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Author Topic: A Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ  (Read 4237 times) Average Rating: 0
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Alveus Lacuna
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« on: August 12, 2009, 10:47:38 PM »

The other evening, I was calming down my mother-in-law over the phone because my five-year-old niece was getting baptized into the Church the next day.  She has had virtually no exposure to Apostolic, historical, liturgical Christianity in any of its forms.  She is a devout Protestant woman with the best intentions, but she was almost sobbing over the whole thing.

When I tried to understand where she was coming from a little more it was very apparent that even she really had no idea.  When I asked her about her "denominational" background in trying to understand her theological objections, she said that she "just believes the Bible."  This is all fine and good for her, but not for any serious discussion.  I also was not looking to argue, but rather to comfort her.

Basically, she was more worried about the environment.  Written prayers, long ceremonies and repetitive rituals without enough emphasis on "a personal relationship with Jesus", where you simply talk to Him like you would anyone else.  I didn't push the point or argue as it wasn't the time for it, but it got me thinking.

If she "just believes the Bible", and her main concern is that my niece has a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ", then where is this idea expressed in the Bible itself?  Where are Jesus' teachings about how one should "just talk to God like you would any of your friends"?  Wouldn't the perfect time to bring it up have been when the disciples were asking Him how to pray?  Where, amidst St. Paul's numerous theological expositions, is this simple point of having a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ" explained?

There's a lot about belief, deliverance, repentance and the like, but where is the message about being cozy and casual in your own personal dialogues with God?
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2009, 11:14:43 PM »

I've always felt I had a personal relationship with all three Persons of the Holy Trinity.  I just don't think the Orthodox are as casual about it as some people.  The "Buddy Jesus" thing just doesn't really work for us.  Where is that in the Bible?  In the Book of Revelation you see the elders falling on their faces before God.  That's not too casual.
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2009, 11:25:20 PM »

I'm interested in this topic as this is an accusation I hear very frequently from my friends from my former religion.
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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2009, 11:31:53 PM »

One other factor is that Orthodoxy recognizes the corporate aspect of our faith more than Protestantism. 
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2009, 01:26:52 AM »

I'm interested in this topic as this is an accusation I hear very frequently from my friends from my former religion.

They accuse the Church of not emphasizing a 'personal relationship with Jesus' as well?  How so?  Do they talk about people not 'knowing the Lord' and such?  That is another phrase that really bothers me.  I know they do not mean that they possess the fullness of the knowledge of God, but rather that they have encountered God in some 'personal' way.  But the phrase 'knowing God' still doesn't make sense to me.  Does it mean that they feel God in some special way?  I think that the language is problematic, but perhaps I am wrong.  Are there passages in the Holy Scriptures that speak speak about having obtained the knowledge of God?
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2009, 08:32:55 AM »

I'm just starting the Journey into Orthodoxy, but I have felt that my personal relationship with the Christ comes from my love and my service to others, as we all are the Face of Christ here on Earth. I feel that if I want to be close to Christ in that way, I must become a little like Him each day, which means humbling myself for the good of others. From reading Matthew, I have found that to do the Will of Jesus is also to do the Will of the One who sent Him--God. Hope this helped. Smiley

 
"For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother." Matt 12:50

I don't have any specific Biblical quotes about the knowledge of God, but if we read about the life of Jesus and His service to others, and try to emulate Him, then we have found the Pearl of Great Price--the Kingdom of God. I think Knowledge of God is in recognizing Jesus for who He is and taking up our crosses to follow Him. What other knowledge, really, makes us a fruitful tree? Smiley

 
 
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2009, 09:30:10 AM »

I can only speak from my personal experience and discussions with my Protestant friends on this issue. The Protestant perspective of a personal relationship with Jesus, I believe, is partly influenced by the book of Hebrews; Jesus is the High Priest who intercedes on our behalf. Protestants look at the Orthodox and see "the Orthodox priest, Panagia, The Saints and the CHURCH standing between the believer and God and His Word (Scripture)." Many modern preachers have, indeed, lost touch with the "corporate" aspect of Christianity - instead over-stressing the personal relationship with Christ. 

These are some of the comments I have heard. .

"When it comes to Salvation it is exactly that - just you and Christ. It is about a personal decision to take God at his word and freely accept his gift of Salvation that was bought for you at such great price."

"As Christians, we do not practice a religion, not everyone can have the same testimony, it is a personal relationship with God."

"Salvation, not in the sacramental system, but in Christ alone."

My false dichotomies list includes. . .

"Sacramental system" (as my Protestant friends put it) vs in Christ alone.

Of course, in reality, we do not seperate the mysteries and Christ.

Phil 3:10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection ..

Phil 3:8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.


No argument there, of course, as everything should be focussed on either bringing us closer to Christ, or Christ closer to people.
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« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2009, 09:43:19 AM »

Alveus:

Tough one, but I think you did the right think comforting not arguing. This may not help, but realize that evangelical Christians and Orthodox Christians to some extent speak different languages. Our Christian language is framed by the church and holy tradition. Their language is framed by their particular belief system, influenced by their pastors, other "Christians" and possibly the TVvangelists. It's a hodge podge.

I agree that we Orthodox are less casual about our relationship with Jesus. I beleive that I have one, I regard him as my friend, but he is also my God.
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2009, 09:51:07 AM »


Orthodox faithful experience God every moment of their life. 

How can you get more "personal" than when you partake of His Body and Blood? 

How can someone claim you don't have a relationship with Christ when you "speak" to Him every morning/evening...and are called to "speak" every waking moment?

What gets me is their form of a "relationship".  I am hurt that they feel they are equal to Him, and worthy to be His buddy.  There's no sense of awe or respect.

When I was preparing to teach Vacation Church School, I shopped for some crafts and trinkets marketed for VBS.  I was amazed at the lack of respect towards God.  How can you have "What would Jesus Do" on everything.  "I LUV JESUS" on bouncy balls....where you are pounding the name of JESUS into the ground a million times.

Sticky dolls with Jesus written on their tummies.  Foam Jesus to glue together.    Shocked

I was saddened by the lack of respect.  Unimaginable. 

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« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2009, 09:53:48 AM »

Alveus:

 I think you did the right think comforting not arguing.

Agreed. "Debate" is often futile. Prayer is the answer.  Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2009, 10:08:12 AM »


Orthodox faithful experience God every moment of their life. 

How can you get more "personal" than when you partake of His Body and Blood? 

How can someone claim you don't have a relationship with Christ when you "speak" to Him every morning/evening...and are called to "speak" every waking moment?

What gets me is their form of a "relationship".  I am hurt that they feel they are equal to Him, and worthy to be His buddy.  There's no sense of awe or respect.

When I was preparing to teach Vacation Church School, I shopped for some crafts and trinkets marketed for VBS.  I was amazed at the lack of respect towards God.  How can you have "What would Jesus Do" on everything.  "I LUV JESUS" on bouncy balls....where you are pounding the name of JESUS into the ground a million times.

Sticky dolls with Jesus written on their tummies.  Foam Jesus to glue together.    Shocked

I was saddened by the lack of respect.  Unimaginable. 

I think this may be more indicative of a shift over the past few centuries from words actually having power and deep, deep meaning to people to just being a way we communicate.  People used to almost agonize over what to name their children; we'd be hard pressed to find people who do that nowadays (our own Quinalt notwithstanding Smiley ). 

I wonder if there's a correlation between this idea and the advent of the printing press or radio or television?
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« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2009, 10:14:21 AM »

Please allow me to chime it, as this is a subject near and dear to me based on my journey over the last several years...

I grew up a convinced Southern Baptist, but about 6-7 years ago I began exploring the early Apostolic Church and I finally landed in the Anglican Catholic Church (after exploring Eastern Orthodoxy for a long while, and, to a lesser extent, the Roman Catholic Church).  During this time, my father, who is still a deacon and Sunday School teacher in the Southern Baptist church we grew up in, would often remark:  "The important thing that matters is your personal relationship with Christ" (or words to that effect).

Now I would certainly agree with that as far as it goes, but that begs the question:  what does a "personal relationship" with Christ consist of?  Is it merely based on a one-time, once-for-all decision to "ask Christ into your heart and trust Him as Lord and Savior" and have all your confidence, along with some sentimental feelings, in that?  That seems to be more or less what the neo-evangelical "personal relationship" with Christ consists of--as well as some varying emphasis on personal quiet times, fellowship, and some "relevant" worship (though to be fair, it often expresses itself in local ministries and overseas mission trips also). OR, does it involve:  being buried and risen with Christ in Baptism, in which we are born again of water and the Spirit; partaking of Christ's Body and Blood in Holy Communion; abiding on the Vine (as we partake in communion) by keeping His commandments; continuous confession, repentence, prayer, Scripture study/meditation; fasting, alms giving and other acts of mercy; and God-centered worship? 

I would say it's the latter.  The next time my dad makes such a remark, I might have to respectively ask that question:  "what do you think a personal relationship with Christ consists of?" (followed up with "how is it entered into?", "how is it maintainte?", "how is it to be expressed"?)  Cool
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« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2009, 10:45:08 AM »

I think another disconnect between the type of Protestantism that emphasizes this personal relationship concept is that there is not the perception of the intercessory prayers of the cloud of heavenly witness, patron saints, guardian angels etc. This would violate their understanding of Jesus Christ as high priest (as stated in Hebrews 3 etc. as is the cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12) & Jesus Christ as intercessor (1 Timothy 2:5). While such caution on their part can be worthy (depending on the intent) sometimes it is used (as we all probably know) as a preconceived proof text that Orthodox & Roman Catholics worship saints instead of Jesus Christ.
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« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2009, 11:04:17 AM »



What gets me is their form of a "relationship".  I am hurt that they feel they are equal to Him, and worthy to be His buddy.  There's no sense of awe or respect.

When I was preparing to teach Vacation Church School, I shopped for some crafts and trinkets marketed for VBS.  I was amazed at the lack of respect towards God.  How can you have "What would Jesus Do" on everything.  "I LUV JESUS" on bouncy balls....where you are pounding the name of JESUS into the ground a million times.

Sticky dolls with Jesus written on their tummies.  Foam Jesus to glue together.    Shocked

I was saddened by the lack of respect.  Unimaginable. 

I know what you mean, Liza! I hate seeing things like "Jesus is my Homeboy". I mean, WTF? Homeboy reminds me of someone who is in the same gang as you, stands on the same street corner as you to sell drugs. That's what that reminds me of! Even His Mother called Him Her Savior!
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« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2009, 11:06:01 AM »

Doubting Thomas & Recent Convert - Excellent replies!  Wink
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« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2009, 03:09:25 PM »

Homeboy reminds me of someone who is in the same gang as you, stands on the same street corner as you to sell drugs. That's what that reminds me of! Even His Mother called Him Her Savior!

You misunderstand the basic meaning "homeboy". From the OED:

homeboy, n.

   ....slang (chiefly Black English).    a. orig. U.S. and S. Afr. [In S. Afr. Eng., tr. Xhosa umkhaya person from home, family, f. khaya home.] A person from one's home town, region, or neighbourhood; hence, a male friend or associate, esp. one who has a similar background.    b. orig. U.S. (esp. among young urban blacks). A member of one's peer group or gang. Sometimes used as a term of address. Also attrib.

  Since the early 1980s the term has become particularly strongly associated in the U.S. and the U.K. with the hip-hop subculture.

1946 in V. Randolph Pissing in Snow (1977) 80 The home boys all laughed like hell when they heard that [joke about incest in Arkansas families], but..a big farmer from Arkansas..got mad. 1953 P. Lanham Blanket Boy's Moon I. vi. 40 Ntoane..also came from Lesotho... ‘Welcome, home-boy. What work are you to do? Ibid. 56 Monare now made Koto known to Ntoane, and for a time the three home-boys sat and exchanged news about the home country. 1961 J. Carew Last Barbarian 7 ‘It's like an ice-box in here, Alice.’ ‘All right home-boy, take it slow, man.’ 1963 Wilson & Mafeje Langa 55 In the barracks every man questioned could define his home-boy group. 1972 Drum (S. Afr.) 22 Oct. 18 When I came to Johannesburg in 1949..I stayed with the homeboys in Sophiatown who also got me a job with a garage. 1982 Robinson & Chase On the Radio (song) in L. A. Stanley Rap: The Lyrics (1992) 57, I asked him to explain what I was talking about My man was too excited, he begin to shout I finally figured out what homeboy was saying You never guess what the radio's playing. 1992 Face Feb. 46/2 Those guys are my homeboys, if they're in trouble then I'm in trouble. 1992 Time 16 Mar. 15/1 Gangs are like families. Little kids get disciplined in gangs. When a little kid drifts into a gang, he doesn't just get a gun thrust into his hands. He's gonna get homeboy love, which is pretty potent.
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« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2009, 12:00:06 PM »

The other evening, I was calming down my mother-in-law over the phone because my five-year-old niece was getting baptized into the Church the next day.  She has had virtually no exposure to Apostolic, historical, liturgical Christianity in any of its forms.  She is a devout Protestant woman with the best intentions, but she was almost sobbing over the whole thing.

First the important thing is, as you tried, to comfort and reassure her that Orthodox Christians DO (or at least SHOULD) have a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ." There is too much Protestant fear in the Church (IMO) and many of us tend to downplay concepts like that for a time. Especially when we first come into the Church. But the truth is, we SHOULD have a personal relationship with Christ, and the Holy Trinity as a whole. The written prayers, are good, and beautiful and teach us to pray reverently, but there is at the same time NOTHING un-Orthodox about "just talking to God" or crying out "Abba father". That is what the Psalms were when they were written, cries and yearnings from the heart. Even our "written" prayers began that way. And the truth is, most Protestants, do admit there is a certain "model" of a prayer life one should have. They call the Our Father the "model prayer", because it consists of first saying "Our father" which is intimate, then blessing and praising His name, asking for His will to be done above all else, and then finally step 4 is petitions and requests. True there are some Protestants who talk to Jesus like He was just another friend, (with no reverence at all) but they are pretty rare in my experience.

Assure her you DO have a personal relationship with God, that is what the Church has taught for 2000 years. And if you, or I don't, or if we've neglected it, and have only "said our prayers" rather than "prayed our prayers" then we are in a spiritual mess.


Quote

Basically, she was more worried about the environment.  Written prayers, long ceremonies and repetitive rituals

Like the environment Jesus and the Apostles, as 1st century Jews grew up in, and CONTINUED to exist in throughout the book of Acts?

Obviously for her, this is just lack of historical knowledge, context and where Christianity came from. Nothing a few decent books, or a short lecture from some scholar couldn't solve. Smiley

Quote

If she "just believes the Bible", and her main concern is that my niece has a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ", then where is this idea expressed in the Bible itself?  Where are Jesus' teachings about how one should "just talk to God like you would any of your friends"? 

They get much of that idea from the book of Psalms because the Psalms are "heartfelt" prayers (many of them anyway). But again, it's all taken out of context, not biblical context, but historical context. However I don't see anything wrong with "just talking to Jesus"...good gracious isn't that what prayer is? Certainly there is a "form" or "model" to follow, and certainly written prayers in our tradition are the foundation of our prayer life, but the foundation without wall and a roof, and furniture is just a hole in the ground with some bricks around the hole.

Also in the Gospels we see people running to Jesus, grabbing his clothes, crying out "Son of David have mercy on me"...we see women having "conversations" with Jesus begging Him to heal family members (the Cannanite woman)....the story of the Publican and the Pharisee, the Pharisee prayers (ie: recites) prayers while the tax collector just says "have mercy on me a sinner"...no fancy prayers, no Liturgical formulas, not even a "model" to follow (which all Jews would have had at that time) but just crying out "have mercy on me a sinner".....

There IS precedence in the Scriptures for "conversational" prayer, but obviously they aren't calling Jesus "homeboy" or talking to God in some irreverent manner either. And of course Biblical worship was always ritualistic and Liturgical, and this many Evangelicals, probably most, just are not aware of.


Quote
Wouldn't the perfect time to bring it up have been when the disciples were asking Him how to pray? 

Indeed, but she probably sees the Our Father as something "outside" all that Old Testament "ritual"....when in fact it's smack dab in the midst of Jewish prayer tradition. But I'm sure she would argue that God is "our father" which is not just a nice term, but a term of RELATIONSHIP....but again, she doesn't see a "relationship" in the OT, only the new. For many Evangelicals the NT and Christianity is a decisive and clean break from Judaism, not a continuation of Judaism. (Ironic, Evangelicals are the biggest supporters of Israel, is it not?)


Quote
Where, amidst St. Paul's numerous theological expositions, is this simple point of having a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ" explained?

it's not there, but it is, sort of. What they're doing is taking pieces and overemphasizing this or that and ignoring everything else. To suggest St. Paul did NOT have a relationship with Jesus Christ is anathema to Evangelicals, and isn't really correct from our POV either.


Quote
but where is the message about being cozy and casual in your own personal dialogues with God?

cozy and casual may not be what she means by "personal relationship".....some DO mean just that. But not all, and I'd say not even most. A few weeks ago we talked about Charles Stanley and other various Protestant Evangelists....and while Stanley, among others, would insist on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, he would NEVER say, or teach this relationship is just casual like your friends you have coffee with on Saturday morning. So while some Evangelicals have that, it's not the "mainstream" if there is a mainstream in Evangelicalism. And again, IMO this idea that every time we pray we have to use fancy words, "thou art the king, the creator, blessed art thou O God, teach me Thy statutes" etc...otherwise it's not "real" prayer, is dangerous. And that is what most Evangelicals are talking about.

Now, I say all this in regards ONLY to private prayer. Liturgical worship is something totally different, and I have little tolerance for the low, low Church worship not because it's not prayerful, or praising God, but because it's not "WORSHIP"....a prayer and praise meeting is seperate from WORSHIP in my mind, but Evangelicals have conflated the two into one. But that's only my opinion, I'm sure others have different feelings.

In the end, just keep in mind she only means well...just reassure her you DO have a "personal relationship" with God...tell her you can pray anywhere you want to, anytime you want to, and in any words you want to....this will probably reassure her. But again, I only speak from my experience, no one elses.

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« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2009, 01:42:44 PM »

I suggest you forget all about homeboys and other rubbish, and concentrate on the distressed grandmother and the 5-year-old girl.

Maybe it would be a good idea to reassure that grandmother that a personal relationship with Christ is something which is very important to Orthodox. She is probably afraid that the child is being drawn into a religion which fixes itself on rituals and saints and that its adherents don't press beyond that to the Lord.

It might help to point out that the child is yet rather young to know her personal, long-term beliefs, but that if she does indeed come to a personal relationship with Christ now or at a later stage, or (perhaps in more Orthodox terms) becomes conscious of that relationship, the Holy Spirit will not let her go,and she will be able - if you can express this in a way that does not clash with your beliefs - to examine the scriptures, the church, Tradition, church history and form mature views to commit herself to as the years pass. She may (as I have done) become a Baptist; she may (as you have) become Orthodox: but reassure the grandmother that she will start from and retain (by God's grace) her relationship with Christ - her salvation, as your grandmother might express it.

It will not be too late, if the child, in later life, goes down that line, for her to be baptised as a believer, which is presumably what the grandmother would wish: Orthodox baptism at the age of 5 is not likely to be regarded in a Baptist church as believer's baptism, and would not bar the child from that in later life. This might be a comfort to the grandmother.

In other words, what is the grandmother really worried about? The Lord can work in the child's life as the years progress. The baptism does not slam a door shut to what the grandmother might regard as God's 'opportunity' to work.

Forgive me and ignore all this if it is not relevant. I am trying to look at it from a pastoral rather than theological or ecclesiastical perspective, for an elderly lady who needs reassurance that her grandchild is not lost to God and his sphere of working.
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« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2009, 04:03:49 PM »

I believe most Orthodox would not assume that a child raised non Orthodox in a similar situation would be "lost." Apparently the parents know what is good for the salvation of their child too and to instill the idea that a child should honor the parents and respect their Christian integrity seems paramount. It seems explanations have been given but is the grandparent listening?
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« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2009, 12:08:11 AM »

The Disciples obviously had a personal relationship with Our Lord. But it was not an exclusive, individualistic personal relationship. I could be wrong, but off the top of my head I cannot recall any instance in the New Testament where Jesus was alone with only one of the disciples. His encounter with the woman at the well may be the only recorded instance in Scripture where Christ talked privately with an individual. But I'm just guessing at this point.

I agree with Salpy, that as Christians we have a personal and corporate relationship with all three persons of the Holy Trinity. We cannot separate our individual relationship with Jesus from our corporate relationship to our fellow Christians and to the Church- anymore than we can separate the persons of the Trinity.

We can only approach God on His terms, not our own. As their father, my children must obey and respect me. They must address me in an honorable manner. They must follow my rules and respect my standards. But they know that I love them unconditionally, and their obedience is the result of love and devotion, not mere obligation. And because they respect and honor me and feel confident in my love for them, then they also feel free to jump in my arms and hug me and kiss me. They feel free to play with me. They feel free to show me unscripted and spontaneous displays of love and affection.

So I think this is similar to how we should approach and view Our Lord. We cannot merely pray to Him with our own words; we must first pray according to His instructions. We cannot merely worship Him according to our own ideas; we must first worship Him according to His instructions and wishes. We cannot create our own subjective theology about God; we must accept the theology handed down to us by the holy Apostles. But with these objective foundations in place, we can also freely pray to God from the depths of our hearts. We can cry to him in our hours of need. We can dance before Him in joyful praise. We can talk to Him as our most intimate Friend. We can find comfort in His loving arms.

So I do think that it is well within Orthodox theology to speak of having a personal relationship with Christ. But our relationship with the Divine can never be presumptuous and casual. The God with Whom we are in relationship is a Holy God. We dare not come to Him on our own merits and our own terms; we must come to Him in and through His Church. There can be no personal relatioship with Jesus Christ outside of and apart from the Church of Christ.

Selam 

 
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« Reply #20 on: August 18, 2009, 10:30:50 PM »

Here is another approach (hat's tip to Catherine):

"St. John Chrysostom describes the all-embracing love of the incarnate God in a homily on the Gospel of Matthew:

"I am a father for you [says Christ] and a brother, a bridegroom and a home, a nurse and a dressing, a root and a cornerstone. Whatever you want, I am for you. My desire is that you have no need whatsoever. I shall serve you ; for I came not to be served, but to serve. I am a friend and a member and a head, a brother and a sister and a mother. I am everything for you. Just stay in communion with me. I have been poor for you and a wanderer for you, on the cross and in the tomb for you."

It seems to me that we should be cautious in determining what kind of relationship that other folks should have with the Lord. We should keep that determination just for ourselves.
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« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2009, 12:43:59 AM »

Here is another approach (hat's tip to Catherine):

"St. John Chrysostom describes the all-embracing love of the incarnate God in a homily on the Gospel of Matthew:

"I am a father for you [says Christ] and a brother, a bridegroom and a home, a nurse and a dressing, a root and a cornerstone. Whatever you want, I am for you. My desire is that you have no need whatsoever. I shall serve you ; for I came not to be served, but to serve. I am a friend and a member and a head, a brother and a sister and a mother. I am everything for you. Just stay in communion with me. I have been poor for you and a wanderer for you, on the cross and in the tomb for you."

It seems to me that we should be cautious in determining what kind of relationship that other folks should have with the Lord. We should keep that determination just for ourselves.

Ahhh, sooo beautiful! He was not called "golden-mouthed" for nothing. Wink

Selam
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« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2009, 06:59:16 AM »

I am following this post moreto learn myself. Second Chance - Great quote from St. John C.
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« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2009, 11:28:22 AM »

The Disciples obviously had a personal relationship with Our Lord. But it was not an exclusive, individualistic personal relationship.

GMK,

I think you're right on the money here with the statement.  Personal relationship with Christ, for Evangelical Protestants, has come to mean exactly as you describe as "exclusive, individualistic."  We Orthodox have always confessed that our God is a personal God otherwise salvation would be reworked into a totally unknown dichotomy which leaves us unchanged.  But, to the Evangelical Protestants, it's all about the individual and how you as an individual, on your own, without any intereference or help from others relate to God.  Granted, no one else's faith can save another.   Evangelicals, especially the radical in-your-face ones are anarchists--laws unto themselves.  Their faith cannot be governed by anything except personal whim.  Even the words of Scripture is lost in their own individualistic interpretation.  It's sad, but true. 
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« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2009, 02:39:46 PM »

Check out these videos, they are somewhat related to the topic at hand


St. Elijah Presents Fr. Timothy Kremens "Talking about Pentecostalism"

and

"Baptism & the Born Again Experience"









IC XC NIKA
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« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2009, 07:41:53 PM »

As a Protestant I have misgivings about the whole "personal relationship" as preached by most Protestants (especially of the Calvary Chapel variety). Recently a friend told me that he does not believe in God as preached by them (the fact that he still uses capital letters for God and pronouns regarding Him tells me he still thinks God might exist. But he considers himself a "weak" atheist.) because he doesn't "feel" God and doesn't think a relationship, as we were taught, is possible. (I should mention we both went to the same Christian school).

The point is that I think the view of God as your own personal buddy and coffee break pal is one that leads to wrong expectations with Him. God loves us, true, but he is THE LORD. As in, the Sovereign over all creation. Why else would Christians "work out salvation with fear and trembling?" (Philippians 2:12) Now my friend has an attitude is, "If God really loves me, He will get off His butt to make himself more real to me." His exact words.

God is not our "homeboy." I feel that this attitude is almost blasphemous.
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« Reply #26 on: October 05, 2009, 08:10:54 PM »

I would like to add just one thing.  I don't think a person really knows what it is like to have a personal relationship with anyone until they have given up something for them or sacrificed something for them. Too often, the protestant mindframe is "what can God do for me?" instead of "what can I do for God?" The suffering servant mentality is all but lost.  On the other hand, the Orthodox give up themselves up on a weekly basis, when they fast on Wednesdays and Fridays while meditating upon the cross.  Let us not forget Lent and Holy Pascha, where we co-suffer with Christ during his passion; now this is the ultimate expression of love! This is truly what personal relationships are all about; giving up yourself in the name of love.
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« Reply #27 on: October 05, 2009, 08:12:31 PM »

Greetings Super A!

As a Protestant I have misgivings about the whole "personal relationship" as preached by most Protestants (especially of the Calvary Chapel variety).

I go back and forth on this one.  When I became a Protestant, the term did not appeal to me.  I think the way the Protestants view is it is the that we seek God and ask him to help us (at a minimum), not just acknowledge his power and existence.

Quote
Recently a friend told me that he does not believe in God as preached by them (the fact that he still uses capital letters for God and pronouns regarding Him tells me he still thinks God might exist. But he considers himself a "weak" atheist.) because he doesn't "feel" God and doesn't think a relationship, as we were taught, is possible. (I should mention we both went to the same Christian school).


Now you are getting to what bothers me about the term.  I have never liked the fact that we are supposed to "feel" God with "a personal relationship with Christ."  Even more basic to the Bill Bright-influenced modern evangelical use of this phrase is that it doesn't seem well-defined to me--it's basically what you want it to be and it also give you (generic you) the right to say you are better than most.

Quote
The point is that I think the view of God as your own personal buddy and coffee break pal is one that leads to wrong expectations with Him. God loves us, true, but he is THE LORD. As in, the Sovereign over all creation. Why else would Christians "work out salvation with fear and trembling?" (Philippians 2:12)

Exactly!  You are on the road to Orthodoxy!


Quote
Now my friend has an attitude is, "If God really loves me, He will get off His butt to make himself more real to me." His exact words.

God is not our "homeboy." I feel that this attitude is almost blasphemous.

Me too.  It reduces God to one of us.  I hope you will look more into Orthodoxy.

Blessings to you!

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« Reply #28 on: October 05, 2009, 08:36:26 PM »

Heh, I wouldn't have joined this forum if Orthodoxy didn't interest me!
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« Reply #29 on: October 08, 2009, 09:05:25 AM »

Ortho_cat:  I quite agree, that is so true!
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« Reply #30 on: January 11, 2010, 10:29:41 PM »

The idea of a "personal relationship" can cause even the most devout christian to doubt the validity of  their spirituality. Like others have already said, in communities where this idea is preached from the pulpit, Jesus is presented more as a buddy whose got your back no matter what; sort of like the "My Buddy" doll that became popular in the '90s. http://www.dollinfo.com/mybud90s.htm





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