Theocentrism vs. Anthropocentrism

One common and constant reaction in Reformed circles is to distance oneself from an anthropocentric theology. We are rather more concerned about pontificating theological ideas into the ethereal world of abstractions. Of course, abstract theology is the foundation of true theology. Anthropocentric ( man-centered) theology also must play a specific role in the lives of Biblical students. Perhaps a brief explanation of this will take away some of the initial fear of a synergistic view of life. In fact, this is not in any way related to a synergistic theology, for synergism relates primarily to the system of soteriology.

The primary concept that must be grasped at the outset is that the greatest commandment is not summarized in one overarching statement, but rather Christ himself summarized it into two. In Matthew 22, Jesus says that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God, and almost as if in the same breath, he proceeds to give a further command. This commandment He says is “like unto the first,” and that is to love your neighbor as yourself. Notice that the distinctive similarity is “love.” Love is the essence of both commandments.

One interesting idea in this text is the Old Testament reference taken from Deuteronomy 6 and Leviticus 19 respectively. Love in that context refers to loyal duty, a delight or a pleasurable experience. This love runs in direct contradiction to the modern concept of love in our society. So, to put things into perspective, doing theology or practicing theology is not only theocentric but also anthropocentric. That is, doing theology is directly related to loving man. It is a loyal duty to do theology with the purpose of serving your neighbor. For the student or theologian, theology has a dual affect. It goes not only to the transcendent sphere but also to the human sphere. It serves the purpose of edifying the body and ministering to our neighbors. This proper distinction helps us to avoid a common error, which is: to understand theology simply in a celestial fashion.  A proper balanced approach does justice to a love for humanity and a love for God.

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About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
This entry was posted in Anthropology, Christian Living, Service/Ministry. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Theocentrism vs. Anthropocentrism

  1. Messenger says:

    Anthropocentric ( man-centered) theology also must play a specific role in the lives of Biblical students. So, what are your comments on Anthropocentric Theology or Protestant Liberalism through the eyes of a Catholic Priest?

  2. Uri Brito says:

    I wrote this almost 9 years ago. Are you assuming I am a Catholic Priest?

    • Messenger says:

      Yes Sir, I am assuming you’re Catholic, due to this statement: We are rather more concerned about pontificating theological ideas into the ethereal world of abstractions.
      Are you not Catholic? Perhaps you’re Lutheran? or just advocating the soon to celebrate nailing of the 95 Thesis at Whittenberg. I have story about that day.

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