Wednesday, 28 January 2009

A "personal relationship" with Jesus isn't Biblical!

Another quote from Richard Muller's incredible essay, "How Many Points?".

The emphasis on adult baptism, being "born again," and "accepting Christ" is connected, in American evangelical circles, with language concerning "a personal relationship with Jesus" or knowing Jesus as one's "personal Savior." In protesting against this language, I know that I will be stepping on a few religious toes — although the protest is not at all directed against piety or Christian religious experience as such. The issue is that this language itself is neither Reformed in its content nor suitable for transfer into a Reformed confessional context. In the first place, the terms are unclear and can tend toward an ill-defined, affective piety that, at its worst, can violate certain of the Christological and soteriological norms of the Reformed community. I have often commented to evangelical friends that, for me, having a personal relationship or knowing someone personally means that I can sit down at a table with him and have a cup of coffee, that I can speak to him and he can respond in an audible fashion. But I can't sit at a table and have a cup of coffee with Jesus. And if I speak to him, he does not answer audibly As an angel once rightly noted, "He is not here: for he is risen," and, indeed, ascended into heaven. Reformed Christology has always insisted not only on the resurrection of Christ's body but also on the heavenly location and finitude of Christ's resurrected humanity. Christ now sits at the right hand of God and visibly rules the church triumphant. The language of personal relationship is, at best, equivocal. At worst, it detracts from the majesty of the doctrine of Christ's kingship.

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