Thursday, 19 July 2007

Christianity: a relationship with God?

I was thinking last night about some of the terms we use in church to take about Christianity. We often say that "Christianity is not a religion; it’s a relationship with God." While idea itself is true, and Christianity is about our relationship with God, I have some issues with using this as a definition of what the central focus of what Christianity is about. It dose not tell a full story of what Christianity is.

One issue is that form my limited knowledge of other religions, you could say that a number of other religions, such as Islam or Judaism are also about a relationship with God. A different type of relationship, yes, but you wouldn’t get that for the relationship definition. However the biggest problem with it is that I don’t think it’s a very Biblical was of looking at it. The phrase "relationship with God:" doesn’t  occur in the NIV, ESV, NASB or NKJ translations of Bibles. The idea that that people should live in a relationship with God is biblical. But it’s a lot deeper than that.

So what does the bible tell us Christianity is? The message which the apostles perched is called the gospel (e.g. Acts 15:7, Acts 20:24, Romans 1:1-2). The world gospel means "good new." But what is this good news? In a nut shell, that even thought we have turned away from God, thought the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can be restored to God and have eternal life. While that is about our relationship with God, it’s not the way the Bible explains it. And I think there is something else going on when people describe Christianity as a relationship. I think Christian often what to make the gospel seen "more appalling" to people, so instead of telling them that Christianity is about the forgiveness of sins, they say its a relationship of God, essentially watering down the gospel.
So with saying Christianity is a about a relationship is not wrong per say, we need to make share we a preaching the whole gospel, not just a part of it.


§arah K. said...

HEY thx for the comment! so ure a blogger too! heh... keep up the postingsssss! :D

Andrew said...

Why would Christians want to make the gospel more appalling?

Nathanael Baker said...

Good thinking Nathan! This is a hard question, and there are no easy answers. I dont think its the phrase which is the problem, more that people don't live life if they have been changed. Also what type of relationship are we talking about? People reduce the idea of relationship with Jesus to describing him as a girlfreind (Jesus is never described as our girlfriend or anything close) - not as their lord and saviour.

Another issue is that people don't read thier bible or pray and many of us have very weak relationships with other christians. I know that I've suffered from this. We need something deeper than what we've made faith and the journey with others about. We need schools for conversion in my viewpoint, places where we can be shaped, changed and developed as people of God. Not just sunday church, but a life dedicated to changing and growing.

Anyway enough with my mini essay. Cyu tommorow at cell group