David P. Brown
Peter declared, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Pet. 4:11), Paul told Timothy to, “Hold fast the form of sound words…” (2 Tim. 1:13). He also told Titus to, “…speak thou the things which become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). Is it possible to have a “personal relationship with Christ?” Is that terminology of our time in harmony with the above scriptures?
If the phrase serving as our title means anything more than assenting to true propositions concerning Jesus, what more does it mean? We certainly do not find such terminology in the scriptures. In fact, “A personal relationship with Christ” is a meaningless phrase. It means anything to anybody. Therefore, its meaning is subjective, i. e. “better felt than told.” This lack of objectivity belies the root and source of the phrase under consideration.
Such terminology derives from the “heartfelt religion that makes an erroneous difference between “the heart” and “the head.” This false concept declares that one must not only believe the gospel with one’s “head,” but also with one’s “heart.” The truth of the matter is found in the inspired statement: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). The heart is the head and vice versa. The separation of the heart and head is from the deluded imagination of modern secular psychologists, charismatics, and modern theologians. It has no foundation at all in the Bible.
What the modern preachers mean by “a personal relationship with Christ” is some sort of “warm feeling. (Never mind that a cup of warm tea would accomplish the same feeling). They promote something beyond Biblical faith (Rom. 10:17; 2 Cor. 5:7; Col. 3:17). Thus the terminology of our title is not the wholesome teaching authorized in the verses of our first paragraph.
In looking round about our secular and religious world, as well as the Lord’s church, we notice all manner of “charismatic” and “modernist” churches. What do they have in common? In one way or another, they reject the rational nature of man. Thus, they teach doctrines that are really nothing more than mindless confrontations and emotional experiences that have nothing to do with the faith that comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:6).
Just remember that no one could have a closer personal relationship than the apostles John, the son of Zebedee, and Judas Iscariot. John was faithful. He believed and obeyed the truth that Christ taught. Judas did not believe (have faith) in the truth Jesus taught (John 8:31-32; 2 John 9). What kind of relationship do you have with Christ?