The Church and Individualism
Updated: Jul 16, 2019
Seriously embedded in Western society and worldview is the idea of ‘individualism.’ The idea of the ‘autonomous individual’ is often at odds and even hostile to the image of the church as a ‘community of faith.’ This bias, even in the church, tends toward independence instead of interdependency, which in turn affects the very nature of the life and faith of the people of God. While a sense of community is not completely absent from the life of the contemporary Western church and society, it must be recognised that self-sufficiency and the privatisation of the Christian faith are common features of Christianity today. The church is understood as a ‘voluntary society, ’ which one joins out of personal choice and for the sake of meeting one’s personal need in our consumer orientated society. Church membership is often considered optional by many of those who are identified as Christian, and Christian discipleship is self-focus rather than orientated towards the community of faith as a dynamic corporate entity. However, beneath the surface is a profound hunger in Western society for relationship and community that only genuine faith and authentic community can truly meet.