Sunday, 14 September 2008

Quote of the day: personal relationship

R.C.Sproul, on White Horse Inn:

Atonement is a non-negotiable concept. What do you put in its place? What happens is that the gospel becomes, "I can have a personal relationship with Jesus." The devil has a personal relationship with Jesus. But what kind of personal relationship? And what is the ground of that personal relationship? Obviously, being a Christian involves having a personal relationship with Jesus, but there's content to that relationship that defines that relationship, and to just call it a "personal relationship" I don't think's very helpful.

And now for some hilarious illustration of what the good news most certainly isn't:

[Extra points for spotting full-blown Pelagianism and Holiness teaching. And it just gets creepier.] Ah, it'd even lead me to sign up to Blanchard & Lucarini, but not for their reasons...

5 comments:

undercovertheologian said...

Wowser! That video is shocking (in all the wrong ways!).

I think this thing of what we mean by some of the phrases we uses is become more and more important as the the church and culture diverge and lack the shared language that means that someone can look a sign saying just, "Jesus saves" and that be meaningful gospel communication.
I've written some thoughts about it here - thank you for highlighting the great quote (and the awful video!).
Matt

Paul said...

I happen to love that video. There's very little that could be funnier about it, including the lyrics/rhymes/theology.

gethin_aj said...

"...he loves me when I'm wasting time writing silly songs..."

mattsj said...

But I have to say that when I've heard people talking about a 'personal relationship with Jesus', they invariably end up explaining the atonement.

Perhaps the phrase 'personal, right relationship with Jesus' might be better. That would of course generate a question...

I still think it's important to stress that we have a personal relationship (with clarification, of course): as opposed to an impersonal one. I.E. many people see Christianity as a set of rules or adherence to a fickle, cash-point God. A quick explanation of the sheer personal-ness of our communion with God could set people on the right road.

étrangère said...

Thanks Matt, that's helpful. While I think there are many more people who use the phrase 'relationship with Jesus' than would know to explain the atonement (you've moved in good circles), it certainly is helpful to let people know that true Christianity is personal - it's about knowing God in Christ by the Spirit. It's not impersonal - a philosophical ideal or mechanistic process - but it's probably helpful to remember not only to say that, but to let the person know that they are in a relationship with God - but it's not a good one!