This blog is the beginning of a series of blogs written for the Ministry Misfits Blog & Overwhelming Victory Blog, covering the importance of the Three Tier Paradigm & the way we approach our ministries.
Everything we do within CSRM, Overwhelming Victory, & Ministry Misfits is developed out of the same Three-Tier Paradigm of Theological Truths, Philosophical Principals, & Methodological Models. This is done intentionally & transparently throughout the different ministries for a few reasons that we want to highlight over the coming blogs, & encourage everyone to begin doing as well.
What is Theology anyway?
We use the word theology to describe multiple different areas of religious studies, but in the most basic sense, theology is simply how we view & think about God (Theos - Logos | The Study of God). This is why we argue that Theology is the foundational & most important piece to both discipleship & ministry as a whole. This is because the way we view God affects the way we view everything else.
We can see this in the example of some of the well-known evangelists of early America who differed in their view of God. Some viewed God as a “hand that holds you over a fire.” These men, while their theological contributions were vast and robust, emphasized God’s wrath & judgment; perhaps even envisioning God as a divine torturer. Thus, they could justify the torture of Image bearers, many being slaveholders themselves. Compare this to their abolitionist contemporaries, who saw the Love of God as the central theological model, & thus could not justify enslaving Image bearers. In reality, both God's love and judgment are biblical and are best when these two perspectives are held in tandem. The bottom line for this discussion is that how we view God, affects every aspect of how we view others and the World God Created. This also highlights for us why it is so important for us to preach a wholistic picture of Who God is. A belief that God is Holy in both His love and His judgment establishes the theology of how we interact and relate to others.
Why do we start with Theology?
As this example of diverse theological belief from an earlier century demonstrates, how we view God, greatly impacts how we live. People who read the same Bible often arrive at completely different perspectives on how to view & value other people, based completely on the way that they view God. This both presents us with a problem & a solution to what this means for how we read Scripture or understand the objectivity of truth.
If our theology has the potential to produce multiple “versions” of God, how can we be sure ours is correct? How can we claim that there is objective truth when our experiences can so greatly impact the way we view everything around us?
THE SOLUTION: Christocentric Theology
Simply put, Christocentric means to put CHRIST at the Center of everything (CHRISTO - Christ | Centric - Centered). We see this concept throughout the New Testament (Matthew 28, John 1, John 17, Colossians 1, Hebrews 1, Hebrews 2, Hebrews 4, Hebrews 12, etc.) and it is crucial to our understanding of the world around us, Who God is, & how all of it fits together in the way we go about our Ministries.
Why must our theology be Christocentric?
JOHN 14:1“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. 4 You know the way to where I am going.” 5 “Lord, Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 7 “If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”
Christocentric Theology must be our foundation in all areas of life, but especially in our ministries & as we learn to view God & the world around us, and John 14 highlights this for us in two distinct ways.
Jesus is the TRUTH.
Because Christ is the TRUTH, we will not have to fear falling into falsehood if we are grounding ourselves in the TRUTH from the start. When we put TRUTH at the center of everything we do, then we will be able to withstand the falsehoods that come against us. Focused on the TRUTH, even falsehoods that may be dressed in Biblical & Theological language to try and pull our gaze, are able to be identified without fear.
2. Jesus is the Revealer of God
We have said that THEOLOGY in the most basic sense is the way in which we understand God. A Christocentric understanding of Theology allows us to see exactly Who God revealed Himself to be. We see this in the way Jesus talks, those He chooses to minister to, the way He goes about ministry, & the way He chose to carry out the plan for Salvation to its completion.
When we fully embrace this concept of Christ at the center, we are able to view God & the World around us in ways never before imagined. Paul refers to this in Romans 12 as a “renewing of the mind”, allowing us to see the world through the “will of God.” This is what allows us to be able to begin to understand what Paul calls the “Great Mystery of Godliness.”
We suddenly are looking to Love those around us, even at the detriment of our own status or wealth or health. We are able to Love our enemies, even when they come to harm us & never repent themselves. We are able to desire the prosperity of the City around us, regardless of how that culture may differ from our Christocentric view or how that prosperity may impact us negatively. It's what makes us be able to go from seeing those outside the walls of our churches as our community, rather than as potential converts. It's what allows us to go from swearing at the official to remaining calm in the midst of competition. It's what allows us to go from coaching to win a championship, to coaching to make dedicated disciples. In every aspect of our ministries, whether in our day-to-day relationships, or our “official ministry roles” having a firm foundation of Who God is and being centered on the TRUTH that Jesus revealed to us, will allow is to be able to fulfill the ministry God has called us to.
How we arrive at this way of thinking is the topic for our next blog & next tier of Biblically Based Philosophical Principals.
You can listen to the Ministry Misfits episode on the three-tier paradigms featuring Dr. Greg Linville here: https://www.overwhelmingvictory.org/ministrymisfits/episode/435e8711/ministry-misfits-episode-3-the-three-tier-paradigm-with-dr-greg-linville
You can listen to the CSRM Podcast episode on the three-tier paradigm featuring Dr. Greg Linville, Andrew Fouts, & Dan Stoffer here: https://www.overwhelmingvictory.org/thecsrmpodcast/episode/c447a180/csrm-podcast-fundamentals-of-sports-ministry-chapter-3-3-tier-paradigm
You can find out more about the Three-tier Paradigm in Chapter 3 of Dr. Greg Linville’s Book Sports Outreach Fundamentals which can be purchased here: https://csrm.app.neoncrm.com/np/clients/csrm/product.jsp?product=10&
You can listen to the Misfits discuss the need for Christocentric Living with Joseph Dea of BuddyWalk with Jesus here: https://www.ministrymisfits.com/podcast/episode/7d0afc9c/ministry-misfits-episode-90-what-does-christocentric-mean-with-joe-dea