Thursday, February 17, 2011

Post-Evangelicalism (part two): Relationship with God is a Dirty Word at my Theology Pub

First on the list, the term “relationship with God;” for me, having a relationship with God ties itself too closely to spiritual piety, which I equate with works based theology. Therefore, I cannot use the term, “relationship with God,” even where it may be suitable. Theologically, I dispute elements of a relationship with God because I do not support an anthropomorphic view of God. Another way of saying it, God is neither male nor female. Jesus is the only personhood within the Godhead who I refer to with gendered language. Generally, I try to avoid calling God “he;” unless, I speak of God as Father, which is theologically orthodox. Otherwise, I steer clear of anthropomorphic language for God because it represents more conservative scholarship – as a Biblical Scholar, I’d prefer not to align myself as conservative or liberal, so I can maintain a degree of balanced scholarship. Mainly, the term “relationship with God” conjures up negative feelings about my Evangelical roots. As a result, I throw out the term and deny the only definition of a relationship with God I understand. Nevertheless, accepting the gift of faith, illustrates that God is personal and that Christ is relational in the aspect of Jesus’ humanity. Thus, the closest term would be, “relationship to God,” which reiterates that the works of salvation are from God, for us, and about God – I am helpless and unable to work-out my own salvation, which is why a relationship with God does not work for me. For the sake of safety, sanity, and communication I avoid the term altogether.

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