In the evangelical realm, “(personal) relationship to Jesus” is a
popular expression. Intuitively, this implies two-way communication, as
this is present in every other relationship. And consequentially,
people who entered this “relationship to Jesus” expect Jesus to talk to
them: personally, immediately, contemporarily, and regularly. Sad to
add that these people are way too often misguided to detect Jesus’
words where there is nothing to find.

So it’s promising to better examine this “relationship” concept. It
deems on me that there is indeed something we can call “relationship to
Jesus”. It does however not mean “contact” foremost, but the opposite
of distance. This is the abstract meaning: relationship is the opposite
of distance.

Distance. People who are on
distance to Jesus are not only atheists and agnostics. This applies
also to religious people: these people have a business-like manner of
conduct towards Jesus: they do not allow their faith in Jesus to affect
their personal life. Instead, they present their smooth public side to
Jesus and all other churchgoers. As in business life, the manners are
formal. This means liturgy, religious traditions, orthodoxy-centered
theology, institutionalization and like. All modes of distance have in
common that such faith is not allowed to affect ones personal life, it
is kept in the formal, superfluous, public part of life. Such people
keep Jesus on distance just as humans keep other people on distance: we
exchange nice words, but only to avoid being corrected or being told
other unpleasant but important things.

Relationship. As the
opposite to distance, a “relationship to Jesus” means foremost, to
obey. To let Jesus’ teachings and Jesus’ standards affect one’s
personal life through and through. It means to admit and expose even
the darkest places of one’s soul, i.e. to accept what Jesus has to say
about them. In this abstract sense, it is not important for a
relationship to have contact with each other: the recorded words and
teachings of Jesus, as written in the Bible, are totally enough, as
they are something to accept and obey. This does however not mean that
a relationship to Jesus includes no contact: this does happen, but it
is no necessary ingredient, and nothing to expect day by day.

Evangelical people teach that only Christians with a “relationship to
Jesus” are saved. This seems confusing at first, but with the above
meaning it is understandable: those without this “relationship” knew
Jesus only as a temporary business contact but never took his words
seriously and personally, never obeyed.


Start date: 2007-01-09
Post date: 2007-01-09
Version date: 2007-01-09 (for last meaningful change)

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