One objection to Christ centered hermeneutics I often hear is that it negates or lessens the applicational force of the text. What seems to be assumed in this objection is that a) a text can only speak of one thing at a time, e.g. application or Christ in this case, and that, therefore, b) Christocentric interpretation can only be doctrinal and not practical. It appears to me, though, that this objection fails to consider the fact that proper application must come through a proper understanding of Christ. Without knowing who Christ is, what he has done, and how he has empowered us through his Spirit, we cannot properly apply a text at all. Without approaching Christ in the power of his Spirit, we cannot be transformed by him. Without seeing him, we cannot be like him.
Todd Billings makes this point eloquently in his The Word of God for the People of God:
. . . the basic assumption is that knowledge of God is an abstract affair that has little to do with our practical lives. Since direct talk about God is impractical (if not presumptuous), we read Scripture and write songs in a way that focuses on what is under our control – our own will, our own decisions. God has given us a revelation in Scripture, and that may include abstract things about God, the nature of who Christ is, and so on. But functionally speaking, God has given us messages about how to succeed, how to make good decisions, how to have a happy future, and so forth. The error of this approach is not that it sees the Christian faith as having practical outcomes; that is true of a living faith. The problem is that it sees Scripture’s witness to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as incidental to these outcomes rather than central to how we are changed and who we are called to be. This pragmatic form of Christianity, which writes off Trinitarian language as “abstract,” fails to recognize that all true Christian transformation takes place through the power of God, in Jesus Christ, enabled by the Holy Spirit” (87, emphasis mine).