Individualism, Enemy Of The Church
INDIVIDUALISM – ENEMY of THE CHURCH by Andrew Strom
We live in an utterly individualistic and “self”-oriented age today. I’m sure few would disagree. Every advertisement appeals to ‘self’ in some way. We are taught from childhood to be completely self-contained, reliant on no-one, living in our own little bubble where we decide exactly what will take place.
We are often frightened to commit to any particular group or cause, any particular leadership. The modern man is an “individualist” to the core. “Don’t ask me to join or commit! And don’t tell me how to live my life!”
But all of this, of course, is the exact opposite of “Body”. It is the exact opposite of ‘Community’. And thus the exact opposite of the true Church. And yet millions upon millions of Christians today (especially in the West) are just as “individualistic” as the next man. Sometimes even more so.
As noted previously, the very first sentence used to describe the early church says: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”(Acts 2:42).That is the very picture of a BODY – not a pile of “individualists”.
They have GIVEN themselves to a group and a cause – a group with real LEADERS who are anointed preachers from God. But it is almost anathema for a modern person to give themselves to any group in such a way. We are far too suspicious and individualistic and untrusting to ever do such a thing.
And thus the question must be asked: Is it even possible to have a true “BODY” in our day? Is “CHURCH” (in the true sense) even a concept that we can understand? Or have the media and our entire culture so “individualized” us that true ‘Body’ is no longer possible?
You know, Christianity is not designed to be lived out by a pack of “individualists”. And half-committed “building-attenders” on Sunday mornings are not it either. Christianity is designed to be lived out CORPORATELY – the “Body of Christ” – an entity that can be seen and observed by people – full of the glory of Jesus.
A Body that corporately carries all the words and power and love and miracles of the King. So how on earth can such a “gathering” take place? How can the scattered remnant of today come together to form such a Body?
Well, it all starts with the anointed “word”. You notice in the above verse that these people gathered around a very specific thing – “The apostles’ doctrine and fellowship”. It is an anointed apostolic “word” being preached that is a crucial element in all this.
From such a ‘word’ everything else follows and comes into alignment. But the big question is – Could today’s “individualistic” types bring themselves to form a real ‘Body’ – even if such a word was being preached? Or is individualism so ingrained that even ‘apostolic’ preaching might not bring this about?
These are questions that every one of us should be asking ourselves if we ever hope to be part of a true movement of God in these Last Days.