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Ismael Maldonado wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Can you help me answer these points from a person concerning having a personal relationship with Jesus?

I need short responses to each point.

This person states:

First, there all are a lot of things that many Christians agree about that are not based on an exact phrase from the Bible.

It is considered a relationship for a few reasons:

  1. First, when you accept Christ as personal Lord and Savior, He then plays intercessor for you with God — not just anyone would do this for you.

  2. Second, we are to be like His eleven disciples were. (I say eleven because of Judas.) Don't you think what they had could be considered a personal relationship with Christ? Jesus washed their feet and that is a close, personal thing. He spent more time with them then I do with my husband!

  3. Third, when you know someone loves you so much that He died for you and you love Him too, how could this be called a religion and not a relationship?

If you don't fully have faith in Christ then it is hard to understand the concept. However, if you have this faith in Him, then it is very clear that you are carrying on a relationship with Him.

A true Christian will read the Holy Scriptures daily and pray daily, a lot of times. You go to God with your inner most issues and feelings and Jesus intercedes for you. God wants you to go to Him when you are happy, angry etc. He wants all of you.

This is why we call it a relationship with Christ and not a religion with Christ. Again there is more than one thing that we [feel/believe] that we base on Scripture from the Holy Bible, without exact wording.

My source(s) for this were from a Southern Baptist.

Thank you,

Ismael

  { Can you help me address these points on having a personal relationship with Jesus? }

Mike replied:

Dear Ismael —

Your friend said:
First, there all are a lot of things that many Christians agree about that are not based on an exact phrase from the Bible.

This is unusual coming from a Southern Baptist. Most, if not all the time, they believe in the Bible, and only the Bible, (which of course is unBiblical) ... according to their private interpretation.

She said:
First, when you accept Christ as personal Lord and Savior, He then plays intercessor for you with God — not just anyone would do this for you.

Sure they would! but our intercession is In Christ, as part of His Body, not apart from His Body.

St. Paul says:

1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

1 Timothy 2:1-4

Ask her:

  • Have you ever prayed from anyone?
  • And, if so, isn't she, as a Baptist, undermining the sole mediation of Jesus Christ?

The Catholic answer would be No, because we mediate In Christ for others in need, not apart from Him.

She said:
If you don't fully have faith in Christ then it is hard to understand the concept. However, if you have this faith in Him, then it is very clear that you are carrying on a relationship with Him.

I agree and the only way to fully have faith in Christ is to believe and practice what His Church tells her to believe and practice. Tell her I think she should consider becoming a Catholic.

She said:
A true Christian will read the Holy Scriptures daily and pray daily, a lot of times.

These are great recommendations for all Christians but No, a true Christian will be obedient to the only Christian Church Jesus founded on St. Peter and his successors before His glorious Ascension. We love Christ by obeying Christ and the teachings and commandments of His Church — the Catholic Church. Ask her:

How can she believe in the Bible but not the Church that gave her, her own Bible?

Whenever someone uses the Bible to attack the Catholic Church, it is like pulling the socket of a man's arm from his body and hitting him over his head with his own arm.

She said:
This is why we call it a relationship with Christ and not a religion with Christ.

What is religion?:

The belief in and worship of a personal God by a large group of people who also believe in the same body of beliefs.

As Catholics we do believe in having a personal relationship with Jesus. We have one every Sunday at Mass when we partake in the Eucharist.

  • How can you get more personal than that?

We have both a religion (body of beliefs we believe in) and that personal relationship in the Eucharist.

Religion is not bad; people in a [faith/religion] who sin are bad, and that includes your Southern Baptist friend. We are all prone to sin.

You can't throw out the baby with the bath water.

I hope this helps a little,

Mike

Eric replied:

Ismael —

There is nothing wrong with having a personal relationship with Christ; would that we all did.

This is not incompatible with Catholicism. In fact, you will find many Saints had a personal relationship with Christ, although this term is lingo employed by Evangelicals. Saints would not have used it but they would have recognized the concept. We should address Jesus as we would address a Friend and bring to Him all our concerns (and our joys as well).

Personal implies a relationship between persons, and Jesus is a person, and so are we.
The problem is when we reduce our faith to having a personal relationship with Christ and
not also a corporate relationship with Christ through His Body, the Church.

We are all part of one Body, the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-27, Ephesians 5:30,
cf. Ephesians 1:22-23). It's not just me and Jesus, it's me, Jesus, and everyone else in the Church, so much so, that when one member suffers, the whole body suffers (1 Corinthians 12:26). Also there are elements of sanctification beyond just the personal relationship, we also have the sacraments of:

  1. Baptism (1 Peter 3:21, Romans 6:4)
  2. Eucharist (John 6:27, John 6:50-58, 1 Corinthians 10:16)
  3. Confirmation (Acts 8:17-19, Acts 19:6)
  4. Reconciliation (John 20:22-23)
  5. Anointing of the Sick (James 5)
  6. Marriage (Matthew 19:6, Mark 10:9), and
  7. Ordination (1 Timothy 4:14, 1 Timothy 5:22, 2 Timothy 1:6, Acts 6:6),

all of which have eminently Biblical roots.

There needs to be a balance.

  • We can't have the personal relationship without the corporate relationship, and
  • we shouldn't really have the corporate relationship without the personal relationship.

Eric

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