In his book Reality and Illusion in New Testament Scholarship: A Primer in Critical Realist Hermeneutics, Ben Meyer has a great statement about the centrality of the kerygma to Christianity. This is very important to digest, given the current state of affairs in New Testament scholarship with some scholars advocating "alternative Christianities" as having an equal place beside historical orthodoxy. In advance of this quote, Meyer has set the stage thusly: One of the most fruitful judgments in recent NT scholarship is the centrality of the kerygma for the Christian faith, that is, the death and resurrection of Jesus, accomplished for our salvation from sin, was the very center of early Christian belief. This quote is from p. 36:
The kerygma, once again, was central not to some one group or another, not to the group that finally won out over alternative views, but to all Christianity, Aramaic-speaking or Greek-speaking, in the Levant or the Mediterranean basin, pre-Pauline, Pauline, para-Pauline, and post-Pauline. If this is occasionally contested, as it has been recently once again, it is not on the basis of data from any concrete, known Christian community, but exclusively on the basis of hypothetical communities of which we lack concrete historical evidence.