in response to believers who have accused me of not believing in the authority of Scripture because of my differences in interpretation.
It wasn’t written for skeptics. I hope that helps.
March 5th, 2014 at 11:01 pm
To add further clarification, I have written this elsewhere: