It has been a cool thing for a while to say that Christianity “isn’t a religion; it’s a relationship.”
As much as I understand the phrase and can, at times, be sympathetic to it, it still bugs me.
Add on top of that the new style of “evangelism” popular today is one of “relationship.” Again, I get it, but again, it bugs me.
I’m on a kick lately to try to say things biblically. If the Bible doesn’t say it like that, perhaps we shouldn’t either.
The Word of God is inspired, it is “God-breathed.” God said things just the way He wanted to.
Now, I will admit the point that as we translate words from the original languages into our own, things can get lost, which is why we should take advantage of the available translations.
But still, try to go with how God says things, at least make the effort.
Never once does the Bible use the word “relationship” in regard to what we have with Him (I looked it up in many translations, even the NIV).
We can love each other, we can know each other, but never once is what we have with Him called a “relationship.”
We are said to be His, the Father’s, sons, so in that way we are compared to a relationship we can understand. We are said to be His, the Master’s, slaves, so in that way we are said to have a slave/master relationship.
But the word is never used.
I find this intriguing, our desire to force our own happy notions on things rather than use God’s explicitly stated words. It’s curious to me.
Perhaps it’s just our desire to be “relational” with the world around us, like why we prefer the NIV to the Old English King James, because we can “relate” to it more.
“Relationship” is an interesting word, one I think we view as being happy, cozy, warm, friendly, and most of all totally non-demanding.
Girls talk about being “in a relationship” with a guy. Until they break up and get in a relationship with another guy, then another, and another. “Relationship” means “friend.” When we speak of “being in a relationship with God,” I think many use the same small idea.
Just waiting for the inevitable breakup.
I think the danger in our day is not religion, but over-familiarity that borders on tempting God.
Go ahead and keep using the word “relationship.” I know what you mean and, in general, it’s fine.
But I do think we should think long and hard about it. Jesus is more than your friend, He’s your God, King, Lord, Master, Father, and many other authoritarian words.
He’s not your besty, nor your lover; He’s God.
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear