Monday, March 22, 2004


What is the "center" of Paul's theology? Is it the doctrine of justification? Is it his doctrine of the Holy Spirit? Or, to ask a more profound question: Is there a center to Paul's thought or any other NT writer, for that matter?

In Reformed circles some years ago, we began to employ the term "Christocentric" to describe Paul's hermeneutic as well as the hermeneutics of other NT writers. At WTS, Philadelphia, Dr. Douglas Green borrowed a term from Richard Hays ("ecclesio-telic") and applied the "telic" sense of this term to the way the NT writers interpreted the OT. Green began to speak of "Christo-telic" hermeneutics--finding a passage's fulfillment in Christ, but still doing justice to what he called a "first reading." (This is especially true when exegeting OT passages.) This is a profound tweaking of the former "Christocentric" understanding. It basically says that our hermeneutic should have Christ as its telos. But does "Christo-telic" do justice to how the OT writers were thinking? Were they awaiting Jesus Christ? Probably not specifically! Let us consider this: Euangellio-telic or Gospel-telic. I believe it does justice to both the anticipated fulfillment of the OT writers as well as the realized fulfillment of the NT writers.

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