Wow! Based on the conversation we have been having, defining the boundaries of believing in Jesus is not such an easy task. There is certainly a tension there; to be accurate about who Christ was historically and who He is in his deity, yet also to be flexible on less clear aspects of His recorded words and earthly activities. It is my opinion that we must certainly view the canonical Bible, in its original manuscripts, as inerrant and “God breathed,” “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.” (1 Tim 3:16) But at the same time I must remember that the foundation itself is the issuer of the words and not the words themselves. Thus one can have a rational connection with a text and yet not have a personal relationship with its author. Surely it can be said that there have been many who have responded more faithfully to the letter of the law without actually having an intimate relationship with the author of the law, and that there have been those whose lives may have seemed less “Christian” but yet might have known the Savior on a deeper relational level.
It is my conclusion that the primary gage in discerning the actualization of an intimate relationship with Christ is found not in independent study of His Word, though that surely plays a part, but rather in the community of believers, the Body of Christ. I am not saying that it is always an easy thing, to find a faithful community of believers, but communities of believers must surely serve as a more accurate representation of godly living than the “lone ranger” who stands aloft amongst a sea of depravity. Now that we have discussed the fact that Christ is our foundation, let us again look to the scriptures for this view of Foundational Living as being most clearly understood in interrelational terms.
Recall again John 17:22-23: “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”
These verses suggest that there is a glory that can only be reflected in a unified community. Surely it is not just any unified community, but rather a community that is attached to the only divine foundation, Christ Jesus. The word “perfected” refers here to the proper representation of God. In order to be “perfected” in how we as individuals reflect the unified Trinity, we ourselves must be unified. We are called to be a “city on a hill”; not a house on a hill. Thus, if you find yourself alone on a “hill on which to die,” then chances are good that you are on the wrong hill.
Tell me what you think. Am I placing to much theological emphasis on my biblical observations of an interrelational dynamic, or am I leading us away from the solid foundation of individual spirituality? Am I placing to much emphasis on Christ's connection to written scripture, or have I violated the sufficiency of the Bible by suggesting that it must be interacted with among the Body in order to glean more certainly what the proper interpretation is?