Summary: Current Christian preaching and practice focuses almost exclusively on the individual. But the gospel is more than that. It’s the creation of one new man. For the church to be effective, it must reverse the dominant cultural mindset and behave like one new man.
In the last post, we learned that the spread of Christianity hinges on behavior. The current American lifestyle and the institutions that serve it don’t provide Christians with the opportunity to truly behave like Christians. In order to change this, Christians have to be trained to live like healthy families.
Unfortunately, this is pretty much absent from the average American church. For the most part, what is preached when it comes to entering the Christian life focuses on only part of the truth. It focuses on the individual. I am not saying that salvation is not an individual decision or experience. It is. But, it’s not only that. It’s more than that.
We preach individual salvation
We’ve fallen for…
an American Christian paradigm that understands salvation to have everything to do with how the individual relates to God and nothing to do with how we relate to one another…in our typical gospel presentations, we introduce God’s family only as sort of a utilitarian afterthought – church is there to help us grow in our newfound faith in Christ. (When the Church Was a Family)
This is odd given the fact that when a person becomes a Christian, they are transferring their allegiance from the world to the Kingdom. They are inheriting a new spiritual family of brothers and sisters who are to be first priority in their lives. Only once in the New Testament is the word “savior” connected to an individual (Luke 1:47).
Why do we emphasize the personal side of salvation and neglect the corporate side? It’s what happens when you filter the world through the lens of individualism. It’s what interprets the meaning of things for you. It’s what tells you what’s important. And we’re drinking that water.