Is there a difference?
A number of us having been talking about this as we continue to refine our mission statement for Grace Church. Are we about God? Christ? The cross? The gospel?
Of course, the answer yes to all of the above. But what kind of language should we use to describe our vision for church? The danger with God centeredness is that it possibly loses its crisp, unique focus on the person and work of Christ. The danger with gospel-centeredness is that it possibly truncates our purpose to the atoning work of Christ at the expense of relationship with God - the God that the gospel allows us to relate with.
In some ways, we need all of the above. The glory of God is most clearly seen in the Christ, who is the image of the invisible God. And the glory of Christ is most clearly seen in the gospel - 2 Corinthians 4:4. So we must be gospel-centered in our Christ-centeredness, and Christ-centered in our God-centeredness.
Working the other direction, the atoning work of Christ is the heart of the gospel. Therefore, its appropriate to speak of being "gospel-centered". But the gospel accomplishes more than justification by faith, it highlights the centrality of Christ. And Christ comes on behalf of the Father - and His work is applied by the Spirit so that we can have relationship with God. So, we love the gospel because it gives us access to God, not just pardoned sins.
So, we will continue to pray and study and ask God for wisdom in how to express this the best.