Good Individualist Christianity

The following is a guest post by Pastor Rob Golding of First Artesia Christian Reformed Church. He also writes for the Westminster Theological Seminary Magazine.

Do not forsake individualist Christianity! We are rightly concerned with avoiding over-individualism. We know Westerners are inherently individualistic. Americans are proponents of “rugged individualism.” We have heard that Old and New Testament Christians were so different. They had corporate identities. Their status was based on what their families and fellow citizens did. Achan’s individual sin brought calamity upon the whole nation. One person’s faith brought baptism to the entire household. “We need to avoid over-individualism.” That is a solid, biblical message. But…

But, individual faith is vital. When we look out upon the horizon of our cultural moment, and we weep to the Lord that none tremble at His Word, none desire to follow Him, we are tempted to despair. When we turn our eyes from the promises on the page of Scripture to the plague of our cultural moment, the incongruity can be debilitating. We cry out, “When, O Lord, will you make the new heavens and new earth!?” Perhaps it will not happen for another thousand years. Even if that is the case, our individual faith buoys us because we can experience the new heavens and the new earth within our souls (2 Cor 5:17). We can experience the renewing touch of God even in the barren wasteland. We can experience renewed faith and repentance even when all those around us seem callous to spiritual things. We can experience the very face of God in our souls when He has turned His face away from a people who hate Him. Do not lose your individual faith.

This might be why the Puritans were so fond of their “prayer closets.” In a time when Christians were being burned at the stake, what a comfort it was to know that God would meet them in the secret silence of the late evening. When the world swirls around us in its hurried pace, unrelenting anger, and continual rejection of God, we can slow down and hold His hands of peace. If we only do that in church, we are missing out on a continual source of stability in a continually unstable time.

-Rob Golding

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