Biblical Witness & Christian Life in Relational Perspective
The section, Biblical Witness in Relational Perspective, is quite short containing four essays, all of which are excellent and well written.
I am going to tell you a little bit about and quote from Dennis Bratcher’s The Revelation and Inspiration of Scripture. Dr. Bratcher starts the essay off telling us, “Christianity is a response to God’s self-disclosure.” A God the reveals Godself, self-discloses, is a relational God and this is reinforced in the biblical texts.
Scripture is the witness that the community of faith has borne to or about revelation…. God is the content of the revelation. Scripture tells us about and points us toward that revelation.
God revealed Himself in history (events), and the community of faith interpreted those events…. The Scriptures reflect this dynamic of the “story of God woven into the life of the community of faith through the centuries.
In this way the Scriptures, the Bible, becomes relational. Relational in the way in which it was initially received. Relational in the way it is interpreted and applied within faith communities.
The three other essays are also excellent. Of note is Dwight Swanson’s The Authority of the Bible. Swanson packs so much into his short essay that I would have to quote the whole thing, so I’ll just say that it is well worth the read.
Section III, The Christian Life in Relational Perspective, has seven essays in living out the Christian life relationally, the way it is intended.
In Prayer and our Relationship with God Libby Tedder tells us, “Prayer is to relational theology as communication is to relationship. You cannot have one without the other.” She acknowledges that for some the idea of prayer brings up feelings of guilt, we know we are supposed to pray, but aren’t clear on how, so we neglect it.
Relational theology affirms that prayer affects us. But there is a sense in which it also affects God.
God affected by our prayers. Let that dwell a moment. God affected by our prayers.
Prayer literally changes the world. The way we pray relate to Godin prayer changes the way we live and move and have our being. By transforming us, prayer transforms the way God is present to the world by opening up new ways for love to abound…. Praying is the waking up to the presence of God.
Tedder goes on to talk about different ways to pray, some components of prayer.
Prayer can engage all the senses. Prayer can be turning to the inner world of reflections and the outer wolrd electric with clues that God is on the move.
Prayer is relational, it is interaction with God.
There is one more section, Ethics and Justice in Relational Perspective which I will get in another post very soon.
Again the book is Relational Theology: A Contemporary Introduction, (2012), Eds. Brint Montgomery, Thomas Jay Oord, and Karen Winslow, Point Loma Press, San Diego. It is available from Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.