Monday, December 16, 2013

Is Christianity all about being relational?



Is Christianity all about being relational? Yes, to a large degree it is, and no, to a large degree it is not. The problem arises when the Bible is cherry picked to make a certain narrative work. For the liberal/postmodern thinker cherry picking the Bible is what they do best.

The postmodern thinker has a narrative about who Jesus is and what Christianity is suppose to look like. They tell us that Christianity is all about love and helping others just like Jesus did, so goes the chirp. They provide for us examples of Jesus feeding people, healing others, and just being a real nice guy. Where they err and fail, is that they throw out any narrative that does not fit their rosy self-painted picture of Christ.

Now we know at the heart of the gospel is reconciliation which at its core is relationship. The sinner who was estranged from God has been brought into a right relationship to God by the atonement of Christ. Man is in a very serious situation, you see, he is estranged form God by his sin, and his sin must be removed before he can enjoy any relationship with God.

So yes, Christianity is about relationship. Now here is the fly in the ointment for the liberal/postmodern, they will agree about the relationship part of Christianity, but will exclaim hogwash to the sin part. They are not so readily disposed to talk of sin, for them sin is a divisive word; it separates people, and marginalizes those who might be offended by being labeled a sinner. For the postmodern thinker sin is an outdated term and should be regulated to bygone days.

The liberal/postmodern has a different brand of Christianity...for them they have an offend none at all costs religion, for them, tolerance and being relational are the supreme virtues of the Christian life. Tolerance in their theology has morphed into a pervasive insistence that no one should hold firm convictions. In the end, this high value placed on being relational has distorted and perverted the whole message of the entire Bible.

The whole of their theology of tolerance is filled with structural flaws and is in direct opposition to traditional Christianity.  Neither Orthodox Christianity nor the Bible ever talks about relationship with God apart from first being reconciled to Him through atonement. Whenever we separate what the Bible has joined together we become guilty of cherry picking and we distort the true picture that the Bible paints of Christ.






The same Savior who told us to love our neighbor also said, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34). The same Savior who showed kindness to the poor and marginalized also spoke to them in parables lest they should hear and understand and be converted, see Matthew 13:11,  "He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.

Here is the full text:
Matthew 13:10. And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?"
11 He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
12 "For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
13 "Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
14 "And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: 'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive;
15 for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.'
16 "But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;
17 "for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

Revelation 1:7 gives us a description of the second coming of Christ when John records these words for us, "Behold He is coming with the clouds, and every eye shall see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him. Did you get that? All of the earth will wail when Christ comes with power and glory...not the humble Shepherd as painted in the gospels, but the Lion of the tribe of Judea.

Let us heed the exhortation in the book of Romans 12:2 where Paul tells his readers to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. Let us submit our minds, wills, and emotions to the authoritative word of God. Let God's word sit in judgment upon all of your narratives, and let His narrative become your story to tell.

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