I am really getting tired of hearing church leaders minimize doctrinal depth for the purpose of broader affiliation and supposed influence. It usually is some form of the statement "after all, it's really all about Jesus!"
Here's a shocker: It has never been all about Jesus because even Jesus wasn't all about Jesus.
When God the Son took on flesh as Jesus the Christ, he made it clear he was carrying out part of a much bigger plan. Yes, it was the most crucial part, but the incarnation was not an event in and of itself. Jesus himself said it clearly, bolding announcing he was here to do the will of the Father, not his own. Here's what he said:
John 4.34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.
John 5.30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
John 6.38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.
The writer of Hebrews understood this, and rephrased it using the words of the Old Testament. Quoting the Messiah, he wrote " Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book'" (Hebrews 10:7).
God the Son's incarnational mission certainly is the proper focal point for us today. But that mission was always part of a much larger biblical narrative that began with the sovereign plan of the Tri-une God to create, permit the fall for the purposes of declaring God's glory in redemption, and secure the rescue of a people taken from every tribe and tongue under heaven. The plan of redemption, fitted within the grand schemes of creation and eternity, was designed, facilitated and currently is being accomplished by all three persons of the Godhead.
Within this grand rescue plan emphasis falls on the elective love of God the Father and the regenerative activity of God the Spirit through the Gospel, as well as the sinless life, substitutionary death, and glorious resurrection of God the Son. It is not, and never has been, all about Jesus.
This kind of shallow reductionism demonstrates just how far we have fallen in our understanding of biblical theology. As Os Guinness is famous for saying about American Christianity, we are "3000 miles wide but only half an inch deep!"
So, what to do? We must never minimize the person and work of Jesus Christ, God the Son. But we must also never minimize the trinitarian nature of God, and the vital doctrinal elements that make up the biblical story.
Why are we tempted to make it all about Jesus? Perhaps, unlike the Apostle Paul, we actually are ashamed of the Gospel, with its emphasis on the sovereign, electing love of God the Father, and the necessity of the regenerative power of God the Spirit to bring about faith.
Regardless of our doctrinal preferences, let's at least agree not to continuing the trite trend of saying "its all about Jesus." Jesus wouldn't agree, and neither should we.