A Relational Theologian
I am not the systematic theologian with letters in front of his name.
I am a relational theologian; a son, a husband, a father, a brother, a friend – I am loved and I love. I’m not interested in debate but I aspire to connect. I am not fond of words for the sake of knowledge, but I’m rapturous when the words are revelatory. I am not keen on reading my bible to learn about God but I love to discover and encounter Him in its pages. I am not interested in attending a meeting but I am passionate about the catalytic transformation discovered in family.
My heart is to filter every thought I have about God through the lens of relationship. It’s about family. I am convinced family is the Kingdom Jesus talked about, the Kingdom He lived from, the Kingdom He revealed, the Kingdom He taught us to pray for and invited us to discover.
Relationship, in the context of family, is what the Kingdom is all about. Everything Jesus said and did was in the context of a Son revealing His Father and His Fathers Kingdom. God With Us had one objective, to give us His revelation of our Father and the same access to His Kingdom. He came to reveal and fully restore us to our family. He was a relational theologian – Love in human form. He revealed the Father and what it looked like to be a son. He revealed the friendship of the Holy Spirit and the closeness between brothers, sisters, and mothers. He was a walking talking relational theology.
In this series of essays, I have not written about Gods sovereignty through a rigid systematic lens. I have written through the lens of family. I don’t approach God through disciplines, ethics and the dogma of religious thought; I approach God as an adored son of the Father, a loved brother of Jesus, a best friend of the Holy Spirit.
It is my great hope to write in the context of family and friendship; through the lens of a love relationship.
As I have approached God through the loving narrative of family – a family perfectly revealed in Jesus – I have found that I just can’t use the word control to truly reveal Him. To me, using the word control to reveal God feels like using a black crayon to reveal the color of a yellow sun. It just doesn’t work.
When I look at the perfect family of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I see love and all the fruit love yields. I see trust and surrender and grace. I see joy and peace, hope and faith. I see agreement; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as Three in One. I see love; the depth, the passion, the wonder, the sacrifice, the awesome power and the measureless authority of love.
When discovering Gods sovereignty through the family relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I can find no evidence of control unless the word self sits firmly in front of it. I am daily growing convinced that self-control is the only form of control God endorses.
When I try to apply a controlling context to the relationship within the Godhead, I not only come up short, I discover control is as counter to the perfect love they shared as darkness is to light. Control played no part and had no place in their relationship. In fact, it is a concept absolutely set against the intimate revelation of the perfect love they revealed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Even the cross is a beautiful picture of surrender and trust, power, and authority; in everything, they were one. And this oneness, this perfect expression of love, was Jesus’ promise and prayer for us, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:21
When describing and revealing the nature of God, His sovereignty, why would we use a word that can’t be found in the family and friendship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the perfect love relationship we have been invited into?
If Jesus is perfect theology, if He is the full biblical picture of the nature of God, and if there is no evidence of a controlling nature within the Godhead, why do we insist on using the word control to define Him?
Maybe Jesus didn’t come to reveal a controlling God but an empowering Father. Maybe He lived, died and rose to reveal and give us access to our inheritance as members of His family. Maybe it was for freedom Jesus came; freedom from the controlling narrative of this world. Maybe His sovereignty is revealed in the perfection of His always good-love. Maybe control is a flawed way to describe God. I think so.
I am growing convinced that the sovereignty of God has nothing to do with control and everything to do with love. I am discovering the sovereignty of His love sets me free and empowers me to live in the authority of love. The sovereignty of His love is destroying the controlling confines of my religious narrative and inviting me into the measureless revelation of family.
I am a relational theologian. I am in the Family – a son, brother, and friend. I am becoming one, even as THEY are one. I am loved perfectly and this love has set me free, free to control myself, free to love with power and authority, free to be transformed. I am free to discover a perfect surrender – every part of me, every thought, action, and desire can be surrendered to a generous empowering always good Love.
I pray you are growing sure as a relational theologian as well. May the world be forever changed.
Jason Clark is a writer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.