Christianity is about a Personal Relationship, Chad Bird

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Some Dude name Chad Bird (April 2017) laid out a blog piece promoting the mindless sheep Christianity theory of being a Christian. Chad tells us:

Here’s the thing: Christianity is not about a personal relationship with Jesus. The phrase is never found in the Bible. And the whole biblical witness runs contrary to it.Our life with Christ is communal, not personal or private or individual. When the Scriptures speak of believers, they are part of a community, a fellowship of other believers.[1]

Each one of those claims is in direct contradiction to the teachings of Christ. Break them down:

* Christianity is not about a personal relationship with Jesus.The phrase is never found in the Bible. 

Yes it is! (1) it's written into the very fabric of salvation. It's spelled out in the covenant:

Jeremiah 31:31-34 New International Version (NIV)31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,    “when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel    and with the people of Judah.32 It will not be like the covenant    I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand    to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,    though I was a husband to[a] them,[b]declares the Lord.33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel    after that time,” declares the Lord.“I will put my law in their minds    and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,    and they will be my people.34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,    or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’because they will all know me,    from the least of them to the greatest,”declares the Lord.“For I will forgive their wickedness    and will remember their sins no more.”
You are going to know God because he's written on your heart, That is an individual personal relationship. They will all know me so to know God is to have God dealing with your heart,that;s very personal. It says being in the new covenant means God has written on your heart, it says nothing about being part of a group.

(2) In every case in the NT where it speaks about Christians Knowing God it uses a Greek term that refers to personal first hand knowledge gained fro face to face to face encounter. example: 1 John 4:7-8 "7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. " The Greek term here is a from of Ginosko (γινώσκει = "is knowing (God)") Here's the stong's definition:

1097 ginṓskō – properly, to know, especially through personal experience (first-handacquaintance). 1097 /ginṓskō ("experientially know") is used for example in Lk 1:34, "And Mary [a virgin] said to the angel, 'How will this be since I do not know (1097 /ginṓskō = sexual intimacy) a man?'"
The definition of that word is personal exerciser. Let's look at the passage making that definition explicit.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and know [by personal experience] God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, [by personal experience] because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
This passage speaks as though we should assume personal knowledge of God as a matter of course. The point of being a Christian is personal relationship with God. That is made quite clear. The exhibition of loves a barometer of that relationship. There are a couple  of other Greek words  used of knowing God but they are also words  related to personal knowledge. 

Philippians 3:10 ESV /

That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

John 17:3 ESV /

And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

2 Peter 3:18 ESV 

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. [same word personal experience of God]

Now Bird tells us:
*And the whole biblical witness runs contrary to it.Our life with Christ is communal, not personal or private or individual. 

This is obviously based upon ignoring passages about individuals. It's a totally false claim and a dishonest claim. Let's look at some counter exampels:

(1) Matthew 6:6 (NIV): "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you>"

Why is he talking about doing anything in secret by yourself? Obviously if the statement above was true we would have no business approaching God  alone. This passage seems to imply that it's expected that we pray in private,

Galatians 2:11-13 New Living Translation (NLT) Paul Confronts Peter
1But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. 12 When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. 13 As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
You might say "but he was an Apostle." But he was not the head of the Church,Peter out ranked him  and  he and the others with him were sent by the church leaders, those who sent Paul out. But Paul confronted them, one man agaisnt the group because they were wrong.

(3) Salvation is always discussed on  an individual basis.
Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except 
through Me.
’ ” (John 14:6) No group comes to the father but by me?

(4) John 3"16 who so ever believes

(5) Jesus speaks to the thief on the cross. he clearly spoke to  one thief and not both when he says:  "today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43)  are we to accept that all thieves are saved?"  

(6) Jesus accepts a follower who is not a member of the group:

38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me,

Of course it is God's design that we not play out our Christian walk in isolation (although apologetic is another matter). We are part of a mystical body of Christ. We need to maintain relationship with other Christians. But the assumption is that it is a body of individuals who each have relationship with Jesus on their  own personal level, then we from the group we all work together to form a unified body.

Priesthood of believer is a major doctrine of Protestantism,If you are not going to believe in that you need to be a Catholic, After all if you buy Bird's theory of group salvation then Luther had no right to leave the Roman Catholic Church. Priesthood of the believer  says that all Christians are priests (1 Pet. 2:9). There is only one mediator between God and Humanity: Jesus!(Heb 7:26-27), Bird's idea creates a second mediator  the group, the church. If there is only one mediator between God and I then I am in a personal relationship where my  salvation is not dependent upon anyone  but God. Of course I understand Jesus in a Trinitarian sense.

 Heb. 10:19-22 says, "Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." That is on an individual basis regardless of what anyone else thinks about it. Similarly we are allowed to abdicate our personal responsibility on the premise that I was only following orders,

Next week i will answer the arguments he  makes in defense of his bad theology

[1] Chad Bird, "Christianity is not about a personal relationship with Jesus," blo: Chad Bird (April 26, 2017)


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