Radical Individualism-Part Two
The Good and The Bad
We need to make it clear that there is a difference between being individualistic and being radically individualistic. There is also a difference between being radical and radically individualistic.
Being individualistic in the sense of not just doing what the crowd does, is a good thing. Being individualistic in the sense of being who God created you to be is good. There is nothing wrong in not being a ‘robot’ or a ‘yes man’. It is good to set boundaries, define goals, and let no one persuade you to change the course God has given you. It is a sign of maturity to be focused and not swayed by others. God is looking for Christians who are God pleasers instead of people pleasers. Jesus does not desire ‘cookie cutter’ Christians. He made each of us as individuals with unique gifts and talents.
The Church needs more Christians who are radical in their faith, radically saved, and bold in their witness. Christians who are radical in finding new ways to share the Gospel with the lost are an asset to the Kingdom of God. It sometimes takes radical Christians to reach radically lost people.
The problem is when an individual becomes Radically Individualistic (RI). Their goals, desires, ways of thinking, become more important than others. They are determined that they are right and others are wrong. Being right is more important than relationships. It is hard to work with people who are RI because everything has to be their way. Radically Individualistic people are self-seeking. A person can be conservative or liberal in their theology and be RI.
Ministries and churches can be Radically Individualistic. Organizations are RI when they create doctrines, rules, philosophies that greatly exclude other Christians.
The Pharisees were Radically Individualistic. They were determined that their view of the coming of the Messiah was the only correct view. They had the opportunity to experience a visitation of God–to receive the Messiah they had been waiting for to return. Instead they had the Messiah killed. There are ultra-conservative churches today that are very legalistic. As an organization they have become RI and believe it is godly to have all the rules and regulations that are of man and not of God Almighty. If you don’t agree with them, then you have apostatized in their view.
There are those Christians who think you have to act, look, and smell like the lost. They think they are radical in their way of reaching the lost. They refuse to receive correction or guidance in their life. They refuse to allow others to bring balance in their perspective. So the lost accept Jesus, but still act, look, and smell like a lost person five years later. Those who try to bring balance to these Christians are seen as legalistic and rigid.
Pride is a strong factor in Radical Individualism.
Jesus was certainly radical. He did many things that stirred up the religious community. However, the things he did (heal the sick, raise the dead, and minister to the outcasts) were for the purpose of touching the lives of people. He did not do them for the sake of being radical.
Some could see Jesus/God as being individualistic:
Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the
Father, but through Me.”
Radical Individualist make it appear that they are the only ones serving
God and their way is the only way. The difference between them and Jesus is:
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Jesus lived a radical life for one purpose-mankind. This is just the opposite of self-seeking and self-centered.
Copyright © 2001 Richard D. Dover. All rights reserved.
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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations used are from the New American Standard Version (NAS).