In this nugget we will discuss why a person may walk in Radical Individualism. Not every individual that is walking in RI is necessarily walking in sin. Yes, pride, divisiveness, haughtiness, and rebellion are sinful. However, Jesus, in a sense, was Radically Individualistic and He did not walk in sin. Because of situations and circumstances in some churches, a person has no choice but to walk in RI if they are going to accomplish the will of God in their own life. The key is to walk in Radical Individualism in humbleness and the mind of Christ. And to ask the Lord if He has you to be some place else where you can walk in unity with other brethren.
In some churches the status quo is so strong it is almost impossible to work with others. Programs become more important than people. These churches have become stagnant. Rituals and rules are more important than lost people. You hear statements like: ‘We have always done it this way’, ‘Why change, it has worked in the past’, ‘We are a conservative church’, ‘Our denomination doesn’t do it that way’, ‘As long as I am pastor, elder, good tither, things are staying the same’. We always have a question to these statements-‘Is what you are doing working? Is the lost getting saved, healed, and delivered? Are the saved growing in Christ?’ By asking those questions, you can be considered a Radical Individualist. However, the realities are that those who refuse to change and are set in their ways, are many times the Radical Individualist.
Many times new Christians can appear to be Radical Individualist. They get saved, read the Bible and find that God calls us to reach the lost. They want to see their friends get saved, and they are excited about their new experience. They do not know the ‘rules, guidelines, dogma, status quo’ and so they go outside the ‘boundaries’ of the church and are seen as Radical Individualists.
Some people are just radical in their personality. Some people thrive when they are in the front lines of the battle. They may be extreme in their behavior. They may be natural leaders. They have no intention of being rebellious, they just see something needs to be done and they do it. They see the results that may come from their behavior than looking at what the consequences may be. Many times they are God Pleasers rather than People Pleasers. They don’t want to be Individualistic in their behavior, they just can’t find anybody to join them, so they do what God has called them to do whether others will do it or not.
The reality is that some people are just rebellious. No matter where they are, no matter who they are with, they have not learned the principle of submission. They are wounded, stubborn people who need healing in their life. Until they are delivered from the spirit of rebellion, they will not accomplish the perfect will of God in their life. Instead of pointing their fingers at ‘the leaders who are controlling’, they need to see that their attitude is sinful. Their behavior, attitudes, and gossip bring harm to the Kingdom of God.
At times church leaders can be the cause of Radical Individualism. The leaders themselves can be Radical Individualist. They can believe they are the only ones that hear from God and see lay people as ‘puppets’ to accomplish their will. They can be manipulating, controlling, and abusive. After someone has been a member of 2-3 churches like this, they can make the mistake of believing that all churches are this way. They then make the error of becoming a RI and walk in the same sin as the leaders who have been in error.
Warning to Leaders:
Radical Individualism (the wrong type) when sown, will reap Radical Individualism. The sowers and reapers need to repent of their attitudes.
Don’t try to change a person’s personality.
Don’t judge a person’s heart, instead look for fruit.
Be humble enough to acknowledge God’s will can be accomplished more than one way.
Leaders: Do you have someone in your church that is
Radical and leans towards Individualism?
Get to know the person. If they have a sincere heart, finds ways to encourage them in their desire to be radical for Jesus. Find ways that you can release them in ministry. Find others in the church that have the same desire, and bring them together. If you will show them that you trust them, they will be some of your best allies. In fact, they will radically defend you.
Are you going to a church where the leaders are Radically Individualistic? Pray, pray, pray. Whatever you do, don’t take on their sinful attitudes and behavior. Make sure that you are not looking at them through ‘colored glasses’ (you own woundedness). If you cannot submit to them, find another church. Do not be a RI in the wrong way.
In our next nugget we will discuss Radical Individualistic Ministries–ministries that refuse to work with other believers.
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).